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  • Nov 25 / 2018
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

The First Church Council

Acts 15:1-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Council at Jerusalem

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

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this situation:

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

This is silly.

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

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

v. 1-2

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

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

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

v. 5

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

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

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

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

v. 12

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

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

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

v. 13-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 Things of “Loving Compromise”

Abstain from:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


v. 23-29

“23 With them they sent the following letter:

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

Greetings.

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

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

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

You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell. “


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

v. 34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

We can put the matter like this.

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

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

Romans 6:11-23 (Pastor Heo)

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

Slaves to Righteousness

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


Important words: Know, Count, Offer

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

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

This union is the STRONGEST union.

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

This union is stronger than:

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

This union is authored by the Holy Spirit.

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

This is a VITAL union (vitamin).

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

This union is PERFECT / COMPLETE.

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

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

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

This union is INSEPARABLE.

How long is eternal life?

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

What does this mean?

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

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

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

Make sense?

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

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

“I’m a fighter of sin!”

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

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

Important words: Know, Count, Offer

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

“Counting” is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are imperative verbs yes?

The literal translation of v. 13 =

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

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

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

Q: WHY does God want our bodies?

God eagerly, earnestly wants to use your body.

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

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

3 words are keywords (reasons for this surrender):

1. Grace 은혜

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

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

2. Freedom

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

Practical translation of v. 19

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

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

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

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

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

3. Fruit (Do you like fruit?)

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

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

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

Sin is also a Master and God is a Master.

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

v. 23

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

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

Samson

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

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

These three words need to be heeded daily.

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

God bless us with his living and powerful message.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 09 / 2017
  • Comments Off on You died to sin, are alive to God (2) (Romans 6:1-10)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

You died to sin, are alive to God (2) (Romans 6:1-10)

Download Notes in a .MD file

You died to sin, now alive to God (2)

Romans 6:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.


Another “how much more”: “Where sin increased (abounded), grace increased (abounded) much more”

  • There is no sin that cannot be forgiven,
  • no sinner that Jesus Christ cannot save.

If sin is powerful, grace is SOO much more powerful.

  • Q: IF this is true: “where sin increased, grace increased much more”, then (v. 1) “shall we sin more and more to receive more and more grace”?
  • A: NO! We are dead to sin, alive to God!

What does this mean? How is it possible?

Meaning: We are united in Jesus in his death, burial, resurrection. ID’d with Jesus in these things. Not only Jesus died for your sins, he died TO sin. Therefore, we are also DEAD TO SIN – because we are IN CHRIST. Whatever has happened to Christ, has happened to us. When he died to sin, so did we. When he rose to heaven, so did we.

What does this mean? Now, we must be able to see the reality of the invisible. Of course, everyone can believe in the visible. But, FAITH is the power to believe in the invisible.

2 Cor 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, because what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

There are 2 worlds:

  1. Visible (Physical) World,
  2. Unseen (Spiritual) World.

Phys world:

  • Jesus came 2,000 years ago.
  • Abraham lived 4,000 years ago.
  • John the Baptist was months older than Jesus.

Spiritual world:

  • But, John B said, “Jesus is greater than me, for he was before me.”
  • And Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”
  • Paul said, “In Him, ALL things hold together and have their being.”

You can say, “how old are you? When did you become a Christian?”

  1. You can answer in the Physical world “When I was 10.”
  2. But in the spiritual world, “where were you 2,000 years ago at Calvary?” I WAS THERE WITH CHRIST ON THE CROSS. Your parents, your children, your descendants, yet to be born, were there.

This is a mystery, but historical (spiritual) reality. Do you believe this?

We read 10 verses, and in each verse (almost), we can see the word “death” or “died.”

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

  • “I died with Christ and no longer live. The life I live in the body I live to Christ….”

Our ID with Christ in his death, anything and everything that happened to Jesus in / after his death, the same will happen (has happened) to us.

  • His death is my death
  • His life is my life,
  • His glory is my glory

We are coheirs with Christ.

v. 3-4 “baptism” – Did you receive water baptism? This is a physical/outward appearance of a spiritual/inward reality. Water baptism itself does not save us, nor ID us with Christ in his death and resurrection. Rather it is an outward signal of our inward reality – that we have been crucified with Christ and raised to new life in him.

There are 2 meanings of “baptism” in Greek.

  1. “To sink deep underwater”
  2. “To be ID’d with”

Baptism is a public announcement that “I AM UNITED WITH CHRIST” – are you baptized? This is very very meaningful. This means that you publicly declare “I’m Christian! – united with Christ in his death, burial, resurrection.”

