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  • Dec 16 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Believe in Jesus, and be Saved

Acts 16:16-31 (Pastor Heo)

“Accept Jesus, and everything will be fine.”

  • Not true: in that even though we accept Jesus, some things will be NOT fine.
  • But TRUE: in that we know that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”


Still, this last sentence is available to everybody at anytime “Believe and you will be saved – you and your household.”

  1. After Macedonia, Paul and his team set sail on the Aegean Sea and traveled to Philippi – a Roman colony (and Paul’s first mission field in Europe).
  2. After arriving on the Sabbath Day, they went outside to a place of prayer – where they met a small group of women.
  3. Paul shared the gospel with them, and one woman believed (Lydia) – and her whole household also believed and were all baptized immediately.
  4. She then opened her house to these apostles as their mission base in Europe. This is the story of the first Christians in Europe.

v. 16

“16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,…

we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Why did this annoy Paul?

We should know that evil spirits can speak the truth partially, temporarily, but the end goal is destruction.

Imagine, if Paul accepted the witness of the evil spirit, he would be thought to be linking the gospel of Christ with the evil spirits – and also the slave girls’ owners were doing “prophecy for profit” which Paul would be accused of if he didn’t end it. Thus, he was upset and troubled.

Remember, Paul did not say this to the girl, he spoke to the evil spirit directly, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (He did not cast the demon out by his own power, but by the power of Christ).

Yes, the Christian life is engaged in spiritual warfare. Eph 6 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Our struggle is against… spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Our fighting is not against other human beings, not against our spouses, nor children, nor our neighbors, nor other people. Rather, it is against Satan, against the sinful nature, against demons, against our old selves.

Immediately, the demon left her.

Good news or bad? GOOD!

She became free from the control of Satan’s evil spirit, but her owners were not happy and became very angry. They didn’t concern themselves with this poor girl, but only cared about $$$.

Paul was preaching eternal truth, but they had no care that this girl was healed. They exploited her misfortune for their fortune…

Even today, there are people around us whose only, first concern, is money. This is a clear sign of idolatry.

The men seized Paul and dragged him into the marketplace.

v. 19-21

“19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” “

By calling them “Jews” (accurate though it was), they were playing off natural “anti-Semitism” present in the area.

v. 22

“22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. “

Can you imagine this situation?

Paul and Silas stripped half-naked and beaten within an inch of their lives, so painful, put in prison, two feet fasten with chains, all doors shut up tight, a jailor watching over them day and night.

Actually, they’d committed no crime, but they were treated as one of the most dangerous criminals (maximum security prison) for doing good.

Consider this:

Yes, Paul and Silas are Christians, brothers in Christ with us.

IF you were Paul and Silas in this TERRIBLE situation, what should you do? How would you respond?

What did they do?

They did not complain; nor blame; nor cry out; call out for revenge; they did not curse anyone nor anything nor themselves.

They worshiped God in this dark place.

Let us give a big hand to them in heaven now.

Imagine in THIS situation, they worshiped God with prayer and songs (“It is well” perhaps? something similar). HOW is this possible?

They responded to their terrible circumstances so unnaturally, so supernaturally. They DECIDED to worship God in this situation (and yes, it was a DECISION). How is this possible?

Here are 4 grounds for WHY they had to worship God in this terrible situation:

WHY Paul & Silas worshiped God in their darkness

1. They knew they believed God WAS THERE

Yes, in body, they were in prison, but they KNEW God was there with them in spirit. Wherever we may be, God is there.

Wherever you may go, God is there with you. The presence of Christ is present wherever you may be.

“God is there; God is here.”

Even when you are fighting; you are in a bad, sad, or terrible situation. This is always true, whether you remember or not: God is THERE.

Psalm “If I go to the heavens, God is there; if I go to the depths of the sea, God is there.”

With God, there is FREEDOM even in prison, there is LIGHT even in darkness.

Tortulion? said, “If your heart is in heaven, your legs will feel nothing even in stocks.”

They chose to worship God because the knew he was THERE with them.

2. They believed GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yes, even today, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, sovereign, and in control of all things.

Yes, Paul and Silas had no reason to expect a miracle. Yes, they knew that God had previously delivered Paul from prison, but they also remembered that Stephen and James had been martyred. So, they didn’t know what would happen to them.

Yet, they still sang praises to God because they believed that he COULD deliver them if he chose. This is reminiscent of the three friends in Daniel (Sadrach, Mishach, and Abednego), “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves in this manner. If you throw us into the fire, our God is able to save us from the fire. But even if he does not, we shall never worship your gods nor the image of gold you have set up for yourself.”

Remember: God is in control of everything.

3. They believed Jesus (their Lord) would REWARD them

They were being persecuted for the sake of their Lord. So they knew without doubt that Jesus would reward them abundantly.

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted for me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In this way, the people persecuted the prophets in the OT.” (Matthew)

Paul “I do not consider our present sufferings to be anything compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to everyone as he has merit.”

4. They knew / believed without doubt that in the END (the very end), everything would be fine

This is strong faith.

Yes, we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, 10 years later, 100 years later, but we DO KNOW what will happen in the VERY END – and it’s gonna be fine.

Paul “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul “If I live, I belong to Christ; if I die, I belong to Christ. So whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.”

Paul’s attitude:

  • If I die, I get to be with Christ – WIN!
  • If I live, I get to preach about Christ – WIN!

How will we respond to sufferings and trials in our lives? And how will people react to our responses?

Remember: Prayer and praise are POWERFUL weapons in spiritual warfare.

v. 25

“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” “

Please remember, prayer and praise are powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.

All of a sudden, God responded to their faithful attitude. He shook the foundations of the prison and opened all the doors widely and loosed all the chains.

All the prisoners could have fled if they had wanted, but they all stayed right there. The fear of God was upon them all, and God himself kept them there. The prisoners knew that the praying and singing of these two prisoners had caused this, and there must be something very special about them.

But the jailor thought they had run, so he almost committed suicide.

At that time, according to Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailors should receive the penalty of the prisoners.

But at that time, Paul said to the jailor, “Don’t harm yourself; we are all here.” He ran out and knelt down before the prisoners. “What must I do to be saved?”

In this situation, suddenly the tables were turned:

  • the jailor became the prisoner (spiritually);
  • and the prisoners became the jailor. “What must I do to be free?” (This is the cry of the lost worldwide.)

This is the most relevant question in our lives. His question means he KNEW he was lost, a sinner, a prisoner, a captive. He knew he needed freedom and he asked, “What must I DO to be saved?”

Do you have a clear answer to this question? All the lost have this question in their hearts, in their spirits. Do you have a clear answer to this question?

  • Paul did not answer: “DO something…”
  • He answered: “BELIEVE in Christ.”

If we receive (or spread) the message that “you must DO something” to be saved, then this is NOT the gospel message. Just BELIEVE in Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, “for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 3?).

Jesus said, “It is FINISHED!”

He has DONE all things necessary for our salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth you confess and with your heart you are justified…?”

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved. It is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”

Acts 3 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

What a powerful name.

John 3:16-17 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world… Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed.”

What is the meaning of ‘believe’?

Believe = Be – Live

  • BE in Jesus
  • LIVE in Jesus

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

This does NOT mean that the jailor’s faith will automatically bring faith to his family – but rather, “they will be saved IF they also believe.”

We cannot be saved by proxy nor in a group – we are only saved individually, with a personal relationship with Christ.

Still today, all lost souls cry out from their spirits: “What must I DO to be saved?”

“Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Around us today, who knows if the one we share the gospel message with was not one who wanted to kill themselves just one minute ago. “Don’t kill yourself!”

Even around us today, there are so many people who are harming themselves on purpose or in spite of themselves.

What a glorious thing to offer salvation to those who are harming themselves simply by believing in Christ (plus nothing).

