:::: MENU ::::

Posts Tagged / hope

  • Feb 16 / 2020
  • Comments Off on You Are to Live for Eternity (Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 50:22-26)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You Are to Live for Eternity (Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 50:22-26)

Download Notes in a .MD file

You are to live for Eternity

Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 50:22-26 (Pastor Heo)

Hebrews 11

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

Genesis 50

The Death of Joseph

22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”

26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Hebrews 11

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

When Isaac went to give the blessing to Esau, he was tricked by his wife and son Jacob. When he blessed Jacob the first time, in the trick, he knew that his future blessing would go through Jacob, so later, he blessed Jacob again with full knowledge of this. (This is v. 20)

Jacob had 12 sons and these sons became the Father of the 12 tribes of Israel. So, when his death was near, he blessed them with prophecies and blessings. He also blessed Joseph’s two sons. These were his grandsons.

Manasseh was the first – so he was put on the right hand of Jacob. Ephraim was on the left side because he was the second son.

At that time, Jacob could not see because he was dying, yet he crossed his arms to bless them. His right hand on Ephraim’s head, his left hand on Manasseh’s head. Joseph said, “No father! This is the first son!”

Jacob: “I know. He will be a great nation, but the second will be greater.” By knew (by faith) and blessed them (by faith) according to the will of God.

v. 22

“22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.”

Joseph was the last patriarch and lived a great life of faith. He remembered God’s purpose and plan for him and his descendants. His story:

  1. Sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt (at age 17)
  2. Sold again to an official in Egypt (and thrown in jail)
  3. Because of his fear of God, he was eventually promoted to Prime Minister.
  4. He lived until 110.

This means he lived in Egypt 90 years – and he became Prime Minister at age 30 (so he was in the highest position – with power – for about 80 years in Egypt). If he had wanted to, he could have set up his own empire in Egypt as his home. But, amazingly, during his stay, he never considered Egypt as his home. He always considered himself a stranger / foreigner / not a citizen in Egypt – because he remembered God’s promise to his great grandfather Abraham.

He made his children swear to carry his bones out of Egypt when God delivered them. So, these descendants passed his will down generation to generation for 400 years until they were delivered. And finally, Joseph’s mummy (embalmed) was carried out to Canaan where Joshua conquered the land.

What we can learn:

1. To bless others is very important.

  • Jacob blessed his children and grandchildren by faith.
  • Joseph blessed his children and brothers by faith.
  • Parents are given the responsibility / blessing to bless their own children.

In this passage, each person’s life is summarized not by how they lived, but by how they died. Someday, our lives also will be characterized by how we finish this life.

Are you living by faith?

Living by faith is very important. But dieing by faith is MORE important. To die by faith requires us to live by faith.

Say to yourself: “I’m not an accident.”

Your birth is no mistake, no mishap. Perhaps your parents did not plan your birth, but GOD DID. That is why we are here, now, today.

God was not surprised by your birth nor my birth. Long before you were conceived, you were chosen and thought of by God.

Eph “You were chosen before the foundation of the world by Jesus Christ to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

God thought of you before anyone else (he thought of you first). God deliberately designed and decided our days, our times, our birthplaces, the times of our birth and death. He planned where we would be born and where we would live.

This life is very SHORT. At most – less than 100 years. But remember, we will spend eternity in heaven. More than anything else, we were created to live for eternity. We have an inborn instinct to live for eternity. This is because God designed us to live for eternity.

Ecc 3:11 “God has made everything beautiful in its time. And he has set eternity in the minds / hearts of Man.”

But we don’t fully understand what he is doing from beginning to end.

You know, someday, your heart, my heart, will stop beating. This is the end of this body on earth, but it is not the end of you and me. It is just a transition into eternity.

Are you not happy about physical death? But today’s passage mentions Isaac’s death, Jacob’s death, and Jacob’s death. You know the last verse in Genesis is “Joseph died…”

We must be serious about the matter of life and death. The Bible calls our physical body a “tent.”

2 Cor “Now we know that if our tents (physical bodies) are destroyed, we have a house in heaven not built by human hands.”

So, in all this we must live in the light of eternity. We were created to live for eternity.

The main point of this story:

Isaac, Jacob, Joseph received the promise from God, but they never entered the Promised Land in their lifetimes. They never received the promise – Israel never became a great nation, they all lived as strangers in this world. But they didn’t die in despair, but in hope.

Their thoughts and beliefs / faith were like this: God’s promise and plan is VERY SURE and he never breaks his promise. I, personally, may never see that promise fulfilled, but I’m a link in the chain to its fulfillment. So, whether or not that promise comes, depends on me.

We must take the same lesson:

Do you have hope?

Maybe they will NEVER be fulfilled in our lifetimes, but we must live in such a way as to hasten their coming for future generations. And our FINAL HOPE is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Matt 24? “This gospel will be preached in the whole world, and THEN the end will come.” Great Commission: Matt 28 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And surely I’m with you to the very end of the age.”

This Great Commission may not be fulfilled in our lifetimes, but it WILL be fulfilled. Do you believe this? Therefore, we must be a LINK – we must be connected for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We must live from the perspective of eternity.

Faith makes us able to see beyond the temporary, into eternity. It allows us to see beyond what is seen and into unseen.

If we fully comprehend that there is more to life than the here and now, and that our physical life is only preparation for eternity, then we will begin to live differently.

If we really understand that, then many goals, problems, and plans will seem so small and not worthy of our attention. We must use our Time, Talent, and Treasure more wisely, for eternity. WHO I AM is more important than what I have.

Our attitudes and character is much more important than fame, money, possessions, power. Paul: “What was for my gain, I consider loss compared to the greatness of Christ. I consider all things rubbish so that I might be found in Christ.”

We experienced pregnancy in our mother’s womb. This 9-10 months was not an end in itself, but a preparation for life in this world. Likewise, our 90-100 years on earth is preparation for the next life.

“God has a plan. God has a purpose for my life on earth.”

If you believe God has a purpose and plan for your life on earth, you must know that his plan for you doesn’t end in this world. This is very important.

My physical life will end someday, but God’s plan for me doesn’t end even though I pass away at some point. This is a very important lesson for us.

Ps 33:1 “God’s plans / purposes last forever.”

Heb 13:14 “Here we do not have an enduring city, so we are looking forward to the city that is to come.” This world is not our home, so we are looking forward to our everlasting city in heaven.

So, to make the most of our lives in this world, we must keep the value of eternity in our hearts. Measured against eternity, this life is too short – shorter than the blink of an eye. We must know that even though our lives here are very short, the consequences of our actions on earth are eternal – they decide our relationship to God in eternity.

There are many countries, jobs, hobbies, but eternity offers only two options: heaven vs. hell.

If you accept Jesus Christ, if you believe and trust in Christ as your Savior and Lord on this earth, then you will be invited to spend eternity with God in heaven. But if you reject God’s grace through Jesus Christ, you will spend eternity separated from God. That’s why our lives on earth are so important though they are so short.

We are not living yesterday’s life, nor tomorrow’s. “I’m living TODAY’S life.”

Why is “today” so important?

Because “today” is the first day of the rest of our lives (including eternity). And someday – in the future (which will be called “today” on that day) will be our last day, and it is so important.

v. 20-22

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.”

We are living for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all creation and THEN the end will come.

We may see the fulfillment of this Great Commission in our lives, or we may not. But what is important is that it WILL be fulfilled in God’s time, in God’s way, by those who live BY FAITH. And we must be connected to this.

God bless you.

  • Jan 12 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Faith! (Hebrews 11:1)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Faith! (Hebrews 11:1)

Download Notes in a .MD file

FAITH!

Hebrews 11:1 (Pastor Heo)

11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


Two men met on a bridge, one said, “Let me take 5 min to say why life is worth living.” The other “Let me take 5 min to say why life is NOT worth living.”

10 min later…

They held hands and jumped off together.

This is humor, but a negative story. But it gives us a challenge as Christians in this world. As a child of God, are you encouraging this world? Or are you discouraged by this world?

  • Are you affecting the world positively?
  • Or being affected by it negatively?

The key to this question = faith.

1 John 5:4-5 “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world. Who is it who overcomes the world? Only he who has faith in Jesus Christ, who believes in his heart that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Faith Story #1

Matthew 8 – a centurion came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, help, my servant is suffering with a paralyzing sickness.” “Ok, I will go.” “No, Lord, I don’t deserve your coming under my roof.” (humility) Jesus said, “Wow! You have great faith! I have not found such a great faith like this in Israel.”

Faith Story #2

Matt – A Canaanite woman came to Jesus and said, “Lord, help me, my daughter is suffering harshly with a demon.” Jesus answered harshly, “I’m sent to the Israelites! You are a Gentile.” “Yes, but please help me.” “It is not right to take bread from the children at the table and give it to the dogs.” “Yes, Lord, but even dogs eat the crumbs from the table.” (patience, perseverance) Jesus said, “You have great faith.”

Faith Story #3

Mark 2 – 4 friends brought their sick, paralyzed friend on the mat. They couldn’t approach Jesus because of the crowd, so they climbed up to the roof and made a hole to lower their friend to Jesus. (friendship, effort) Jesus saw their faith, “Son, your sins are forgiven. Get up and walk.” Immediately he got up and walked home.

Faith Story #4

Mark 10 – Blind Batthemus? – on the side of the road, “Help me Lord, have mercy on me!” They rebuked him but he didn’t stop shouting. He shouted louder and louder, “Have mercy on me!” He jumped up and approached Jesus. “What do you want? What’s your desire? What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see.” (honesty, eagerness) Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”

What is the similarity in these 4 cases? FAITH

From these stories we can learn what real faith brings – all things are brought by faith. Faith also produces hope.

