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  • Jun 24 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:23-37)
Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:23-37)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the resurrection

Acts 4:23-37 (Pastor Heo)

4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.


Peter and John were arrested and put in prison one night. The next day, the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) questioned them – just because they healed a beggar in the name of Christ and preached the resurrection of Christ. The Sanhedrin wanted to punish Peter and John but could not because so many people were praising God – so instead, they commanded them not to preach of Christ (especially not his resurrection) any longer. Then, they released them with a strong warning.

Upon their release, Peter and John immediately returned to their group and reported to them the persecutions and sufferings they’d received from the Sanhedrin.

At the report of Peter and John,

  • the church did not complain against God –
  • they didn’t condemn nor judge the Sanhedrin,
  • nor fall down into deep depression and disappointment.

No, their first reaction to this difficult situation was … to pray to God. This is a very important principle that we should apply in our own lives.

How about your own reaction with your difficulties? Your first reaction should be prayer / talking with God. Prayer is our strength – this is our practical strength. This is our first strategy, our first weapon.

Let us see their prayer – and how they prayed.

How the disciples prayed

v. 23-31 (First reaction to the bad situation and prayer)

“4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ [Messiah] 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Looks like the Pentecost in chp 2 again. The earth was shaken and they were filled with the HS.

5 Points we can apply in our lives

#1 They addressed God as “Sovereign Lord”

Yes, we are talking to God personally and individually. Usually we start “Our Father in Heaven…”

This means they had strong conviction of the power and authority of God. (“You are Creator and Sustainer of all things – there is nothing impossible with you”).

You are omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.

One day, someone threatened Martin Luther: “If you continue to go on in your course against us, you will be excommunicated, kicked out, deserted by all your supporters. Then, where will you be?”

Martin Luther: “Then, I’ll be in the hands of God.”

God is “Sovereign Lord”

Strong conviction of the power and authority of God

#2 Conviction of the uselessness of man’s rebellion against God

Acts 4:25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘

This is quoted from Psalm 2:1-2

“Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed,”

They applied the Psalm here in their situation. Their hearts and minds turned for comfort to the Scriptures. The parallel is perfect.

In these two verses, we see:

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles (unbelivers)
  • Israelites (believers)

This is the story of the crucifixion of Christ. “Anointed One” = Christ

The members of the Sanhedrin – arrested Peter and John – and had also arrested Christ. They decided to kill Christ, but had no right to carry it out according to Roman Law. So, they handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate – ruler over Judea at that time. But, he also did not want to execute Jesus because he could find nothing guilty in Christ. He heard that Christ was from Galilee – so he sent him to Herod (ruler of Galilee at that time). He received Christ, but did not judge him – he only ridiculed and mocked him – then sent him back.

So, Pilate had no choice against the crowd, “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar!” So, he handed Christ over to be crucified by the soldiers.

What does this mean?

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles
  • Israelites

Altogether banded together to crucify Christ. ALL humans defy God, but in the end “God must prevail.”

The prayer is based solidly on the Word of God

Psalm 2:1-2

Like this, the Word of God and our prayer must go together.

John 15:7 “If you remain in me, and my Word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.”

  • In his Word, God speaks to us and tells us what he wants us to do.
  • In our prayer, we speak to God and make ourselves available to accomplish his will.
    • The true prayer is NOT telling God what to do, but asking God to do his will through us.
    • It means getting God’s will done on earth through us, not getting our will done in heaven through God.

#3 The set the remembrance of Christ before them

And remembered his suffering and triumph – and they found strong conviction.

Jesus is your Lord? Then this is (more than) enough.

“Jesus is my Lord!~”

#4 For what did they pray?

For what shall we pray in a hard and difficult situation?

They prayed for courage.

v. 29

“29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”

They did not think they could face this situation in their own strength, but they prayed for God’s strength – to empower them and make the best use of their circumstances to accomplish their mission.

  • They did not pray for protection, but power.
  • Not fire from heaven, but power from heaven to preach and heal.

How about in our application? Do you pray?

  • If you pray, please do not pray for an EASY life, but pray for STRENGTH.
  • Do not pray for tasks equal to your power, but pray for power equal to your tasks.

#5 Through this prayer, we can see the result – again the gift of the HS.

v. 31

“31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

This is a similar event to Pentecost – they were filled with the HS again. They found the courage and strength they needed to witness about Christ.

Today we need to be filled with the HS again – yesterday is yesterday’s story. We need to be filled again and again and again until we see Christ face-to-face.

“Again!”

Christian community

v. 32-37

“32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

Especially in the community of the church, prayer is supremely important. Yes, the witness of Christ is also supremely important, but the highest culmination is LOVE.

They had an intense love for each other – and a desire to share all they had with one another. Why? Because they are brothers and sisters in Christ – they are one family.

This kind of lifestyle is not the result of regulation, but it is spontaneous. The Law does not compel us to share, but the love in our hearts compels us to share – that is true Christian community.

Joseph (nicknamed “Barnabas”)

He is introduced here for several reasons:

  • he was a generous giver
  • he illustrated the things Luke was describing
  • had the most important ministry in the church (mentioned 25 times in Acts, and 5 times in the epistles)
  • he encouraged Paul in his early ministry and service to the Lord
  • he was Paul’s partner in his first missionary journey
  • he was HS filled – a good man because he was a big encouragement to the church

Also today, we need Barnabas. We need many Barnabusses? Barnabi?

v. 33 (KEY VERSE)

“33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”

Great power + great grace = Great Christian / church

If you were in this situation, could you do like this?

They “continued” to testify of the resurrection of Christ.

Situation:

The real reason the Sanhedrin arrested, jailed, and persecuted the early church was NOT because of the healing of the beggar, but because of the gospel message – the preaching of the resurrection of Christ.

If this news spread widely, it would mean that the Sanhedrin (elders, priests, etc) were TERRIBLY wrong. When Christ rose again from the dead, they met together and created a plan. They bribed the soldiers to spread a rumor that the disciples stole his body away. If the news of this spread, they would lose their position and status. So, they did their best to stop the spreading of the news of the resurrection of Christ.

They commanded Peter and John NOT to preach of the resurrection any longer.

But… they “continued”

How about our story? Is there a warning? Is their a threat from the Korean government? Is there persecution?

WITH THIS persecution, they “continued” preaching. But we have no such strong warning from the government. So, then, why don’t we preach the resurrection of Christ? We have freedom to do so. So, if we don’t, we commit a double fault.

What does the resurrection mean to you and me? What does this say to us practically, really?

Yes, about the resurrection, I can preach ALL day. But if I do so, you will be angry, hungry, etc.

So, let me share 2 points quickly.

What the resurrection of Christ says to us

#1 Jesus is God

Do you believe this?

Romans 1:4-6 “and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ.”

If you are not called, there is no relationship.

We can call Jesus “Lord” – more than 1,000 things “hope, love, peace, purpose, rock, shepherd, friend, brother, etc”

Jesus can be all positions we need – how is it possible? Because he is God – so all positions we need are possible.

He is God through his resurrection – this is the evidence.

#2 The guarantee of our resurrection

This is the “first fruits” of those who believe and belong to him.

Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.”

Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Yes, we experience death all the time, all around us. Somebody dies every day. Death is very near us. We experience death indirectly continually – and one day we will all experience death directly.

Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, so he who believes in me will rise again even though he dies.”

Our physical death is literal, tangible, so our resurrection body will also be real, literal, tangible. That’s why Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life… do you believe this?”

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 11 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Christ is our Model of what Christian Acceptance means (Romans 15:1-7)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Christ is our Model of what Christian Acceptance means (Romans 15:1-7)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is our model of what Christian Acceptance means

Romans 15:1-7 (Pastor Heo)

15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.


Chp 14:1 “Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment.”

The Roman church at that time was a hybrid community:

  • Jews + Gentiles,
  • free + slave,
  • conservative + liberal,
  • rich + poor,
  • strong + weak

So, at that time, in the church, it was very difficult to accept one another. But we must remember, mutual acceptance in church is not optional but necessary because we are the body of Christ. Acceptance means taking people into our homes and hearts. We must avoid racism, discrimination, favoritism, differences. We must seek common ground for fellowship and relationship.

Are you strong or weak? Do you want to be stronger or remain weak?

In every area of this world, there are the strong and the weak: physically, financially, mentally, spiritually, socially, etc.

  • Strong believers = understand their freedom in Christ and are sensitive to the differences of others.
  • Strong believers can function in a variety of circumstances and be an influence for good.
  • Weak believers = not yet mature in faith so as to be free from some rituals or traditions.
  • Weak believers find that they need to stay far away from some situations in order to maintain a clear conscience.

But we must remember that the Word of God and the message of salvation is unchangeable. But human habits and traditions and cultures and thinking are very changeable. So, we must be clear in this matter:

  • Fixable to Christ
  • Flexible to culture
  • Faithful to the Word of God
  • Flexible to the world

For me, when I went to the Philippines and Tanzania, I had to learn all about their language, history, culture, lifestyle, etc. I must become one of them, be identified with them. But at the same time, I must keep my own identity as a child of God and Christian missionary.