We must give this message to the lost:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Let’s pray.

 

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

The First Church Council

Acts 15:1-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Council at Jerusalem

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

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this situation:

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

This is silly.

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

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

v. 1-2

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

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

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

v. 5

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

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

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

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

v. 12

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

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

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

v. 13-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 Things of “Loving Compromise”

Abstain from:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


v. 23-29

“23 With them they sent the following letter:

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

Greetings.

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

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

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

You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell. “


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

v. 34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

We can put the matter like this.

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 20 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Thanks be to God…

Romans 7:14-25 (Pastor Heo)

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.


Conclusion: (v. 25) “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Today is the third time in chapter 7. The whole chapter = the Discussion of the Law.

  1. Our relationship with the Law (we died to the Law, alive in Christ)
  2. The Ministries of the Law (what the Law CAN do – there are 4)
    1. Reveals sin
    2. Arouses sinful nature
    3. Kills
    4. Displays the sinfulness of sin
  3. The Inability of the Law (what the Law CANNOT do – 3 points)

The Inability of the Law (3 Points)

#1 Law cannot change us

v. 14 “14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”

  • The Law is holy, came from a Holy God – he is righteous in all he says and does.
  • The Law is good, it reveals God’s holiness to us – and helps us to see our absolute need for a Savior.
  • The Law is spiritual – it deals with the inner man – as well as the outer actions.

Problem: “I am unspiritual (sinful by nature).”

  • The Law’s nature = spiritual
  • Our nature = unspiritual (even though we are saved, still we are unspiritual – we have a sinful nature )
  1. The Old Nature does not know the Law
  2. The New Nature does not need the Law

The Law cannot transform the Old Nature – it only shows how sinful that Old Nature is. If we try to live under the Law, we will only activate the Old Nature – not eliminate it.

How can we be free from sin and yet continue to do wrong?

“In Christ” – we are FREE from

  1. the penalty of sin (judgment),
  2. power of sin (powerlessness),

but NOT FREE from

  1. the presence and
  2. possibility of sin.

Under grace, the Law is changed from judgment to guidance – to a character study of the one who shaped us.

Only Jesus died for us on the cross, and only HE can change you and me.

#2. Law cannot enable us to do good

Do you want to do good or evil? Good.

The Law cannot help us to do good.

v. 15-21

“15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”

Are you confused? “I want to do what I don’t want to do, but I don’t do what I want to do, it’s what I don’t want to do that I do…….”

  1. Do you always do what you want to do?
  2. Do you always NOT do what you DON’T want to do?

Paul, personally, confessed, “I do not understand what I do. I do what I DON’T want to do. I DON’T do what I want to do.”

What does this mean? Is he declining into sinfulness? Getting worse and worse? NO. There are 3 points here.

#1: More blessing = more conscious of sin

More we become holy, the more we desire to become holy.

v. 5:20 “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

This means, the more we experience the grace of God, the more we become conscious of sin and fighting sin. This is a basic doctrine of Christianity. The more grace/love of God, the more sensitive to sin we are, the more we desire to become holy – and hate/fight sin.

The more blessing we receive, the more blessing we are to give.

Practical example:

  • If you own $1000 / month, and give $100 in tithe, this is the correct, acceptable tithe.
  • If you earn $1,000,000 and give $1,000 as tithe, even though this is 10x the first amount, this is not the correct amount, it is not a full tithe.

Example 2:

  • How’s your suit/clothes? If you wear VERY expensive, wedding dress, etc, maybe you will be VERY careful about your actions and where you sit. You will be very careful to keep it clean. Even one small stain will be outstanding (noticeable).
  • But if you wear casual, cheap, loose clothes, you don’t care how to move, where to sit, etc. Even if something stains your clothes, it will not be noticeable and you will not be unhappy.

i.e. “The more holy you are, the more holy you want to be.”

In the Bible, there are certain books written by the apostle Paul.

  • 2 Cor = AD 56
    • (chp 11:5 “I am not less than any super apostle. I’m not in the least inferior to those.'”)
  • Eph = AD 60-61
    • (chp 3:8 “I am less than the least of all God’s people.'”)
  • 1 Tim = AD 62-63
    • (chp 1:15 “I am the worst of all sinners.”)

Look at this transformation.

Is Paul becoming worse and worse? No, the opposite is true.

The more we experience the grace/love of God, the more humble we must become.

In your case? Do you find the same things that you didn’t recognize as sin before you were saved – now you recognize it as sin since you are saved?

After saving, do you find the same things 1-2 years ago, you didn’t think “That’s a sin”, but now you recognize it as sin – then you are becoming more holy.

Paul “If I do not preach, I sin a terrible sin – curse on me.” Personally, he experienced the amazing grace of the gospel – and it changed his whole life completely. Now he cannot be happy without preaching the gospel.

If we experience this same power and grace in our lives, we also cannot be happy without doing this as well.

Samuel confessed (1 Sam 12:23) “As for me, far be it from me, that I should sin be failing to pray for you.” (Not praying for others was a terrible sin – because he experienced the special grace of God in his own life)

The more grace/love of God, the more we become sensitive to sin. May God bless us all with more grace.

#2: Christian life is a struggle

I’m a fighter. Christian life is a struggle in this world.

Q: “Are you dead IN sin, or dead TO sin?”

Be clear about your answer.

What is the difference? (a single two-letter word)

BIG difference:

  1. Dead IN sin (Eph 2:1 “…you were dead in your sins and transgressions…”) – we were children of the devil and slaves of sin – so at that time, we didn’t struggle, fight against sin – we just followed alone
  2. Dead TO sin = slaves of righteousness, children of God – no more condemnation or penalty or punishment of sin – alive to the consciousness of sin. This means we are fighting, struggling against sin.
  • Dead in sin = following sin
  • Dead to sin = fighting sin

Eph 5 “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. For our fighting is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground when the day of evil comes.”

Paul confessed, near the end, “I have fought the good fight.” (2 Timothy verse 7)

1 Pet 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist Satan, standing firm in the faith.”

Christ “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have struggles of many kinds, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

#3: We have responsibility

Both for our sins and our actions.

v. 17 “17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”

v. 20 “20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

What is the real meaning of these sentences?

Paul is not giving up / abdicating his responsibility. But, he confesses that his desires and sin fight against each other all the time.

For us as well, because in this world, our redemption is not 100% complete yet. We are still living in the presence and possibility of sin in this world.

  • Until under the grace of God, sin possessed me.
  • Now still, under the grace of God, I possess sin.
  1. Before the grace of God, we were responsible for being sinners.
  2. After we were redeemed, we are still responsible for our sin.

If you fight someone, can you say “I didn’t beat you. This fist beat you.” We must always remember we are responsible for our actions, for our sins.

We must never use the power of sin/Satan as an excuse – because these are defeated enemies. Yes, without Christ’s help, sin/Satan are more powerful than we are, so we would not be able to defend ourselves against Christ’s attacks. So, we should never stand up to sin all alone. Christ is the one who defeated sin ONCE and for all. After that, Jesus promised to fight by our side. So, if we look to Christ for help, we will not have to give in to sin.

But we must always remember that we are responsible for our own actions and sins because Satan is defeated.

  1. Law cannot change us
  2. Law cannot enable us to do good

#3. Law cannot set us FREE

Do you want freedom?

v. 22-25 “22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

It is very clear. The Law cannot give us true freedom. It is only Christ who can set us free. Only Christ can give us real freedom.

“You know the truth and this truth will set you free.”

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Even today, some Christians may say “Yes, salvation by grace of God through Christ, but our sanctification is by OUR actions – service, willpower, etc.” NO! Please remember that – not only our salvation, but also sanctification, growth, final glorification, from FIRST to LAST, all steps – all the course of the Christian life – is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.” This is applied in ALL areas of the Christian life.

