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  • Dec 23 / 2018
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Christmas, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What’s your reaction to Jesus’ Coming? (Matthew 2:1-11)

Download Notes in a .MD file

What’s your reaction to Jesus’ Coming?

Matthew 2:1-11 (Pastor Heo)

The Visit of the Magi

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ “

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were **overjoyed**. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.


Merry Christmas!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, yes, but I also want to ask you a question: to whom can Christmas become really Christmas? Is Christmas really a merry Christmas to you?

We know the spelling of “Christmas” = “Christ” + “mass”

  1. “Christ” = Greek christos (The Anointed One, the Promised Messiah, the offices of King, Prophet, Priest)
  2. “Mass” = Latin? mas or mista? (this means “worship”)
  • So, “Christmas” = “worship Christ”
  • “Merry Christmas” = “worship Christ merrily”

So, when you greet others, please let them know the REAL meaning of Christmas. Please, bless your neighbor with “Merry Christmas” from your deep heart.

Based on this story, not only at THAT time, but even today, there are 3 reactions of man toward Jesus’ coming.

When hearing these, consider: which is mine?

# 3 Reactions to Jesus’ Coming

1. Reaction of Herod

Hatred / anger / fear

He was a temporary king, and was so afraid of a “real” king that he gave orders to kill ALL the baby boys in that area under 2 years old. He was afraid that this little baby would interfere with his power, position, influence, etc. So, he wanted to kill the baby Jesus.

Even today, there are those who want to (spiritually) kill Jesus – even in their attitudes – because they wish to do whatever they like / want to do. But Jesus will not allow them to.

The man who only wants to do whatever he wants has no use for Jesus Christ.

The coming of Christ is the greatest challenge in this world.

Imagine if I say: “Change your job / hobby / health / hairstyle / weight / etc” – this may be a big challenge and he will be angry at me.

But Jesus’ coming can be the GREATEST challenge and attack to his life. This means: “Change your Lord / Savior / Master / life purpose / priorities / etc”

Please remember, the Christian in the one who has STOPPED doing only what he likes and has committed himself to doing what CHRIST likes and wants.

This is the true identity of a Christian in front of Christ.

2. Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law

Indifference / apathy

At that time, they were so engrossed in their own temple actions and rituals that they completely disregarded Jesus Christ. Jesus meant NOTHING to them.

This is a strange story.

The chief priests were the MOST religious leaders, so their FIRST concern should be God. But when God became man, they missed it.

The teachers of the Law were doctors and masters and professors in the matter of Scripture. The theme of the Scriptures is the Messiah to come – but when the Messiah himself CAME, they did not recognize it. How sad!

Imagine:

  • they spend their WHOLE lives studying Scripture and
  • the WHOLE topic of Scripture is Jesus Christ,
  • but they MISSED Christ.

This is also possible today:

Someone spends his WHOLE life and activity attending church, but he missed Christ.

Thus, a Christian’s FIRST concern must be Christ. Please, do not forget: A Christian’s FIRST concern must be Christ.

A believer’s first purpose, first interest should be Jesus Christ.

3. Reaction of the Magi

(wise men from the East)

Adoring worship = the purpose of the journey of the Magi

God bless you to be wise men.

  • Say, “I’m wise…”
  • Tell your neighbor, “You look so wise!”

Jesus says in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7) “Anyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. When the rains come and the winds blow, the house remains standing because it is built on the rock – with a firm foundation…”

Adoring worship = the purpose of the journey of the Magi

Yes, our life in this world is a journey. On coming to the house (3 or more? because there are 3 kinds of gifts), they saw Mary and Jesus (maybe Joseph as well) – but they worshiped Jesus ONLY.

Joseph and Mary are NOT the objects of our worship. Worship belongs to God alone – this means that we recognize that Jesus is God – the very nature God.

When we recognize the love of God IN Jesus Christ, we also should be lost in wonder and praise.

  • They came to worship Christ as their best gifts.
  • We must know that for our worship to be true worship, we must give Jesus our best gifts as well.

Gifts of the Magi

They knelt down and worshiped him with their BEST gifts. These are very symbolic gifts: characteristic of his ministry and person:

1. Gold = for a KING

Jesus was born to be King of the world

Whether he or she knows it or not, EVERYONE has their own king.

Jesus is to rule over our whole hearts and lives – he is our personal king. Before we can be best friends with Jesus Christ, we must submit to him. When we say, “Jesus is my King” it means we are totally ready to give our complete submission to him and to kneel down before him.

What is the gold you will give Jesus today?

2. Incense (frankincense) = for PRIESTS

This perfume was used in the temple.

We know the main job of the priest was to open the way for God to man. “Pontifax” = bridge builder = between God and man.

Because of sin, there is a big gap between God and man. This is what Jesus did. Jesus opened the way to God for us. But he did not say, “I made the way to God for you.” But rather he said, “I AM the way.”

“No one comes to the Father except by me.” He is:

  • Wonderful Counselor,
  • Mighty God,
  • Everlasting Father,
  • Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

3. Myrrh = to embalm the one who was to die (PROPHECY)

Jesus came into the world to live for us and then to die for us. He came to give his best for us, and his death for us.

He gave us his BEST gift, so it is only natural (our privilege) to also give OUR best gift to him. Isn’t that just logical?

Jesus: “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for all people.”

Remember, since the creation of the heavens and earth, Jesus is the ONLY person whose ancestry, birth time, place, manner, reception, rejection, suffering, persecution, crucifixion, resurrection was ALL prophesied – even hundreds of years before he was born.

This means that Jesus is the CENTER of the world’s desire, the keystone, the foundation, the cornerstone of ALL prophecy from the creation of the world.

So, the WISEST man is the one who gives his BEST to Jesus.

There is hope.

The WISEST gives Jesus his BEST.

To give to Jesus is the BEST investment, the best insurance, the best savings, the best deposit in eternity and for eternity.

How and for what do you spend your

  • Time,
  • Treasures, and
  • Talents?

Merry Christmas! (Really?)

