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  • Aug 23 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Jesus’ Healing Word (Matthew 8:5-13)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Jesus’ Healing Word (Matthew 8:5-13)

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Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong

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Jesus Healing Word

Matthew 8:5-13 (Pastor Brian)

The Faith of the Centurion

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.


Jesus entered Capernaum Matthew 4:13 – that was where Jesus dwelt.

A Centurion (officer in the Roman army – leader of 100 men, part of the occupation of Israel – a Gentile, probably not very popular (many Jews hated the Romans for occupying Jerusalem)) – this man came to Jesus (a Jewish teacher and rabbi) for his servant (not himself).

Whenever the NT mentions a centurion, there is something to admire.

1.

This one came to seek the help of Christ for his slave and uttered the remarks we see here.

2.

At the crucifixion, another centurion observed the death of Jesus and said, “Truly this was the son of God.” Many had mocked him, but the centurion saw him utter his last words “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they do” and realized he was the Son of God.

3.

Cornelius, another centurion, was a good man, able to minister to the poor, friendly with the Jews, and had a visitation from an angel and said, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up before God.”

We know that God also orchestrated things so that Peter was instructed to go to his house and show him more fully the way to salvation. He was the first Gentile to be baptized into the church at that time.

4.

Another, involved with Paul – after he was arrested (falsely) for taking Greeks into the tabernacle. He was ordered to be flogged, but Paul confronted the centurion there about it, “Is it lawful to flog a Roman citizen?” The centurion stood up for him and those who were to flog him stepped back. So, Paul was spared due to his citizenship and the advice and counsel given by the centurion.

5.

Acts 23, there are two centurions taking Paul (and protecting him) to the Governor Felix.

6.

Another, Julius, in Acts 27:1-28 was responsible to take Paul to Rome. He acted capably and was interested in what Paul had to say, and he saved Paul from the hands of the soldiers in the hour of the shipwreck. They had planned to kill the prisoners, but the centurion had wanted to spare Paul.

So the centurions mentioned in the NT seem to be honorable and good men.

This one, came pleading for his servant who was very sick. It is interesting that he was so concerned for his slave. Under Roman law, the master could kill his slave, and it was expected that he would esp if the man could no longer work.

However, this centurion came entreating Jesus (pleading) for his slave.

Jesus immediately said, “I will go.”

This was against Jewish custom, for a Jew to enter a Gentile house (not against God’s law, but against custom). The centurion sensed this and said, “I’m not worthy.”

He realized it might have been awkward for Jesus – a Jew – to not want to enter a Gentile home (but of course, Jesus, wouldn’t feel that way). The centurion said, “Speak a word, and he will be healed.” He recognized the authority of Christ – believing that he could heal with his word, just as easily as with his touch (last time we looked at Jesus healing the leper with a touch – Matthew 8:1-4). In the case of the leper, he touched the untouchable. In this case, he speaks a word.

“Because I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me.”

He understood the military chain of command, the orders from above were to be obeyed without question. Jesus remarked elsewhere, “I do nothing of my own will, I do the will of my Father.” He also was obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So, the centurion recognized that Jesus was under authority, but also that Jesus HAD authority over nature, disease, sin.

The authority of God of disease, demons, and all else would flow through Christ.

v. 10-13, Jesus praised the centurion’s faith and healed the servant. He “marveled” (filled with wonder and astonishment) and said, “Truly, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel. Many will sit with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom,… but the sons will be cast out…”

Jesus said, “Go, and it will be done as you have believed” and it was done that very hour.

This great faith, worthy of praise from Jesus was from the centurion – even more so than among the people of Israel.

“many from east to west” – this was a radical idea to the Jews – they thought that all Jews would be there, but no Gentiles. But Jesus corrects this misunderstanding. The Jews who didn’t believe (the “sons”) would be cast out into the darkness with “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” and the Gentiles (those who believed) would be allowed in.

“Gnashing of teeth” = only in great pain and agony – in hell there is ALWAYS gnashing of teeth.

We see Jesus was unafraid to speak of hell and did so more than any others in the Bible. Some ministers never mention hell. Some say, “If you don’t believe in Christ, you’ll be sent to THAT place that we shouldn’t speak of.”

Jesus used plain words, and there was no mistaking what he meant. “If you don’t believe I AM, you’ll be lost in your sins.”

He came from heaven to show the people the way to heaven.

He was the healer of bodies (leper, centurion’s servant), but also the saver or our souls. After we die, our souls will live on in one place or another – heaven or hell.

The centurion at the cross, for example, must have truly recognized what was going on.

Jesus:

1. Faced our guilt

Ex:

Rationalized guilt

A man sped down the highway, stopped by a police officer, and said, “Well, there are so many accidents, I was rushing to get out of here…” – he rationalized his guilt.

Denied guilt

A man had his machine fixed, but never received a bill. He sent a letter saying, “where’s my bill for the repairs?” but the company said, “We have no record of anything needed repairs.” (denial of guilt)

Postponed guilt

A man stole a watch, and later gave some money to repay it. He tried to postpone his guilt.

But for us, our guilt, our judgment, our time is coming, and Jesus faced our guilt for us, he erased the litany of things that caused us to be guilty. He took it away from us. He faced it, born our sin, because leprous, our substitute, taking our place on the cross in death.

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”

He faced our sin.

2. Forgave our sin.

“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

3. Forgot our sins.

By the erasure of the statutes that were against us, God would also forget our sins.

  1. Jesus faced our guilt
  2. Forgave our sins
  3. God forgot our sins

“I will remember them … NO MORE.”

That’s what makes salvation so precious. That the omniscient God can choose to forget (or not remember) our sins.

Q: Have we believed that Jesus has faced, forgiven, forgotten our guilt?
That’s what the good news is.

We have put our trust in the living God. “that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

I was brought up in a very liturgical church, and we were taught something similar to what we’ve heard. “I’m not worthy for you to enter my house, just say the word and I’ll be healed.”

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 09 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The Willingness of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Willingness of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)

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Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Willingness of Jesus

Matthew 8:1-4 (Pastor Brian)

The Man With Leprosy

1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”


This is the first personal miracle that’s recorded in Matthew (also recorded in Mark and Luke). It shows how important this was to God that it was recorded in the three synoptic gospels.

Mark: “The man was covered in leprosy.” (There are different stages)

It was regarded as “living death” – losing nerve sensation, fingers falling off, toes falling off, stop blinking (become blind) – it’s a degenerative disease. Thankfully today, there are cures although many people still contract it. Now it is controllable – you can’t back up what’s already happened, but it can be controlled.

This disease is often a picture of sin in our lives. It starts small, but increases, increases, increases, and eventually brings death.

Luke knew that this person was in the last stages of leprosy (covered with leprosy).

Jesus had just taught the Sermon on the Mount (Beatitudes “Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, …”). He’d been teaching up there, coming down and the multitudes followed him. One of the gospel writers wrote, “Behold, a man with leprosy came to him and worshiped him saying, ‘If you are willing, make me clean.'”

This must have been surprising – this guy should have been socially distanced from the crowd. He was not supposed to have been in that environment, near other people. He should have been in isolation (quarantine), desperation, adoration (later).

This wasn’t the only person who came to Jesus who wasn’t supposed to. Remember the woman who was bleeding for 12 years? Ceremonially unclean, but she pressed into Jesus, and touched him garment. “Your faith has made you well.”

This is now the masculine version of that story. The man pressed in and said, “If you are willing, make me clean.”

It was forbidden to even touch lepers, it was like touching a dead person. Yet, he said, “I am willing.”

But this is not the only instance where he was “willing” – sometimes, he did miracles even from a distance. But to show compassion to the leper, he reached out and touched him. And “immediately” the leprosy left him.

This also is a kind of new birth – being born again. “I’m no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God.” (How do you know?)

Paul “We are also his offspring, his children” (God as Creator). We are all born and exist because God exists and gives life. But there’s a spiritual death that’s attached to that. There’s a need to be “born again” – “born from above.”

To do so, we need to recognize our sin nature, and receive a new birth.

That song, “I’m no longer a slave to fear” reminds me of John Wesley. He was brought up religiously, went to the US, taught people, tried to do good to lots of people, was on his way back from America and the ship was in trouble. He was very fearful.

He noticed Moravians – they were praying, they weren’t concerned with death / destruction. He was amazed that they were so calm. As he spoke to them, he realized he was lacking. He needed Christ and the new birth.

He changed, his heart was “strangely warmed” and was experiencing the “new birth.” It was changing him and would change his ministry. Have you experienced this new birth? Are you a child of God?

Jesus challenged the religious leader, Nicodemus, and said, “It is necessary to be born from above” (by the spirit of God).

The picture of the leper is the picture of us before we encounter Christ. John Wesley experienced that and changed history in England (during the French Revolution). It is said that due to the preaching of Charles and John Wesley to be “born again” that there was not so much destruction in England during that period as there was in France.

This leper now was in isolation, and therefore (on the point of death) in desperation. He came to Jesus and called him “Lord (Yhwh)” for the first time. He knew that Jesus had the power, but…was he willing?

“If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

For Jesus to touch the man, that would have made Jesus ceremonially unclean – but he wasn’t an ordinary man – and he wanted to show his willingness to cleanse him, so he touched him.

“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded.”

In Mark, he didn’t obey this command, but rather went around and told everyone of his healing.

He went and told when Jesus had told him not to. But WE do the opposite. Jesus says, “Go and tell” but we don’t.

So we should be ready to let our light shine and go and tell.

Leprosy was a terrible disease. In the OT, Naman was a great general, had great victories, had such wonderful things going for him, but “was a leper.” He sent to the Israeli king who said, “How can I do this thing?” So then he sent a servant to Elisha the prophet.

He expected Elisha to come out and pray and lay hands on him, but he didn’t. He said, “Go and bathe in the (dirty) river 7 times” (via messenger).

Naman was upset! What? But his servant said, “if he’d told you to do something hard, you’d have done it without question, so why question something so easy?” He “ate humble pie” and went and did it.