Today’s title = FAITH (one word)

Faith = we are so familiar with it. We are believers. Believers = “those with faith.” But what is saving faith? What is faith? It is not easy to formulate a simple definition.

But “faith” is turning our souls to God by confessing and believing in Jesus as Lord. Faith is also an action of the heart. It involves at least our intellectual, emotional, and volitional (voluntary) change.

Three elements of real faith:

  1. Intellect
  2. Emotions
  3. Volition

1. Intellectual

Belief in God, and the Scriptures – as well as man’s sinfulness, God’s redemptive work through Christ, and God’s promised blessings to those who believe.

This is intellectual – but this is not all, not enough.

Even demons have this kind of intellectual faith. James 1:2? “You believe in one God? Good! But even demons believe, and tremble.”

Intellectual agreement is not enough for saving faith.

2. Emotional

Awakening of our soul to his personal nature, and the personal application of what Jesus has done for us.

Of course, we need emotional reaction to the word of God, but even this emotional reaction is not enough to have saving faith.

“Some hear the word of God and receive it at once with joy” (emotional reaction) “but since they have no root, when trouble or hardship or persecution comes, he quickly falls away.”

Even emotional elements is not enough.

3. Volitional response and commitment

This is the logical outgrowth of the intellectual and emotional.

Imagine, if we accept the revelation of God as true and come to accept this truth as applicable to ourselves personally, we must go on to appropriate it to ourselves.

Saving faith = total surrender of our hearts to God, total commitment of our hearts to Jesus as Savior and Lord. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and take my yoke and learn from me.”

Jesus says, “If someone comes to me and does not HATE his father, brother, mother, sisters, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who comes to me and does not carry his own cross cannot be my disciple.”

Saving faith = TOTAL, whole commitment of our lives and hearts to Christ.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” (it’s so short)

If you believe in your heart… and confess with your mouth… you will be saved.

But, we cannot acknowledge him as Lord and Savior until we ABDICATE (give up) our own rights.

Do you call Jesus, “Lord?” Is this difficult?

11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (memorize)

As we know, we are studying the book Hebrews. The theme? “Superiority of Christ”

There are three parts:

  1. Chp 1-6 : Jesus is a Superior Person
  2. Chp 7-10 : Jesus exercised a Superior Priesthood
  3. Chp 11-13 : Superior Principle (FAITH)

That is why last Sunday we heard “the righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews)

Our lives are controlled by faith, affected by what we believe. Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.

Faith is to Christians what the ground is to this building. (Is there ground under this building?) Just like, without the ground, this building will collapse, so also we, without faith, will collapse in this world.

This verse is NOT a definition of faith, but a description of HOW it works. Faith makes us be “sure” and “certain” (convicted) of what we do not see.

Hope and faith cannot be separated. Hope = future. Faith = Past, present, future.

Real faith produces hope, hope produces joy, expectation, patience (not passive, negative patience, but active, positive patience based on the promise of God). We hope for Jesus’ return. We hope for our resurrection body someday soon, and we hope to reign with Jesus Christ someday in the future.

Our hope is not like the world’s hope. “I hope so…” (not like this). “I hope I will … in 2020.” No, our hope is not uncertain for the future. But it is CERTAIN – based on the promise he gave to us.

What is Christian hope?

v. 1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

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

3 Characteristics of our Christian hope

1. Belief in God, in Christ, against this world

Ex: Sometimes, in this world, if we follow…

Challenging question: “Are you following the standard of this world (comfort?) or the standard of Christ?”

If we follow the standards of this world – we may have comfort, prosperity, success. But if we follow the standards of God, we may have pain, suffering, loss.

But our conviction is that, it is better to suffer with God than prosper with this world.

Daniel’s friends – Shadrach, Mishach, Abednego – they were confronted with a choice: Worship the idol and enjoy a comfortable, easy life. OR Refuse, and be thrown into the fire.

What will happen with each standard? They knew very clearly. But they chose God over the world – because they had faith, hope, assurance, conviction that GOD is in control of everything. They could see far beyond what was seen. They could see eternity beyond this world. This is the power of faith.

As long as we live in this world, we must choose one from these choices. This is the point.

2. Belief in our spirit against our senses

We have the 5 senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell

The senses (and the world) tell us all the time “Grip the things of the moment! Take! Touch! Do! See! Eat! Smell!” But our spirits tell us much more – we believe in our spirits.

3. Certain of the future against the present

We must know that what looks miserable at that moment can be praiseworthy and joyful in the long run. What looks wonderful and joyful now can be miserable in the long run. What looks meek and meager can turn out strong in the long run.

Real example:

We know we will study about Abel – the first person who lived by faith in Genesis 4. Cain killed Abel. Cain looked strong, like a winner. Abel looked weak and a loser. But in the long run, the opposite was true. In the long run, by faith…

Also Pilate judged Jesus – he was in the chair of authority and power. Jesus was hanging on the tree. But in the long run, Jesus is the judge of him.

In history, Nero condemned Paul and looked victorious and powerful, and Paul looked shameful. But in the long run, Nero became a symbol of shame and Paul became a good example that Christians should follow. Even today, many Christians call their sons “Paul” and some people call their dogs “Nero.”

We cannot over emphasize the importance of faith.

By faith prayer is answered, we can please God, we can see God, we can grow in faith, we can be constant blessings to others.

  • If faith is so important, what is the source of the faith?
  • If you have faith, can you boast of your faith?

Two sides: God vs. Man

God’s side:

Faith is a gift – that’s why chp 12 says, “Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith – so let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”

“Faith is a gift of God.”

If we have saving faith, we are so blessed, but have nothing to boast of.

Eph “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved, not of yourselves, … so that no one can boast.”

Man’s side:

The main source of faith is the written / spoken word of God. Do you hear / see it every day?

Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the message of Christ.”

The word of God is the main source of faith. Also prayer is a source of faith. That’s why we need to pray,

“Lord! Increase my faith!”

The apostles and disciples and some men in the gospels asked, “Lord, increase my faith” and “Lord, help my unbelief.” Ask honestly to Jesus because he is the author and perfecter of our faith. “Lord, help me with my unbelief.”

Also, by the practice of faith, our faith grows. (“… from faith to faith we grow… “)

  • Exercise: bodybuilding builds your body
  • Faith: exercise your faith to grow in faith.

God bless us with this verse and message today.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 15 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Five “Let Us”s (Hebrews 10:19-25)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Five “Let Us”s (Hebrews 10:19-25)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Five “Let us”s

Hebrews 10:19-25 (Pastor Heo)

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


Here we come to the shift in the book:

  • Creed -> Conduct
  • Doctrine -> Duty
  • Precept -> Practice
  • Getting Blessing -> Giving Blessing

If we are Christians, we must be sincere in our agenda: HOW to live as Christians.

v. 19 “Therefore…”

Therefore, because of what we saw last Sunday (and in the previous reading in Hebrews), “once for all…”

This is a continuation: “once for all… therefore…”

Brief review “once of all”:

  • the sacrifice was made ONCE
  • effective for ALL people, for ALL time, for ALL places
  • Animal sacrifices had previously been repeatedly offered, with no REAL effect
  • Jesus’ ONCE sacrifice is “more than enough” forevermore for all time and places and people
  • Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross shows God’s perfect righteousness and justice, and Jesus’ perfect obedience and humility
  • When we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, all our sin is forgiven and forgotten and the matter is settled forever and ever

“Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ… what shall we say then: If God is for us [in this matter], who shall be against us?”

If God is for me, who can be against me? This is very simple and easy in English, but it has such GREAT power. “He who did not spare his own Son, … how will he not also graciously give us all things? … It is God who justifies.”

The Bible proclaims and shouts (Romans 8) “Who / what shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, hardship, nakedness, famine? Nothing / nobody can separate us from the love of Christ.”

v. 19-21

“19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, “

Here we can see at least 3 things about Christ:

1. He’s the New and Living Way to the presence of God

“I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This way is “new” because it had never existed before.

Also this way is a living way – not dead – because Jesus is alive all the time. Still he is alive.

In human history, since the Creation of the world, many philosophers and teachers and prophets have tried to find a way to heaven – but nobody has ever said, nor has the right to say, “I AM the way.”

The presence and the closeness to God is available to us simply because of Christ. All life shows God, but the love of God was truly revealed on the cross – when Jesus’ body was torn on the cross and his life sacrificed, God tore the curtain in the temple. This symbolized the new and living way – open and available for all who believe in Jesus Christ.

2. He is High Priest

This is the topic of this book – he is the same yesterday, today, and forever in being our High Priest.

We know the function of a priest is to build a bridge between God and man. This means, Jesus not only shows the way to heaven, but also introduces us to his very presence.

Christmas is coming – Jesus became man to become qualified to act as High Priest for us – to share our hardships, our experience, apart from sin, so that he might be qualified as our High Priest. Think about his earthly life, 2000 years ago. He felt hunger, want of sympathy from others, he had all temptations, many sleepless nights, was tired, exhausted, misunderstood, forsaken, persecuted, delivered to death on the cross. All this way preparation for his present priestly ministry in heaven, interceding for us.

Jesus is the only one person who can cleanse us.

In the OT, the human high priests washed their hands and feet and sprinkled the blood of animals to remove sins – but these things were not enough, only external. But Jesus, through his sacrifice, cleanses our innermost thoughts and desires until we are REALLY clean. God never gives up on us in this matter.

So, this is the great turning point of Hebrews. From GETTING blessing to GIVING blessing.