At the same time, the Bible encourages us, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13?)

v. 24 “24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

Conclusion: v. 25 “25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

  • When you look to yourself, there is only powerlessness.
  • When you look to Christ, there is sure power, victory, possible through Christ.

Our proclamation: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 16 / 2017
  • Comments Off on If you KNOW it, COUNT it as True, and OFFER yourself to Christ (Romans 6:11-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

If you KNOW it, COUNT it as True, and OFFER yourself to Christ (Romans 6:11-23)

Download Notes in a .MD file

If you KNOW it, COUNT it as true, and OFFER Yourselves to God

Romans 6:11-23 (Pastor Heo)

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (memorize it)


Important words: Know, Count, Offer

Water baptism is an outward symbol of our inward experience in which we are united/ID’d with Christ in his death, burial, resurrection. If we are ID’d with Christ in his death, all things that happened to him, will happen to us because we are united in his body when he died. Therefore, automatically, his resurrection, life, victory, glory, seat in heaven, is ours as well.

“If you are children of God, you are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” – Christ is our eldest brother (Romans 8:29?) – “Those he foreknew he also predestined… that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

This union is the STRONGEST union.

This connection with Christ is much stronger than any other physical union in this world.

This union is stronger than:

  • the vine and its branch,
  • husband and wife,
  • this building and the ground,
  • head and body.

This union is authored by the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 6:17 “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”

This is a VITAL union (vitamin).

The life of Christ is the life of a true believer. He is living his life through you and me. We are a channel of Jesus Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live….”

This union is PERFECT / COMPLETE.

There are many parts in our bodies (ears, nose, eyes, etc) – each part in one body is both a means and an end.

  • Hands exist for the feet.
  • Eyes exist for the ears.
  • Ears exist for the nose.
  • Everything exists for the head.
  • Head exists for each part of the body.

“You are the body of Christ. Christ is the head. Each one of you is part of the body.”

This union is INSEPARABLE.

How long is eternal life?

Our union with Christ makes our relationship to sin totally different from before. Last time, we heard many times “Know this: you are dead to sin and alive to God.” So, are you dead to sin?

What does this mean?

  1. What is sin?
    1. A: State/action against the will of God. The greatest sin is not to believe in Jesus.

In our old lives, we were alive to sin, but now we are “dead” to sin. What is the difference?

  • “Alive to sin” = dead to the sense of sin (We did not know the will of God and we did not recognize sin as sin)
  • “Dead to sin” = alive to the sense (understanding / knowledge) of sin (Now, we recognize sin as sin and we understand the will of God)

Make sense?

  1. “Dead to sin” = free FROM sin (in the past, we were free TO sin) – we are FREE from the power, presence of sin
    1. The moment we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we were completely saved once for all time from the power of sin.
    2. NOW, we are being saved from the power, presence, temptation, challenge of sin.
    3. In the future, we WILL be saved totally from the entire presence of sin when we go to heaven to be with Christ forever and ever.

“Dead to sin” = sin is no longer our Master. (We once were followers of sin, now we are FIGHTERS against sin.)

“I’m a fighter of sin!”

v. 11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (very important)

This is the second important word in this chapter (to count – account – or believe what God says is true)

Important words: Know, Count, Offer

Bible does not tell us to “feel” that you are dead to sin, but ACT upon it and claim it for yourselves. This is a matter of FAITH that issues itself in ACTION. (Have you ever endorsed a check? If you really believe the money is in the checking account, you will sign your name and claim the money.)

“Counting” is:

  • NOT “claim a promise”
    • but “ACT on a promise” –
  • this is NOT “try to be dead to sin”
    • but ACT on the FACT that you are dead to sin.

Q: Even if we do not ACT on a FACT, is it TRUE? Yes!

This is reality. So, receive this reality as real and the truth as true and act on this fact.

  1. 3rd important word: “Offer”
  • 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
  • 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
  • 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies to God as pleasing sacrifices. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

  • The OT sacrifices were dead (animal) sacrifices.
  • But the NT sacrifices, God asks for LIVING sacrifices. Yes, God may ask SOME people to die for him (can you?), but God asks ALL of us to LIVE for Him.

Q: How – if we must offer our bodies to God, HOW can we do so?

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

This is an act of the WILL. Based on the knowledge of what Christ has done for us, this is an intelligent act, not an emotional reaction to a moving moment. Look at the verb tenses (시제).

These are imperative verbs yes?

The literal translation of v. 13 =

“Do not constantly allow sin to reign in your mortal body so that you are constantly obeying its laws. Also do not constantly offer your members of your body as tools and instruments of sin, but ONCE AND FOR ALL, offer yourself to God.” (This ONCE AND FOR ALL is also described in Romans 12:1)

In our lives, (are you Christian?) – there must be a final and complete surrender of our body to God. It does not mean there will not be further steps of surrender – because the longer we walk with God, the further/deeper we walk with/surrender to Him.

Yes, we daily surrender to Christ, but even this is based on the FIRST, ONCE AND FOR ALL, surrender. This is the tense of Romans 12:1 and this 6:13.

Q: WHY does God want our bodies?

God eagerly, earnestly wants to use your body.

  1. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because it is the temple of God, he wants to use your body/my body for his glory and holiness.
  2. At the same time, it is God’s tool, weapon, workmanship.
    1. He wants to build his kingdom in this world (tool).
    2. He wants to use us to fight against his enemies (weapon).
  • God used Moses to conquer Egypt.
  • God used David to conquer the Philistines.
  • God used the mouths of the prophets to spread his message and
  • God used the feet of Paul to spread the gospel.
  • He used five pieces of bread and fish to feed 5000 adult men (+ women/children).
  • God wants to use our bodies to defeat the power of our enemy Satan.

Q: So, WHY are we to OFFER our bodies?

3 words are keywords (reasons for this surrender):

1. Grace 은혜

“Sin shall not be your master because we are not under Law but under Grace” – we are not saved by the Law, we do not live/stand under the Law. But, though we are saved by Grace, this is no reason to sin, but rather, reason to OBEY.

Sin and Law go together all the time. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.” Since we are dead to sin and alive to God, sin is robbed of its power and strength. Have you ever experienced God’s abundant grace? If so, you cannot sin continually.

2. Freedom

16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.

Practical translation of v. 19

“We must be AS enthusiastic/zealous in offering our bodies to Christ as we WERE enthusiastic/zealous in offering our bodies to sin.”

The illustration of Master/slave is easy to understand. Whatever we allow to become our Master – we are slaves to this. But now that we are slaves to Christ, we are free from Sin.

The message = REAL FREEDOM can be found only by being a Slave to Christ.

We know the story of the Prodigal son very well. This is a clear example of this truth.

  1. First he was a slave of wrong desires, then wrong actions, then a literal slave when he took care of pigs.
  2. He wanted to find himself but he lost himself.
  3. What he THOUGHT was freedom, turned out to became the WORST kind of slavery.
  4. It was only when he returned home to the father that he found real, true freedom.

3. Fruit (Do you like fruit?)

If you work, you expect payment. If you serve a master, you expect a salary. This is fruit.

21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we serve a boss or master, we can expect some form of payment.

Sin is also a Master and God is a Master.

  • If we serve Sin, our salary = death.
  • If we serve God, our salary = holiness, eternal life.
  1. In our old selves, we produced the fruit that made us ashamed. (Have you experienced this?)
  2. In our new lives now, we produce fruit that glorifies God.

v. 23

“The wages of sin is death…” – this is usually applied to the lost (non-Christians) – that’s true, but it ALSO applies to US. This is a warning for the saved as well because this truth is applied not only in the spiritual world, but also in the physical world.