Now, in church, it’s not enough to just observe and show the outward signs of “religion.” Have you truly acknowledged your leprosy? Have you humbled yourself? Have you experienced the new birth?

Miram – sister of Moses – on the way out of Jesus, she (and her brother Aaron) spoke out against their brother (also upset about his marriage to an outsider). God came to them in the Tabernacle and honored him. “With Moses I speak face-to-face.” When the cloud went up, Miram had leprosy on her. Aaron cried out “Pray that this will be taken away!” Moses did and it was healed. It is said of Moses he was the most humble person on earth (generally).

The leper is on his way to see the priest and the problem was that the priest had to get out his manual to see what to do (he didn’t know offhand because cleansing from leprosy was so rare – maybe he checked Leviticus 14).

In Leviticus 14, we read about what happens when a person is cleansed from leprosy. It doesn’t say HOW he is cleansed, but if a person HAD leprosy, they were to be isolated outside the camp (so as not to be contagious). If, while outside, he saw that the leprosy had gone, he would have to tell the priest, who would have to go out to examine him. Now, the ordinances / rituals to consider him clean in the eyes of God / people involved some symbolism in the sacrifices:

  1. Two living birds were taken,
  2. one killed in a clay pot over running water (living water – taken from a stream – not from a well),
  3. this bird was sacrificed over the pot, the blood going into the water.
  4. The other bird was dipped into the blood of the dead bird,
  5. with cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop

Hyssop was a herb used to paint blood of the lamb on the posts in Egypt during the Exodus – remember the last plague was death of the first born – and this causes the Pharaoh to release the Israelites – this also is a picture of God’s judgment and mercy,

Hyssop was also used at the cross. He said 7 statements, one of which, “I thirst.” They put sour wine on a clump of hyssop and he drank of it

Also David – in his Psalm of Penitence after committing adultery and murder (he paid for it), acknowledging his sin. The prophet said his sin was forgiven, but that the sword would never pass from his house. He wrote, “Cleanse me with hyssop and I’ll be white as snow.”

  1. Cedar wood
  2. Scarlet yarn
  3. Live bird
  4. Hyssop

Dipped into the blood of the killed bird.

This is a picture of Jesus. He died, and shed his blood. The second bird, dipped, and released.

  • Dead bird = Jesus’ death
  • Live bird = Jesus’ resurrection

This is a good picture of the foreshadowing of the coming of Christ – that those who believe in him would be declared righteous before a holy God.

Leprosy: The priest would go out, inspect, declare him clean, perform the sacrifice, the person would come back but stay outside his tent for 7 days. On the 8th day, lamb sacrifice:

Guilt offering, to the Lord

Then, the priest (usually did the same when set apart for ministry), applied blood from the lamb to the earlobe (hear the word of God), the thumb (do the will of God), and the big toe (go, work for the will of God).

There was also a drop of oil, that would be smeared over the blood on the three locations. This is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

  • Cleansed by the blood,
  • Filled / led by the Spirit

These things are very symbolic of Jesus and his ministry. The disciples walked with Jesus, were cleansed by him, but also told to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit after he rose again.

Even after Jesus’ Resurrection, they didn’t quite have the whole picture. They thought that Israel would be restored as a great kingdom, but Jesus told them to wait for Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came, filled them, and they were emboldened to speak the Word – they had yet been slaves to fear, but the Holy Spirit gave them courage and power.

Peter, denied Christ 3 times in fear, yet after receiving the Holy Spirit, he preached in the public square and thousands came to Christ in one day.

Sometimes getting “born again” isn’t easy.

Philip Yancy became friends with Dr. Paul Brand who did tremendous things in finding healing for leprosy. He was able to recover parts of the body that had been destroyed. Yancy spent about 10 years with him and was amazed.

In India, the lowest of the low castes were those with leprosy. But these were the people that he ministered to. Yancy said once, “Pain is a gift” because lepers lose their sense of pain. Much of their trouble comes from doing dangerous things and not feeling it (fire, nails, knives, etc).

“Pain is a gift” – if you feel hurt, you know to avoid it or fix it. But a leper can’t feel the pain. This increases the problem, the hurt, etc.

In the spiritual realm too, there is an application. “When the HS comes, he’ll convict the world of sin, righteousness, judgment.”

CS Lewis also wrote that during the process of his coming to Christ, he was probably the most reluctant person in England. There was a wrestling “Will I really receive Christ? Am I really in need of forgiveness?” There can be pain in spiritual things and the new birth, it’s not easy, but it’s important to recognize our own leprosy “I need to get cleansed” and not let it back into our lives.

If you die in your sins, that’ll be a lot more pain that the pain you’re currently experiencing or the pain of acknowledging Christ as Savior. Receive that pain as a gift. Become a part of the family of God.

The priest, later, after the man was cleansed would speak of his healing, and the man would become a child of God.

Once we acknowledge that Jesus takes our sins away, this is a gift. Have you received this gift? Are you appreciating it?

Keep on keeping on – appreciate it, we need constant reminders.

Some Christian leaders are now abandoning their faith – why? There’s a need for continuance. “Make your calling sure; persevere.”

Remember the 10 lepers who were healed? They weren’t as daring as this one. They stood far off and cried out to him. Jesus said to show themselves to the priest – and on the way they were cured. ONE came back and praised and thanked him, “Where are the other nine?” (He was a Samaritan – despised). “Go, your faith has saved you.”

Remember to be thankful for what God has done for you.

“Once you were dead in your trespasses and sins, but now you are alive in the Lord.”

During Jesus’ ministry, lepers were looked down on. Even rabbis would throw stones at lepers and not even walk down the street where one was.

Yet, Jesus was willing to put his hand out and touch the leper and heal him. He’s willing to touch and heal us.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 29 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Dangers of Sins (Hebrews 10:26-31)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Dangers of Sins (Hebrews 10:26-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Dangers of Sins

Hebrews 10:26-31 (Pastor Heo)

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


1 John 3:5 “Jesus Christ appeared in this world to remove sin… to give his life as a ransom for us.”

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

Jesus came to help, teach, give an example – but more than all things – he came to die for us. His death on the cross is foundational for every other blessing we enjoy – to remove sins from our lives, our eternal lives.

If we are sure that Jesus’ fundamental purpose is to remove sins from our lives, then what should we do with those sins? We must not compromise, we must hate them, we must flee from them and their temptation.

If we compromise, we will find ourselves fighting Christ. If we are friends with sin, we are enemies with Christ. If we are close to sin, we are far from Christ.

“The dangers of sins.”

This is the last Sunday of this year, but the topic is very serious – a warning and threat against the dangers of sins.

v. 26-27

“26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

We know nobody is perfect – nobody is sinless – not even very mature Christians. If I say, “I’m sinless, then I’m a liar (sinner).”

“If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you… He will purify us from all unrighteousness.”

But remember the point of these two verses: it’s absolutely impossible for saved Christians to continue to sin willfully.

Have you heard: “The sad consequences of mercifully forgiven sins”? What does this mean?

The true, practical meaning is: David is a fitful example.

He was king, at the top of the world. He sinned – terribly – deliberately and intentionally – adultery with Bathsheba, and murdered her husband Uriah by putting him in the front line of the army. He did not recognize the weight and size of his sin. God sent Nathan to convict him, and he was convicted. He repented in sackcloth and ashes and called out to God in repentance. He was forgiven. But he suffered sad consequences anyway: “The sword shall never depart from your house.”

Continuing story: Abnon raped Tamar (son and daughter of David) – then the real brother (not step-brother) murdered Abnon. And Absolom committed adultery with David’s concubines in the daylight – and tried to take over his kingdom (son). David’s son Solomon killed his brother who tried to become king after David.

These are the consequences of sin – even though sin is completely forgiven.

That’s why Jesus says, “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away because it is better for you to enter eternal life without one hand than to be thrown into the fires of hell. (Likewise with your eyes).”

These are the consequences of sin – even forgiven sin.

v. 28-29

“28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 *How much more* severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

If anyone rejects God’s covenant – even the Old Covenant, deliberately, and follows another small god – there is no sacrifice for him because his sin is the sin of idolatry. “How much more severe… those who reject the New Covenant…?”

God the Father, the Son, the Spirit, the Trinity God – is exactly the same for this great project of forgiveness and salvation for all human beings. The plan is the same. Let me explain this one by one.

1. There is only ONE sin the Father God cannot forgive. This sin = to reject (not to believe in) Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

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

This is the love story of Jesus. Whoever believes in Christ shall not perish, but have eternal life. Therefore, on the flip side: those who DO NOT believe, shall perish.

John 3:17 “God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God wants all human beings to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. But he has no choice but to allow those who reject Christ to go to hell.

Matthew 10:8 “Do not be afraid of man who can kill you body, but not your soul. Rather be afraid of the one, God, who can destroy body and soul in hell.”

2. There is only ONE sin that Jesus cannot forgive: not to confess him as personal Savior and Lord.

Remember, “once for all” – this is a key point of Hebrews. Jesus “once” sacrifice is sufficient for all eternity for you and me. But, this “once for all” means, there is no more sacrifice left for those who reject Christ – because his sacrifice is the only and final sacrifice (v. 26b “no sacrifice for sins left”).

Jesus says in regard to sin: “They do not believe in me.”

Acts 4:12 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

3. There is only ONE sin the Holy Spirit cannot forgive: to reject Christ – not to believe in him as Savior and Lord.

The HS has many jobs and businesses, but his one MAIN job = to testify about Jesus Christ in human beings so that man may receive Christ as personal Savior and Lord and then become a powerful witness of Christ to others.

Jesus says, “When the HS comes, he will testify about me; and you will become my powerful witnesses.” (Acts 1:8 “When the HS comes on you, you will receive power and … be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”)

Matthew 12 “EVERY sin can be forgiven – but sin against the HS cannot be forgiven.”