“Let us!” x5

Hebrews is a book of exhortation, encouragement, that encourages us to persevere.

  • If you are blessed…
  • you need to bless others!

We are the channel / the pipe of God’s heavenly blessing in this world.

If you are blessed, BLESS others!

v. 22

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

1. “Let us draw near to God”

(Let us never forget the duty of worship)

God is spirit, so we can draw near to God at any time, in any place – driving, in bed, at school, at work, while brushing your teeth, he’s always available through prayer, praise, crying, whispering, meditation on his word, thanksgiving, worship.

“through worship”

It is given to everybody to live in 2 worlds: whether you recognize it or not – this world of time & space + the world of eternity.

Our danger = to become SO involved in this material world, we forget the other world – the eternal world.

As the day begins, in the middle of our activities, at the end of the day, we must turn aside – if only for a moment – and draw near to the presence of God.

v. 22

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

What about our attitude? Here are 3:

  1. with a sincere heart – God looks at our heart because he is spirit (not hard heartedly, not with pretenses – sincere worship)
  2. in full assurance of faith (not half faith, but FULL assurance of faith – “assuraance” = doubtlessness – he WILL hear us because of the work of Christ)
  3. with clear conscience (cleansed from guilty consciences) – with BOLDNESS – why? how? Based on the work of Christ on the cross – not based on what we have done for God.

“Let us draw near to God.”

3. He is Faithful

v. 23

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Let us never lose our grip on what we believe and hope.

Our visible situation may try to take our faith and hope away – our situation may take our hope, our money, our reputation, – it may try to make us forget God. The happenings of life may conspire to shape our faith and hope – so we MUST keep a STRONG grip on our faith and hope that NEVER fails (Jesus).

“Faith, hope, love”

These go together as one – just like each side in an equilateral triangle.

  • Faith = “our trust in Jesus Christ based on what he has done for us”
  • Hope = “trust in Jesus based on what he IS doing and will do”
  • Love = “trust in Jesus based on who he is”

chp 11 = “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Romans “We rejoice in the glory of God – we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, patience, Christian mature character, and hope and this hope DOES NOT disappoint us – because he has poured out his hope in our spirits.”

1 Cor 13 – the Love chapter

“Love is patient, love is kind…”

1 Cor 13:7 “Love ALWAYS believes, love ALWAYS hopes, love ALWAYS perseveres, love ALWAYS protects…”

v. 23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

We must put our hope IN God.

In you put your hope in your money, your material, your hope will be hopeless.

#3 Let Us

v. 24

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Let us put our minds to the task of taking care of others.

Are you Christian?

Let us remember this not only for our own sake, but also for the sake of others.

  • Selfish saved Christians = impossible
  • Selfish Christianity = a contradiction of terms because we are saved for service to others

We must spur one another on toward noble living. We can do that by setting fine examples, by reminding others of their traditions, privileges, and duties when they are likely to forget them.

We are “revealers” – showers of Christ. If we are really Christians, we show to others who Christ is and what he is like. Christians are the ones in whom Christ is revealed in this world.

  • Christian = revealer of Christ. We are the visible representation of the invisible Christ.
  • Christ = visible representation of the invisible God.

God bless you!

#4 Let Us

(more practical)

v. 25a

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,”

Let us worship together.

Together (in community) is very important.

There are some who give up meeting together in the community of God. Some think they are Christians, but do not go to church services. It’s possible that some say “I’m Christian” but give up meeting together with God’s people, in God’s house, on God’s day.

  • Very clearly: isolated Christians = impossible
  • Hidden disciples, secret Christianity = impossible

To go to church = to demonstrate where our loyalty lies. This shows others what side we are on. Do you need Christ? Yes! If you need Christ, you need church because church (the community of believers) is his body.

We cannot live a Christian life while neglecting the fellowship of believers. This is a valuable time for our spiritual nourishment. God did not design Christians to be completely independent, but rather to be interdependent – to depend on one another to encourage them.

If you skip church, you skip seven days.

Church cannot be substituted with our personal study, nor with only watching it on TV or the Internet.

The church is the body of Christ, the community of believers, and it is imperative that we continue meeting together.

#5 Let Us

v. 25b

“but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Let us encourage one another.

One of the highest human privileges and duties and responsibilities = encouragement.

This world is FULL of discouragement and discouragers.

Many times, a word of thanks, praise, or cheer, has kept a man on his feet.

Remember Jesus’ 8 blessings in Matthew chp 8 “Blessed are the…”

Let me add another blessing:

“Blessed is the one who encourages others, for theirs is encouragement.”

We need encouragement together.

Finally, our duty as Christians together = “all the more” pressing because the time is short and the Day is approaching.

If we are saved, we live (how long?) do you know? You must know. We live eternal life.

“I live eternally”

Jesus “I give you eternal life, you shall never perish, no one shall snatch you out of my hand.”

Eternal life started the moment we accepted Christ as Savior.

But also we must remember that our physical life in this world is very short.

“Your physical life is like a mist that appears quickly and soon disappears; like a flower that blooms and soon withers.”

If we live eternally,

we must live in light of eternity.

We must walk WITH God, before God, and one day we will stand before God to do an audit of our lives on earth. So the closer we live to Christ, the smaller everything else in this world appears.

Conclusion: 5 “Let us”

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

God bless us all with 5 let us.

God bless you.

Let us pray.

  • Sep 29 / 2019
  • Comments Off on True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles

Hebrews 6:7-12 (Pastor Heo)

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.


Last Sunday, I shared hermeneutics – right teaching, right interpretation, makes right Christians.

  • 1 John “If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you.”
  • Later in the same book “He who does what is sinful is of the devil. No one who is of God, sins.”

These two verses do not contradict each other. They support each other.

This means: we are sinless while we remain in God’s Word – but it is also possible for Christians to sin continually and deliberately. It is also possible for non-Christians to seem like true Christians for a time, but not to the End.

Point #1: Fruitfulness

We must produce fruit if we are born-again Christians.

v. 7-8

“7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

The real seed given care by the farmer and planted on fertile soil will produce bountiful crops. In this verse, the “seed” is the Word of God…

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus says, there’s only one kind of seed = “gospel”, but there are 4 kinds of soil = “hearts”.

The first three soils did not produce a crop.

  1. Hard (doesn’t understand the Word – immediately, the Word is snatched away)
  2. Rocky (the Word is received with joy, but half understood, no root, no faith – so when trouble comes, he falls away quickly)
  3. Thorny (infested – receives the Word, but mixed with the worries of this world, so they choke his faith out and makes it unfruitful)
  4. Good soil (receives the Word with faith, understands it, applies it to his life, obeys it, and produces fruit – authentic and living faith produces visible fruit)

Yes, our faith is invisible, but produces visible fruit.

Jesus in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, “Like this, by their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes? Like this, bad trees bear bad fruit, good trees bear good fruit. So then, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also like this, we will be recognized in the eyes of God by our fruit. How? Why? Because we have salvation – “found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)

v. 9

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.”

Keywords:

confident, assurance, salvation, better things

All things that accompany salvation are MUCH better than things we can get in this (material) world. In our inner and outer lives – visible and invisible lives.

Inwardly

The things that belong to salvation are evidenced by the HS as he testifies. Are you feeling the witness of the HS in you? He continually testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. Also, we have subjective voices inside that authenticates our standing with our God. One evidence = the sublimely conversive desire to converse with God as Father.

“You did not receive a spirit of fear, but a spirit of sonship and by him we cry, ‘Abba, father!'” This displays very close intimacy with God.

At the very root of this is the inner assurance that we are totally forgiven. We are reconciled to God and have the inner peace of God through Christ (supernatural and eternal).

John: “Peace, I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Outwardly

The things that belong to salvation are witnessed to by the characteristics of our character:

  1. True light
  2. Forgiving spirit
  3. generous heart
  4. truthful tongue

Authentic Christian heart produces authentic Christian character.

Like this, when the HS whispers “you are the child of God”, when we have a sense of inner peace, when our character has grown spiritually by the help and guidance of Christ, we can be confident of our spiritual standing.

If we are really born-again Christians, we need to know HOW our lifestyle should be. So the next verse teaches us this.

v. 10

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

We can see how our lifestyles should be as real born-again Christians.

God is just / right / righteous judge (Romans 14 “We all will stand before God’s Judgment Seat”) – individually, personally, we will all give an account of ourselves before God. Remember, he will never forget how hard we have worked for him, and his glory.

Sometimes we want to be remembered by others. But we must know that man’s remembrance of us is temporary – but God’s remembrance of us is eternal. Reward / inheritance of man is temporary, from God is eternal.

True salvation must change our lifestyles.

God never overlooks nor forgets our hard work for him. So we must continue to work wholeheartedly for him. So our service and caring for others are shown to him.

This doing good for others for his glory and his kingdom is not a performance, but a lifestyle. There’s a good example to show this lesson:

At the last Judgment Day, the King says to the saved on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, and receive your inheritance.” The Lord says to them, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25:35) They say, “When?” He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”

This is a very interesting, but meaningful story. It means that God remembers something about us that we do not remember.

Why do they not remember what they did? Because this was their lifestyle.

However, if this helping, serving, caring was an event, they would remember. But, as a part of their natural lifestyles, they do not remember.

  • So, what you have done without remembrance IS YOU – your lifestyle.
  • If you remember your deeds, this is not YOU – it is a performance, an event.

“When you give to the needy, do not let your right hand know what the left is doing…”

This means, caring, loving, serving should be our lifestyle – just like breathing. Can you count how many times you breathe in a day? No.

