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  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

“Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/our-father-in-heaven

Download Notes in a .MD file

“Our Father in Heaven”

Matthew 6:9 (Missionary Kim)

6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…


The 3 languages I spoke in my greeting reflect my missionary journey for the last 27 years.

  • I lived in the Philippines,
  • then in the US,
  • then in Panama.

I was invited to serve a home ministry as the International Mission Director at Paul Mission International.

When I left Korea, I didn’t meet any single foreign resident on the street. Today, I see a BIG change. There’s been a rise in the number of foreign residents in Korea. In line with this, Paul Mission Intl, has been developing a ministry for the foreign residents: Thai, Vietnamese, English, African. We have different ministries – and there are 16 people involved with this. Pastor Heo and his wife are two of them.

I’m excited to be here this morning, but I feel sorry to be late in coming to you. However, you have been well spoken of around the city and so I wanted to see you very much.

This morning, I’m privileged to be with you. But since English is not my first language, I must struggle, but I’ll try my best to making myself understood.

“Our Father in Heaven”

This is based on what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Let me share 3 points.

#1 “Our Father”

The first phrase draws my attention. “Our father” – in both the traditional version, and the modern English version.

Every time I call, “My father” I feel confidence and inspiration about who I am and in my identity.

When we call “Our father in heaven”, I’m not a Korean, not an international mission director. I just stand in the presence of God as his child of God. This is Eph – this is enough.

Nothing else – but being a child of God – is a decoration of our outer parts. Being a child of God is “REAL” – it’s TRUE.

What is the MOST truthful thing in the world?

  • The son before the father is the most truthful.
  • Or creature before the Creator is the most truthful.
  • That which is added is not “truth” but just decoration.

When is your most truthful time?

  • When we face one another with no make-up on our faces. I’m a fake with make-up on my face.

The life relationship between father and son – and when Jesus was born – in Heb 1:1-3, “the Son was the radiance of his glory and the EXACT representation of his being.” The son expresses its father – the creature radiates the Creator.

So, let me bring you into his presence today as “children of God.” This is real.

What is the first question that God made in the Garden of Eden to the human race?

“Where are you?”

What had happened?

Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and they realized after having eaten that they were naked. So, they were embarrassed to be naked before the Lord. They wove thick leaves into clothes and made coverings for themselves and HID among the big trees.

This reflects human behavior to try to add something in order to cover up their nakedness before God – through double and triple coverings. This is human nature. They were afraid of being naked before God because of their sins and shame.

We often try to meet our own neighbors with make-up and not naked faces. This is my point. This is a tragedy.

People try to cover their shame, they try to cover nakedness with success, money, education, something big.

  • If you add money to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a rich man!”
  • If you add knowledge to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a doctor!”
  • If you add businesses to your nakedness, “Hello, Mr. President / CEO.”

This is who we are right now. There is no “being” – we try to show what we’re “made of.” But that’s NOT REAL.

What’s real is being a child of the Father. Nothing else matters.


[Quick story]

When my son was in graduate school, he met a girl who became his wife and my daughter-in-law. Her name is Sarah.

When they were dating, my son visited her parents’ house to introduce himself.

Her parents were Cambodian missionaries, and her grandparents were living in California. Her grandfather was in the nursing home due to a stroke. So, my son went to the nursing home to introduce himself, and he was bed-ridden and being cared for by nurses all day.

Sarah said, “Grandpa, I brought my BF to have him greet you.”

Grandpa had been sleeping, or thinking, anyway his eyes were closed. He heard the girl’s voice and turned and asked, “What do you do?”

My son, pridefully, “I’m getting my PhD, sir.”

Grandpa, “Huh. It’s all useless.” Then closed his eyes again. There was no more conversation after that.

These only words uttered from his mouth, “It’s all useless.”

My son told me this over dinner, and I told my son, “that’s exactly the summary of his life.” In fact, he was 82 years old, had immigrated to the US in the 1960s. At that time, it was not usual for Koreans to study in the US nor even receive a PhD. But he became a doctor and a prestigious professor, even at high ranking schools and the Police Academy. He wrote columns in the newspaper, he became famous, everyone knew him.

Now, when he became ill, he felt there was no meaning in life, that everything was useless.

What good is a doctorate, or fame, when he is bed-ridden and at the mercy of the nurses all day?

This reminds us of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, experienced ALL pleasures in life, and lived everything he could, and at the end, expressed, “Everything is vanity – utterly meaningless. What does man gain from all his labors at which he toils under the sun?”

So, what do we have in “being” except BEING his child.

