18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
One of the big problems of Corinthians was disunity, division. One reason they had difficulty in keeping unity was because they were so different in background, culture, lifestyle, history, esp before becoming Christians.
The Corinthian church was mixed: Jews, Greeks.
At that time, Greeks treasured philosophy (philo “love” sophia “wisdom”) = “love of wisdom.” Greeks were so famous for philosophy. Even today, we study this: Greek Philosophy. This is considered the root of western philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Socrates).
Jews valued miracles, miraculous events. From Exodus to Jerusalem and Jesus, they desired miracles, and looked for them. They asked Jesus for miracles, but he refused.
We read “wisdom” here, and it is repeated 13 times. Both to the Greek and the traditional Jew, the message of the cross sounds foolish and stupid.
v. 18 is one of my personal favorite verses
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The message of the cross is very simple: Jesus DIED to save sinners.
This message has two results. All of humanity will end up in one of two classes.
Foolish = reject belief and perish in hell
Wisdom = accept and gain eternal life, they are being saved.
“I’m not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for all who believe…” (Paul)
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”
To the Greeks: At that time, Christianity was associated with a poor Jewish carpenter who died the most shameful (naked) death – hanging on a tree in the air, exposed to the eyes of anybody. It was illegal to crucify Roman citizens, so this death was never even mentioned in polite Roman society. Even the image of crucifixion was not acceptable. It was a form of the worst capital punishment. So, how is it possible that the Savior of the world would be crucified? To the Greeks, valuing logic, this was totally foolish.
To the Jews: They had only the Old Testament at that time, and among the OT books, one of the most important was Deuteronomy. (21:23 “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under a curse from God.”) According to this verse, it would be totally unacceptable and unthinkable for the Messiah to be crucified. So it is a stumbling block to them.
“but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
God’s wisdom cannot be mixed with man’s wisdom. His wisdom is revealed primarily in the cross of Jesus. It is not about form / matter, but about content / reality.
Sometimes we need to doubt our doubts, question our questions.
Real wisdom: Giving up our wisdom to gain God’s wisdom.
What is real power and what is real wisdom?
Think about your own personal situation – about who / where you were when you were saved.
“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.”
This is my story. When I became Christian, I was very foolish.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.”
That is why finally, for him to get glory, we can know that God is never impressed with our character, position, politics, money, etc.
Among the earliest 12 of Jesus’ disciples, do you know what their jobs were?
5 were fishermen
1 tax collector
6 unknown careers
God’s view of power is upside-down. He is more interested in the weak than the strong – he is more interested in the low than the high.
The cross of Jesus will turn our concept of wisdom and power upside-down. If you are really saved, remember that we were called to salvation not because of what / who we are, but in spite of it – so that no one can boast in themselves.
Ex: Jesus’ ministry
Several times this may have happened.
On the way to Jerusalem one day, he encountered a blind beggar, and Jesus purposefully healed him.
The Bible recognizes him by recording his name: Batholemus
In history, historical books, such an individual would be passed over and remain nameless.
In Luke 16, there was the story of the RICH man and the beggar. But in this story also, the rich man is nameless, but the beggar has the name Lazarus.
So the story’s name is the Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
This is God’s foolish wisdom, God’s weak power.
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.””
Righteousness = justification
holiness = sanctification
redemption = glorification
At first I said that the key sentence is “Jesus is our Wisdom and Power.”
The emphasis here is that the Father God reveals his wisdom through Jesus Christ by means of righteousness, holiness, and redemption.
only in following Jesus can we walk rightly. Only in listening to Jesus can we hear the truth.
Col 2:3 “In Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
having a right relationship with God. This has to do with our standing / position before God. He declares us righteous simply because we put our trust in Jesus
5:21 “God made him who had no sin to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.”
John 17:19 “For them (my followers) I sanctify myself so that you too may be sanctified (set apart).”
At the same time that we are sanctified already, we are also BEING sanctified.
Jesus can deliver us (liberate us) from past sin and future fear.
There are three tenses of perfect salvation:
Past = we have been saved from the penalty / punishment of sin (righteousness)
Present = we are being saved from the power of sin (holiness) – “Work out your salvation continually with fear and trembling”
Future = we will be saved from the presence of sin (redemption)
We have been bathed in his blood and saved, and redeemed by his cross.
The cross of Jesus is true wisdom because it is a cure for human limitations from a God who chose to empty himself and experience human limitations.
The cross of Christ is TRUE power who chose to subject himself to death and share himself with others.
True power? = Self-giving, others-centered
Willing self-sacrifice for the weak. This is TRUE power.
One story (illustration):
Are you a father? There’s a father, and his 7-year-old son play together with games like running and arm-wrestling. In this competition, the son’s purpose is victory – to defeat his father. But the father’s purpose is not victory – it is to build up a friendship and relationship, intimacy with his son. To encourage him, make him feel more happy.
In this competition, the father controls and loses his own power to empower his son. Then they both can achieve their purposes.
The father shows his own power by becoming weak. The father shows his wisdom by becoming weak.
The son’s happiness comes from victory.
The father’s happiness comes from loss.
This is the picture of the cross.
That’s why the cross is our REAL power and REAL wisdom.
Jesus is our wisdom, power, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Without Christ, we are nothing.
Apr 19 / 2020
Comments Off on We are Spiritual Marathoners (Hebrews 12:12-15)
Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong
We are Spiritual Marathoners
Hebrews 12:12-15 (Pastor Heo)
“12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Warning Against Refusing God
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
We are in Hebrews. Chp 12 starts as we studied a few weeks ago. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders…Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
“Let us run the race…”
We can say that the Christian life in this world is like a spiritual marathon. Do you know about marathons? We know about physical marathons. They are 42.195km. This is a LONG distance. We know how difficult it is to finish this full course well. So, since we know how difficult it is to finish well, when they do finish well, they are filled with a big smile.
Like this, when we finish this race set before us well, we also will be very happy and satisfied.
2 Tim “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, and there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, that the Lord will award to me and to all who have longed for his second appearance.”
Remember, the Christian life is a marathon. God bless us to finish the race well.
“12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
God is our coach, pushing us beyond our limits.
Yet, difficult times should not cause us to fear, but we are not to be satisfied with only self-survival in mind. We must be good to others to follow Christ very well. We must run tough and hard, very well. We must not choose the easy way for ourselves, but make an easier way for others to believe in Christ – by becoming good examples.
As we know, in every Christian community and society, there are some who are weaker, likely to go astray and abandon the struggle. So it is up to us to put fresh vigor into weak arms and fresh strength into failing feet.
One of life’s greatest privileges is to become an encourager to one who is in despair and a strengthener of one whose strength is failing.
As Christians, we have double-duty – before God and before man. Make your way straight in the sight of men, and God, then we will find favor before God and men. We must have a pure heart before God and an upright life before man. We are long-distance runners in this world.
So, let us run rough and tough together.
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps.”
If we want to become a good example for others, we need discipline, and suffering. We must run hard and run together as co-marathoners in this world.
“Make every effort [do your best] to live in peace with all men [even your enemies] and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
This means, without holiness we cannot be saved. Let us run rough and tough and run after peace and holiness. In our marathon, all the time, we must run after peace and holiness.
Peace is not negative in the Bible – it is intensely positive. God bless us with his peace.
Peace = everything that is made for man’s highest good and happiness (i.e. to be found in obedience to God), also right relationships between God and man, and man and man. Hatred is no more and each person pursues his neighbor’s good.
We must pursue peace with all people in this world. We must have peaceful relationships with our unbelieving relatives and neighbors, our enemies, and people in the church.
Yet, in this imperfect world, we know it is impossible for all men to live together in peace – but we must DO OUR BEST.
Romans “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.”
Romans 14 “Let us do all we can to bring peace and mutual edification.”
Romans 5 “Therefore, we have been justified, so we have peace with God.”
How is this possible? Only through Christ.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons and daughters of God.”
2 Cor “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come.” If you memorize this, you must also memorize the next verse. 18 “All this is from God who reconciled himself to us and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
This means we have been given the ministry of reconciliation – to reconcile people to God and reconcile with other men. We are to be kind, thoughtful, considerate, to help others, pray for others, even for our enemies – even those who hate us.
But the best way to make peace between God and man and man and man: To preach the gospel – the “good news of great joy for all the people.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
Jesus is the author of our peace and the source of our peace. That’s why long ago, before he came, it was prophesied, “He will be called Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah) and in Eph “He himself is our peace.” Only real peace can be found in Jesus Christ.
We must be holy. What is the meaning? It is literally: different and separated.
“Holiness” applied to God = his moral perfection and the fact that he is totally separated from all humanity and all creation.
“Holiness” applied to us = set apart, consecrated, set aside for a purpose.
Remember, the world’s standards are not our standards.
Romans 12 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Our actions, thoughts, concerns, purpose. Our final goal is different.
“Without holiness, no one can see God” because sin always blocks our vision of God. If we want to see God, we must renounce sin and obey God.
Important: We are made holy once for all by the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are perceived as holy by what Jesus has done for us on the cross and we are called “saints” which means “holy ones.”
But in a practical way, “holiness” means “honoring God in how we treat others” – neighbors, husband, wife, spouse, employees, children, parents, co-workers, and how we run our business, how we behave at work, etc. Holiness causes us to behave differently from unbelievers.
Yes, we must do our best to live at peace with everyone, but at the same time, we must be different (set apart) from the world.
1 John 3:2 “Yes, dear friends, we are now children of God. If we are, though what we will be has not been made know now, yet when he appears we shall be made like him and we shall see him as he really is.” This is the fulfillment of holiness when we finish our marathon course.
This is why we run after peace and holiness.