So, our caring lifestyle for others is loving God – because he created all human beings.

We must recognize that, generally speaking, God is father even to unbelievers – and potential “Father”.

  1. Be diligent! (v. 11)
  2. Do not be lazy! (v. 12)

v. 11-12

“We want each of you to show this same *diligence* to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Matt 24:13 “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

This does not mean that you must stand firm to the end in order to be saved, but rather it means that he who is REALLY saved is SURE to stand firm to the end.

These verses encourage us:

Avoid laziness, sloth, sluggishness.

Some people think: laziness is a matter of character / style / disposition. But this is a misunderstanding of laziness. Laziness is a terrible sin. It is wickedness.

Matt 25: The parable of the Talents.

One man got 1 talent, one 5, one 10. The man with 1 did nothing, he hid it. Jesus said, “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be thrown out into the darkness.”

What made him lazy? We must know the root of this attitude.

This servant who was lazy said, “Lord, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I hid the talent underground. See, here is the talent belonging to you.”

From this story, we can understand that laziness is misunderstanding about God – doubt about God. The root of laziness is faithlessness, no hope, no expectation, no grace, no love.

Laziness results from unbelief and results in condemnation. It is evidence of a graceless life.

Is there the grace of God in you? Are you under the grace of God? Are you assured of God’s grace at work in you?

1 Cor 15:58 (last verse of this resurrection chapter): “Therefore, my dear friends, let nothing move you, but always give your whole life fully / wholly to the work of God because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Paul “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” If we are real Christians, we should also be able to confess this. “By the grace of God, I am who I am.” (memorize this). Do you agree? Up to now in your life?

It means: “I confess, it is only God who did all things in my life up to now.”

  • And the next sentence “…I am what I am…”
  • Paul did NOT say “… so I did not work hard.”
  • Rather, Paul confessed, “… so I worked HARDER than all the other people.”

It means diligence is a sign that the grace of God is at work, actively, powerfully in you.

  • Laziness is a sign that there is no grace in my life.
  • Perseverance in loving service is clear evidence of hope.

Shall we say together: “…in order to make your hope sure.”

“Hope makes all the difference.”

The gospel is FULL of hope because it is the good news of great joy for ALL the people (young, old, intro/extroverted, etc). All people are invited into the hope of Christ. If you set your life in the hope of Christ, tomorrow offers huge opportunities – and Jesus has offered the hope – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Next time, let’s continue in detail with God’s Promise.

  • “God bless you with hope.”
  • “Put your hope in Jesus Christ.” (Really?)

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 28 / 2019
  • Comments Off on When you hear the Word of God, don’t harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-19)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

When you hear the Word of God, don’t harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-19)

Download Notes in a .MD file

When you hear the Word of God…

Hebrews 3:7-19 (Pastor Heo)

Warning Against Unbelief

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’

11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.


Can you say “Amen” to today’s word? The Word of God is food.

Our physical body needs food, also our spiritual body needs food.

Jesus: “I am the bread of life… Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Today’s food is not milk, but meat. Not soft, but solid.

For us to grow and mature and be stronger, sometimes we need hard, solid food and meat. Today’s food is very solid. Do you want to eat it?

Hebrews is a book of warning (yellow card). There are at least 5 exhortations and warnings.

chp 2:1 “Give more attention to what you have heard to not drift away.” (Warning: Neglect) – Don’t drift away without a target / purpose.

Today: second warning: (Warning: Doubt) – danger of mistrust. This is a very simple sentence, but a serious warning in our lives. No one can say, “I’m totally free from this warning.” Not even me.

It is possible to start well and end terribly.

In school, career, marriage, office, church life, etc – it is possible to start well (big celebration) and end poorly, shamefully. Even in the pastoral ministry, this is possible. I know this as well. So I must be careful all the time.

Starting well is good, but finishing well is MORE important.

Paul: “Be careful not to fall, when you think you are standing.”

Romans 15:4 “Everything written in the past was written to give us a lesson.” So that through endurance, patience, encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope.

Today’s example is Israel in the OT.

We are familiar with the story of Israel in the OT – esp. Exodus. The reason that story was written was to give us a lesson. We must learn from history.

In the whole history of earth, no migration of people has started so well – with such a great expectation. They’d experienced 10 great signs and wonders through Moses already. And on that final night, all Israelites were safe in their homes, but the Angel of Destruction struck down the first born of every household – man and animal. There was not a house in Egypt without someone dead. The bad king of Egypt called Moses and yelled, “GO! You are too much for us.”

Can you imagine this migration? 600,000 (about the population of Jeonju) men + women + children. This would be closer to 1.5 – 2 million (Gwangju?).

All these people and animals began this exodus by tribal divisions and they plundered the Egyptians. Many other people also joined in this exodus.

But in the desert, the day is so hot and the night so cold. So, God led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire. This was symbolic of “God with us” and also protection from heat and darkness and cold. Soon, they encountered the Red Sea.

Then, Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued Israel with his best chariots and army. Moses said, “Do not be afraid. God is fighting for us. The Egyptians we see now, we will never see again. We need only be still, and God will deliver us.”

Moses raised his staff and stretched his arm over the Red Sea. The sea parted in two and 2 million people, animals, and belongings all passed safely over on dry land. The Egyptians pursued them. Moses again stretched out his hand and the Red Sea returned to its original state. All the chariots and army were buried in the sea.

What a fabulous beginning! Soon, they would be in their Promised Land, Canaan. But then…

They began so well, but finished so shamefully – because of their doubt and rebellion against God continually.

When they arrived at the BORDER of Canaan, God said to Moses, “Send some men to research and explore that land.” This would be like a short-term vision / mission trip today.

Moses chose 12 assistant pastors (kind of) – one from each tribe, and sent them into the land with a mission: “To see” the land, towns, soil, people.

They explored for 40 days and returned to Moses and reported back. 10/12 gave a bad report of the place (negative). In front of God, negative word is bad, evil, wicked. “We cannot attack them, they are too strong for us. We look like grasshoppers compared to them.”

2/12 (Joshua and Caleb) gave a good report. “No, we can! If God is with us, who can be against us? That land was promised by God. God never breaks his promise. We can take that land.”

But, sorry to say, the bad report prevailed over the entire community of Israel. The entire community raised their voices and cried aloud and complained against Moses and against God – and tried to stone Joshua and Caleb. “Why did God bring us here?!” So, we must be careful with our speaking. “If only we had to die, is it better to die in this desert, or die in Egypt?”

God heard and said, “OK. I will do to you the very things you said.” They had explored for 40 days, but God let them wander for 40 years in the desert (1 year / day). They wandered until they all died – and their children wandered and suffered for their sins.

Remember, at departure 600,000 men departed? All of them died in the desert, except Joshua and Caleb.

This is a serious story. So the great lesson we must receive is: It is possible to start well and end terribly.

v. 7-10

“7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’ “

God was angry. Yes, he is good all the time, and he loves us, but he can become angry because he is a person and he is holy.

One warning: TODAY (x3) do not harden your hearts.

  • v. 7 “Today…”
  • v. 13 “encourage one another daily as long as it is called today…”
  • v. 15 “Today…”

Today = while there is yet time.

While we can speak of “today” we must give our trust and obedience to God. For individuals, “today” means “while life lasts”. In Hebrew: “While you have the opportunity, give God full submission that you must give.”

Someday, my life will end. The sun will set on my life…

But we still have hope. There are great warnings here.

1. God makes man an offer (gift)

just like he offered the people of Israel the blessings of the Promised Land, so he offers us today the blessings of a life that is far beyond a life we can live without him.

But to receive the blessings of God, two things are necessary:

  1. Trust in Christ (“Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me.”)
    • We must believe that what he says is true.
  2. Obedience: absolutely necessary. Are you obeying the Word of God? All the time?
    • Imagine, a medical doctor says to a patient, “I can cure you if you obey my instructions…”
    • Or a teacher says to a student, “I’ll make you a scholar if you follow my instructions…”
    • A trainer says to an athlete, “I’ll make you a champion if you do not deviate from the instructions I lay down.”

In this world, success depends on obedience to the word of an expert.

God is THE Expert of the world, and provides joy with full obedience to his Word.

2. There is a limit

“There is a limit to my life.” (The duration of your life) – and we do not know when that duration will end.

We often speak so easily about tomorrow. “I’ll go there tomorrow…” but for us individually, someday “tomorrow” will never come – and nobody knows when and how that will happen. That’s why this is a warning and encouragement.

  • The blessing of God must be accepted TODAY!
  • And full trust and obedience to God must be given TODAY!
  • 2 Corinth “Now is the time of God’s favor; Now is the time of God’s grace…”

v. 11-19

“11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter [the Promised Land], because of their unbelief. “

Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ

  • Christ is superior to Moses
  • Jesus is much greater than Moses

The message is: If this is true, that Jesus is much greater than Moses, the loss in rejecting Christ is much greater than rejecting Moses’ word.

  • The loss of rebellion against Moses = 40 years wandering in the desert – not entering the Promised Land.
  • The loss of rebellion against Jesus = the loss of eternal life in heaven.

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so I must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in me may have eternal life.” (Jesus)

Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

John the Baptist introduced him as “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The people of Israel in Egypt were delivered by the blood of the lamb during the Passover. This is a symbol of the believer in Christ – delivered from the slavery to sin through the blood of Christ.

“The blood of Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness.”

Because of their rebellion and distrust, they failed to enter God’s rest, but we (who believe in Christ) are able to enter his rest.

We are living “today”, not “tomorrow”.

Jesus “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest.” This is the invitation of Christ. This is real rest, eternal, heavenly rest in Christ.