And because of this new relationship with Christ, we also have a new relationship with sin.

v. 1-2 “1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

Where sin increases, God’s grace increases much more.

Because of this, can you sin? Never. It’s impossible.

Ex: from the Bible.

1. Robber on the cross beside Christ

At that time, crucifixion was the worst penalty given to the worst criminals – we can assume he had lived a terrible, evil, wicked life.

  • Powerless, he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
  • This one short sentence says MANY things – “Jesus I’m a sinner. I need your help. You are my Savior. You are my Lord.”

Jesus answered only one sentence.

  • “Today (now), you will be with me in paradise.”
  • “All your sins are forgiven.”

What grace! He experienced that God’s grace is Soooo much greater than all his sin.

Where sin increased, grace increased much more.

But imagine, if he had lived longer on this earth AFTER that, would it be possible for him to GO BACK to his life of sin in order to receive this grace from Jesus on the cross again? NO!

2. Prodigal son

(bad, evil, wicked son) – left his father for his own life/freedom. He spent, lost all he had. He wanted freedom, but became a literal slave and beggar.

  • When he came to his senses, he returned to his father. “I’m no longer worthy to be your son. Make my like one of your servants.”
  • His father never mentioned his sin, nor past life, just filled with compassion, threw himself around him, kissed him, and said, “Quick! Bring the BEST robe and put it on him and a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Kill the fattened calf and let’s celebrate with a feast!”

Immediately, fully, his sonship was restored. This son experienced GREAT grace – where sin increased, God’s grace increased more.

But is it possible to leave his father AGAIN and go back to his old lifestyle in order to return and experience this grace again? NO!

He died to his old self! He cannot go backward to restoring faith/grace, but must go forward to developing faith/grace.

3. Apostle Paul

He was the biggest persecutor of Christians, and one day on the road to Damascus, Christ appeared to him and changed his life completely.

  • “Saul, why do you persecute me?”
  • “Lord, who are you?”
  • “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

He experienced this great sin and greater grace.

But is it possible for him now to go back to his old life – hating and persecuting Christians again – in order to come back and experience this great grace from God on the road to Damascus again? NO!

So he writes, “I press on to the goal for which Christ has called me. I am what I am.” He cannot go backward for restoring grace, but must go forward for developing grace.

4. Lazarus

This story is a picture of our own salvation procedure – John 11-12 –

  • Lazarus has been in the tomb for 4 days (and there’s a terrible smell). There’s no question about his death.
    • Like this, we also were once totally DEAD in our sins.
  • Yet, one day, Jesus came to the tomb – Lazarus did not come to Jesus, but Jesus came to the tomb.
    • Like this, we did not come to Jesus, but Jesus came to us – for we were dead spiritually.
  • Jesus said, “Lazarus, COME OUT!” He heard the voice of Christ and CAME OUT!

Immediately, unconditionally, this grace saved Lazarus.

But is it possible for Lazarus to kill himself again and go back into the tomb in order to experience this wonderful power of God again? NO! Of course not!

Instead, Lazarus was seated at the table with Jesus.

The process:

  1. Death
  2. Raised from the dead
  3. Set free to work in the newness of life
  4. Seated in heaven with Jesus

Ephesians 2:3, 6 “You were dead in your sins…. God raised you up and seated you in the heavenly realms with Christ.”

So, we do not want to go back into our sin any more than Lazarus wanted to go back into the tomb dressed in grave rags.

“If anyone is in Christ, the old has gone, the new has come.” Sin and death have no more dominion over Jesus Christ. Because we are in Christ, sin and death also no longer have dominion over us.

Please remember, if we are in Christ,

  • We cannot go backward
  • We must only go forward

We died to sin. How can we live in it any longer?

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 02 / 2017
  • Comments Off on You died to sin, are alive to God (Romans 6:1-10)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

You died to sin, are alive to God (Romans 6:1-10)

Download Notes in a .MD file

You died to sin, are alive to God

Romans 6:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.


Conclusion: we died to sin, we are alive to God.

In chp 5, we saw 4 “how much more“s

(Actually, there are FIVE)

  1. If God so loved us that he gave his one and only Son to die on the cross for us when we were ENEMIES, “how much more” does he love us NOW that we are his children?
  2. If our Lord Jesus Christ did something great for us through his death, “how much more” is he NOW doing for us that he is alive?
  3. If one man (Adam) brought physical / spiritual death to all human beings, “how much more” is Jesus ENOUGH to bring LIFE to all human beings? Adam being a living being, Jesus became a life-giving being.
  4. If just one action of disobedience of one person is enough to condemn and judge ALL mankind, “how much more” is just one action of obedience of one person (Jesus) enough to bring righteousness, redemption, glorification, justification, kingdom, heaven, to all men?
  5. LAST: (chp 5:20) “20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased (all the more) [how much more],”

KJV “Where sin abounded, grace abounded [so] much more.”