Finally, we need his grace. Without it, we cannot finish this race well. His grace is essential for us to continue our race and finish very well.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
We must run in the grace of God.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God” means that it is possible to miss it. Remember, the grace of God does not fail, but we can fail to depend on his grace. The grace of God brings us the opportunity / chance to make our lives what they are meant to be. But we can miss that chance because of our sin, ignorance, laziness, procrastination, and pride. So, against that, we must be on watch in spiritual visions.
Romans 5:20 “Where sin increased, the grace of God increased all the more.” What does this mean? We should not misunderstand this sentence. It does not mean that we should sin more to experience more grace, rather it means that the more we realize HOW MUCH we need his grace, the more we realize HOW GREAT his grace is.
“It is by grace that you are saved by faith. It is not of yourselves, but is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”
Romans 5:2 “Through Jesus Christ, we have gained access into this grace in which we now stand.”
James 4:6 “God gives us more grace, greater grace, but he rejects the proud, but gives more grace to the humble.”
For our daily needs, there is daily grace. For sudden needs, there is sudden grace. For overwhelming needs, there is overwhelming grace. His grace is always available to us.
“Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Remember, his grace is always very near us, but we must be spiritually vigilant to appreciate and enjoy this grace.
Yes, the Christian life is like a marathon. So let us run hard, but let us also run together. Let us run toward peace and holiness. And let us run focusing our eyes on Jesus Christ – only he is the author and perfecter of our faith and he is the final goal of our faith.
God bless you with his peace, holiness, and grace.
『설교 전문』 할렐루야! 예배당에 오신 여러분을 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 환영합니다. 우리 주 예수 그리스도로부터 우리 모두에게 평강과 은혜가 함께 하기를 기원합니다. 아멘? 지금 우리에게 주신 하나님의 말씀은 히브리서 12장 12-15입니다. 히브리서 12: 12-15. 성경을 가지고 계신 분들은 성경을 여시고 12절에서 15절까지 함께 읽도록 하겠습니다.
12: “그러므로 힘없는 팔과 연약한 무릎을 강건케 하고
13: “너희 발을 위해 곧은길을 만들어 저는 다리가 불구가 되지 않고 고침을 받도록 하라”
14: “모든 사람과 화평하게 살고 거룩해지도록 모든 노력을 다하라. 거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라.”
15: “어떤 사람도 하나님의 은혜를 놓치지 않도록 주의하고 어떤 쓴 뿌리가 자라서 고통이 되어 많은 사람을 더럽히지 않도록 주의하라”
아멘. 이것이 하나님의 말씀입니다. 우리는 지금 히브리서를 공부하는 중입니다. 오늘 본문과 같은 장(12장)은 우리가 몇 주 전 공부한 바와 같이 이렇게 출발합니다. 1절은 이렇게 출발합니다.
“그러므로 우리는 구름처럼 많은 증인들로 둘러싸여 있으니 모든 장애물(hindrance)과 얽매이기(entangle) 쉬운 죄를 벗어 던지고(throw off), 우리에게 주어진 경주를 인내(perseverance, patience, endurance)로써 달리자. 우리 믿음의 지으신 자요 이를 온전케 하신 자인 예수 그리스도만을 바라보자.”
“우리에게 주어진 경주를 달리자” 이는 이렇게 표현할 수 있습니다. 이 세상에서 신앙적인 삶은 장거리 경주입니다. 마치 마라톤처럼 장거리 경주인 것입니다. 그러므로 저는 이 세상에서 신앙인의 삶은 영적인 마라톤이라 말하고 싶습니다. 우리는 영적인 마라토너들이고요. 이 땅에서의 영적인 삶은 마라톤이나 마찬가지인 거죠. 여러분은 마라톤을 알고 계시겠죠? 혹시 여러분은 마라톤 대회에 참가하신 적 있나요? 우리는 마라톤, 육신의 마라톤을 잘 압니다. 마라톤 코스는 얼마의 거리인지 아십니까? 마라톤 코스는 42.195 킬로미터입니다. 결코 짧지 않고 긴 거리입니다. 우리는 마라톤 풀 코스를 제대로 완주한다는 것이 얼마나 어려운지 알고 있습니다. 그러므로 마라톤 풀 코스를 잘 마친다는 것은 쉽지 않기 때문에, 선수들이 그 풀 코스를 훌륭하게 마무리 한 다음에는 이들은 완전한 만족감으로 행복해 하지 않을 수 없습니다. 아마 만면에 미소도 가득할 거고요. 마찬가지로 우리의 마라톤 풀 코스에서 우리가 이 풀코스를 성공적으로 완주한 다음에는 우리는 매우 행복할 것입니다. 우리는 온전한 만족감 속에서 큰 보상을 받으며 행복해 할 것입니다. 사도 바울은 이 진리를 매우 잘 알고서 디모데후서 4: 7-8에서 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“내가 선한 싸움을 싸우고 나의 경주를 마치고 믿음을 지켰으니, 이제 나를 위해 의의 면류관이 예비되어 있고 주 곧 의로우신 재판장이 이를 그날에 내게 상급으로 주실 것이니, 이는 내게만이 아니라 주의 두 번째 나타나심을 사모하는(long for) 모든 자에게도 마찬가지니라.”
예, 이 세상에서의 신앙인의 삶은 마라톤인 것입니다. 하나님께서 미리 우리 모두에게 축복하셔서 그의 은혜와 권능으로 우리가 이 풀 코스를 매우 성공적으로 마칠 수 있기를 기원합니다. 처음 두 절을 다시 보실까요? 12절과 13절입니다.
13: “너희 발을 위해 평편한(level)(‘straight 곧은’을 뜻함) 길을 만들어 저는(lame) 다리가 불구가 되지(disabled) 않고 고침을 받도록 하라”
예, 영적인 삶은 장거리의 달리기입니다. 우리는 영적인 달리기 선수(athlete)인 것입니다. 그러므로 우리의 하나님, 우리를 만드신 분, 즉 우리의 창조주 하나님은 우리의 감독(coach)인 거고요. 그 분은 우리가 한계에 도전하도록 독려하는 감독으로서 우리 생각으로는 이루기 어려운 일에 도전하도록 우리에게 용기를 불어 넣어주십니다. 예, 우리는 예수님의 제자들로서, 제자직분의 길을 가는 데는 자기 연단(discipline), 자기 훈련, 자기 통제(self-control)가 필수적입니다. 그러므로 자기 통제는 성령의 열매들 중 하나인 것입니다. 따라서 연단 혹은 핍박(persecution), 고난(suffering)이 우리를 두렵게 해서는 안 됩니다. 오히려 어렵고 힘든 시간들은 우리에게 참고 견디어내도록 용기를 불어넣어 주는 것입니다. 우리의 팔이 연약하고 우리의 다리가 휘청거려(shaking)도 우리는 굳건히 서야 합니다. 우리는 오직 마음속의 생존(survival in mind)만으로 만족해서는 안 됩니다. 이는 다른 사람들이 그리스도를 매우 잘 좇도록 우리가 좋은 본보기(example)가 되어야 한다는 뜻입니다. 그러므로 우리는 거세게 달리고 열심히 달려야 합니다. 그러나 이를 위해 우리는 모두 함께 거세게 달려야만 합니다. 예, 우리는 자신을 위해 쉬운 길을 택해서는 안 됩니다. 그 보다는 우리가 좋은 본보기가 됨으로써 다른 사람들을 위해 예수그리스도를 잘 믿고 따르도록 더 쉬운 길을 만들어 주어야 하는 것입니다. 아시다시피, 집회(congregation) 때마다, 모든 크리스천 사회와 공동체에는 길 잃고(go astray) 방황하다가 싸움을 포기할(abandon) 가능성이 있는 보다 연약한 사람들이 있습니다. 이들을 더욱 강건하게 만들고 이들의 연약한 팔 안에 신선한 비전을 안겨주고 실족할(failing) 발에 힘을 불어 넣어 주는 것이 우리의 의무입니다. 이것은 사실입니다. 삶의 제일 큰 특권(privilege)들 중의 하나는 절망(despair)에 빠질 수 있는 사람에게 용기를 심어주는 자(encourager), 힘이 다해 가는 사람에게 힘을 심어 주는 사람(strengthener)이 되는 일입니다. 그렇습니다. 여러분이 크리스천이라면 크리스천은 이중의 의무를 지니고 있습니다. 우리는 하나님께 일차적 의무가 있고 우리 동료들에게 이차적 의무가 있습니다. 하나님이 보시기에 정결한(pure) 마음을 가지십시오. 또한 사람이 보기에(in the sight of men) 평탄한(level) 길을 만드십시오. 그러면 우리는 하나님의 눈에도 사람의 눈에도 호의(favor)를 얻을 수 있게 됩니다. 이는 하나님께는 우리의 순수하고 깨끗하고 선한 마음을 바쳐야 하고, 동시에 사람에게는 올곧은(upright) 삶을 보여야 한다는 뜻입니다. 우리는 이 땅에서 영적인 마라토너들, 장거리 경주자들이기 때문입니다. 그러므로 튼튼한(masculine) 신앙인이 되는 것이 가장 중요합니다. 거세게, 강건하게 달립시다. 동시에 또한 우리 함께 강건하게 달립시다. 성경은 베드로전 2: 21에서 이렇게 말합니다.
“이를 위해 너희가 부르심을 받았으니, 이는 그리스도가 너희를 위하여 고난을 받으사 너희에게 본을 남겨 그의 자취를 따르게 하려 하심이니라”
이는 예수님이 우리를 위해 고난을 받으심으로써 우리에게 좋은 본보기를 남기셨음을 의미합니다. 이것은 우리가 다른 사람들에게 좋은 본을 보이기 위해 우리는 연단과 고난을 필요로 함을 뜻합니다. 우리는 열심히 달려야 합니다. 동시에 우리는 이 세상에서 마라토너 동지로서 함께 열심히 뛰어야 합니다. 여러분을 향한 하나님의 축복을 빕니다. 그러면 다음절인 14절을 보시겠습니다. 14절은 이렇게 말합니다.