Yes, I wish a Merry Christmas to all of us until we stand before Christ as Lord and God.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 31 / 2017
  • Comments Off on We Belong to Each Other (Romans 12:3-8)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We Belong to Each Other (Romans 12:3-8)

We Belong to Each Other (Romans 12:3-8)

Download Notes in a .MD file

We Belong to Each Other

Romans 12:3-8 (Pastor Heo)

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


“We belong to each other”

Today is the LAST DAY of this year.

There is a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3).

  • Every “today” is the first day of the rest of your life.
  • Tomorrow will soon be called “today.”
  • One day which is called “today” will be called the “last day.”
  • So, “today” is the day of God’s favor.

We are called to be worshipers of God, but we are also SENT into this world. We are not permanent citizens of earth, but permanent citizens of heaven.

“If anyone says in his heart, ‘I love God’ but hates his brother, he is a liar.” Our faith in God is verified by the kind of relationships we have with each other.

We belong to each other.

v. 3

“3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

This means: “Know thyself”

Evaluate yourself rightly.

An honest assessment of your abilities – without conceit, without false modesty – is very important for your life.

  • Some Christians even think TOO low of themselves.
  • Other Christians OVER-evaluate themselves.

The key to honest and accurate evaluation is:

knowing the basis of your self-worth IN Jesus Christ.

  • Apart from Christ, we are nothing, and can do nothing.
  • IN Christ, through Him, we are SOMEthing – somebody – we are valuable, and can do everything that God wants us to do by his power.
  1. We are saved by grace; grace is a gift.
  2. We are saved on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the power of his resurrection; this is the greatest gift of God.
  3. We are saved by faith; faith is a gift of God.

We have received sooo many gifts from God.

Here are two lessons:

1. Don’t OVER-rate yourself (know yourself)

Eph 2:9 “It is by grace you have been saved, it is a gift from God…”

1 Cor 1 “Think of what you were (who you were) when you were called: not many of you were wise, not many were noble. God called the foolish things to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong, the lowly things, the despised, to nullify the things that are, so that you may not boast before God.”

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Story (Illustration):

One day, two men went to the entrance of heaven.

  • Angel: “You need 1 billion points to get in. What did you do?”
  • Man 1 (proudly): “Of course! I have a great family background – Christianity, pastor father, elder in the church.”
  • Angel: “OK, 1 point.”
  • Man 1 (less proudly): “I supported so many missionaries, built church buildings, gave lots of money, helped the needy.”
  • Angel: “Not bad, 1 point.”
  • Man 1 (dismayed): “I never missed a single worship service – EVERY dawn, Wednesday, all-night, cell group, Sunday. I offered FULL tithe.”
  • Angel: “Good. 1 point. But your pride, arrogance, self-justification reduces your score by 100. You are below 0.” (to Man 2) “So… what did you do?”
  • Man 2: “I’m not qualified at all. I need mercy, grace, compassion from God. But one thing: I trusted in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead for my life. I just called him my Savior, Master, Lord, King, God. That’s the only one thing I did. Please, don’t look at me, but look at Christ IN me.”
  • Angel: “You have Jesus? Wow ∞ points.”

“To those who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be called children of God.”

2. Don’t UNDER-rate yourself

Eph 2:10 “We are God’s workmanship, made in his image, to do good works that he’s prepared in advance for us to do.”

IN Christ, we are capable of MUCH service. Please do not UNDERestimate yourselves if you are IN Christ.

v. 3

“3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

v. 4-5

“4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

We are ONE body – with many parts.

This is true.

Each of us has ONE body as well. In our ONE body, there are so many parts: mouth, neck, nose, eyes, feet, hands. We are a living part of ONE body. Look at your own body. None of these members fight with one another, nor dispute with each other about their relative importance. Each member carries its own function. Each member has its own task to do.

AICF (a Christian church) should be:

  • The church is the BODY of Christ;
  • Christ is the HEAD of the church;
  • each member is a member of the BODY.
  1. A man cannot be a man separated from another man.
  2. Christians cannot be Christians by being isolated from other Christians.
  3. A man can be a man only among men.
  4. A Christian can be a Christian only among other Christians.

1 Cor 12:14-27

“14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

The head exists for the body; the body exists for the head; each member is both a means AND an end to each other.

Here are some letters – the meaning is very biblical (rich in meaning) – there are three.

  1. 나너 (I, you) (nah, nuh) –
    • I and you have HALF in common (as do these letters) – but the two vowels are facing each other. If 나 turns, it becomes 너, and vice versa (나 and 너 belong to each other – 나 is because of 너, and vice versa). I and you are ONE. We are one coin with two sides. This is very biblical.
  2. 人(Chinese symbol for people) (인 – 사람) –
    • without the left side, the right falls down. The right stands because of the left. The sticks (legs) depend on each other.
  3. 來 (Chinese symbol for “come”) (올래) –
    • there are three men hanging from the cross – on the left and right are two small men (two robbers – sinners – this is US, represents humanity), the one large man in the center is Christ. The second meaning is “Come” to Christ to be saved.

v. 6-8

“6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

All things we have and are doing in Christ are gifts. So, we must be humble and recognize our partnership with Christ and in the body of Christ.

  1. Only then can our gifts be used effectively.
  2. Only then can we appreciate others’ gifts.
  3. We must recognize that ALL gifts come from God and that not everyone has the same gifts, nor all the gifts.
  4. We must dedicate our gifts to the service of God – not ourselves.
  5. We must also give our gifts freely and willingly and whole-heartedly.

There are MANY gifts – many that are hidden from the public. Many are quietly serving God.

