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  • Mar 14 / 2021
  • Comments Off on The Timing of God’s Blessing (Genesis 27:30)
Pastor Kang, Sermons, Who is God?

The Timing of God’s Blessing (Genesis 27:30)

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

 The timing of God’s blessing

30 After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father`s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting.

Genesis 27:30

0. Introduction : Concert tickets

In life, there are times when we have to complete some kind of task in a limited window of time. A typical example is buying a famous pop star’s concert tickets.

In order to participate in a world-class pop star performance, we must consider not only the ticket cost, but also the timing in which we access the ticketing website in order to purchase the seats we seek.

This is because the best seats are always limited.

So usually the best seats are sold out quickly on a first come, first served basis.

Mega fans are usually the first to jump at a chance for the best seats because going to their favorite singer’s concert holds great significance in their lives because it may be only once in their lifetimes that they will have a chance to be so close to their favorite star. So their attention is constantly focused on the date of the concert, and the opening time of the ticketing website.

In the Bible story we will share today, we can see another kind of special, once-in-a-lifetime event that God arranged. This was a most important time for Isaac, the father, to convey his best blessing, the “Birthright” upon his first-born son.

1. The time of blessing declared

Genesis 27:1-4

1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”  “Here I am,” he answered.

2 Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don`t know the day of my death. 3 Now then, get your weapons — your quiver and bow — and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”

In fact, Esau waited in great anticipation of the blessing of the firstborn.

As the first-born twin, it was he who should have been given the “Birthright” at the ceremony.

And before his death, Isaac, a good father, did try to give this blessing to his first son, Esau.

As this blessing was closely related to the vitality giver of the blessing, Isaac asked his son to make delicious food for him in preparation to receive the blessing.

So, Esau went out hunting so as to obey his father’s request before the ceremony where he would receive his blessing. But, it seems that he had forgotten that he had carelessly sold his Birthright to Jacob in the past for a bowl of lentil stew. This incident will have a huge impact on what’s about to happen.

2. A man who longs for the blessing of God

Genesis 27:18-20

18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”  “Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”  “The LORD your God gave me success,” he replied.

Esau was the planned recipient of God’s blessing through Isaac.

But, his younger brother Jacob yearned for God’s blessing much more than Esau.

So, he set up a scheme by which to receive God’s blessing.

First, he bought the Birthright from his hungry brother Esau, with lentil stew.

Then, he received help from his mother to bypass the tradition of blessing the firstborn, and instead trick his father into blessing him, the second-born, instead. Rebekah, by deceiving her own husband and pushing Jacob to do likewise, has even more guilt in the matter.

Genesis 25:21-23

21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.

23 The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

Perhaps she lied to her husband in order to fulfill the prophecy God had given her.

But whatever her own motivation, Jacob did likewise, lying to his old father by pretending to be Esau, and telling him that God had accompanied him on the hunt. By pulling God into his trick, he hoped to make it seem more plausible and convincing. With this last set of lies to his father’s face, Jacob became increasingly bold about covering over his lies with more lies.

We can see through this event that Jacob desperately desired to be blessed by God through any means necessary (much as a K-pop fan may desperately seek tickets to a concert regardless of the cost).

3. A man of little interest in God’s blessings

Genesis 27:34-37

34 When Esau heard his father`s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me — me too, my father!”

35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

36 Esau said, “Isn`t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he`s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven`t you reserved any blessing for me?”

37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”

After a while, Esau returned with the meal he had prepared, according to his father’s request, in order to receive his blessing. But he hadn’t realized that he’d had a competitor. And even worse, he also hadn’t known that the window of opportunity in which to receive God’s blessing was finite.

In the end, Esau was late, and deprived of God’s blessing by his brother Jacob, who had lain in wait for it and pounced at the first opportunity. In fact, his younger brother’s desire for the blessing had far surpassed his own.

In distress, his father Isaac informed Esau that ‘Jacob’s blessing is so final, complete, and effective, that it can not be reversed, exchanged, or refunded.’

The Bible text very realistically portrays the process of the delivery of God’s blessings as if it were a legally binding contract, or non-refundable, non-exchangeable ticket purchase.

4. God’s Amazing Grace

Genesis 27:38-40

38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.

39 His father Isaac answered him, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth`s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.

40 You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”

Therefore, Esau’s blessing was greatly watered down. He left in humility and disgust, but at least he left with a blessing, and not a curse.

The decisive promise his father gave him was ‘You will live by the sword’.

because all the blessings he received would be manifested as promises in his life.

The last sentence in verse 40 suggests that the Edomites, who will be the descendants of Esau, will one day escape from Israeli control. In other words, this means that God will one day allow Esau and his descendants to finally be free of Jacob and his descendants. This was the grace of God who responded to Esau’s desperate plea.

You see, because Esau did not value God’s blessing, he did not pay much attention to God’s timing.

Then, after his brother deprived him of his blessing, he reflected on his previous actions and desired to receive whatever blessing remained.

If we pay attention, we can see ourselves in this behavior of Esau.

We often live without much interest in God’s blessings in daily life as Esau did.

But when we do so, we may often miss the opportunity to receive God’s blessing.

Don’t we often assume that we can always be blessed by God?

We foolishly think that we should be able to receive unlimited blessings from God.

But this is a totally wrong misunderstanding.

God’s blessing to us is only available to us at the time and in the amount that God allows.

God’s blessing is only passed on to us by his sovereignty and grace, and there is nothing we can do for ourselves to receive or deserve more than he will give, or change the timing in which he will bless us. We must only wait for him and always be ready to receive whatever good gifts he gives.

So, when can we expect to receive the blessings God has prepared for us?

5. The timing of God’s blessing (Jesus Christ)

Romans 5:6-11

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God`s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God`s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

  • Question: When can we be blessed in the way that God has allowed us?
  • Answer: In  the time when God has sent Jesus Christ to us.

Jesus gives us the greatest blessing, salvation, as a gift.

Jesus came to this land for we who are powerless and ungodly.

His death brings us peace with God.

His resurrection gives us eternal life.

The important fact is that although it is true that the gates of heaven and salvation were thrown wide open by Jesus Christ, the timing in which we may acquire salvation is not eternal.

In fact, we have a limited amount of time in which to acquire salvation. This is the time set for us by God’s sovereignty, and it is only as long as the time we have on this earth.

If we really stop to consider the weight of this truth, it will make us look back and contemplate on our complacent faith.

In fact, an average, typical, ordinary day, in which we are not interested in the blessing of salvation through Jesus, may be the last day, and the last chance we have to acquire salvation.

Don’t miss the blessing of eternal life like Esau missed the blessing of the firstborn!

Let us wake and pray so that we can realize God’s sovereignty!

Let us crave Jesus as the blessing of salvation more than anything else!

Let’s live for the glory of God in this special, finite period of time that God has given us!

We cannot determine our last day on earth for ourselves. We have no control over the time availability of God’s blessing of eternal life. Therefore, the only alternative is to consider today as potentially the last day of your life and live your life in obedience to God.

Let’s accompany Jesus Christ every day!

Let’s confess Jesus as our salvation every day!

Let’s praise God’s grace and mercy every day!

And may God grant you salvation on your last day.


 하나님의 축복의 때

30 이삭이 야곱에게 축복하기를 마치매 야곱이 그의 아버지 이삭 앞에서 나가자 곧 그의 형 에서가 사냥하여 돌아온지라

창세기 27:30

0. 예화 : 인기 가수 콘서트 티켓팅

우리가 살다 보면 제한된 시간 안에 무엇인가를 완료해야 할 때가 있습니다.

대표적으로는 인기 가수의 콘서트의 티켓을 구입하는 것입니다.

세계 적인 팝 가수의 공연을 보기 위해서는 티켓을 살 비용 뿐만이 아니라, 좋은 자리를 빠르게 구입할 수 있는 순발력과 상황판단력이 필요합니다.

그 이유는 콘서트를 즐길 수 있는 최고의 자리는 한정적이기 때문입니다.

그렇다면 어떤 사람이 가장 좋은 자리를 차지할까요?

그 사람은 평상시에도 콘서트에 대해 많은 관심을 가지고 있는 사람입니다.

우리는 그런 사람을 빅 팬 이라고도 부릅니다.

그 사람은 좋아하는 가수의 콘서트가 그의 인생에서 큰 의미를 차지 하기 때문에, 그가 무엇을 하든지 그의 관심은 언제나 콘서트가 열리는 날짜에 집중되어 있습니다.

