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  • Dec 16 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Believe in Jesus, and be Saved

Acts 16:16-31 (Pastor Heo)

“Accept Jesus, and everything will be fine.”

  • Not true: in that even though we accept Jesus, some things will be NOT fine.
  • But TRUE: in that we know that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”

Still, this last sentence is available to everybody at anytime “Believe and you will be saved – you and your household.”

  1. After Macedonia, Paul and his team set sail on the Aegean Sea and traveled to Philippi – a Roman colony (and Paul’s first mission field in Europe).
  2. After arriving on the Sabbath Day, they went outside to a place of prayer – where they met a small group of women.
  3. Paul shared the gospel with them, and one woman believed (Lydia) – and her whole household also believed and were all baptized immediately.
  4. She then opened her house to these apostles as their mission base in Europe. This is the story of the first Christians in Europe.

v. 16

“16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,…

we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Why did this annoy Paul?

We should know that evil spirits can speak the truth partially, temporarily, but the end goal is destruction.

Imagine, if Paul accepted the witness of the evil spirit, he would be thought to be linking the gospel of Christ with the evil spirits – and also the slave girls’ owners were doing “prophecy for profit” which Paul would be accused of if he didn’t end it. Thus, he was upset and troubled.

Remember, Paul did not say this to the girl, he spoke to the evil spirit directly, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (He did not cast the demon out by his own power, but by the power of Christ).

Yes, the Christian life is engaged in spiritual warfare. Eph 6 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Our struggle is against… spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Our fighting is not against other human beings, not against our spouses, nor children, nor our neighbors, nor other people. Rather, it is against Satan, against the sinful nature, against demons, against our old selves.

Immediately, the demon left her.

Good news or bad? GOOD!

She became free from the control of Satan’s evil spirit, but her owners were not happy and became very angry. They didn’t concern themselves with this poor girl, but only cared about $$$.

Paul was preaching eternal truth, but they had no care that this girl was healed. They exploited her misfortune for their fortune…

Even today, there are people around us whose only, first concern, is money. This is a clear sign of idolatry.

The men seized Paul and dragged him into the marketplace.

v. 19-21

“19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” “

By calling them “Jews” (accurate though it was), they were playing off natural “anti-Semitism” present in the area.

v. 22

“22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. “

Can you imagine this situation?

Paul and Silas stripped half-naked and beaten within an inch of their lives, so painful, put in prison, two feet fasten with chains, all doors shut up tight, a jailor watching over them day and night.

Actually, they’d committed no crime, but they were treated as one of the most dangerous criminals (maximum security prison) for doing good.

Consider this:

Yes, Paul and Silas are Christians, brothers in Christ with us.

IF you were Paul and Silas in this TERRIBLE situation, what should you do? How would you respond?

What did they do?

They did not complain; nor blame; nor cry out; call out for revenge; they did not curse anyone nor anything nor themselves.

They worshiped God in this dark place.

Let us give a big hand to them in heaven now.

Imagine in THIS situation, they worshiped God with prayer and songs (“It is well” perhaps? something similar). HOW is this possible?

They responded to their terrible circumstances so unnaturally, so supernaturally. They DECIDED to worship God in this situation (and yes, it was a DECISION). How is this possible?

Here are 4 grounds for WHY they had to worship God in this terrible situation:

WHY Paul & Silas worshiped God in their darkness

1. They knew they believed God WAS THERE

Yes, in body, they were in prison, but they KNEW God was there with them in spirit. Wherever we may be, God is there.

Wherever you may go, God is there with you. The presence of Christ is present wherever you may be.

“God is there; God is here.”

Even when you are fighting; you are in a bad, sad, or terrible situation. This is always true, whether you remember or not: God is THERE.

Psalm “If I go to the heavens, God is there; if I go to the depths of the sea, God is there.”

With God, there is FREEDOM even in prison, there is LIGHT even in darkness.

Tortulion? said, “If your heart is in heaven, your legs will feel nothing even in stocks.”

They chose to worship God because the knew he was THERE with them.

2. They believed GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yes, even today, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, sovereign, and in control of all things.

Yes, Paul and Silas had no reason to expect a miracle. Yes, they knew that God had previously delivered Paul from prison, but they also remembered that Stephen and James had been martyred. So, they didn’t know what would happen to them.

Yet, they still sang praises to God because they believed that he COULD deliver them if he chose. This is reminiscent of the three friends in Daniel (Sadrach, Mishach, and Abednego), “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves in this manner. If you throw us into the fire, our God is able to save us from the fire. But even if he does not, we shall never worship your gods nor the image of gold you have set up for yourself.”

Remember: God is in control of everything.

3. They believed Jesus (their Lord) would REWARD them

They were being persecuted for the sake of their Lord. So they knew without doubt that Jesus would reward them abundantly.