So…. how much do you sin in your daily life?

No matter how much it is, God’s grace is greater. This is common sense. God did not create sin. The root of sin is Satan. The root of grace is God.

  • If something from Satan is powerful,
  • “how much more” powerful is something from God?

There is no sin that is unforgivable. There is no sinner that Jesus Christ cannot save.

1 Tim 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners, of whom I’m the worst.” Jesus can save even the WORST sinner.

By nature, I’m a terrible sinner, but honestly speaking, I don’t think I’m THE WORST sinner in this world.

Another meaning: “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

  • The more grace we experience, the more we will recognize how sinful we are before God.
  • The more holiness of God, power of God in my life, the more I see my own unholiness, powerlessness, weakness, smallness.

We are under grace.

“Where sin increased, God’s grace increased all the more.” – this is true – a basic truth – don’t doubt – believe it as truth – do you believe this?

But, we should not misunderstand. We must understand the true meaning of this sentence.

Somebody can say, “WOW! Sin increases, and so grace increases? Dude! Let’s sin continually! Sin is awesome! Because it gives me more of God’s grace!” The Bible says, “If you say this… you are not really a born again Christian, or you do not understand the fundamental basics about Christianity you should know.”

  • 6:1-2 “1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? “
  1. If you died to smoking, you cannot smell it any longer.
  2. If you died to alcohol, you cannot taste it any longer.

We read only 10 verses, but a very STRONG verb is repeated multiple times: “KNOW”

  • v. 3, 6, 9 – this expresses that this is a basic, fundamental, Christian doctrine.

Imagine, if Satan can keep us away from this knowledge, Satan can keep us impotent (powerless).

This verse is a believer’s identification with Jesus Christ.

Last week we saw our identification with Adam and Jesus:

  1. By our first, physical birth, we are IDed with Adam
  2. By our second, spiritual birth, we are IDed with Jesus

“To all who believed in him, he gave the right to become children of God. Children not born of natural descent, or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

This is just ONE message, our ID with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. Our union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.

  • When we are IDed with Adam, it is in his sin, condemnation, judgment, penalty, eternal death.
  • When we are IDed (united) with Christ, it is in his death, burial, resurrection, eternal life.

Let us continue this study next time.

Let’s pray.

  • May 21 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2) – Romans 4:1-25
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2) – Romans 4:1-25

Download notes in a .MD file

Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2)

Romans 4:1-25 (Pastor Heo)

Abraham Justified by Faith

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” 9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


We are not justified by works, but by the grace of God based on the power of God – through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This chapter is the same justification illustrated through the experience of Abraham. In the matter of salvation and justification, Abraham and we are the same. (Same experience, same testimony).

Last time, we saw (negatively) by what Abraham was NOT saved.

  1. His character
  2. Circumcision (religious rituals – baptism, communion, local church membership)
  3. Observing the Law
  4. His own power

Today, let’s look at (positively) by what Abraham WAS justified.

#1: He was justified by Faith

v. 1-3

“1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” – (this is quoted from Genesis 15:6)

  • In Genesis 14, Abraham was involved in fighting to rescue his nephew Lot and possessions and many other people.
  • In Genesis 15, maybe Abraham might be in fear wondering if they might return to fight against him. It was then that God appeared to him and said,
    • “Abraham, do not be afraid. I am your great shield and very great reward.”
    • Abraham said, “Oh, Lord, what have you given me? I have no heir.”
    • God said, “No, not your servant, but your own son from your own body will be your heir. Look up at the heavens and count the stars – your children will be more numerous than all these or all the sand on the seashore.”
    • This promise is the one that Abraham believed and God honored his faith and said, “Your faith will be credited to you as righteousness.”

Thus, BY FAITH, he was declared righteous.

#2: He was justified by the Grace of God

v. 16

“16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (are you included or excluded? if saved, you are included in the salvation / justification of God)

Literal meaning of “Abraham” = “Father of many nations”

This promise was given by Grace.

This means God was not under any duty or obligation to do this for Abraham. Abraham did NOTHING to earn this, nor to merit this promise. It was freely given. It was given totally by God’s will and grace. This is a gift without cause.

In Greek, there are two words for “promise”:

  1. huposchesis? = conditional, relative promise (like a contract or agreement by mutual consent – there are conditions that must be met)
    1. If you… then I’ll… – most promises between human beings are these.
    2. The word “Promise” in these verses is NOT this one.
  2. epangelia? = unconditional, absolute promise (this is to be fulfilled regardless of any factors) – Abraham’s age, character, etc did not matter.
    1. Thus, our salvation (likewise) is never to be lost nor changed.
    2. Once justified, it never changes.