오늘 성경에서도 월드 스타의 콘서트처럼, 하나님이 계획하신 축제가 열리게 되었습니다.

그 축제에서 가장 중요한 순서는, 최고의 축복인 “장자의 권리”를 전달하는 시간이었습니다.

1. 선포된 축복의 때

창세기 27:1-4

1 이삭이 나이가 많아 눈이 어두워 잘 보지 못하더니 맏아들 에서를 불러 이르되 내 아들아 하매 그가 이르되 내가 여기 있나이다 하니

2 이삭이 이르되 내가 이제 늙어 어느 날 죽을는지 알지 못하니

3 그런즉 네 기구 곧 화살통과 활을 가지고 들에 가서 나를 위하여 사냥하여

4 내가 즐기는 별미를 만들어 내게로 가져와서 먹게 하여 내가 죽기 전에 내 마음껏 네게 축복하게 하라

하나님의 축제가 열리기를 기다렸던 사람은 에서 였습니다.

그 이유는 이 축제에서 그가 “장자의 권리”를 전달 받을 사람이었기 때문이었습니다.

이삭은 죽기 전에 그가 가진 축복을 첫째 아들 에서에게 넘겨주려고 하였습니다.

여기서 복은 축복하는 사람의 생명력과 밀접하게 관련된 것이었습니다.

그래서 이삭은 에서를 축복하기 위해 먼저 자기가 즐기는 별미를 먹고 힘을 돋우는 것이 중요했습니다.

에서는 축복을 받기 위해 아버지의 명령에 따라 사냥을 하러 나갔습니다.

그렇지만 에서는 과거에 자기의 장자의 권리를 야곱에게 팔았다는 사실을 잊고 있었습니다.

이 사건은 앞으로의 일어날 일들에 대해 큰 영향을 끼치게 되었습니다.

2. 하나님을 축복을 갈망하는 사람

창세기 27:18-19

18 야곱이 아버지에게 나아가서 내 아버지여 하고 부르니 이르되 내가 여기 있노라 내 아들아 네가 누구냐

19 야곱이 아버지에게 대답하되 나는 아버지의 맏아들 에서로소이다 아버지께서 내게 명하신 대로 내가 하였사오니 원하건대 일어나 앉아서 내가 사냥한 고기를 잡수시고 아버지 마음껏 내게 축복하소서

20 이삭이 그의 아들에게 이르되 내 아들아 네가 어떻게 이같이 속히 잡았느냐 그가 이르되 아버지의 하나님 여호와께서 나로 순조롭게 만나게 하셨음이니이다

하나님의 축복의 원래 대상자는 에서 였습니다.

그러나 에서 보다 더 하나님의 축복을 갈망했던 사람은 그의 동생 야곱이었습니다.

야곱은 하나님의 축복을 받기 위해, 과거에 하나의 계략을 세웠습니다.

그것은 팥죽을 이용하여, 배고픈 에서에게서 장자의 권리를 사는 것이었습니다.

하나님의 축복에 대한 야곱의 갈망은 아주 강했습니다.

이러한 그의 갈망은 그의 어머니가 그를 전적으로 돕도록 만들었습니다.

리브가는 자신이 사랑하는 아들, 야곱이 축복을 받을 수 있도록 수상한 수단까지 동원하였습니다.

창세기 25:21-23

21 이삭이 그의 아내가 임신하지 못하므로 그를 위하여 여호와께 간구하매 여호와께서 그의 간구를 들으셨으므로 그의 아내 리브가가 임신하였더니

22 그 아들들이 그의 태 속에서 서로 싸우는지라 그가 이르되 이럴 경우에는 내가 어찌할꼬 하고 가서 여호와께 묻자온대

23 여호와께서 그에게 이르시되 두 국민이 네 태중에 있구나 두 민족이 네 복중에서부터 나누이리라 이 족속이 저 족속보다 강하겠고 큰 자가 어린 자를 섬기리라 하셨더라

어쩌면 그녀는 하나님께서 말씀하셨던 예언을 성취하기 위해서 이런 일을 했는지도 모릅니다.

한편, 야곱은 자신의 속임수가 그럴듯하게 보이도록, 그의 아버지에게 하나님이 자신과 동행하셨다고 이야기 합니다.

한 번 거짓말을 하면 다음에는 더 엄청난 거짓말을 하게 되는 것입니다.

우리는 이 사건을 통해 야곱이 어떤 수단을 사용해서라도, 하나님의 축복을 얻고 싶어 했다는 사실을 알 수 있습니다.

3. 하나님의 축복에 관심이 적은 사람

창세기 27:34-37

34 에서가 그의 아버지의 말을 듣고 소리 내어 울며 아버지에게 이르되 내 아버지여 내게 축복하소서 내게도 그리하소서

35 이삭이 이르되 네 아우가 와서 속여 네 복을 빼앗았도다

36 에서가 이르되 그의 이름을 야곱이라 함이 합당하지 아니하니이까 그가 나를 속임이 이것이 두 번째니이다 전에는 나의 장자의 명분을 빼앗고 이제는 내 복을 빼앗았나이다 또 이르되 아버지께서 나를 위하여 빌 복을 남기지 아니하셨나이까

37 이삭이 에서에게 대답하여 이르되 내가 그를 너의 주로 세우고 그의 모든 형제를 내가 그에게 종으로 주었으며 곡식과 포도주를 그에게 주었으니 내 아들아 내가 네게 무엇을 할 수 있으랴

에서는 아버지의 명령에 따라, 축복을 받을 준비를 하였습니다.

그러나 그는 경쟁자가 있다는 사실을 깨닫지 못했습니다.

그는 또한 하나님의 축복을 받을 수 있는 기회가 유한 하다는 사실을 알지 못했습니다.

결국 그는 하나님의 축복을 동생 야곱에게 빼앗기게 되었습니다.

그 이유는 동생 야곱의 갈망이 그의 갈망보다 더 컸기 때문입니다.

에서는 장자의 축복을 받을 수 있는 기회가 유한하다는 사실을 알지 못했습니다.

그의 아버지 이삭은 ‘야곱이 받은 축복은 효력이 있기 때문에, 다시 거두어 들일 수 없다.’ 고 에서에게 통보하였습니다.

성경 본문은 하나님의 축복이 전달되는 과정을 이처럼 현실적으로 보여줍니다.

이것은 마치 법적인 효력이 발생하는 것과 같습니다.

4. 하나님의 은혜

창세기 27:38-40

38 에서가 아버지에게 이르되 내 아버지여 아버지가 빌 복이 이 하나 뿐이리이까 내 아버지여 내게 축복하소서 내게도 그리하소서 하고 소리를 높여 우니

39 그 아버지 이삭이 그에게 대답하여 이르되 네 주소는 땅의 기름짐에서 멀고 내리는 하늘 이슬에서 멀 것이며

40 너는 칼을 믿고 생활하겠고 네 아우를 섬길 것이며 네가 매임을 벗을 때에는 그 멍에를 네 목에서 떨쳐버리리라 하였더라

에서에게는 다만 보잘것없는 축복 만 남았습니다.

그래도 이것은 축복이지 저주가 아니었습니다.

결정적인 약속은 ‘너는 칼을 믿고 생활하겠고’ 입니다.

모든 축복은 삶의 약속으로 나타납니다.

특히 40절 마지막 문장은 에서의 후손인 에돔 사람들이 이스라엘의 지배에서 벗어나는 것을 미리 암시하고 있습니다.

즉, 하나님께서 에서의 후손들에게 자유를 허락하신다는 뜻입니다.

이것은 에서의 간절한 청원에 응답하신 하나님의 은혜입니다.

에서는 하나님의 축복을 가치 있게 여기지 않았습니다.

그래서 그는 하나님의 축복을 받을 수 있는 때에 대해서 깊은 관심을 갖지 못했습니다.

자신의 축복을 빼앗긴 에서는 뒤늦게 자신의 행동에 대해 반성하며, 남은 축복이라도 받기를 원하였습니다.

우리는 에서의 이러한 행동을 통해 우리의 모습을 발견할 수 있습니다.

우리는 에서 처럼 평상 시에 하나님의 축복에 대해서 큰 관심이 없이 살아갑니다.

그러다가 우리는 하나님의 축복을 받을 수 있는 때를 놓치는 것입니다.

그 이유는 우리가 언제나 하나님의 축복을 받을 수 있을 것이라고 생각하기 때문입니다.

