:::: MENU ::::

Posts Tagged / Isaac

  • Oct 01 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God has a Purpose for You! Part 1 (Romans 9:19-24)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

God has a Purpose for You! Part 1 (Romans 9:19-24)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has a Purpose for You!

Romans 9:19-24 (Pastor Heo)

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?


God has absolute sovereignty.

Last week we saw that:

  1. God chose Isaac, not Ishmael.
  2. He chose Jacob, not Esau.

This is not a matter of the actions of the person, but a matter of the grace of God.

God’s sovereign will seems to create a problem.

  • If God is sovereign, who can resist him?
  • And if someone resists, what right has God to judge him?
  1. God had mercy on Moses, but condemned Pharaoh. Is this just?
  2. God elected Israel, but rejected Egypt. Is this just?

To this question, we must note three things. Let me go into detail about these THREE things next time.

So… during the next week, think and pray and meditate about these questions.

  1. God had mercy on Moses, condemned Pharaoh. Is this just?
  2. God elected Israel, rejected Egypt. Is this just?

These are very serious questions.

Let us pray.

  • Sep 24 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God has Absolute Sovereignty (Romans 9:1-18)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

God has Absolute Sovereignty (Romans 9:1-18)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has Absolute Sovereignty

Romans 9:1-18 (Pastor Heo)

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

God’s Sovereign Choice

6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.


Romans consists of 3 parts. Last week, we finished the first part. Today, we start the second part. The theme of this book: the Righteousness of God.

  1. Part 1: chp 1-8 (Revelation / Manifestation of God’s Righteousness)
  2. Part 2: chp 9-11 (Vindication of God’s Righteousness)
  3. Part 3: chp 12-16 (Application / Practice of God’s Righteousness)

In the 3 chapters, 9, 10, 11, Paul is revealing the vindication of God’s righteousness using the story of Israel. In these three chapters, the main material used to reveal the attributes of God = Israel. This is the story of Israel (literal, historic, Israel – located in the Middle East).

So, why is this necessary for us to study the story of Israel at this moment? A careful study of these chapters is necessary to reveal and vindicate God’s righteousness.

Yes, from chp 1-8, we have been strongly persuaded that Once Justification, Once Salvation = Always (it never fails).

Last time, chp 8 closes with great joy and shouting about “no condemnation in Christ and no separation from the love of Christ.”

8:37-39

“37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Someone might challenge this. “Hmm, IF this is true, then, what about the Jews? Israel?” The OT is the story of Israel – the Chosen people in God’s redemptive history. They are set apart from the love of God and God is building his church with a new people – the Gentiles. It seems that the Jews were abandoned and rejected by the love of God. So, did God’s plan fail with regard to Israel?

(This is a very serious question – because the character of God is at stake. If God were unfaithful to the Jews, how can we be sure he will be faithful to us?)

So, through these next 3 chapters, God’s righteousness is vindicated.

  • Chp 9: Israel’s past election
  • Chp 10: Israel’s present rejection (human responsibility)
  • Chp 11: Israel’s future redemption (God’s faithfulness despite human unfaithfulness)

Israel is very small geologically. But spiritually speaking, Israel is the ONLY country that has a history with God – past, present, future.

“All Israel will be saved” – just before the Second Coming of Christ. (not individually, but generally, and nationally returning to Christ)

First, we see Paul’s concern for the spiritual well being of his brothers (Israel):

Paul’s concern for Israel

v. 1-3

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,” (Jews)

At that time, Paul was considered a traitor to the Jewish nation – because he was a minister for the Gentiles, not Jews – and he preached of Freedom from the Law of Moses. He preached in many synagogues and “caused trouble” for the Jewish religion.

So at this point, Paul wants to show his love for his brothers and sisters, and his desire for their spiritual well being.

Remember chp 8?

“I’m convinced NOTHING can separate me from the love of Christ.”

Now, chp 9

“I wish that I COULD be cut off from Christ – for the sake of my brothers.”

There is a similar prayer in Exodus 32 –

While Moses was on the top of the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments. At the bottom of the same mountain – the people made idols and ran wild. When Moses came down and saw that sin, God was very ANGRY.

  • God said, “I will destroy / kill all Israel – and I will start again to build a great nation with you – Moses.”
  • But Moses did not say, “Amen.” He said, “No, God, please, forgive them. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – forgive them. If you do not, remove me from the Book of Life.” (Send me to hell if you don’t forgive them.)