Continually the Bible says, “If you speak against the HS, you cannot be forgiven” (i.e. if you reject Christ, about whom the HS testifies).

v. 30-31

“30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

God judges ALL Creation – because it is His Creation. “Just as a man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

But to those who believe in Christ, “judgment” = evaluation, accounting, reward

To those who don’t, “judgment” = penalty, punishment, condemnation

“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Wait, we are IN his hands now. This is a dreadful thing? Or a joyful thing?

  • To those who believe in Christ, “being in his hands” = safety, protection, guidance, guarantee, blessing
  • To those who reject him, = under the wrath, retribution, but also opportunity with God’s long-suffering patience

Do you have faith in Christ? If you have it, you can know that your faith is doctrinal. But it is frankly doctrinal – sometimes this condones a negative (exclusive) meaning. We should not be “doctrinary” – where we don’t listen to others and condemn them.

But we must be “doctrine” – this is not something we can prove experimentally, scientifically. This is rather something we adhere to, push, and base our lives on. But not only us, but all humans – even non-religious, and humanist. All religions are “doctrinal.”

Two people:

  • Person A (Christian)
  • Person B (non-Christian)

One day they sit together.

  • Person A says, “I wish you receive Jesus as your Savior and be saved – I want to try to convince you.” This is his faith, his doctrinal position.
  • Person B – “You cannot know anything definite about God.” This is HIS faith, his doctrine.

His word is not empirical, not scientific. He has his own faith position.

  • Person B – “You should not persuade others to take on your faith.” (But wait, you’re persuading me…)

Person A, Person B are both doctrinal and living by their own faith and convictions. They have bet their own lives on it.

Person B = bet his eternal destiny on the idea that nobody can know anything about God.

We know our morality did nothing for our salvation – but our morality standard must be higher. Do you agree? As the fruit of salvation, the power of salvation.

Around us, there are so many Person Bs. We must know that they have little concern for what we believe. But what we want to share is what we believe – so our morality and integrity must be higher and have an impact on them.

Today’s sermon: “The dangers of sins.”

Today is the last Sunday of 2019.

The Bible says, “There is a time for everything, for every activity under the sun – to be born, to die, to start, to finish…” (Ecclesiastes 3).

To start well is good, but to finish well is MORE important.

Hebrews = the book of “Let us!” Two weeks ago we studied 5x “let us…”

Today is the last Sunday of 2019.

Let us finish this year very well. How?

Let me suggest:

  • If we want to finish this year VERY well, let us finish by confessing Christ as Lord and Savior, publicly, officially, before others.
  • Also, let us decide to commit ourselves more and more to Christ.
  • Let us finish this year by forgiving ALL – just as Christ has forgiven us. If there is someone you have not yet forgiven.
  • Let us finish this year with a new attitude, new heart, new dedication to Christ in the New Year.
  • Let us finish this year by confessing our sins. If there are any committed, unconfessed sins before God. 1 John 1:9? “If you say you have not sinned, the truth is not in you. But if you confess your sins, he is faithful and just to cleanse your sins and purify you from all unrighteousness.”

Let us finish this year by confessing all sins.

Let us receive the new year with a new heart, new attitude, new dedication to Christ.

“Let us finish this year very well. Let us receive the new year with a new heart.”

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 08 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Once for All! (Hebrews 10:1-18)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Once for All! (Hebrews 10:1-18)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Once for All!

Hebrews 10:1-18 (Pastor Heo)

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,

but a body you prepared for me;

6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings

you were not pleased.

7 Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–

I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” 8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them

after that time, says the Lord.

I will put my laws in their hearts,

and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts

I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.


Jesus sacrifice on the cross is shadowed by many other sacrifices throughout the Old Testament.

… Samuel’s, David’s, Hezekiah’s – all sacrifices point to the one and greatest sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross.

1 John 2:2? “Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the whole world.”

Today’s topic: ONCE FOR ALL

At least 3x we can see this. What does it mean?

“Once for all.”

Through the study of this passage, we can know and understand this.

v. 1-3

“1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed *once for all*, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,”

v. 1 = “The Law is only a shadow…”

This chapter emphasizes the perfect sacrifice of Christ in contrast with the imperfect sacrifices of animals. Yes, we know that we have problems, but SIN is the greatest root of all problems – this is the root of all problems in this world.

  • We are not sinners because we sin;
  • we sin because we are born as sinners.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – but we can be justified freely by his grace.

God presented Jesus as an atoning sacrifice, and by faith through his blood.

I believe most of us here (all of us) are Christians. But we must be careful not to go to TWO wrong extremes.

  1. “I’m saved by grace, free from the penalty of sin, so I’m FREEEEEE to do anything I want!” (Extreme of License)
  2. “Even though I’m saved by grace, I MUST keep the Law. I can satisfy God more fully by living under the law.” (Extreme of Legalism)

Legalism = measuring our spirituality by a list of DOs and DO NOTs. The weakness is to see only the fruit of sin, but not the root. Another weakness, if we try to only keep the Law – we will be judging, unforgiving to others.

To set a high level for spirituality and morality is GOOD! But if we try to reach our final role by only keeping the Law, then we with either 1) fail, or 2) be losers.

“I’m not under the Law, but under Grace.”

Know this all the time if you are Christian.

Important question: What does this mean? “Not under the Law, but under Grace.”

This sentence does not mean: Lawless – nor that the Law is useless, nor that I have nothing to do with the Law, nor that I’m free to do anything I want.

But the fact means, I’m saved by the grace of God, under the blood of Christ, and not by only keeping the Law. We are redeemed from the penalty / curse of the Law – so our hearts are ruled, controlled, directed by the grace of God, not the Law.

The motive behind whatever we are doing is because of the LOVE and Grace of God – not because of the demands of the Law.

Because God is spirit, he is looking at our hidden, unseen motivation.

So, why did God give us the Law? After all, this is only a shadow of the greater good that is coming.

v. 3 “an annual reminder of sins…”

This is why we have the Law. It’s a reminder of sin. It’s to teach us “I’m a sinner, so I need forgiveness, a Savior – so I / you / we must go to the Savior.”

Romans 3:20? “… we become conscious of sin through the Law”

Galatians 3:20 “The Law is given (put in charge) to lead us to Christ so that we might be justified by faith in Jesus Christ.”

The LAW = a mirror

You have a mirror in your bag, right? God gave us the Law as a mirror by which we can know and see how we really are – how dirty we really are.

Why Jesus came into this world? Yes, now is the Christmas season – Jesus’ coming season.

v. 4-10

“4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,

but a body you prepared for me;

6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings

you were not pleased.

7 Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–

I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” 8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ *once for all.*”

The blood of animals could not remove sins.

v. 7 and v. 9 “I have come to do your will” (God’s will) – this is the priority of Jesus’ coming – to do the will of Him who sent him.

Remember Gethsemane? His FINAL prayer was, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me (death), YET not my will, but YOUR WILL be done.”

John 3:34 “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”

Again, “I have come from heaven, not to do my will, but to do the will of Him who sent me.”

“My father’s will is that everyone who looks to the son on the cross and believes in him will have eternal life – so I will raise him up at the last day.”

Jesus came to do the will of the father who sent him – this will is complete obedience on the cross. God does not want sacrifice from us. What he wants is OBEDIENCE.

If we are ever to have fellowship with God, Obedience is the ONLY sacrifice God desires from us.

Obedience.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may be able to test and approve the will of God.”

1 John 2:17 “This world and all its desires will pass away. Only the person who does the will of the Father lasts for forever.”

Do you have desire? Ambition? This world and its desires pass away – only the one who does the will of God lasts forever.

Jesus saves “once for all”. What’s the meaning? We can see this in the next passage.

v. 11-18

“11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had *offered for all time one sacrifice* for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them

after that time, says the Lord.

I will put my laws in their hearts,

and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds:

“*Their sins and lawless acts

I will remember no more.*” [Jeremiah 31:34] 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”

In this passage:

  1. Achievement of Christ
  2. Exaltation of Christ
  3. Triumph of Christ

1. The Achievement of Christ:

On the cross: “It is finished.”

The sacrifice of Christ was made once and is effective forever. But the animal sacrifices had to be made again and again – day after day, year after year. But they are not effective in any real way.

Jesus’ sacrifice, once for all, cannot be repeated – needs not.

For one thing, his sacrifice perfectly shows the love of God. In that life of service and death of love, there stands fully displayed the heart of God.

We can observe and say, “That is what God is like.”

Another thing, this act was an act of perfect obedience. Remember, the ONLY sacrifice God desires is obedience.

v. 11-12 “day after day, … the same sacrifices … this priest [Jesus] … offered for ALL time, one sacrifice for sins …”

Jesus’ sacrifice cannot, needs not, to be ever made again – this is MORE than enough for ALL people including you and me, for ALL time, for ALL places, forever!

This is a big encouragement and challenge given to us:

2. The Exaltation of Christ

  • v. 11 “…stands…” (opposite word = “sits”)
  • v. 12 “…he sat down…”

The human priest ALWAYS stood to offer sacrifice, but Jesus sat down at the right hand of God.

  • Priests = position of servants
  • Jesus = position of a monarch (king) – his task is accomplished, his victory won

Jesus life is incomplete without his death. His death is incomplete without resurrection. Resurrection is incomplete without ascension. Ascension is incomplete without sitting down in glory.

This is the same Jesus who lived, died, rose, went to heaven, and sat at the right hand of God. He is the Lord of glory.

“Lord of Lords, King of Kings”

We are small lords, small kings. He is THE Lord of Lords, King of Kings.

Revelation “We will reign with him over all Creation.” We are small kings. “I’m a king, a lord, but HE is the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords.”

3. The Triumph of Christ

v. 13 “…he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool…”

He awaits final subjugation of his enemies. One day, ALL will kneel before him. There will be a universe where he is supreme in position. A day is coming when EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the father.

Millions of millions of billions of billions of human-made animal sacrifices cannot accomplish Jesus’ ONE sacrifice of himself for ALL people, for ALL places, for ALL times, FOREVER.