Identification without loss of identity is called contextualization.

Paul confessed as a missionary: “I’m free. I belong to nobody, but I make myself a slave to all men. To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the Law, I became like a man under the Law though I’m not under the Law, to win them to Christ. To those without the Law, I became like one without the Law, though I myself am not, in order to save some. I became all things to all men so that I might save some of them.”

This was Paul’s identification.

1 Cor 2:2 “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

This is Paul’s identity.

Identification and Identity go together.

In this life, Jesus was the most powerful person who ever lived, but he did not please himself (v. 3). He did the Father’s will. Finally, death on the cross was not the path he would have chosen to please himself, but he chose to please God in heaven.

Acceptance is not independence from God, but total dependence on God – esp. power / strength in church does not come from independence, but from mutual dependencies.

“Christ is our model for what Christian acceptance means.”

“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus because to this you were called. Jesus Christ left us an example.”

  1. Jesus (in heaven) came down to the lowest place – to raise us from the dead and put us into heaven.
  2. Jesus (very rich) became poor and naked to make us rich (heirs of the kingdom of heaven).
  3. Jesus (the strongest) became weak to make us strong.

Today, according to v. 7, “Accept one another”

v. 3-7

“3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

Verse 7 means:

When (if) we realize truly that God accepted us as unlovely, wicked, sinful, immature when we came to him, THEN we can be able to accept our brothers and sisters (esp our weak brothers and sisters).

Let me share Jesus’ character as a human being.

We know Jesus is fully God and fully man (not half).

During his stay for 33 years on this earth, how was his character, esp. in accepting others from his deep heart. Let me share 5 characteristics of Jesus as fully man.

1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”

5 Characteristics of Jesus as a Man

#1 Absolute Holiness

Jesus lived a holy life – he was absolutely separated from all sins. He was separated in his mind and conduct – he was sinless – totally and completely.

So the Bible challenges us to “be holy as Christ is holy” in all that you do. Can you do this?

We can – as long as we belong to Christ.

No matter how far we may fall from being like Christ, we have no lower standard that the perfection of Christ.

Christ is our model and example of sinless perfection. This is nothing short of absolute perfection. He has shown how to be holy.

This means, the holier we are, the further from sin we are.

Holiness is power. Holiness is strength. Fighting against sin is our power / strength.

#2 Genuine Love (agape)

Unlimited, divine, unending, agape love – Jesus loved all human beings – even his enemies. Jesus loved his own to the last – even his betrayer, even the ones who spit on his face. Can you follow his example? No. But, Jesus IN YOU can do that.

So, we must remember that Jesus is always IN US. I cannot do that, but Jesus IN ME can do that.

Jesus loved those his beat him, persecuted him, nailed him on the cross. That’s why the Bible challenges us to imagine “how wide, how far, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall famine or sword or hardship? No, nothing. I’m convinced neither death nor life, angels nor demons, nor any power, height nor depth will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”

And then Jesus challenges us: “A new command I give you. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this they will know you are my disciples: if you love one another.”

Love is power. Love is my strength.

#3 True Humility

He became willingly humiliated by his own accord.

Phil 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who being the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being found in human likeness. He humbled (emptied himself) and became obedient to death, even death on the cross.”

His life – 33 years on earth – can be summarized as a life of humility (being humble).

  1. He was born in a stable, an animal’s food box
  2. During his ministry, he had no house – no place to rest his head
  3. He associated with the lowly, called the “Friend of Sinners” and tax collectors and prostitutes
  4. Most of his followers were of lowly origin, but he revealed the secret mystery of the kingdom of heaven to them
  5. He was crucified on a cross
  6. He was buried in a borrowed tomb

Jesus says, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom.”

Service is power. Service is strength.

  • This world says “Power is the ability to rule over others under them.”
  • But in church, “Power is the ability to build others up under them.”
  • Service is power. If you are strong spiritually, you are here to serve. If you are not strong, you cannot serve.
  • Service is power.

#4 Meek and Gentle

Meekness sometimes looks like weakness outwardly.

Jesus says in Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from you and you will find rest for your souls. I am gentle and humble, my burden is light.”

He did not fight, quarrel, even cry out for his own benefit. “Nobody heard his voice on the streets.” Even a smoldering reed he did not put out.

  • He was very meek in dealing with Judas Iscariot – he knew, but was meek.
  • He was meek in dealing with Thomas who doubted his resurrection.
  • He was meek in restoring and reinstating Peter who denied him 3 times.
  • He was meek before his crucifiers.

“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”

We can get lessons from the animal world.

Strong animals.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” This is true in the spiritual world and the physical world and the animal world.

Consider the lion, tiger, and bear. They lost their land, their earth. Many of them are put in prison (zoos). But see the meekest animals, hens, sheep, goats, ducks. They are very meek, but they can be seen all over the earth.

This principle can be applied in our Christian life.

If you are too strong – so strong in your own position in non-essential areas, then the room for your welcome will become smaller and smaller, narrower and narrower.

Paul says, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” This is a true mystery.

  • Meekness is power.
  • Weakness is power.
  • Weakness can be strength.

#5 Perfect Balance

Especially in his emotions.

  • He was very grave (sad) without being gloomy.
  • He was very joyful, but not vigorously.
  • He took earthly life very seriously.

Isa 53 “Jesus Christ was despised, rejected by men, he was a Man of Sorrows. He wept over Jerusalem.” Do you weep over Jeonju, Korea, the world?

Jesus wept over Jerusalem, over the death of his friend Lazarus.

Jesus sorrowed over those who willingly rejected his free salvation. He bore our griefs and sorrows. But at the same time, he was a man of joy.

John “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and so that your joy may be complete. I have said these things while you are in this world so that you may have the full measure of my joy.”

He was a Man of Sorrow and a Man of Joy.

His Joy was largely anticipation (seeing the large multitude of the church worshiping him in glory)

Paul also was a strong man. Even in prison he was filled with joy, “Rejoice! I will say it again, rejoice!”

Are you joyful? Yes!

Paul suffered so so much because of Christ, but he was full of joy. Yet, at the same time, he was filled with sorrow, “I have unceasing grief in my heart for the sake of my brothers.”

What does this mean?

  • When we see Christ, we are filled with joy.
  • When we see Christ in us, we are filled with joy.
  • When we see the lost, we are filled with grief.

May God bless us to be strong Christians.

Let us take some time to follow and imitate the characteristics of Christ:

  1. Holiness
  2. Love
  3. Humility
  4. Meekness / Gentleness
  5. Balance

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 04 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Do Everything in Love by Faith

Romans 14:13-23 (Pastor Heo)

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and *everything that does not come from faith is sin.*


Actually, this second part of this chapter is a continuation / repetition of the first part of the chapter for more emphasis and development of our character in Christ – especially in terms of our relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Remember last week?

4 Reasons we should not judge our brothers & sisters in Christ:

  1. No position
  2. No ability
  3. No right
  4. No authority

4 Reasons we must accept each other:

  1. God accepted him
  2. God makes him stand finally
  3. We are together fellow servants of the same Lord
  4. We will altogether be judged by the one same judge

Imagine –

  • If we try to drive a car without knowing how, we know what will happen to us.
    • This is the same if we judge without knowing how.
  • Also, if we drive with no license, we know what will happen.
    • And if we judge with no license, what do you expect to happen?

When Jesus first met Peter, the first words he spoke to Peter were, “Follow me.” And after Jesus’ resurrection and first meeting of Peter to restore his position and relationship, he said, “Follow me.” Peter started to, but turned and saw John and asked, “What of this man?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

What does this mean? “Let me worry about John, not you. Let me be the Lord of John. You do your business, I’ll do my business.”

Negatively we should NOT judge each other. BUT we should not STOP with just non-judgment.

We are members of ONE body. That’s why today, we need this passage.

In the second part of this chapter, I want to share 3 points to see our position and standing.

#1 We affect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ

  • sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, consciously or unconsciously

v. 13-

“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, *make up your mind* not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.”

Yes, we affect each other negatively or positively.

  • Negatively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to fall down, be distressed, be hurt, angry, unhappy, even destroyed.
  • Also positively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to be built up – edifying each other, serving each other.

So… do you have more interest in your impression, or your impact?

Impression vs. Impact

Worldly people have much more concern about their impression that they give to each other (look at social media). They think about what to wear, what to buy, surgery for their faces or bodies, what attitude to show, etc. This is for their “impression” that they want to convey to others.

Yes, this is not bad, but what is MORE important for Christians is what IMPACT you are giving to others – your brothers and sisters in Christ and the lost.