If we are saved, justified, by our own works, then this salvation may be lose-able (think if you failed to live up to your previous works). But this promise is absolute and unconditional.

  1. by faith
  2. by grace

#3: He was justified by the power of Jesus Christ

v. 22-25

“22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

Yes, Abraham was not justified by HIS own power. Now, imagine, when God gave this promise, “You will be the father of many nations…” Abraham was childless. He was 85 years old at that time. (That’s not young.) We can expect that God would give Abraham a child IMMEDIATELY after that promise, but…………………. 15 years later….

There are many reasons for this, but ONE reason why God delayed in giving them a son was to wait until their “natural” reproductive power reduced and disappeared completely.

When they were totally powerless, as good as dead from a reproductive point of view, THEN God (through the power of the resurrection of Jesus) began to work in their bodies.

This was an outward symbol of how they were justified.

Also, we have done nothing for our own salvation and justification, because we were spiritually dead when we were saved. Also, we need to do nothing for our salvation because our Lord Jesus Christ has done ALL for our salvation and justification.

In this chapter, Abraham is listed as the “father of faith” (not the father of character). This means, even today, we are saved by the same faith by which Abraham was saved and justified 4,000 years ago. By that same faith, we can learn and see what this saving faith is like.

Here are 3 things that saving faith is like.

Do you have saving faith?

  1. Basis = Word of God (covenant of God, promise of God – not our own thinking)
    1. Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the Word of God…”
  2. Object = Jesus Christ
    1. Even Abraham (from God’s perspective) was saved and justified by believing in Jesus Christ. “Before Abraham was born, I AM.”
    2. Jesus came in body 2,000 years ago, Abraham lived 4,000 years ago. “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” (not “had been”) “Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day.”
    3. Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

2 key words / key points

If you get these points in your daily lives, you will be so blessed.

Before this, let us think about Abraham’s faith. We are also justified by this same faith.

On Abraham’s part, he had NOTHING to boast about his faith. But God honored Abraham’s faith and declared “you are righteous”. Also today, we need to honor his faith.

Under what circumstances did Abraham believe God’s promise (4,000 years ago)?

  1. He had no Bible, no written Word of God, no local churches, no fellowship with other believers. He was surrounded by unbelieving pagans (he was the only one at that time)
  2. He also was childless at age 85 – yet he believed God’s promise for “many children” and even up to 15 years later…. NO.

If you were Abraham in THAT situation, would you continue to believe God’s promise absolutely without doubting, shaking, wavering?

  • The visible circumstances are becoming worse and worse,
  • but Abraham’s faith is getting stronger and stronger.
  • THIS is saving faith.

v. 18-20

“18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, “

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

You must check your faith all the time. If (this is a serious sentence)…

  • If your faith is affected by circumstances….
  • – stronger when circumstances are favorable,
  • – weaker when circumstances are out of control
  • This is NOT saving faith.

That’s why, even Saving Faith is the Gift of God.

This is not given by our own payment, but by God’s grace.

2 keywords

  1. Credit (x10 repeated in this chapter)
    1. v. 3
    2. v. 4
    3. v. 5
    4. v. 6
    5. v. 9
    6. v. 10
    7. v. 11
    8. v. 22
    9. v. 23
    10. v. 24
    11. This short word = 10x
  2. Righteousness (x12)
    1. – sometimes “justified”
    2. – last word in this chapter = “justification” – this means “declared righteousness”

2 keywords:

  1. Credit (x10)
  2. Righteousness (x12)

At that time, “credit” = banking term.

Do you have a credit card? Probably most of you have more than one. Do you have your own bank book?

“Credit” = to deposit into one’s account (increase) – count, reckon

If someone puts $1 billion into my account, whose money will that be? Mine. It’s available for me – regardless of my character, weight, appearance, education, career, background, etc.

Credit = emphasized in Romans 4 to show us “this is TRUE!” – the moment I put my real trust (faith) in Jesus Christ – at that exact moment, all of my sins from first to last, are ALL transferred to the “bank account” of Jesus Christ. That’s why he is called the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins for the whole world.

That’s why, at the cross, he was totally filled from head to toe with ALL the sins of the world – even Abraham’s sins, even my sins, even a man who lives to the end of the world’s sins.

Because of this, God abandoned him and Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Isaiah 56 “We all like sheep have gone astray, each has turned to his own way, and God has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”

Then God transferred ALL those sins to Jesus and declares us righteous, because he also transfers Jesus’ righteousness to us.