  • In the spiritual world, if we sin by not accepting Jesus Christ, the penalty is not receiving eternal life.
  • In the physical world, if we sin habitually, by doing something against the will of God, our physical life can also be taken away earlier.

Samson

Samson’s story is a clear example of this truth. I believe Samson was saved in his spirit, but lost his life earlier because of his lust and sin with Delilah who cut off his hair.

“but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”

These three words need to be heeded daily.

  1. KNOW – you have been crucified with Christ, dead to sin, alive to God
  2. COUNT – this to be true and act on the fact in your life
  3. OFFER – yourselves to God to be used by him in his story, for his glory

God bless us with his living and powerful message.

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)

Download Notes in a .MD file

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.

  • Sep 13 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Exodus: The Book of Redemption and Mission (1:1-22, 6:6, 19:5-6)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Exodus: The Book of Redemption and Mission (1:1-22, 6:6, 19:5-6)

09.13.2015-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file (Korean notes below 한국어 밑에)

Continue Reading

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

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

03.22.2015

03.22.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom

Matthew 20:17-28 (Pastor Heo)

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

20:17-19pp — Mk 10:32-34; Lk 18:31-33

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

A Mother’s Request

20:20-28pp — Mk 10:35-45

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


 

God bless the reading of His Word.

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

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

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

v. 17-19

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

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

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

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

v. 20-24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you and me?

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

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

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

Are your REALLY Christian? Born again?

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

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you want to be great? Who is great?

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

v. 25-27

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

The “Gentiles” = the standard of this world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is our complete freedom and liberty.

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 06 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Do Good to All (Galatians 6)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Do Good to All (Galatians 6)

07.06

07.06.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Do Good to All
Galatians 6 (Pastor Brian)

Doing Good to All
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. 6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but a New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! 12 Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. 17 Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.


This is the conclusion of the letter to the believers in Galatia. Paul is wrapping up the indignations and exhortations throughout the letter. The reason he wrote this: there was a danger of the believers reverting to the Law of Moses. After he’d preached to them, the Judaizers had come in to say, “Oh yeah, Jesus. He’s cool. But you gotta follow THE LAW baby, or you ain’t nothin’.”

The question had arisen: should the obey the Law of Moses? should they be circumcised? No, not necessarily. There were things they should abstain from: blood sacrificed to idols, idolatry, sexual immorality, etc. Not everyone agreed with this – and Paul had encountered this opposition during his missionary journeys, and now he’s writing to them that “Faith alone saves us.” (not any of these other externals). But the believers were being influenced by the legalists to revert to the Law of Moses.

The believers needed to get back into grace, get back into the spirit of grace.

Now, in the conclusion of the letter, Paul is wrapping up. The letter to the Galatians is considered the “Magna Carta” – proclamation of Freedom – for the Christians. John Bunyan, and Martin Luther among others were very partial to it and attested to its power to save and change hearts.

God used this letter to bring out the teaching of freedom through grace, by faith, to many believers.

v. 1 What kind of sin?

This wording used here indicates a moment of failing – “overtaken” or “caught” in a sin. We think of John’s gospel (chp 4) where the lady was caught in adultery. Some sins are more obvious and outward and the fall more extensive in the understanding of people.

Even if you fall temporarily, the one who is spiritual should (gently/meekly) restore the one who is fallen. Why? Consider yourself who may also be tempted and fall. We all have the sinful nature to contend with. (Romans “I do what I don’t want to do, I don’t do what I want. Who will deliver me from this body of death?”)

We all must be humble – not high and mighty, to come down to the one who is fallen and lift them up.

John MacArthur has written:

  1. Pick them up
  2. Hold them up
  3. Build them up

Take heed that we also don’t fall. Yes, there are warnings in Scripture, but we all must be alert and humble before the Lord because we are all sinful and able to fall. Countless others have fallen in numerous ways. Don’t brag, don’t say, “It’ll never happen to me” because then you’re almost inviting it to happen (be tempted).

Paul is also using the word “restore” like a doctor or surgeon would restore (set) a broken or dislocated limb.

As brothers and sisters in the faith, we must help one another, and carry each other’s burdens – this is the fulfillment of the Law of Christ (i.e. if you want a Law, use this one – the Law of helping others). Jesus helped others and so should we. We must help, not make the burden of sin heavier. This is the purpose of God’s love.

v. 3 Warning against deception

(Do you think you’re a spiritual giant? You’ll never be caught in a sin? You too are susceptible.)

Each one should test his own actions and take pride in his own without comparing himself to someone else. Examine yourself before the Lord. (1 Cor “Judge yourselves…” Are you in the faith? Humble? Living in victory? Confessing sins? Receiving forgiveness? Walking with the Lord? Be REAL. Acknowledge your dependence on him.)

  • Each one has his own burden to bear.
  • Each one should carry his own load.

(But wait, he just said, “help others” – is this a contradiction?)

  • Baros = burden that is TOO heavy (physical, emotional, etc) for one person to carry it alone (exhortation #1) – help them so that they will survive and be built up.
  • Forteon = ordinary backpack that is heavy BUT manageable (exhortation #2) – everyone must carry his own weight.

Bear one another’s load when it’s TOO much.

But also take care of your own load and responsibilities.

v. 6 Support and share with those who labor in the gospel – if we want their help (preaching and teaching) we should also help them. (i.e. don’t expect everything for FREE)

Paul wasn’t a Prosperity minister, but he just wanted to be sure the preachers and teachers were well supported and taken care of.

John MacArthur:

“It wasn’t just financial things – if instructing another, share in all beautiful/good things – a testimony, etc.” So that both can be blessed – teacher and pupil.

  • Don’t be deceived God cannot be mocked.
  • A man reaps what he sows.

We could apply this in many settings – but in this context, it seems to apply to the financial well-being of the preachers and teachers. If they must work an extra side job just to support themselves, they’ll have less time to care for the people.

v. 8

Sow to the Spirit, reap in the Spirit (eternal consequences and rewards) – this is NOT about earning salvation through works – BUT it is to say that works have benefits and rewards. Jesus, “Let your light shine before men.” The works are the FRUIT of salvation, not the ROOT of salvation.

v. 10 Do Good to All

At that time, the wealthy often financed new buildings and banquets – all could benefit.

“Be a public benefactor” – “If you sow abundantly, you will reap abundantly” (2 Cor).

At this point, Paul takes the pen himself (a scribe would usually transcribe these letters) “See what large letters I use as I write with my own hand…”

The only reason that people wanted Christians to get circumcised was to make them just another sect (section) of Judaism. They really just wanted to be accepted by non-believing Jews.

But hey, not even the believers in the Law keep the Law – yet they want you to, just so they can brag about you (bringing converts into the Jewish fold).

Boasting about achievements is dangerous to spiritual health.

When we boast in the cross we boast in our weaknesses, saying that human efforts lead only to death, but the cross leads to life.

Because of the cross, the old self is irrelevant. The new reality = it doesn’t matter who or what you are. None of this means anything – what matters is the New Creation. As the Holy Spirit convicts of sins, and we repent and ask him to come and make us new, He changes us from the inside out.

Our dependence is on Christ, not ourselves.

This rule of God is that circumcision doesn’t matter. (Israel is not a Physical thing – but a Spiritual thing – we are New Creations – Jew and Gentile – united in Christ).

“The marks of Jesus” = not stigmata – but SCARS from persecution for Christ – he was whipped, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, etc.

“If you want to look at the flesh, look at these scars as evidence that I’m preaching Chist and not anyone else.”

The whole epistle has been rounded out now with loving others, doing good, and that the power of the gospel can be demonstrated by how we live. It’s a living faith, not a dead faith. Amen.