14: “모든 사람(원수, 증오자, 적대자, 이웃, 옆집 등)과 화평하게 살고 거룩해지도록 모든 노력을 다하라(최선을 다하라). 거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라.”
여기서 ‘어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라’가 뜻하는 것은 거룩함이 없이는 우리가 구원을 받지 못함을 의미합니다. 이게 무슨 뜻일까요? 먼저 저는 함께 강건하게 그리고 열심히 달리자고 말했습니다. 계속해서 우리는 화평과 거룩함을 향해 달려야 합니다. 마라토너로서 우리는 화평과 거룩함을 바라보고 이를 향해 달려야 하는 것입니다.
먼저, 화평에 대해 살펴보도록 하겠습니다. 성경에서 화평은 전혀 부정적인 개념이 아닙니다. 성경에서 화평은 언제나 매우 강한(intensively) 긍정의 의미를 지닙니다. 하나님께서 자기 화평으로 여러분에게 축복해 주시기를 빕니다. 화평은 두 가지입니다.
첫째, 화평은 인간의 최고의 선, 최고의 행복이 되는 모든 것입니다. 최고의 선은 오직 하나님께 순종하는 가운데 얻어질 수 있습니다.
둘째, 화평은 또한 하나님과 사람 사이 및 사람과 사람 사이의 올바른 관계를 의미합니다. 이는 더 이상 증오(hatred)가 없어지고(banished) 각자가 자기 이웃의 이익만을 추구하는(pursue, seek) 상태나 조건을 나타냅니다. 크리스천으로서 우리는 이 세상 모든 사람들과의 화평을 추구해야 합니다. 어떻게 이것이 가능할까요? 우리는 교회 내에서 조화로운 관계(harmonious relationship)를 가짐은 물론, 우리의 친지들(associates), 나아가 믿지 않는 이웃들과 우리의 원수들하고도 가능한 한 평화로운 관계를 가져야만 합니다. 예, 우리는 압니다. 이 불완전한 이 세상에서 모든 사람들이 함께 평화롭게 사는 것은 불가능합니다. 그러나 적어도 우리는 화평과 화목(reconciliation)을 추구하기 위해 최선의 노력은 기울여 보아야만 합니다. 우리는 이 세상에서 분쟁(dissention)을 야기해서는(cause) 안 됩니다. 그러므로 로마서 12:18에서는 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“될 수 있는 일이라면, 그것이 너희에게 달려 있는(depend on) 한(as far as), 모든 사람과 평화롭게 살아라.”
계속해서 로마서 14:19에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“그러므로 화평으로 인도하는(lead to) 일과 서로의 덕(mutual edification)을 세우는 일에 모든 노력을 다하자(make every effort).”
또한 로마서 5:1에서는 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“그러므로 우리가 믿음을 통해 의롭다 여김(justified)을 받았으므로 우리 주 예수 그리스도를 통해 하나님과 화평을 누리고 있다(enjoy)”
그렇습니다. 우리가 누려야 할 최초의 화평은 하나님과 더불어입니다. 하나님과의 화평, 하나님의 화평은 어떻게 가능합니까? 오직 예수 그리스도를 통해서입니다. 또한 예수 그리스도 자신도 말씀하고 계십니다.
“화평케 하는 자에게는 복이 있나니, 이들은 하나님의 자녀들(아들 딸 들)이라 일컬어질 것이니라.”
이는 무엇을 의미합니까? 고린도후서 5:17에서는 말합니다.
“그러므로 누구든지 그리스도 안에 있으면 새로운 피조물(creation)이라. 옛 것(the old)은 지나가고 새것(the new)이 왔도다!”
이 구절은 우리에게 매우 익숙한 구절입니다. “만약 누구든지 그리스도 예수 안에 있으면 새로운 피조물이다. 옛 것은 지나가고 새것이 왔도다!” 여러분은 그 다음 절을 알고 계십니까? 만약 여러분이 이 절을 외우고 계신다면 다음절도 외워두셔야 합니다. 다음 절인 18절에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“이 모든 것이 하나님으로부터 났으니, 그가 그리스도를 통해 우리를 자기와 화목하게 하시고 또 우리에게 화목의 사역(ministry of reconciliation)을 주셨으니”
이는 만약 우리가 새로운 피조물이면, 우리가 만약 그의 은혜로 구원을 받았으면, 우리는 하나님과 사람 사이를 화해시키는 자(reconciler)가 되는 사역을 받았음을 의미합니다. 화해시키는 자의 사역은 하나님과 사람 사이에 화평을 이룩하는 일입니다. 그렇습니다. 다른 사람들과 화평하기 위해서는 (이들을) 용서하고, (안 좋은 일을) 잊고, 친절하고, 사려 깊고, 배려하고, 돕고, 또한 다른 사람들, 특히 우리를 미워하는 원수들까지도 위해서 기도하고자 하는 의지(will)가 있어야 합니다. 그러나 여기서 기억하셔야 할 것은 하나님과 인간 사이, 그리고 인간과 인간 사이에 화평을 이루게 하는 최고의 방법은 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 복음, 즉 모든 사람들에게 큰 기쁨이 있는 좋은 소식을 전하는 일이라는 사실입니다. 말씀(the Word)이신 예수님께서 말씀하십니다.
“화평케 하는 자는 복이 있나니, 저희가 하나님의 아들로 불릴, 하나님의 아들로 인정될(recognized) 것이다”
이것이 의미하는 바는 하나님과 인간 사이, 인간과 인간 사이에 화평이 이룩되는 최선의 길은 주 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 복음 메시지, 즉 큰 기쁨을 주는 좋은 소식을 전하는 일이라는 것입니다. 왜냐하면 오직 예수님만이 우리들 평화의 지은 자, 근원, 뿌리이시기 때문입니다. 이것이 오래 전에 그가 이 세상에 오신 이유인 것입니다. 이렇게 예언되었었죠(prophesied).
“그는 평화의 왕자, 평화의 왕이라 불렸다”
에베소서 2: 14은 매우 확실합니다.
“그는 자신이 우리의 화평이시니, 둘을 하나로 만드시고 중간에 있는 적대(enmity, hatred, hostility)적 벽의 장애물들을 허무셨으며”
진정한 화평은 오직 예수 그리스도 안에서만 찾을 수 있는 것입니다.
(화평) 다음으로, 우리는 또한 거룩함을 향해 달려야 합니다. 14장 후반절에 이렇게 쓰여 있습니다.
“거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라.”
우리는 거룩해야 합니다. 거룩함(holiness)의 의미는 무엇입니까? 문자 그대로의 거룩함의 기본 의미, 그 근원적 의미는 ‘차이(difference)’ 및 ‘구분(separation)'(구별되었다는 뜻)입니다. 하나님에게 적용할 경우 거룩함은 그의 도덕적 온전함, 및 그가 완벽하게, 전적으로 모든 인간과 모든 피조물로부터 구분된다는 사실을 말합니다. 반면에 거룩함을 우리에게 적용할 경우, 하나님의 특별한 목적을 위해 따로 떼어 놓(set apart) 존재로서, (그 목적을 위해) 헌신하고(dedicate) 신성해진다는(consecrate) 것을 의미합니다. 우리가 비록 이 땅에 살지라도 우리는 달라야 합니다. 우리는 이 세상과는 구별되어 있습니다. 우리의 기준(standard)은 세상의 기준이 아님을 기억하십시오. 성경 로마서 12: 2에서 다음과 같이 말하고 있습니다.
“더 이상(any longer) 이 세상의 패턴을 따르지(conform) 말고 마음을 새롭게 함(renewing)으로써 변화를 받아라(transformed). 그러면 너희는 하나님의 뜻, 즉 그의 선하시고 기쁨을 주시고 온전하신 뜻이 무엇인지를 분별하고 받아들일(approve) 것이다.”
이는 이 세상의 기준을 따르지 말라는 뜻입니다. 우리의 행동, 우리의 생각, 우리의 관심, 우리의 흥미, 우리의 목적, 우리의 궁극적 목표는 (이 세상과는) 다른 것입니다. ‘거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 볼 수 없으리라’의 의미는 ‘하나님은 거룩하시기 때문에 죄악은 하나님에 대한 우리의 비전(시력)을 차단하게 된다는 것입니다. 그러므로 우리가 하나님을 보기를 원한다면 죄를 끊고(renounce) 하나님께 순종해야만 합니다. 그렇습니다. 중요한 것은 물론 우리는 단번에(once and for all), 예수 그리스도의 단 한 번의 희생을 통해 거룩해졌다는 사실입니다. 우리는 하나님께로부터 예수님이 우리를 위해 행하신 사역에 의해 거룩하다고 생각되어지는 것입니다. 이는 우리가 성인(saint)(실제로는 성도)이라 불린다는 뜻입니다. 만약 우리가 정말로 거듭난 크리스천들이라면 우리 모든 크리스천들은 이미 성인이 되는 것입니다. 여러분도 성인, 저도 성인, 우리는 성인들입니다. 성인(성도)이란 우리의 위치, 우리의 지위(standing)가 거룩한 사람이라는 뜻입니다.