Of course, God forgave all of them, and did not remove Moses’ name from the Book of Life.

Yes, parents here, maybe you have this experience. When your child is sick, sometimes you say, “I wish it was ME who was sick, not this child. I would take your place.”

This is a true heart of love.

If you are really a born-again Christian, we have two opposing attitudes.

  1. 1. When we see Christ, we abound in love and joy at his salvation
  2. 2. When we see the lost, we abound in unceasing anguish for their spiritual loss

May God bless us to be true Christians in the eyes of God.

Next, we see the election of Israel. We have no right to ask God, “Why did you choose Israel?” This is God’s will.

The Election of Israel

v. 4-5

“4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

God gave the people of Israel a divine promise and also the Tabernacle. God gave the Law to Moses. He gave the Promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, David, etc (these are the Patriarchs). What is the purpose of all these blessings?

Key Point:

  • v. 5b “from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, was to come through Israel. This is why all the blessings are given to Israel. They were to receive Christ, and then introduce him to all other nations – so that all nations might be saved together.

But unfortunately, when the Messiah they had waited for eagerly, finally appeared on Earth, they did not recognize him, and crucified him.

chp 3 “What is the advantage to being a Jew? Much! They have been entrusted the very Word of God.”

But even the failure of humans is inconsequential to God – who is always faithful.

Question today:

  • What is the advantage to being a Christian today – in this unbelieving world?

Ans:

  • Much in every way. We are entrusted with the very word of God – the gospel message.

This is a very simple message, but has life-giving power. “Believe in Christ and you will be saved – live forever in the presence of Christ.” But who can preach this message except the children of God? (You and me.)

God’s absolute sovereignty / redemptive will in choosing man

v. 6-10

“6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.”

What does this mean?

In chp 2, remember that a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly. No, he must be one inwardly.

There is a difference between:

  • natural, physical seed of Abraham, and
  • the spiritual children of God.

As we know, in the OT, Abraham had 2 sons. Ishmael and Isaac. According to principle, Ishmael was the first-born, so he should have been chosen. But it was Isaac who God chose.

Also, Isaac had 2 sons: Esau and Jacob. Esau should have been chosen, because he was first. But God chose Jacob. These two shared the same father AND mother (unlike Ishmael and Isaac).

This shows that God did not choose based on physical condition (blood first-born), but by God’s absolute sovereignty.

If we are saved, it is not because of our physical condition, but because of God’s will and purpose.

Also, we can see that God’s election was not based on the character of the person. Is your character good? Good enough to be saved?

God’s purpose in Election

v. 11-13

“11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” “

Please do not misunderstand the meaning of this sentence, esp v. 13 “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”. Actually, God chose Jacob before he was born. They had done NOTHING before that. God’s choice is sovereign – and based on nothing from the people themselves.

Malachi wrote this “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What does this mean?

This does not mean Individual Choice, but National Election for World Mission.

  • “Jacob I loved” = I chose Israel as the mission country for world mission and evangelism
  • “Esau I hated” = Not personally, but he did not choose to use Edom for world mission

This means, even though our character and actions are sometimes evil, God remains faithful. He chooses not based on human merit, but on his own will and for his own purposes.

“God has absolute sovereignty” He is God.

v. 14-18

“14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

Why? Because he is God.

Nobody has the right to say to God, “Why me?”

God is God.

Is God unjust or unrighteous? No, not at all.

The fact that God chose one and not the other seems to indicate that God is UNrighteous. Do not misunderstand.

If we think, “God chose this person, but not that person” we might this “God is not holy.” But, actually, if God acted only on the basis of his own righteousness, NOBODY would be saved at all. All people should go to hell immediately – if God treated each person “fairly, equally, and according to what he has done.”

God’s election is not about personal righteousness, but about God’s mercy.

Paul quoted Exodus 33.

Actually, all the people of Israel committed a terrible sin – idol worship. If God had judged them according to his righteousness, ALL of them should be killed. Rather he just killed 3000 of them – not because some were “better” than others, but simply because he was merciful to the others.

In this passage, Paul is using two examples:

  • Pharaoh and Moses.
    • Actually, before God, they were equal – both murderers.
  1. God raised Pharaoh up to show his power through him.
  2. God used Moses to show his mercy and redemption through him.