  • “I am His child.”
  • “We are His children.”

This is real, this is true, this is ultimate. Everything else will be gone.

#2 “Our father in heaven”

Take a note of the plural form of “our father”. With this confirmation and understanding, what comes to mind as we call God, “our father” – not “my father”?

We are all the family of ONE father.

  • My question is: How are we related?
  • Look at the next person. Can you say, “You are my brother / sister”?

That’s true.

That’s the meaning of the truth.

That’s what it means by “congregation” = “our brothers and sisters.”

So, we are born into ONE family as brothers and sisters. And with this statement, I was reminded of the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. This church was multi-ethnic – Jews, Asians, Greek, Romans.

Paul emphasized two words: “remember” (chp 2)

  1. “Remember who you WERE”
  2. “Remember who you ARE”
  • You WERE – a Gentile by birth. You cannot erase or change your birth. You have no choice in your nationality.
  • You WERE “uncircumsized” by religious standards.
  • You WERE separated from Christ – excluded from citizenship in Israel – and foreigners to the promise and covenant of God to the Jews.
  • You WERE once so far away, and HAVE BEEN transferred into this family.
  • You ARE NOW ONE in Christ Jesus because he washed all your / our sins away.

Christ is our peace. Christ himself, our peace.

We have heard about the reconciliation of peace between North and South Korea on Friday – and the whole world rejoiced.

However, WE BRING unique news that JESUS CHRIST is our peace.

  • He is the ONE who has made two ONE.
  • He has broken the walls and hostility.

There has been war with Japan, discrimination of Jews in Germany, a wall between the US and Mexico. However, in THIS situation, we bring Christ – because he is PEACE.

You are no longer foreigners or aliens, you are members of God’s household.

Another verse: Galatians 3:10~ “You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Wherever this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew, Greek, American, Korean, African, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised.

Each race has its own religious tradition, and we respect that, but in Christ Jesus, we are ONE.

It doesn’t matter if you are civilized or not, educated or not, slave or free. What you have and what you don’t have – either you’re employee or employer – doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are ONE in Christ Jesus.

Mosaic Command

In line with this, I found wonderful verses from the Mosaic Command. Exodus 22 – following several chapters, there is the mention of 3 groups of people:

  1. Strangers (sojourners / pilgrims)
  2. Widows
  3. Orphans

These three groups were considered socially marginalized and underprivileged. God has a heart for them more than anyone else.

In the Mosaic Law, “Don’t mistreat the strangers, the aliens – because you were strangers in Egypt. Don’t take advantage of widows and orphans. If you do, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry, and I will arouse my anger against you. If you oppose strangers, foreigners, widows, orphans, I will kill you with my sword. Then your wife will be a widow, and your children will be fatherless.”

We must be warned in this way – against discrimination against the minor, or the weak.

Paul, then, after mentioning “no Greek, nor Jew” – after that, I found a wonderful verse in Galatians” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience.”

We must LOVE one another.


What is the SECOND question to man after the Garden of Eden?

“Cain, where is your brother.”

He replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Bible omitted the answer of God in this conversation. “Yes, you are.”

We ARE responsible for taking care of one another. Community in Latin is “come” and “munis” (gifts) – “My presence itself is a gift to someone else. I’m here because of you; because of you, I’m here.”

That’s the third point I want to share with you.

Where’s God?

  • Here.
  • Everywhere.

So, how can this be consistent?

#3 “In Heaven”

How can we make harmony with this knowledge and the first phrase of the Lord’s prayer: “in heaven”?

This is not a matter of space or location – rather it is a matter of His character, quality, personality, and our respect for Him.

  • A being in heaven is very different from a being on the ground.
  • There are many boundaries, and biases and prejudices on the ground.
  • But the higher you go in the sky, the less our boundaries become.

So, we must live where our father lives – in heaven – as Christians, as believers.

Have you ever heard of the “overview effect”? This term was coined by astronauts. When they go HIGH up in space, they see things very differently. Their visibility is very different from ours. They are “in heaven.”

If we go (metaphorically) into heaven with our father, then we can SEE as he sees – that we are ONE, a global community.

I think this has a profound meaning. I’m so moved with this message with you this morning.

Key point: Everyone is ONE in the sight of God.


Water

Lastly: you know how important and essential for survival water is. Weeks ago I went to South Africa. In Cape Town, this place is very developed – like a European country. However, on arriving there, there was no water even in public service areas – like the airport. There was only hand sanitizer.