“God made Christ who had no sin to become sin so that we might be justified and made righteous for everyone who believes.”

Cor 1:30 “Jesus Christ is our righteousness, sanctification.”

This is the imputation of unrighteousness and righteousness.

God bless you. This chapter starts with the story of Abraham, and ends with the story of Jesus Christ.

v. 25 “25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

  • Jesus was delivered over to be a full Man from full God
  • delivered to this dirty earth from beautiful heaven for our sins
  • delivered over to all kinds of sins and temptations to experience what we experience
  • delivered over to the priests and Pharisees
  • delivered over to Pilate to be judged wrongly for our sins
  • delivered over to Roman soldiers to be powerless for our sins
  • delivered over to the cross, the place of the greatest humiliation and shame for our sins
  • delivered over to death and burial and hell for our sins and rose again from death from hell from all sins.

It is only Jesus Christ who defeats the last enemy. And now he is alive and interceding for us. He did this all for us, and all by his own choice (not by force) – he did this all because he loves us.

John 10:18 “No one takes my life from me, I lay my life down of my own accord. I have authority to lay my life down and to take it up again.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • May 01 / 2017
  • Comments Off on How Can I have a Righteous Relationship with God? (Romans 3:20-31)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

How Can I have a Righteous Relationship with God? (Romans 3:20-31)

Download notes in a .MD file

How can I have a Righteous Relationship with God?

Romans 3:21-30 (Pastor Heo)

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.


I recommend you read and reread today’s passage more than 100 times.

  • In Romans, chp 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against men who suppress the truth by their wickedness…”
  • Chp 3:19 “All mouths will shut before God for no one understands nor seeks God. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

After a LOOOOOONG journey about our sinfulness, wickedness, total depravity, now, today, finally, we see WONDERFUL news about how to be declared “not guilty” by trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior – to forgive our sins, empower us to live the lives God wants us to live. This solution is available to ALL of us regardless of our background or past behaviors.

v. 21 “But now!”

This is a signal of HOPE. A big turning point.

The theme of Romans is the Righteousness of God. (or from God)

In today’s passage, can you see how many times this keyword is repeated? (x10 in 12 verses)

  • v. 20 “righteous”
  • v. 21 “righteousness”
  • v. 22 “righteousness”
  • v. 24 “justified”
  • v. 25 “justice”
  • v. 26 “justice, just, justified”
  • v. 28 “justified”
  • v. 30 “justified”

As we know, in the sermon of sermons of Jesus (Beatitudes) – Jesus mentions this word also several times (Matthew 5-7)

  • “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” –
  • “Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” –
  • “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven” –
  • “so seek **first** his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

There are 2 types of Righteousness of God

  1. Attributed righteousness of God
  2. Declarative righteousness of God

Attributed righteousness = his ABSOLUTE unconditional righteousness = He is the FINAL standard of what is “right” – so whatever he does is “right” – this is applied in his dealing with all Creation. (Ex: punishing the wicked, forgiving the penitent, fulfilling his Promise given to his children, his governing/ruling all Creation)

Declarative Righteousness = as righteous judge, supreme judge, his judgment on a person (“you are not guilty”, “you are innocent”) – this is his declarative righteousness to us

Whether Attributed or Declarative, this righteousness is revealed on the cross.

Today’s definition involves both meanings. Today’s topic gives an answer to this question: How can we be justified? (declared righteous, receive righteousness)

This is the Act of God where God declares a sinner “you are righteous” – this is not from the works IN us, but something declared OF us.

As I mentioned, regardless of who you are, your background, past behaviors, TODAY we can be justified, declared righteous, have a right relationship with God, receive righteousness from God. HOW?

#1 Negatively: We CANNOT be justified by our actions, the works of the Law

  • v. 20 “Therefore, no one (including me) will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the Law.”
  • v. 24 “But now a righteousness from God apart from the Law”
  • v. 27 “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. On that of observing the Law? No.”
  • v. 28 “For we maintain that a man is justified apart from observing the Law.”

This is repeated 4 times.

NO ONE can have a righteous relationship with God by your works, effort, power.

There are 3 Positive Points.

#1 Positive: We CAN be justified only by God’s grace

“Only by grace” do not forget.

If you are a real Christian, we must say all the time, “It is only by the grace of God that I am what I am today.”

  • v. 24 “and are justified freely by His grace”

Justification = ONLY by the grace of God

It originates in the heart of God – realizing not only our lack of righteousness and our powerlessness to attain it, God decided to provide a righteousness FOR us. It was by his own grace and thoughts that he provided this for us. He is under no obligation to give us grace.

Obligation is not grace.

That’s why “grace” is called “grace” – because it is “gracious” – not under obligation.