This is our Magna Carta – our Great Charter of Freedom in Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 29 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Purpose of Freedom (Galatians 5)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Purpose of Freedom (Galatians 5)

06.29

06.29.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Purpose of Freedom
Galatians 5 (Pastor Brian)

Freedom in Christ

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11 Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! 13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Life by the Spirit

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


In the OT, God painted a picture of himself, but when Jesus came, he DECLARED – portrayed, painted – him perfectly.

“He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus poured out his life, the Father had poured out His life IN Jesus – to die for us, for our sins.

People in business would write “tetalesty” = “paid in full” the price for our redemption, for our sins. “He paid a debt he did not owe, we had a debt we could not pay…Christ Jesus paid the debt I could never pay.”

A farmer/shepherd would pick a lamb destined for sacrifice, and look for blemishes (only flawless lambs could be used). If there were none, and the lamb was meek, “tetalesty” = “perfect” – it was used then as a guilt offering.

Jesus also was the Lamb of God – JB (John the Baptist) introduced him as such.

This is Jesus in these pictures and this declaration. Jesus didn’t say, “I am finished” on the cross, but “IT is finished” (the work, the sacrifice, the justification of the sins of the world).

This was portrayed to the Galatians, and now Paul wonders why they’d turn back from this freedom in Christ – through his death – and go back to the preparatory stages of the Law.

If we turn back to the Law (mainly he’s talking to the Gentiles who were being taught to “follow our customs if you want 100% pure and full salvation”)… No, we are justified by faith in Jesus. If we turn back to the Law, we would be saying that Christ ISN’T sufficient.

  • “If you [turn back to the law], Christ will be of no value to you at all.” (v. 2)
  • You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ. (v. 4)
  • We eagerly await the righteousness for which we hope. (v. 5)

It doesn’t matter – Jew or Gentile – this Law has no value. It’s faith that works through love.

v. 13-15 – he emphasizes the obligation to love.

“You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (v. 13) Don’t be a slave to sin, don’t be a slave to law, but rather, serve one another (this is the way of Heaven). That obligation still remains (Romans 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt we have to one another. For he who loves his brother has fulfilled the Law.” The entire Law is fulfilled by keeping this single Law “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In chp 3, Paul argued that the Law was temporary – until Christ came (this was referring to the old covenant).

Here, he’s talking about Law (as obligation to love one another) as a permanent thing.

Paul’s opponents probably were saying that grace wasn’t sufficient – we would need the Law to instruct us. Paul says, “We don’t need rules like you look to in the OT, but we need to follow the ‘law’ of loving one another.”

Paul says, “If you bite and devour one another, watch out or you’ll be destroyed by one another.” (i.e. don’t obsess about the details of the Law – LOVE one another).

If we live by the Spirit, we won’t do the things that hurt others, we will love them. (Fruit of the Spirit vs. Fruit of the Flesh) You are not to do whatever you want. You are to serve one another in love, and not MERELY serve yourself. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law (the letter of the Law).”

  • “The acts of the flesh are obvious: … 15 things…” Some are very obvious, but others are less so – and probably going on in Galatia (and even in our lives) – idoaltry, hatred, discourd, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy…
  • “The fruit of the Spirit is… 9 things… and against such things there is no Law.”

The Law is not solution to sin, but Jesus IS. We need him not only on the day of Judgment, but also in the here and now – to live the Christian life here and now. We have put to death the sinful life and its passions and live the Christian life when we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Paul reminds them of the ultimate and basic truths of the gospel.

Martin Luther for one, valued this letter so much, and admitted that it was difficult to live like this. Old habits die hard (even Peter was openly rebuked by Paul for his failure of going back to the Law).

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and the cross.

Are you wondering what I’m talking about? If you feel like you need to pray this prayer with me, then please do so.

Thank you for sending Jesus to save us. I admit that I’m a sinner. By faith I repent of my sins, and ask Jesus to come into my life and lead and guide me for the rest of my life.

In Jesus Name Amen.

Tell someone if you prayed that prayer.

  • Jan 12 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Missionary Chapter: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give! (Matthew 10:1-8)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Missionary Chapter: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give! (Matthew 10:1-8)

01.12

01.12.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

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1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 


Have you received something freely? Undeserved?

Last time, Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion on them. He looked outside and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Few = almost none

“Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus is the same then and now, so he also has compassion today on man, sinners, the lost. It is the dream/hope of Jesus Christ that every single Christian = a missionary/reaper. Why? Because there is somebody that every one of us must bring to God.

He asks us to see what he saw, do what he’s done, feel what he’s felt.

  • Matthew 10: The Missionary Chapter
  • The King’s Ambassador’s Chapter
  • 1 Cor 13 = Love
  • 1 Cor 15 = Resurrection
  • Hebrews 11 = Faith
  • Matthew 10 = Missionary
  1. Who is the Lord/King of the missionaries?
  2. Who are the missionaries?
  3. Where is their mission field?
  4. What is the main target?
  5. What is the main message?
  6. What are the main tasks?

1: Who is the Lord of the missionary?

This is the Missionary chapter. The key subject = HE (Jesus Christ). The Lord = Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the Lord of Salvation.

v. 1 = “HE…”

The work of salvation can only be accomplished by Jesus Christ, but the witness of salvation can only be accomplished by his workers. That’s why Jesus needs (needs) these messengers.

In Isaiah, the prophet was before the throne of God in his vision, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty.” God said, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (Trinity)” Isaiah, “Here am I, send me!”

Like this, if we really experience salvation, we must respond to the calling of Jesus Christ. Who shall go for us (Trinity)?

Chp 9 did say, “Pray for workers.” But that is not enough. We must also make ourselves available to serve him.

2. Who can be missionaries? Called and sent?

There are two steps in the calling:

1. Jesus calls a sinner to be saved (to be his disciple/learner/follower).

Yes, Jesus had MANY disciples – some only hangers-on, but some were truly converted. In his first calling, Jesus calls a sinner to be saved = salvation.

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest.

Here I am. I stand at the door and knock…

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to salvation.

2. Calling for OTHER’S salvation.

From this large group of disciples, Jesus selected a smaller group of disciples (called apostles). In church today, we have no name “apostles” – but the most suitable name = “missionaries.”

v. 2-4 Can you memorize the 12 apostles?

  1. Simon (Peter)
  2. Andrew
  3. James (Zebedee)
  4. John
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew
  7. Thomas
  8. Matthew (this guy)
  9. James (Alphaeus)
  10. Thaddeus
  11. Simon (Zealot)
  12. Judas Iscariot

These guys are TOTALLY AVERAGE. Not rich, not academically gifted or learned, not high status, etc, etc.

They were very mixed – fishers, tax collectors (the most hated of the Jews), Simon the Zealot (very religious).

Zealots = the most nationalist of all nationalists – prepared to die for their country’s independence.

They had a strong resolution to undergo ANY suffering for their country – they were also ready to kill anyone who was against their country – with assassination or murder.

Imagine, if Simon the Zealot had met Matthew in another place (not with Jesus), he might have killed him.

The wonderful truth – 2-3 men who HATE each other can LOVE each other in Christ.

Who is God? He is the God who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He can do something EXTRAORDINARY with ordinary people. Jesus sees not only who we ARE, but also what he CAN MAKE us.

  • Yes, we are ordinary – not great.
  • But Jesus can make us extraordinary – to do something great through us.

Why? Because Jesus is a great king.

Are you called for salvation? (#1). Are you assured of your salvation? Then you should give thanks in ALL circumstances.

“It is by grace you have been saved, not by works so that no one may boast.”

Are you called as a missionary (#2)? Then also give thanks in all circumstances – because we have nothing to boast.

1 Cor ?:27-29 “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. God chose the things that are not to nullify the things that are so that no one can boast.”

If you have a strong calling, and realize that you are also called as a missionary, and you have a heart to truly win people to Christ, then you are TRUE apostles – you are TRULY his ambassadors.