하나님의 축복을 받을 수 있는 때는 무제한 적이라고 생각하기 때문입니다.

하지만 이것은 미련하고 잘못된 생각입니다.

하나님의 축복은 하나님이 허락하신 때에만 우리가 받을 수 있기 때문입니다.

하나님의 축복은 하나님의 주권을 통해 우리에게 전해지기 때문입니다.

하나님이 우리에게 허락하신 축복의 때는 언제 일까요?

5. 하나님의 축복의 때 (예수 그리스도)

로마서 5:6-11

6 우리가 아직 연약할 때에 기약대로 그리스도께서 경건하지 않은 자를 위하여 죽으셨도다

7 의인을 위하여 죽는 자가 쉽지 않고 선인을 위하여 용감히 죽는 자가 혹 있거니와

8 우리가 아직 죄인 되었을 때에 그리스도께서 우리를 위하여 죽으심으로 하나님께서 우리에 대한 자기의 사랑을 확증하셨느니라

9 그러면 이제 우리가 그의 피로 말미암아 의롭다 하심을 받았으니 더욱 그로 말미암아 진노하심에서 구원을 받을 것이니

10 곧 우리가 원수 되었을 때에 그의 아들의 죽으심으로 말미암아 하나님과 화목하게 되었은즉 화목하게 된 자로서는 더욱 그의 살아나심으로 말미암아 구원을 받을 것이니라

11 그뿐 아니라 이제 우리로 화목하게 하신 우리 주 예수 그리스도로 말미암아 하나님 안에서 또한 즐거워하느니라

하나님의 축복의 때는 언제 일까요?

그것은 하나님께서 우리에게 예수 그리스도를 보내주신 때 입니다.

예수님은 우리에게 가장 큰 축복인 구원을 선물로 주셨기 때문입니다.

예수님은 연약하고 경건하지 않은 우리들을 위하여 이 땅에 오셨습니다.

그의 죽음으로 인해 우리는 하나님과 화목하게 되었습니다.

그의 부활하심으로 인해 우리는 영원한 생명을 얻게 되었습니다.

중요한 사실은 모든 구원의 문이 예수 그리스도로 인해 열렸지만, 구원의 때는 영원하지 않다는 것입니다.

하나님의 주권 안에 우리에게 정해진 시간 안에서만 우리가 구원을 얻을 수 있다는 사실입니다.

이것은 우리의 안일한 신앙을 되돌아보게 합니다.

예수님을 통한 구원의 축복에 대해 관심 없었던 오늘이, 누군가에게는 구원의 마지막 날일 수도 있다는 것입니다.

이것은 에서가 장자의 권리를 얻을 수 있었던 마지막 기회를 놓친 것과도 같습니다.

하나님의 주권을 깨달을 수 있도록 깨어서 기도하십시요!

구원의 선물로 오신 예수님을 그 누구보다도 갈망하십시요!

오늘 나에게 허락하신 특별한 시간을 하나님의 영광을 위해 살아가십시요!

우리는 우리의 마지막 날을 정할 수 없습니다.

우리가 할 수 있는 유일한 방법은 오늘을 내 삶의 마지막 날로 여기며 하나님께 순종하는 삶을 사는 것입니다.

매일 예수 그리스도와 동행하십시요!

매일 예수님을 나의 구원자로 고백하십시요!

매일 하나님을 찬양하십시요!

하나님께서 당신의 마지막 때에 은혜를 베푸실 것입니다!

  • Mar 07 / 2021
  • Comments Off on God’s School of Faith (Genesis 26:1-5)
Pastor Kang, Sermons, Who is God?

God’s School of Faith (Genesis 26:1-5)

Tithes and Offerings

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

God’s School of Faith

1 Now there was a famine in the land — besides the earlier famine of Abraham`s time — and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.”

Genesis 26:1-5

0. Introduction : What is important for a successful class?

In life, there are times when we need to learn something.

In those times, we often seek out a school or academy to help us learn.

If you want to learn art composition, you may enter an art school.

If you want to learn cooking, you might register for a cooking academy.

But first, you will search out the school information, or the academy’s reputation in order to save your precious time and money. So what are the main factors that people consider in order to find the best school?

Is it the choice of good textbooks? The amount of homework you can expect?

Perhaps it’s whether or not the academy can provide actual field experience? Or the kind of educational environment the place has?

But in truth, most people seek out the most excellent teachers who can provide the most effective classes. Excellent teachers not only teach students the most effectively, but they also motivate their students to learn. In the end, they can provide the most effective results that students want.

Christians must study the Word of God their whole life through in order to live as disciples of Jesus. And who gives us the most effective lessons in faith? Of course, the best teacher is God.

1. God’s Second School of Faith

Genesis 26:1-5

1 Now there was a famine in the land — besides the earlier famine of Abraham`s time — and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.”

God’s first student in the school of faith was Abraham.

Abraham was faithful to his teacher, and eventually he was able to complete all the lessons of faith that God taught with a high score.

Then, God prepared his second school of faith, the second student being Abraham’s son, Isaac. The contents of God’s second course were the same again.

God demanded obedience from Isaac as he had from Abraham.

When considering education, we sometimes assume that the students who are learning will have a harder time than the teachers who teach. But that is not true.

Teachers must invest more time and effort into preparing effective classes than students who receive the lessons. Teachers must re-study the contents of the class they are preparing as well as study effective teaching methods to deliver the lessons. They should also pay close attention to their students in order to help improve their academic achievement.

And of course, teachers have to constantly repeat this process because new students participate in their classes every semester.

God prepared the best faith lessons for Isaac, his new student.

And even though it may seem like a boring task for God because he had to repeat the same lessons he had already provided to Isaac’s father, Abraham, God still prepared the best lessons to grow Isaac’s faith.

2. A student with difficulty in the School of Faith

Genesis 26:7-11

7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”

8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, `She is my sister`?”  Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”

10 Then Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”11 So Abimelech gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

The level of the lessons God offered Isaac was never easy.

In fact, God provided the same test to Isaac that he had to Abraham, and Isaac found the same solution to the problem that his father had. But that was not the answer that God wanted.

But unfortunately, Isaac failed to solve this problem correctly, because he was first concerned with his own safety.

After that, a chain of events followed. But the original intention of the Bible is to show that the mistakes of the father are still repeated by his son.

What do you think? If new students in a class every semester can not follow the progress of the class, how does the teacher feel? No matter how patient he is, he may end up getting tired because of the repeated patterns and same mistakes.

But the Bible focuses on the fact that God guides and protects. It places less focus on Isaac’s distrust and mistakes.

How do you think God feels about a student who can’t properly solve the test he gives?

3. God’s pedagogy: Accompaniment

Genesis 26:12-16

12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father`s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. 16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”

Why did Isaac’s possession increase so much?

This is because the blessing that God gave to Abraham was passed on to Isaac.

But Isaac was at odds with Abimelech because of this blessing.

The main subject of their conflict were the wells dug by Abraham’s servants that had helped make him rich. This was God’s second test for Isaac.

Isaac did not claim his rights in this test, and did not respond to Abimelech’s actions.

Rather, he solved this problem in a different way than had in the first test.

Genesis 26:23-25

23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.

In fact, God had always accompanied Isaac.

But he revealed himself to Isaac when he opened his heart and was able to hear the Word of God. God explained to Isaac the purpose of this faith lesson and gave him courage.

Isaac, who was taught by God, had an amazing experience after that.

Genesis 26:26-31

26 Meanwhile, Abimelech had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”

28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, `There ought to be a sworn agreement between us` — between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not molest you but always treated you well and sent you away in peace. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”

30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they left him in peace.

Isaac’s faith grew as he solved God’s faith lessons and tests.

In particular, the meeting with God in Beersheba held important significance for Isaac because it was there that he had placed his full trust in God who was preparing him for the tests of his faith.

Isaac believed in the Word of God and obeyed, and he experienced considerable growth.

Isaac realized that Abimelech’s attitude toward him had changed completely.

Abimelech, who had been hostile to Isaac, was now asking for favors.

This proves that Isaac’s faith has grown differently than before.

It is difficult to notice the growth of a person on his own, but people around him notice the growth.

Abimelech noticed Isaac’s religious growth.

And he knew clearly that Isaac’s growth had occurred through God’s lessons.

In fact, Isaac’s growth and change was impossible without God’s blessing.

Therefore, Abimelech wanted peace with Isaac, who was blessed by God.

