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  • Jul 22 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of Life (Acts 7:1-60)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of Life (Acts 7:1-60)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Be faithful to the point of death…

Acts 7:1-60 (Pastor Heo)

7:1 Then the high priest asked him, “Arethese charges true?”

2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’

4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’

35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.

37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.

39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.

44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him.

48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says:

49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’

51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


This is my first time to deliver a sermon with 60 verses at one time. I’m challenged to finish this story – but if not this time, I will finish next time.

Humanly speaking, let us honor and respect Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Last Sunday, we saw a story about him (in chp 6) – he was full of 5 holy qualities.

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

He is the first non-apostle:

  1. to whom miracles were ascribed,
  2. who was questioned before the Sanhedrin,
  3. whose sermon was recorded in the Bible,
  4. the first Christian martyr.

In this sermon, he

  • began with the God of glory and
  • finished with the glory of God –

giving a full panoramic view of the history of Israel. He summarized the whole story of the OT – beginning with Abraham (they were very proud of Abraham and thought he was their first father). They despised Gentiles, but we must remember that Abram was called from Mesopotamia – the land of idol-worship – so he himself was a Gentile when called and saved by the grace of God alone.

He continued to Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and the prophets – and showed how EACH of them pointed to Jesus.

Let’s look at each individually (briefly).

Abraham

v. 2-8

“2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ [Genesis 12:1-3 – this is the turning point for world evangelism] 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.”

This first calling of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), “through your Seed, all nations on earth will be blessed” – this “Seed” is SINGULAR, not plural – and refers to Jesus.

Gal 3:16 “This Seed is Jesus Christ.” – this is very clear.

Abram is a picture of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Your father, Abram, rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day.” (He was the father 2,000 years earlier.) “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus IS before Creation – from eternity to eternity.

Joseph

v. 9-17

“9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

[Read to here]

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money. 17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.”

  • Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers because of jealousy.
    • Also Jesus was hated and sold for thirty pieces of silver because of jealousy.
  • Joseph became the savior of Egypt and those who came to him in the famine.
    • Jesus, likewise, is the Savior of the world to those who come to him.
  • In the brothers’ second visit, Joseph revealed himself “I’m Joseph! Your brother! You sold me!” They must have been trembling and thought they would be killed. But he said, “Do not be afraid, it was God who sent me ahead of you to save many lives. God made me Lord over all Egypt.” And Joseph forgave his brothers.
    • Like this, Jesus forgave those who crucified him.
  • Joseph could save all who came to him from famine.
    • Likewise, Jesus can save all who come to him by faith.

Jesus is the eternal Savior and forgiver of all sins.

Moses

v. 18-44

“18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ 27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. 30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’ 35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. 37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon. 44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.”

These two (Moses and Jesus) experienced the same thing at their birth.

  • Pharaoh ordered all babies to be killed, so Moses was put outside.
    • Herod also ordered all babies to be killed, so Jesus was put outside of Israel (his parents fled with him to Egypt).
  • Moses was sent by God to them as leader and ruler, but they did not recognize him as such.
    • Jesus also was sent by God as Messiah and they did not recognize him, nor receive him.

John 1 “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And we have seen his glory. He was with God in the beginning. Through him, all things have been made, and nothing has been made without him. He gives light and life to all. Even though this world was made by Christ, it did not recognize him, it did not receive him…”

John 1:12 “Yet, to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Moses prophesied Jesus’ coming:

Deuteronomy 18:15 quoted in this passage:

“15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. “

Hebrews 11:26 “26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Yet, Moses lived 1500 years BC (before Christ).

John 5:46 “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” (Jesus said) because Moses testified about Jesus.

“46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”

Joshua

v. 45

“Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David,”

  • Joshua showed the people the Way into the Promised Land. This was his main mission.
    • Jesus himself is the Way into the Promised Land (heaven). “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Joshua was conqueror of all nations.
    • Jesus also is conqueror of all.
  1. 1 John 3:8
  2. Romans 8:33
  • Joshua shared and distributed all land to the 12 tribes of Israel.
    • Jesus also shares and distributes his glory to his children – “If we are children, we are heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we share in his sufferings, we also will share in his glory.”

David & Solomon

v. 46-50

“46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?'”

David is referred to as the father of Christ (lineage), but David confessed that Christ was his Lord.