My host’s house was large, a two-story building, looks good. But when I went to the toilet, it said, “Only flush for #2, not for #1.”

It “looks” good, but actually is difficult to live in.

“Water” symbolizes Jesus Christ. Without Christ, nothing can live (spiritually). Without water, how long can you survive? Not long. This was all due to drought.

Ezekiel 47

“The River From the Temple

1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. ”

7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.

12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

This was to be healing for all nations.

There must be fertile land – and God wants his people to divide the land and reside there.

21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. **23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.**

Wow! great~ How fun for the Israelites to inhabit this land.

But this was not the end. God said specifically that foreigners were also to get their own land. Considering the exclusivity of the Israelites, this is extraordinary. They were to allow the foreigners to settle down as native Israelites.

The healing, the land, the leaves, the fruit, is not ONLY for Israel. This is for ALL nations. This is the heart of God. This is God’s vision.

But we are human. “I’m Korean.” I’m one-sided and biased. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, I mistreat, oppress, take advantage of those who are socially disadvantaged. But through God’s eyes and with his strength, we can love everyone.

  • We are children of God.
  • We are the family of ONE father.
  • We live in heaven with him.
  • We see as he sees.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 26 / 2017
  • Comments Off on There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)

Download Notes in a .MD file

There is a Future for Israel

Romans 11:11-24 (Pastor Heo)

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!


Romans 9, 10, 11 as one unit = the Vindication of God’s Righteousness through Israel’s full history

  1. Past election
  2. present rejection
  3. future restoration

This is full of the story of Israel.

Each chapter starts with a great concern about Israel.

  • chp 9: I speak the truth, my conscience confirms it, I have unceasing sorrow and anguish in my heart for the salvation of Israel.
  • chp 10: My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
  • chp 11: Did God reject them? By no means, I’m an Israelite myself.

Jesus: “Blessed is the one who cries, for he will laugh.”

If you have joy/peace/laughing in your heart because of your salvation, you must have great sorrow/pain/weeping for the salvation of others.

For whom do you cry?

Last Sunday, we saw 2 of 5 proofs for the restoration of Israel.

In chp 11, there are 5 proofs that God is not yet finished with Israel.

Proofs

  1. Paul himself – his own conversion is an illustration of the future restoration of Israel
  2. Elijah – he lived in the worst era of Israel’s history – God said, “I have reserved 7000 for myself who don’t bow down to Baal”

What does this mean?

  1. There has never been, nor never will be a time in history when the WHOLE nation has been faithful to God
  2. NOR is there a time when the WHOLE nation has been unfaithful.
  3. There is a remnant in every country.

This morning. Let us see proofs #3, 4

#3. Gentiles

v. 11-15

“11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

In chp 2:1-3, Paul used the Gentiles to prove the Jews guilty of sin. “You, Jews, have no excuse – you who pass judgment on others – because you are doing the same things.”

Here, again, Paul uses the Gentiles to assure the Jews’ future restoration.

When the Jews rejected this gospel, God sent it to the Gentiles, and they accepted and believed and were saved. At least three tragedies happened to the Jews.

  • v. 11 – the nation fell
  • v. 12 – the nation diminished
  • v. 15 – the nation was rejected

But none of these three things suggest a “final judgment” on Israel. The amazing thing is that through the fall of Israel, salvation came to the Gentiles.

Hosea 2:23 “God says, ‘I will show my love to the one I call not my loved one, and I will call them my people who are not my people, and they will call me their God.'”

These OT promises to the Gentiles were connected to Israel’s rise. Isaiah 60 make it clear that the Gentiles will share in the kingdom and life of the Gentiles. But… Israel did not rise, they fell. So, what did God do to the Gentiles? He introduced a new factor: the church. This church is called a “mystery.” (Eph 3) This was not revealed in the OT. But this does not mean that God has abandoned his kingdom project for Israel. They are only set aside until the appropriate time.

Now, the Gentiles have a vital ministry to Israel. They provoke Israel to jealousy because of their spiritual blessings in Christ.

Today, Israel is spiritually bankrupt, and have fallen away. When Jesus comes again, they will be accepted again. This is called “full inclusion” (v 12) and “acceptance” (v 15).

Yes, God wanted to rule over Israel in their history – but they didn’t allow God to rule over them. So, God will OVERrule them. This is God’s plan for them.

#4 Patriarchs – founders of Israel

Today’s lesson is Hard Food, not soft.

Review the 4 proofs up to now:

  1. Paul
  2. Elijah
  3. Gentiles
  4. Patriarchs

Paul looks to the past to show this. He used two illustrations to prove that God is not finished with Israel.