그러나 실질적인 면에 있어 거룩함의 의미는 하나님에 대한 우리의 공경(honoring)과 함께, 우리가 다른 사람들을 어떻게 취급하는가, 즉 우리 이웃, 우리 가족 식구들, 우리 부부(처와 남편), 자녀들, 부모님, 심지어는 우리 원수들을 어떻게 대하는가, 그리고 우리 사업을, 우리 재정을 어떻게 운영하는가, 그리고 우리의 사무실에서, 우리의 학교에서 우리의 직무를 어떻게 수행하는가와 관련을 갖습니다. 거룩함은 우리의 행위, 우리의 사고(thought), 우리의 태도가 믿지 않는 사람들과는 다르도록 만듭니다. 그렇습니다. 우리는 다른 사람들과 화평하기 위해 우리의 최선을 다해야 합니다. 그렇지만 동시에 우리는 이 세상과, 믿지 않는 자들과 달라야만 할 것입니다. 예수 그리스도의 죽으심과 부활에 의해 우리에게 부여되는 거룩함은 우리 주님을 진정한 그의 모습대로(as he really is) 볼 수 있도록 허용해줍니다(allow). 요한1서 3: 2에서는 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“사랑하는 친구들아 지금 우리는 하나님의 자녀들이이라. 장래에 우리가 어떻게 될지는 아직 알려지지 않았다. 그러나 그가 나타나실 때 우리는 그와 같아질 줄을 알고 있나니, 이는 우리가 그의 참 모습 그대로 그를 볼 것이기 때문이다.”
여기에 나타나는 모습이 우리가 마라톤 풀 코스를 완주한 후 이루어질 거룩함의 실현(fulfillment)입니다. 이것이 곧 우리가 화평과 거룩함을 좇아 달려야 하는 이유인 것입니다.
마지막으로, 우리는 그의 은혜를 필요로 합니다. 왜냐하면 그의 은혜가 없이는, 하나님의 은혜가 없이는 우리가 이 경주를 잘 끝낼 수 없기 때문입니다. 그의 은혜는 우리가 이 경주를 성공적으로 완주하는데 절대적으로 필수불가결합니다(necessarily essential).
마지막 절을 보실까요?
15: “어떤 사람도 하나님의 은혜를 놓치지 않도록 주의하고(see to it that) 어떤 쓴(bitter) 뿌리가 자라서 고통이 되어 많은 사람을 더럽히지(defile) 않도록 주의하라”
그러므로 우리는 하나님의 은혜가운데 달려야 합니다. 이 절의 첫 번 째 부분은 이렇게 말합니다.
“어떤 사람도 하나님의 은혜를 놓치지 않도록 주의하라.”
이 문장이 뜻하는 바는 우리가 하나님의 은혜를 잃을 수 있다는, 놓칠 수 있다는 것입니다. 하나님의 은혜는 결코 헛된(fail) 일이 아닙니다. 반드시 실행됩니다. 이 은혜는 절대적(absolute)입니다. 그러나 우리는 하나님의 은혜에 의지하지(depend on) 못할 수도 있습니다. 하나님의 은혜는 우리 자신이, 우리 삶이 그 되어야 할 바(what they are meant to be)대로 될 수 있는 기회를 우리에게 제공합니다. 그러나 우리는 하나님이 우리에게 주시는 그 기회를 죄악, 우리의 무식(ignorance), 무지(unawareness), 게으름, 지체(procrastination), 그리고 자존심으로 인해 놓칠 수 있습니다. 그러므로 그것에 대비해서 우리는 늘 영적 경계(spiritual vigilance) 가운데 깨어 있어야만 합니다. 로마서 5: 20에서 이렇게 말합니다.
“죄가 더한 곳에 은혜가 더더욱(all the more) 더했으니”
이것이 무슨 말입니까? 죄가 더한 곳에 은혜가 더더욱 더했다니요? 우리는 이 문장은 오해해서는 안 됩니다. 이 문장은 우리가 더 많은 은혜를 입기 위해 더 많은 죄를 지어야 한다는 것을 의미하는 것은 아닙니다. 절대 아니죠. 이는 우리가 얼마나 많은 죄사함, 하나님의 죄사함을 필요로 하는가를 더욱 잘 깨달을수록(the more realized), 우리는 예수 그리스도를 통한 하나님의 은혜가 얼마나 위대한가를 더욱 잘 깨달을 수 있다는 뜻입니다. 그러므로 에베소서 2장 8-9에서도 그렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“너희가 구원을 받은 것은 믿음을 통한 그의 은혜로 인한 것이니, 이것이 너희에게서 나온 것이 아니요 하나님의 은사(gift)이니라. 이는 행위에 의한 것이 아니니 이는 아무도 자랑하지(boast) 못하게 함이니라(하나님 앞에서 자랑할 게 없다는 뜻).”
로마서 5: 2에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“그로 인해 우리가 믿음으로 서 있는 이 은혜에 들어갈 수 있게(get access into) 되었으며”
야고보서 4: 6에는 이렇게 쓰여 있습니다.
“하나님은 우리에게 더 큰 은혜를 주셨으니”
그러나 기억하십시오. 하나님은 오만한 자(the proud)를 반대하시고(oppose) 거절하시되(reject), 겸손한 자(the humble)에게 더 많은 은혜를 주시는 것입니다. 그렇습니다. 매일의 필요를 위해서는 매일의 은혜가 있고, 급한 필요를 위해서는 급한 은혜가 있으며, 막대한(overwhelming) 필요를 위해서는 막대한 은혜가 있습니다. 그의 은혜는 언제나 우리 앞에 주어져(available) 있습니다. 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 우리에게 아주 가까이 놓여 있습니다. 이것이 히브리서 4 :16절을 통해 우리에게 용기를 불어 넣어주는 이유인 것입니다.
“그러므로 우리가 긍휼함을 얻고 우리가 필요할 때 우리를 도우시는 은혜를 받기 위해 자신 있게(with confidence), 확신을 가지고(with assurance) 은혜의 보좌(throne)(즉, 하나님 계시는 곳 presence of God) 앞에 나아가자.”
그의 은혜는 늘 우리 바로 앞에 있음을 기억하십시오. 그러나 이 은혜를 받아 이를 누리기 위해 우리는 늘 영적 경계에 들어가야 합니다. 아멘?
예, 신앙적인 삶은 이 세상에서 영적 마라톤과 같습니다. 그러므로 열심히 달리되, 또한 함께 열심히 달립시다. 화평과, (무엇?) 거룩함을 향해 달립시다. 또한 하나님의 은혜 가운데 오직 예수 그리스도만 바라보면서 달려 나갑시다. 왜냐하면 오직 예수만이 우리 믿음의 지은 자(author)이시고 온전케 하시는 자(perfector)이시기 때문입니다. 또한 예수 그리스도가 우리의 마라톤 풀 코스의 최종 목표입니다. 이것이 우리가 오직 예수 그리스에게만 우리의 눈을 고정시켜야(fix our eyes on) 하는 이유인 것입니다.
하나님께서 그의 평강과 거룩함과 은혜로 여러분을 축복하시기를 빕니다. 아멘! 다 함께 기도합시다!
- 아 멘 -
Jul 14 / 2019
Comments Off on Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)
1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, *fix your thoughts on Jesus*, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ
We have studied:
Jesus over angels
Jesus over Moses (today)
Jesus is much superior to Moses – we all agree, I think. If this is true, we may think, “Why we need to review and study this topic. This point is so obvious and natural. We don’t need to study this I guess.”
We know Jesus is God, Savior, Lord, Creator. Moses is a creation – a servant of God (one of the great ones, but not worthy to be compared to Christ).
Then, why do we need to study this topic?
To understand this, we need to understand the background – esp Jewish background. If we are unfamiliar with Jewish history, it is difficult to appreciate Moses’ high standing in their culture.
At that time he was the GREATEST of all men. At that time, some thought he was superior to Jesus, in fact.
In John 9, one day Jesus healed a man born blind. He spit on the ground and made mud with his saliva and put it on his eyes and told him to go wash. He did, and immediately, he could see.
After doing this, the people around him asked, “Who opened your eyes?” He said, “The man they called Jesus.” They asked again and again. He said again, “I answered clearly. Do you want to become his disciple?” They then insulted him. “YOU! You are the disciple of that fellow! But we are disciples of Moses!” (They thought Moses was superior to Jesus.)
According to Jewish history, there are 6 reasons why Moses is so highly exalted.
(But this is not the main topic – only to understand the background.)
He was an inconquerable deliverable
(divinely chosen for his task – his life was miraculously preserved even under the sentence of death as a baby – plucked from the Nile river. God ordained him at the burning bush.)
He performed the most miracles
(at least 10 plagues over Egypt – Nile -> blood, frogs & gnats, flies, the death of livestock, boils, hail, darkness over Egypt, death of the firstborn – after the plagues, he parted the Red Sea with his staff and passed through on foot – he smote the rock and released mineral water in the desert. In the battle against the Amalakites, when his hands were up, the Jews were winning).
He was the greatest prophet
(God communicated to other prophets through visions, dreams, symbols, revelation – but to Moses directly. God said, “Listen to my words” (Numbers 6:12) “with Moses, I speak face to face.”)
He was the Law Giver
(The Law was the greatest thing in all the world at that time – 10 commandments, etc – When he received the 10 commandments, his face shown and radiated. He received laws about the tabernacle, the levitical law, etc. The first 5 books of the Bible are the Law of Moses).
He was the greatest historian
(The Pentatuch – the first 5 books in the OT – these are still the most important historical and religious books to the Jews today. Moses wrote them all.)
Moses was meeker and gentler than all others
(God said, “My servant Moses is meeker than all others on the face of the earth.” He was the MOST “gentle”man.)
The first recipients of the book of Hebrews were the Jews. So, it was important to make it clear that Jesus is superior to Moses.
How about today? Yes, we still need to know that Jesus is much MORE important than the most important thing or person you have in your mind. Are you clear in this matter?