God bless us to enjoy his rest and peace.

Romans 15:4 “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us a lesson so that through the endurance, patience, and encouragement of the Scriptures, we may have hope.”

  • “Jesus is our hope!”
  • “Jesus is my hope!”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 02 / 2019
  • Comments Off on At last, Paul arrives in Rome (Acts 28:10-28)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

At last, Paul arrives in Rome (Acts 28:10-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 ” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”


From Rhegium to Puteoli is about 180 miles. From Puteoli, they had no more boat – but had to walk. It was another 140 miles to Rome (like from Jeonju to Seoul).

Some believers in Rome heard about Paul’s imminent arrival and intercepted his party at Appii Forum (an open square for meeting and discussion).

v. 10-15

” 10They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.”

When Paul was greeted by these Italian brothers & sisters in Christ, he was refreshed and thanked God. Imagine this, after a long, hard, dangerous journey, Paul was thankful and encouraged to see some friendly faces like you.

Today, we also can perform a similar role in the lives of full-time missionaries. TIP:

Paul Mission will have an upcoming mission conference in Gyeonggi-do. If you want you can be blessed by blessing them with your time, little money, loving hearts.

Paul arrived at Rome finally in v. 16

“16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. “

At long last, Paul arrived at Rome – the most powerful and influential city at that time. It was the fulfillment of his long-term vision. Paul received special treatment. The others were delivered to the captain of the soldiers, but he was put under house arrest in a rented house under the guard of one soldier.

What did Paul do first?

v. 17-22

“Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” “

Paul’s first action was to call together the Jewish brothers & sisters in Rome and explain why he had to come.

Briefly: The Jews arrested him in Jerusalem and delivered him to the Roman government. They examined him, but did not find him guilty. So they wanted to set him free. But the Jewish religious leaders disagreed strongly, so Paul was forced to appeal to Caesar.

His real purpose for meeting the Italian Christians was to share the kingdom of God and the Messiah-ship of Jesus.

This hope for which he was accused is the message of the gospel. In his defense, Paul mentioned the phrase, “the hope of Israel” several times.

  • on trial for my hope in the resurrection
  • I have hope in God for the resurrection (before Felix)
  • I have hope in Christ – because of this I was charged (before Agrippa)

v. 21-22

“21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” “

In Rome, everyone was talking against Christianity. “Heresy” = wrong doctrine, cult, terrible doctrine.

Christians believed in only ONE God, but Romans had many false gods, including Caesar. His hope is the hope of Israel, the hope of the world.

v. 23-24

“23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. “

This must have been the most exciting home Bible study in history. Can you be patient with me if I share the Bible with you from morning to evening? This must be 10 hours.

Paul tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and Prophets (Old Testament). He tried to convince them about Jesus from the OT.

Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you have eternal life, but these Scriptures testify about me.”

Today’s Christians are more blessed than Christians from 2,000 years ago – because we have OT and NT.

Early Christians believed in Christ only through the witness of the OT and lived powerful influential Christian lives at that time. We must be able to live more powerful Christian lives today because we have the complete, perfect Bible. We are also much nearer to the end of this world than they were.

The main theme of the Bible is about Jesus.

The religious leaders studied hard, but refused to come to Jesus. Even today, many Christians study much but don’t come to Christ.

v. 25-28

“25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 ” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!””

What is the response of this congregation to Paul’s message? Disagreement, some believed, some rejected. Some were persuaded, some would not believe regardless of Paul’s passion and urging.

Today is the same. I’m delivering the sermon. This is an attempt to convince the congregation about Christ through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Sermon’s purpose is always the same: to persuade the church members about Christ by the ministry of the HS.

Some are convinced, but some reject.

This is always the same. The same sunlight melts ice and also hardens the clay.

Moses and Pharaoh experienced the same works of God, the same miracles, and powers, at the same time and same place. Moses came nearer and nearer to God, his heart softer and meeker, and humble. But Pharaoh went farther and farther from God, his heart becoming calloused and proud.

God gave Pharaoh many opportunities to repent, but he rejected them all.

Whenever we receive the Word of God, we should check our attitudes.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Paul quoted v. 26-28 from Isaiah 6:9-10

Even though the Jews knew all about God in an academic way, they did not know God in a personal way. Though the Word of God was in their heads, it had never filtered down to their hearts and changed their lives.

Today, is the Word of God changing your life?

Conclusion:

From Paul’s journey to Rome, we can learn 3 lessons.

Remember his journey story, let’s get these lessons.

1. Nothing can stop the will of God

The will of God for Paul was that he would go to Rome and preach the gospel. Yes, we know this looked impossible – there were many plots to kill Paul, Jewish accusations against him – years of imprisonment, a shipwreck in a typhoon, bitten by a viper. There were so many hindrances – but no attack from Satan would hinder God’s will.

1 John 2:17 “This world and its desires pass away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

Question: Do you have a vision? Just like Paul, or vision must be worldwide – but at the same time it must be focused. We must include the whole world with our hearts and prayer – but we must focus on a particular target because we are limited in knowledge and skills. God’s way is always better, he knows what he’s doing.

1 Thess “The one who calls us is faithful.”

2. We can serve God by helping others under any circumstances IF WE WILL

What are your circumstances? God knows. But remember under any circumstances, we can serve God by helping others if we choose to.

Paul’s situation was BAD from a human perspective. He was a shipwrecked prisoner but on this trek to Rome alone, he continued to minister to others:

  • Roman centurion, Julius
  • Captain and owner of the ship
  • Passengers of the ship
  • Leader of Malta and his father
  • People of Malta
  • Jewish believers
  • Roman believers

Almost all were affected by PAUL.

What the power and influence of only one person!

Because of this one faithful person, the gospel continued to spread.

v. 28 = if you accept the gospel, it will spread through you.

But if you reject it, the gospel will continue to spread through others.

The gospel has life.

Do not make any excuses before God.

3. God is so faithful in keeping his promise

Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ.”

But God provides what we NEED not always what we WANT.

Paul lost everything in the shipwreck – he was merely a survivor. He had nothing but life in Christ. But remember, in this terrible situation, if his first priority was eating, drinking, wearing, then he would be a literal beggar. But his priority #1 was the kingdom of God and sharing the gospel.

So, God’s promise was realized in his life.

“Do not worry about what you should eat and drink and wear. Pagans run after these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them, so seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

This promise was proven in Paul’s life. Question: Is God’s promise real in your life?

v. 10

“10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed. “

Still today, his promise is available. Don’t worry about what to eat, drink, wear – but seek first his kingdom and righteousness and then all these things will be given to you as well.

Let’s pray.

  • May 28 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5

Download Notes in a .MD file

Abundant Blessings of Justification

Romans 5:1-5 (Pastor Heo)

Peace and Hope

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.


In chp 4, we saw 2 things:

  1. By what Abraham was NOT justified
  2. By what Abraham WAS justified

Chp 5 is the explanation of the end of Chp 4.

Our justification is not just a promise of heaven, but also a tremendous source of blessings we can enjoy now and here. “Abundant blessings of justification.”

As we know, we have nothing to boast about in our faith – but we have much more to boast about in Christ – because faith means we depend on Christ for our salvation. Christ has more than enough for our salvation and justification.

By faith in Christ, we are saved. Do you agree and believe?

By faith we are:

  1. justified,
  2. sanctified,
  3. overcome this world,
  4. defeat the power of Satan and sin,
  5. receive the answers of our prayers,
  6. experience miracles,
  7. experience healing,
  8. experience the power of God (making the impossible possible),
  9. do good,
  10. please God,
  11. make God happy. Do you make God happy?

By faith we can do everything God wants us to do.

Today, we read Chp 5:1-5, which are full of abundant blessings which we can enjoy now and here.

Let me share 5 blessings we can enjoy now and here.

#1 Peace with God through Christ

v. 1 “1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

  • Condemnation = God declares us sinners (war)
  • Justification = God declares us righteous (peace)

Peace is more than the absence of war. It is the perfect restoration of relationship without the rending of any hearts.

Without peace with God, there is no peace. No peace of self, spirit, heart, mind, with others, with Creation, etc. Peace with God is the root / source for us to have / enjoy all peace in this world. This peace can only be found through Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus is called “Prince of Peace” (King of Peace) – even 700 years before he came to earth.
  • Eph: “Jesus Christ is our peace.” – He preached peace to us.
  • Jesus IS peace and a man of peace. His greeting is “Go in peace; My peace I leave with you.”

One time, Jesus said something strange. “Do not think I have come to bring peace, but a sword.” (huh?) What does this mean?

It means, in this world, there are many false peaces – sometimes we heard of fake news – also there are many fake peaces. These must be destroyed first in order to have real, true peace and allow it to be built up.

  1. Carnal peace must give way to spiritual peace.
  2. World peace to heavenly peace.
  3. Temporal peace to eternal peace.

Yes, everyone wants peace – all kinds of peace – then, the root of peace is “Peace with God”. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How is this possible?

Who is a peacemaker? I want to bless you all to be peacemakers in this world.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How?

Peacemakers are not entertainers, recreational leaders. No, they are gospel preachers. They tell the story of Jesus – who is the King of Peace.

We can enjoy this peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

#2. Access to God in Christ

We are worshiping God – we are now in the presence of God.

v. 2 “2 through *whom* we have gained access by faith into _this grace_ (the presence of God) in which we now stand. And we boast (rejoice) in the hope of the glory of God. “

In ancient times, ordinary people were not allowed to enter the presence of the king – also the same was true of God. Only the High Priest, the rep of all the people was able to enter the Most Holy Place (the symbol of the presence of God) with the blood offering and bells and string tied around his waist (just in case – if he had something wrong against God in the Most High place, he was to die immediately – but nobody could enter to take his dead body, so they had to pull his dead body from outside by pulling on the rope).