  1. Lump of dough (for baking bread)
  2. Olive tree

v. 16a “16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy;” (reference: Numbers 15, Leviticus 23)

1. Lump of Dough

The first part of the dough had to be offered to God as a symbol that the whole lump belonged to God (tithes & firstfruits). This also happens in the Feast of the Firstfruits. The priest offered the first sheaf of the harvest as a symbol that the whole harvest belonged to God – by God’s mercy and grace.

The principle: If God receives part, he sanctifies the whole.

God received the founder of the nation of Israel (Abraham) and so set apart the whole nation as holy. He also received the other patriarchs – Isaac, Jacob, etc – despite their flaws and sins. This is another proof that God has set the whole nation apart as holy and has a plan for them.

In our personal lifestyles, we also offer tithes.

We recognize that “all I have and earn” belong to God. “I’m a steward” and all I have belongs to God. This is the starting point, the beginning of the true Christian life – practically and spiritually. Offering tithes is the beginning point of the Christian lifestyle.

If the first part is holy, the whole batch is holy.

2. Olive tree

This is a symbol of the nation Israel. (Jeremiah)

v. 16b-24 “if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

To understand this passage clearly: keywords

  1. Olive tree
  2. Root
  3. Grafted in (접목하다)

Paul is not discussing the relationship of individual believers to God. But he is discussing the place of Israel in the plan of God.

  1. Jeremiah / Hosea declare the olive tree as a symbol of the nation Israel.
  2. The Root is a symbol of patriarchs who founded the nation. God made his covenant with the patriarchs. He never denied them nor changed them. Thus, his promise to Abraham sustains the nation of Israel even today.
  3. Many Jews do not believe in Christ even today. They are pictured as the branches that are broken off the tree.
  4. Other branches are grafted onto the tree and share the life of that tree. These other branches are the Gentiles (collectively).

But there is one strange thing (v. 24) – Paul says that this grafting in is “contrary to nature” – going against the natural principles of this world.

  • Usually, cultivated branches must be grafted into wild trees to share the tree’s life.
  • But in this case, wild branches were grafted into a cultivated tree.

This is because “Salvation is from the Jews.”

No matter how far the nation of Israel (branches) stray, the root (patriarchs & God’s covenant to them) is still good. God will never neglect his covenant with them. That means that some day, the nation of Israel will flourish again in God’s kingdom.

Some of us may ask today:

“So what does this matter to me?”

Even through three chapters – in one of the most important books in the NT – the #1 epistle of Paul’s – we cover the story of Israel. Why is this so important?

Application to our lives (4 things):

#1 Physically, Christ came as a Jew

Salvation is from the Jews. The Bible is the story of the Jews (past, present, future)

  • PAST: Elected by God’s grace/mercy – not because of their faithfulness or merit
  • PRESENT: Rejected because of their faithlessness

If this rejection lasts forever, then our own salvation is completely unstable. It would mean that our salvation also depends on our faithfulness.

BUT – we can say that our salvation is due to God’s grace, not our own merit.

So, we must be humble and thankful to God through our study of Israel. Our own salvation is due to God’s covenant and promise to the patriarchs of the Jewish nation (through whom the Messiah, Jesus, came).

#2 We are debtors of the gospel

The message of the gospel came to us through the rejection of Israel.

So, we enjoy the gospel today, but it must go back to Israel through our preaching.

  • Because of Israel’s rejection, we received the gospel.
  • This gospel must return to Israel through our preaching.

#3 God’s covenant with Abraham is still alive

We are “children of Abraham”

The first covenant is in Genesis 12:1-3 “I will make you into a great nation. I’ll bless you and make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. All people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This is through God’s “WILL”

This covenant is being fulfilled spiritually through us (Gentiles) – and in secular, physical history, it is already fulfilled through the Jews as well.

In history, no nations that remain against the Jews, remain prosperous.

  • BC 721, Assyria conquered Israel. There is no more Assyria.
  • BC 586, Babylon conquered Israel. There is no more Babylon.
  • Amalites, Moabites, Edomites, Hittites, etc, no longer exist anywhere on earth.
  • But there exists the nation of Israel.

This is the physical fulfillment of God’s covenant.

And spiritually, all nations will be blessed through you (through us) – is happening now.

#4 God’s final plan: to unite in Christ

No more Jew and Gentile, no more male and female, no more slave and free, etc.

Eph 2:11-18

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Getniles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human nhands )- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foriengers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

In Christ, we are ONE. Brothers and sisters. We are members of one eternal family.