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted for me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In this way, the people persecuted the prophets in the OT.” (Matthew)

Paul “I do not consider our present sufferings to be anything compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to everyone as he has merit.”

4. They knew / believed without doubt that in the END (the very end), everything would be fine

This is strong faith.

Yes, we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, 10 years later, 100 years later, but we DO KNOW what will happen in the VERY END – and it’s gonna be fine.

Paul “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul “If I live, I belong to Christ; if I die, I belong to Christ. So whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.”

Paul’s attitude:

  • If I die, I get to be with Christ – WIN!
  • If I live, I get to preach about Christ – WIN!

How will we respond to sufferings and trials in our lives? And how will people react to our responses?

Remember: Prayer and praise are POWERFUL weapons in spiritual warfare.

v. 25

“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” “

Please remember, prayer and praise are powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.

All of a sudden, God responded to their faithful attitude. He shook the foundations of the prison and opened all the doors widely and loosed all the chains.

All the prisoners could have fled if they had wanted, but they all stayed right there. The fear of God was upon them all, and God himself kept them there. The prisoners knew that the praying and singing of these two prisoners had caused this, and there must be something very special about them.

But the jailor thought they had run, so he almost committed suicide.

At that time, according to Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailors should receive the penalty of the prisoners.

But at that time, Paul said to the jailor, “Don’t harm yourself; we are all here.” He ran out and knelt down before the prisoners. “What must I do to be saved?”

In this situation, suddenly the tables were turned:

  • the jailor became the prisoner (spiritually);
  • and the prisoners became the jailor. “What must I do to be free?” (This is the cry of the lost worldwide.)

This is the most relevant question in our lives. His question means he KNEW he was lost, a sinner, a prisoner, a captive. He knew he needed freedom and he asked, “What must I DO to be saved?”

Do you have a clear answer to this question? All the lost have this question in their hearts, in their spirits. Do you have a clear answer to this question?

  • Paul did not answer: “DO something…”
  • He answered: “BELIEVE in Christ.”

If we receive (or spread) the message that “you must DO something” to be saved, then this is NOT the gospel message. Just BELIEVE in Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, “for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 3?).

Jesus said, “It is FINISHED!”

He has DONE all things necessary for our salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth you confess and with your heart you are justified…?”

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved. It is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”

Acts 3 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

What a powerful name.

John 3:16-17 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world… Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed.”

What is the meaning of ‘believe’?

Believe = Be – Live

  • BE in Jesus
  • LIVE in Jesus

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

This does NOT mean that the jailor’s faith will automatically bring faith to his family – but rather, “they will be saved IF they also believe.”

We cannot be saved by proxy nor in a group – we are only saved individually, with a personal relationship with Christ.

Still today, all lost souls cry out from their spirits: “What must I DO to be saved?”

“Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Around us today, who knows if the one we share the gospel message with was not one who wanted to kill themselves just one minute ago. “Don’t kill yourself!”

Even around us today, there are so many people who are harming themselves on purpose or in spite of themselves.

What a glorious thing to offer salvation to those who are harming themselves simply by believing in Christ (plus nothing).

We must give this message to the lost:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Let’s pray.


  • Mar 08 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 19:30-20:16)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 19:30-20:16)


— No bulletin today. Computer crashed —


Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 19:30-20:16 (Pastor Heo)

30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8”When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take you pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


  • The first sentence = the last will be first and the first will be last.
  • The last sentence = So, the last will be first and the first will be last.

Today’s message is serious. This message can not only be a promise to us (as the last), but also a warning (as the first).

This parable is not purely an imaginary situation – this actually happened frequently during the harvest time in Palestine (apart from the method of payment).

When a landowner wanted to hire a worker, he would go to the marketplace – labor market – where most business was done. Daily job seekers and daily job seeker seekers (employers) gathered there. In this story, he went five times: early morning (sunrise), 3rd hour, 6th hour, 9th hour, 11th hour.

  • 6:00am
  • 9:00am
  • 12:00pm
  • 3:00pm
  • 5:00pm

The day ends at 6:00pm. He went to get the workers and made a contract with them for 1 denarius – a reasonable wage for 12 hours work. He found more workers at each subsequent time and hired them for a “reasonable wage.” Even at 5:00pm, he found others who were doing nothing and he hired them as well.

The fact that they stood at the marketplace until 5:00pm – this is strong proof of how desperately they wanted jobs. These would be the lowest class of daily workers. Life would be chaotic and precarius – though free, their lives would be worse than slaves and servants because slaves and servants had daily food and provisions for their daily work. Every day, they were at the mercy of chance employment. If they were unemployed for a day, their family would go hungry – so they were constantly in a state of semi-starvation. Unemployment for them was a disaster.