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating the Holy and Most Holy place was torn completely in half – indicating that we would now have access to God directly through Christ.

Gentiles originally were kept out of the temple by a wall – a veil – but when Christ was crucified, it was broken in half. This means that Jesus is the new way for us to enter the presence of God.

Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is torn. And since we have a great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and assurance of faith – having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy to help us in our time of need.”

“…in which we now stand…”

Justification has to do with our position – our standing.

In the OT time, nobody called God “Father” in a personal relationship. Question: “Can you call God, ‘Father’ in a personal relationship with him?”

Even Moses, David, nobody was allowed to call God “Father” in a personal relationship. But we are. How blessed we are. This means we received a new position / standing in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “You can pray like this, ‘Our Father in heaven…'”

Isaiah “…Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…”

Today, we do not call Jesus “Everlasting Father” – so this means, only IN Jesus, we are allowed to call God “Father.” We have access anytime, every time for the help we need. God is very happy to hear your voice. You know that?

#3. Hope of the glory of God

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

  1. Peace
  2. Access
  3. Hope of the glory of God

We can come to God anytime.

The hope of the glory of God takes care of our future.

Originally, mankind was created for God’s glory. – But because of sin, we “fall short of the glory of God.”

Therefore, God wants to recreate his glory in us. So, we look forward to the time in which we will share his glory. So, this helps us to overcome our frustrations when we are not all we want to be, nor all God wants us to be. So, when we have THIS hope, we can rejoice in any situation.

If you hold THIS hope, you can rejoice in any and all situations (even suffering).

#4. Rejoice in suffering

v. 3-4 “3 Not only so, but we also glory (rejoice) in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

If you really agree and believe this, you are a mature Christian. If not, you are a baby Christian. Check yourself through reading these two verses.

This begins with HOPE -> suffering -> perseverance (patience) -> character -> HOPE

We are not FREE from suffering, but we can rejoice in suffering.

Remember, justification does not free us from suffering, but it gives us the power to rejoice in suffering. We don’t rejoice in suffering because we like pain, but because we know that our Father God is using these life difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build up our character.

All our suffering, problems in this world:

  1. develop our perseverance (patience), and
  2. develops our character, which
  3. increases our hope and glory in the future.

It is likely that your patience will be tested in some way EVERY day.

Do you serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to serve our Lord Jesus Christ?

Remember, if you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, suffering is unavoidable. You cannot escape suffering if you serve the Lord in this world. Remember, he suffered for us first.

  • 1 Peter “To this you are called because Christ suffered for you first and leaving you an example to follow in his footsteps.”
  • Phil “I want to know the power of Christ and his suffering….”
  • 1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
  • Romans “Our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Christianity is the story of a life a suffering.

“Blessed are the persecuted because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven. They persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Tribulation is a kind of suffering.

John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble (tribulation) but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

“Tribulation” = from Latin “Tribulum” = flail

Flail (도리깨) = a threshing tool with a long handle to hit the wheat and separate the wheat from the chaff. How painful! How much suffering for the wheat! But through this suffering, the pure wheat is separated from the chaff (garbage).

Like this, through our own suffering, we are purified and our spiritual “wheat” is separated from our worldly “chaff”.

Like this, through our suffering, we can get to know “how I am” and how my heart is constituted. Sometimes, I don’t even know who I am before God, but through this suffering, I can know who I am before God.

Moses vs. Pharaoh

  • Moses = man of God
  • Pharaoh = man of this world

Both experienced the same miracles from God.

  1. Through this, Moses became closer and closer to God through patience, perseverance, character, hope.
  2. But, Pharaoh, through the same miracles, became harder, more stubborn, farther and farther from God, immature temper / disposition, disappointment, failure.

Remember, all the time, God is good.

  • “God is good – all the time.”
  • “All the time – God is good.”

But, in your daily life, in your suffering and trials, can you say THAT?

Imagine: I lost my job, got divorced, lost great money, someone I loved died, I’m suffering painfully in body, soul, spirit, emotions….BUT “God is good, all the time. God is in control of all things…”

Can you say THAT?

#5: We are not disappointed

v. 5 “5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

God has put his love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who he’s given to us. We will study more of the love of God, but for now:

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love

Imagine, before we were saved,

God showed his love by sending his Son – surely he will love us more and more NOW – he is pouring it out more and more.

Faith, Hope, Love combine to give us patience in the suffering of this world. This patience makes it possible for us to grow in character and become a child of God.

Romans “I’m strongly persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor anything else in all this world will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

What can separate us from the love of God?

  • “No condemnation in Jesus Christ”
  • “No separation in Jesus Christ”

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 21 / 2016
  • Comments Off on Ecclesiastes: From Meaninglessness to Meaningfulness (1:1-18, 12:13-14)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Ecclesiastes: From Meaninglessness to Meaningfulness (1:1-18, 12:13-14)

02.21.2016

02.21.2016-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Continue Reading

  • May 10 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The “No More’s” of Jesus (John 5:14)
No More, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The “No More’s” of Jesus (John 5:14)

05.10.2015

05.10.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

Download Notes in a .RTF file

The ‘No Mores’ of Jesus

John 5:14 (Pastor Brian)

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’”


 

  1. Isaiah 43:25 “For my own sake”
  2. Jeremiah 31:34 “No more”
  3. Hebrews 8:12 “No more”
  4. Hebrews 10:17 “No more”
  5. John 5:14 (also John 8)

Writer to the Hebrews is saying, “Hey! Don’t go back! Keep on keepin’ on! Keep on trusting in Jesus. He’s FINISHED it. You can’t go back.” There are many severe warnings about going back (apostatizing).

What was done in type and shadow in the Old Testament is now FULLY fulfilled in Christ. Don’t go back to Moses, Abraham -> they all spoke of Jesus’ coming.

Jesus is the ULTIMATE hope.

  1. The Law doesn’t offer forgiveness, it merely opens our eyes to our sins so that we can see more clearly. We know there are consequences for our wrongdoing and sin – he is just, he will punish, but he is also merciful.
  2. By our own experience and observation, we can also see that SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES.
  3. Satan, the accuser of the brethren piles it on. “Call yourself a Christian? Ha~~~ Look what you just did ‘Christian’!” But by the blood of the Lamb, we overcame him.

There is a way of victory – through Christ.

Through various demonstrations, God wanted to show his mercy – he gave LIFE where death was threatened – even in the Garden of Eden when they ate of the tree. He spoke of the coming of his Son – he promised salvation at the birth of humanity. LIFE was promised despite the act that brought about the deserved death of humanity.

Where there’s LIFE, there’s HOPE.

Throughout the Old Testament, there were examples of life and hope and the forgiveness of sins.

  1. The shedding of animal blood, the provision of the Tabernacle and the temple, the priesthood, the atonement, the sin offering. The Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement was the day that God expressed his desire to forgive sins and the people expressed their desire to be forgiven.
  2. There was also the example of the cleansing of the leper. Two birds were there – one killed, the other dipped in its blood and released – signifying Jesus’ blood sacrifice to free us from our sins.
  3. There was the type and shadow of the scapegoat – one goat was taken out into the wilderness “carrying the sins and the guilt” of the people and it was killed or pushed off a cliff or otherwise not allowed to come back into camp.

There is no approach to God without the shedding of blood. This ALL points to Jesus (Jesus IS in EVERY book of the Bible).

So, we can see throughout the Old Testament Laws and rituals, God’s willingness and want to forgive sins.

In fact, why repent if there is no forgiveness of sins? One goes along with the other. Repentance leads forgiveness and forgiveness grants repentance – one leads into the other. God prompts repentance, grants forgiveness, then grants greater repentance.

Jonah – the reluctant prophet.

He didn’t want to go to Ninevah – yet, God “persuaded” him with a “big” messenger (whale) – he was coughed up on shore and went to Ninevah and the king and the people and the animals repented, prayed, and left off sinning.

Jonah waited under a tree (with popcorn) awaiting the fiery destruction of Ninevah – which never came…

God chooses NOT to fulfill his just judgment when there is genuine repentance.

JOB: Elihu –

“He looks upon sin and if any man says, ‘I have sinned and it profited me not’ – he (God) shall save the man from the pit and carry him into the light.”

CHRONICLES: God –

“If my people, called by me, turn from their sins, and call on my name, I will heal their land.” (IF my people – God identifies with his people – “humble themselves” – “pray” – “I will hear from heaven” – “pardon their sin” – “heal their land”) Beginning with a conditional, this single verse walks through the entire process of repentance and forgiveness.

Throughout the Bible, we have Psalms and stories and the church (later) who prove and show that God WANTS to forgive his people.

“He who believes in Jesus is justified from all things that he could not be justified by in the Law of Moses.”

After OUR forgiveness…

We must FORGIVE.

Spurgeon: Was talking with a man, he left. The next man came up and told him of a previous misdeed of the former man. But Spurgeon said, “I’d totally forgotten – so it was a wonderful thing to be totally unbegrudging toward him.”

If you forgive someone, do it from the HEART – again and again and again (forgiveness often isn’t a ONE time thing – especially if you were painfully offended or hurt).

These things were seen in the Old Testament and reiterated in the New Testament – particularly Hebrews.

Here, today, let’s look at when and how JESUS says “No more.”