Conclusion: Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. We are all ONE in Christ.”

In the eyes of God, there are only 2 kinds of people:

  1. IN Christ (saved)
  2. OUTSIDE Christ (lost)
  • If you are outside Christ, you must come to Christ to be saved.
  • If you are in Christ, you must go to the lost and say to them, “Come!”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you life, rest, salvation, peace for your souls.”

Let’s pray individually now.

In the beginning of my sermon I said, “If we have joy for our salvation, we must have sorrow for others. If we laugh for our salvation, we must cry for the salvation of others.” Your brothers, sisters, family, loved ones, parents, children, neighbors, etc.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 19 / 2017
  • Comments Off on There is a Remnant by God’s Grace (Romans 10:21-11:10)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

There is a Remnant by God’s Grace (Romans 10:21-11:10)

Download Notes in a .MD file

There is a Remnant by God’s Grace

Romans 10:21-11:10 (Pastor Heo)

21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

The Remnant of Israel

1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”


Chp 11 = God’s faithfulness

Chp 10:21 “But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Their hearts were hard, we can see 3 results of their rejection:

1. Still today, they are guilty

(we also will be guilty if we reject God’s free gift of salvation) – God reveals himself in nature, Creation, the Word of God – these go together and reveal the glory of God. Israel had the benefit of BOTH – they saw God at work in Nature, and received the Word of God (but they did not heed the Word of God). No wonder many times in Scripture it says, “he who has ears, let him hear” – this is repeated at least 7 times in Revelation.

2. God sent this gospel to the Gentiles

When Israel rejected this Messiah, God sent this gospel to the Gentiles that they might be saved. One reason was to provoke Israel to “holy jealousy”.

3. Still today, God yearns over his people

v. 21 is from Isaiah 55:2

This refers to the present day of salvation (1 Cor “NOW is the day of God’s favor”).

Even 2000 years ago, Christ longed to gather his chosen people to his arms. He wept over Jerusalem. But instead, those arms were stretched out on a cross.

Today, Christ is stretching his hands out, waiting, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” – this is the message of the gospel for the Jews and the Gentiles.

Last Sunday, “how beautiful the feet of those who bring good news.”

Also, God can use our feet and arms as he used Paul’s 2000 years ago.

Everything is of God (behind everything) – and at the same time everything is of man (we have free will). 100% God-control & sovereignty & at the same time 100% human free-will (this is a paradox).

Are you a person? This means you have a personality.

  1. Feelings
  2. Emotions
  3. Interests
  4. Will

So, we are responsible/accountable before Christ. But he will NEVER give up his people. This is the story of the next chapter.

Actually, Paul devotes all of Romans 11 to presenting that God is not finished yet with Israel. He is discussing a literal future for the nation of Israel. And Paul is showing 5 proofs (witnesses) that God has a plan for Israel. Today, let’s look at just the first 2.

God’s future restoration plan for Israel is also very important for us.

God called Abraham, chose Israel, Jesus came from Israel. IF God abandoned them… then that would show that our salvation could also be lost in the same way. Thus, their future restoration is SO important for our own salvation.

Next Sunday, we will look in depth at: (the conclusion)

  • v. 26 “26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”

There are a total of 5 witnesses to this. Today, we’ll see 2:

2 (of 5) Witnesses of God’s Plan for Israel

#1 Paul himself

Paul who wrote this book Romans.

v. 1 “1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.”

Honestly speaking, I have no right to say, “Korea will be saved – because I am Korean!” Nobody has a right to say this. But Paul is saying like this. How is this possible? On what foundation/grounds?

What is the difference between his and our salvation? We must know the background.

Paul’s conversion testimony is written in the Bible in Acts, 3 times (chp 9, 22, 26) – this is not by accident – but on purpose for something to show us.

This is not written to exalt Paul himself, but it is written to show his conversion is an illustration of the future restoration and conversion of the nation Israel. This is a secret, the mystery of God.

Paul’s Story

Yes, before his conversion, Paul had such great zeal for God. “I’m faultless – legalistically speaking.” Before his conversion, he was a champion of persecuting the followers of Christ – because he persecuted Christ for God. (He fought God, on behalf of God) – because he didn’t know Jesus was God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He was so zealous for God, but it was misplaced. This was not based on the correct foundation of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

One day, on the way to Damascus, breathing out murderous threats. Christ appeared to him on the road and spoke, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” At this moment, he became blind, fell to the ground, and called out. “Lord, who are you?” “I’m Jesus, who you are persecuting. Get up, go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” After this experience, his life was 100% (180deg) changed and he became the champion of the gospel.