“The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

2 Samuel 6:17 “Your house (David) will last forever.” But where is David’s house today? The king of Israel? “Your kingdom will know no end. Your throne will last forever.”

We cannot see the house, kingdom, throne of David today. Therefore, this is only a picture of Jesus’ house, Jesus’ throne – because he is sitting (now) at the right hand of God.

What was David’s FIRST desire? Not fighting his enemies – he was filled with a burning passion to build the house of God.

  • So he gathered all the materials to do so. But God said, “No, because your hands have shed too much blood.” Then, his son Solomon built the Temple with the materials that David gathered.
  • Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.” (pointing at himself) – the real ministry of the Temple is the ministry of Christ.

Climax (all OT prophets and Jesus Messiah)

v. 51-52

“51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! [because of this verse, the audience was so angry, they covered their ears and gnashed their teeth, and dragged him outside to stone him to death] 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? [OT – 20? or so prophets – ALL the real prophets in the OT were persecuted] They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him–” [Jesus]

Remember and know that all prophets predicted and prophesied Jesus’ coming. This was their main ministry. (Acts 10:43 “43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”)

Just as Jesus was accused falsely, and false witnesses were hired to condemn him, also Stephen had false witnesses brought against him.

His sermon vindicated himself and convicted his hearers.

Their choices were clear: repent, or kill their accuser. Their response was a maddening and murderous stoning.

Someone once said, they stoned him because his sermon was too long…. well….

Conclusion

v. 59-60

“59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

The lesson given to us:

  • What does the death of Stephen mean to us?
  • What was the result of this?
  • What lesson or message can we get?

Here are 2 points.

#1 For Stephen himself = coronation (crown)

the meaning of his name actually is “crown”

Rev 2:10 “Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.”

For himself, this was his crown. He saw the glory of God and the Son of God standing at the right hand of God to receive him into heaven. Usually, Jesus is said to be sitting at the right hand of God, but only HERE, he is standing. Of course, he could not stay sitting at this sight. He had to stand up to welcome the first Christian martyr. This is the Final time the “Son of Man” title is used in the Bible. (v. 56)

This title “Son of Man” is not used any longer in the remainder of the Bible. This is definitely a Messianic title – and Stephen’s use of it is one more witness that Christ is the Messiah.

Stephen was tried, killed, and prayed his final words in a similar manner as Christ.

  • Christ’s prayer, “Father, receive my spirit and do not hold this sin against them.”
  • Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and do not hold this sin against them.”

Stephen had 5 holy qualities:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

And at the end, he was super-empowered with extra grace to forgive his murderers.

#2 For Israel = condemnation (judgment)

This was Israel’s 3rd murder.

  1. John the Baptist – permitted –
    • sin against God the Father who’d sent him
  2. Jesus – requested –
    • sin against God the Son who came to save them
  3. Stephen – enacted themselves –
    • sin against God the Holy Spirit who was working in and through the witnesses of Christ – including Stephen

Christ once said, “Sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven.” This judgment came in AD 70 when Titus and the Roman generals destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Bible promised in Rev 2:10:

“Be faithful even to the point of death,
and I will give you the crown of life.”

Can you?

The Bible says, “If we die, we die to/for the Lord, if we live, we to/for the Lord. Whether we live or die, we do so to the Lord.”

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 12 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith (Romans 10:13-21)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith (Romans 10:13-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Saving Faith leads to “God sent” Faith

Romans 10:13-21 (Pastor Heo)

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” 19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” 20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”


Salvation is easy, simple, free, open, available – but there is a cost. It is not cheap.

Why is salvation FREE, yet so expensive? It’s actually too expensive to pay – it’s priceless. The price for our salvation that God paid = the life of his One and Only Son, Jesus.

Imagine, if you have only one child – son or daughter. For what in this world could you put your only child in the place of death? Nothing. Yet, our Father God put his only child – Jesus – in our place to die on the cross for our sins. And Jesus says, “salvation is like a treasure found in a field, and when a man found it – he sold ALL he had and bought that field.” Or also, “like a merchant looking for a good purse, and when he found one of great value, he sold everything he had and bought that purse.”

This Bible is the same book –

  • yet in one place, it says, “salvation is FREE – you pay nothing for it.”
  • yet, in another place it says, “You must pay ALL you have for salvation.”