A Christian’s life is being evaluated by our IMPACT on this world, NOT by our IMPRESSION we give others.

v. 13 “make up your mind” (we make up our faces)

  • Making up your face = for good impression
  • Making up your mind = for good IMPACT

Yes, we want to grow in our knowledge. Strong Christians are strong in good knowledge of God. If you have this knowledge: “All food is neutral, no food is unclean, so I can eat all food. Idols are nothing.” If you have this knowledge, you have right, good knowledge and you are a strong Christian.

BUT, if somebody is hurt by your “right” knowledge, it means your “right” knowledge is destroying your brothers and sisters who are weak.

“Knowledge puffs up; love builds up” (1 Cor 8)

Yes, we need to grow in knowledge. But knowledge without love can destroy somebody. So knowledge and love must be balanced. These two must go together.

The moment we become Christians, the feelings of others become more important than our own.

What is true biblical Christianity?

  1. Putting Christ first,
  2. others second,
  3. self last

#2 We must have PRIORITY

What is your #1 priority?

Yes, in daily life, we have many obligations, but what is your mission, your #1 priority? This is very important as a child of God. Please check yourself very honestly right now.

v. 16-20

“16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, [matter of priority] 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

This is the matter of priority.

Yes, we must be very clear in the matter of what our priorities are.

Saying: “The second best is the greatest enemy of the best.” (not always, but often true)

We need food, material, clothes, shelter, but these things do not bring us closer to God. These things cannot be priority #1 in our lives.

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus) Jesus knows what we need (physically), but this is not #1 priority in your life.

If you are not clear on the #1 priority in your life, you may regard less important things as more important. Therefore, we will major in the minor subjects.

Do not fight over minor subjects – the place, date of picnics, etc – because we must stick to our priority #1. These are heavenly things, not earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.

v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

Also, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness and then all these things will be given to you.”

One day, Jesus condemned the teachers of the Law and Pharisees saying, “You hypocrites! You give 1/10th tithe, BUT you have neglected the more important matters of the Law – grace, mercy, faithfulness. You strain out a gnat but you swallow a camel.” Jesus criticized them because they majored in minor things.

v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

Righteousness is having right relationship with God and man.

Peace is more than the absence of trouble. It is not a non-negative thing, but is EVERYTHING positive – it is for our highest good. Jesus says, “I do not give as this world gives. My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

There is joy in our hearts.

“Be joyful always (in Christ) – for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.”

  • Joy is not a selfish thing. It is not in making ourselves happy, but in making OTHERS happy.

Consider:

  • If you make yourself satisfied, you may feel happy.
  • But if you make God and others satisfied, you WILL fell JOY.

Romans 5 shows these three elements of the kingdom of heaven: “Therefore since we have been justified through Christ, we have peace with God.”

  • Justification through Christ.
  • Peace with God.
  • Joy in the glory of God.

These three items are essentials in the kingdom of God.

God bless us to be filled with real righteousness, real peace, and real joy.

Conclusion: We must do everything IN love, BY faith.

1 Cor 16:14 “Do everything in love [by faith].”

God bless you all – make up your mind, not your face.

v. 21-23

“21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and **everything that does not come from faith is sin.**”

Memorize this last part. Keep it in your heart and brain and mind.

Conclusion: Do everything in love by faith.

Yes we know, everything we are doing is nothing without love. And everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Sin came into this world – we are fighting against sin as long as we are in this world. We are saved completely, once for all, from sin – but still we are struggling. So, we must be clear in this matter.

In the last part, I want to make two things clear:

  1. What is the meaning of salvation from sin
  2. “Everything that does not come from faith is sin”

#1 Salvation from sin

  • Past: We *were* saved once for all from the **penalty and punishment** of sin the moment we accepted Christ as Lord
    • (salvation)
  • Present: We *are being* saved from the **power and temptation** of sin through the power of Christ and ministry of the HS
    • (sanctification)
  • Future: We *will be* saved from the **presence** of sin when Jesus returns or when we see him, face to face
    • (glorification)

#2 Everything that does not come from faith is sin

What does this mean? What time is it now? Are you still with me?

I want to make it CLEAR what is sin.

In a Christian life, we are not sinless. Nobody can be sinless as long as we are in this world. But we must be clear about what is sin.

What is sin?

Biblically (not from the perspective of Man, but from God’s perspective – which is really important):

There are 4 things:

  • The first two are related essentials and a matter of text (from the Bible).
  • The second two are non-essentials and gray areas of things not directly mentioned in the Bible (depends on circumstances – depends on context, not text).

1. Not believing in Jesus Christ

(the greatest sin – which leads to death (eternally)) Jesus himself says, (John 16:9) “They do not believe in me.”

This is the greatest sin which cannot be forgiven. If you do not agree with this sentence, you are not a Christian.

2. Disobedience to the Word of God (God’s clear commands) –

  • Sin of Commission: To do what God forbids,
  • Sin of Omission: or NOT to do what God commands us to do
  1. Negatively: “Do not lie; do not cheat; do not steal; do not murder; do not commit adultery.” We should NOT do it.
  2. Positively: “Love your neighbor as yourself, forgive your brother; Love the Lord your God with all of you” – We SHOULD do it.

3. (Matter of context – gray area) Personal convictions

for example smoking, going to the movies on Sunday, etc. It depends on circumstances and context.

This depends on personal, individual faith conscience and conviction.

If I smoke with a Christian conscience, no sin.

But if I do something against my conscience or against my convictions, this is sin to me.

Keyword: Christian conscience and conviction (this is the message of this chapter)

4. (Gray area) – How personal convictions affect others

If I do something in my conscience and with big conviction, it is not sin to me.

However, if I’m doing something that is not sinful to me (my conscience and conviction are clear), but if MY action causes another person to stumble, it is sin.

1 Cor 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23 (4x repeated – for big emphasis) “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial / constructive.”

1 Cor 8:23 “If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat that food again so that I will not cause my brother to fall into sin.” (This is called “making up your mind”).

  1. In essentials: we must keep unity
  2. In non-essentials: we must be open-minded for variety and diversity
  3. In everything: we must do in love (by faith)

These are basic principles of the Christian life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 21 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 13:8-14 (Pastor Heo)

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.


Let me tell my experience.

About 30 years ago, I had the opportunity to join a helping ministry on a small island (Mango-do?) – my church planted a small church on that island (population < 150 – only about 40 families). There was no clinic, hospital, post office, etc. There was only one elementary school – with only 5 students. In 2000, that school closed. One of the students was the pastor’s daughter.

I helped with cleaning and evangelism.

The people were surrounded by water. In ALL directions, they could only see a horizontal line. There was nothing to see except water.

Can you imagine? The most difficult thing was that there was NO water to drink, cook with, shower with, etc. There was NO way to GET water. There was only ONE way to get water: from heaven. It was called “heavenly water” by the people. So, every time it rained, the whole population came out to receive as much water as they could – even 2am. Water seemed to be a savior to them.

I stayed there for 6 days but did not take a shower even though I sweat so much. Through this experience, I think this generation is like this spiritually.

Our generation is FULL of love, but LACK *real* love.

Music, books, movies use the word love so easily.

2 Tim 3 “Mark this, there will be terrible times at the last days. They will be lovers of self, money, physical pleasure.” (sinful, sensual love – but little love of God and neighbors and enemies)

That’s why Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the greatest commandment and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commands.”

“A new commandment I give you: love one another. By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“Whoever does not love, does not know God.”

This means – “whoever does not love proves he is not saved – or does not know he is saved” – because God’s saving power is motivated by his unconditional love.

If we are saved, we have already experienced his unconditional love. To experience this love and then NOT show it to others is to not have experienced this love at all.

“I should love.”

But I have no power to show this agape love.

Today gives us the KEY to this love.

Yes, there are many many reasons for us to love if we are really born again Christians. But there are three reasons here in this passage why we should love: God, our neighbors, our enemies.

3 Reasons WHY we should love

#1 Because we are debtors

v. 8

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Our duty to love one another is called “continual debt.”

v. 7 says “give everyone what you owe him. If taxes, then tax, if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor.” This means that ALL kinds of debt must be repaid.

If you have debt, you must pay – without paying, you will go to prison.

In this life, there is only one debt that cannot be paid fully: God’s love.

Apostle Paul confessed: “I’m a debtor – both to the Greeks and Jews – Christ demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, he died for us.”

John 3:16

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us first and gave his son as the propitiation for our sins.”

“Try to grasp how wide, how long, how deep, how far is the love of Christ.” (wider, higher, farther, longer than eternity).

This love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. No matter how much we try to repay this love, we can never repay it because God continually pours his love into us.

This is agape (godly, unconditional, sacrificial) love.

If we are Christians, we are debtors to God’s love.

#2 Because love is the fulfillment of the Law

v. 9-10

“The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Love is the fulfillment (basis) of the Law.

Yes, as children of God, we are not under Law, but under Grace. We are living under the grace of God, by the grace of God. But this does not mean we are free to live a lawless life.

When we are living by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit enables us to meet the requirements of the Law.