3. Where is the mission field?

If we are missionaries, where is our mission field? Who are the main target people?

v.5-6 Lost sheep of Israel. 

Jesus gave them very specific instructions regarding their ministry.

  • Not Gentiles
  • Not Samaria
  • Only lost sheep of Israel

Does this mean he opposed the others? Didn’t love them? Was a nationalist?

No, he’d already encountered the Gentiles in Matthew 8 and healed them, and in John 4, the Samaritan woman.

What does this mean? 

Jesus came not to the Jews ONLY, but to the Jews FIRST.

Why are the Jews called the “Chosen People?” Because they were chosen FIRST – to give the message of salvation to other nations.

In that time, the Gentile territory lay to the North and Samaritan territory to the South. This is the very FIRST evangelism activity for the apostles – it was not long-term, but short-term. They must come back soon and report to Jesus. Now is also before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

So, this time is for maximizing efficiency and effect – not for exclusivity, not for partiality, but for FRUIT, concentration of limited energy for a specific target.

After his crucifixion and resurrection, THEN Jesus commands, “Go into ALL nations, ALL Creation and proclaim the Good News!”

So, how can we apply this principle in our own mission fields? If we are truly missionaries, we need to have 2 attitudes:

  1. Personal evangelist – be ready at all times to preach the Word of God, in season and out of season
  2. Specific target – we are limited in time and place, and wisdom, so we need a specific target for maximizing the fruit of our ministries.

3. What Was Their Message?

v. 7 “As you go…”

The message: short, simple, clear

“The kingdom of heaven is near.”

Jesus himself is the kingdom of heaven – kingdom = the king’s domain, country.

John the Baptist’s message was also the same.

It means, “The King is hear, the King is near, receive him!”

Now, we are after his crucifixion and before his Second Coming – so now what is our key message?

  1. Jesus DIED for your sins
  2. He was RAISED for your salvation
  3. He is COMING again soon

4. What were their tasks?

  1. Heal the sick
  2. Raise the dead
  3. Cleanse those with leprosy
  4. Drive out demons

Can you do these things?

We cannot. But Jesus can do them through us.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever in his power and authority. Yes, these things can happen literally if Jesus wills. But, more importantly is the SPIRITUAL ministry.

Basically, fundamentally, the ministry of the missionaries is these things:

  1. The lost are sick – unable, invalid, hopeless, powerless. If he accepts Jesus, he is healed perfectly, immediately.
  2. The lost are dead (Eph 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your sins and transgressions…”). If he accepts Jesus, he is ALIVE immediately. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live, though he dies.” Accepting Jesus Christ means rising from the dead immediately, physically, spiritually, eternally.
  3. The lost are lepers – without sense of spiritual things – unclean and ugly. If he accepts Jesus, he is immediately cleansed, purified, forgiven, restored in fellowship. Accepting Christ = purification.
  4. The lost are under the control of devils spiritually. Do you believe? “You belong to your father, the devil” – Jesus says to those who reject him. Whether we understand or agree or not, this is the spiritual truth. If he accepts Jesus, he is immediately freed to serve Jesus.

Accepting Jesus =

  1. Healing
  2. Resurrection
  3. Purification
  4. Freedom

Freely we have received. Freely we are to give.

John 10:10 “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”

If we are in Christ, we have eternal life. But God wants us to enjoy this life abundantly, fully. How? The secret = by giving freely. Give THIS life freely to others and you will experience THIS life more abundantly.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 29 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Choose Your Master: God or Money (Matthew 6:19-34)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Choose Your Master: God or Money (Matthew 6:19-34)

09.29

09.29.2013_Bulletin

(FULL) Sermon Notes

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Matthew 6:19-34
Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Do not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor of spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Amen. This is the living Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless all of us with this living Word of our Lord and King, Jesus.

09.29-illustration

Today’s topic is: Choose your Master: GOD or Money?

Did you choose? Did you choose already your Lord? You know, we have a tendency to divide life into two parts: the spiritual and the material. But this is not right. Our Lord Jesus makes no such division. In his many parables, in his many teachings, Jesus makes clear a right attitude toward materials. A right attitude toward money is a mark of true spirituality.

We know in the Bible, the Pharisees loved money and used money to make money in the name of “religion.” You know, if we have the true righteousness of Jesus Christ in our lives, we will have a right, proper attitude toward materials, toward money.

In the Bible, Jesus never praises poverty anywhere. Jesus never criticizes being rich materially because we know God made all things including our clothes, food, precious metals. Anything and everything, God made them, and God has declared all things he has made “good.” So, it is not wrong for us to possess materials, but it is wrong for materials to possess us.

Materials vs. Materialism

Materials themselves are not bad, but Materialism is bad. Materialism enslaves our hearts, our wills, our souls, even our spirits. The Bible never says, “Money is evil. Money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Do you like money? But, the Bible says, “The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows and griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10)

And Heb 13:5 says, “Therefore, keep your lives free from the love of money. Be content with what you have because God has said, ‘I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.’” You know, the Bible says there will be three kinds of Loves that will grow and grow as the last day comes nearer and nearer:

  1. The love of Self
  2. The love of Stuff (Money)
  3. The love of Sex (Pleasure) – The love of physical pleasure, the love of lust.

Shall we see once again, from verse 19-24? Let me read, you can see together.

Hate the one and love the other: idolize one, demonize the other.

We need to underline, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” You know the literal meaning in the Greek Bible is, “You cannot be a SLAVE both to God and money.” Whether we like it or not, we are made to be a slave to somebody or something. Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that when you offer yourselves to somebody to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey?” But, even though we are slaves, we have the right to choose our own Master, but we cannot have two Masters or more. We can have two friends or more, but we can have only one Master, only one Lord.

God vs. Other Gods

Then, we need to notice, Jesus does not say in the last sentence, “You cannot serve both God and Mohammed” – or God and Buddha – or God and somebody else – or God and something else. But Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and Money.”

It means, to Man, to human beings, money is a god, practically. Money is more influential, more powerful in a human’s practical life. The power of money, the influence of money is almost equal to God in our practical lives. We cannot deny it.

Then, the first verse, verse 19…

It means it’s very safe. It means it will last forever and forever, “where thieves do not break in and steal.” What does this mean? To “store up our treasures in heaven”? You know the Earth is the symbol of what is temporary. Then, Heaven means the symbol of something that is eternal. It means, USE what is temporary FOR what is eternal.

Check your spending style

At this moment we need to check our money spending style.

  • For example, how much do you spend for food?
  • How much do you spend for your clothing?
  • How much do you spend for your housing and furniture?
  • How much do you spend for ONE cigarette?
  • For the lottery?
  • For our hobbies or sports?
  • How much do you spend for face renovation?
  • How much do you spend for helping others?
  • How much do you spend for winning souls to Christ?
  • And how much do you spend for tithes and offerings?

Yes, there are MANY ways for us to store treasures in heaven, not on earth, but the Bible is very clear in teaching us one of the BEST ways for us to store our treasures in heaven is tithes and offerings. That’s why the Bible says this:

Malachi 3:8-10

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, “How do we rob you?” “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food [the symbol of my treasure] in my house [literally, it means the temple, the symbol of heaven]. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

[One of my personal favorite verses]

This is the Word of God Almighty.

During our Christian lives, we do continually tithes and offerings, but we need to know the true meaning of tithes and offerings, biblically – for God and for me. At this moment, I want to say just six points about the meaning of tithes and offerings, briefly.

6 Points about the Meaning of Tithes and Offerings

#1 First, as mentioned in Malachi 3:8-10, tithes and offerings is one of the best ways to store up our treasures in heaven.

Please remember whenever you give your offerings and tithes.

#2 Second, tithes and offerings is the action of obedience.

Tithes and offerings is not an optional choice, but an essential command in the Bible, not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament.