1 Cor also shows at least 9 other gifts

  • Wisdom,
  • Knowledge,
  • Faith,
  • Healing,
  • Prophesy,
  • Distinguishing Spirits,
  • Speaking in Tongues,
  • Interpreting Tongues

This passage shows 7 – Note: Prophesy (not always predicting the future – in the NT it means communicating the gospel effectively)

  1. Prophets: bold, fearless, articulate
  2. Servers: faithful, loyal, consistent, steadfast
  3. Teachers: logical thinkers, clear, persuasive explainers
  4. Encouragers: know how to motivate others, giving others hope and courage
  5. Contributors (Givers): generous, hospitable, trustworthy
  6. Leaders: good organizers, managers, having impact and influence
  7. Mercy Givers: caring, helping, compassionate hearts

Let me make 4 things clear:

  1. EVERY Christian has received gifts –
    • there is no Christian with no gift – grace, salvation, eternal life, skills, all these things are gifts. Do you know what is your gift? You have received this already. Use it!
  2. There is NO RANK among the gifts.
    • All are necessary gifts – none are superior nor inferior. All are the same in value and rank before God. So, be careful not to emphasize your own gifts, nor minimize the gifts of others.
  3. Gifts are not FRUIT.
    • “The gift of the Holy Spirit” vs. “The fruit of the Holy Spirit” – Gifts are not fruit, not toys, not weapons. Gifts are TOOLS to help BUILD UP the body of Christ. These gifts are given to benefit OTHERS, not ourselves.
  4. Giving gifts is the job of the Holy Spirit –
    • according to his will. We are very passive in receiving our gifts. The Holy Spirit gives according to the will of God. BUT, we have a responsibility to USE, increase, develop our gifts for the good of the body of Christ.

Matt 25 – The Story of the Talents.

There were 3 servants – each received gifts from their Master. One got 5 talents, one 2, the last 1 talent. They were totally passive in receiving, but they had a responsibility to use those gifts.

Two servants put their gifts to work and gained double:

5 doubled to 10, 2 doubled to 4.

The last servant was fearful and put his gift in the ground. He kept it very safe, but he did not put it to use. So he received condemnation from his Master: “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be cast out into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Yes, we have also received gifts.

This is the end of 2017. What have we done with the gifts of the Holy Spirit this last year?

If God gives us another year (from tomorrow) – remember this also is a gift. How will you put God’s gifts to use “tomorrow”? (and next year)

Let us pray to put our gifts to good use in the next year. Let us also give thanks to God for his many, many gifts.

Grace, salvation, faith, Jesus Christ, these are all great gifts from God. Let us give thanks for all these things.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 14 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Four Questions (Matthew 25:14-30)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Four Questions (Matthew 25:14-30)

06.14.2015

06.14.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

Four Questions

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Matthew 25:14-30 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Talents

25:14-30Ref — Lk 19:12-27

14 “Again, it will be [Secondly, the Kingdom of God will be] like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 

16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 

22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 

24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 

28 ” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


 

Today’s story is known well by most people as the parable of the Talents (today that means special ability or skill – but the English word came from Greek “talento” that means BIG money.) Talents at that time were the BIGGEST unit of money. One talent = 6,000 denarii / 1 denarius = daily wage of an ordinary man, SO… 1 talent = 20 years wages of an ordinary man. (So 5 talents = 100 years wages…)

Previously, we saw in the other parable we must keep watch because we don’t know the day nor hour that Jesus will come back.

  • Last week: foolish or wise.
  • This week: diligent or lazy / faithful or unfaithful

Are you diligent for the KOH? Or lazy?

The KOH is like a master going on a long journey, who gave talents to his servants before he left – each according to their ability.

  1. The one with 5 worked hard and gained 5 more.
  2. The one with 2 worked hard and gained 2 more.
  3. The one with 1 buried it – no gain, no loss.

After a LONG time, the master returns and calls his servants to see what they did with the money he gave them.

  1. 5 + 5 = “Good, well done – you’ve been faithful with a little, prepare for more jobs”
  2. 2 + 2 = “Good, well done – you’ve been faithful with a little, prepare for more jobs”
  3. 1 ~~ “I did nothing. Here is your talent.”
    “WHAT!? So wicked, evil, and lazy! Give this to the one with 10, throw this one into the darkness!”

From this story, here are 4 lessons/questions.

(Today’s sermon title is “4 Questions”)

1. Talents = Do you have talents? Gifts?

Ex: The salvation God gives by his grace on the death and resurrection of Christ is the SAME. The salvation that Abraham received is the same as the one the mature Christian receives, the same a baby Christian receives, the same a pastor receives. But, in the matter of gifts, there is a difference.

  • 1 Cor 12 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the one same Spirit, different services, different working, but the same God works in all of them.”
  • Romans 12 “We all have different gifts according to the grace given to us. Whatever the gift, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Whether giving, leadership, showing mercy, etc.”

Imagine,

  1. If ONE talent were given to a man who had much ability, he would be disgraced.
  2. If FIVE talents were given to one with minimal ability, he would be destroyed by the heavy burden.

So,

  1. FIVE were given to the one with the most ability –
  2. TWO to the one with average ability –
  3. ONE to the one with minimal ability.

God knows us all and knows which gifts are best for his glory and our benefit.

The fact that God gives different gifts does not mean he shows favoritism. Rather, he recognizes all human beings as unique individuals and gives talents in proportion to their ability.

Q 1: What has God given to you as a gift?

Think over this for a while. Do you have salvation? Yes, generally speaking, salvation is the gift of gifts – given by his grace freely. Do you have the love of God? This is a gift given to you. Do you have assurance of salvation, assurance of forgiveness? Family? Children? Time? Material? What a treasure – these are all talents! Money? Money is a gift from God as well.

Q 1: What has God given you and me?

Can you count the number of items God has given you?

2. Lesson from the two faithful servants

  1. One = 5 talents + 5 talents = 10 total
  2. Second = 2 talents + 2 talents = 4 total

In the final account with their master, they received exactly the same commendation and reward “Well done, good and faithful servant~”

“I will put you in charge of (make you ruler over) many things.”

God never demands from us what we do not have. BUT, he does require us to use to the FULL what we do have.

  • We can be different in talents, but equal in effort.
  • We can be different in talents, but equal in the eyes of God.

What does not matter is the PORTION of our talents, but the PROPORTION of how we use what we have.

The reward they received was even greater responsibility – more jobs – more work.

Responsibility = reward = blessing.

Do you want rest? Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.”

Rest is NOT joblessness – but rather doing something diligently with joy and happiness. Doing something for the glory of God for the benefit of others. Do you have a sense of responsibility for others?