If you practice true agape love, there is no reason for another Law. Our motivation is the love of God in our hearts.

If your WHOLE life is motivated and operated by love for God and your neighbors, we do not need any other Law.

Last time, we studied about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible there are two ministries of the Holy Spirit:

  • the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
  • the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

These are NOT the same.

  • Gifts (9 in 1 Cor 12): Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Power, Tongues, Distinguishing spirits, Interpretation, Healing, Teaching, Serving, Prophecy
  • Fruit (Gal 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control
  • Gift: related to skill, for a purpose
  • Fruit: related to character, personality, spirituality

LOVE is BOTH gift and fruit.

  • Love is means and end.
  • Love is method and purpose.
  • Love is the gift of gifts.
  • Love is the firstfruit of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 13 “If I speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, I’m a resounding gong. If I’m a super genius, with massive mountain moving faith, but have not love, I’m nothing. If I give all I have and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

“Do everything in love.”

#3 Because our salvation is near(er) than when we first believed

v. 11-13

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”

We can see terms related to time here:

  • Present time,
  • the hour has come,
  • nearer,
  • now,
  • night,
  • nearly over,
  • day,
  • almost here,

Yes, as long as time is flying on, one day, our Lord Jesus Christ will come in his body.

Everyday we are nearer to the fulfillment of our salvation (one day). Tomorrow we will be nearer by one day than today.

And ONE DAY will be our LAST DAY on this earth. Everybody has his own LAST DAY. But nobody knows when this day will be.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for nobody knows what it may bring forth. You are but a mist and disappear after a little while.”

But THIS one day is not a normal day – it is the FINAL DAY – to receive our reward, blessing, or judgment from Christ. “Christ will bring ALL things into judgment – including the hidden things. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

  • Spiritually “slumber” means disregard or ignorance and indifference in activity of good work.
  • “Night” = unbelief
  • “Day”= faith
  • “Put on the armor of light” – the first thing God created was light.

Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” – and then challenges us, “you are the Light of the world”. So what is darkness? The first thing God asked Adam after he sinned was, “Where are you?” even though he knew. This means “Do you not know where you are?” Trying to hide yourself from the sight of God = you are in darkness.

  • Test yourself. If you have something you are trying to hide from the sight of God, you are in darkness.

1 John “Whoever claims to be in the light but hates his brother is in darkness.”

There is nothing to hide because all will be exposed in the light (Jesus).

Up to now, we have seen 3 reasons WHY we must love: God, our neighbors, our enemies:

  1. We are debtors to love
  2. It is the fulfillment of the Law
  3. We are nearer our salvation now than when we first believed

Do you agree?

  1. I must love God with all my heart, mind, soul, strength.
  2. I must love my neighbor as myself.

BUT, I have no power to do so myself.

That’s why we need the Last verse.

  1. “I need Jesus Christ absolutely.”
  2. “Jesus is my clothes, my dress.”
  3. 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

#Conclusion

v. 14

“14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

“Jesus is my dress.” 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

No one is naked here.

What are the functions of our dress?

Here are 4 functions of our dress (spiritually):

#1 Protection

  • from cold, hurt, danger, shame
  • from the attack of Satan
  • the temptation and shame of sin

Even as a pastor, if I’m totally naked before you, I’m so shameful. But Jesus is my protection from all the evil things in this world.

#2 Clothes reveal our status / identity

Especially at that time, clothes showed social rank (king, noble, middle-class, poor)

Even today, we can see this: police, doctors, nurses, uniforms, etc.

Our identity as a Christian is revealed in this world – as a light of the world, aroma of Christ. Can you *smell* Jesus on your neighbor?? ^^

#3 It influences your attitude, tongue, character

  • For example, if I put on loose fitting clothes, my actions become loose – and my tongue as well – then my thinking and my language will be loose. Then my head, character, personality will become loose. If everything is loose, my whole life is loose.
  • If I wear noble dress, my tongue, thinking, habits, character, etc, will be noble.
  • If I put on Jesus Christ, he will continually affect and impact my attitude and character and personality.

#4 They are my company wherever I go

Clothes go together with me all the time. When you see me, you see my clothes first.

If I put on Jesus, people will see Jesus FIRST – wherever you go.

Conclusion: The best way to do and show this kind of agape love (to win souls to Christ) is to clothe yourselves with Christ.

  1. Love = greatest commandment
  2. Evangelism = greatest commission

These two pillars go together hand-in-hand, like two sides of the same coin. They can never be separated.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 18 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Adam vs. Christ (Romans 5:9-21)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Adam vs. Christ (Romans 5:9-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Adam vs. Christ

Romans 5:9-21 (Pastor Heo)

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


This book, Romans, is a book of logic and “therefores” – this one short word is scattered throughout the book in many places.

  • “Therefore” of condemnation in chp 3:1
  • “Therefore” of justification in chp 5:1 “Therefore we have been justified, we have peace with God”
  • “Therefore” NO condemnation in chp 8:1 “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those in Christ”
  • “Therefore” of true worship in chp 12:1 “Therefore, offer your bodies as living sacrifices”

Last time, we saw the biblical defn of the death of Christ with 6 points:

  1. Substitute for our sins
  2. Ransom (redemption) price paid to deliver us from slavery of sin to perfect freedom
  3. Atoning sacrifice (propitiation) to remove the wrath of God from us
  4. Reconciliation – restoration of friendship between God and man
  5. Satisfaction of God’s justice and demand of Holy Law of God
  6. Our death = his death – united with Christ in his death and resurrection

Q: How is it possible to save sinners only in the person of Jesus Christ? How is such substitution possible? This chp 5 gives a very clear answer to this possibility.

Many keywords here:

“how much more” x4

  • v 9
  • v 10
  • v 15
  • v 17

I want all of us to be blessed with this “how much more” – I prepared 4 blessings, but this time will only share 1 & 2.

#1: How much more will he love us NOW as his children?

It is not easy to die for a human man (human logic). It is difficult to die even for a righteous man. No one dies for bad men.

Truth: God loved us so much when we were bad men – enemies of God – v 9 “God demonstrated his love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

If this is true, that God sent his one and only Son to die for us on the cross – “How much more” – will he love us now and here that we are his loving children

  • “Who / what can separate us from the love of Christ? Trouble, hardship, nakedness, famine, etc? Nothing.”
  • Matt 7:9-11 “Which of you, if you son asks for bread will give him a stone, if a fish will give him a snake. If you, though evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE will your Father in heaven give you?”

#2: How much more is he now doing for us?

As long as we are here, death is very close to us (it can come at any moment).

  • Consider death: human logic = human death is the saddest, tragic news – people become very angry and sad
  • But Jesus’ death = ‘Good news’? But he’s a good guy

Why is this good?

  • Human death = the END of work, END of life, END of opportunity
  • Jesus’ death = a job, a great work – it did not come to him unaware, but it was a definite choice on his part – when he could have avoided it – plus it was a great work in that it accomplished such a great thing
  • Human life = we can do something that benefits others through our lives, but can do NOTHING that benefits others through our death.
  • Jesus = he did something GREAT that benefits others through his death.

Jesus did much more through his death than all human history can do together through their lives.

If this is true, “how much more” is he DOING NOW that he is ALIVE!? – this is the story of verse 9 and 10 (repetition = emphasis)

v. 9-10

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

  • Romans 8:34 “Who is it who condemns us? Jesus who died for us, is sitting at the right hand of God, interceding for us.”
  • Hebrews 7:25 “Jesus is able to completely save those who come to him because he is able to completely intercede for us.”

Let us see 3 & 4 “how much more” next time.

But now, let’s see another small key word: “one”

  • One is enough
  • One is more than enough
  • One is repeated 12x

“One man” Adam vs. Christ

  • v. 16 “one man’s sin” = Adam
  • v. 17 “one man’s trespass”
  • v. 18 “one man’s trespass” – “one act of righteousness”
  • v. 19 “one man”

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Keyword = our identity, unification with (1) Adam and (2) Jesus (if born again)

  • Through your first birth – you are ID’d with Adam
  • If you are born again – you are ID’d with Jesus

That’s why we must be born again. “You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘you must be born again”

Let’s pray.

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

Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5

Download Notes in a .MD file

Abundant Blessings of Justification

Romans 5:1-5 (Pastor Heo)

Peace and Hope

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


In chp 4, we saw 2 things:

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

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

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

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

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

By faith we are:

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

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

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

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

#1 Peace with God through Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2. Access to God in Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…in which we now stand…”

Justification has to do with our position – our standing.

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

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

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

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

#3. Hope of the glory of God

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

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

We can come to God anytime.

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

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

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

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

#4. Rejoice in suffering

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

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

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

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

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

All our suffering, problems in this world:

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

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

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

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

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

Christianity is the story of a life a suffering.

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

Tribulation is a kind of suffering.

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

“Tribulation” = from Latin “Tribulum” = flail

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

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

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

Moses vs. Pharaoh

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

Both experienced the same miracles from God.