Challenge: If Jesus is NOT #1 in your life, Jesus is not your Lord / Savior.
Please take this and think on it seriously.
Today, who is Moses to you? What is your “Moses”? (The most important other thing / person in your life.) Jesus is much more superior to this.
“1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”
Set apart FROM something
From Satan, sin, the world
To God, holiness, service
We are set apart to service to God. Salvation is a heavenly calling. Someday, God will bring us to his home – heaven – and go to live with Christ forever and ever. If we are called, we must fix our thoughts on Jesus. This is the key message.
“Fix our thoughts on Jesus.”
Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith.” (repeated idea)
Are you doing this?
Let me ask this question: What / who are you becoming?
Consciously or unconsciously, we are BECOMING whatever we are looking at and looking for. We are becoming what we are focusing on and seeking and worshiping. What / who are you worshiping? We are becoming what we are worshiping.
Yes, no we are worshiping Christ – but “to fix on” means to “give diligent and continual observation and mind to”. Continually contemplate on these things.
What do we need to fixate on Christ? Let me share 4 things.
#1 Desire (zeal / passion / enthusiasm)
This is the beginning point. No desire? No fixation.
David showed his desire to see God. Ps 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
Ps 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul thirsts for God. My tears have been my food day and night.”
NT: Apostle Paul in Phi 3:8-10 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing my Lord Jesus – for whose sake I’ve lost all things – I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I want to know Christ and his resurrection, becoming like him in his death.”
Do you have desire?
Without desire, it is impossible.
If you have no desire, pray for it. “God, give me passion to know you and make you known to others.”
We must put Jesus first in our lives and keep him before us at all times in order to fix our thoughts and minds on him.
Concentration is power.
This comes from “disciple” – we want to be disciples and disciple-makers.
Without discipline, disciples cannot be made fully.
Discipline = “self-training”
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
I need discipline. I know that. And so do you.
This worship service is 11-12:20 or so. “We need time.”
But we know today that people are losing patience – becoming more and more impatient. They like “microwave – culture”. Quick service, “Rocket delivery”, fast food.
But, especially in the spiritual life, we need patience, perseverance, endurance. We need time to meditate, to think, to grow, to heal, to recover, to fix our thoughts on Christ. We need MORE time.
For example: We cannot enjoy the beauty of this country without time.
Please spend more time, much time with him in your devotional time.
Who is Jesus in this verse one?
“…the apostle and high priest…”
This is very interesting. This is the ONLY place in the whole 66-book Bible where he is referred to as this “apostle.”
As “high priest” he is introduced about 12 times. This is one of the themes of Hebrews.
What does this mean?
“Apostle” = “the one who is sent”
Apostolos = Greek = he who is sent
Jesus explained that he was “sent” by his Father God – more than 10 times in John. This means that Jesus is the FIRST, greatest apostle. He is the source and foundational of ALL following apostles. His apostleship means “Mission Accomplished.” (He shouted this on the cross ‘it is finished.’)
He is also the High Priest (par excellence) – he was fully God and fully Man.
Jesus is the ONLY person through whom God speaks to man; and man can approach God (Jesus is the bridge / mediator).
Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he is always interceding for them.”
Jesus is the representative of the Trinity God in meeting man. Also, he is the representative of ALL human beings in meeting God.
He is the bridge between God and man.
“2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, *testifying* [this is the real reason Moses was considered a great man before God] to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”
Moses is a house? Jesus is the builder.
Moses is a servant? Jesus is the son.
What a difference.
The real spiritual, eternal reason why Moses was accepted by God as “great” was that he was faithful to his task – given by God.
The reality of Moses was that he was faithful in his mission – to testify about Jesus. What a great secret / mystery from the perspective of God.
In John, Jesus evangelized a man named Philip and when he met him he said, “Follow me.” After being evangelized, the first thing Philip did was to evangelize others. Immediately, he met his friend Nathaniel and said, “Come and see! I have found the One whom Moses wrote about in the Law! He is Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.”
That’s why Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” – because Moses wrote about Jesus.
Jesus himself testified that Moses wrote the 5 books about him.
That’s why, whenever I preach, I should focus on Jesus. If you believe my sermon, you will believe in Christ as Savior and Lord because I focus on Christ.
We are called as heavenly, holy people and someday we will leave this world and live with him.
The greatest and eternal legacy we can leave behind on earth is to testify about Christ.
Last sentence: are you saved?
Remember, very practically,
To BE saved, yet NOT to proclaim Christ as Savior is impossible – because salvation has such a powerful power.
God bless your thoughts, mouth, hands, feet, interests, purpose in this world.
Feb 03 / 2019
Comments Off on God Wants to Use what is in your Hands (Acts 19:6-12)
19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he asked the 12 men he met, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” “No, we have received only John’s baptism.” Paul realized they needed the good news of salvation – so he told them about Jesus’ death, resurrection, saving power of the Holy Spirit in his name, and so they believed and were baptized. Then the Holy Spirit came upon them. They spoke in tongues and preached the gospel message in other languages.
For by one Spirit we were baptized…
1 Cor 12:13
This event was a mini-Pentecost.
In Acts, this is the final event of tongue speaking recorded. So, in order to remember the work of the Holy Spirit, we must remember several things.
The book of transitions
The starting of the New Covenant age
The new History book
So, about speaking in tongues, we must remember, these instances are erratic, not very often.
Yes, this is ONE of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but is NOT evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not evidence of the fullness of the Spirit.
“Do all speak in tongues?” No.
So, remember, the key point of the book of Acts = the Spread of the Gospel and its inclusiveness. The key verse is Acts 1:8:
When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
We must seek to share our faith through the power of the Holy Spirit in this way. Nowhere are we admonished to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit nor to speak in tongues, but we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s ministry lasted 3 years and was marked by the movement of the Holy Spirit. “The name of Christ was held in high honor through transformed lives…”
6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
Paul was asked to stay in Ephesus on his first missionary journey, but he declined their offer. Still, he promised to return later if God allowed. Now, he’s kept his promise by entering the same synagogue and speaking boldly about Christ for three months – until encountering opposition.
In Christian life, keeping your word is very important. This is not just for good intentions. One of the commonest promises we Christians make to each other is: “I’ll pray for you.”
I’ll pray for you.
This promise, from a Christian mouth is a VERY serious promise – with God as witness before you. So, whenever we make this promise, we must keep this promise at least more than one time. This is a promise we make not only before the other person, but also before God – because we pray TO God.
9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
This means that the whole province of Asia Minor was evangelized.
When the door of the synagogue was closed, God opened the Way much wider through the whole province of Asia.
At that time, synagogues were usually schools for Jews. But this lecture hall of Tyrannus was larger and more available for Gentiles.
Tyrannus may have been a Greek philosopher or just the owner of that building at that time. Such buildings were often used in the mornings to teach Greek philosophy, but they were often empty during the middle of the day – due to the heat (the hot part of the day).
In Ephesus, the work day ran:
From at 7am,
Break at 11am – 4pm.
Work again until 9:30pm
Paul worked all morning and evening at his secular job. But during the break period, he preached the gospel daily for two years. Can you calculate how many hours he preached the gospel? 10,000+ hours?
5 hours * 2 years =
3, 120 hours of lecturing =
130 days of lecturing without stop at 24 hours per day
Paul kept a “killer” schedule. Why? Because at that time, religion was a “big business” in Ephesus. So, he WORKED hard to keep himself free from appearing that he was “in” this “business” for money.
You remember my toil and hardship, working night and day, to not be a burden to anyone while I preached the gospel of God to you.
1 Thess 2:9
10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
It was during this time of year that the churches mentioned in Revelation came into being.
Paul taught and preached,
admonished the believers,
went and evangelized house to house,
planted many churches,
directed a great missionary enterprise.
In today’s age of “meism” and selfishness, “hedonism” and self-pleasure, we need “tough” Christians like Paul.
We can learn three lessons we can apply to our own lives today.
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
It was not Paul who did miracles, but God. They had a three-fold purpose:
To demonstrate God’s power and authority
To authenticate Paul as the spokesman for the true God
To demonstrate God’s compassion, mercy, and grace to those in great need
From these miracles, we can find three lessons for our own Christian lives today.
#1 God wants us to be holy
As our Father is holy, we must be holy. You know, at that time, aprons and handkerchiefs were dirty, sweatbands, used from making tents, they were not special.
But the ultimate purpose of Paul’s tentmaking was to preach the gospel more effectively. That’s why God blessed his secular job.
How about us?
God does not want us to do sometimes what is holy and sometimes what is not holy. He doesn’t want holiness only in the church, and unholiness out of the church. He wants holiness everywhere.
Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Cor 10:31
In your office, your hagwon, your school, are you doing a “holy” job or a “secular” job? At the time of Noah: “They were eating, drinking, giving in marriage” – but it was unholy, secular, because their motivation for doing so was only for their own physical pleasure.
Even though we are eating, drinking, making money – if we do this for his glory, it will be accepted as holy. Thus, this is our mission field given by God. He wants us to do what is holy all the time, not just sometimes.
#2 God wants to use what is in your hand
In serving and saving others, God wants to use what you’ve got in your hands.
God used what was in Moses’ hands to save Israel from Egypt.
He used the sling in David’s hand to kill the giant and save Israel.
He used the loaves and fishes in the boy’s hand to feed 5,000.
He used the clothes in Paul’s hand to save and heal others.
These things were merely symbols of dignity of heart, sincerity, humility, and God used them to release his power.
Yes, today, we may not be able to do these kinds of miracles, but we are able to give him our hands – and through our hands, he is able.
#3 Healing is still possible and available today
Physical, bodily, spiritual, mental, psychological healing, all are possible through Jehovah Rafar.