So, how can we combine these two seemingly contradictory verses?

  • Free vs. Expensive.
  • Nothing vs. Everything.

I hope we are very clear in this matter – don’t be confused. Yes, salvation is FREE – God paid the price for us already through Jesus on the cross. We have nothing to pay, buy, to receive salvation.

But the Christian life in this world is a holy journey, a pilgrimage – to know, more and more, the true value of salvation.

Which is more valuable? Salvation or ALL your possessions? The Christian life is “the more we understand the value of salvation, the more we want to give and dedicate ourselves to Christ who died on the cross for our sins.”

Yes, I’m convinced I’m saved by the blood of Christ, yet everyday – though I read the Bible and pray everyday, I can’t say I fully know the true value of salvation. But, the more we know, the more we want to dedicate ourselves to it.

v. 13-15

“13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” “

This “good news” is good news of peace and salvation (Isaiah 52:7).

Yes, we are saved and justified only by believing in Christ and confessing with our mouths before men. We retain righteousness through no work, no power, not our own honor, etc.

Many people want to be recognized as “righteous” because they give, serve, read, study MORE. No, no, this is only self-righteousness. Rather, we receive faith, Christ-righteousness only by believing in Christ.

In these verses we see the word “how” repeated 5x.

v. 13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  1. How can they call if they don’t believe?
  2. How can they believe if they don’t hear?
  3. How can they hear without someone preaching?
  4. How can someone preach without being sent?
  5. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Topic today: Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith

If you have saving faith, you are to have “God sent” faith. God sent his Son to this world. And in his intercessory prayer, Jesus repeats two times, “Father, as you sent me, I’m sending them.” At his resurrection, “Peace be with you as the Father sent me.”

Story of Joseph

You are familiar with his story. He was hated by his 10 older brothers because of his dream.

Also Christ was hated by his people, the Jews, for nothing.

One day, his brothers sold Joseph to slave traders from Egypt. Joseph had so many hardships and injustices – even in prison. Yet, through God’s provision and providence, Joseph became the Prime Minister of Egypt (second most powerful man in the most powerful country on earth at that time) – at the age of 30. Can you do this on your own power? No, impossible.

There were 7 years of abundance – so Joseph had the people save enough food for the following 7 years of famine (even neighboring countries suffered). Even Joseph’s father Jacob suffered, so he sent the 10 brothers to Egypt to buy food. And who did they stand before? Their brother Joseph. He recognized them, but they did not recognize him.

The first deal was done, but later they came a second time – and then he revealed himself to them. Can you imagine this? “I’m Joseph! Your brother! The one you sold into slavery!” Imagine, they must have been so fearful. But Joseph said, “Do not fear, do not be distressed. You sold me, but God sent me – to save many lives.” This is the Christian life.

  • Yes, they SOLD Joseph. This is his earthly life story.
  • Yet, his interpretation of this fact was opposite.
  • “God SENT me.” This is his heavenly life story.

Are you Christian? Then you are writing two stories at the same time. You are writing your heavenly life story THROUGH you earthly life story.

  • If we ask, “Why are you here, in Korea, in Jeonju, in AICF?”
  • We can answer, “I got married here / I’m studying here / I’m working here / etc.”

Yes, this is true, but this is our earthly life story. Our heavenly life story is, “Through this earthly life story, I’m here because God SENT me.”

We are living invisible life through visible life, spiritual life through physical life. Only our earthly life is meaningful when it is connected to our heavenly life. Our earthly life is meaningless, vanity, unless it’s connected to the heavenly story.

  • “You sold me, but God SENT me.”
  • “I’m here because God SENT me.”
  • This is the Christian’s heavenly life story.

v. 16-17

“16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Even in the OT, they had heard the good news, but few received it. (quoted from Isaiah 53:1). This is the gospel of the OT. Chp 53 is the “Suffering Messiah” chapter.

Isaiah 53:1-8
“1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. “

  • “by his wounds we are healed”
  • “he did not open his mouth”
  • “he was led by God”
  • John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

These are all fulfilled in the NT

Summary of the fulfillment of these things:

1 Peter 2:21-24
“21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” “

Let us come back to Romans 10:17 (key verse)

“17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. “

  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
  • “Let us fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Within 10 min I will summarize the WHOLE story of the Bible. Please, pray for me. Genesis to Revelation – focusing on THIS verse (Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing”)

There are 12 main characters in the Bible:
But the key mission / ministry is the same:
“To bear witness to Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Ready? Ok, go!