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

Remember, all the time, God is good.

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

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

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

Can you say THAT?

#5: We are not disappointed

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

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

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love

Imagine, before we were saved,

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

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

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

What can separate us from the love of God?

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

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 05 / 2017
  • Comments Off on That is why I’m so eager to Preach the Gospel (Romans 1:8-15)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

That is why I’m so eager to Preach the Gospel (Romans 1:8-15)

Download Notes in a .MD file

That is why I am so eager to preach…

Romans 1:8-15 (Pastor Heo)

Welcome to new people, especially students. And welcome to Korea.

Acts 17:26 “From one man, God made all the nations that they should inherit the whole earth and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands…”

Today, the population of the world is around 7 billion (did you count?). From one man, God created all men.

Welcome in the name of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 **That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel** also to you who are in Rome [Jeonju].


Today is the third time to study Romans.

  1. Our identity in Christ (slaves of Christ) – this means “apostles sent by Christ into this world as his ambassadors with a great commission = we are set apart, sanctified, and ordained to preach the gospel”
  2. The core message of the gospel = Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection – Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our lives – to forgive our sins and grant us eternal life
  3. Today: 5 keywords that are related to the gospel – for/because of the gospel
    1. Thanksgiving (thankfulness)
    2. Prayer
    3. Love
    4. Fruit
    5. Debt (I don’t like this – so it’s difficult to pronounce)

All these 5 words are related to the gospel.

#1 Thankfulness (v. 8)

8 First, I **thank** my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.

This is a vital characteristic in the Christian life. It measures the degree of our spiritual and mental development.

  • 1 Thess 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
  • Psalm 104 “Enter the gate of God with thanksgiving and praise”

Yes, we know this is actually very easy to give thanks for what we WANT: success, health, money. But the Bible says, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances” (i.e. even the HARD things). How is this possible?

2 Keys:

  1. Assurance of salvation – if we have this, we can definitely give thanks in ALL situations. Salvation means “guarantee of the best” – even the worst of this world = the entrance to the BEST of God in the world to come.
  2. If we trust God and believe in his attributes: “good all the time, faithfulness to heaven” – then, yes, we can give thanks in all circumstances (“We know that in all things, God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes” – Romans 8).

Paul gives thanks to God simply because he hears the news that is scattered, that the gospel is working among them. Actually, at that time, Paul had never been to Rome, and the church had not been planted. Most of the Christians were unknown to him in Rome. Personally, he had NO relationship with them personally. But he gave thanks to God because the gospel was working among them. This thankfulness is pure and acceptable to God.

May God bless all of us to be people of thanksgiving to the good / benefit of others.

#2: Prayer

If you pray? For what do you pray? (For ALL = correct answer)

9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

They did not know of Paul’s prayer support – but God knew it and honored it. I wonder how many of us know of the people who pray for us. I wonder how many of us pray for others who do not know we pray for them.

Personally, I do not know how many pray for me. But I know there are some or many who pray for me. Honestly, I need your prayer support and we need each other’s prayer support.

Then, for what do we pray? 2 Supporters:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. Jesus Christ

Romans 8:26 “In this way, the HS helps us in our weaknesses, and though we don’t know what to pray for, the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Also, at the same time, Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:40? “Yes, Jesus is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. So, Christ is able to save completely all those who come to him…”

Paul’s prayer request #1 is “to preach the gospel”.

You have prayer requests, right? What is your #1 request? These can change. For example: “I pray for a better job.” If answered, then I will change my request.

Yet, in the Christian life, there is ONE overarching prayer request: “to preach the gospel.”

Yes, we may pray for daily things in our lives: bread to eat, clothes to wear, success, etc.

But ONE thing we should NOT miss = to pray for World Salvation, World Evangelization, World Mission.

We know how Paul suffered, simply because of the gospel, Paul received much suffering (40 lashes minus 1 twice), he was stoned, shipwrecked, danger from Jews, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, mountain, country, desert, many sleepless nights, days without food, without clothes, etc. Why? The gospel.

Simply because of the gospel, he was imprisoned. Imagine this. If I write a prayer letter with requests to my brothers and sisters outside of prison, I would write: “Please, pray for my release as soon as possible.” But Paul wrote: “Please, pray for me to ALWAYS preach the gospel fearlessly.”

Amazing Prayer request:

Ephesians 6:19-20 (personal prayer request)

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Wow. What a prayer request. Remember, prayer is not merely preparation for some great work. This is also a great work. Remember, when we pray, GOD WORKS. Yes, talking to man is a great job, but also, talking to God FOR OTHERS is a great job.

God bless us all to be great people of prayer for others’ salvation.

#3: Love

Do you love?

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

Paul says: “I long to see you. I long to preach to you, to make you strong, to be blessed by blessing you. I long to bless you.” This is the loving heart (pastoral heart) of the Lord in Paul. It is an affectionate heart.

Yes, LOVE is the Greatest commandment.

  • Jesus: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. And love your neighbors as you love yourself.” Is this possible?
  • Jesus says: “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Is this possible? Amen. If so, you are great.

Paul says, (1 Cor 13):

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

This love is agape love, unfailing love, sacrificial love. No one can love their neighbor like this, yet the Bible demands it.

  • Love is sharing
  • Love is giving

Bible asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we have no power. God has provided one solution in which we can fulfill this divine love: By preaching the gospel. Why? Because in the gospel message is the FULL love of God. In this gospel, we can get the Best of the Best, salvation, eternal life, heirs / children of God, reconciliation with God, real joy/peace/freedom/victory, final glory.

All of this is found in the gospel. That’s why sharing the gospel is the great commission.

  • Love is the greatest commandment.
  • Gospel is the greatest commission.

These two ALWAYS go hand-in-hand. They are inseparable.

#4: Fruit

Do you have fruit?

13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

The fruit Paul desires to bear = winning souls to Christ by preaching the gospel. Yes, fruit is very important.

  1. Do you have fruit as a Christian?
  2. If we have fruit, what kind of fruit do you have as a Christian?

Fruit is essential to SHOW that “I’m alive” and “I’m growing” and to show who I am (what kind of person), also necessary to receive reward – also that “I’m producing seed for the next generation without stop”. If there is no fruit for the next generation, then that is the end.

Non-living things have no fruit, no matter how huge and fantastic they look. If we have life (Jesus’ life), then it is very natural for us to produce fruit. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit” (Jesus). “By their fruit, you will recognize them. Every good tree bears good fruit… good trees cannot bear bad fruit… every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also we are to be recognized by our fruit. So, what fruit should we bear?

There is only one kind.

Yes, we can produce much fruit, but there is only ONE kind on a tree.

  • Apple trees only produce apples.
  • Banana trees only produce bananas.
  • Mango trees = mangoes.
  • Coconut trees = coconuts.
  • Cats = cats.
  • Dogs = dogs.
  • Tigers = tigers.
  • Lions = lions.
  • Humans = humans.
  • Christians = Christians. New Christians. Another Christian who also has the ability to reproduce another Christian.
  • Fruit of non-Christian = non-Christians.

That’s why Paul says, “13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”

#5: Debt

Do you have experience with debt? If you do not pay it back, you must go to jail.

14 I am obligated [a debtor] both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

If we are born again Christians, we are debtors of the gospel. – We owe a debt we cannot pay back. – But Christ paid the debt he did not owe.

Are you Christians?

  • We are debtors of the gospel to the Father God who so loved us he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
  • We are debtors to Christ who died for us and rose again to pay the penalty for our sin
  • We are debtors to the Holy Spirit who touched our hearts and opened our eyes to see and receive Jesus as our Savior
  • We are debtors to the people who helped lead us to Christ

So, HOW can we repay these large debts?

Only by preaching the gospel to others.

Paul says, “When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, because I am compelled to preach the gospel. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”

On our part, preaching the gospel = repayment. But God counts this as a GREAT reward – the greatest reward in this life.

Conclusion:

God bless all of us so that we may become:

  1. People of thanksgiving for the gospel
  2. People of prayer through the message of the gospel
  3. People of love through preaching the gospel
  4. People of fruit through preaching the gospel
  5. People of (repayment of) debt by preaching the gospel

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 26 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Character of Jesus (Matthew 26:47-56)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Character of Jesus (Matthew 26:47-56)

07.26.2015

07.26.2015-PHeo

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The Character of Jesus

Matthew 26:47-56 (Pastor Heo)

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


Last time, we saw how Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. This time, he rose to go out to the battle of life. He knew that the officers and Judas was near, so he awakened his disciples to prepare them for what was coming.

The fact that the Roman soldiers and temple guards carried weapons in a large crowd showed that Judas didn’t really understand the character of Christ. Actually, Judas didn’t really have to betray him with a kiss – Jesus came to them. It’s sad to note that Judas cheapened everything he touched.

At that time, students kissed their teachers out of respect. But, this time it was betrayal.