King Abimelech wanted to sign a contract with Isaac to prevent war from occurring between them. The contract was confirmed with an oath and a feast.

What is surprising is that in this contract, Isaac appeared to be someone who was equal to or higher than Abimelech.

Isaac, who was completely obedient to God, experienced tremendous growth through God’s lessons. The growth of his faith helped him solve his problems more skillfully than he previously had.

4. A student who refused the School of Faith

Genesis 26:34-35

34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

Genesis 26 is primarily about Isaac, but the last part briefly mentions Esau. 

Why did Esau’s parents get worried about his foreign wives?

This is because of the lifestyle of his wives, who were separated from Israeli customs and faith.

The Bible negatively refers to Esau’s marriages, suggesting that God would instead bless his younger brother Jacob in the future.

In other words, the student who would register for God’s third school of faith would be Jacob, not Esau.

Esau showed that he was not willing to participate in God’s school of faith by marrying Gentiles, after previously selling Jacob his birthright.

5. The secret of students who complete God’s School of Faith : Jesus Christ

John 14:6

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

What is the secret of students who have successfully completed God’s school of faith?

The great students had full confidence in the lessons God prepared.

They also obeyed God’s teachings and were changed by God from the inside out.

What is the best faith lesson from God?

It is to believe in Jesus Christ as your savior and put your faith in him.

Only Jesus is the only way to God!

Only through Jesus will you realize the truth that God has given you!

Only through Jesus can we gain eternal life from God!

In fact, we are already attending the next school of faith that God is conducting.

The lessons are being lived and learned throughout our lives.

Someone is learning to obey God.

Someone is taking a test given by God.

Someone may be enjoying the fruits of a good evaluation from God.

God’s faith lessons are sometimes offered to us at high levels, but that’s because God knows you can find the right answer through the process of learning to put your faith in him.

More precisely, when you meet a problem that you can not solve, you should seek out Jesus Christ.

What God really wants from us is not to solve the problems by ourselves, but rather that through our problems, we learn to depend on Jesus Christ and obey God’s sovereignty.

This is the ultimate purpose of God’s school of faith.

God, the best teacher, still offers us the best lessons.

Our ancestors in faith have successfully completed God’s school of faith through Jesus Christ.

Those who have successfully completed God’s school of faith will have the honor of having their names be recorded in the Book of Life. They will also gain the truth and eternal life, and eventually enjoy the privilege of being with God forever.

Trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. He is the one who made all this possible!

I hope that we all may complete God’s school of faith successfully.


하나님의 신앙 수업

1 아브라함 때에 첫 흉년이 들었더니 그 땅에 또 흉년이 들매 이삭이 그랄로 가서 블레셋 왕 아비멜렉에게 이르렀더니

2 여호와께서 이삭에게 나타나 이르시되 애굽으로 내려가지 말고 내가 네게 지시하는 땅에 거주하라

3 이 땅에 거류하면 내가 너와 함께 있어 네게 복을 주고 내가 이 모든 땅을 너와 네 자손에게 주리라 내가 네 아버지 아브라함에게 맹세한 것을 이루어

4 네 자손을 하늘의 별과 같이 번성하게 하며 이 모든 땅을 네 자손에게 주리니 네 자손으로 말미암아 천하 만민이 복을 받으리라

5 이는 아브라함이 내 말을 순종하고 내 명령과 내 계명과 내 율례와 내 법도를 지켰음이라 하시니라

창세기 26:1-5

0. 예화 : 성공적인 수업을 위해 중요한 것은?

 우리가 인생을 살다보면, 무엇인가를 배워야 할 경우가 있습니다.

그럴 때 우리가 찾는 곳은 학교나 학원입니다.

만약 당신이 작곡을 배우고 싶다면, 예술 학교에 입학할 것입니다. 

만약 당신이 요리를 배우고 싶다면, 요리 학원을 등록할 것입니다.

당신은 당신의 소중한 시간과 돈을 아끼기 위해, 수업에 대한 다양한 정보를 찾을 것입니다.

가장 좋은 수업을 찾기 위해, 사람들이 고려하는 요소는 무엇일까요?

좋은 교재를 사용하는가? 숙제를 많이 제공하는가?

현장 경험을 제공하는가? 쾌적한 교육 환경이 제공되는가?

대부분의 사람들은 효과적인 수업을 제공하는 뛰어난 선생님을 찾습니다.

뛰어난 선생님은 학생들을 가장 잘 가르치고 학습 흥미를 유발시킵니다.

결론적으로는 학생들이 원하는 결과를 가장 효과적으로 제공해줍니다.

그리스도인은 예수님의 제자로 살아가기 위해, 하나님의 말씀을 평생 공부해야 합니다.

우리에게 가장 효과적인 신앙 수업을 제공해주시는 분은 누구일까요?

가장 뛰어난 선생님은 하나님입니다.

1. 하나님의 두번째 신앙 수업

창세기 26:1-5

1 아브라함 때에 첫 흉년이 들었더니 그 땅에 또 흉년이 들매 이삭이 그랄로 가서 블레셋 왕 아비멜렉에게 이르렀더니

2 여호와께서 이삭에게 나타나 이르시되 애굽으로 내려가지 말고 내가 네게 지시하는 땅에 거주하라

3 이 땅에 거류하면 내가 너와 함께 있어 네게 복을 주고 내가 이 모든 땅을 너와 네 자손에게 주리라 내가 네 아버지 아브라함에게 맹세한 것을 이루어

4 네 자손을 하늘의 별과 같이 번성하게 하며 이 모든 땅을 네 자손에게 주리니 네 자손으로 말미암아 천하 만민이 복을 받으리라

5 이는 아브라함이 내 말을 순종하고 내 명령과 내 계명과 내 율례와 내 법도를 지켰음이라 하시니라

하나님의 신앙 수업을 들었던 첫번째 학생 아브라함이었습니다.

아브라함은 수업에 충실히 참여하였고, 결국 하나님께 높은 점수를 받아 수업의 모든 과정을 수료할 수 있었습니다.

하나님은 두 번째 신앙 수업을 준비하셨습니다.

두번째로 수업에 참여하는 학생은 아브라함의 아들, 이삭이었습니다.

하나님의 교육법은 언제나 동일 하였습니다.

하나님은 아브라함에게 요구했던 순종을 이삭 에게도 요구하셨습니다.

우리는 가르치는 선생님보다 배우는 학생들이 더 힘들 것이라고 생각합니다.

그러나 이것은 사실이 아닙니다.

선생님은 효과적인 수업을 진행하기 위해, 학생들이 노력보다 더 많은 노력을 기울여야 합니다.

선생님은 수업에 대한 내용을 다시 공부해야 하고, 효과적인 교수법을 연구해야 합니다.

또한 학생의 학업 성취도를 높이기 위해, 학생에 대해 세밀히 관찰하고 관심을 가져야 합니다.

마지막으로 이 모든 과정을 끊임 없이 반복해야 합니다.

매 학기마다 새로운 학생들이 수업에 참여하기 때문입니다.

하나님은 새로운 학생인 이삭을 위한 신앙 수업을 준비하셨습니다.

이것은 하나님이 이미 아브라함에게 제공하셨던 수업을 반복해야 하는 지루한 작업이었습니다.

하지만 하나님은 이삭의 신앙을 성장시키기 위해 최고의 수업을 그에게 제공하셨습니다.

2. 신앙 수업을 어려워하는 학생

창세기 26:7-11

7 그 곳 사람들이 그의 아내에 대하여 물으매 그가 말하기를 그는 내 누이라 하였으니 리브가는 보기에 아리따우므로 그 곳 백성이 리브가로 말미암아 자기를 죽일까 하여 그는 내 아내라 하기를 두려워함이었더라

8 이삭이 거기 오래 거주하였더니 이삭이 그 아내 리브가를 껴안은 것을 블레셋 왕 아비멜렉이 창으로 내다본지라

9 이에 아비멜렉이 이삭을 불러 이르되 그가 분명히 네 아내거늘 어찌 네 누이라 하였느냐 이삭이 그에게 대답하되 내 생각에 그로 말미암아 내가 죽게 될까 두려워하였음이로라

10 아비멜렉이 이르되 네가 어찌 우리에게 이렇게 행하였느냐 백성 중 하나가 네 아내와 동침할 뻔하였도다 네가 죄를 우리에게 입혔으리라

11 아비멜렉이 이에 모든 백성에게 명하여 이르되 이 사람이나 그의 아내를 범하는 자는 죽이리라 하였더라

하나님이 제공하는 수업의 난이도는 이삭에게 결코 쉽지 않았습니다. 