If you feel responsibility, this is a REWARD for your faith.

Q 2: What are you DOING with what God has given to you?

Do you have salvation as the gift of gifts? If so… what are you doing with it? Do you experience the love of God in your heart? Then what are you doing with it? Do you have peace? Then what are you doing with it? What are you doing with your life? Time? Car? Good relationships? Money?

Q 2: What am I doing with what God has given me as a gift?

3: From the third (bad, wicked – do you think so?) servant

In a sense, it seems he was half OK – no gain, but no loss. He did keep that ONE talent VERY safely – he didn’t waste it for a bad purpose, for his sinful pleasure – for gambling or drinking. He saved it – just buried it.

At that time, in Jesus’ time, the best way to keep something valuable safely for a long time was to bury it under the ground. (For us today, put it in the bank?)

OK – no gain, no loss. But Jesus was SO angry, so sad – the master said, “You are wicked and lazy!”

What was it that made the Lord so angry, so sad? What do you think was the problem with this servant?

Was his problem just receiving the ONE talent? No, if he’d worked hard and gained just ONE more, he’d have received the SAME reward.

The problem was the third servant’s misunderstanding about his master.

He thought his master was a hard man (yes, Jesus, our Lord is our master – do you think he is harsh? unmerciful? stern?) and exploited the labor of others – reaping where he has not sown seed. He misunderstood about his master. This misunderstanding made him fearful and afraid of his master – because he was so afraid that he might FAIL, he never even tried to SUCCEED. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his “bad” master.

Maybe he wanted a vacation, a holiday because his master went far away. Because his master entrusted him with one talent to do work, he thought his master was harsh.

Yes, even us today, some Christians think, “Oh no, IF I commit my life to Christ more and more, maybe he’ll want me to go to some harsh tribe in another country and die a martyr….” We think “the more dedication to Christ, the more suffering in this life.” This is thinking that Christ is a harsh master. (Actually, the opposite is true – Christ is SO good that he died on the cross for our lives to give us wonderful abundant life.)

We sing songs, “God is good all the time” yes, he is the ultimate standard of goodness – so ALL he does is GOOD whether we understand it or not, whether we like it or not.

  1. If we think and believe that Christ is GOOD – then his goodness will be GOOD to us – through our experience.
  2. But, if we think that he is HARSH, then his goodness will be HARSH in our eyes.

Q 3: What do you think/believe of your Lord Jesus Christ?

What do you believe in your heart? How does your experience look?

4: How we should be in our attitude in our Christian life.

It LOOKS like a Christian inside is thrown outside when the Judgment comes. Yes, we need assurance of salvation – but ultimately speaking, salvation depends on God alone. Once salvation, it can never be lost if it is TRUE salvation – but we are not “safe.” There is no security apart from Christ (”Apart from me, you can do nothing.”)

Only Christ saves us. So we must depend on him alone, rest on him alone. But remember, this security we enjoy in God’s promises should not make us presumptuous / proud – please don’t become “cocky” with God – don’t ASSUME that God MUST let us in. We have no right to demand that he let us in.

We must live each day in our lives believing in his promises and dedicating our time and talents and wisdom and money to his work – and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, witnessing to the lost, being generous to the poor and needy.

We must make choices that please God.

  • Remember, everything we have, not only visible but also invisible – is not really ours.
  • “You are not your own, you were bought at a price – therefore honor God with your body.”
  • We are not OWNERS, we are just CARETAKERS (stewards).

Q 4: What will Jesus say to you and me when we stand before him face to face in the Final Judgment?

What will he say to us personally, individually?

There are two categories:

  1. Well done, good and faithful servant! You’ve been good with small things, now I’ll give you more. Come and share your master’s happiness.”
  2. Well then, you wicked and lazy servant! Go into the darkness!”

“Well done, good and faithful!”

May God bless all of us with this final reward and commendation that it may fall on each of us in the Last Day.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 14 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Men’s Traditions VS. God’s Truth (Matthew 15:1-20)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Men’s Traditions VS. God’s Truth (Matthew 15:1-20)

09.14

09.14.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Men’s Tradition VS. God’s Truth

Matthew 15:1-20 (Pastor Heo)

Clean and Unclean

15:1-20pp — Mk 7:1-23

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ 6 he is not to ‘honor his father ‘ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 ” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” 10Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ “12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” 15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ “


 

The Bible says: Truth and Grace came through Jesus Christ. Our Lord’s great concerns are truth and love. In the first part, Jesus is teaching Truth and exposing human hypocrisy. During his time on earth, the main enemy was not the Roman government, but the religious teachers. The Pharisees attacked Jesus with many questions (chp 9: “Why do they not fast?”, chp 12: “Why do they break the Sabbath law?”, chp 15: “Why do they break the tradition of the elders?”)

Today, they want to accuse Jesus of breaking their traditions and culture. (These guys came all the way FROM Jerusalem to accuse him.)

Up to this time, 100s of laws and traditions had been added to the Law (630+ laws in the Old Testament alone – but they also added ON TOP of these – one tradition or law was washing hands before eating).

They thought: “If something is ‘unclean’ – then its ‘uncleanness’ is infectious/transferable – so, if I touch this, or even if it touches me, I will be ‘unclean’ and anyone I touch or who touches me will also be ‘unclean’~! Ahh!~”

The Gentiles were physically, morally, spiritually ‘unclean’ to the Jews at that time. So, they didn’t partake in food with them. Also, the Jews not only ceremonially washed their hands, but EVERYTHING else too! They thought “If I wash my hands, then I’m physically AND spiritually clean enough to approach God and talk to him and be near him. But if I don’t wash, I can’t talk to God.”

mishina = traditions that are more important than the original Law of Moses.

They said to Jesus, “Why do your disciples break the mishina?” They meant, “Why do YOU break the mishina?”

To you, to us, which is more important? Man’s truth (traditions) or God’s truth (commands).

Jesus replied: “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”

corba = a gift devoted to God (v. 6)

They nullify the Word of God for the sake of their traditions.