12 main characters have the same mission: “to testify about Christ.”

Yes, there are many jobs in this world, but we must be clear about our #1 job. (This is the conclusion – in advance.)

#1 Bible (first character) –

It says many things about life, society, politics, music, family, etc, but the key mission is to testify about Christ

  • John 20:31 “The Bible is written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that you may have life in his name.”
  • Jesus says, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them, you have life, but these are the Scriptures that testify about me.”

#2 Father God

His main ministry is to testify about his son

  • When Jesus was baptized, heaven opened and he said, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.”
  • On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was with Moses and Abraham and after they left, heaven opened and God spoke, “This is my Son, in whom I’m well pleased. Listen to him.”
  • Jesus also says, “My Father who sent me into this world testifies about me. To see me is to see him.”

#3 Holy Spirit

The key mission is to witness about Christ.

  • “Nobody can call Jesus ‘Lord’ except by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Can you do this? Then you are doing so with the HS power.
  • John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I’ll send to you from the Father, the HS will testify about me.”

#4 Abraham

He had many jobs, but Jesus says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John)

  • Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

#5 Moses

The first 5 books of the OT are the books of the Law – written by Moses. Even Moses’ key mission is to testify about Christ.

John – Jesus says, “If you believe Moses, you would believe in me because Moses wrote / testified about me.” Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy are written about Jesus – to show, bear witness, testify about Christ.

#6 David

He is the greatest king in Israel’s history. He is a symbol of Christ. That’s why Jesus came through the family line of David.

  • Matthew 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Abraham, David, and Jesus.”
  • Psalm 110:1 “1 The LORD says to my lord:“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.””
    • Lord is repeated twice – but the letters are different.
    • The first LORD is all capital, the second, all lowercase. What is the difference?
      1. Father God is the first – but at that time, they were afraid to call the personal name of God “Jehovah Jireh”
      2. Messiah is the second

That’s why this is repeated in Matt 22:33-34.

  • Jesus quotes this verse and asks, “What do you think about Christ?”
  • They answered, “Son of David” Jesus said, “If so, how does David call Christ ‘Lord’?”

This means that even the key mission of David was to testify about Christ.

#7 All prophets

From Isaiah to Malachi – ALL prophets’ key mission was to testify about Christ.

Acts 10:43 “All prophets in the OT testify about Jesus Christ that everyone who believes in him receives the forgiveness of sins through his name.”

This is the end of the summary of the OT.

#8 (NT) John the Baptist

His key mission was very important because he was a forerunner for Christ. He pointed at Christ and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! He must become greater and I lesser.”

John 1:4 “In him was life and this life was the light of man. It has shone in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. A man came, sent from God, his name was John. He came as a witness to testify about Christ – that all men might believe in him.”

#9 All apostles (representative: Peter)

Acts 3:15 “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are the witnesses of this.”

After his resurrection, before ascension, Christ said, “You are my witnesses.”

#10 Paul

There is no doubt about Paul as a witness of Christ. 1 Cor 2:4 “I resolved to know NOTHING except Christ and him crucified. I have nothing to boast of except the cross of Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. If I live, I live for Christ, if I die, I die for Christ – so to die is GAIN.”

#11 The Church

No question – the church is the body of Christ.

The church is not a building, it is the PEOPLE of God who confess Christ, “You are Christ, the Son of God.” We are a holy gathering of God’s people who proclaim the same.

  • Jesus says, “On this confession, I will build my church. The gates of hell will never overcome this church. I give the keys of heaven to the church. Whatever is bound by the church will be bound in hell, whatever is loosed by the church will be loosed in heaven.”

This church is in the world, but the world must not be in the church.

#12 YOU (Holy-spirit filled believers)

Your key mission (“be filled with the HS” Eph 5:18 “be wise, do not follow the pattern of this world – be filled with the HS” – check yourselves)

You can check yourself to see if you are pregnant or not. Like this, you can check if you are filled with the HS or not.

  • If you #1 job is to testify about Christ – then you are definitely filled with the HS.
  • But, if it’s not priority #1, you need to be filled with the HS.