  • From persecutor of the gospel to the champion of the gospel.
  • From destroying the followers of Christ, to making new followers of Christ.

Israel’s Story

Israel, likewise, has been zealous for God – looking and waiting for the Messiah for a LONG time. This was their final hope. But, when he came, they did not recognize him. Still now, they are waiting for the Messiah.

Someday (maybe soon) there will be a day when Israel will recognize that same Jesus their forefathers crucified in 33 AD. And at that time, they will be totally 100% (180deg) changed. Their lives, lifestyles, etc will be transformed completely, and they will play a great role in closing human history with Jesus’ Second Coming.

Basic Question: Up to now, in your life, which event is the GREATEST event? Having the most POWERFUL impact on your personal life?

Ans: Conversion – salvation to Jesus Christ.

To be converted to Christ and NOT change your lifestyle is absolutely impossible.

That’s why Paul says what he does in v. 1.

#2 Elijah

v. 2-10 “2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.””

Two keywords here: Elijah & remnant

We know the background of this story. Elijah was one of the greatest OT prophets. He had many nicknames:

  • Man of Fire, Man of Miracle, Man of Prayer, Man of Power.

He raised a dead boy through prayer. When he prayed, there was no rain for 3 years – then prayed and received heavy rain. He alone defeated 450 prophets of Baal + 450 prophets of Asherah. He was a man of prayer, power.

Elijah’s Story

He worked during the time of Ahab, 850 BC.

At that time, Israel was divided in two (north and south) – like Korea (because of the sins of Solomon).

  • South = Judah
  • North = Israel

This is the story of the Northern king during the reign of the 7th (of 19) king, Ahab (among all 19, not a one was “good” in the eyes of God). But Ahab was just… THE WORST.

During his reign, Israel was full of idol worship.

So, this guy was “bad” but his lady (Jezebel) was “really bad.” (much worse than him). Do you know the story of Nabath?

There was a vineyard near Ahab’s palace, so he coveted it – he wanted to buy it – even for a better vineyard. “No, God forbid, this is inheritance from my father.” So, he got sulky and didn’t eat. His wife said, “Honey, why aren’t you eating?… What? Are you the ‘king’? Get up and eat – I will get that vineyard for you.” That very day, she “got” the vineyard through murder. She said to her husband, “Oh, look, he’s dead. Now, you can get it.”

Later, Jezebel said to Elijah, “Hey, boy, I’ll kill you.”

  • So, he ran off and hid and shook in fear and said to God, “Please God, kill me.”
  • But God said, “No, and you don’t try it either.”
  • God did not scold him, but encouraged him with a soft whisper, “Elijah, you still have a mission.”
  • Elijah appealed it. “God, Israel rejected your covenant, killed your prophets, and I’m the ONLY ONE left, and they are all trying to kill me.”
  • God said, “No, no, no. You’re not the only one. I’ve yet reserved 7,000 who do not kneel before Baal. This is my remnant.”

Immediately he got 3 missions.

  • To anoint 2 kings, and
  • anoint Elisha to succeed himself as prophet.

He received power and encouragement again, and fulfilled his mission and was caught up in a chariot of fire afterward and did not taste death.

Israel’s Story

Yes, even today, Israel is rejecting the Messiah, Jesus.

But, there is a remnant in Israel who is faithful to God, by the grace of God.

I’m sure, even in North Korea, there is a remnant, even in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, USA, Europe, every single local church, even in AICF. A few remnants may be among us – but many (even all) of us may be remnants before God.

I hope and pray we all are a remnant and faithful before God.

“He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Only the remnant who remains faithful to God will be saved.

Who is the remnant? The one who calls on the name of the Lord.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

If you call Jesus “Lord” – this means he is Lord in EVERY area of our lives. He is Lord of our time, concern, interest, motive, purpose, priority, incentive, hobbies, job, ambition, dream, vision, money, wallet, material possessions. This is the true meaning of “Jesus is Lord.” God bless us to call Jesus our Lord, truly.

God is not deceived, not mocked. God knows if we are truthful in our proclamation. God knows if you are speaking from your heart, or just paying him “lip service.”

Jesus is Lord of every area of our lives.

God bless all of us so that our calling Jesus, “Lord” may be accepted fully by God our father.

Let’s take individual time to pray and shout and cry, “Lord, may my cry be acceptable to you.”