하나님은 아브라함에게 제공했던 시험을, 이삭 에게도 똑같이 제공하셨습니다.

이삭은 이 문제를 풀기 위해 그의 아버지와 같은 해결책을 찾았습니다.

그러나 그것은 하나님이 원하시는 정답이 아니었습니다.

이삭이 자신을 지키는 것이 중요했기 때문에, 이 문제에 대한 답을 적을 수 없었습니다.

이후로 몇 가지 새로운 사건들이 거듭해서 발생하였습니다.

그러나 성경에서 말하고자 하는 본래 의도는, 하나님이 제공한 문제에 대해 정답을 찾지 못한 아버지의 행동이, 그의 아들에게도 여전히 반복되고 있음을 보여주는 것입니다.

매년마다 수업에 참여하는 새로운 학생들이 수업 진도를 따라가지 못한다면, 선생님의 마음은 어떨까요?

아무리 인내심을 가진다고 하여도 반복되는 현상 때문에 결국 지쳐버릴 지도 모릅니다.

하지만 본문은 이삭의 불신과 허물에 관한 것 보다는, 하나님께서 인도하시고 지켜 주신다는 사실을 대해 주목하고 있습니다.

문제를 제대로 해결하지 못하는 학생을 바라보는 하나님의 마음은 어떤 것 일까요?

3. 하나님의 교육법 : 동행

창세기 26:12-16

12 이삭이 그 땅에서 농사하여 그 해에 백 배나 얻었고 여호와께서 복을 주시므로

13 그 사람이 창대하고 왕성하여 마침내 거부가 되어

14 양과 소가 떼를 이루고 종이 심히 많으므로 블레셋 사람이 그를 시기하여

15 그 아버지 아브라함 때에 그 아버지의 종들이 판 모든 우물을 막고 흙으로 메웠더라

16 아비멜렉이 이삭에게 이르되 네가 우리보다 크게 강성한즉 우리를 떠나라

이삭의 재산이 엄청나게 증가한 이유는 무엇일까요?

그 이유는 하나님이 아브라함에게 주신 축복이 이삭에게 이어졌기 때문입니다.

하지만 이삭은 이 축복으로 인해 아비멜렉과 갈등을 겪게 되었습니다.

그리고 그 갈등의 대상은 우물이었습니다.

이것은 이삭을 위한 하나님의 두 번째 시험이었습니다.

이삭은 이 시험에서 자신의 권리를 주장하지 않고, 아비멜렉의 행동에 대해 대응하지 않았습니다.

이삭은 첫번째 시험과는 다른 방식으로 이 문제를 풀어나갔습니다.

창세기 26:23-25

23 이삭이 거기서부터 브엘세바로 올라갔더니

24 그 밤에 여호와께서 그에게 나타나 이르시되 나는 네 아버지 아브라함의 하나님이니 두려워하지 말라 내 종 아브라함을 위하여 내가 너와 함께 있어 네게 복을 주어 네 자손이 번성하게 하리라 하신지라

25 이삭이 그 곳에 제단을 쌓고, 여호와의 이름을 부르며 거기 장막을 쳤더니 이삭의 종들이 거기서도 우물을 팠더라

사실 하나님은 항상 이삭과 동행하셨습니다. 

하나님은 이삭이 하나님의 말씀을 들을 때가 되었을 때 그에게 나타나셨습니다.

하나님은 이삭에게 이 신앙 수업의 목적에 대해서 설명하시고, 그에게 용기를 주셨습니다.

하나님의 지도를 받은 이삭은 그 후로 놀라운 경험을 하게 되었습니다.

창세기 26:26-31

26 아비멜렉이 그 친구 아훗삿과 군대 장관 비골과 더불어 그랄에서부터 이삭에게로 온지라

27 이삭이 그들에게 이르되 너희가 나를 미워하여 나에게 너희를 떠나게 하였거늘 어찌하여 내게 왔느냐

28 그들이 이르되 여호와께서 너와 함께 계심을 우리가 분명히 보았으므로 우리의 사이 곧 우리와 너 사이에 맹세하여 너와 계약을 맺으리라 말하였노라

29 너는 우리를 해하지 말라 이는 우리가 너를 범하지 아니하고 선한 일만 네게 행하여 네가 평안히 가게 하였음이니라 이제 너는 여호와께 복을 받은 자니라

30 이삭이 그들을 위하여 잔치를 베풀매 그들이 먹고 마시고

31 아침에 일찍이 일어나 서로 맹세한 후에 이삭이 그들을 보내매 그들이 평안히 갔더라

이삭의 신앙은 하나님의 신앙 수업과 몇 가지 과제들을 해결해 나가면서 성장하였습니다.

특히, 브엘세바에서 있었던 하나님과의 만남은 이삭에게 중요한 의미가 되었습니다.

그가 이 시간을 통해 자신을 위해 성실히 수업을 준비하시는 하나님을 신뢰하게 되었기 때문입니다.

이삭이 하나님의 말씀을 믿고 순종하였는데, 그에게 상당한 성장이 일어나게 된 것입니다.

이삭은 자신을 대하는 아비멜렉의 태도가 완전히 달라진 것을 목격하게 되었습니다.

이삭에게 적대적이었던 아비멜렉이 이제는 이삭에게 호의를 요청하였습니다.

이것은 이삭의 신앙이 이전과는 다르게 성장했다는 사실을 증명해 주는 것입니다.

한 사람의 성장은 스스로는 알아차리기 어렵지만, 주위 사람들이 그 성장을 알아차리게 되는 것입니다.

블레셋 왕은 이삭의 신앙적 성장을 알아 차리게 되었습니다.

그리고 그는 이 성장이 하나님의 수업을 통해 이루어 진 것임을 알고 있었습니다.

그래서 그는 하나님으로부터 복을 받은 이삭과 평화롭게 지내기를 원했습니다.

블레셋 왕은 서로 간에 전쟁이 발생하지 않도록 이삭과 계약을 맺기를 원합니다.

그리고 이 계약은 잔치와 맹세로 확증 되었습니다.

놀라운 사실은 이삭은 블레셋 왕과 같거나 더 높은 지위를 가진 계약 체결 상대로 나타난다는 사실입니다.

하나님께 온전히 순종한 이삭은, 하나님의 수업을 통해 엄청난 성장을 경험하였습니다.

그의 신앙의 성장은 그가 이전에 겪었던 문제들을 탁월하게 해결하였습니다.

4. 신앙 수업을 거부하는 학생

창세기 26:34-35

34 에서가 사십 세에 헷 족속 브에리의 딸 유딧과 헷 족속 엘론의 딸 바스맛을 아내로 맞이하였더니

35 그들이 이삭과 리브가의 마음에 근심이 되었더라

창세기 26장은 전반적으로 이삭에 대해서 서술하다가, 마지막 일부분에서 에서에 대해 언급합니다.

에서의 여러 이방 아내가 이삭과 리브가의 마음에 근심이 된 것은 이스라엘의 풍습과 신앙에서 동떨어진 그들의 생활 방식 때문이었습니다.

성경은 에서의 결혼을 부정적으로 언급하며, 앞으로 하나님이 축복이 야곱에게 전달될 것임을 암시하고 있습니다.

즉, 하나님의 세번째 수업에 등록할 학생은 에서가 아닌 야곱이 될 것입니다.

에서는 전에 야곱에게 맏아들의 권리를 팔았던 것처럼, 이방 여인들과 결혼함으로써 스스로 하나님의 수업에 참가할 의사가 없음을 나타내었습니다.

5. 신앙 수업을 수료하는 학생들의 비밀 : 예수 그리스도

요한복음 14:6

6 예수께서 이르시되 내가 곧 길이요 진리요 생명이니 나로 말미암지 않고는 아버지께로 올 자가 없느니라

하나님의 신앙 수업을 성공적으로 이수한 학생들의 비밀은 무엇일까요?

훌륭한 학생들은 하나님이 준비하신 수업에 대해서 전적인 신뢰를 가지고 있었습니다.

또한 그들은 하나님이 가르침에 순종하며 자신을 변화시켜 나갔습니다.

하나님에 대한 최고의 믿음은 무엇일까요?

그것은 예수 그리스도 입니다.

오직 예수님을 통해서만 하나님께로 가는 길이 열립니다!