Acts 1:8 “When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This is evidence of being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 23 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:1-60)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:1-60)

02.22

02.23.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Acts 7:1-60

At this point in Acts, Stephen has been brought before the Sanhedrin. The apostles (Stephen included) had been put in charge of overseeing the distribution of food to the widows (particularly Greek widows). The apostles had appointed 7 disciples to do this – including Stephen and Philip.

God had more in store for Stephen and Philip. They were geared toward speaking to the Greek Jews. They were doing wonders, performing miracles before the Greek Jews (like the apostles).

Stephen was preaching before the Freedmen, and they began arguing with him. The Freedmen then accused him of blaspheming against Moses and the Law. So they brought him to the Sanhedrin where they asked him, “Is this so?”

He doesn’t answer directly, but retraces the steps of Israel (who’d not been completely faithful to Moses or the Law anyway). He was basically saying, “If you REALLY knew God in a real way, you’d know Jesus as your Savior.”

Recounting the history = 5 segments

  1. Abraham’s calling (v. 2-8)
  2. Patriarchs in Egypt (v. 9-16)
  3. The life of Moses (v. 17-36)
  4. Moses and Israel in the wilderness (v. 37-43)
  5. Tabernacle and the temple (v. 44-50)

#1: Abraham (v. 2-8)

Called by God in Mesopotamia. Stephen is emphasizing that even Abraham wasn’t a Jew at first. God called from OUTSIDE the Jews.

Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin

1 Then the high priest asked him, “Are these charges true?” 2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

The Jews thought that God’s glory was in the temple. Stephen emphasizes that God called Abraham OUT of the Jews, OUT of the temple.

Stephen emphasizes God’s actions, not Abraham’s heroics:

  • He appears,
  • He speaks,
  • He moves,
  • He gives promises,
  • He judges,
  • He gives a covenant

God is the central character.

Stephen is very respectful and calls these men the Fathers (Abraham = “our father”). However, by the end of the speech he says, “your father” after he rebukes them.

He emphasizes that God can speak and act anywhere in the world – not just Jerusalem. This is very transformational. Before this, all the religion was geared toward Jews: mainly Jews preached to mainly Jews in mainly Jewish places. After this speech, Stephen is kind of the connecting link between hard-core Judaism and the Christianity Paul (in this chapter Saul) preached.

The main focus of Judaism was:

  1. The Land (Promised Land)
  2. The Law
  3. The Temple

#2 The Patriarchs in Egypt (v. 9-16)

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph,they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. 11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

Here, Stephen focuses on Joseph – the favored son of Jacob. The coat (colorful, yes) was a symbol of who was to receive the inheritance. This caused his other brothers to hate him. Also, the dreams he had (and proudly told them about), made them upset because they indicated that the whole family (even the parents) would bow down to him.

He was put in a pit, sold into slavery, sent to prison (falsely accused), interpreted dreams, got out of prison, became SECOND in command of one of the most powerful nations on earth at that time.

Joseph noted that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Then the sons of Jacob came to Egypt to meet with him – they didn’t recognize him at first. But the second time they came back, he revealed himself. They were afraid because they thought he would take his revenge, but he comforted them, blessed them, protected them, and provided new homes for them.

Jesus and Joseph

  • Jesus and Joseph, rejected by their brothers
  • Jesus, rejected by Jews, received by Gentiles (John 1 “he came to his own and his own did not receive him – but to those who did receive him, he gave the right to become children of God”).
  • Joseph, rejected by brothers, received by Egyptians.
  • Jesus, died (lowly place) and rose to the highest place.
  • Joseph, in prison (lowly place) rose to the highest place (under Pharaoh).

So Joseph is a shadow, foreshadowing of Jesus. Stephen is trying to make this crystal clear.

#3 The Life of Moses (v. 17-36)

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ 27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. 30“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’ 35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.

Through their own history, they proved that they also did not follow Moses.

Jesus and Moses:

  • Moses narrowly escaped death as an infant from Pharaoh.
  • Jesus narrowly escaped death as an infant from Herod.
  • Moses was mighty in word and deed.
  • Jesus was mighty in word and deed (Luke 9:50?)