He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our sins. By his wounds we are healed.
He himself bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his death, we have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24
He took up our iniquities; he carried our diseases.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This kind of miracle is still available for those who have faith and trust in Christ.
Feb 11 / 2018
Comments Off on Christ is our Model of what Christian Acceptance means (Romans 15:1-7)
Christ is our model of what Christian Acceptance means
Romans 15:1-7 (Pastor Heo)
15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Chp 14:1 “Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment.”
The Roman church at that time was a hybrid community:
Jews + Gentiles,
free + slave,
conservative + liberal,
rich + poor,
strong + weak
So, at that time, in the church, it was very difficult to accept one another. But we must remember, mutual acceptance in church is not optional but necessary because we are the body of Christ. Acceptance means taking people into our homes and hearts. We must avoid racism, discrimination, favoritism, differences. We must seek common ground for fellowship and relationship.
Are you strong or weak? Do you want to be stronger or remain weak?
In every area of this world, there are the strong and the weak: physically, financially, mentally, spiritually, socially, etc.
Strong believers = understand their freedom in Christ and are sensitive to the differences of others.
Strong believers can function in a variety of circumstances and be an influence for good.
Weak believers = not yet mature in faith so as to be free from some rituals or traditions.
Weak believers find that they need to stay far away from some situations in order to maintain a clear conscience.
But we must remember that the Word of God and the message of salvation is unchangeable. But human habits and traditions and cultures and thinking are very changeable. So, we must be clear in this matter:
Fixable to Christ
Flexible to culture
Faithful to the Word of God
Flexible to the world
For me, when I went to the Philippines and Tanzania, I had to learn all about their language, history, culture, lifestyle, etc. I must become one of them, be identified with them. But at the same time, I must keep my own identity as a child of God and Christian missionary.
Identification without loss of identity is called contextualization.
Paul confessed as a missionary: “I’m free. I belong to nobody, but I make myself a slave to all men. To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the Law, I became like a man under the Law though I’m not under the Law, to win them to Christ. To those without the Law, I became like one without the Law, though I myself am not, in order to save some. I became all things to all men so that I might save some of them.”
This was Paul’s identification.
1 Cor 2:2 “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
This is Paul’s identity.
Identification and Identity go together.
In this life, Jesus was the most powerful person who ever lived, but he did not please himself (v. 3). He did the Father’s will. Finally, death on the cross was not the path he would have chosen to please himself, but he chose to please God in heaven.
Acceptance is not independence from God, but total dependence on God – esp. power / strength in church does not come from independence, but from mutual dependencies.
“Christ is our model for what Christian acceptance means.”
“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus because to this you were called. Jesus Christ left us an example.”
Jesus (in heaven) came down to the lowest place – to raise us from the dead and put us into heaven.
Jesus (very rich) became poor and naked to make us rich (heirs of the kingdom of heaven).
Jesus (the strongest) became weak to make us strong.
Today, according to v. 7, “Accept one another”
“3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Verse 7 means:
When (if) we realize truly that God accepted us as unlovely, wicked, sinful, immature when we came to him, THEN we can be able to accept our brothers and sisters (esp our weak brothers and sisters).
Let me share Jesus’ character as a human being.
We know Jesus is fully God and fully man (not half).
During his stay for 33 years on this earth, how was his character, esp. in accepting others from his deep heart. Let me share 5 characteristics of Jesus as fully man.
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”
5 Characteristics of Jesus as a Man
#1 Absolute Holiness
Jesus lived a holy life – he was absolutely separated from all sins. He was separated in his mind and conduct – he was sinless – totally and completely.
So the Bible challenges us to “be holy as Christ is holy” in all that you do. Can you do this?
We can – as long as we belong to Christ.
No matter how far we may fall from being like Christ, we have no lower standard that the perfection of Christ.
Christ is our model and example of sinless perfection. This is nothing short of absolute perfection. He has shown how to be holy.
This means, the holier we are, the further from sin we are.
Holiness is power. Holiness is strength. Fighting against sin is our power / strength.
#2 Genuine Love (agape)
Unlimited, divine, unending, agape love – Jesus loved all human beings – even his enemies. Jesus loved his own to the last – even his betrayer, even the ones who spit on his face. Can you follow his example? No. But, Jesus IN YOU can do that.
So, we must remember that Jesus is always IN US. I cannot do that, but Jesus IN ME can do that.
Jesus loved those his beat him, persecuted him, nailed him on the cross. That’s why the Bible challenges us to imagine “how wide, how far, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall famine or sword or hardship? No, nothing. I’m convinced neither death nor life, angels nor demons, nor any power, height nor depth will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
And then Jesus challenges us: “A new command I give you. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this they will know you are my disciples: if you love one another.”
Love is power. Love is my strength.
#3 True Humility
He became willingly humiliated by his own accord.
Phil 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who being the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being found in human likeness. He humbled (emptied himself) and became obedient to death, even death on the cross.”
His life – 33 years on earth – can be summarized as a life of humility (being humble).
He was born in a stable, an animal’s food box
During his ministry, he had no house – no place to rest his head
He associated with the lowly, called the “Friend of Sinners” and tax collectors and prostitutes
Most of his followers were of lowly origin, but he revealed the secret mystery of the kingdom of heaven to them
He was crucified on a cross
He was buried in a borrowed tomb
Jesus says, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom.”
Service is power. Service is strength.
This world says “Power is the ability to rule over others under them.”
But in church, “Power is the ability to build others up under them.”
Service is power. If you are strong spiritually, you are here to serve. If you are not strong, you cannot serve.
Service is power.
#4 Meek and Gentle
Meekness sometimes looks like weakness outwardly.
Jesus says in Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from you and you will find rest for your souls. I am gentle and humble, my burden is light.”
He did not fight, quarrel, even cry out for his own benefit. “Nobody heard his voice on the streets.” Even a smoldering reed he did not put out.
He was very meek in dealing with Judas Iscariot – he knew, but was meek.
He was meek in dealing with Thomas who doubted his resurrection.
He was meek in restoring and reinstating Peter who denied him 3 times.
He was meek before his crucifiers.
“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”
We can get lessons from the animal world.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” This is true in the spiritual world and the physical world and the animal world.
Consider the lion, tiger, and bear. They lost their land, their earth. Many of them are put in prison (zoos). But see the meekest animals, hens, sheep, goats, ducks. They are very meek, but they can be seen all over the earth.
This principle can be applied in our Christian life.
If you are too strong – so strong in your own position in non-essential areas, then the room for your welcome will become smaller and smaller, narrower and narrower.
Paul says, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” This is a true mystery.
Meekness is power.
Weakness is power.
Weakness can be strength.
#5 Perfect Balance
Especially in his emotions.
He was very grave (sad) without being gloomy.
He was very joyful, but not vigorously.
He took earthly life very seriously.
Isa 53 “Jesus Christ was despised, rejected by men, he was a Man of Sorrows. He wept over Jerusalem.” Do you weep over Jeonju, Korea, the world?
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, over the death of his friend Lazarus.
Jesus sorrowed over those who willingly rejected his free salvation. He bore our griefs and sorrows. But at the same time, he was a man of joy.
John “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and so that your joy may be complete. I have said these things while you are in this world so that you may have the full measure of my joy.”
He was a Man of Sorrow and a Man of Joy.
His Joy was largely anticipation (seeing the large multitude of the church worshiping him in glory)
Paul also was a strong man. Even in prison he was filled with joy, “Rejoice! I will say it again, rejoice!”
Are you joyful? Yes!
Paul suffered so so much because of Christ, but he was full of joy. Yet, at the same time, he was filled with sorrow, “I have unceasing grief in my heart for the sake of my brothers.”
What does this mean?
When we see Christ, we are filled with joy.
When we see Christ in us, we are filled with joy.
When we see the lost, we are filled with grief.
May God bless us to be strong Christians.
Let us take some time to follow and imitate the characteristics of Christ:
Meekness / Gentleness
Sep 20 / 2015
Comments Off on Leviticus: The Book of Holiness and Worship (1:1-17, 17:11, 20:7-8)
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Last time, we saw how Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. This time, he rose to go out to the battle of life. He knew that the officers and Judas was near, so he awakened his disciples to prepare them for what was coming.
The fact that the Roman soldiers and temple guards carried weapons in a large crowd showed that Judas didn’t really understand the character of Christ. Actually, Judas didn’t really have to betray him with a kiss – Jesus came to them. It’s sad to note that Judas cheapened everything he touched.
At that time, students kissed their teachers out of respect. But, this time it was betrayal.
Even today, no one likes to name their children Judas – (actually, the name means “praise God”) – but understand that you are responsible for the meaning of your personal name.
Last time, I showed the passion of Jesus as FULL man – agony, trust, patience, prayer. Now, he’s almost at the end of his earthly life – so it’s a good time to MEMORIZE the character of Jesus Christ to understand the IDEAL Christian life.
One reason for the incarnation (Matt 11:29) was for Jesus to show an EXAMPLE to us (also 1 Pet 2:21, 1 John 2:6). If Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and King, then NO QUESTION, he must be our Example as well. What kind of man/woman must we be in this life?
Summarize: What is the character of a “true” human as characterized by Christ?
#1: Absolute holiness as a man
He was absolutely holy in his nature and in his conduct/character. He was without sin. Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but he was tempted in every way just as we are, but was without sin.”
When so many people hurled insults at him, he didn’t retaliate. When he suffered, he endured. He did nothing. He bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might live for righteousness and die to sin. By his wounds, we have been cured.
We are to be holy, because he is holy.
However far we may fall away from being like Christ, we have no excuse for choosing a LOWER example than Christ – who the Scriptures hold up for us as a perfect example.