오직 예수님을 통해서만 하나님이 주시는 진리를 깨닫게 됩니다!

오직 예수님을 통해서만 하나님으로부터 영원한 생명을 얻을 수 있습니다!

사실 우리는 이미 하나님이 진행하시는 신앙 수업에 참석하고 있습니다.

그 수업은 우리 인생의 전반에 걸쳐서 이루어지고 있습니다.

누군가는 하나님으로부터 순종하는 법을 배우고 있는 중입니다.

누군가는 하나님이 주신 시험을 치루고 있는 중 입니다.

누군가는 하나님께로부터 좋은 평가를 받아 기쁨을 누리고 있는 중일 수도 있습니다.

하나님의 신앙 수업은 때로는 높은 수준으로 진행되어 우리에게 제공됩니다.

그 이유는 하나님께서 당신이 그 과정을 능히 감당할 수 있다고 여기시기 때문입니다.

더 정확하게 말하자면, 당신이 해결할 수 없는 문제를 만났을 때 예수 그리스도를 찾으라는 것입니다.

하나님이 진정으로 바라시는 것은 우리가 스스로 문제를 해결하는 것이 아닙니다.

그 문제로 인해 예수 그리스도께 순종하고, 예수님의 능력을 의지하라는 것입니다.

이것이 하나님이 운영하시는 신앙 수업의 최종 목적입니다.

최고의 선생님이신 하나님은 지금도 우리에게 최고의 수업을 제공해 주십니다.

우리 믿음의 조상들은 예수 그리스도를 통해서 하나님의 수업을 성공적으로 수료하였습니다.

하나님의 수업을 성공적으로 수료한 사람들은, 생명책에 기록되는 영광을 얻게 될 것입니다.

또한 부상으로 진리와 생명을 얻고, 결국 하나님과 영원히 함께하는 특권을 누리게 될 것입니다.

이 모든 것을 가능케 하신 예수 그리스도를 당신의 주인으로 믿으십시요.

그리하여 우리 모두가 하나님의 신앙 수업을 좋은 성적으로 수료하기를 소망합니다.

  • May 05 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 25:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Festus

1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”


Paul has been in prison for 2 years. He had returned to Jerusalem after his 3rd missionary journey, but the leaders had arrested him. Even 40 Jewish men took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they’d killed him. So, the commander of the Roman army there sent him away to Governor Felix (about 60 miles away). Felix knew that he was innocent after hearing the case, but to receive bribes from Paul and favor from the Jews, he kept Paul in prison for 2 years. This is after that story – now the new governor Festus has become governor.

There are 2 sections today:

  1. v. 1-12 Conciliation between Festus the new governor and the Jewish leaders
  2. v. 13-22 Consultation between Festus and King Agrippa

Part 1

v. 1-12

“1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Only three days after his new appointment as Governor, Festus visited Jerusalem to find favor with the Jewish leaders – and the Jewish leaders (2 years later) were still the same in their hatred of Paul and moral abasement.

Once again, the Jewish people had formed a plot to kill Paul in ambush on the way. They asked the new governor to send Paul again to Jerusalem so they might kill Paul on the way. In secular history, this governor was governor from AD 58-62 after Felix.

Paul was a Jew whose countrymen wanted to kill him.

At the same time, a Roman whose government didn’t know what to do with him.

If the new governor were to release him, the Jews would hate him. But if he kept him in prison, he would have to explain why a Roman citizen was being held in prison without charge.

In this situation, the Jewish leaders urged Festus to send Paul to them again (so they could kill him). He urged them to come to Caesarea to reopen their charges against him. 8-10 days later, he left and they followed to do as he said.

Festus opened the court, the Jews accused him, Paul defended himself. But there was nothing new – nothing different from 2 years ago. But the governor Festus didn’t want to be against the Jewish people, so he asked Paul – “Do you want to go to Jerusalem?”

Paul: “No! I appeal to Caesar!”

This was the key answer to solve ALL the problems at once. He appealed to the emperor. At that time, every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar. This did not mean that Caesar himself would hear the case, but the Supreme Court would. Who was the emperor at that time? Nero. (AD 60) He had not yet started the persecution of Christians. But when he appealed to Caesar, Festus had no choice but to send Paul to Rome.

What made Paul make this wise decision?

  1. He knew his final destination (Rome)
  2. He knew the fastest way to go was to appeal to Caesar
  3. He knew the Jews would never give up their hope of killing him

v. 12

“After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Paul knew that because the Jews still wanted to kill him, it was wise to stay under the protection of Rome (they would have to guard him). But even though he appealed to Rome, Festus’ problems were not over.

Part 2

v. 13-22

“13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.” “

Next Sunday, we will also hear him – what Paul said to Agrippa.

Festus’ problems were not over. He hadn’t hurt the Jews, but he also hadn’t formally charged Paul. He couldn’t send Paul to Rome without documentation. This was the official course of action.

Then, King Agrippa visited him to say, “Congratulations on your new position.”

Who is this Agrippa?

  • Herod Agrippa II.
  • Son of Herod Agrippa I who killed the apostle James and imprisoned Peter.
  • He was the grand nephew of Herod who killed John the Baptist.
  • He was great grandson of Herod the Great who killed all the boys 2 years and under in Bethlehem just to kill Jesus.
  • This is the last of Herod’s dynasty that ruled Palestine from 40BC – 100AD.

Just like a father to son, Agrippa received a flawed personality passed down from his father. Each son received mistakes and missed opportunities from his father. Each generation had a direct or indirect connection with Jesus but missed the opportunity. This is in the line of Esau (half-Jews). They were eager to please the Roman government who appointed them as the kings of the Jews.

From this story we can get many lessons.

From the family of Herod:

They had a great opportunity – a long history of encountering Christ – but each time they rejected forgiveness and eternal life.

One of the most sobering lessons form this family is: Families tend to pass on both positive and negative traits to the next generation.

Today’s is Children’s Day. My question: What kind of spiritual example are you setting? What will be your legacy you leave to the next generation?

Second, Paul is still in prison, but his main purpose was not his own defense but being a witness of Jesus.

v. 19

“Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.”

Paul was defending much more than religion in general. He was defending and declaring the resurrection of Christ. We also are witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.

We know there are famous graves in this world.

  • The Pyramids (mummified bodies of Egyptian kings)
  • Westminster in UK (bodies of nobles)
  • Wellington Nat. Cemetery in Washington DC (bodies of dead soldiers)
  • Mohammed’s Tomb (beautiful decorations)
  • Jesus’ Tomb is also very famous – because it is EMPTY – there is no landmark

Jesus’ resurrection is the basis and foundation that all that is necessary for our lives and ministries is available to us – and also a guarantee that our bodies will also be resurrected very soon.

  • Romans 11 “If the one who raised Christ is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies…”
  • Jesus “If anyone believes in me, he will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”
  • Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live though he dies.”

If we are children of God, we also are not only defenders of ourselves, but of Christ’s resurrection. Yet, we will not escape false accusations – because Satan is “the god of this age.”

v. 7

“When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. “

Paul, simply because he was a witness of Jesus’ resurrection, was surrounded by false witnesses and accusations. He had to listen to these false accusations for more than 2 years.

Have you ever been accused, condemned, criticized wrongly for doing nothing wrong? Remember, if we are really born-again Christians, we are not free from false accusations. “Satan” means “Accuser” – The Bible says, when we suffer false accusations and criticisms, the first thing we must do is consider Christ.

Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes upon Christ, the author and perfector of our faith… he endured the cross…”

1 Peter 2:19 “It is commendable if a man bears the pain of unjust sufferings because he remembers Christ. What credit is it to you if you receive a beating for doing evil? But it is credited to you if you receive such for doing good. To this you are called… No lie or cheating was found in Christ’s mouth. When he suffered, he did not make threats, but entrusted himself to God who judges justly. He bore our sins on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live righteously. By his wounds, we are healed.” He is our healer.

Our enemy, Satan, never gives up his job/ministry against us: Accusing us. Condemning, criticizing.

You must know that Satan is never gonna give you up…

  • Satan can see what you did (not what you will do), and he accuses you because of it, “Look at you. You’re such a ….”
  • We reply, “Yes, I know!” (And we should reply, “I know I’m not worthy of salvation, but I’m not saved by my deeds, but by my faith in Christ.”)

Do not be defeated by the false accusation of Satan. Our spiritual lives are a spiritual war.