Pharaoh was a king, Moses was a slave – but Moses is the one who received God’s mercy. Why? Because God chose this way. God acted according to his absolute sovereignty.

The hardening of Pharaoh:

v. 18 “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

This “hardening” is reference 14? times in Exodus. Sometimes “Pharaoh hardened his heart” and sometimes “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”. Actually God gave Pharaoh a chance (many) to repent, but he did not.

That’s why the Bible says, “When you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts.”

Please, whenever you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts. Make your heart soft when you receive the Word of God.

God’s faithfulness is still unchangeable.

Let’s pray.

 

  • Jul 10 / 2016
  • Comments Off on Zechariah: Give Yourself to Christ as a Living Sacrifice (1:1-21, 8:3, 9:9)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Zechariah: Give Yourself to Christ as a Living Sacrifice (1:1-21, 8:3, 9:9)

07.10.2016

07.10.2016-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Continue Reading

  • Dec 07 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)

12.07

12.07.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Faith and Deeds

James 2:14-26 (Pastor Brian)

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


 

James is giving practical advice to his readers. In the beginning of the chapter, he warns against favoritism – showing undo favor to the “rich” of this world. “Oh, sit here in this nice place!”

  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans) and when you look at some of these lives (any lives actually), you’ll notice that they aren’t amazing.
  • Favoritism = giving undo favor where it is not due, and not giving favor where it is due.
  • James is bringing our identity back to Christ – we ought to keep the royal law = “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • If we keep only ONE part of the commandments and break ONLY ONE part, we have broken ALL the law. To break 1/10 = to break 10/10.
  • We must love others and show mercy (because we’ve received both from God himself).  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

“What good is it my brothers if a man has faith but no deeds? Can such faith save him?”

Paul writes “By grace you have been saved through faith…not as a result of works so that no one can boast…FOR we are his workmanship that he has created FOR good works.”

We aren’t saved BY works, but we are saved TO DO works.

Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees and did everything in his zeal to keep the law – and he even persecuted the church at first. But after meeting Christ, he realized that ALL his works and deeds were FILTHY rags before God.

1 Cor 15 Paul rehearses how God’s mercy has been shown to him “But by God’s grace, I am what I am – and I labored MORE than all the other apostles (yet not I, but the grace of God working in me).”

God’s power gave him the power and the anointing to do what God called him to do.

James also asserts that we SHOW our faith BY our good works. We must demonstrate our faith by our actions.

When we come to believe in Jesus, we become a different person ( “A New Creation” ).

Testimony:

A pastor talked of how he became a Christian – he was a teenager in a band who HATED people. He looked for fights, insulted anyone, make fun of the homeless, and yell curses. God saved both of us in the same year and our hearts were absolutely changed.

When Matt saw a homeless man, instead of yelling at him, he pulled over and gave him a blanket and a lunch he’d made for himself.

What would James say if we’d become Christians and CONTINUED to yell at the homeless. If there was no heart change, no ACTION change, there is no EVIDENCE that your heart has changed.

It’s easy for a “pure” person to said, “Yes, I believe in God – and I’m a good person.” Well, the demons ALSO believe in God – shall they also go to heaven?

In the gospels, there was a man in the synagogue who cried out (with a demon), “Ya! What have we to do with you? Jesus, Son of God?” – Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, bless you, you know who I am.” Jesus cast him OUT of the man.

James goes on to show that faith without works is dead – using the Scriptures.

  • Abraham – sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22): God tested Abraham (remember “count it all joy as you meet various testings in the world”?). He was instructed to take his ONLY son Isaac and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah. He did it. It took 3 days to get to Moriah. On the 3rd day, Abraham raised his eyes and left the servants to “worship” God. (This is an obvious act of faith on Abraham’s part). Abraham laid the wood on Isaac and carried the fire and the knife.
  • Isaac: “Father?”
  • Abe: “Yes, son?”
  • Isaac: “We have all the stuff except the offering itself.”
    Abe: “The Lord will provide, my son.”
  • Abraham built the altar and bound Isaac and laid him on the altar and stretched out his hand to KILL his son – but an angel of the Lord stopped him. Test PASSED.
  • Then Abraham raised his eyes and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its thorns. So Abraham used the ram in place of Isaac. He called that place, “The Lord will provide.”

Up to this point in his life, Abraham had at times shown a bit of a shaky faith. He lied about his wife ( “she’s my sister, actually” ) and brought trouble on himself and the people around him (TWICE).