This is the conclusion. Wow.

This is “ONCE FOR ALL.”

In our application:

When we trust Christ (do you trust him? Do you believe in him?), when we accept him, our sins are all “forgiven and forgotten.” This is an amazing, secret mystery.

v. 17

“Their [our] sins and lawless acts I [God] will [this is the will of God, the resolution, determination of God = 의지] remember no more.”

When God forgives, he forgets.

Can you accept this truth? It’s not easy to accept – but God can do it. This is his WILL, his determination.

We know in our experience: to forgive is not easy. But to forget is MORE difficult.

We have no power, no right to control our memory.

  • Sometimes we forget what we want to remember.
  • Sometimes we remember what we want to forget.

But God, as Almighty, has power to control his memory. When he forgives, he forgets. HOW? Is he not all-knowing?

This is the way: There is no longer any separation between offender and offendee over the offence. The matter is completely settled forever.

When you pray in real faith for forgiveness, you can also forget your sins.

Do not hurt yourself by holding onto guilt of your sins that God himself has forgiven and forgotten.

God says, “I WILL remember their sins NO MORE.”

The sins we repent of and renounce are forgiven and forgotten. There’s no more need to confess our past sins if we confess truly and deeply from our real hearts ONCE. So we can enjoy clear consciences in God.

So let us go on worshiping, praising, and serving God simply because of what he’s been doing.

God bless us with real forgiveness and freedom from guilt in Christ.

“Once for all!~”

The game is over.

Christ is King.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 01 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Better Sacrifice (Hebrews 9:15-28)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Better Sacrifice (Hebrews 9:15-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Better Sacrifice

Hebrews 9:15-28 (Pastor Heo)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.


v 15

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant…”

Jesus has died as a ransom for us. As mediator, he gave his life as a ransom for us.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man. That is the man Jesus Christ.”

  • Let me share what is Ransom,
  • who paid the Ransom,
  • what is the result of the Ransom

Meaning of the Ransom:

Leviticus 25 – If my relative or loved one was sold to someone else because of slavery or poverty, I could buy him back by paying a price. That price is called a “ransom.” This system was already common in the OT time – so they knew it very well.

In this background, it says “Jesus is our ransom.”

Sin (we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) – is like a slave market, and our souls are sold. Jesus buys us, sinners, out of this market – thereby delivering us from this slave market. Jesus paid the price and sets us free. The price: his own life.

Another question: If Jesus’ death is our price for deliverance, then TO WHOM was this ransom paid? We must know that this ransom was NOT paid to Satan, but to God. Satan has no authority, no legal claims on sinners. God is absolutely holy and the Law Giver.

Jesus’ ransom frees us from God’s Justice (we all have sinned).

Another question: What is the result of this ransom?

As a result, we are redeemed, delivered through the death of Christ through the penalty of Law and the curse of the Law. We are now not under the Law but under Grace.

Also we are redeemed from Sin as a power. So we no longer need to submit to its power.

We are redeemed from Satan, and we are redeemed from all evil – physical and moral. Including our present mortal bodies.

Gal “Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for you and me, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone hanged on a tree.'”

v. 16-18

“16 In the case of a *will*, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.”

  • v. 15 = Jesus is our mediator
  • v. 16, 17 = Jesus is our will (유언)
  • v. 15 = “covenant” x2
  • v. 16, 17 = “will” x2

These are the SAME word in the Greek Bible “diasecae”

This word has two meanings: “covenant” or “will”. v. 15 the translation = “covenant”, in v. 16, 17 = “will” WHY?

  • “Covenant” = religious translation
  • “Will” = legal translation

This means Jesus Christ made a new covenant as his will, and then he died for his will to be effective – to be operative for us. We know what the will is like.

If someone makes a will for the next generation, he must die for his will to be made effective.

Imagine, if you hold in your hands a will document which includes “one BILLION dollars…” – only when the person who made this will dies will all these things become yours in reality. So you must wait for his death earnestly! This is what a will is.

Jesus made a will to make us rich, then he died for his will to be effective.

2 Cor 8:9? “Jesus Christ who was rich became poor and died so that you might become rich.”

Think about the benefits we receive from his death.

Peace, joy, purpose, eternal life, forgiveness, salvation, etc

All of these are activated by his death. All these things are activated in v. 16, 17 as legal terms.

v. 19-21

“19 When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies.”

This passage looks back to Exodus 24. In Exodus 21, 22, 23, Moses received the Law from God directly on the Mtn of Sinai. After that, he made a ceremony as a covenant. In this ceremony, the animal would be killed and its blood sprinkled on the altar and to the people of Israel.

When Moses proclaimed all the commandments to the people, he sealed this covenant with the blood of an animal and this ratified the covenant. In this ceremony, Moses sprinkled half of the blood on the altar to show that sinners could once again approach God because something died as a substitution for them.

Moses then sprinkled the other half of the blood to the people (their faces) to show the penalty they SHOULD HAVE received had been paid – because something living had died.

This is a copy to show the Better Sacrifice of Christ.

The reality of this Better Sacrifice:

v. 22-23

“22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. “

In the same way, we have a connection with the OT and the NT covenants. We can connect them. In the same way that Moses sprinkled the blood of the animal, Jesus also shed (sprinkled) his blood on the cross to inaugurate the New Covenant. Christ’s blood initiated the New Covenant.

Consider the symbol of the cross: Shed / sprinkled blood means something has died. If there is blood, we can know that something living has died just now. In the OT time, an animal, carefully selected. In the NT time, Jesus on the cross, supremely and for all time, satisfying God’s requirements for justice for all time.

  • No death = no forgiveness
  • No forgiveness = no hope

v. 22-23

“22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and *without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.*”

What is forgiveness?

It is a COSTLY thing.

Human forgiveness is also costly. A son or daughter may go wrong, and father or mother may forgive, but this forgiveness brings tears, lines to the eyes, white hair, aches in our hearts. Forgiveness is not free. SOMEONE pays the price, either the instigator or the forgiver – but SOMEONE must pay.

God is righteousness and justice, so God, least of all can break the moral laws on which the universe is built. So SIN must have its punishment. This is an unchangeable principle. Sin must have its penalty. Only God can pay this price in full before man can be forgiven.

Forgiveness is the most costly thing in this world.

Because without the shedding of the heart’s blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. For the satisfaction of justice, someone sinless must be crucified / killed on the cross.

Who was sinless? You / me? Only Jesus Christ.

There is the cross, whenever we see it, we have no choice but to give thanks to God for this assurance, this freedom, and this hope worn by Christ on the real cross.

This small cross symbolizes that “I’m forgiven, I’m redeemed, I’m free.” This is the symbol of the church, the symbol of Christianity. When you see this cross, can you say,

“I’m forgiven! I’m free!”

The HS knows, God knows if you can. That’s why we must focus on Christ.

v. 24-28

“24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin *by the sacrifice of himself.* [But remember, Judgment is waiting] 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

The Better Sacrifice:

Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient – his blood is sufficient “once for all!”

One story:

In a rural village lived a medical doctor who was very famous for his professional skill and devotion to Christ. After he died, his books were found again – and several entries had written in red ink “FORGIVEN! Too poor to pay.”

Unfortunately, his wife was different. She wanted these debts to be paid back to her. When the judge heard the case, he asked, “Is this your husband’s handwriting in red?” “Yes.”

The judge: “A court in this land can never touch those who have already been forgiven.”

Christ’s blood likewise forgives us. Romans: “Who can bring any charge against those who are forgiven? Who is it that condemns?… But Christ is seated at the right hand of God and interceding for us.”

v. 27 “Just as Mankind is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

Today, we know that the word “Judgment” is not popular, but just as surely as physical death is coming, so surely is judgment.

So, the important question is not “whether” but “how”? What does this judgment mean to me? Encouragement? Threat?

  • This Judgment = Final Condemnation for those who do not believe in Christ.
  • But = Final Hope, and Greatest Reward for those who do.

In this passage, we can see three appearances of Christ:

  1. v. 24 “…He entered heaven itself now to appear…”
  2. v. 26 “…now he has appeared once for all…”
  3. v. 28 “…he will appear a second time…”
  • He appeared; // to take our sins
  • He is appearing; // to intercede for us
  • He will appear // to take us home in heaven

1 John “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me. In my father’s house there are many rooms. I go there to prepare a place for you. When I come back, I will take you to be with me where I am.”

Do you feel Jesus with you now, step by step, moment-by-moment?

God bless you.

v. 28

“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 26 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Gospel (Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Gospel (Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Romans: The Gospel (Pastor Heo)

Romans 1:1-7, 1 Cor 15:1-4

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Cor 15:1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,


These verses are the CORE message of the gospel. We know (we recently studied) that ALL the books in the Bible are “All About Jesus”. Also, this book, Romans, is focused on the gospel. Romans is the gospel of gospels – and it is focused on the gospel from first to last. The full, pure, clear, direct gospel – the essence of the gospel.

The word “gospel” appears 12 times. This is more than in any other book than the whole Bible. Interestingly, even more often than in the first 4 books of the New Testament (these are referred to as the “Gospels”: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). So, in this way, Romans is “The Gospel according to Paul.”

We know this gospel is not a new story, but a very, very old story. This is not invented by men, but originates from God – it is always unchangeable – the same message forever.

The Christian Truth is a paradox = something that appears wrong/strange but it true.

  • Jesus: “He who wants to save his life, will lose it.”
  • “He who wants to be first, will be last.” – To be a leader, you must serve.
  • Last week: “True freedom is found in slavery (to Christ).”

This morning’s paradox: “The gospel is an OLD story, but it is NEWS. It should be proclaimed everyday, even today. It is the story of Death (but we call it ‘Good News of Great Joy’). The gospel is an unchangeable story, but it changes you and me – from death to life, purposeless to purposeful, defeat to victory.”

Romans 1:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-4 are the BEST and MOST CLEAR messages of the Gospel in the whole Bible.