Even today, no one likes to name their children Judas – (actually, the name means “praise God”) – but understand that you are responsible for the meaning of your personal name.

Last time, I showed the passion of Jesus as FULL man – agony, trust, patience, prayer. Now, he’s almost at the end of his earthly life – so it’s a good time to MEMORIZE the character of Jesus Christ to understand the IDEAL Christian life.

One reason for the incarnation (Matt 11:29) was for Jesus to show an EXAMPLE to us (also 1 Pet 2:21, 1 John 2:6). If Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and King, then NO QUESTION, he must be our Example as well. What kind of man/woman must we be in this life?

Summarize: What is the character of a “true” human as characterized by Christ?

#1: Absolute holiness as a man

He was absolutely holy in his nature and in his conduct/character. He was without sin. Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but he was tempted in every way just as we are, but was without sin.”

When so many people hurled insults at him, he didn’t retaliate. When he suffered, he endured. He did nothing. He bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might live for righteousness and die to sin. By his wounds, we have been cured.

We are to be holy, because he is holy.

However far we may fall away from being like Christ, we have no excuse for choosing a LOWER example than Christ – who the Scriptures hold up for us as a perfect example.

Since the Creation of the world, among human beings, ONLY Jesus was the one who was/is infallible completely and totally in his teaching and character. It is necessary to have this illustration of what God wants us to be.

  • Bible says to the unsaved, “Believe in Jesus Christ and live.”
  • Bible says to the saved, “Believe in Jesus Christ and follow in his steps.”

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, his face shown (brightly) – just as we should be transformed into the same image as Christ by beholding him and following him.

We must try, do our best to be holy, because he is our example.

#2: Humility

Even though he was the Original God, the True God, God in flesh, yet he emptied himself willingly and was made/found in the likeness of sinful men. He took on the form of a servant. He went to the place of shameful death on the cross.

  1. He was very rich – became poor – to make us rich.
  2. He was born in a manger in a stable (the animal’s food box) – who ELSE was born there? Nobody. There was no room in the inn.
  3. He had no place to put his head when he was teaching and preaching. He lived as a homeless person. Anyone ELSE is homeless?
  4. He washed the feet of his disciples as a servant – even the feet of Judas, his betrayer.
  • Yes, his is our Lord, he wants to be our servant.
  • He is our King, wants to be our friend.
  • He is our Savior, wants to be our co-heir.
  • He is our God, wants to be a man, to experience what we experience.

God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.

God wants us to be humble as Christ was humble.

#3: Meek and Gentle

He himself said, “I’m gentle and humble in heart. Come to me and find rest/peace for your souls.”

Paul – to the Corinthians “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” He did not smother the weak, and did not bruise the strong.

When Judas came to betray him, Jesus called him, “Friend” even though he knew what was happening. His gentleness is seen more clearly in his dealing with Judas who would betray him. He was also so gentle to those who crucified him because he prayed for them, “Father, forgive them (intercede for them) because they do not know what they are doing.”

“The workers of the Lord must not be quarrelsome.”

Jesus never quarreled, he never cried out. No one ever heard his voice on the street.

Should we cry out on the street? Did Jesus?

This is a good example we should follow. 

  1. 1. In prayer, Jesus cried out to GOD.
  2. 2. On the street, he never cried out to MAN.

We should follow this good example.

#4: Balanced

  • He was very serious without being gloomy.
  • He was not depressed/melancholy – but he was serious and grave.

Was his life joyful or sorrowful?

Isaiah “He was despised and forsaken by men, a man of sorrows, very acquainted with grief. He bore our sorrows, carried our sorrows.”

But, in another sense, he was a man of JOY. Before the crucifixion he said, “I have told this to you so that MY joy may be in you, and YOUR joy may be complete.” In his FINAL prayer, he prayed for ALL believers for ALL time, “may they have the FULL measure of my joy in them.”

Jesus had

  1. the FULL sorrow of life and
  2. the FULL joy of life.
  • He sorrowed totally over those who rejected his free gift of eternal life. He bore ALL griefs and sorrows.
  • His joy was the joy of anticipation, the huge multitude of souls saved with him forever in his glory.

So, how should we live? (Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, REJOICE!”)

(i.e. don’t rejoice outside the Lord)

1 Thes 5:16 “Be joyful always, this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

God wants us to be joyful all the time.

But the same Bible ALSO says, “blessed are you who weep, who mourn and you shall laugh… woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”

  1. Yes, when we look at the Lord, we rejoice.
  2. When we look at the lost, we must be able to be sorrowful spiritually.

#5: Diligent worker

“Because my Father God is working, so I am working up to now.” We must work the works he’s sent us while it is day – but night is coming when no one can work.

As long as it is daytime in your life, we must work the work of him who sent us.

No matter how young you are, when night comes (soon), you cannot work any longer.

He forgot his own pain of hunger, sleep, and even on the cross in order to heal and save the souls of others. This is the kind of work we should do in this world.

#6: Love

“Here is Love” – no love is higher, no love is wider, no love is longer, no love is deeper, no love is truer – the love of God is unconditional, unfailing, unending, unselfish, incomparable love. 

While we were still sinners (yes, before we were “good”), he DIED on the cross for us. This is the love of Christ.

Therefore, (Romans 8:38~) “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? … None, no in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” We can be sure, confident, convinced that neither angels/demons, height/depth, NOTHING in all Creation can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, in conclusion, we are totally FREE.

But the important question is “from what?”

From condemnation, from judgment, from defeat (he is living in us now, we are sharing his life now), from discouragement (he is coming soon, we will share his glory), from fear (he is praying/interceding for us and we cannot be separated from his love).

  1. No condemnation in Jesus Christ.
  2. No separation from the love of Jesus Christ.

From his earthly ministry up to his crucifixion, this is our conclusion, our testimony, our song, our victory, our proclamation.

May God bless all of us in this assurance.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 12 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Bear Good Fruit (John 15:1-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Bear Good Fruit (John 15:1-8)

07.12.2015

07.12.2015

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Bear Good Fruit

Matthew 15:1-8 (Johannes K)

The Vine and the Branches

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


 

  • My first message here was based on John 3.
  • My second message was based on John 10 “We can have eternal life.”
  • Today, is from John 15 – so all are from the book of John.

On Jesus’ last night, when he finished the Last Supper, he taught to his disciples. This was his last opportunity to teach his disciples. Only about 6 hours from the time they finished dinner until his arrest – yet in this short time, he delivered a LONG message (John 13, 14, 15, 16).

So, this message is a very important last message from Christ. He gave many instructions.

He gave the commandment: Love one another; serve one another (he washed their feet). 

If you love me, keep my commandments.

In John 15, he expects us to bear good fruit. He wants us to bear good fruit.

What kind of fruit is your favorite? Delicious ones, right? Beautiful fruit. Our God expects this beautiful, tasty fruit out of us. Why should we bear fruit?

#1: God works hard to help us bear fruit

Because the farmer works hard so that he may bear fruit. The farmer loaded himself with two heavy pails of fertilizer and spreading it over the crops. Why do they work so hard?

Jesus said, “My Father is working hard until now, so I’m working.” Do you think our God is resting? No. He is working now from the Beginning, so I’m working. God is like a farmer who works hard to help us bear fruit.

#2: Jesus said, “I’m the true vine.” (agro ami – it is only I who are the vine)

If you are attached to this true vine, you can bear true fruit.

If the branches are connected to the tree, the branch automatically bears fruit. So, if you remain in me and I remain in you, you’ll bear fruit. Stay connected to Christ and bear fruit – he’s the True Vine.

#3: If we don’t bear fruit, God will cut down (trim/prune) the branches that don’t bear fruit.

This is a warning. God will cut down and throw away what doesn’t bear fruit (v. 2). Therefore it is necessary for the children of God to bear fruit.

v. 6 “If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch that is withered and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Branches without fruit = rubbish – cast in the fire and burned.

God says he will send these “useless, worthless” people into the fire – no fruit? no use.

Matthew 3:10 “Even now, the axe is at the root of the tree and the trees that doesn’t bear fruit will be cut down.” (Matthew 7:19 also?)

#4: Only those who bear fruit in keeping with the Kingdom of God can ENTER into the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:43 “ Therefore, the KOG will be taken from you and given to the people who bear the fruit of the kingdom.”

Only those who produce fruit for the kingdom will enter the kingdom (be a PRODUCER, not a CONSUMER).

The parable of the Sower: 4 types of soil (this is like our heart)

Bad, Good, Rocky, Hard, Weedy soil

Some people’s hearts are soft, some hearts are hard, some hearts are full of thorns, some hearts are rocky. The first THREE types of soil failed to produce a crop.

  1. The hard path = eaten by birds – no buds even.
  2. The rocky soil = sprouted, but scorched by the heat – failed to grow.
  3. The thorny soil = sprouted, grew up with the weeds, but the weeds choked the good plant – it didn’t bear fruit.
  4. The GOOD soil = bore good fruit (callos = good outsides / appearance)

Matthew 13:23 “He who received the soil on the good ground is he who hears the Word and understands it and bears good fruit – he bears 100-fold, some 60-fold, some 30-fold.”