Now, even after he’s been given promises from God:

  1. You’ll have a son
  2. I’ll bless you through Isaac
  3. I’ll make your descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore

But still, he takes his son Isaac to sacrifice him. He had such faith that God would do as he said to fulfill the promise, that even if he were to kill Isaac, God could raise him back up!

He’s taken it soooo far that he’s laid the wood on Isaac (remember Jesus also carried the wood of the cross). Isaac was NOT a young child – he was at least in his 20s. If Isaac had wanted to, he could have overpowered Abraham and said, “No way, daddy!” But he submitted himself to Abraham, laid down his own life – (remember, Jesus did this same thing for us as well – in complete agreement with God the Father).

“God will provide himself a (THE) lamb” – this is also a picture of Jesus – the ram caught in a thornbush – Jesus wore a crown of thorns for us to the cross.

Then, Abraham was told to NOT kill Isaac. In a sense, he received Isaac back from the dead – he was already sacrificed in his mind/heart. This is similar to Jesus’ resurrection as well.

James’ second example:

Rahab the prostitute protected Joshua and the spies when they investigated Jericho.

The prostitutes at that time also kept a boarding house – the spies went there for the night. The king heard about it and sent the guards to capture them. Rahab said, “No, they’ve gone.” But she’d hidden them. She’d also made a deal with them that when the men invade the city, they’d be protected from the destruction of the God of Israel.  So the men agreed – “put a scarlet rope from the window” – and they wouldn’t go in to kill the people.

After the walls of Jericho collapsed and the Israelites invaded, she was saved and assimilated into the nation of Israel.

This scarlet rope is symbolic of Jesus’ blood. In His blood, there is LIFE.

As we come around the table of the Lord for communion – as yourself, “Am I a part of this family? Is Jesus my Savior? Am I WALKING and ACTING in his will and his way?”

From the Daily bread – (hasn’t gone stale):

Feb 5, 2014: The Telltale Heart

We want to keep short accounts, not keep unforgiveness or sin in our hearts.

Recently, I read about a PI in the US who would knock on a door, show his badge and say “I guess we don’t have to tell you why we’re here.” And many times the person would look stunned and say “How did you find out?” And then go on to explain an unknown criminal act long ago.

This was an unconscious act of a telltale heart. We all know secret things about ourselves and our sins. The secret things we keep in our hearts may come back to us again and again.

  • John “By this we will know that we are before him. If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than us.”
  • James “Don’t just say, ‘We’ll pray for you.’ If you can actually help them.”

Have you done the things despite your failures? Then find rest. Even if your heart condemns you, know that God is greater. God abides in us by the Spirit whom he’s given us. God is greater than our self-condemnation.

Remember James’ words to be practical in our faith. Remember John’s words to DO the works before men that God would have us do – so that they will glorify God through what they see us doing through his power.

Where we can, ACT. (Maybe even a random act of kindness – don’t procrastinate – it won’t happen) If you have occasion to help someone, HELP.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 15 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Hagar or Sarah? (Galatians 4)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Hagar or Sarah? (Galatians 4)

06.15

06.15.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Hagar or Sarah?
Galatians 4 (Pastor Brian)

Sons not Slaves (theme)

Today is Father’s Day in many parts of the world.

The question in Galatians has to do with this theme.

1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “”Abba”, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God–or rather are known by God–how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. 12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.


Lost my train of thought due to Bob Dylan (when he was a Christian) – Slow Train coming or Saved “Sister let me tell you about a vision that I saw, you were drawing water for your husband, enslaved under the law. You were telling him about Muhammad and Buddha? in one breath, but you didn’t tell him about the One who came and died a criminal’s death.”

At this time in history, some of the Judaizers were coming into the synagogues and telling the Jews “OK guys, whatever, believe in Jesus, but you won’t REALLY be saved without keeping the Law as well.”

Paul is writing to both Jews and Gentiles here – he attests that FAITH is more important than keeping the Law (i.e. circumcision).

The question is: “How can Gentiles inherit the promises given to Abraham?” Some said they needed to be circumcised and keep the other commandments. Paul says, “NO – don’t go back under the Law from which you were saved.” Galatians 3:29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs of the promise.” This promise is by faith and all those that believe like Abraham are also heirs of God through faith in Christ.