God has his attributes (who he is) and characteristics (how he relates to his Creation). “God is love” – and when he acts in His love and mercy, it becomes grace.

  • He does not give what we deserve to receive. (mercy)
  • He gives what we do not deserve to receive. (grace)
  1. Mercy = no wrath, no punishment for our sins, no hell
  2. Grace = life, eternal life, righteousness, forgiveness of sins

“It is only by the grace of God that I am who I am, I am what I am.”

#2 Positive: It is by the blood of Christ

Blood means not only “death” but also “resurrection”. Blood is symbolic of not only death, but also life.

  • v. 24 “redemption” – “and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption”
  • v. 25 “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement” (propitiation = atoning sacrifice)
  1. Redemption
  2. Sacrifice of atonement (propitiation)
  3. Blood
  • Q: “How much did you PAY to receive this salvation / justification?”
  • A: Nothing.

It is FREE, but not CHEAP.

Why FREE? It is TOO EXPENSIVE to receive. We can never pay the full price of justification. It is literally price-less.

These three words:

  1. Redemption
  2. Propitiation
  3. Blood

shows the price that God has paid.

  • Propitiation = appeasing someone who is angry by giving a gift. (We may appease a crying baby with candy – but this is not the same as the biblical term – propitiation satisfies God’s wrath.)
  • Blood = Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the righteous demand of God and rescue the sinner

Leviticus 16 : this is a symbol / type / shadow of this (The Day of Atonement)

This was one of the biggest national festival days in Israel. There were two goats presented at the altar.

  1. 1. Chosen by lot to be sacrificed as a sin offering. It was killed and its blood was taken into the Most Holy place and sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant and covered the two tablets – this meant that the blood (temporarily) satisfied the righteous demand of God.
  2. 2. The second goat – the priest placed his hands on the goat and confessed the sins of the WHOLE people. Then, the goat was sent out into the desert – symbolically carrying AWAY the sins of the people.

“As far as the east is from the west, so God has removed our sins from us.”

Actually, the blood of animals cannot TAKE AWAY the sins of the people, but it TEMPORARILY covered the sins of the people – until the Day when Jesus Christ came into the world and took away the sin of the world – perfectly, completely, eternally – once for all – and purchased FINISHED salvation. This is a miracle.

  • v. 25 “God presented Him as the propitiation for our sins because in his forbearance (long patience), he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished (the OT sins).”

God “passed over” or overlooked the sins of the Old Testament time until Jesus came in the flesh to finish the task. That’s why Jesus said on the cross: “It is finished.”

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, there is redemption (the purchase of the sinner and setting him free).

We have nothing to do for our justification because we have no power and Jesus has already done ALL things necessary for our salvation and justification. So, we can say, “The blood of Jesus and his death and resurrection is the foundation for our justification.” This means, the blood of Jesus is the foundation for ALL blessings we enjoy in this world and the world to come.

Are you enjoying some blessing? Any kind of blessing = the basis for this foundation of blessing is the blood of Jesus Christ.

#3: Positive: Justification is by faith

We can see this repeated x9

  • v. 22 “this righteousness comes through *faith* in Jesus Christ to all who *believe*”
  • v. 25 “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement through *faith*”
  • v. 26 “those who have *faith*”
  • v. 27 “No, but on that of *faith*”
  • v. 28 “a man is justified by *faith*”
  • v. 30 “since there is only one God who will justify the circumcised by *faith* and the uncircumcised through that same *faith*”
  • v. 31 “do we nullify the word by *faith*? No.”
  1. Romans 5:1 “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God”
  2. Romans 10:10 “it is with your heart you believe and are justified”
  3. Gal 2:16 “Know that a man is justified only by faith in Jesus Christ, not by observing the Law…”

Remember: Faith is only a condition of justification – it is not a meritorious (merit) ground for justification.

  • Faith is not the PRICE for justification.
  • Faith is the METHOD for justification.

“It is by grace you have been saved, not of yourselves, but a gift of God, so that no one can boast.”

  • Faith is only RECEIVING. This does not mean we understand everything Jesus has done, but it means we BELIEVE Jesus has done everything necessary.
  • Faith also removes the pride of human action.
  • Faith is not something we DO.
  • Faith extols what Jesus has done for us, not what we have done.
  • Faith admits we need God’s help.
  • Faith in Christ is based on our relationship with God, not on our performance nor achievements.

v. 29-30 “Is God the God of Jews only? … of Gentiles too! Since there is only one God” (Deut 6:4) “Hear O Israel, your God is only one God, so love him with all your heart, soul, strength.” (This is Trinity monotheism) – if you believe in two Gods, this means you don’t believe in God.