  • Already we read together Malachi 3:10, “Bring your whole tithe.”
  • And Exodus 23:15 says, “No one is to appear before God empty handed.”

Also in the New Testament, it’s the same.

  • In the New Testament, in Matthew chapter 23, Jesus our Lord agrees that we should give our tithe.
  • Second Corinthians 9:7 says, “That’s why each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give. Not reluctantly or under compulsion because God loves a cheerful giver.”

#3, tithes and offerings is a thanksgiving sacrifice.

We can show our thanksgiving to God by giving, by our action.

#4 Also, tithes and offerings is an acknowledgement of God’s ownership and our stewardship.

#5, tithes and offerings is a kind of prayer for more blessing.

Also, tithes and offerings is sowing with the expectation of reaping. Also a holy investment for harvest. You know, Jesus says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” We are not allowed to test God. Do you agree? But, in the Bible, in the whole Bible, there is only one area in which we are allowed, we are encouraged to test God. This area is tithe. We read already, God encourages us, God challenges us to “Bring the whole tithe and then test me in this and see if I won’t bless you more and more! I will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for that.”

Also 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: whoever sows little will reap little, whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but whoever sows generously (bountifully) will reap generously (bountifully).”

#6 And finally, let me say one more, tithes and offerings is a proclamation of freedom from the love of money.

We know the last sentence, “We cannot serve God and Money” but we can serve God with money. With our tithes and offerings, we say to money (please, do you have money in your pocket? Say to your money), “I need you, but I am not your slave. You are my slave. Please follow me, I don’t follow you. You have no right to control me, but I have the right to control you.” We can say this to money with our tithes and offerings.

Please remember, God knows we need money. So, if we serve God, God will provide us with money, as much as we need. But, money doesn’t know we need God. That’s why, if we serve money, money gives us only worry. So, the next topic is worry. In the next passage, we can see the word “worry” at least 6 or 7 times. Worry, worry, worry. Do you like worry? Please, do not worry about worry. Shall we see the next paragraph? At this moment, I bless all of us, God may bless, so that we may be free from worry. Verse 25:

The Real Reality of Worry (v. 25-34)

At this moment, we need to know what is the real reality of worry. I want to say at least four points about the reality of worry.

#1, first, please remember, worry is totally needless, useless, and even positively, actively harmful, injurious.

Worry it cannot affect the Past – the Past is passed. Like this, worry about Tomorrow is useless. Worry about Tomorrow is a wasted effort. You know, worry about Tomorrow can do nothing for Tomorrow except taking away the joy, energy, and effectiveness of Today. God has provided for us Today. You know, the regrets of the Past and the worry of Tomorrow destroys the quality of Today. Then, worry is worse than useless. Worry is harmful – positively, actively harmful.

We know already, worry is one of the great causes of physical sicknesses and diseases, such as headaches, stomach ulcers, coronary trouble. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a worrying heart dries the bones.” How right it is.

  1. Worry wears out our heart, our mind, our soul, our body.
  2. Worry affects our judgement.
  3. Worry weakens our decision power.
  4. And finally, worry makes us gradually, progressively unable to deal with our life.

Please remember that.

#2, second, worry is blind.

Worry makes us blind. Worry makes us unable to see, unable to learn the lesson from nature. Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air…” Do you know, do you believe that we are more valuable than the birds of the air? Do you agree? And Jesus says, “Look at the grass, the lilies of the field…” Do you believe we are much, much more valuable than grass, flowers. Do you believe this? We are created in his image.

But remember, Jesus does not say, “Look at the birds of the land… Look at the birds of the tree…” But Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the AIR.” You know, to be in the air, to be in the sky, birds should fly, and fly continually with their eyes opened. Jesus does not say, “Look at the lilies of the bottle… Lilies of the living room…” But Jesus says, “Lilies of the field.” You know, to remain standing in the field, lilies should put their roots under the ground, and should draw water from below, and should confront the wind and the sunshine – sometimes cold, sometimes hot. It means, they are in the RIGHT place, doing the right jobs according to God’s original designs for them. But they do not worry, they depend on God. God never fails.

“No worry” does not mean “no work, or no plan, no thought.” “No worry” means “no worry” and being in the right place according to God’s original design for us, and doing the RIGHT jobs according to God’s original design for us. Where is the right place we should be according to God’s original designs? The answer is we must be in God, in Jesus Christ.

#3, worry is essentially irreligious.

Please remember, worry is a matter of the heart, not a matter of outward circumstances. In the same circumstances, one man can be peaceful, can be serene, and another man can be worried to death. Peace and worry come not from circumstances, but from the heart.

You know one day a gentleman met a beggar on the street and:

  • That gentleman said to the beggar, “Hey, my friend, may God give you a good day.”
  • The beggar said, “I thank God that I never had a better day.”
  • Then, the gentleman said again, “My friend, may God give you a happy life.”
  • The beggar said, “I thank God I was never unhappy.”
  • Then that gentleman was surprised and said, “What do you mean?”
  • Then the beggar said, “Well, when it is fine, I thank God. When it is raining, I thank God. When it is cloudy, I thank God. When I have much, plenty, I thank God. When I am hungry, I thank God. Because God’s will is my will. Because whatever pleases God pleases me. Why should I say I’m unhappy because I’m happy?”
  • Then in astonishment, in surprise, the gentleman asked, “Who are you?”
  • The beggar answered, “I’m a king.”
  • The gentleman asked again, “What? You are a king? If you are a king, where’s your country? Where’s your kingdom?”
  • The beggar answered, “In my heart.”

Proverbs 4:23 says, “More than anything else, above all else, keep your heart, guard your heart because it is the source of life, the fountain of life, the wellspring of life.”

Please remember, if we think about a matter with fear over and over, it is worry. But, if we think about Jesus Christ with the Bible over and over, it is meditation. So, we have already a great ability to meditate very well. No problem.

#4 Worry is a sin to God

Let me say lastly one point. Please remember, worry is mistrust, unbelief, disbelief to God. In conclusion, worry is a sin to God. Shall we say together, “Worry is a sin to God.” In verse 30, Jesus says, “Oh you of little faith.” Oh you of no faith. What does this mean? This means that worry is evidence of little faith, no faith. And verse 32 says, “for the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

This means that worry is the pagan’s lifestyle. Today in our version, worry is the unbeliever’s lifestyle.

Yes, outwardly, we may worry because of this, because of this, because of that, such and such, many things we may worry, but the fundamental reason, the basic reason why I worry is because I do not trust in God, because I do not believe in Jesus Christ. Please remember, as long as we live in this world, the fundamental remedy, the fundamental solution for worry is believe in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and King and Master, really, truly, and act on that faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus gives peace of heart

Jesus died for us. Who died for us except for Jesus Christ? Jesus died for us, and that same Jesus who died for us and rose again from the dead gives us eternal life, abundant life. Jesus says, “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, no one shall snatch you out of my hand.” Just if we believe in Jesus Christ, that eternal life is ours. That abundant life is ours. Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust in me. I give you my peace, peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as this world gives. So, do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid.”

We know we want peace of heart. We want, we need that kind of peace. But this kind of peace can be found only in Jesus Christ. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast, throw away, cast all your anxieties, all your worry, on God because he cares for us.” Trust in Jesus Christ and to worry cannot go together.

Choose

Today is the moment. Today is the day for us to choose our true Master, our Lord: God or Material, God or Money, God or Worry.

First, Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends, which surpasses all understanding, all wisdom, all knowledge will keep your hearts and minds in our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Shall we pray together?

I want each of us to take a short time before God, very honestly, please, right now, ask to yourself, WHO is your Lord? Who is your Master? Truly, practically? And if your Lord, true Lord, is Jesus Christ, let us give thanks to him, who died on the cross for our sins, and who gave us eternal life, salvation, real peace, real joy, real safety.