Paul uses two analogies (”a similarity between like features of two things on which a comparison may be based” – comparing two things for similar things): Paul: “What I’m saying = as long as a child is under the Law, whether an heir or not, is like a slave. He can’t run the estate for himself – he must defer to a steward, manager, etc.”

Jews have the promise of salvation – but not salvation. They are like underage children in this respect. They were also under authority. Children even in wealthy families, were under the authority of slaves. Children had to obey the slaves in the same way that slaves had to obey their masters. A slave in a wealthy household would be a “child leader” – he’d teach culture and manners, be sure they went to school, etc. They were strict, severe, disciplined – to keep this child under authority until the child came of age to inherit the promise of the estate.

Paul says, the Law was like this – but now Christians are no longer children, no longer under this Law. To go back under the Law, would be to go back into slavery. “When we were under the Law, we were in slavery to the elemental principles of the world” (like the ABCs). Before Christ, the Jews were under the detailed Law of Moses (God was treating them like children – which was appropriate at that time). But now, the time has come for a change – they should be coming of age. “But when the set time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, under the Law.”

For this transformation, God didn’t send a Prophet or Law-Giver, but sent his Son. He didn’t come down from heaven, but was born of a woman. Why say this though? It’s to show his humanity – that the Son of God, though Divine, became Human. So why did the Lord of Creation become a child under the Law? To redeem (pay the price for freedom) those under the Law and adopt them as sons.

Jesus paid the price for our failure to keep the Law and gave us forgiveness. He had to become one of us to rescue us. Salvation depends on the fact that he was born of a human – FULLY human and FULLY God. His birth is now one of the most celebrated events the world over.

What are the benefits?

  1. Freedom from the Law and its consequences. (The Law did provide blessings for those who kept the Law, but also cursings for those who didn’t – Deuteronomy).
  2. By faith we’ve begun to experience the inheritance that God offers. Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee, but he still needed faith in Christ in order to get that.

“Because you are sons, he sends his spirit into our hearts, by which you call ‘Dad, Daddy.’” We are adult children who can call God our Dad. Since the Spirit who lives in Jesus now also lives in us, we can call God as Jesus called him. Since we are sons, we are also heirs.

  1. God is treating us as adults
  2. God is trusting us to be led by his Spirit

“Formerly, when you didn’t know God, you were slaves of this world. But now that you know God (or are known by God), how is it that you are turning back? Do you want to become slaves again?”

Basically, now that God is treating you like adult children, why would you want to go back to kindergarten?

If they went back under the Law of Moses, they’d be enslaved to keep certain months, days, sacrifices, etc, that even Peter admitted “even we nor or fathers could keep these.”

So, they came out of slavery in the world, but trying to go back into slavery of religion. Why become enslaved again?

There may have been many different seasons and celebrations, but the focus on times, and DOING it right was wrong. God is in our spirits, he is Spirit, and focusing on him in the calendar is wrong.

Paul felt that the amount of time and energy he’d put into winning them to Christ was in danger of being wasted if they turned back to what they walked out of.

“I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I have become like you.” How did he live? Probably like a Gentile. Even Peter lived like that eventually. He would go into a Gentile’s house and fellowship with them and preached to them. Paul also would enjoy meals with the Gentiles. “Salvation is found in faith, not in meals or exercises.”

“You did me no wrong.” Paul rehearses how their friendship began (because of an illness). Although Luke in Acts doesn’t go into detail, it was obvious that Paul was sick. During that time, he preached the gospel to them and they accepted it. “If you could have, you would have given your eyes…” This is likely an expression to show how deeply affectionate they were for him.

Now he says, “Am I your enemy now because I’ve told you the truth? Yes, these are zealous preachers, but they are zealous for the wrong reasons and the wrong things. They are sheep thieves, trying to turn you away from true faith in Christ.”

Paul had even spoken to them and said, “Was it by the law, or by faith that you received the Spirit?” He’s trying everything he can to bring them back to full, true faith in Christ.

Analogy #2:

Genesis 16-21 (Sarah and Hagar)

Here is an ironic analogy?

  1. One woman is a slave (Hagar): son born by the flesh.
  2. One woman is free (Sarah): son born by a divine promise.

(God had said, “You’ll have a boy.” Abraham, “Don’t tease me.” But this was the promise. Time went on (about 25 years) and Sarah said, “Yo, this isn’t gonna happen. Why don’t you just take matters into your own hands and make a baby with my slave?” So Abraham did so – though it wasn’t God’s intent. Eventually, God kept his promise – Isaac. Ishmael was the first boy.)