“…according to the Scriptures” = according to Old Testament prophecy.

Jesus =

  • fully Man (proven by his physical birth – Romans 1:3), and
  • fully God (proven by his resurrection – Romans 1:4)

So, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the core message of the gospel = the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “What I received I pass on to you as of first importance…” The gospel message = that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose again from the dead for our complete salvation and he is able to save completely those who trust in him.

This is the miraculous story of the substitutionary death of Jesus for us.

The core message of the gospel is: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Today’s sermon title: “Gospel”

Today in our sermon, I want all of us to focus on the core message of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ). Let me share 6 characteristics of this core message:

Core: Jesus Died on the cross for you sin (my sin) and rose again from the dead, and is now able to save completely from death those who trust in Him. This message is begun from before Genesis. Yet, this is “news” that should be announced and known and revealed today as “good news.”

Characteristics of the Death & Resurrection:

#1 These are MAIN prophecies in the OT

This was promised and preached even in the OT, long ago – even though they didn’t realize what they were writing.

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [Eve], and between your offspring [devil, evil spirits] and hers [the Messiah]; he [Jesus] will crush your head [Satan’s – first prophesy of Jesus’ resurrection], and you [Satan] will strike his heel [his suffering, crucifixion, and death on the cross].” Literally, this is a curse given to the serpent – the first curse.

This verse, in the very first curse in the world, the gospel is included. So, this verse is called the “Primitive Gospel” (원시복음) – Euangelion = gospel (Greek)

We can trace the path of blood through the whole Old Testament.

  1. Genesis 4: Able,
  2. Ram on the mountain (Isaac),
  3. sacrifices throughout Israel’s history
  4. David, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, etc…

ALL these offerings point to ONE offering that will be offered on the cross by Jesus.

Isaiah prophesied: “He was crushed for our iniquities…”

#2: The pages that mark the story of the gospel take up more pages in the NT than any others – this is remarkable.

Jesus lived on earth for 33 years, but the gospel message (death and resurrection) = 1/5 of all the Gospel books. Even in the OT, this event was marked as supreme importance (focus of prophecies).

#3: The death and resurrection is the MAIN PURPOSE of The Incarnation (God becoming Man)

There are several purposes of The Incarnation:

  1. To teach us doctrine
  2. To show an example
  3. To become our High Priest
  4. To die (the MAIN purpose) and rise (for our salvation)

Actually, God cannot die – but he became a Man to die. That’s why Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” John “If a kernel of wheat does not die, it does not produce a crop, but if it dies, it produces MANY.”

This is the direct purpose and connection with the Incarnation (the redemption of the lost). The Incarnation is not an “end” in itself, but it is a “means to an end” – to save the lost.

#4: Essential for our forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life

John 3:14-15 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Yes, this gospel is absolutely necessary for our eternal life.

Hebrews 4:2 “Jesus Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Question: how can we be saved from our sin?

We need forgiveness everyday, every moment. Just like we need to wash our hands everyday, every night and morning. So, how can we receive this forgiveness from God? By repentance – Yes and No.

  • God is a righteous God, so he cannot pardon sin ONLY on the ground of the sinner’s repentance.
  • God can forgive a sinner ONLY when the penalty is first PAID. He is a holy and righteous God.

In order to forgive sinners, and still remain a holy and righteous God, Jesus first PAID the penalty for us in our place. Now, if we believe in him, there is no condemnation against us and God can forgive our sins and welcome us back into his kingdom.

“The blood of Christ purifies us from all sins.”

The root of all disease, sickness, suffering is sin. There is only one remedy for sin: the blood of Christ.

#5: These are Vital elements in Christianity

Honestly speaking, Christianity is NOT a religion, but it is called a religion – because in this world there are many religions. Actually, Christianity is LIFE itself. So, what is the difference between Christianity and other religions?

Other religions base their claims on the teaching of their founders (Muhammad, Buddha, etc).

But Christianity assigns all its importance on the DEATH of its founder. If we remove the death of Christ from Christianity, then it becomes the same as a religion of the world. This is the heart of Christianity.

Other religions do not even mention the death of their founders. Why? Because they are dead and gone (and they have massive, beautiful tombs enshrining them that many take pilgrimages to visit). But, Christianity’s founder? Where is his tomb? There is none.

Jesus’ resurrection is called the “First Fruits” of human resurrection. Only Christ has the power and authority to say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me.”

  • He died for our sins,
  • he is living for our salvation, and
  • he is coming again soon for our eternal glorification.

The founders of other religions are dead, gone, entombed, and leave only a memory.

But Christ is risen from the dead and gives us a power and love and life through his resurrection.

#6: This is of supreme interest even in heaven

In the Kingdom of Heaven, this is the first concern. For example, do you know the story of the Transfiguration on the Mountain? Jesus, Peter, and John met Elijah (the Prophets) and Moses (the Law). (This is repeated in Matthew and Luke). They spoke with Jesus on the mountain about his “departure” (i.e. death and resurrection) which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem soon. This indicates that the main concern of heaven is this event. You know, even in Revelation, the elders and choir sang a song about the redemption accomplished by the death and resurrection of Christ. Rev 5:11 “thousands upon thousands and ten thousands upon ten thousands of angels joined in the chorus…” – to sing a song of the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ.

This indicates that this event is the #1 concern even in heaven.

So, those who have the veil of humanity removed from their eyes and can see the kingdom of heaven, fully praise and exalt the death and resurrection of Christ. So, we also must study this.

Romans 1:1-7 we can see “called” 4 times:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, *called* to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship *to call* all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and *called* to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this mean?

We are called by God to call others to God through the message of the gospel.

Who were the great men in the OT? The men who HEARD the call of God and ANSWERED. (Abraham, Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Moses)

Even today, this is the same.

  • We are CALLED. Did you hear? Are you hearing?
  • We are called to call others to God through the message of the gospel.

God bless all of us so that we may hear and respond to the call of God.

God is calling me to call others to God through the message of the gospel, the message of salvation.

Let’s pray.

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

Paul’s First Sermon (Acts 13:6-41)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Paul’s First Sermon

Acts 13:6-41 (Pastor Heo)

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

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

In Pisidian Antioch

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

<PaulsFirstSermon>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35 So it is stated elsewhere:

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

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

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

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

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’ “

</PaulsFirstSermon>

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

1. Paul focused on BIG cities –

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

If Paul were in Korea, he would travel to

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

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

City Mission 도시선교

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m a Child of God!”

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

God bless us to be so.

v. 13

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

Before this verse:

v. 9

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

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

v. 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barnabas took John, Paul took Silas.

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

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

Key point:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35 So it is stated elsewhere:

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

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

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

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

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’ “”

Amen.

His first sermon has 3 parts:

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

Each part begins with an addressing word.

Part One v. 16

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

Part Two v. 26

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

Part Three v. 38

“”Therefore, my brothers, “

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

Part One

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

This was the Introduction (preparation)

Part Two (main body – declaration)

The main theme: The death and resurrection of Christ

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

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

v. 37 Why? Because Jesus is original God.

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

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

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

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

v. 38-39

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

Two key ideas in these two sentences:

  1. Forgiveness of sin
  2. Justification by faith

Forgiveness of Sin

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

v. 38 “I want you to know…”

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

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

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

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

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

Justification by Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 03 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (2)

Acts 3:12-26 (Pastor Heo)

12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’

24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”


In this book Acts, there are 14 sermons by 4 preachers.

  • 6 from Peter,
  • 6 from Paul,
  • 1 from Stephen,
  • 1 from James.

Last Sunday, we saw Pentecost. So many people gathered in Jerusalem at that time, and the HS came down. And about 3,000 people were added to the church that day.

At this time, during the time of prayer, at the temple, Peter and John healed a lame man. So many people saw it and rushed to them to see how this was possible. This setting gave Peter another opportunity to preach the gospel.

Just like the first sermon, this one is:

  1. Full of the HS
  2. Full of the Word of God
  3. Focused on Jesus

v. 12-16

“12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 *By faith in the name of Jesus*, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

First, the final purpose of this miracle = to bring glory to Christ. v.13 makes this clear. The final purpose was not to heal this man and make him strong, but to bring glory to Christ.

Also, the crucifixion is not only for the sins of the whole world, but also the greatest crime in human history. This is the meeting of God’s absolute justice and unconditional love. This is also the meeting place of God’s mercy and man’s rebellion.

The resurrection is proof that Jesus is indestructible and Lord of life and death. This is ironic – he gave life, they killed the author of life. But this – the resurrection – is final proof that Jesus is God.

We have no power – but we may be a channel of the power of the risen Christ. As long as we think only of what we can do and be, there is only failure and fear. But when we think of “not I but Christ in me” (Gal 2:20) there is the power of Christ in me.

So, how can we be channels of this power of Christ? By believing and using the name of Christ.

Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ” in his first sermon. In this sermon also, “silver and gold I have not, but I will give what I have – in the name of Christ, stand up and walk.”

What does a name mean / carry with it? It carries with it the full authority of the one to whom it belongs.

Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”

Let me introduce some of the names of Christ. (The Bible is full of names of Christ.)

  • Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”
  • “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I with them.”
  • Luke “Forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations in the name of Christ.”
  • John “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
  • Jesus “I will do whatever you ask in my name.” (in the book of John 4 times)
  • “The Father will send the Counselor (Holy Spirit) in my name.”
  • John: The Bible is written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we may have life in his name.
  • Acts: “Repent and be baptized every one of you and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Peter “Repentance and forgiveness will be given to you in his name… There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • Joel, Acts, Romans: “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • Phil 2:9-10 “Therefore, God super-exalted Jesus Christ and gave him the name that is above every name – that at his name every knee should bow, in / on / under the earth.”
  • Col 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether word or deed, eat or drink, do it all in the name of Christ – giving thanks to God through him.”
  • 1 John 3:15 “I write this book so that you may know that you have eternal life in the name of Christ.”