Let’s pray.


Father God,

Thank you so, so much for giving us real freedom, real joy, real peace that cannot be found in this world. Father God, we know only we can be free from all kinds of worries, all kinds of anxieties, all kinds of troubles only in our Lord Jesus Christ, only by trusting in our God who is our Creator, who is our Maker, who is our Designer, who is our God, also Father.

Father God, help us please, not only through our tongues, but also from our deep hearts, our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ may be acceptable by you as real faith, real trusting.

Father God, fill us with the Holy Spirit. We cannot do that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, without the filling of the Holy Spirit it is impossible for us to get victory against the temptation of the material world in this world.

Father God, by your Spirit, by your power, by your wisdom, let us be victorious in this world. And let us live your life, heavenly life in this world, even though our body is here on this earth, we are not of this world because our citizenship is in heaven already. Help us to store our treasures in heaven eternally, not temporarily on Earth.

Thank you for your teaching us, thank you for your guiding us,

In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen.

  • Feb 24 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Reality of Christ’s Resurrection (John 21:1-14)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Reality of Christ’s Resurrection (John 21:1-14)

02.24

02.24.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

According to verse 14, this is Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples – this time at the Sea/Lake of Tiberias/Galilee.

After his resurrection, Jesus had made at least 6 appearances in or around Jerusalem. After those, the disciples returned to Galilee. In this region, Jesus also appeared several times (to 500 brothers, to James’ brother, to 7 disciples – Peter, Didymus, Nathanael, sons of Zebedee, 2 others). First, he appeared in Jerusalem, then in Galilee. 

Before his death, he told them that he’d meet them at an appointed place in Galilee, but they had remained in Jerusalem out of fear. So, he appeared to the in Jerusalem first to encourage them.

Think about the emotions of the previous few weeks. The Triumphal entry into Jerusalem as a king, the Last Supper with strange actions and words, the disappearance of Judas (one of them), the appearance of hundreds of soldiers in the Garden on that night, and all of them scattered, and Peter denied Christ three times, Jesus was crucified like a common criminal, then buried, then AMAZING resurrection. ALL of this happened over the course of just a FEW weeks.

What were they supposed to do?
They did return to Galilee, but they didn’t know what to do next. So they decided to return to their old jobs, their old lifestyles – fishing. 

v. 1-3 They went fishing, but caught nothing.

Until 3 years ago, when they met Jesus, they were fishermen – and Jesus had called them and said, “I’ll make you fishers of men.”

Then when they met Christ, they were transformed from fishermen to fishers of men. Now, even in this short time, when they were far away from Jesus in spirit and in body, they returned to their old lives and occupations. Fishing is not bad, not sin. But spiritually, there are at least 2 important lessons.

#1 – Whatever your job was before you met Christ, you were a “fisherman/woman.”

NOW, after meeting Christ, you are a “fisher OF men/women.” So, when we were outside of Christ, our main target was STUFF – titles, TVs, praise, etc. NOW, IN Christ, our target is SOULS of men, spiritual beings.

There is a difference between the jobs (actions) of the two. Fishermen catch living things from the water, pull them out and kill them. Fishers of men catch dead spirits and pull them into Christ’s kingdom and he makes them alive forever. 

#2 – We must be very careful not to return to our OLD selves and lives.

True, justification is once for all, eternal life can never be lost – the moment you accepted Jesus as personal Savior and Lord, we were saved from the penalty and punishment of sin. But, now as we are in these bodies, we are CONTINUALLY being saved (from temptation, sin, etc). Therefore, the Bible encourages us who are saved, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Paul’s letter to…) Be alert, be self-controlled, pray continually (Thess), do not give your enemy a foothold, for the enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (Peter’s epistle?).

To continue walking with Christ, we must be focused. To fall into sin, it takes only a moment. 

Illustration: To drive to Seoul safely, it takes 3 hours – continual focus and carefulness, but a car accident takes only a moment of carelessness.

Jesus is so faithful in keeping his promises. 

He chose them (chose us).

v. 4-6

The good news is, Jesus never criticized them for going fishing. They worked hard, all night, together, but the result = NOTHING. Their nets were empty.

Luke 5 – similar story – when they met Jesus for the first time, they experienced a similar experience. Jesus was standing on the shore (the same place, by the sea of Galilee). So many people were crowded around him listening to him, and Jesus noticed two boats around him, and got into Peter’s boat and asked him to set out from the shore. From there, he taught to the people on the shore. After that, he said to Simon Peter, put out your net into the deep water and catch something. Peter said, “All night we worked, and caught nothing, but because you said to, we will again.” They did, and the catch was so huge, that the nets began to break and they called the other boat. The two boats began to sink. Peter knelt down, “Oh, Lord, go away from me, I’m a sinful man.” (Christ is too holy, Peter is too unholy) Christ said, “Do not be afraid, from this time on you will catch men.” And they left everything and followed him.

Now, here there’s the similar story.

Jesus was not a fisherman, but they were PROS from that area, – they knew the best when, where, what, how in the Lake of Galilee, but their efforts produced nothing.

Have you ever experienced TOTAL FAILURE in your work, ministry, parenting, relationship, marriage? If you FAIL on your own, we can experience great SUCCESS in Jesus. If we feel EMPTY, he is ABUNDANT. If we are WEAK, he is SUPER-POWERFUL.

The condition is Absolute, Unconditional Obedience. This alone produces miracles.

The action of throwing nets into the water, on the right side of the boat was NOT what caused the blessing, but it was OBEDIENCE to Christ’s words that caused the blessing.

We can experience miracles like this as well if we obey Jesus – because we understand his words. If we do so because we think his words are reasonable, that’s not true (full of faith) obedience. We obey because of who He IS, not because of how reasonable His words sound.

v 7-14

(153 fish? What’s the significance? Some sort of secret spiritual thing? NO. It just provides evidence that this is an ACTUAL historical event)

First, to our sadness, they didn’t know that it was Jesus. They didn’t recognize him as Lord. We don’t know why, but we can guess. (Possibly because of the distance – 90m, or because of the lack of light, mist on the water, their strong concentration on fishing, doubt about Jesus resurrection, no expectation of his appearance there). At first, they didn’t recognize him.

How about us?

Sometimes, are you involved in some things that you think Jesus appearance or presence would be unlikely?

Jesus appeared to them at very unlikely times, in very unlikely places – while walking, in a locked room, morning, lunch, evening – in anything and everything they were doing. 

The last verse in Matthew “Behold, I am always with you even to the very end of the age.” 

Be honest before God now. In your daily steps and walking, when in your bed, bathroom, office, school, fights, do you feel, do you recognize Jesus appearance in that situation? Recognition of Jesus’ appearance as King of Kings, Lord of Lords – a realization of Jesus appearance = the Christian life in this world.

If you have no recognition of Jesus in your daily life (though you claim to be Christian) then you are a Practical Unbeliever.

At this time, the tired, frustrated, hungry disciples, needed encouragement and direction – so Jesus came to them and made his appearance known to them. 

So Jesus provided them with everything that they needed. 

  • He provided a fire – they were cold from fishing all night on the sea.
  • He provided food – they were hungry and tired.
  • He provided a warm heart and welcome invitation – they were frustrated and discouraged.

Still now, Jesus is available and ready and prepared for us. He has a gracious and welcome invitation to us.

Sometimes, are you discouraged in your work (even ministry)? Jesus wants to provide to us sustenance and comfort and fellowship like this – He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He wants to provide peace, eternal life. Still now, He says, “Come to me, all who are burdened and heavy-laden…Peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you…”

Galatians “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. So do not be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

His job to appear to us and provide for us, and welcome us is still going on today.

May God bless us all with Jesus appearance.

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