Moses tried to reconcile the fighting Israelites and he was rejected – he had to flee to Midian. Moses was commissioned OUT of Judea – “the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

The Jews had started to “cage God” in the temple. He was trying to show them that God doesn’t LIVE in the temple, and he CAN work outside the temple.

Yes, he appeared there, but there was a time when the glory disappeared from there – when hearts strayed from true worship. Stephen’s emphasis is that God’s dwelling is not the temple building. (Paul in Eph. 2 “you are the temple of the Holy Spirit – your bodies – honor God with your bodies”)

Moses had declared that God would one day raise up a prophet like him (the Messiah = Jesus) – had all the marks/requirements that Moses had declared that God would raise up. But the Israelites had refused to pay attention to them.

Even when Peter said these similar things, he’d softened it “Yes, you did wrong in the past because you didn’t know, but NOW God has commanded otherwise.”

Here, Stephen is being much more forceful. Will he go too far?

#4 Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness (v. 37-43)

37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies.This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.

#5 The Tabernacle and the Temple (v. 44-53)

44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David,46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’ 51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

The tabernacle was a moveable building where God appeared at first.

David said, “Let’s give God a house.” Nathan the prophet agreed, but said, “You are a man of blood, you can’t.” So his son Solomon did it.

The problem is that God moves, and God dwells, BUT sometimes, we put too much emphasis on the BUILDING where God HAS been, and where he DID move.

Now, Stephen is emphasizing that the TEMPLE building is “the big deal.” Even Jesus had said this “Woe to you, for you built tombs for the prophets, BUT your ancestors killed them. So, you approved of what your ancestors did, but you build their tombs.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (And Saul was there giving approval to his death.)

At this, (so much hard speech toward them), they absolutely lost control and grabbed him, dragged him out of town, and stoned him violently.

At this part of Scripture, Jesus is standing (not sitting) at the right hand of God. It’s as if he’s standing, waiting to receive and welcome Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

It’s interesting too that when Jesus was before that same assembly, he’d said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in glory.” That caused them to murder him.

And now, Stephen is seeing the Son of Man in glory, and they murder him.

Jesus and Stephen:

  • Jesus: “The Son of Man will be glorified.”
  • Stephen: “The Son of Man is glorified.”
  • Jesus on the cross: “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
  • Stephen: To Jesus’ hands, commits his spirit.
  • Jesus: “Forgive them (my murderers) their sins.”
  • Stephen: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (v. 60)

Then he fell asleep (yes, death is only temporary). When we wake again (the Great Awakening) at Jesus’ Second Coming (just like Joseph showed himself to his brothers the second time), how will we wake up?

There was a first chance to receive Christ – when he came first and until the Second Coming. Have you received Jesus as your Savior?

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 07 / 2013
  • Comments Off on How Did the Birth of Jesus Christ Come About? (Matthew 1:18-25)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

How Did the Birth of Jesus Christ Come About? (Matthew 1:18-25)

04.07

04.07.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Last time, we saw the genealogy of Jesus – the son of David, son of Abraham. His genealogy goes like this Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Judah… “begot” being the keyword. In this story, mother did not begot sons, but father. 

The bottom line is different in the case of Jesus – it does not say “Joseph begot Jesus” – it says, “Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus.”

In the history of the world, only two men had no human fathers – Adam and Jesus. In the future, there are no more like that. In the future, if a girl becomes pregnant and says, “Oh, it’s the Holy Spirit!” Don’t believe her. One is enough.

v. 18-19

If you see carefully, verse 18 says “Mary was pledged” = engaged, not yet married. Verse 19 says, “Joseph planned to divorce her” – they were already called husband and wife. 

What was the process for marriage in Judaism at that time? 3 steps:

  1. Engagement stage (made while the couple was young – only children – by their parents or professional match maker – regardless of the couple’s choice – they didn’t even see each other) In Korea, even up to the previous generation, they did this as well. 
  2. Betrothal (ratification – legal approval of engagement – this stage lasted for one year. During this period, they didn’t live together, lived separately in body. During this time, they should keep their virginity and purity to prepare to be husband and wife – but legally they were already called “husband and wife” with legal binding. During this period, if a wife committed adultery, she was to be stoned. If a husband died, the wife would be called a virgin widow.)
  3. Proper Marriage (at the end of the year, live together in one house)

In this story, they were in the second stage when Mary got pregnant. 