Since the Creation of the world, among human beings, ONLY Jesus was the one who was/is infallible completely and totally in his teaching and character. It is necessary to have this illustration of what God wants us to be.
Bible says to the unsaved, “Believe in Jesus Christ and live.”
Bible says to the saved, “Believe in Jesus Christ and follow in his steps.”
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, his face shown (brightly) – just as we should be transformed into the same image as Christ by beholding him and following him.
We must try, do our best to be holy, because he is our example.
Even though he was the Original God, the True God, God in flesh, yet he emptied himself willingly and was made/found in the likeness of sinful men. He took on the form of a servant. He went to the place of shameful death on the cross.
He was very rich – became poor – to make us rich.
He was born in a manger in a stable (the animal’s food box) – who ELSE was born there? Nobody. There was no room in the inn.
He had no place to put his head when he was teaching and preaching. He lived as a homeless person. Anyone ELSE is homeless?
He washed the feet of his disciples as a servant – even the feet of Judas, his betrayer.
Yes, his is our Lord, he wants to be our servant.
He is our King, wants to be our friend.
He is our Savior, wants to be our co-heir.
He is our God, wants to be a man, to experience what we experience.
God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.
God wants us to be humble as Christ was humble.
#3: Meek and Gentle
He himself said, “I’m gentle and humble in heart. Come to me and find rest/peace for your souls.”
Paul – to the Corinthians “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” He did not smother the weak, and did not bruise the strong.
When Judas came to betray him, Jesus called him, “Friend” even though he knew what was happening. His gentleness is seen more clearly in his dealing with Judas who would betray him. He was also so gentle to those who crucified him because he prayed for them, “Father, forgive them (intercede for them) because they do not know what they are doing.”
“The workers of the Lord must not be quarrelsome.”
Jesus never quarreled, he never cried out. No one ever heard his voice on the street.
Should we cry out on the street? Did Jesus?
This is a good example we should follow.
1. In prayer, Jesus cried out to GOD.
2. On the street, he never cried out to MAN.
We should follow this good example.
He was very serious without being gloomy.
He was not depressed/melancholy – but he was serious and grave.
Was his life joyful or sorrowful?
Isaiah “He was despised and forsaken by men, a man of sorrows, very acquainted with grief. He bore our sorrows, carried our sorrows.”
But, in another sense, he was a man of JOY. Before the crucifixion he said, “I have told this to you so that MY joy may be in you, and YOUR joy may be complete.” In his FINAL prayer, he prayed for ALL believers for ALL time, “may they have the FULL measure of my joy in them.”
the FULL sorrow of life and
the FULL joy of life.
He sorrowed totally over those who rejected his free gift of eternal life. He bore ALL griefs and sorrows.
His joy was the joy of anticipation, the huge multitude of souls saved with him forever in his glory.
So, how should we live? (Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, REJOICE!”)
(i.e. don’t rejoice outside the Lord)
1 Thes 5:16 “Be joyful always, this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
God wants us to be joyful all the time.
But the same Bible ALSO says, “blessed are you who weep, who mourn and you shall laugh… woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”
Yes, when we look at the Lord, we rejoice.
When we look at the lost, we must be able to be sorrowful spiritually.
#5: Diligent worker
“Because my Father God is working, so I am working up to now.” We must work the works he’s sent us while it is day – but night is coming when no one can work.
As long as it is daytime in your life, we must work the work of him who sent us.
No matter how young you are, when night comes (soon), you cannot work any longer.
He forgot his own pain of hunger, sleep, and even on the cross in order to heal and save the souls of others. This is the kind of work we should do in this world.
“Here is Love” – no love is higher, no love is wider, no love is longer, no love is deeper, no love is truer – the love of God is unconditional, unfailing, unending, unselfish, incomparable love.
While we were still sinners (yes, before we were “good”), he DIED on the cross for us. This is the love of Christ.
Therefore, (Romans 8:38~) “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? … None, no in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” We can be sure, confident, convinced that neither angels/demons, height/depth, NOTHING in all Creation can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
So, in conclusion, we are totally FREE.
But the important question is “from what?”
From condemnation, from judgment, from defeat (he is living in us now, we are sharing his life now), from discouragement (he is coming soon, we will share his glory), from fear (he is praying/interceding for us and we cannot be separated from his love).
No condemnation in Jesus Christ.
No separation from the love of Jesus Christ.
From his earthly ministry up to his crucifixion, this is our conclusion, our testimony, our song, our victory, our proclamation.
May God bless all of us in this assurance.
Sep 15 / 2013
Comments Off on Pray, in This Manner (Matthew 6:9-15)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
In the previous verses, Jesus said, “Do not keep babbling like pagans. They think they will be heard because of their many words. Our Father knows what we need before we ask. This then, is how you should pray…”
This is the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus gave it first, and to his disciples, and as a pattern – but not an incantation.
When we pray, we should pray as the first time and last time, the same – sincerely, from our deep hearts.
There is one fact we should know.
This prayer = given to disciples. It is a prayer that ONLY disciples can pray. Only those fully committed to God can pray it. We can only pray it when we know what we are praying. We can only know it when we enter into true discipleship with God.
This is not a baby’s prayer. It is a disciple’s prayer. God bless us to not be babies.
To WHOM do you pray? What is he like? Who is listening? Do you know who you are talking with? Who is hearing your voice?
#1: We pray to God – God Almighty – the One True God.
God is spirit, invisible, eternal, immutable, unchangeable, omniscient, omnipresent, merciful, gracious, compassionate. Also, he is a person, with a personality – he can speak, he can listen, feel, love, hate, be angry. He is a PERSON.
When we pray, we pray to GOD ~ not men, not angels, not demons, not A god…
There is a big gap between God and we, his Creations.
He is infinite, we are finite.
He is perfect, we are imperfect.
He contains all Creation, we cannot contain all of Him in our brains.
But, we can call such a God in heaven “our Father.” He has become our Father – our imminent Father. Unknowable God becomes knowable Father. Invisible God becomes visible Father. This is the MOST intimate form of communication, between a Father and his children. God loves us, cares for us, as Father.
Can you call God “Father”?
How is this possible? Only in Jesus Christ. Only through and by Jesus Christ. John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but God the one and only who is at his right side has made him known.”
“To those who believed in him, God gave the right to be called ‘children of God.’”
If you believe in Jesus, acknowledge him with your mouth, believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, make him Lord over your life, THEN, you are a “child of God.” ONLY THEN, you can call God, “Father.” There is no other way.
Can you call God “Father”?
Not “my Father…” – he IS my Father, but there are NO singular pronouns here – “our Father… our debts… our sins… our daily bread…”
We must remember we are a part of the Universal church – over the whole world. We must not pray for something that would be bad for other members of God’s family. If we pray rightly, we pray for things that become blessings for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
From this prayer, we can see the missional heart of God – he wants all humans to be saved by belief in Christ. If we know this, then we know next for what we should pray.
TWO Parts with 6 items.
Each part has 3 items.
Part #1: For GOD (3 items)
Part #2: For Ourselves (3 items)
Sometimes the Bible divides prayer into two parts (prayer and petition) Ephesians = “pray in all occasions with prayers and petitions” Philippians = “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, present your requests to God.”
Generally speaking, whatever we say to God = prayer.
Narrowly speaking, asking FOR God = pure prayer. Asking for OURSELVES = petition.
Firstly, we must ask for GOD, and THEN, for ourselves.
Remember, this is a disciples’ prayer.
Remember, babies pray:
This prayer =
For God’s name to be holy
For his kingdom to be come
For his will to be done
#1: HOLY in Greek = “hagios” = separate/different from other things.
Let God’s name be treated differently from other names – let him be given a supreme position. Let God’s name be given its proper position. His qualities, personalities, attributes deserve and demand this.
When will this prayer be accomplished?
“When every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” THEN this prayer will be fulfilled.
God gave Jesus the name that is above all names… until this day comes, we must continue to pray “hallowed be your name” “holy be your name”
#2: Your Kingdom come
Matthew 6:33? “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.”
This is central to the message of Christ – “the kingdom of Heaven is near – repent!”
It existed in the past “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets were in the kingdom of Heaven.”
It exists currently in the present “it’s in the midst of you, among you, in you, near, at hand” – it’s a present reality.
It will come in the future – we must continue to pray that more and more people will enter the kingdom of God. One day will come when all evil will be destroyed and God will establish a new heaven and new earth (it’s not here yet – Shinchonji…)
Your job is not a secular job, it’s a holy job.
We make money.
We contribute to this world.
We build the kingdom of God (and worship Him through our work).
Outwardly, I’m here to make money.
Inwardly, I’m here to advance HIS kingdom.
Let us pray for God’s kingdom to come among us.
#3: Your WILL be done.
Babies pray to change God’s will to satisfy his OWN will.
Disciples pray to submit OUR wills to God’s will.
The kingdom of God and his will cannot be separated. The kingdom of God is a society on earth in which his will is done perfectly as it is in heaven.
Anyone who did God’s will perfectly in the past was in the kingdom of God. Anyone who NOW does God’s will perfectly is in the kingdom of God.
1 John “This world and its desires pass away, but the man who stands in the will of God will last forever.”
The accomplishment (fully) is still, yet to be, in the future.
Are you in the kingdom of God now?
This is to submit (fully) and obey (fully) God’s will.
To pray for the Will of God = to pray to submit our own wills to the will of God.
His name = glory
His kingdom to come
His will to be done
NOW, we can pray for ourselves…
#1: Provide for our needs (daily bread) – providence
This refers to physical AND spiritual needs. EVERY necessity. “Daily” means God’s constant, non-stop, steadfast provision.
Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Jesus Christ.”
John “I am the Bread of Life – he who believes in me will never go hungry, will never be thirsty.”