Last Sunday, I encouraged / challenged you: we cannot give what we do not have. We can give only what we have. If you have the name of Christ really in you, you can give to this world – healing to those who need it, salvation to those who need it, peace to those who need it, life solutions to those who need them. This is the power of the name of Christ.

God bless us so that we may believe and enjoy and use this name.

v. 17

“”Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”

They crucified the Author of Life in ignorance (they didn’t realize what they were doing).

In the history of Israel, the Jews had NEVER expected a “suffering Messiah” – but had anticipated a “super hero Messiah” – politically, physically, etc strong. So, when Christ came as a carpenter and died on the cross, they missed it.

In the OT, there is a difference between deliberate and unintentional sins.

  • If someone sinned deliberately, he was cut off from the tribe / God, etc.
  • But if it was unintentional, he was given an opportunity to repent.

Intentionality does not mitigate guilt, but changes the circumstances.

In this case, the people committed sin unintentionally – so there was not immediate condemnation, but rather the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness, judgment, etc and call all men to repentance.

Remember, nowadays in our times, because the HS came and is convicting us of sin, we have no more opportunity to say, “I rejected Christ in ignorance.” – The HS is witnessing, convicting, testifying about Christ.

Romans 1:18-20 “We have no more excuse…”

Like Peter’s 1st sermon, this second one is full of the Word of God (OT).

Peter’s 1st sermon: quoted Joel and Psalms

v. 18-24

“18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

The point: even the OT is full of Jesus’ story. From Genesis to Malachi – 39 books – are full of Jesus’ story.

Ex: introduces Moses, Samuel, and all the prophets. Next verse we will read v. 25: Abraham as well

Moses

v. 22 ” ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'”

This is foreshadowing Christ and quoted from Deuteronomy 18:15, 18:18 (word-for-word quotations).

Moses prophesied the Messiah.

Jesus says in John, “If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me, because Moses wrote about me.”

Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible).

When Philip found Nathaniel he said, “We have found the one Moses wrote about.”

Also, Hebrews 11:26 (the faith chapter) – in the human calendar, Moses lived 1500 years before Christ. But in Hebrews it says, “Moses considered all this pain, suffering, etc for Christ more than all the treasures in Egypt.”

Samuel

v. 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

Samuel was the first in the succession of the prophets – he anointed David as king and spoke clearly of the establishment of David’s kingdom. “God will establish the throne of David FOREVER.” (2 Samuel)

Is there actually the physical, human throne of David today? No. But the king is Christ. This was a prophecy of the Messiah to come. “All the prophets” testified about this. “That everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

v. 19 “Repent, then, and turn to God,”

Peter also mentioned repentance in his first sermon. This is a change of mind about sin and reorientation of the self toward God.

John the Baptist also prepared the way for Christ by preaching the message of repentance. This is acknowledging person sin and turning from it TO God.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we repent, God promises to wipe out our sins and also to bring spiritual refreshment.

Yes, at first, repentance seems painful – because it is hard to give up some sins – but God will give us a better way. Do you feel a need to be refreshed? Forgiveness is available for everybody today at the foot of the cross.

1 John 1:7 “The blood of Christ purifies us from all sin.”

v. 22

“‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; [we] must listen to everything he tells you.”

This is a very serious question. Are you listening to everything Jesus is telling you? Even at the Transfiguration (mountain), God pointed at Christ and said, “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased, LISTEN to him.”

Question: What is your posture when the Word of God is preached?

  • Do you HEAR it only? Coming in one ear and out the other?
  • Or do you listen with INTENTION of being a DOER of the Word of God.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” – and change the way you live.

Please listen (and obey) every word in the Word of God.

v. 25

“And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring [seed] all peoples on earth will be blessed.'”

“offspring” = “seed”

There is another amazing story:

Yes, Abraham lived 2,000 years before Christ – he lived FOR Christ and testified about Christ through his life and story.

  • One day (Genesis 12:2-3), God called Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation – and I will bless you. You will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you – and ALL peoples on earth will be blessed (saved) through you.”
  • Genesis 22:18, 26:4 “Through your seed, all nations on earth will be blessed.”

The point is: seed (singular – not plural). There is only ONE seed.

Gal 3:14-16 makes it clear: This seed is Jesus Christ.

This is very important.

Gal 3:14-16

“14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. … 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”

  • “Who is Christ!”
  • “The conclusion is Christ!”

v. 26

“When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.””

God sent Christ to bless us, not curse us. God is good all the time, but Satan tempts us all the time about God’s goodness and faithfulness. Please do not allow Satan to tempt us of this.

  • John 3:16.
  • John 3:17 “God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is the same yesterday, today, forever. He is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 11 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Force of Forgiveness (Luke 23:34)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Force of Forgiveness (Luke 23:34)

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The Force of Forgiveness

Luke 23:34 (Pastor Brian)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.


Key verse = 34 “Father forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”

Some thoughts from a book I picked up in England in Feb. The ministry is very helpful at helping people be restored. “Forgiveness: God’s Master Key” – focusing on this Scripture. “Pray the most powerful prayer on earth” (Father, forgive them).

Forgiveness is a master key.

As I came by SongCheon-Dong (where I work), I saw a phrase “I am the Key” on a building. Hmmm, what kind of building was this? It was on a nurse’s home (or educational center for nurses). That’s probably their motto. This was confirmation for my message today.

Jesus is the Way, Truth, Life, Door, also the Key.

Peter Horrobin points out that there are many rooms in a large house, with many doors and many locks and many keys. But a Master Key unlocks any of the doors in the building.

  • The life we live (have lived so far) is like this building.
    1. Each room contains the memories of important events in life (like the marriage of Pastor Heo’s son and other similar events). Those doors are wide open. We go in, enjoy them, walk out again.
    2. But other doors are closed – yet we can open them whenever we wish (because there is no pain associated with them).
    3. Other doors are closed and LOCKED. What’s behind them is too painful to open and look at. Here are some of their names: Rejection, Accidents, Divorce, Betrayal, Abuse, Pain, Trauma, etc.

Many people go through life with unresolved pain in their lives – caused by others or also by ourselves, our own sins. Sometimes, we don’t know how to resolve these situations. But as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to live with this pain. Some people have so many locked doors that there is very little space left in which to live.

  • They close the doors and expect that this will help them to live, but sometimes, there is so much hidden trauma, anger, and pain, that they become less and less like the people God intends them to be.
  • Sometimes the mess seeps out from under the door – everyone else can see the mess (esp those we are in relationships with), but people may ignore it, or try to clean it up from the outside only.

The only efficient way to deal with this problem is to unlock the door, go in, clean up the mess. Sometimes, this is too much for them alone. But Jesus is the Master Key. He can open even the most stubborn locked door. But he does require our help to unlock it. He wants to go in and clean it up with us. He wants us to cooperate with him.

This golden key is the most powerful prayer on earth – it’s life transforming.

There are many examples of people who were hurt severely but dared to pray this prayer and were miraculously changed.

Example 1

Frieda from Rwanda – she + 15 of her family members were killed. Given the choice of how to die. Do you want a bullet? But, they couldn’t afford the bullet. So, they chose a machete, and Frieda chose a blow to the back of the head. Yet, she wasn’t dead. Someone came along later and rescued her.

Following that trauma, she became a Christian and saw that Jesus said we must forgive them that persecute us. She went to prison and found the man who killed her father and forgave him. This gave tremendous relief.

Yet, even though she’d done this, she still had pain in her head and neck and terrible nightmares. So, at a Christian conference, she prayed to forgive them all and release them. God granted her this and released her also from the pain and the nightmares.

This kind of freedom is also available for us.

Even though we don’t go through these kinds of circumstances every day, we also need this kind of forgiveness. We need to let go. The letting go is through forgiveness.

Example 2

Hanna – almost suicide – but prayed the prayer and forgave her sexually abusive family. There was a struggle to forgive, but when she came through, she was set free.

You see, when we cannot or do not forgive, we are still UNDER THE CONTROL of THAT other person who hurt us. But when we forgive, we release that person and become free from the pain.

Example 3

Jesus is another example of this.

In Luke 23, we can see the different agents of persecution that were happening in Jesus’ life.

  1. Religious leaders – jealous and threatened by his popularity, power, authority (the common people heard Jesus gladly)
  2. Judas – thought 30 pieces of silver was enough to betray him
  3. Pilate – weak-willed governor of Judea – tried to wash his hands of it all – but gave in to the insistence of the Jewish leaders
  4. Herod – powerless Jewish king – second opinion, but ridiculed and mocked him
  5. Teachers of the Law and Preachers – mocked him
  6. The crowds – visiting for a holiday, egged on to crucify him
  7. Barabbas – released instead of Jesus (though he was a murderer)
  8. Roman soldiers – obeying orders – drove the nails through his hands and feet into the cross, divided his clothes, mocked him, etc
  9. You and I – alongside all men from all time, because we’re all responsible (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”)
  10. Two common criminals also were beside him

In the Beginning, Mankind turned its back on God – so death entered into history. It was our sin that caused the Father to put the only possible rescue plan into action to restore our broken relationship. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”

Jesus bore the penalty for our sin – to the full. “It is finished” (the work he’d come to accomplish). His love for us kept him on the cross to death though he could have come down.

No one else on earth has ever suffered more terrible injustice – no one else has greater excuse to cry out “not fair” – but he prayed “Father, forgive them” – and this was the most powerful prayer ever prayed.

He forgave and asked God to forgive. To do this in circumstances like this, was extraordinary. “Bless those who curse you”

Jesus was asking God to allow those who hurt him to enter into the blessings that God has prepared – joy, peace, restored relationship with God.

It’s impossible to ask God to forgive if we also have not forgiven from the heart. “If you do not forgive, God your Father will not forgive you.”

Yes, God wants to forgive US, but also that we meet the condition to forgive others as well.

As difficult as it can be sometimes, we need to come to that place to forgive others. The example of Frieda’s suffering is a valuable object lesson for this. Certainly we can forgive lesser offenses.