Matthew 8:13? “The good soil = a noble and good heart who hear the Word and retain it and by perseverance produce good fruit.”

Only these kinds of people are proper (qualified) for the Kingdom of God.

#5: Jesus Christ chose us (appointed us) so that we may go and bear much fruit.
John 15:10?

When we bear fruit, our God is glorified. We should bear fruit to glorify God.

Jesus wants us to bear good fruit. But he never really clarified (explained) what kind of fruit that is – not in detail – so I thought about it.

  1. Thanksgiving + Praise (Did you thank God this morning? Did you praise God? We should START our worship, prayer, etc with praise and thanksgiving. Did you do that? Everyday? So, sometimes, as I’m walking along, I think, ‘did I bear this fruit of thanksgiving today?’”)
  2. Submission, humility and love (There are many conflicts in the church – and in families, etc – we need submission! We live in the Age of Rebellion! Children rebel against parents; students rebel against teachers; citizens rebel against governments. We need submission, love, harmony.)
  3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23 “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.”) Do you have this kind of fruit?
  4. Fruit of Light (Eph 5:9 “The fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Good deeds, kindness, righteous things, right things, – don’t do wrong things – no immorality, no deceit.) “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not from God.” This is the right thing to do. The fruit of the light = truth (in the moral sense – you should be trustworthy, reliable, etc). Sometimes it’s difficult to meet these kinds of people – but Christians should be this kind of person. ____11:1 “When we bear the fruit of righteousness, God is glorified.” Col 1:10? “That you may be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God.” You see the tangible, concrete, grapes?  God also wants the tangible, concrete, visible results of our faith! If we do not have such fruit, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire.
  5. Fruit of Souls – preach the gospel, lead people to the Lord. There are many people in my mission field who do not know Christ (less than 0.1%). I passed by many villages and my pastor said, “There is not even ONE SINGLE believer in this village.” It’s very terrible. We should bear this fruit of salvation. Romans 1:13 “I do not want you to be unaware, my brothers, of my plan to come to Rome, that I might have some fruit among you, just as among the others.”

He wants the fruit of souls.

Romans 16:5 “Greet ___ who is the first fruit of ____ to Christ.”

He preached the gospel and got the person saved. This is the first fruit after he preached the gospel. God wants this kind of fruit.

  1. 1. Thanksgiving + Praise
  2. 2. Submission, humility, love
  3. 3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit
  4. 4. Fruit of Light
  5. 5. Fruit of Souls

Today’s verse shows the conditions needed to bear fruit:

1. To be clean

(God cleanses us to be clean and bear much fruit) We should be holy, clean, pure. Jesus said, “Our God is purifying us so that we may bear more fruit.” “You are ALREADY clean because of the Word I spoke to you.” (John 15:3)

If you have the Word of God, you become holy – it makes our behaviors, thoughts, actions holy, lives holy, souls holy. It makes us clean and holy – it removes dirtiness.

  • 7 deadly sins: Wrath, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, pride, sloth

We should remove, purge this kind of dirtiness and then we will be clean to bear fruit (God’s Word does this). Also “if anyone cleanses himself, he is a clean vessel, appropriate for the Master, and can bear good fruit.”

2. Jesus: “You must remain in me and you will bear much fruit.”

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, neither can you unless you abide in me. Without me, you can do nothing. If you do not abide in you, you are cast out into the fire and burned.”

What is the meaning of “remain in me”?

Totally depend on Christ – the branch cannot survive without the tree – so we must be attached to the vine which is Christ. We must totally depend on Christ. The grace of God flows freely from the Lord.

Sometimes this is blocked by rubbish – treasures of lust, immorality, sinfulness, wickedness, etc.

We should totally depend on Christ: Matthew 18:3 “Truly, truly, unless you are converted and become little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’m 55 years old, how can I be transformed into this little child? What is Jesus teaching by these Scriptures? We should be powerless, ignorant, weak, except by Jesus’ power. “Please, help me! I cannot do this without you!” You should be like a child. “Father, help me!”

I’m helpless, I have many problems. God help me. Be like a child, totally depend on our Lord. This is to “abide in Christ.”

If you want to get into Christ, leave all the earthly, secular things behind. You want to enter into a relationship with Christ and “remain with him”? You cannot do so with earthly, dirty things and thoughts. Leave them all behind to stay in Christ. You cannot get into a relationship with Christ with sinfulness, wickedness, etc.

Luke 14:33 “If you do not forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciples.”

Another condition for bearing fruit?

#3: If you abide in me and MY WORD abides in you, you will bear much fruit.

We should always, ever have the Words of God in our hearts – meditate on it everyday. And obey his Words.

We have learned much of the Bible, we know much of the Scriptures, but still, few people keep the words of God.

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

This is not my word, it comes from God above, it comes from heaven. How can you dare disobey the words from heaven? These words I speak to you are from my Father in heaven, so you should keep these words from heaven.

#4: Ask whatever in my name

Pray – God works through our prayer. We should ask through our faith to God and he will reply. We should pray. Whenever I have a big task, I ask my family of believers to pray for me. If they do not pray for me, it is very hard for me to work – but if they pray, GOD works – I feel it. He works through me.

So, we should pray to bear much fruit.

Conclusion: v. 8

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing youselves to be my disciples.” This proves that you are truly my disciples.

No fruit? No disciple.

The visible, tangible, beautiful fruit from us is what God really seeks. Yes, your activities and programs in church are good, but God wants to see FRUIT.

God is a powerful God and he will use us so that we may bear much fruit.

How many grapes does the vine bear? So many.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Perils of Partiality (James 2:1-13)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Perils of Partiality (James 2:1-13)

11.16

11.16.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Perils of Partiality

James 2:1-13 (Pastor Brian)

Favoritism Forbidden

1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!


 

In James, remember where we’ve been.

James is writing to Christians, scattered abroad, discussing how important it is to practice what we preach “Walk the walk, and talk the talk.” Be DOERS of the Word, not just readers.

  1. Keep a bridle on your tongue.
  2. Show love to those in need.
  3. Keep yourself unstained by the world.

Things that are outright temptations in the world are obviously to be avoided, BUT ALSO, the attitudes and philosophies of the world show be avoided. (Romans 12:2 also “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – This is a process. Take in the Word, walk in the light of it, see the value of it.)

  • Here, James shows how conformity to the world’s standards can compromise God’s standards.
  • Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould (mold).
  • Don’t show favoritism (partiality) – the state of being biased against or for one certain group or person over another group or person.

We are all likely guilty of this in some degree.

The Jews exonerated Jesus of being this (but this was hypocritical of them). Luke 20? The leaders came to Jesus and used his impartiality as their weapon. “Teacher, we know you teach correctly, and you don’t show favoritism to any, but teach the Word of God in truth…” But they tried to use this as a weapon “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”

(If YES, the Jews wouldn’t find it very pleasing – he’d become unpopular. If NO, the Romans would see him as a rebel – he’d get in trouble. But you can’t outwit Jesus. “Who’s face is on this coin? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”)

They recognized that Jesus didn’t show partiality – even though they were enemies.

Partiality = undue favoritism

When he says “favoritism” he’s using a term in the Greek that means “lift up the countenance of somebody” (show a favor, encourage, lift up, etc). Think of Cain after he murdered Able – his countenance had fallen. And God saw that and said, “Why has it fallen?”

When your countenance is up, you are receiving favor, encouragement, etc. Originally, this was a pleasant term, but eventually, it became negative – when there is overt (too much) favoritism it’s no good.

For example, when the church was expanding, the Greek ajummas were not receiving the proper portion of the food and they had to resolve this issue so that there was no favoritism of Israel’s ajummas over the Greek ajummas.

Personal favoritism = lifting up or putting down someone else (you lift up one, you put down someone else)

Think of celebrities and the successful in their career/profession. We show tremendous respect to them, and to the “nobodies” we don’t care. God doesn’t do that – he looks at the heart.

Philip Yancy has interviewed many celebrities and has found that many have shallow hearts and depend wholly on the praise of others, not God.

The Lord looks at the heart.

Abe Lincoln “God must love the common man because he made so many of them.”

Even men of God – 1 Samuel 16 (after the failure of Saul – God was to choose a new king) verse 1 “So the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul? Fill you horn with oil and head to Jesse – I’ve chosen one of his sons to be king.’ Samuel ‘Saul will kill me.’ God ‘Take a lamb and say you’re going to sacrifice and invite Jesse. I will show you then.’ So Samuel went and the elders in the town shook in fear of him worrying he didn’t come in peace. When the sons of Jesse came, he saw the tallest, biggest, best and thought, ‘I bet this guy is who the Lord wants.’ But God said, ‘Nah, nah, nah – don’t look at his physique, I look at the heart.’ None of the young (7) sons that Jesse brought to Samuel were the ones that God had chosen. The youngest (David) was just a boy and was tending the sheep. So he was brought in – he was ruddy and handsome and the Lord said, ‘Bingo! He’s the guy!’ Samuel rose and anointed him with oil, then went on to Rama.”