There is no difference in the matter of condemnation, salvation, justification – because there is only ONE God – a universal, global God, the Creator of all things.

“God is a missionary God.”

If this is true, it means we also have a mission.

Last verse: “we uphold the Law by faith”

I need some time to explain the meaning of this sentence, so I will explain more next time.

May God bless all of us with this wonderful justification. How can we be declared righteous and justified? How can we have a righteous, right relationship with God? How can we receive the righteousness by God?

  1. By God’s grace
  2. By the blood of Christ
  3. Through faith

“Not FOR faith, but by/through faith.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 17 / 2016
  • Comments Off on Malachi: Warning to the Backsliders (1:1-14, 2:17, 3:1, 4:5-6)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Malachi: Warning to the Backsliders (1:1-14, 2:17, 3:1, 4:5-6)

07.17.2016

07.17.2016-PHeo

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  • Jan 03 / 2016
  • Comments Off on What does it mean that it is By Grace that I am Saved? (Ephesians 2:8-10)
New Year, Sermons

What does it mean that it is By Grace that I am Saved? (Ephesians 2:8-10)

01.03.2016

Bulletin 1.03.2016-PHeo

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  • Apr 19 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14)

04.19.2015

04.19.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

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The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Wedding Banquet

Matthew 22:1-14 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

22:2-14Ref — Lk 14:16-24

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off–one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”


I hope and bless that we are not only invited but also chosen.

The KOH is in you and you are in the KOH – this is not an empty cliche. This is a wedding banquet – do you like this? This will be so much better than any wedding banquet in this world.

In the KOH, every day, every moment is like a wedding banquet. Rev 17:18-19? “Let us rejoice and give thanks for the wedding of the Lamb – the wedding supper of the Lamb.”

In this passage, there are TWO parables.

  1. v. 1-10
  2. v. 11-14

We can understand their meaning more easily and fully if we look at them separately. The first events are completely in accordance with normal Jewish customs:

When invitations to a feast were sent out, the time was not stated. Only when EVERYTHING was prepared, the servants were sent out again for a final summons. So, in this parable, the king sent his invitation a LONG time ago, but it is not until everything is ready that the final summons was sent out – and finally, the people refused.

In this first parable, we have TWO stories.

  1. Local (Jews) v. 1-10
  2. Global (Gentiles included)

This local meaning is an accusation of the Jews. The invited guests who when the time came, refused to come, stands for the Jews. LONG ago, Israel was invited by God to be his “Chosen People” but when Christ came into the world and they were invited to follow him, they refused contemptuously.

God is also inviting the people to come to his wedding banquet in Acts. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit, this invitation to the KOH is going out on to the Jews (until chapter 7). But the national leaders of Israel rejected this invitation AGAIN and persecuted the church. The rejected this first when they refused to listen to John the Baptist, then rejected it again when they arrested and crucified Jesus, then the same men captured and killed Stephen in Acts 7.

Then God sent other workers in his great patience. The Holy Spirit came upon the early believers and witnessed that Jesus is alive and performed great miracles – proofs that God was at work in and through them. But, they refused the invitation numerous times. Then, with the stoning of Stephen, God’s patience with Israel began to end – even though he delayed the final judgment for almost 40 years more (destruction of the temple).

v. 7 “The king was enraged…” (super angry)

These servants of the king were literally killed by the people (James, Peter, Stephen, etc). And the temple in Jerusalem was literally destroyed in AD 70 – this is the picture of the king in the story burning the city.

Then, God sent his servants out into the streets to get the sinners and the Gentiles (including you and me). This is the LOCAL meaning of this first parable.

What is the universal meaning?

We can see 3 points here:

#1: this invitation of God to the KOH is a feast – an invitation to joy, not to sadness or burden

The Bible says continually, “Be joyous all the time, give thanks in all circumstances” God desires us to be joyful, not sorrowful. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!” – If we reject this invitation of God to his kingdom, we miss JOY. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest – and my joy will be complete in you.” If we reject this invitation, we lose real, endless JOY. Yes, everybody wants joy, but only true joy is in the KOH.

#2: v. 5 – very meaningful even to us today

“But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business.”

They did not go out for immoral adventure or wild carousal. They refused simply for their daily lifestyles. They just wanted to efficiently manage their business lives. Yes, this is not bad, not wicked, sometimes very necessary. But because of this “business” they rejected the KOH.

Remember, if DOING some thing prevents us from coming to the house of God, that thing is wicked, evil in the eyes of God.

How about church? Yes, we may miss church, not for the purpose of sinning, but for the purpose of looking religious. We must be careful because there may be danger, challenge, temptation. It is a matter of what is MORE important in our personal lives.