Do you think you provide for yourself because you work? WRONG. God gives you the ability to work – he is your provider and your sustainer.
Jesus does not pray “Give ME my daily bread” but rather “Give US our daily bread” (i.e. don’t be selfish). We can be a channel/tool in God’s answering OTHER people’s prayers. This is not only for US to RECEIVE our daily bread, but also a prayer for us to SHARE our daily bread with others.
God provides our breath, that’s why we breathe. Our houses, clothes, everything we have and enjoy is from God, and for his glory.
#2: Forgive us our debts AS we have ALSO forgiven our debtors.
We must CONTINUALLY pray for forgiveness.
In Jesus, there is no more condemnation, true, we are righteous and holy in Christ. BUT, at the same time, as long as we are in this world, we are not perfect in character, life, tongue, so we continually need God’s forgiving mercy and grace. Every day we wash and shower, like this we need God’s forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
v. 14-15 “If you do not forgive, God will not forgive.”
Actually, God’s forgiveness is not dependent on our own forgiving of others. We are forgiven already in Christ. This sentence means, “if we have FULLY experienced the forgiveness of Christ and we do NOT forgive others, then we have NOT fully experienced God’s forgiveness.”
If you can’t forgive, you don’t know God.
If you can’t forgive, you are in essence, asking God to not forgive you.
We must learn to love others more and more, to forgive, to forget (God forgets greatly).
#3: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (this world is God’s but under Satan’s influence).
We must continue to pray for our salvation.
What does this mean? Can we lose our salvation? NO. That salvation we received is VERY sure. It CANNOT be lost in Jesus Christ.
But, IF we are saved, we must CONTINUE to pray for our salvation.
If we have been saved from the condemnation of sin, we still must pray to be saved from the temptation of sin. We must pray continually for victory over sin.
We cannot escape oxygen – we also cannot escape temptation.
“Help us escape temptation. Help us get victory.”
We must become more and more like Jesus: our model, our perfect example.
In this manner, we pray:
Our Father in heaven…
Let’s pray the Lord’s prayer as YOUR prayer, individually, as a disciple.
Jun 17 / 2012
Comments Off on If Christ is Your Savior and Lord, He is Your Example (John 13:1-17)
In the Bible, there are 4 farewell messages: Deut 31-33 – Moses Joshua 23-24 – Joshua Acts 20 – Paul John 13-17 – Jesus
Jesus style is unique compared to other 3. Jesus began with the action of washing (chp 13) Chp 14 – Let not your hearts be troubled. 15 – I am the true vine, you are branches. 16 – I have told all these things to you, so that you may have peace in me. I have overcome this world. 17 – Closed with prayer (himself, disciples, ALL believers in the future – including YOU! Jesus prayed for YOU!) (14-17 = messages)
Jesus washed 24 feet. God washed 24 ugly, dirty, stinky feet.
All power and authority are in his hand, but he took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into the basin and began to wash their feet.
Can you imagine it?
In Palestine at that time, no paved roads – only dirt, also, very thin sandals. So in the dry season, tons of (yellow?) dust. In the rainy season, tons of mud.
At that time, washing feet = a slave’s job.
Verse 12-15 When he finished Do you understand? I am Teacher and Lord, I am your Example. No servant is greater than his master.
Jesus is our example. The greatest example!
Is Jesus really, truly your personal Savior. Be honest before God, not before me.
IF he is, then there is no question that he is our example. One of his main purposes in coming into this world was to be our example – our role-model – he modeled the behavior we should follow.
Phil. 2:15 – Hebrews – Fix your eyes Eph – Fix your eyes on Jesus “Jesus suffered for us, leaving an example for us.”
Who is your example? In the Bible, there are many “good” people. Of course we can learn from them. But NOBODY is our final example – besides Jesus. Who suffered for you, gave his life for you? ONLY Jesus.
Make sure ONLY Jesus is your final, true example. Not even other human mentors. ONLY Jesus is the final example.
Share 5 Characteristics of Jesus: hoping, praying for us to be like Jesus more and more.
#1: Jesus is a person of absolute holiness. (v 10). Cleanliness = godliness. (v 11). Jesus washing their feet symbolizes Jesus cleansing, purifying, and making them holy. He is holy, and holy person maker. He is the ONLY absolute holy one. “Holy and Righteous One.” Jesus has also been tempted in every way, but is without sin (Hebrews 4?) He was holy in nature and conduct. Only Jesus is sample of holiness.
If you like Jesus, you will be like Jesus. If you behold Jesus, you will be holy like Jesus.
Moses in Exodus, his face shown (shining) after meeting God – he was transformed and becoming holy more and more as he spent time with God.
Christians = Saints = “Holy Ones”
Because we are justified and saved, we must “work our your salvation with fear and trembling” – work out your holiness in your conduct, your personality, your MOUTH.
#2: Jesus is a person of genuine love. (v. 1 second sentence) Can you understand this picture?
Many times we notice the word “knew” He is original God, omnipotent. He knew and knows now and the future. Also in this time, Jesus KNEW: 1. Judas would betray 2. Peter would betray 3. Disciples would scatter – lack of trust, laziness, fear of Man. 4. The gravity of his own situation, about to die.
In this time, what did disciples do? They argued… They never deserved Jesus’ love, but he loved them to the end, to the full.
By nature, we are not better than the disciples, than Peter, than Judas. We were dead, and Christ died for us. Romans 8:35? What can separate us from the love of Christ – nothing in ALL creation!
Remember the ground, the foundation of our salvation, our assurance = the love of Christ in death for us.
“A new command I give you, ‘Love one another’ as I have loved you.” Paul: “The love of Christ compels me.”
Love of Christ should be the strong, forcing drive for each of us. 1 Corinthians 13 – “If I speak with the tongues of angels, but have not love, I am a [meaningless noise]. If I have faith that can move mountains, but not love, I have nothing. If I give all I have, even my body to the fire, but not love, I give nothing.”
We must be serious about this. EVERYTHING done without love = NOTHING in God’s eyes.
1 John 1 “Perfect love casts out fear.” Do you have fear in your life?
Love is the power to drive out all fears. May God bless us all to be a person of love. God can do even if we cannot do.
#3: Jesus is a person of true humility and meekness (not weakness)
Jesus is very true GOD, yet he kneeled down and served and washed their feet.
In his earthly life, he did not quarrel, did not shout on the street, did not have a place to lay his head. He emptied himself totally, humbled himself totally. “He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…”
The same Peter here (proud), later in 1 Peter admonishes us to “clothe yourselves with humility, for God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.”
Humility is going down to the bottom to SUPPORT others. We become poor of our own accord to MAKE others rich.
Meekness is NOT weakness. See the ball pen – hear the sound. The podium is not meek. The cloth is meek. (no sound)
Meekness is the power to accept, maturity not to be hurt, state of being tamed all the time, completely in being used by the Lord.
Would Jesus feel comfortable, convenient in using you? If Jesus would feel that way, you are meek. If Jesus would not feel comfortable, convenient to use you, you are not meek. Consider. God bless us to be meek.
#4: Jesus is a person of the Father’s job. For one person to prepare water and wash 12 men’s dirty feet and dry them with a towel at one time is not a small job – it’s a BIG job.
He was a faithful, hard, passionate worker. But his job was not his, but his Father’s John 5:17 John 9:4 – As long as it is day, do the work of the Father.
Yes, Jesus saved the lost, preached, healed, opened eyes, raised the dead, calmed storms, fed the hungry, trained workers. Sometimes he didn’t even eat or rest because he was so busy. But ALL that work was the Father’s work.
Romans 12:11 – “Never be lacking in zeal. Continue in spiritual passion.”
1 Corinthians 15 – Therefore my brothers, let nothing move you,
Colossians 3 – Do all you do with your whole heart as working for God, not for men.
Teaching English is not YOUR work, it is the Lord’s work! If you think it’s YOUR work, then it is a source of stress and tiredness. If you think it’s GOD’S work, it is a source of rest and peace.
To the slave, there is not his own work, it is all his master’s work.
#5: Jesus is a person of full prayer
He closes this goodbye message with prayer in chp. 17. He prayed often, for everyone, habitually, regularly.
In Luke, there are at least 11 occasions that Jesus prayed. Sometimes ALL night, sometimes dawn prayer (dawn prayer started with Jesus), prayed before mission, prayed before Calvary, even after his greatest successes.
Jesus prayed for killers, for enemies, earnestly, honestly, patiently, believingly, submissively.
Luke – Jesus prayed SO honestly, he sweat drops of blood Hebrews 5:7 – He offered up LOUD cries and tears
On the cross, he finished his life on earth with prayers for his killers. “Forgive them.”
Still now, Jesus is STILL praying for us. Romans – “He is at the right hand of God and INTERCEDING for us!” In heaven.
He is in his nature GOD. If he needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray?
Not to pray = arrogance, unbelief, against God. “God, you do your thing, I’ll do mine.”
The more we surrender before God, kneel before God, the more we can stand in this world.
“Get on your knees and fight like a man!”
God is very happy to hear your living voice. “God, help me, make me a person of holiness, love, humility, your work, a person of prayer.”
Jan 12 / 2012
Comments Off on Genesis 34-36 (Bible-365.12): Jacob as Deadbeat Dad
In Genesis 34, Leah’s daughter Dinah is raped, and her blood brothers (Leah’s second and third sons) avenge her by killing all the men in the whole city where she was defiled. This was only possible after convincing the city that circumcising all their men was the only way they would give their sister as the defiler’s wife. Jacob fears that the whole land will avenge that city now – but the sons reply, “Would it be better for our daughter to be treated like a prostitute?” Apparently they have some sort of familial honor (these three all have the same mother anyway).