Samuel even thought differently, but was sensitive enough to the Spirit of God that he knew there was another son and asked for him particularly.

There is a tendency (even among the prophets) to look at the outward appearance. Even Jesus said, “Do not judge by the outward appearance.” Romans 2:11 “There is no partiality with God.” Proverbs “To show partiality is not good.”

But we all have a tendency (from childhood) to show favoritism.

Still, James warns against this. So, he provides a common, practical example. Even in churches throughout the ages this is a big problem. The BIG givers usually get the best spots, the most preferential treatment, and the poor are told “Sit in the back.” Still, the Lord spoke strongly against this (Leviticus “Do not be partial to the poor…judge your neighbor fairly.” – we may even sometimes treat the poor better to the neglect of the rich. Don’t do this either.)

Use righteous judgment in whatever you do.

One pastor had been preaching on this and meditating for about a week. On Friday, a homeless man came in, he was almost getting sent to jail – he’d gone to every agency in town and didn’t get any help. He passed the office door and came in. We got him a Grey Hound (bus) ticket to Denver. He came back and said that his shoes were too small to walk – he asked for a ride. I obliged, nervously, but he was a good conversationalist and spoke of Jesus. He said, “Thank you, Father.” The preacher said, “Although I’d been meditating on this all week, it hadn’t yet touched my actions. I hope that I’ve learned this lesson.”

My experience:

In Canada, people often passed through, and people ask for money, a ride, etc. After a time, your heart can become hard. But the Lord says, “Repent of those attitudes. You have the means to help, so help.”

In Acts, the Jews had no dealings with the Gentiles, and yet God called Cornelius to know about Jesus and receive salvation through him. He was a centurion and tithed in the synagogue and prayed daily. An angel told him to go to Joppa and find Simon Peter and bring him to them – to their household – to tell them words by which they’d be saved. So he did it.

At the same time, the Lord was preparing Peter’s heart. The Lord gave him a (hungry) vision on the top of the roof of his building. A sheet came down from heaven with “unclean” animals and the Lord said, “Rise and kill and eat.” Peter said, “No, surely not.” God said, “Do not call unclean that which I’ve cleansed.” At that time the messengers from Cornelius arrived and called on Peter. The Lord said, “Go with them.” So he did, and he witnessed to them.

As he was speaking and explaining the ministry and life and salvation of Jesus, the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles – and then Simon and the other Jews (witnesses) were able to testify to this to the greater Jewish church.

Then, Peter realized that God is not partial and that even Gentiles whose hearts are turned toward him can be saved.

Yet, even later, Peter still showed partiality to the Jews – separated himself from the Gentiles. Paul corrected him. “Old habits die hard.” You know that and I know that. We have to crucify the flesh daily. Peter subjected himself to Paul’s correction. We also must do that.

Remind ourselves: “That wasn’t right of me to judge him/her in that way. Just because he smelled, had bad hair, etc.”

Sex trafficking – in India – girls as young as 10 or 12 have no hope except through Christ. They are often enslaved by the government of the pimps. The pimps usually give loans with ENORMOUS interest which can NEVER be paid back.

Often these women may be saved and go right back into the prostitution. There’s not an immediate actual break from this kind of trauma. There takes time for the layers of brokenness to be healed.

“Over the mountains and the sea, your river runs with love for me, and I will open up my heart and let the Healer set me free.” But the healing takes time.

We should open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world – don’t show partiality to any. Where there’s a need, try to meet it.

Ceneka – Greek philosopher – said, “They love to put rings on their fingers.” Just to show off how wealthy they were (even if they weren’t) – they just wanted to give the IMPRESSION that they were wealthy (how many of us do that today?)

These people were often given special treatment in the church.

Another person comes in who hasn’t showered in a few days and is told, “sit in the back… or at least not too close to the rich because their noses are sensitive…”

Yet, it’s the RICH who drag you to court and sue. The RICH oppress you. The RICH blaspheme the name of the Lord.

In Antioch they were called “Christians” first (in mockery) – but they took that name and ran with it – making it a badge of honor.

James concludes and says, “Show mercy TO EVERYONE.” No one can CHOOSE who is worthy or not worthy of salvation. Then you are becoming judges with evil thoughts.

Remember: Mercy TRIUMPHS over judgment.

The picture of the Roman general with all his treasures from the war would come out and honor the general – he’d come back with MORE than he’d gone out with. This is TRIUMPH. This is a good picture of what Mercy over Judgment means.

Even as Christians, we will face the Judgment at the Bema Seat – “what have you done with the life you’ve been given?” – this is not to enslave us with fear, and this is not the judgment of condemnation. But when we are merciful, we also will receive mercy.

“Love covers over a multitude of sins.”

May the Lord bless the Word to our hearts and enable us to put it into practice this week.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 29 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Purpose of Freedom (Galatians 5)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Purpose of Freedom (Galatians 5)

06.29

06.29.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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The Purpose of Freedom
Galatians 5 (Pastor Brian)

Freedom in Christ

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11 Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! 13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Life by the Spirit

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


In the OT, God painted a picture of himself, but when Jesus came, he DECLARED – portrayed, painted – him perfectly.

“He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus poured out his life, the Father had poured out His life IN Jesus – to die for us, for our sins.

People in business would write “tetalesty” = “paid in full” the price for our redemption, for our sins. “He paid a debt he did not owe, we had a debt we could not pay…Christ Jesus paid the debt I could never pay.”

A farmer/shepherd would pick a lamb destined for sacrifice, and look for blemishes (only flawless lambs could be used). If there were none, and the lamb was meek, “tetalesty” = “perfect” – it was used then as a guilt offering.

Jesus also was the Lamb of God – JB (John the Baptist) introduced him as such.

This is Jesus in these pictures and this declaration. Jesus didn’t say, “I am finished” on the cross, but “IT is finished” (the work, the sacrifice, the justification of the sins of the world).

This was portrayed to the Galatians, and now Paul wonders why they’d turn back from this freedom in Christ – through his death – and go back to the preparatory stages of the Law.

If we turn back to the Law (mainly he’s talking to the Gentiles who were being taught to “follow our customs if you want 100% pure and full salvation”)… No, we are justified by faith in Jesus. If we turn back to the Law, we would be saying that Christ ISN’T sufficient.

  • “If you [turn back to the law], Christ will be of no value to you at all.” (v. 2)
  • You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ. (v. 4)
  • We eagerly await the righteousness for which we hope. (v. 5)

It doesn’t matter – Jew or Gentile – this Law has no value. It’s faith that works through love.

v. 13-15 – he emphasizes the obligation to love.

“You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (v. 13) Don’t be a slave to sin, don’t be a slave to law, but rather, serve one another (this is the way of Heaven). That obligation still remains (Romans 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt we have to one another. For he who loves his brother has fulfilled the Law.” The entire Law is fulfilled by keeping this single Law “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In chp 3, Paul argued that the Law was temporary – until Christ came (this was referring to the old covenant).

Here, he’s talking about Law (as obligation to love one another) as a permanent thing.

Paul’s opponents probably were saying that grace wasn’t sufficient – we would need the Law to instruct us. Paul says, “We don’t need rules like you look to in the OT, but we need to follow the ‘law’ of loving one another.”

Paul says, “If you bite and devour one another, watch out or you’ll be destroyed by one another.” (i.e. don’t obsess about the details of the Law – LOVE one another).

If we live by the Spirit, we won’t do the things that hurt others, we will love them. (Fruit of the Spirit vs. Fruit of the Flesh) You are not to do whatever you want. You are to serve one another in love, and not MERELY serve yourself. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law (the letter of the Law).”

  • “The acts of the flesh are obvious: … 15 things…” Some are very obvious, but others are less so – and probably going on in Galatia (and even in our lives) – idoaltry, hatred, discourd, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy…
  • “The fruit of the Spirit is… 9 things… and against such things there is no Law.”

The Law is not solution to sin, but Jesus IS. We need him not only on the day of Judgment, but also in the here and now – to live the Christian life here and now. We have put to death the sinful life and its passions and live the Christian life when we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Paul reminds them of the ultimate and basic truths of the gospel.

Martin Luther for one, valued this letter so much, and admitted that it was difficult to live like this. Old habits die hard (even Peter was openly rebuked by Paul for his failure of going back to the Law).

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and the cross.

Are you wondering what I’m talking about? If you feel like you need to pray this prayer with me, then please do so.

Thank you for sending Jesus to save us. I admit that I’m a sinner. By faith I repent of my sins, and ask Jesus to come into my life and lead and guide me for the rest of my life.

In Jesus Name Amen.

Tell someone if you prayed that prayer.

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