They said to Jesus, “YOU! are breaking the commands of GOD!” (because to them, mishina was equal to the commands of God).

Jesus said to them, “Not I, but YOU are breaking the commands of God!” (because their traditions were stepping on the commands of God).

Example: corba = a gift devoted to God

If a Jew wanted to escape some financial responsibilities (gifts, help for friends or family, etc), he would just say, “Oh! I can’t pay, sorry! ALL my money and property is ‘corba!’ For God only! Sorry!~~~”

In doing this, they are losing the power of God’s Word in their lives, missing God’s blessing, and avoiding the growth of their own character. ‘Corba’ would allow them to disobey God and disrespect parents.

Man’s traditions = to obey men and gain power and respect – deals with ritual – deals with the outward appearance – robs people of the power of the Word of God.

Even now, there are MANY evangelical “traditions” that are practiced and performed as just as authoritative as the Word of God.

v. 7-9

Are you worshiping God truly? Honestly? In vain?

Jesus called them “hypocrites”!

Greek = “actors” – spiritual pretenders “I’m so close to God, but all YOU guys are sinners!” Don’t worship for our own outward appearance. If we claim to worship him while our hearts are far from him, it is meaningless, nothing.

It is not enough to “act religious” or “study religion” or even “read the Bible.” We must RESPOND to God personally.

Yes, it’s EASY to talk about worship.

Worship (William Temple): “To quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind by the truth of God, to enliven the heart with the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

Jesus continues his teaching:

v. 10-11

What did you eat this morning? (French toast)

Uncleanness (defilement) is not an external matter – like washing your hands, or keeping the “Sabbath” – but keeping the heart.

  • Holiness begins in the heart.
  • Sin begins in the heart.

Jeremiah: “The heart is deceitful above all things, beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Anything we are doing begins from our hearts. This is the center of our attitudes, passions, desires, and actions.

v. 12-14

Blind leading the blind (Pharisees).

This idea that people were not unclean because of food (or hand washing) was REVOLUTIONARY to the Jews.

Even in our daily lives, we must not offend others because of food – BUT we must also not BE offended by others because of food. Do you eat dogs? Cats? Rabbits? Bison (yummy)? Elk? Cockroaches? Deer?

Eating or not is not a matter of religion, but a matter of health, culture, or habit.

Jesus declares in Mark 7:19 “ALL foods are clean before God.”

Romans “The man who eats everything must not look down on the man who does not eat. Also, the man who does not eat, must not criticize the one who eats. Why? Because God has accepted BOTH. Only God can judge his heart, and only before his own Master he stands or falls.”

Don’t condemn or call “unclean” those who eat.

Romans 14:17 “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but a matter of peace, and joy, and holiness.”

Peter

v. 15-20

  • In the mouth -> stomach -> out of the body
  • Out of the mouth <- from the heart

Evil actions from the evil heart (v. 19):

  1. murder – take a person’s God-given life
  2. adultery – have sex with someone other than a person’s God-given spouse
  3. sexual immorality – having sex in a different manner than a God-glorifying and ordained manner
  4. theft – taking something not yours – not given by God
  5. false testimony – lying about something against someone else created by God
  6. slander – badmouthing another person created by God

Sometimes Peter spoke as the spokesman for the disciples. So, Jesus patiently reiterated his message.

Sin in a man’s heart is what makes him unclean.

What is the heart? The center of the man’s passions, dreams, hopes, desires.

It is clear why we sin: it is a matter of the heart.

When we become Christians, Jesus makes us TOTALLY different from the inside-out and he will continue the changing process IF we ask. He will change our hearts, intentions, desires, and actions from the inside out.


It is up to us to help with outward actions, yes, that’s true and good – giving, going to the Bible study, helping and serving. Wow! Great! Nice job! Essential parts of a Christian life. BUT these are NOT religion themselves. This is a path, a means toward true religion.

True religion is inward, not outward – an attitude toward God and others.

IF outward expression was true religion, it would be very misleading and deceiving. Someone may have a perfect, spotless, beautiful “religious” life and may yet be FILLED with bitterness, anger, cursing.

Yes, we know, blessed are the PURE in heart, for they will SEE God. Why? Because God sees YOUR heart. If you heart is pure, He reveals himself to you, you can see him.

It is with the heart that we are saved and are purified and are justified.

We worship God from the heart, sing from the heart, dance, serve, glorify God, give, help from the heart.

May God bless all of us, especially our hearts: the CENTER of who we are and what we are doing.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 21 / 2013
  • Comments Off on A Wise Man Eternally is the One Who Worships the King Christ with His Best Offering (Matthew 2:1-23)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

A Wise Man Eternally is the One Who Worships the King Christ with His Best Offering (Matthew 2:1-23)

04.21

04.21.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”[d]

The Return to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.


Matthew is the Book of the King.

Chp 1 = genealogy, how he was conceived and born. This is the virgin birth – he is fully God and fully man = born of our bones and flesh, but perfectly sinless, no original sin nature. 

The doctrine of the virgin birth is so important, an undeniable truth – it is taught in the Bible and we believe the inspiration of the Scriptures. It is unchangeable truth – this doctrine stands with the teaching of the Scriptures, it doesn’t change. 

Virgin birth is necessary in the plan of salvation. Salvation of even one soul (without the virgin birth) is utterly impossible. Our life/birth is also a kind of mystery. Who can explain how a tree gives birth/life to its seed? 

If we can understand something of God, it’ll help to believe in God. Imagine if we could contain all of God in our limited brains, it would mean he was a limited being. But he isn’t, he’s limitless. 

  • This truth is also unconditional. It should be accepted whether or not we understand. Truth is truth, fact is fact.
  • This is unmistakeable truth – we meet it every year at Christmas.
  • This is useful truth. Almighty God (Emmanuel) has become a man to be with us (with you). Almighty God without sin is always available to save us, to protect us, to keep us.

Chp 2 – More explanation of his birth (our King)

Matthew is the bridge between OT and NT (the Promised Messiah). That’s why in the book of Matthew, we see many quotations from the OT. (Here there are 4). This means that EVERY event in the birth/life of Christ happened to fulfill the OT prophecies.