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 15 / 2017
  • Comments Off on By Works or by Faith? (Romans 9:30-10:4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

By Works or by Faith? (Romans 9:30-10:4)

Download Notes in a .MD file

By Works or by Faith?

Romans 9:30-10:4 (Pastor Heo)

Israel’s Unbelief

30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.


Spiritual things can only be discerned spiritually.

Spiritual truths can only be understood through the ministry of the Holy Spirit – as Jesus said, “The Counselor will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

The Spirit also helps us in our weakness. Many times we don’t know what to pray for, but the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8?).

Today in the study of this text we need the guidance of the HS to understand this word.

These verses seem strange outwardly:

“9:30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not *by faith but as if it were by works*. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.””

These are quoted from Isaiah 8:14, 28:16.

These can be said easily like this:

  • Those who try to save themselves by works – efforts – are not saved.
    • But those who did not try to save themselves by works – but only came to Jesus by faith – are saved.
  • Those who try to have a right relationship with God by their own power, did not find it.
    • But those who came to Christ only by faith, found it.
  • Those who thought they could please God with works, could not.
    • But those who came by faith, pleased God.

This is the meaning of these sentences. The point is: We must understand, clearly, biblically, what salvation is like.

For example:

  • Genesis 1:1 – God created all things. In the work of Creation, all the Creation did nothing to be created. Only God took initiative to create all things. Salvation is like this.
  • As we know, Jesus turned water into wine.The water did nothing to become wine. Only Christ took initiative to turn it into wine. Salvation is like this.
  • Jesus raised the dead Lazarus – buried underground with a bad smell. Lazarus did nothing to raise himself. Only Jesus did. Salvation is like this.
  • Also, the HS caused Mary to become pregnant with the baby Jesus. She did nothing of her own power to become pregnant. Only the HS did. (In this case, Mary was like the clay in the hands of the potter – last week) Salvation is like this.
    • “Salvation is like birth.”
    • Salvation is a kind of birth.
    • “You must be born again.” – born of the HS.
    • Salvation is birth AGAIN – rebirth – birth from the HS.
  • Yes, we know of the story of babies. The babies do nothing to be conceived, nothing in choosing genes, DNA, gender, parents, birthplace, blood type, etc. Only parents (and God) did anything for the baby to be born. Salvation is like this.
  • We did not ask Christ to come into this world to save it – nor to die on the cross – nor to rise again from the dead – nor to rise to heaven – nor to come again. Absolutely, on his own choice, according to God’s sovereign will, Christ did all these things for us. Salvation is like this.

Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.

Do you believe this? Then the biggest error and mistake of the Israelites was that in history they waited a LONG time for the Messiah (this is Christ). “In him was life, that life was the light of man … when he came into this world, the people (esp of Israel) did not recognize nor receive him.” This is the biggest error.

Jesus says in John 9 directly to the people of Israel, “You diligently study the Scriptures thinking that by them you have life. But these are the Scriptures that testify about me. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

“I and the Father are ONE.” (I am God.) Yes, Jesus claimed that.

At this, the Jews picked up stones to stone him, and he said, “Why do you stone me?” They said, “Blasphemer!” (You, a mere man claim to be God.) That’s why they crucified him. They did not believe he was God.

Yes, even today, people believe he was a good man, good prophet, good Savior. But we must believe he is true GOD.

Next, let us see the study of chapter 10.

In chp 9, 10, 11 – this is the story of the Vindication of God through the nation of Israel.

  • Chp 9 = Israel’s PAST election
  • Chp 10 = Israel’s PRESENT rejection
  • Chp 11 = Israel’s FUTURE redemption

Today, we study Chp 10. You know, even today, Israel is one of the most difficult nations on earth to be evangelized.

Chp 9 = emphasized God’s SOVEREIGNTY (will/election) – God has mercy/compassion on whom he wants

“Does not the potter have the right to make some clay common and some noble?” Israel did nothing to be elected/chosen by God. Only God chose them (for a special mission – the salvation of the world).

Chp 10 = emphasizes Human RESPONSIBILITY

Through the study of Israel, we can see that even Divine Sovereignty does not negate Human Responsibility

Nowhere in the Bible does it say we must choose only one. These are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they cooperate with each other – even though we may not fully grasp these truths.

This is a paradox:

  • God has 100% sovereignty
  • We have 100% responsibility

Do you have will power? Choice? This means we are responsible beings.

“I am a responsible being before God.” Really?

Actually, the more we recognize God’s sovereignty, the more we are to recognize our responsibility.

The Israelites were VERY aware of their privilege (as God’s chosen people) but tended to neglect their responsibility (for world evangelization).