Finally,

We must WAIT.

We are studying chp 25. Remember, in chp 23, God had promised that Paul would go to Rome and preach the gospel. But for two years, nothing has happened. Is God sleeping? No, he is working and waiting for the BEST time.

  • Our time is not the best time.
  • We should not be impatient when we need to be patient.

Paul waited for 2 years, but remember Joseph as well – the stories are similar.

Joseph’s story

Joseph was in prison, unjustly, for 2 years (like Paul). But Joseph continued to trust in God and God was with him and God gave him success in whatever he did.

One day the king’s cupbearer and baker were put in the same cell. They both had a dream – very meaningful – so they were upset and troubled. So Joseph explained the dreams and just as he interpreted, one man was hanged 3 days later, the other (cupbearer) was restored to his original job. In this situation, Joseph asked, “Remember me” when you are restored and work with Pharaoh again. But when he was set free, he forgot Joseph – for 2 years.

Question: When we wait for a LONG time, when the issue of waiting for God to act for us, when we have little to do but trust God and wait for him to act – are you angry? Troubled? Upset? Disappointed? Discouraged? Anxious? That time is very important and serious. A crucial time.

Being forced to wait is a good test for our patience and faith.

Then, when 2 full years had passed, the king of Egypt also had a meaningful dream. The king called all the magicians and wisemen but nobody could interpret this dream. It was JUST THEN when God made the cupbearer remember Joseph. Then (eventually) Joseph became made Prime Minister of the greatest country of that time.

God never sleeps. Remember!

  • Jesus “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
  • Paul “Give thanks in ALL circumstances – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…. God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 03 / 2017
  • Comments Off on To God be the Glory Forever, Amen (Romans 11:25-36)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

To God be the Glory Forever, Amen (Romans 11:25-36)

Download Notes in a .MD file

To God be the Glory Forever, Amen

Romans 11:25-36 (Pastor Heo)

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.


We saw four witnesses as proof that God has a plan for Israel:

  1. Paul himself
  2. Elijah
  3. The Gentiles
  4. The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc)
  • The dough – the first part – is the symbol of the patriarchs.
  • The root of the tree (from last week) – is the symbol of Israel.

Last word of v. 28 = “patriarchs”

“28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,”

Today, we have the final witness / proof. This is the last and best witness: God himself – the very character and work of God.

God is dealing with his people Israel. Who is God? How is God? What are his characteristics? Here I’ll share 6 things with you about God.

6 Characteristics of God

#1: God’s Timing

In this world, everything that happens, happens according to God’s time: Ecc 3:1 “There is a time for everything; a season for everything under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die, a time to love, a time to hate, a time to eat, a time to speak, etc..”

v. 25

“25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part _until_ the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”

All that has happened to Israel is a part of the plan for Israel. God knows what he is doing and what is happening.

The “hardness” in the middle here is spiritual blindness of Israel – but this is not total, nor final. It is partial and temporary. Until “the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” v. 12 – there is a fullness for Israel and also for the Gentiles.

Today, individual Jewish people are being saved, but this present era is primarily a time when God is visiting the Gentiles and building his church. When this present age has run its course and the full number of the Gentiles has come in – then at that time, God will take action and deal with Israel again.

This verse is one of several “until” verses in the Bible (this means God’s timing).

  • Ps 110:10 “The Lord says to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies…”
  • Matt “You cannot see me until you say ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord'”
  • Luke “Israel will be trampled on until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”
  • Matt 24:14 “The gospel will be preached in ALL nations and THEN the end will come.” (This is God’s timing)

#2: God’s Promise

This is very important.

v. 26

“26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. (Isaiah 59:20-21 – last two verses)

Jacob is the old name of “Israel” – this means a descendant from the nation of Israel. Jesus Christ comes as deliverer, redeemer, Savior.

This is the first and only mention of Jesus’ coming in the book of Romans.

  • “so, all Israel will be saved.” (so = “in this way / by this method”)
  • “all Israel” doesn’t mean ALL Jews who’ve ever lived, but it means, the majority of Israel who are alive when Jesus comes again.
  1. 2,000 years ago, when Jesus came, the majority of Israel did NOT recognize nor receive Jesus. Only a few did.
  2. Next, when Jesus comes again, the OPPOSITE will happen. The majority of Israel will finally recognize and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

John 1:10 “He was in the world even though the world was made through him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, but his own did not receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God.”

#3: God’s Covenant

v. 27

“27 And this is my _covenant_ with them when I take away their sins. 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as _election_ is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,”

This is a continuation of Isaiah 59, but we need to read Isaiah 60 to get the full picture of the glory of Zion. Isaiah 60:1 “Arise and shine!”

Keywords:

  • Covenant
    • The emphasis in this sentence is God’s covenant (absolute, unbreakable promise).
  • Election
    • This does not mean elite – ism, nor perfection, but it means sovereign grace. God did not choose them for their goodness.
  1. If Israel was not chosen by God based on their merit,
  2. likewise, they cannot be rejected by God based on their sinfulness.

v. 28 means the Jewish people are now “enemies” toward believing Gentiles due to their attitude toward the gospel. But, in the eyes of God, they are loved due to God’s covenant with the patriarchs.

#4 God’s Nature

What is God like? What are his qualities and attributes?

v. 29

“29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

(this is the shortest verse in this section but the most important)

  • Irrevocable = conclusive, final, cannot be broken / revoked
  • God’s gifts = salvation (the gift of gifts)

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Good News Bible = “God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses.”

  • Malachi 3 “I am the Lord, I never change.”
  • Numbers “God is not a man that he should lie.” (God is not a son of man that he should repent. Does he speak and not act? No. Does he promise and not keep his promise? No.)
  • Romans 3:3 “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith cancel God’s faithfulness? Certainly not! Let God be true!”

If you know and understand who God is, he is unchangeable and we can be certain of our salvation.

#5: God’s Mercy

v. 30

“30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,”

We need God’s mercy. That’s why chp 12 begins with “I urge you brothers, in the view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices. Do not follow the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

“I need God’s mercy.” x4

v. 30-32

“30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received _mercy_ (x1) as a result of their disobedience,31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive _mercy_ (x2) as a result of God’s _mercy_ (x3) to you.32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have _mercy_ (x4) on them all.”

Final purpose: That God may have mercy on them all.

Yes, we are also one of this “all.”

  • Through the disobedience of Israel, salvation came to the Gentiles.
  • Likewise, through the salvation of the Gentiles, Israel will come to know and love Jesus.
    • This is an obligation of the Gentiles – to provoke Israel to jealousy.

God has included all human beings (Jews and Gentiles) in being able to experience the mercy of God. There is no difference in salvation.

  • When Adam sinned, all humanity (including us) sinned in Adam.

Romans “There is no one righteous, not even one. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

  1. If you say, “I’m not a sinner” then you don’t need mercy from God.
  2. That’s why we must confess “I’m a sinner” – so that we may repent and receive mercy.

In God’s original plan, the Jews would be the source of blessing to the Gentiles. God chose the Jews that the Gentiles might be saved. What is the first covenant given to Abraham? Genesis 12:3 “All people on earth will be blessed through you.”

The tragedy was that Israel became exclusive and failed to share this truth with the Gentiles (their mission). But God did not fail in his plan.

In a large crowd, it is humbling to look around and think, “Everyone needs a Savior.” But until we truly experience God’s mercy in our lives, it is unlikely we’ll feel that others need to experience it as well.

  1. God’s timing
  2. God’s promise
  3. God’s covenant
  4. God’s nature
  5. God’s mercy
  6. God’s wisdom

#6 God’s wisdom & knowledge

v. 33-36

“33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Having contemplated God’s great plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, the only thing Paul could do is sing a song of rejoicing.

  • Theology becomes Doxology
  • Theology becomes Worship

God is too wise to make plans that will not be fulfilled. This has two meanings – applied literally to all Israel, and applied spiritually to all people.

When Israel comes into their fullness, they will recognize him, receive him, be reconciled, be received, it will look like a resurrection.

In our story, God’s purpose for the salvation of the world is beyond our understanding. This is beyond our tracing out.

Who can say, “I’m God’s counselor”? Who gave to God before he gave to us? All we have came from him originally. (Doxology)

Col 1:15-17 “By Jesus Christ all things were created – things on heaven and earth – visible, invisible, thrones, rulers, powers, authorities – all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”

God has a purpose for your/my life. What is this purpose? Remember, a life without a purpose given by God is like a ship without a rudder – it’s a directionless activity.