#1: v.6 – He was born in Bethlehem 

How he was born (virgin) was prophesied

Where he was born was prophesied also. (Micah 5:2) Mi-Ka (Korean)

“…whose origins are from of old, from ancient times…”

The time is during the human kind Herod. When he heard of the baby king, he was furious and tried to kill him. In the NT, there are actually many Herods.

  1. John the Baptist’s Herod – imprisoned him, killed him.
  2. Jame’s Herod – put him and Peter in prison – killed by an angel.
  3. Paul’s Herod – heard Paul’s testimony in Acts.
  4. THIS is the original Herod – the founder of Herod’s royal family – he built the temple in Jerusalem to buy the house of the Jews – he was half Jew (Jacob) and half Edomite (Esau). He was ALWAYS suspicious. He killed his wife and her mother. He killed his eldest son and other two sons. There was a saying “It’s safer to be Herod’s dog than his son.” (historically) 

Now, he hears about a baby king, so not surprisingly, he was furious. 

The Magi came from the East. They were the group of scholars who studied the sky. God gave them a miraculous star, so they traveled to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to visit the king. We do not know actually how many Magi came – there are three gifts, so we usually assume three. But, their visit was enough to trouble the WHOLE city of Jerusalem. Then, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). 

Bethlehem was a small town, south of Jerusalem. It had a long history. Jacob had buried Rachel there. Ruth lived there when she married Boaz. The meaning of Bethlehem = The House of Bread. This reminds us of Jesus’ announcement: “I am the Bread of Life.”

#2: v. 15

“Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hosea 11:1)

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod heard of the baby king, he sent the Magi and said, “please let me know where he is so I can worship him.” (really wanted to kill him). 

So, an angel told Joseph to flee to Egypt until Herod’s death. Afterward, they returned.

#3: v. 17-18 (Jeremiah 31:15)

After the Magi worshiped him, they were also instructed in a dream not to go back to Herod – so they went back to their country by another way. When Herod heard this, he gave orders to kill ALL the babies in Bethlehem and the surrounding area, 2 years old and younger. Infanticide = ONE baby is too many.

This was done to fulfill the prophecy in the OT.

#4: v. 23 

Bethlehem -> Egypt -> Israel -> Nazareth 

Jesus moved many times as a baby.

They returned to Israel, but when Joseph heard of Herod’s son (Archelaus – a killer) – he went to Galilee and Nazareth (told to go by an angel).

Actually “he will be called a Nazarene” and even the word “Nazareth” cannot be found in the OT. So, we cannot really know clearly what Matthew meant by this prophecy. 

Maybe by the leading of the Holy Spirit, Matthew had a connection between Jesus and the Hebrew word “nazar” = “a shoot” 

Isaiah says, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse and he will bear much fruit.”

From this story of Jesus’ birth, there are 3 reactions to Jesus’ coming. These same reactions happened 2,000 years ago and are STILL happening today.

#1: Herod… do you want to belong here? 

Hatred and hostility. Afraid that this baby would interfere with his life, position, power, money, influence. So, he wanted to kill, destroy, eliminate him. 

Still today, there are those who would gladly rid the world of Jesus. Why? Because they just want to do whatever they want – without the “interference” of Jesus. The man who wants to do whatever he wants has no use for Jesus.

The Christian is one who has STOPPED doing what he wants and started doing what Jesus wants.

#2: Teachers of the Law and the Scribes.

They were so interested in their own legal, religious discussions and traditions, Jesus’ coming made no difference to them.

Still today, there are so many people who are so interested in their own hobbies, businesses, concerns, that they don’t even care about Jesus.

Jeremiah asks, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?”

#3: Magi – Wise men

Adoring worship to Jesus. They traveled a very long distance (we don’t know how long). The WHOLE purpose of their journey was to worship Jesus. They saw many great men and women – even kings. But they only worshiped Jesus – no others. 

In a sense our lives can be said as a journey. How do you feel your journey in this world is going? Long, or short? If you are wise – if you WANT to be wise, wise ETERNALLY, please make the worship of Jesus Christ the purpose of ALL purposes in this journey.

Yes, we can have many purposes – purpose in our degrees, families, businesses, careers. But the overlying purpose of all these purposes should be worship of Jesus.

For our worship to be true worship, there must be offering, gift, present.

OT: God says, “You should never appear before the Lord empty-handed.” These three wise men brought three offerings.

  1. Gold
  2. Incense, Frankincense 
  3. Myrrh

These are meaningful to explain the character of Jesus and what he has done

  1. Gold = king – no one approached a king without gold – the king of metals. He was a man born to be king – not by force, but love – not from a throne, but the cross.
  2. Incense, Frankincense = priest – sweet smell of the incense was used in the temple worship and sacrifices. The function of the priest was to make the way for man to God (mediator) “pontiface” = bridge builder – building a bridge between God and man. Main ministry of priest was to make a way between man and God. ALL humans have tried to find a way between man and God. But, Jesus didn’t need to find one, he IS THE One.
  3. Myrrh = death and burial. It was used to embalm the body of the dead. He came to die. He came to live and to die for us. His gifts are for us – his life and his death 

Jesus = king, priest (also prophet), sacrifice

The real gift = giving to Jesus Christ = it is the best, wisest investment for eternity.

How and for what do you spend your life, your values, your energy, and your money?

If you are wise eternally, give your best (and first fruits) to Jesus.

Let’s pray.

  • May 27 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Good News for the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-12)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Good News for the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-12)

5.27

Bulletin_05.27.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

In Acts 12, 13, Paul is taking center stage.

Previously, Peter had been the center.

Now, the gospel is taking a different direction.

Acts 12:25 – Saul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem during the famine. The saints had gathered food and money to take to those in Jerusalem.

After Saul (Paul) and Barnabas did this, they returned to Antioch.

There were prophets and teachers there.

Luke, the writer of Acts points out the offices and roles of people in the ministry. (Acts 13)
Also, Paul writes of the roles and offices in the church in Romans 12.