At the end of the day, the owner gave the wages from the last comers to the first. He gave even the 1-hour workers the same as the 12-hour workers. One day’s wage for one hour’s work. Wow!~ What a surprise~

Now, what do you suppose the day workers were expecting? 12 denarius, I hope…

But, as they witnessed the other workers receiving their wages, their hope was reduced and reduced. Finally, they began to complain. Sometimes do you complain against God? “Why? So little for me?”

  • They were grumbling. (v. 11~)
  • The owner responded. (v. 13~)
  • Are you envious because I’m generous? = Are you wicked because I’m good?

From this story, Jesus is teaching a serious and practical set of lessons to us. What are these lessons? Is this story about salvation? Yes, and no.

This parable has NOTHING to do with salvation, because 1 denarius does not represent our salvation AND no one can work for and earn his salvation. But at the same time, this is much to say about salvation. Every believer, regardless of how long we have been Christian in this world, we will all receive the same reward. – Moses, Abraham, even the robber on the cross beside Jesus.

This story is not talking about our Reward. 1 Cor 8:3 “Each man will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” All Christian’s rewards will not be the same.

So what are the lessons?

This is a strong story about GOD – who he is and his attributes, and about US – how we should act in our attitudes.

  1. GOD – how God is in his attributes
  2. US – how we should be in our attitudes

GOD (3 attributes)

#1: The balanced comfort of God

No matter when we come to the kingdom of heaven, we are equally dear to God. Now matter when we come to Christ, we are equally precious to Christ. No matter how long we’ve been Christians, we are equally welcomed by God. In our value, our original value, we are equally the same. Yes, we will depart from this world someday (die) – SOME die full of years, full of honor, his task completed – SOME die almost before the doors of life and achievement have opened – but all of them will receive the same welcome in heaven by God.

When physical life ends – it’s not too soon, nor too late before God.

#2: His infinite compassion

The element of tenderness is visible here. There is nothing more tragic than a man who is unemployed – rusting his talents in idleness because their is nothing for him to do. Sometimes we feel stressed, tired, or unhappy because of that job, but you know, all these things because of NO job is MUCH greater than that because of the job we have.

The truth is, tragedy and unhappiness because of NO job in the kingdom of heaven is MUCH greater than NO job in this material world.

Seriously, yes, you have a job in this WORLD, but DO you have a job in the Church? If you have a job to do in the church, it is a big blessing, not a burden. God created everything with only words. He is Almighty, Omnipotent, he alone can do all immediately, eternally, yet he invites US to work together with him in his house to bless our lives. Apart from God’s call on our lives to do his work, our lives are meaningless. Why? It is absolutely impossible to be saved and remain jobless in the kingdom of heaven.

#3: His abundant generosity

All these workers did not all do the same work. Some worked 12 hours or even 1 hour – but they all received the same pay. What is really important? Not the AMOUNT of service given, but the LOVE in which that service is given. So long as we give ALL that we have to give, all service ranks the same toward God – because we cannot earn nor deserve what God gives us. What is given is GIVEN out of the goodness of God’s heart. What are you receiving from God? Whatever we are receiving from God, that is NOT pay, NOT reward, but a gift, it’s grace.


How we should be in our attitudes – in service to God and man.

How long have you been a Christian? A member of the church of Christ? If you have been such for a LONG time (20+ years), wow, yes, you have been truly blessed. You have received a good privilege to come into the house and fellowship of God – but you must NOT claim a special place in the kingdom for yourself because of your early entrance.

There are 3 groups of workers in terms of payment:

#1: First-comers

They started to work at 6:00am and worked 12 hours to 6:00pm. In v. 2, “He agreed to pay them a denarius for a day…” Yes, they had a contract with the landowner – these were contract workers. Their first reason for working was to receive PAY.

What is YOUR first interest in serving God and man? Service done because of pay is no “service” any longer.

#2: The middle-comers

There is NO contract here, but they received the promise of the owner (v. 4) “You go and work in my vineyard and I will pay you whatever is right.”

Even though they had no contract, they received the promise “whatever is right” and they expected to receive something, but they didn’t know how much. They were READY to be OK and satisfied no matter HOW much was given to them.

  • Promise-workers

#3: The one-hour workers

(v. 7) “You also go and work in my vineyard”

They did not receive a contract, NOR a promise, but they were happy to receive an opportunity to work. They were simply happy to be accepted into the vineyard. This means they put their whole future results into the hands of the landowner.

  • Grace-workers

They finally received 12x as much as they deserved.

Yes, I’m a pastor, I need pay in this world and I expect some reward in the world to come. But, if my FIRST concern is PAY, I’m not a pastor, even not a Christian. The true Christian works for the JOY of serving God and man.

Yes, many people around us have received GREAT rewards in this world, but may be lowly in position in the kingdom of heaven because their first priority was PAY. And others are lowly in this life, work for the joy of serving, and may receive a great reward in the life to come because they were never concerned with PAY only.