Please, do not lose the things of eternity to get the things of time. Do not follow the things of temporary and miss the things of eternity.

Col “Since then you have been raised with Jesus Christ, set your hearts on things above… not on earthly things.” Please, do not lose LIFE itself by being too busy with administration, management, govenment of life itself. Do not refuse the KOH to remain on this earth.

#3: This invitation is the invitation of GRACE

Grace is a free gift (v. 8-10)

Are you in the KOH really? Remember if we are really in the KOH already, then regular and faithful participation in Sunday worship is only the STARTING point, not the ending point.

Realize that this invitation is the invitation of grace – people are invited from the highways and byways had no claim on the king – never expected this invitation, and never deserved it. It came to them from nothing other than the generous hospitality of the king. It is the grace that gathers ALL in.

How about our story? Yes, now and here, we are what we are, where we are, by the grace of God – predestined, called, invited, chosen, elected, saved, blessed, justified, sanctified, glorified by the grace of God. The door is open – not only to good men, also to bad men.

The Christian church is (obviously) multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-aged. No nation, nor personality type has a lock on the KOH. Yet, at the same time, we are ONE. Eph 4. We are unity in variety, and variety in unity.

v. 11-14 Second parable

This parable is a very close continuation and amplification of the first parable.

This is the story of one guest who appeared at the ROYAL wedding feast without wearing wedding clothes. This is just common sense – it is unthinkable to go to a wedding ceremony in dirty clothes. If I do this, I insult/despise the bridegroom and bride as hosts.

  1. Local meaning
  2. Universal meaning

1. Local meaning = the king sent the servants out to gather ALL men in. This story told how sinners and Gentiles would be gathered in. The door is opened very widely.

Yes, in this church, the two doors are opened widely – not only to good men, but also to sinners.

But this parable strikes a necessary balance. When we come IN, we must bring LIFE – the life given to them. The door is WIDELY open, yes, but NOT open for sinners to come in and REMAIN a sinner without change. The door is open for sinners to come in and BECOME a saint.

We must become clothed in NEW goodness, new holiness.

2: Global meaning

The WAY in which we come to anything demonstrates the spirit in which we come.

For example, if we go as a guest to a friend’s house, we don’t go in pyjamas (pajamas). It is simply a matter of respect to present ourselves to the friend’s house as neatly as possible. This is the way we outwardly show our respect, esteem, love for our friend.

So it is with the KOH and church. Yes, we know this has nothing to do with our CLOTHES which we wear to church, but rather with the ATTITUDE we take with us to the house of God. These are the “clothes” of expectation, humility, repentance, faith, love, reverence, – the clothes of our attitude when we come to church.

To our sadness, many times we approach God WITHOUT any preparation at all.

If every Christian prepared to enter the house of God with prayer, repentance, humility, then our worship would be worship indeed.

v. 14 “Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

This is very serious.

Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in this world, will he find faith on this earth? Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves – enter through the narrow gate. Many enter through the wide gate that leads to destruction – and only a few find the narrow gate that leads to life.”

This sentence does not mean eternal INsecurity in our salvation – rather, we have TOTAL security ONLY in what Christ has done on the cross for us. We must therefore continue to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling and thanks and worship.” Why? Because God works in you and me to act according to his good will and purpose.

May God bless us that our assurance of salvation is MORE secure on the basis of what Christ has done on the cross for us and in what he is doing in our lives now.

Let’s pray.

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

Remembering God’s Forgetfulness (Jeremiah 31:34)

04.12.2015

04.12.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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Remembering God’s Forgetfulness

Jeremiah 31:34 (Pastor Brian)

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cleansing of the Leper:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2: God shows his mercy by giving Life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 29 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Amazing Amnesia of God (Isaiah 43:25)
No More, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Amazing Amnesia of God (Isaiah 43:25)

03.29.2015

03.29.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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The Amazing Amnesia of God

Isaiah 43:25 (Pastor Brian)

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


Title: The Amazing Amnesia of God

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

Some Writings:

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

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

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

NO MORE being the KEY here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guilt is universal. What do we do with it?

#1: Rationalize it

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

Rationalize = to ration lies

We need to OWN UP to it – take RESPONSIBILITY.

#2: Deny it

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

#3: Run away from it (avoid it)

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

  1. Rationalize
  2. Deny
  3. Run away

This is how WE approach guilt

God’s method?

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

What does God do with it?

#1: Faces it

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

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

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

The events of Passion Week (this next week)

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

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

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

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

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

When God forgives, he forgets.

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

What does this all mean for us?

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

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

The enemy is called the Accuser of the Brethren.

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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