God in Christ (the 3 Fs)

  1. Faced up to sin
  2. Forgave our sins
  3. Forgot our sins (did not call to remembrance – remember that forgetfulness is an infirmity – but CHOOSING to not recall something is gracious)
  4. (Today) FORSAKE our sins – Jesus advocates this in John 5:14

Sometimes, when we forsake our sins (so long as we continue to LOOK to the Lord), he continues to forgive us and guide us, empower us.

  1. John 5: (a man’s story)
  2. John 8:1-15 (a woman’s story)

But Jesus went to the Mt. of Olives. At dawn, he appeared again and sat down among the people to teach them. The teachers brought a woman into the midst of the crowd who’d been caught in adultery – they were trying to trap Jesus by accusing her. But he bent down to write in the sand. They kept at it, but he said, “OK, whoever is without sin – you start the stoning.” Eventually, they all started to leave, until she remained alone.

“Go now and sin NO MORE.”

John 5:1-15 The healing at the pool of Bethesda

Some time later, Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda – there were a great number of disabled people lying there. When Jesus saw the sick man lying there, he asked, “Do you want to get well?” The man said, “No one can help me” Jesus said, “Pick up your mat and walk.” He did so. The Jews said to him, “Hey man, it’s the Sabbath – you can’t DO that.” But he said, “The man who made me well told me to.” But they couldn’t find Jesus as he’d slipped off into the crowd.

Later…

“Sin no more, or something worse may happen to you.”

Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There were many major feasts in Jerusalem – (but this was probably the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles – to remember the duration of the pilgrimage through the desert for 40 years).

Jesus went up to the Sheep Gate, there was a pool (Bethesda) – surrounded by 5 large covered areas. They were waiting for the waters to be “stirred” by an angel of the Lord to be healed. The healing mineral waters likely helped them get well – it may have been like a spa.

This man had been sick – very incapacitated – for 38 years. Jesus saw him and asked him, “Do you want to get well?” This might seem strange – he’d obviously wanted to get well for 38 years, right? Well, sometimes people who are ill give up hope – especially if they are getting a state pension for example – some people get a lot of attention – ego boost. There are various reasons WHY a person might NOT want to get well.

And actually, the man doesn’t give a straight answer. Jesus just cut through all of that and said, “GET UP!” Boom! He did. And he walked. Imagine that after 38 years.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath. The Jews said to the man, “It’s the Sabbath, buddy! That’s illegal!” He replied, “The man who healed me said, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” They said, “Who is he?” The man didn’t know because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd. The man later met Jesus at the temple – probably to offer thanks to God for his healing. Jesus said to him, “See, you are well again. Go and sin no more, or something worse may happen to you.”

Jesus obviously knew that the cause of his suffering was sin. Perhaps sexual sin, or something else that had caused him to suffer in his body. (There is no CLEAR source of his suffering here, but this is a pretty good guess.)

That’s a pretty severe warning – he was lost, diseased, hopeless, helpless – until Jesus came along and healed him and then gave him a very solemn warning.

Peter, Jude, and others write of this “returning to sin” after receiving the blessing of forgiveness in such a way:

“A dog returning to its vomit.”

Peter knew well the meaning of sinning and repentance and forgiveness – what was actually the difference between Peter and Judas? Both sinned against Christ – only Peter went back to Christ for forgiveness.

Peter: “Be diligent, sober, watchful because your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” RESIST and be steadfast in the faith.

That’s what sin is in God’s sight: vomit. Would you be a dog who returns to it?

“Go and SIN NO MORE.”

Sometimes when people return to the original sin – it becomes WORSE than it was before. Some people think that they cannot go back to God again.

Hopefully the man took heed, certainly he was very grateful for the grace and mercy of Jesus. He went on and demonstrated that it was Jesus who’d healed him.

John Piper’s thoughts on John 8: this section is either in italics, or footnotes.

Most NT scholars DON’T think this was a part of the gospel of John but was added centuries later.

“Despite the best efforts to prove this was part of the original version, the evidence is against them and the modern versions of the Bible are right to keep it separate.”

The conclusion: It wasn’t originally in John’s gospel, but was added later.

Piper agrees. Part of the conclusions are:

  1. The stories are missing from all the Greek scrolls before the 5th century
  2. All the scholars pass over this portion in their writings
  3. The story flows well from the previous story to chapter 9
  4. The Eastern scholars didn’t use it until the 10th century
  5. This shows up in DIFFERENT places in different manuscripts
  6. This story, in style and vocabulary is more unlike John’s gospel than any other part.
  7. Saying all that assumes a lot of facts – part of “textual criticism”

So, what’s a preacher to do?

Don Carson and Bruce Metsger think this event REALLY happened and that the story circulated and was later put into the gospel of John – it has all the earmarks of historical truth. It’s just the way it was juxtaposed and put into the gospel at a later point.

Yet, this doesn’t have the authority of Scripture – because it wasn’t in there originally – so, I’ll prove it’s points from OTHER Scriptures. Let THOSE be the authority.

  1. Jesus exalts himself above the Law
  2. He re-establishes the story of Grace over Justice

This is an effective echo of the WHOLE of the New Testament.

  1. The woman is caught in adultery
  2. The Pharisees put Jesus to the test (we’ve seen this more than once already) – will Jesus contradict Moses’ Law? Deut & Lev. say “if a couple is caught in adultery, BOTH of them must die.” – so…… how committed to the Law are they really?
  3. The were USING the Law to get rid of the woman and get rid of Jesus (bring a charge against him)
  4. Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” – this is no way to work justice, right? even judges are sinful. Yet, here is Jesus standing against the Pharisees’ understanding of justice and showing grace.
  5. Go and understand this: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
  6. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” – Jesus exposes their own misuse of the Law.

The point is: Righteousness and Justice should be founded on a gracious spirit. Otherwise, there is no mercy – and no mercy for the one who shows no mercy.

When they leave, Jesus says, “No one condemns you? Neither do I. GO AND SIN NO MORE.” – She’s received grace and mercy and now she must walk in that grace and mercy and cease the sins she’s been walking in. He’s talking about a change in LIFESTYLE – a lifestyle CHOICE here – because people continually sin and stumble. No one is perfect.

“You’ve met God and been saved by his grace.”

This is the pervasive message of the New Testament: Jesus exalted himself ABOVE the Law

John shows that – and re-establishes the forgiveness of God based on Grace

Thus, John Newton, a slave trader, could write “Amazing Grace” based on his own personal testimony.

We must be holy if you want to see God – he hates sins – he knows what its done to his Son, he knows what it does to us. We may have that way before, but Jesus says, “I come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Justice in life, in place of grace – makes us cruel and unmerciful.

Jesus came into this world to give grace and mercy and forgiveness. His appeal is “Come to me, all you weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

  1. Come to Christ for grace, set your face to SIN NO MORE.
  2. His grace is accompanied by his direction: SIN NO MORE.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 05 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)
Easter, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)

04.05-easter
04.05.2015-PHeo-Easter

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 

19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


 

Jesus is alive! again!

So, Jesus’ resurrection holds a unique place in Christianity. Christianity is the ONLY religion on earth that bases its foundation of faith on the resurrection of its founder.

Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to our faith and to our salvation – provided for by his death.

In 1 Cor 15, this is the Resurrection chapter.

Paul wrote 13 books, 87 chapters – but THIS chapter is the longest chapter. EVERY line, every verse, every sentence is concentrated on the resurrection of Christ.

Everything in our faith stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus.

Are you Christian? Who is a Christian? One who is united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. Believe his death is “my death” and his resurrection is “my resurrection.”

We can see one very short word repeated many times in almost every verse today: IF (repeated 7 times today). Through these IFs we can see 5-6 negative facts:

  1. (v. 14) IF Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless. (Our gospel is robbed of its joy – the joy would become a funeral dirge?) – What’s the point without the resurrection? There’s nothing to preach.
  2. (v. 14) IF there is no resurrection, our faith is in vain and worthless. All we have we received as a free gift of God – divine childship, justification, sanctification, glorification, salvation, a home in heaven – it’s all worthless.
  3. (v. 15) IF no resurrection, then all witnesses are false – liars and deceivers (essential for apostleship = a witness of the resurrection) – the KEY message of all missionaries, evangelists, preachers, etc is Jesus substituationary death and resurrection
  4. (v. 17) IF no resurrection, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.
    Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Only Jesus is our Savior from sin and death – the wages of sin = death. Only Jesus paid completely and totally the punishment, power, presence, of sin. Only Jesus defeated the LAST enemy, death.
    But IF he didn’t rise from the dead, then he has no more saving power than any other man throughout history.
  5. (v.18-19) IF no resurrection, all who died in Christ are LOST = in hell, and WE are the most miserable – above ALL people in the world – we ought to be the most pitied. 
    Up to today, throughout the world, many Christians have been martyred with only ONE hope – the hope of the resurrection. So, how miserable they are if there is NO hope – if there is NO resurrection.

Isn’t that true?

It is better to be sorrowful for NO hope than sorrowful for FALSE hope.

So, today, I want to share the CREDIBILITY of the resurrection of Christ.

Yes, this is a miracle. The kind of evidence needed to prove this fact is the same evidence that we need to prove any other miracle. i.e. reference to the laws of nature cannot apply when the laws of nature are bent (miracles work outside natural laws). So, competent witnesses and other proofs are the most appropriate methods to show the credibility of this fact.

  1. Cause and Effect = the first
  2. Argument from witnesses = the second

Every effect around us has a cause. Without an effect, no cause.

So, if Jesus’ resurrection = a cause, then what are the effects? There are MANY throughout history, but I will share only 4.

1. The empty tomb

The fact that the tomb was empty was testified to by many competent witnesses – both friends and enemies, angels, Roman soldiers, women, disciples.