What was Israel’s problem?

(This is not to criticize, but to teach us today.)

#1 They did not understand what salvation was like.

10:1 “1 Brothers and sisters (Israelites), my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.”

Maybe the Jews would be shocked by this prayer of Paul for them.

  • They THOUGHT they WERE saved, but actually, they were NOT.
  • They thought the Gentiles had to come up to the level of the Jews to be saved. But actually, the Jews had to go down to the level of the Gentiles to be saved.

The biblical understanding of salvation is the pre-requisite to enter into true Christian life.

  • They thought that being physical children of Abraham would guarantee their salvation. But salvation is only found in Christ.
  • They thought they could fulfill their salvation by works. But it is only obtained by faith in Christ. They thought they had much to boast of. But they had to be humble.
  • They thought God was exclusively God only for them. But God is God of ALL human beings.
  • They thought they were righteous, in no need of salvation. But they were unrighteous.
  • They were proud. But deserved to be condemned.
  • They rejected the visible God, Jesus Christ. But they should have recognized him.

Israel is still one of the most difficult nations on earth to evangelize – but God remains faithful to them.

#2 They had zeal without knowledge

Zeal = passion, enthusiasm – this is necessary to do something big or small successfully. Without zeal, we cannot do anything successfully. The problem is zeal without KNOWLEDGE.

How dangerous would this be?

  • Big ZEAL for driving without knowledge of the road rules or car controls…
  • Big ZEAL for guns without knowledge of the safety of guns.
  • But in religion, big ZEAL is much more dangerous.

“2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Personally, Paul personally know the danger of zeal without knowledge. There was a time before his conversion when he had wonderful ZEAL for God, but without knowledge. When he had this, he persecuted the church. He killed and jailed so many children of God and THOUGHT he was doing it FOR God.

So, zeal without God is fanaticism (fanatics). It’s like heat without light.

This was zeal for their own traditions, laws, cultures, and made them proud and arrogant.

“I must study. I must learn. I must learn and learn. Until heaven.”

#3 They did not know Christ is the END of the Law

“4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

  • “For everyone” – does this include YOU?
  • If you believe, are you involved in this sentence? Yes.

I said several times, the Theme of the book of Romans is the Righteousness of God.

Even today, we can see the word “righteousness” is repeated several times.

What does this mean: “Christ is the end (culmination) of the Law”? Four points:

#1 Christ is the fulfillment of the demands of the divine Law

Only Christ fully met the requirements of the holiness of God.

“Do not think I have come to abolish the Law. I have come to fulfill it.”

Only Christ is the full satisfaction of the Law of God. The Law of God is grounded in his very nature, so the breaking of that Law brings with it a penalty, condemnation, punishment, separation from God. ALL sinners cannot meet the demands of this Law. Only Christ as our representative and substitute can – through his obedience and sufferings. He fully met the demands of the Law.

Romans: “What the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful Nature, God DID by sending his Son that the requirements of the Law might be met in us who do not live by the sinful Nature but by the HS.”

#2 Christ is finishing “legalism”

There is no more “legalism” – “we are not under Law but under Grace.”

The relationship between God and his children is no longer a creditor/debtor relationship, or a judge/accused relationship. But the basic relationship has become Father/children.

This means Christ is the end of legalism.

#3 Christ is THE reality of all realities / shadows / types / patterns / signs

Gal 3:24 “The Law was given as a charge to lead us to Christ so that we might be justified by faith.”

All the signposts throughout the Bible. All the prophesies, signs, patterns, foreshadowing, etc, point to Christ who is THE way to life, salvation, heaven, God, a righteous relationship with God, reconciliation with God, peace, joy, real success, real well being, victory, glory, glorification. THE way is only Jesus Christ.

Since the Creation of the world, it is only Jesus Christ who has the right and power to say, “I am THE Way, the Truth and the Life.” (I am the ONLY ONE WAY). “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

#4 Christ is MY righteousness

“4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

“Therefore, since we have been justified though faith in Christ, we have peace with God, and gain access to this hope in which we now stand.”

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

God bless you in this sentence.

Let us pray.

  • 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.

 

  • Nov 29 / 2015
  • Comments Off on 2 Kings: Don’t Be Evil in the Sight of God! (1:1-18, 17:22-23, 23:27)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

2 Kings: Don’t Be Evil in the Sight of God! (1:1-18, 17:22-23, 23:27)


11.28.2015

Bulletin 11.29.2015-PHeo

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  • 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…”

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