To each who is a member of the body of Christ, gifts, anointing, functions are given by the Holy Spirit.

What is our place?
What is our ministry?
What are our gifts?
Where can we serve?
We should pursue these things to serve the Lord and edify one another within the church.

Start somewhere, and the Holy Spirit will make it clear where you belong.

1 Corinthians 12:28 – God has appointed apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healing, administration, tongues.

Ephesians also mentions evangelist between prophet and teacher (Eph. 4:11)

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers.

These gifts are given to help others in the church grow up to serve others – to build up the body of Christ, ultimately.

Luke, in Acts, names 5 prophets and teachers in Antioch.

These different names show they come from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds – they aren’t all Jews from the same small town.

Barnabas was instrumental in introducing Saul to the other apostles.
Barnabas was then sent from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 11:23) to witness the many who became Christians there. He encouraged them and was overjoyed to see the gospel spread to the Gentiles.

Barnabas (real name Joseph), means “son of encouragement” – that was his nickname given by the other apostles.
(v. 24) – He was a good man.

Acts 4:36-37 – He was a Levite, real name Joseph, who owned a tract of land and sold it, and laid the money at the apostles feet.

He was good, encourager, generous.

2. Simeon – Latin name “Niger” = dark skin, may have been given the nickname to distinguish him from others.

3. Lucius from Cyrene in North Africa. He may have first preached at Antioch.

4. Manaen – brought up with the Herod of the gospels (Jesus called him “that fox”) – in Mark 6, he captured John the Baptist and killed him. Manaen may have been brought up in the court of Herod.
Two foster brothers (Herod and Manaen) brought up together, one brought honor upon himself by becoming a Christian, the other brought disgrace by killing John the Baptist and the trial of Jesus.

5. Paul is last mentioned.

After introducing us to the leaders, Luke tells us the church is worshiping and fasting, and considering a missionary venture.

The HS says, “set apart Barnabas and Saul.”

How does the HS speak?
Clearly through a prophetic utterance – from one of the prophets present there.

Here, there are echoes of the OT prophets, bringing the message of God.
Ex: Johosephat – king, his people were fasting, crying out to God – the spirit of the Lord came upon a prophet “Do not fear or be dismayed, the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Now at Antioch, God is showing again his will about a different concern – spreading the gospel around the Roman empire.

Missions are not the will of man, not accomplished through man’s efforts. The HS is the source and guide of these initiatives.

In Acts, Luke shows how the HS is the leader and guide of the church.

Acts 4, when the church prayed together, they were filled with the HS, preached boldly the word of God, even against the command of the govt.

Acts 8, after the revival in Samaria, HS led Philip to Ethiopia (8:29) – the HS said to Philip, “Go to the chariot” – the man was reading Isaiah but couldn’t understand it – so Philip preached Christ to him, he believed, and went on to preach in his home.

Acts 10, Peter preaches to Cornelius, a Gentile, the HS convicts and converts him. Peter acknowledges that it is the whole work of the HS.

All through Acts, there is a sensitivity to the leading and guiding of the HS.

So, through the spirit, Barnabas and Saul are separated for the task of evangelism and sent (v.4). The church “sent” them, but the HS “SENT” them truly.

Paul is not a lone ranger, but in constant contact with the sending church.

This is the beginning of the story of Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). Took 3 years in total.

They set out for Cyprus (journey by boat = 130 miles). Cyprus is 140miles x 60 miles. It was a Roman island.

It made sense to start the ministry here, because Barnabas is from here – his native land.

Some Christian communitees probably existed, so they could support their efforts a bit.

The first place they land at is Salamis.

John Mark (writer of Mark’s gospel, mother Mary had the house church that Peter went to after escaping prison) accompanied them.

There Barnabas and Paul proclaimed the gospel in the synagogues (where the Jews would learn about the Law of Moses). So, here is where the apostles proclaimed the Law of Moses all pointed to Jesus.

At Paphos, the island’s leader, requests a meeting with the apostles (actually orders it).

(v. 6) – They met Bar-Jesus – problem.
Bar-Jesus = “son of Jesus”
Bar – Jesus = Elymas (translated)
Elymas = “the magician” was opposing them and trying to keep the island’s leader away from the apostles and belief in Christ.

Paul, filled with the HS – stared him down and powerfully spoke against him. “You are not the son of Jesus but the son of the devil!…”
Paul prophecies that he will be blinded – and he is immediately.

These are echoes of Paul’s own experience. Paul also was blinded, literally, because of his opposition to the gospel.

Elymas’ physical judgment was the same as his spiritual predicament – blind.

Also, we all were blind to the gospel before meeting Jesus. We were dead in our sins, lost. But God, because of his love, in his great mercy, saved us.

It would be interesting to see the after-story. Was Elymas convicted? Did he become a Christian?

Similar story, when Philip went to Samaria, met a sorcerer there as well.

Similar story, in Egypt, sorcerers and magicians tried to outdo Moses with magic.

Similar story, Elijah and the prophets and magicians of Baal.

But, every time, the Lord God is shown to be the most powerful.

So, Paul and Barnabas eventually preached to the island leader, and he was amazed. – There was power in the gospel, it was effective, bad people became good, people were healed, lives changed.

The island leader saw it, and believed. It would be interesting to see what happened in the after-story.

So, in Paul’s preaching, we see not only blessing (to seekers), but also blasting (to the wolves – those who oppose the gospel). In Romans 1, we see God gives people over to their sins. When spiritually blind, God increases their blindness.

Yet, even in judgment, there is mercy.

I once was lost, I now am found.
Amazing Grace Hymn

Jesus comes in to our lives and cleanses us and saves us.

How to be saved?
Acknowledge your sin, confess, repent, turn to Christ, ask him to set you free, come into your life, lead you, guide you, change you.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 20 / 2012
  • 1
Bible-365, Grow, Slider

Exodus 10-12 (Bible-365.20): Where’s Your Idol?