How can we explain this? The angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat on it, said to the women, “Don’t fear, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified, but he is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the very place where Jesus lay.”

2. The Lord’s Day

(Sabbath = Saturday, right?) then why do we worship on Sunday? For us, every day is “technically” the Lord’s day because he created them all, but the first day of the week is the “Lord’s Day” because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

At that time, to keep the Sabbath (Saturday) service had been VERY important. So, who would ever dare to change it? On what grounds could it be changed?

The origin of the Sunday worship service can only be explained by the resurrection.

3. This building

The temple of Jesus Christ – the Christian church – all over the world

There are so many churches all over the world, the Church is a grand institution all over the world. What would the world be without church? Helping ministry, mercy ministry, worship, songs, preaching, etc. Where did this church come from? This is an effect, what is the cause?

The reason Jesus appeared and visited the discouraged and revived the faith of the disciples to send them forth on mission to announce BOLDLY and LOUDLY (the character change of the disciples is also another effect of the cause of the resurrection) the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ – to continue his work and expand his kingdom on earth.

This is HOW the church began. This is why the church is called the “body of Christ” and Jesus is the “head of the Church.”

4. The New Testament

This is the Word of God written in human language for us to understand clearly. For our understanding, the Bible is written in human language. This is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Had Christ remained dead, his story ALSO would have remained buried with him. What would be the point to tell such a story of a dead zealot/rebel?

As you know, in the New Testament, his resurrection is spoken of more than 100 times. There are fruits, interpretations, meanings, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the “Book of the Resurrection” – the WHOLE New Testament.

—-

Next, there are the testimonies of the witnesses:

We need three things:

  1. Capable, eye-witnesses
  2. Enough in number (more than 2)
  3. Have a good reputation

All the disciples qualify in these respects. They all said, “We are EYE WITNESSES” – there were at least 12 appearances of Jesus to the disciples. There were MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses to his resurrection.

If only I said, “Wow, I saw a tiger running on the street yesterday.” (But do you trust my reputation?) What if Pastor Brian said that? The same thing. Would it still be difficult to believe? If FIVE people said the same thing, would you believe? What about 10, 50, 100, ALL members of AICF? Would you believe then? Jesus appeared to MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses who testified to his resurrection.

What about their character, human reputation? Yes, we know before the resurrection, many of the disciples were timid, cowardly – Peter denied Christ 3 times at the cross and all the others RAN AWAY returning to their old lifestyles. They lost their faith and hope totally.

Yet, after they met the risen Christ again, these believing disciples became STRONG and TIRELESS believers and they ANNOUNCED his resurrection LOUDLY putting their own lives at risk and DIED as martyrs.

Yes, today, this message remains the same.

The resurrection is our HOPE, our JOY, our HOPE of HOPES.

(v. 58) “STAND FIRM” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Let nothing move you” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” – why? Because Christ has risen. “And we know that our service for the Lord is not in vain” – why? Because Christ’s resurrection is HOPE for us.

Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits (guarantee) for us who believe in him. Only Christ can say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.” Do you believe this? If we believe, then we also believe that Jesus is still guiding us now. If we believe, it means that we are to give our lives to his service – we will also be resurrected into eternal life later.

  • Romans 8 “If the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is living in you and me, then he will also give you life.”
  • Phil “We want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and sharing in his suffering.”

Why? Without death, no resurrection.

May God bless us with his resurrection joy, power, and HOPE.

Let’s pray.

  • John 11:26 “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will never die…”

We must share in his death and cross. Without these, there is no resurrection nor crown.

  • Apr 20 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Christ Has Risen! – Easter 2014 (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)
Easter, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ Has Risen! – Easter 2014 (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)

04.20-easter 

04.20.2014 (Easter) Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Resurrection of the Dead
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

58 Therefore, my dear brother, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


Amen.

God bless us all with his Word. Christ HAS risen from the dead!

That Christ has risen, holds a unique place in Christianity. This is the only religion on earth that places its hope and claims on the resurrection of its founder. Only Christianity does this. SO, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is fundamental to Christianity.

In the New Testament, there are more than 100 instances of the resurrection of Christ being spoken of. Also, it is very essential in the application of our salvation – provided by in his death. So, about his resurrection, much more could be said. But because of limited time, let’s talk about only ONE topic: the CREDIBILITY of the resurrection of Christ (good topic).

  • Credibility = the acceptance of fact in a manner that demands fact and belief.
  • Belief upon good authority, reliable facts, and competent witnesses – belief, facts.

This resurrection is a FACT proven by competent facts and deserving full acceptance as a belief. This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity proven by many infallible proofs. So, for the credibility of the resurrection, there are at least TWO arguments:

  1. Argument from cause and effect
  2. Argument from testimony

For example, around us, certain things, conditions, institutions exist today. They are effects of causes or a cause. Every effect has a cause. So, if the resurrection of Christ is a cause, what is the effect?

In church history, there are MANY effects that can be traced to the bodily, physical resurrection of Christ.

#1: The Empty Tomb!

That was an effect. What was the cause? The fact that the tomb was empty was testified to by MANY eyewitnesses – including his friends AND his enemies. The women were first, the angels, the disciples, the Roman soldiers – even the Pharisees later said, “Tell them to say the disciples stole the body.”

On that day, in the early morning, the angels came and rolled away the stone, and sat on the stone and spoke to the women who came to annoint his body with oil. “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is NOT here. He has RISEN from the dead. Come and see the place where he (once) lay.” Pointing.

Wow. Pretty strong evidence that he rose from the dead.

#2: Sunday worship services

Sunday is not the original Sabbath (actually that was Saturday). Who would DARE to change this extremely ingrained and protected day? The Jews NEVER celebrated anybody’s birthday – even great men. They only celebrated events – like the Passover.

Strange then that in the New Testament, the Jewish Christians change this century’s old Saturday sabbath into the FIRST day of the week (Sunday). This is a massive effect, a marvelous effect. What was the cause? Why did they do that?

The resurrection of Christ was the cause for the great change in worship to Sunday.

#3: The Christian church – the body of Christ

Are you here now? We know this is a grand and noble institution. Imagine, what would this world be like without church? Churches sing hymns, and worship God, but also provide mercy, grace, help for others, social justice, social ministries. Where did this great institution come from?

It is a glorious effect from the resurrection of Christ. When Christ appeared to the discouraged disciples and restored their hope, they went out with restored faith in their risen Lord. They preached the story of his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming again. And men believed their preaching. And they gathered themselves together to study the Scriptures, and pray, and worship God and preach Jesus to the lost nations. This is how the Christian church was born in this world. It’s cause was the resurrection of Christ. That’s why the church is called “the BODY of Christ.” He is the HEAD of the church.

#4: The Bible – especially the New Testament

If Jesus had NOT been raised. If he’d remained buried, the story of his life and death would have remained buried with him – just like so many other revolutionaries before him. The New Testament is a fact – evidence, proof – of the resurrection of Christ. The New Testament wouldn’t grow out of nothing. But the beautiful story of Jesus life (through the New Testament) grew out of the story of his resurrection. The New Testament is THE BOOK of resurrection.

#5: Testimony of eye-witnesses

Humanly speaking, we need three things to make a trustworthy testimony:

  1. The witnesses must be competent and 1st-hand witnesses
  2. The witnesses must be sufficient in number
  3. The witnesses must have a good character and reputation

All the apostles/disciples qualify in these three. They repeatedly, continually said, “We are eye-witnesses” (and they were witnesses in different places – even up to 500 people at a time – no hallucination can ever be like that).

How many witnesses do we need to make a case today? ONE. Only one eyewitness is enough to prove murder. Two witnesses is OK for a suit against the government. Three is OK for the execution of a Will. In a human court, 7 witnesses is OK for a Spoken (Oral) Will. This is the largest number of witnesses required for court.

But Jesus’ resurrection had OVER 500 witnesses!

Imagine their character and reputation. 12 disciples = we know up until the resurrection they were COWARDS – timid, afraid, even Peter denied him 3 times to a slave girl. And all the others abandoned him and returned to their lives as fishermen when he was arrested.

But, after they saw the risen Lord, they TOTALLY changed – many of them even DIED for him – martyred.

  • The fearful became fearless.
  • The faithless became faithful.
  • They became the tireless preachers of the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
  • They proclaimed/declared his story at the risk of their own lives (what a big change!)
  • ALL of them died a martyr’s death because of the story of the resurrection (they tried to boil John alive, but he lived and wrote Revelation later).

#6: YOU

If somebody asks you about the credibility of Jesus’ resurrection, show yourself.

The resurrection of Christ is the HOPE of ALL hopes.

So, the last verse says, “Stand firm!” because Jesus is risen! “Let nothing move you!” because Jesus is risen! “Always give yourselves FULLY to the work of the Lord!” because Jesus is risen! “And we know that your (our) labor in the Lord is NEVER in vain!” because Jesus is risen! and he has defeated the last enemy – Satan, sin, death, and hell.

ONLY Jesus can say this (John): “I am the resurrection and the life, and he who believes in me will never die but have eternal life.”

God bless us all with assurance and POWER in the resurrection of Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 25 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Standing in Freedom! (Galatians 5:1)
Freedom Sermons, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Standing in Freedom! (Galatians 5:1)

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Galatians = great chart of Christian’s liberty (freedom)

Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll

Isn’t Grace Risky?
The Killing Fields movie – quite a movie
True story of NY Times report in Cambodia – closest asst. was Cambodian captured by regime (torturous cruelty).
Endured unbelievable suffering while escaping.

Continue Reading

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