The purpose of God’s salvation through his mercy and grace:

That we may share this blessing of salvation with others, making Jesus Lord, to the glory of God.

Let’s pray

  • Oct 29 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God Remembers and Rewards (Esther 6:1-14)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

God Remembers and Rewards (Esther 6:1-14)

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God Remembers and Rewards

Esther 6:1-14 (Pastor Cruz)

Mordecai Honored

1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked. “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered. 4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him. 5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.” “Bring him in,” the king ordered. 6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’ ” 10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” 11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” 12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.


Guest speaker today from the Philippines. Pastor Cruz.

We are here to celebrate our anniversary. Our story began when my wife entered the staff of Paul Mission – so we thought a good opportunity would be to meet Pastor Park again for our anniversary.

Title: “God Remembers and Rewards”

The story of Esther is very interesting – it tells of the situation of the Jews in Persia – they had been taken in 586BC by King Nebuchadnezzar. If you remember the story of Daniel, this was the taking of the Jews to Persia. Ezra was the story of the taking of the Jews BACK to Jerusalem (on the 70th year of captivity – as prophesied).

Not all the Jews decided to return to their land. Some had adapted to life in Persia. So this book of Esther gives us a good look at what became of THOSE particular Jews.

This story of Esther shows us some things we really need to learn in our walk as followers of Christ. Here are 3 important principles we must follow.

#1 People may forget, God does not

People forget promises – no matter how good their intention, there is a point in time they just forget. Maybe they are getting older, or their situation changes. Maybe they become unable to fulfill a promise they made.

  • Ex: After your graduation next year, you will get such and such gift. But, say some things in life happen, situations change, and you can’t get that gift.

This is part of the human limitation – when we put our trust in humans. Sometimes humans forget or become unable to fulfill their promise.

But God does NOT forget.

You know in Esther, the name “Yahweh” or “God” is never mentioned, but we can see him at work behind the scenes throughout the book.

Haman wanted to DESTROY the Jews. He even erected a pole (gallows) on which to hang Mordecai – and he was plotting to have the soldiers hunt down and kill all the Jews.

But… coincidentally… the King couldn’t sleep that night.

You know how kings entertained themselves? “Come to me and read to me ALL my accomplishments.” He was listening – self-satisfied – “I’m a cool dude~”

At one point, they came to an instance where some of his servants were plotting against him – and he found that Mordecai revealed this plot – and the king was saved.

Hmmm, coincidentally… this particular situation was read to the king that night. Only God can do that. Here’s God at work, reminding the king.

He asked, “What’s been done for this guy?” The servant said, “Nothing.” So the king said, “Hmm, who’s outside right now?” Haman! The favorite of the king!

“So, Haman, you’ve been giving me awesome advice…” (But earlier that week he’d made an edict he just needed signed by the king to annihilate all the Jews). He thought the king MUST want to honor him.

But the story doesn’t go that way.

God knows everything – and at some particular moment, he will complete his purpose in your life.

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

So, is that possible? For a mother to forget the baby at her breast? No way. Even more than this, God will never forget you. That’s the kind of God we serve.

Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

You know, if you give your heart to someone, it can be broken. (That’s why Korean novellas are so popular in the Philippines).

That hurts so bad when that happens. So, don’t give your heart to just anyone. Give your heart only to the Lord. Give it to Jesus and he will keep it safe and not break it. (But if he DOES break it, it’s only to give you a better heart.)

In whatever ways you’re serving God right now, – or if you’re not, make the decision to do so now. Your gestures of compassion for your brothers and sisters in Christ are recorded in heaven. He will NEVER forget those acts. And you will NEVER be disappointed when you choose to follow him.

Like in the story of Mordecai. Perhaps Mordecai was grumbling about this – Haman was honored afterward – not him (Esther 3, 4). Probably he was grumbling. “This is terrible – what’s happening to me?” God has a BETTER plan.

#2 God rewards at the RIGHT time

He has a particular point in time when he will act and give you your reward. Imagine if Mordecai had been rewarded at that immediate moment, it would be finished. Years later, with the situation with Haman, there would be nothing left to receive.

It’s as if God purposefully saved his reward for this particular moment – when their lives were at stake.

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

God is hovering and looking over each and every one of us. So, do not TIRE of doing the good deeds God has set apart for you to do. He will reward in the RIGHT time.


My story:

I started my ministry at age 18.

In the Philippines, Christians are called “Protestants” because we have a Catholic majority population. In the Philippines, pastors are looked down on (not exalted like in Korea).

Over time, I felt God calling me into full-time ministry and the elders affirmed it and appointed me youth pastor. My salary was quite small. I admitted to myself, “I’ll never be able to support a family – nor even have one.” My salary was only 2000 pesos (40,000 won?) per month.

My father died when I was 8. You can imagine how difficult it was for my mother to raise us.

I can remember walking 4km through the mountains to the church. But in the city, people thought it was strange that I didn’t take public transportation. When I reached the church, I was soaked with sweat, carrying a heavy guitar. I led worship and then preached. I told God I’d just be single forever.

I met my wife in the church. She’s a CPA (accountant). She gets to work and earns our money. And I get to preach. Isn’t God amazing? That’s how God works in our lives.

Whenever airplanes fly overhead, I never took notice. I never thought I would ever fly in one. But God had a better plan. By his grace and goodness, I’m able to travel, see different places, and share the gospel. God is so good.


You see, no matter what you are doing for him, so long as you do it with all your heart and you do it consistently, God is able to give you a reward, at the proper time. And people take notice.

  • You come to church early, clean up once, and no one notices. But do it EVERY Sunday, and people notice.
  • When you serve others, help the sick, show hospitality, consistently, people notice and God will reward in the proper time.

1 Corinthians 3:12 “12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

It’s not important to just keep doing, you have to do it with your whole heart as well. Put your heart into what you do and the result will show.

If you work in the office and you only work hard when the boss watches you…

One thing I really admired the first time we came here is the “Hurry, hurry” attitude. We even almost bumped someone who was walking and brushing her teeth at the same time.

The people work hard, and give their all for their work.

When we were in Paul Mission, we served missionaries (one was Pastor Park). We would normally hear, “Oh my! So slow! Hurry up!” but we thought we were doing OK… “Hmm, OK, we’ll hop to it! Hurry up! Do it fast! Do it well!” HOW MUCH MORE when you’re serving God?

People are dying, heading to hell, we MUST share the gospel. Where’s your sense of urgency? We must do it fast, and do it well.

Share the Word, share our hearts.

Jesus did that. He only lived 33 years, ministered for only 3 – boy, he was in a hurry. But he came to seek and save the lost – that we might spend eternity in heaven with him.

You see, we NEED to give our efforts to extend God’s kingdom and reach out to the lost. This will please God and he will reward it.

#3 Nothing is more fulfilling than the reward that is from the Lord

Back to our story, Esther 6.

  • Suppose the king said to Mordecai, “Let’s ask him what he wants to receive for his deeds.”
  • He probably will not even dare to say what Haman said. “Give me your robe, and your horse, and your ring, and proclaim throughout the city what I’ve done!” No way! This is probably the farthest thinking of Mordecai.
  • Probably he was only concerned with his own survival at that moment. “King, please, just spare the lives of my people…”

But look what happened. Totally unexpected! He was honored greatly by the King.

God has a way to honor each and every one of us. He has his own special way to do THAT to you. He knows your special circumstances, he knows what matters to you, and he knows how to respond to that. And he can do even more than that. Beyond your expectations, beyond what you ask. Sometimes, something you never even expected to happen – happens. He did it for Mordecai and he can do it for you too.

1 Corinthians 3:8 “8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.”

Each has a purpose and each will receive their reward.

Your faithfulness to the Lord will be rewarded – no matter how small it may seem.

Rev 22:12 “12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

But even before this, God rewarded us – when we were still sinners – with eternal life through Jesus Christ.

There is nothing we can do to receive this grace. While we were still sinners, he died for us.

He is returning at just the right time, and his reward is plenty.

Friends,

Keep in mind that we are serving a faithful God. He does not overlook your labor nor sacrifices for him. He hears your prayers. The loudest, the quietest prayers in your heart, he hears them all equally. He has promised a reward and surely he will give it.

He remembers and he rewards.

That’s how generous our God is.

You will never be wrong when you choose to put your faith in Christ and serve him faithfully.

Let’s pray.

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