  1. Ishmael = a product of the flesh
  2. Isaac = the fulfillment of a Promise

“These things are being taken figuratively. The women are two covenants. Hagar’s is from Mt. Sinai, a covenant of slavery (Moses Law).” (Actually, the Jews never thought of themselves as Hagar’s kids, those were Gentiles – but here Paul is showing them figuratively that Judaism and its followers are in slavery (her covenant). But Sarah’s children are children of Promise – those who believe in faith (the Christians) belong here.

We, like Isaac, are children of Promise. So we are not concerned with the rules and regulations of the Jewish Law. Paul seems one more thing to deal with here.

“At that time, the son of flesh persecuted the son of the Spirit, and it’s the same now.”

At a birthday party, Ishmael mocked Isaac, and Isaac’s mommy was offended and told Abraham “Get him and his mommy out of here! He’ll never inherit our estate!” Abraham was dismayed – because this was also his son, but God said, “Listen to her, Isaac is your promise.” So, he reluctantly got rid of them, but God mercifully took care of them in the desert. The prophecy was that he would be the Lord of 12 nations as well, but be a wild man and everyone would be against him, and he against everyone else.

Like the Promise then, so it is now. Paul preached Jesus, and those who didn’t believe, persecuted him greatly. But he knew that the end result was worth all the suffering.

Genesis 21:10 “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

He is speaking of the Mosaic Law AS A MEANS of Salvation. Paul is showing the Law as a “child leader” – to tutor them until Christ. Why didn’t the Jews logically follow on from the Law to Christ? Many of them were too rule-bound to make sense of it.

No one will be saved by keeping the Law, nor by looking to the calendar, but we look to the child of Promise, we look to Jesus.

“He gives and takes away.” He gives Jesus, Promise, forgiveness, salvation. He takes away sin, condemnation of the Law, insufficiency of the Law. He gives us Life under Jesus, in Jesus. We’re not under Law, but sons of the Promise by faith through Christ.

Let’s pray.

 

  • Jan 09 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 25-27 (Bible-365.9): Sins of the Father, Deception of the Son
Bible-365, Grow

Genesis 25-27 (Bible-365.9): Sins of the Father, Deception of the Son

Let’s continue the Inductive Bible Study Method we learned last time.

Genesis 25

Observation

Abraham takes a third wife when he’s very old (a replacement for Sarah perhaps? Since Hagar, his second has been sent away). He has tons more kids, but leaves everything to Isaac, but still gave gifts to his concubines’ (more than one?) sons so that they wouldn’t be empty-handed when he died. Ishmael reappears and helps Isaac bury their father with Sarah – on the field he bought (smart guy). Continue Reading

  • Jan 08 / 2012
  • 1
Bible-365, Grow, Slider

Genesis 22-24 (Bible-365.8): Introduction to Inductive Bible Study

It may be time to tone it down a bit in the analysis of Genesis. I can’t really afford to write nearly 1,500 words per day as I have been. But, this is a great time to introduce the Inductive Bible Study Method, which you can do at home yourself to study the Bible and glean as much as you can from the text (it’s how I was taught to study the Bible).

The Inductive Bible Study Method

There are three basic questions to ask for every passage you read:

  1. What does it say? (Observation)
  2. What does it mean? (Interpretation)
  3. How does it apply to my life? (Application)

Continue Reading

  • Jan 07 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 19-21 (Bible-365.7): Bad Sex
Bible-365, Grow

Genesis 19-21 (Bible-365.7): Bad Sex

Genesis 18

Begins the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when Abraham receives the Lord and two angelic visitors and pleads for the Lord to spare Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction (his nephew Lot lives in the city and he is obviously concerned for him). Abraham talks the Lord into sparing the city for the sake of just 10 righteous people (down from 50). The Lord agrees – likely because he already knows that there are far less than 10 righteous people in the city – but Abraham leaves it at that, and lets the matter rest – depending on the just judgment of the Lord after his own prayers for mercy.

Continue Reading

  • Jan 01 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis – Book Overview
Bible-365, Grow

Genesis – Book Overview

Author: Moses
Date: 1450-1410 B.C. 

Genesis – in English – comes from the Greek word for “beginnings” or “origins.” The Hebrew name of this book is bere’ shit from the first words in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning…”

Continue Reading

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