Brothers, if you were Joseph, what would you do?

Joseph was a “righteous man” (even though before God, no one is righteous, not even one). But humanly speaking, he was zealous to keep the Law. So, in this way, he should have divorced her – but he was also a gentleman, didn’t want her to be killed – so he was studying quietly, secretly to keep her alive. During this time, an angel appeared to him, and said, “Don’t be afraid to make her your wife. This child is of the Holy Spirit.”

v. 20-21

If you see the book of Luke, an angel – Gabriel – appeared to Mary and said, “You will be with child and will give birth to a son – you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High and he will be given the throne of David and will rule over the house of Jacob, and his kingdom will never end.”

Mary said, “How? I’m a virgin.”

The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”

At that time, Mary responded “I’m a servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.”

Both Joseph and Mary obeyed fully.

Humanly speaking, Joseph was a gentleman. Let us also be gentle men.

All this took place to fulfill the prophecy (Isaiah).

verse 22-23

  • Immanuel “God with us” 
  • El = “God” 

verse 24-25

He had no union with her UNTIL she gave birth. But after that…

If we summarize the whole Old Testament in one sentence: It is the bundle of prophecies concerning the Messiah and his substitutionary death and his victorious reign. 

Since Matthew is the Book of the King, it has many more quotations from the Old Testament than any of the other gospels. 

It has 130 quotations and allusions to the OT.

Another key of Matthew, “King” and “Kingdom of Heaven” – that’s why we should repent. More than 32 times, we can see “The Kingdom of Heaven.” No other book has that.

All the story, all the genealogy:

  • Old Testament = prophecy
  • New Testament = fulfillment

OT – born of woman (not father), through the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the son of David, through the virgin.

  • Genesis 3:13? – this is a curse from God to the serpent “I will put enmity between you and the woman – you will strike his heel and he will crush your head.” Ancient serpent = Satan. Woman’s offspring = Jesus – Galatians 4:14 “When the time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman.”
  • Genesis 18 – to Abraham – “through your offspring, all nations on Earth will be blessed.” – fulfilled through Jesus.
  • Genesis 44? – “The scepter will never depart from Judah”
  • 2 Samuel – to David “I will establish your kingdom forever and ever.” – fulfilled in Jesus
  • “The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son.” Isaiah 7:14 – almost the same sentence.
  • “The Lord himself will give a sign – the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel.”
  • Isaiah 9:6 “To us a child is born, a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders (kingship) – and he shall be called Wonderful Counsel, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, King of Peace.”

The name (word) Jesus = savior – comes from Joshua. Jesus = Greek, Joshua = Hebrew. The name Joshua = “God’s salvation”

  • Joshua = Jesus = Jehovah is my salvation
  • Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew)
  • Jesus = human name
  • Christ = official title
  • Immanuel = describes his character 

He was not a phantom, he was fully man – physically touchable. He was also fully God – sinless, born of a virgin, without original sin – because he wasn’t born of a father.

So, what is the purpose of the virgin birth? Why through the virgin?

5 purposes for this:

#1: To fulfill God’s promise – to keep his promise.

God is not a man, he is God, so he is very faithful in keeping his promises. 

#2: To reveal God

Can you see God? You can in Jesus. We cannot see God – but God can show himself to us. John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but he has made him known. God is spirit, but can show something of himself to us through nature, history, conscious, dreams, visions, prophets. But God has shown ALL of himself through Jesus.”

Hebrews 1:1 “ In the past, God spoke to prophets, but in these last days, through Jesus.”

Colossians 2 “In Christ, all the fulness of the Trinity, divinity dwells in Jesus.”

Jesus = God’s final self revelation

#3: To bridge the gap between God and man

Like Matthew, the bridge between OT and NT, Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man.

1 Timothy 5 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ.”

If I want to be a mediator to the Japanese, I can’t do it by speaking Chinese. If I speak English, it also doesn’t work. But, if I speak Japanese fluently, I can be a mediator to them.

Jesus is fully God and fully man, he speaks both languages fluently. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

#4: Through virgin birth to save us from our sins

Think about this: to get forgiveness is very essential – what should you do? From God? Repent. Confess our sins to receive forgiveness from God – it is necessary, essential, absolute to receive forgiveness. 

But remember, confession is not enough.