When we cooperate with God’s grace, we can forgive and find relief and walk in freedom. But if we choose not to forgive, we attach ourselves to the other people with a chain of unforgiveness and remain under their control.

  • Song “You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all”

We are all still sinners – though redeemed – we have a proneness to wander, so we must continually forgive and ask forgiveness. “How often must I forgive my brother if he offends me? Seven times? No, no, seventy times seven.” (Stop counting, keep forgiving) – You continually sin, you continually need forgiveness, so continually forgive others. Even sometimes, we must forgive the SAME event up to seventy times seven times.

Parable

A servant owed a master a tremendous debt (impossible to pay in a lifetime), but he forgave it. The same servant went out and found a lesser servant who owed a much lesser payment and threw him in prison. The master heard of this and removed the second man, scolded the first, and threw him also into prison.

Jesus forgives, and we must follow his example.

There is constantly a need to forgive – in all kinds of relationships. And we may need to ask God for his grace to help forgive.

What does this do for us?

  1. Transforms our relationship with God – remember Stephen, the first martyr? He forgave them as they stoned him (this must have had a major impact on the future apostle Paul)
  2. Releases the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives
  3. Restores our soul – God is a God of restoration (as well as salvation) – God restored David after his sin and others as well
  4. Opens the door to God’s healing – there are many examples of Christians who’ve suffered physically and emotionally
    1. Linda – Australia – gone on a midnight hike with some others – she fell off a cliff and broke her back in many places – on a lifetime disability pension – heard this teaching – she forgave the guide, and was released.
    2. Another man, Michael’s wife fell for his best friend and left him – as he prayed forgiveness, he was released and able to rebuild his life.

There are some extreme examples – also examples in your and my life – but we need to forgive and our hearts will be transformed – this also releases others into the freedom of our forgiveness as well.

We can begin the process by saying:

“Lord, you know what happened. I’m hurt. Help me to be willing to want to forgive them.”

Let’s take a moment to pray for these others and release them into the freedom of forgiveness.

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

Five Rhetorical Questions (Romans 3:1-9)

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Five Rhetorical Questions

Romans 3:1-9 (Pastor Heo)

God’s Faithfulness

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

No One Is Righteous

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


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

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

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

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

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

v. 1-2

#1 What advantage in being a Jew / circumcised?

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

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

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

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

For us:

What advantage in being a Christian?

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

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

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

This is a big privilege and challenge and responsibility.

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

v. 3

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

A: Not at all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First contrast:

Man’s unfaithfulness vs. God’s faithfulness

v. 5-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 ways:

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

Contrast:

Man’s unrighteousness vs. God’s righteousness

v. 7-8

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

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

A: Their condemnation is deserved.

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

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

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

We must not say:

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

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

Contrast:

Man’s falsehood vs. God’s truthfulness

v. 9

#5 Conclusion: Are we any better?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God loves sinners, but hates sin.

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

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

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

The works of God for us to do =

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

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 12 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Remembering God’s Forgetfulness (Jeremiah 31:34)
No More, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Remembering God’s Forgetfulness (Jeremiah 31:34)

04.12.2015

04.12.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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Remembering God’s Forgetfulness

Jeremiah 31:34 (Pastor Brian)

“No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins NO MORE!”


 

Remember last week Isaiah 43:53? God was giving his people encouragement that he would blot out their sins and CHOOSE not to remember them. God is a God of mercy, grace, and compassion. If only they turn from their sins, they would receive an outpouring of grace and forgiveness.

Here, in Jeremiah, God declares what he will do for his people when they call out to him.

Here is another blanket proposal from the Lord to blot out their sins and not even keep them in his remembrance.

Charles Spurgeon + Harbor = two preachers who were meditating on God’s truth from these Scriptures.

  • Spurgeon = “The Non-Remembrance of God” – says God blots out the ledger of our debts so that he will no longer remember them.
  • Harbor = Jesus “faced our sins” to take them and bear away the iniquity and shame in his own body on the cross and blot out the ledger of indebtedness (sin) that we owe.

God faced up to the reality of our sins, he wants us to face up to them as well and look to the source of our forgiveness – his Son Christ on the cross.

God not only forgives sins, but forgets. The forgiveness is KEY. “How truly do we believe this?” – the unrepentant man isn’t bothered by it – until the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him and converts him – and he realizes that there is an eternity to be enjoyed with God in heaven (either that, or torment for eternity away from God).

These are the truths that Jesus came to reveal. Jesus spoke of Hell more than any of the other apostles and teachers. He came to save souls from Hell and bring them to heaven.

Here are some thoughts from the two preachers that have been blessed with a deeper understanding of these things to pass on to us.

  • Jeremiah – “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Just last week in Communion in Jungbu’s joint service, I mentioned how sometimes we try to find relief in different ways (like the Law) and they always fall short (it doesn’t forgive sins, just brings knowledge and condemnation of sin). To look to the Law doesn’t bring any hope.

  1. Our conscience agrees with the Law that we all deserve God’s justice and death. By our own experience, we all know we’ve sinned, and God would not be the God of justice if he didn’t mete out justice for our sins – we all know this.
  2. We have experience in our lives and can see it in the lives of others. We witness sin and scandal, murder, adultery, unforgiveness, grudge-bearing, and all of these have their own “fruit” that we reap. Sin has consequences.
  3. Satan also condemns us and accuses us. He “craftily cooperates with the Law, conscience, and observation” and where these 3 would drive a person to despair, Satan takes this further and says, “OH yeah! You’re totally worthless – no hope for you.” and can lead us to utter despair.

However, Jesus is our advocate, our “lawyer” who stands up for us against the accusation of Satan.

All of these things lead us to dependence on someone else – Jesus – who was able to fulfill ALL the demands of the Law. “Which of you convicts me of sin?” – No one could – even the centurion at the cross said, “Surely this man was the Son of God” – he knew how Jesus forgave sins and went “as a sheep before the shearers” to his crucifixion – mildly and humbly.

The apostle Paul depicts Jesus as a very righteous husband, always right and perfect – and we, the church, are imperfect and married to him. The only thing we can do – the bride – is DIE. We recognize Christ’s death, die in identification with the Lord, are buried with him, and rise again to a newness of life (symbolized in baptism).

The Law is not going to die. So the only option is for the people UNDER the Law to die and rise again under a NEW covenant – under Christ, in Christ, we have forgiveness and hope.

Yesterday, we saw the marriage of Joshua and Jade and the Scriptures we read were from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps NO RECORD OF WRONGS (like God says he won’t)…”

Here, Paul says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs” – it rubs out the record so that in God’s sight, it is no longer there. This is a HARD truth to realize and appropriate. Men disbelieve it for themselves and doubt it where others are concerned. We keep records of wrongs, we aren’t speedily ready to forgive. Sometimes we require time to release offenses. But (Psalms?) we are encouraged to “not let the sun go down on your anger.” ACT like true children of God – FORGIVE as you’ve BEEN forgiven.

  • Hebrews 8:10? “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
  • (Also Hebrews 10:17)
  • Colossians “God has taken those things away and nailed them to the cross.”
  • Micah “The Lord delights in mercy and will not keep our sins forever but will bury them in the sea (of forgetfulness).”

We need to meditate on these truths: YES – I am forgiven.

Remember that God has LET THEM GO – and wants us to have that same attitude in our own lives.

  • Hebrews 10:1 “The Law has a shadow of things to come, but not the very substance/reality…”
  • Leviticus 14 – the “Law of the Leper” is another picture of the atonement of Jesus in taking away our sins.

The cleansing of the Leper:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘These are the regulations for the unclean person at the time of his cleansing when he is brought to the priest: The priest is to go outside and examine him, if he’s been healed, the priest will order 2 live clean birds and scarlet wood and hissop to be brought to the water. One bird shall be killed over the water, and dipped with the other things into the blood of the bird over water. 7 times he should sprinkle the diseased one and declare him clean. Then, release the live bird into the open field.”

This is a type/shadowing of Jesus. Two birds, one killed over running water (Jesus’ crucifixion), the Live bird is dipped into the blood of the dead bird and released into the open heaven (Jesus’ resurrection).

Again, speaking of the atonement of Jesus, it also speaks of OUR lives and deaths (spiritual) and rebirths – we’ve died to sin and been reborn into newness of life in Christ.

“…The man must stay outside for 7 days, then shave EVERYTHING, wash his clothes and himself and he’ll be clean.”

This man was “unclean” and outside the camp previously (this is a picture of sin) – it was a terrible existence. And yet, sometimes, God healed a leper – he had to go and prove that it was gone. When the examination took place and it was found to be gone, he had to go through this ceremonial cleansing. This is all a type/shadowing of Christ.

“…The priest takes one of the male lambs and offers it as a guilt offering – slaughter it in the Holy Place – like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest. Take some blood and put it on the right ear and the thumb of the right hand and the big toe of the right foot. (This symbolizes cleansing).”

  • Ear = what we listen to
  • Thumb = what we work on
  • Toe = where we walk

“…The priest will take some oil, dip it on his hand and sprinkle it on the man 7 times, put the oil on the ear, the thumb, the toe, ON TOP of the blood offering.”

The blood is CLEANSING – before we receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The oil then, is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit we receive after we are cleansed.

All of this speaks elegantly and symbolically about what Jesus ACTUALLY, LITERALLY accomplished on the cross and through his resurrection.

All these types were given to show God’s mercy. The Law itself was given to show mercy to those who’d broken the Law in different ways. This is the first point.

#2: God shows his mercy by giving Life.

Genesis “On the day you eat of the fruit, you shall surely die.” Satan tempted them, they ate, their eyes were opened, and the damage was done. But God in his mercy didn’t immediately kill them. He COULD have, for he is just and requires justice. But in mercy, he set them out on the earth (not without consequences – thorn and thistles for the man’s work, terrible pain for women in child birth). He also set out a prophecy that the seed of the woman (Jesus) would crush the head of the serpent (Satan). This was a reference to the coming of the Messiah.