Exodus 8, 9, 10, 11

These four chapters are quite possibly the most famous in the whole book of Exodus because it is here that God demonstrates his mighty power by sending 10 plagues to Egypt in order to get the Pharaoh to let His people go. Most theologians seem to agree that the 10 plagues God sent weren’t merely chosen at random or as only an invasive inconvenience for the Egyptians. Rather, the 10 plagues were chosen by God to destroy the main idols in Egypt at that time. So, following will be a table describing the plague and the idol it was intended to tear down: Continue Reading

  • Dec 25 / 2011
  • Comments Off on Salvation & Mission (1 Timothy 1:15) AKA Return to Sender? (Christmas 2011)
Christmas, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Salvation & Mission (1 Timothy 1:15) AKA Return to Sender? (Christmas 2011)

12.25.2011

Sunday_Bulletin_12.25

Sermon Notes

Salvation is a FREE gift offered to all men. But once we accept the free gift, Jesus asks us to pay everything (Matthew 10: “37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”)

So, how do you feel? Cheated? Like you bought salvation on credit? Like your whole life is an installment plan to repay the gift of salvation?

Do you want to “Return to Sender”?

return-to-sender-art-christmas-2011

Art by: Aaron Snowberger

 Return to Sender? How Salvation and Mission are Inseparable.

Christmas Sermon by Pastor Heo – 1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

***NOTE: This post is based upon the Christmas sermon preached by Pastor JaeBum Heo at Antioch International Christian Fellowship on Christmas Day, 2011. I’ve taken down some sermon notes and will fill in the gaps here to create a full and complete post based on those sermon notes. (Aaron)

Salvation

Salvation is that thing that Christians are constantly talking about. And anyone who’s ever spent time in a church has probably heard the term. Basically, salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences (sin, of course, being wrongs a person has committed in their lives). The consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death…”). And while all men die physically, this is only part of sin’s consequence. Spiritual death; separation from God; life eternal apart from heaven – these are the true consequences of sin. Therefore, for the Christian, salvation exempts them from these consequences. It brings spiritual life, union with God, and life eternal in heaven.

This is the basic gospel of salvation that is preached by Christians. But whatexactly is salvation? Besides its obvious promises and effects, we can see 4 more principles of salvation as a union with God.

First, salvation is a spiritual union. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”

Second, salvation is a vital union – indicating that it is a matter of death or life. This is apparent in the doctrine of salvation which says that salvation grants spiritual life everlasting, in heaven, with God the Father – and those without salvation will spend an eternity condemned and exiled from the presence of God, in hell. Colossians 3:3-4 says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Third, salvation is a complete and perfect union with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:27says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” There is no part of the body that is unnecessary, and the body of Christ is not incomplete. The church, as Christ’s body, is already whole, and each member has a unique purpose.

Fourth, salvation is an inscrutable, mysterious union. Ephesians 5:32 says, “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Paul here relates the marriage union between man and woman with that of Christ and the church. We cannot precisely describe this kind of union with our human language. It is a profound, mysterious union, but a strong and lasting union nonetheless.

So, if this is salvation, there is only one question to ask: Do I have salvation or don’t I?

And if the answer is “yes, I have salvation,” then there are two more questions to ask:

  1. Why am I still here? (Because if we are saved from sin and death and sin’s consequences, shouldn’t God take us to heaven immediately after we receive salvation?)
  2. What am I to do? (If God has given me salvation – His purpose for fallen humanity, then what is my further purpose for remaining here?)

Christians constantly proclaim that salvation is a free gift: Jesus invites us freely to receive his sacrifice on the cross for no payment of our own. But few remind us that afterward, Jesus asks us to pay all. Matthew 10: “37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

So, how do you feel? Cheated? Like you bought salvation on credit? Like your whole life is an installment plan to repay the gift of salvation?

Do you want to “Return to Sender”?

Mission

The answer to the above two questions is MISSION. We are still here for mission. What we are to do, is mission. After Salvation, there is always Mission. Immediately. For ALL who are saved.

Salvation and Mission go hand-in-hand all the time. They are quite literally inseparable. If you are saved, you are given mission.

Let’s look in the Bible at some examples. All the time, Salvation is immediately followed by Mission.

  • Salvation: 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
  • Mission: 2 Corinthians 5:18: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
  • Salvation: Ephesians 2:8,9: “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
  • Mission: Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
  • Salvation: Philippians 2:12: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”
  • Mission: Philippians 2:13: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Without salvation, mission is not and cannot be given, for the two go hand-in-hand. Salvation comes first, but mission immediately follows.

So, before completely understanding mission, we should first understand what is NOT your mission.

  1. Your job (doctor, pastor, lawyer, teacher) is not your mission – this is a mission FIELD, and a mission TOOL, but not the mission itself.
  2. Meeting your own earthly needs is not your mission – these are essential and necessary parts of life, but not your mission, for those without salvation need these things as well.
  3. Doing good works is not your mission – this is not mission, though they are good and blessed things, even the lost can (and do) do these things.

So what is mission?

  1. Mission is given by God to the saved, not to the lost.
  2. Mission is something only the saved can do, unsaved cannot do it. (Although some other religions may go on “missions” and claim to have “mission”, these are really just man-made (and man-appointed, all through an application process), and not God-given upon receipt of salvation (witness where you are, as you are, all the time). These kinds of missions also tend to be more like initiation into adulthood (“Leave As a Boy Come Home a Man”) rather than ongoing, lifelong witness to preach Christ’s salvation.

We all have same salvation – Ephesians 4:4-6: “4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Also we have the same mission (fundamentally) – Matthew 28:19-20: “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mission is no less valuable than life and salvation – but it is given only aftersalvation.

In this world, what is so valuable that you must risk and invest your whole life? What is more valuable than life itself? It is Mission. Because Mission SAVES OTHER LIVES. To win persons to Christ, we must evangelize, preach the gospel, that there is “good news of great joy to all men,” forever.

Acts 20:24 gives the clearest verse about Mission to those who are saved: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task (mission)…” (same word in Greek) “…Jesus Christ has given me, the task of testifying to God’s grace.”

This is the MOST IMPORTANT THING. Because saving others is something we cannot do after death.

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