First, the penalty of sin must be paid – the wages of sin = death. 

So, to be a perfect Savior, he must be God to save us, he must be REAL man to die and pay our penalty, he must be sinless for his sacrifice to be effective. 

Who is there in this world/life like that? Only Jesus.

#5: To show us the example of a sinless, holy life. 

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls.”

Who can say, “I’m gentle, I’m humble, you will find rest”? Jesus, he is holy and sinless.

1 Peter 2 “You are called to follow the example set before you by Jesus.”

Q: Is Jesus your Savior? 

If True, he is our example, model, of what kind of people we should be in this world. 

In the Bible, there are many human writers (40) – all the writers of the Word are PERFECT in their writings (only) but they are NOT perfect in their character. Only Jesus is infallible in his teaching and character.

There are 2 steps:

  1. Non-believer: Believe in Jesus and live.
  2. Believer: Follow Jesus’ example 

For us the most important thing is Jesus’ example. 

In Exodus, when Moses came down from the mountain, his face shown (glowed) – if we are real Christians, we are being transformed into that kind of person more and more as we walk with Jesus and follow his example. 

If you “like” Christ, you should be LIKE Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 16 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 47-50 (Bible-365.16): Parental Blessing
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Genesis 47-50 (Bible-365.16): Parental Blessing

In Genesis 47, the Israelites move in, Jacob blesses Pharaoh, and the famine becomes so severe that all the Egyptians sell their livestock, their land, and themselves into bondage to Pharaoh, just for food to survive. So from that time on, 1/5 of all the produce grown was to be given to Pharaoh (that’s DOUBLE the tithe that Christians have pledged to God!). Joseph also swears to bury his father with his father’s fathers.

In Genesis 48, Jacob is a doting grandfather who blesses his grandchildren. But he does so in a bit of an unconventional way, basically passing on the blessing of his own father – giving the second born child a greater blessing than the first.

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  • Jan 15 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 43-46 (Bible-365.15): Test before Trust, Forgive before Forget
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Genesis 43-46 (Bible-365.15): Test before Trust, Forgive before Forget

Genesis 43 is an interesting look in to the change that has taken place in Joseph’s brothers. Judah – the one who originally convinced the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery – tells his father that he will bear the blame for Benjamin’s possible harm for the rest of his life if the boy is harmed. Reuben (the oldest) had already offered his two sons to Jacob in the previous chapter as a guarantee for Benjamin’s safety. 

Now when they go back, they take not only double the silver (since Joseph had returned their silver to them on the first journey), but also gifts for Joseph, to try to “butter him up” a bit and allow Simeon and Benjamin to return safely with them.

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  • Jan 14 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 40-42 (Bible-365.14): Joseph, Indwelt by the Holy Spirit
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Genesis 40-42 (Bible-365.14): Joseph, Indwelt by the Holy Spirit

A few observations from Chapter 40:

  • God sent had the cupbearer and the baker to the prison Joseph was in (and not a different one). This was God’s way of getting Joseph one step closer to Pharaoh.
  • God sent them both dreams that they couldn’t interpret.
  • God wanted Joseph – the True God worshiper – to interpret the dreams and act as a witness and testimony to these two men.
  • Yet even after Joseph’s correct interpretations came to pass, the cupbearer forgot him.

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  • Jan 13 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 37-39 (Bible-365.13): Joseph and more Bad Sex
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Genesis 37-39 (Bible-365.13): Joseph and more Bad Sex

Observation

In Genesis 37, Joseph becomes the obvious favorite of Daddy after receipt of his rainbow coat, and his brothers hate him for it (and the fact that he tattles on them). But Joseph arrogantly reveals dreams to them where they serve he (he obviously knows he’s Daddy’s favorite – teenage punk). Jacob sent the kid to the fields to keep an eye on his brothers, but they decide to kill him. Reuben (the firstborn – the one who slept with his Daddy’s third wife) saves him by convincing them to just throw him in a big pot (he would rescue him later). Judah (the second born) convince them to sell Joseph to Ishmael’s descendants (Islam eventually sprouts from Ishmael’s line) and take him to Egypt. They do, Reuben freaks out, they pour blood on Joseph’s coat, his Daddy freaks out, end of story…

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  • Jan 01 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis – Book Overview
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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