Right from the beginning, God showed his mercy, gave them life, gave them promise.

What he did with Adam and Eve, he does with us. Are you alive? Then you have HOPE. “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” (Proverb) But life needs to be practiced by receiving Christ for eternal life.

Right at the beginning, God promised that one would come and grant eternal life – and throughout the Old Testament, he gave further proofs that he was willing to show mercy. Not only did they have the Mosaic Law (condemning), but also the Ceremonial Law (allowing cleansing). This allowed the people to have fellowship with him – he showed his mercy and grace through this.

And Paul writes, “In the fullness of time, God sent his Son to redeem them…”

God did indeed send his Savior in the right time and the right place in order to fulfill his will.

All of these clues, hints, shadows, pointed to the substance that is Christ.

Remember the healing of the 10 lepers, and that of the 1 leper who said to Jesus, “Lord, if your are willing, you can cleanse me.”

Thinking about this, there weren’t many healing recorded for leprosy in the Old Testament (Miriam got it for about a week for rebellion at one point). Interestingly, this “Law for cleansing the leper” may not have been used much in the Old Testament – it isn’t recorded, and Jesus told this guy to go and get cleansed (he didn’t, he ran out and told everyone).

Of the 10, Jesus sent them to do this ceremonial cleansing and only 1 came back.

If these lepers had gone to the priests, they probably wouldn’t actually know what to do – because it was so uncommon. This is why Jesus wanted the leper to go back and show himself to the priest – it might have opened their eyes to the truth about Jesus as well.

Jesus made a point of telling that the Samaritan leper came back and said “Thanks” – yet he was the recipient of God’s mercy and showed his gratitude.

We see here that this was an act of God’s mercy. This is a tremendous picture of sin – it rots the body from the inside and limbs may even fall off. But God was willing to heal of his physical disease (and spiritually healed him/forgave him as well).

Now, as we close, let’s meditate upon Christ, who took our sins upon himself and faced up to our sins. He’s forgiven them and forgotten them – to be remembered “NO MORE!”

This is what we need to remember when we are tempted to accuse ourselves or listen to the accusations of others.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 29 / 2015
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No More, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Amazing Amnesia of God (Isaiah 43:25)

03.29.2015

03.29.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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The Amazing Amnesia of God

Isaiah 43:25 (Pastor Brian)

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, FOR MY OWN SAKE, and remembers your sins no more.”


Title: The Amazing Amnesia of God

Amnesia = medical condition where you forget things – either temporarily or permanently

Some Writings:

  1. “God’s Non-remembrance of Sin” – Charles Spurgeon
  2. “The Forgetfulness of God”

Here they are combined. God not only chooses to forget our sins, but also NOT remember them.

  1. Isaiah 43:25 = one reference
  2. Jeremiah 31:24 “For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.”
  3. Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.”
  4. Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and their iniquities I will remember NO MORE.”

NO MORE being the KEY here.

“Let those words ‘NO MORE’ echo through the caverns of despondency and despair.”

Here, there are 4 Scriptures. There must be at least 3 testimonies to affirm some kind of statement (Deut, reaffirmed by Jesus in Matthew). There must be numerous witnesses or someone could accuse falsely. So God has said, there must be at least 2-3 witnesses to establish a truth.

Here is not only 2-3, but 4 (and even MORE) of God’s willingness to not call to mind the sins He’s forgiven.

In Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the judgment of God because they’d rejected His covenant. After the Exodus from Egypt, a covenant was established with God and the people promised that they’d keep the covenant.

King Manasseh, Zedekiah, etc were terrible kings – even sacrificing their own children to idols.

God had previously sent prophets to warn them, but they didn’t heed the warnings. In Isaiah, he warns harshly that they will be sent into captivity for 70 years in Babylon.

Yet, even in the midst of judgment, God tells them that he will restore them and have mercy on them – even for their terrible previous sins.

“For my own sake” – is God so fed up with their sins that he can’t stand to look at them? More than that, it’s protecting his own justice, mercy, reputation, etc. Even though he chastises his people, he wants to restore them and shower them with his love and kindness again.

He says, “I’ll do this for my own sake (to show others) that I choose to remember your sins no more.”

These sins are completely blotted out of God’s remembrance. This refers prophetically as well to Jesus’ sacrifice that has blotted out all our sins so that God remembers them no more.

Spurgeon “forgetfulness is an infirmity (problem) – part of aging, human nature” God is not like that – He doesn’t have an infirmity – rather he CHOOSES to (1) Forgive and (2) IMMEDIATELY forget

When someone offends us, we can forgive, but we can’t forget. God doesn’t actually “forget” but chooses “not to bring to mind.” James reference.

  • Brian Harbor “Perhaps the most neglected doctrine of theology is the ‘forgetfulness’ of God – when God forgives, he [immediately] forgets. When he forgives our sins, he ERASES it out of the pages of eternity.”
  • William Cooper “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform” – this is a poet’s way to say that “God acts differently than we do.” This is obvious in the subject of guilt and sin. What we do with these is totally different from what God does.

“It’s impossible to both have a sensitive conscience and a clean conscience at the same time.” i.e. we KNOW we all sin, so we have guilt – ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit – we’ve had guilt.

  1. Psalm 51:3 “For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.” (King David)
  2. Isaiah met God in the temple “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, dwelling among a people of unclean lips.”
  3. Matthew 4? The woman caught in adultery – “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
  4. Once a man sent $100 to the Inland Revenue (tax) and said, “If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send more…”
  5. Shakespeare – the Lady Macbeth “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the hand (that’s committed murder).”

Guilt is universal. What do we do with it?

#1: Rationalize it

A speeding car caught by a police man said, “I speed so I don’t get in an accident – there are so many…”

Rationalize = to ration lies

We need to OWN UP to it – take RESPONSIBILITY.

#2: Deny it

A person bought a Rolls Royce and experienced some mechanical failure – he wrote to the firm in England, and they flew a man out to fix it – he was waiting for a bill, but it never arrived… He wrote back, “Where’s the bill?” They wrote back, “We have no record of a Rolls Royce with a mechanical problem.” DENIAL.

#3: Run away from it (avoid it)

Massachusetts man stole a watch. He was stricken in his conscience and tried to give it away, no one took it. He threw it away but was still guilty. Thirty-five years later, he sent money and a note to his rabbi to give to the family.

  1. Rationalize
  2. Deny
  3. Run away

This is how WE approach guilt

God’s method?

Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins having canceled the charge of legal indebtedness – he has taken it away, nailing it to his cross.”

What does God do with it?

#1: Faces it

He took our sins upon himself and nailed it to the cross. This is an awesome truth – Jesus (sinless) BECAME sin for us.

How much do we ACTUALLY realize when we say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” This is a big difference when our conscience is awakened to the truth of this.

If we are guilty and want forgiveness, we want to KNOW we are forgiven and that God has forgotten.

The events of Passion Week (this next week)

  1. Throughout the night, Jesus was harassed, passed from one prison to another. Caesar then washed his hands of it, denying his responsibility, running away from his authority, rationalizing his position to give Jesus to the crowd.
  2. The soldiers ripped off his clothes, pierced his flesh with nails.
  3. For 6 hours, Jesus bore the ridicule of the crowd before (as) he died.
  4. The guilt of ALL people of ALL time was placed on his shoulders – he literally BECAME sin for us.
  5. And by HIS stripes, we have been healed (spiritual healing).
  6. Friday afternoon, the sky turned black, the temple veil torn in two “Surely this man was the Son of God” (Matthew) “It is finished” (John). He didn’t say, “I am finished” rather, “It is ACCOMPLISHED” (the Will of the Father God) – that none need die in the guilt and sins.

This was God’s plan to deal with guilt. He didn’t rationalize, deny, or run away from it. He FACED it, took responsibility for it, forgave us our sins. (On the cross, Jesus cried out, “Father forgive them…”)

Jesus fulfilled ALL the types and sacrifices and ceremonies in the Old Testament.

Every year, Yom Kippor – the high priest entered into the holy of holies and sacrificed the lambs for the sins of all the people. This Day of Atonement was repeated year after year – it needed to be repeated.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away (not just covers) the sin of the world.” John was the voice in the wilderness pointing to Jesus to show that he was the Lamb who would deal with sin.

When God forgives, he forgets.

  • Psalm 103:12 “God has removed our sins from as far as the East is from the West.”
  • (It’s my birthday today – and my wife read this Psalm on my last birthday.)
  • Jeremiah predicted that 31:34 “God will forgive our sins and remember our sins no more.”
  • Micah “God will cast our sins into the deepest sea.”
  • Paul (Romans 4:7)
  • The poet is correct: “God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.”

What does this all mean for us?

Ex: There was a bad guy once involved in terrible crimes, he was converted to Christianity, and afterward took every opportunity to tell of his change. Just before he was to speak once, someone sent an envelope up to him in the front with a LONG list of former sins he’d committed. His first impulse was to leave the pulpit, but he stepped up boldly and said, “Friends, I’m accused of sins in this very city. I’ll read this list to you.” He read and after each said, “It is true, I’ve done that, I’m guilty.”

“You ask how I dare stand before you to speak of righteousness and truth when I have a list of crimes like this under my name. I’ll tell you, IN HIM, we have forgiveness of ALL our trespasses.”

The enemy is called the Accuser of the Brethren.

If you hear the voice, “How dare you stand up and preach Christ when you are such a terrible sinner?” will you rationalize, deny, run away, pack up and leave? Rather, say, “No, I will stand up for Christ, because he has stood up for me.”

Thank God, he has FORGOTTEN my sin – buried in the deepest sea, covered it up, removed it as far as the East is from the West.

Spurgeon said, “The 4 Scriptures should be enough in an of themselves. I want these Scriptures to be like adament (steel) in letting us know that our sins are forgiven.”

Ask, Seek, Knock – if we lay our guilt at Jesus’ feet, we can perhaps know what it is like to truly experience the forgiveness of God.

Let’s pray.

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