Here’s another illustration:

  1. Water in a cup.
  2. This cup should be filled with SOMETHING.
  3. It is half full of water – but ALSO half full of air.
  4. If I put more water, air will be less.
  5. If I reduce the water, air increases.
  6. The more water, the less air.
  7. The less water, the more air.

This cup is always full of SOMETHING – whether seen or unseen. Our hearts are like this -made to be filled with and influenced by something. 2 Cor 6:14 “What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Satan?” Just like water and air cannot be mixed in this cup, so light and dark, Christ and Satan cannot be mixed in our hearts together. The guidance of the Holy Spirit and the touch of unholy, earthly things cannot be mixed. So, if we are FULLY filled with Christ, there is no room left to be filled with things of this world. But if we are influenced and affected strongly by the things of this world, there is no room to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

  1. The more the HS, the less influence of the world.
  2. The more the influence of the world, the less HS.

Some Christians have been Christians for 20+ years, but VERY influenced by this world. And yet there are some baby Christians who are very, fully influenced by the Holy Spirit. In this way, the last may be first and the first last.

To live, we need food. Yesterday’s food is in the past – we need food today to live for today and the future. We need DAILY food, DAILY sanctification, repentance, Bible reading, fellowship, prayer, grace, service, etc.

“Do not receive God’s grace in vain. NOW is the time of God’s grace.” NOW is the time of our holiness and sanctification by the grace of God.

The last may be first and the first may be last. May God bless all of us with his living Word.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 22 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Story of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-30)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Story of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-30)



Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Rich Young Ruler

Matthew 19:16-30 (Pastor Heo)

The Rich Young Man

19:16-29pp — Mk 10:17-30; Lk 18:18-30

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples,”I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.


We cannot receive Jesus as Savior without following him as King. He went to the cross, to the point of death (and beyond) to save us. So, do we have the right to escape suffering?

Here Christ shows the rightful demands he makes on his disciples.

This event is written in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Usually this is the “Story of the Rich Young Ruler.”

  • Only Matthew calls him Young,
  • Only Luke calls him Ruler,
  • But all call him Wealthy.

One good thing about this young man in this matter is that he had a big concern about eternal life – yes, this is the biggest concern we all must consider. Now, let me ask all of us: what is your first concern/interest/consideration.

Another good thing = he came to the right person in this matter of eternal life. He came to Jesus – the only giver of eternal life. Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

But, there are two wrong things as well:

#1: He came with the wrong question: “What ‘good’ thing must I do…?” This is the wrong question in the matter of eternal life. He is thinking in terms of actions – in terms of keeping the rules and regulations – by keeping the works of the Law. He thought he could get eternal life by DOING something that looks good – therefore it shows he knows NOTHING of the religion of grace. Romans “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous through the works of the Law, but it is by the Law that we are made conscious of how sinful we are.”

As long as we think we can be saved by doing something good, we can never be saved by the grace of God.

Jesus tries to lead him on to the right answer according to his own words that he’s spoken.

He lists the commandments.

Jesus did not introduce these commandments to show HOW to be saved, but to that THAT he needed to be saved (because keeping all these are impossible). Actually, at this point, he should have confessed his inadequacy – but sadly he said, “All these I have kept.”

The Law is a mirror that reveals what we are.

Even he is standing before the perfect mirror of the Law, he still did not understand who/what he was. After this (in Mark), Jesus “loved” this young man and continued to help him.

“What do I still lack?” i.e. “I lack nothing – I think I’m perfect.”

Jesus says, “OK, then, GO sell your stuff and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven – then COME follow me.” Wow.

Can you do like this?

In the Bible, nowhere are we told that a sinner can be saved by selling his possessions and goods and giving his money away. Jesus knew he was covetous and greedy and that he loved material wealth. By asking him to sell his material goods and give to the poor, Jesus was forcing him to examine his own heart and determine his own priorities.

This challenge exposed the barrier that could keep this young man out of the kingdom: his LOVE of money. (”The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”) To this young man, money represented his pride, the root of his accomplishments – the very basis of his respect and security and identity.

Actually this young man did not love God truly, to him the material possessions were his god – that’s why he was unable to obey this commandment.

“When he heard this, he went away sad.”

Yes, he could have gone in great joy and pleasure. It is good to have the things money CAN buy IF we do not lose the things money CANNOT buy.

To him: money is god.

v. 23-26

Eye of the needle

“With man this is impossible – but with God all things are possible.”

How tragic to be possessed by possessions and miss the most important – eternal life in Christ. He lost what was eternal to keep what was temporary.

This is the real question we must consider: Who then can be saved?

Yes, some people that have EVERYTHING on this earth still lack the one thing that is eternal.

  • At that time, the Jews believed that material possessions were evidence of God’s blessing (Deut 26,27,28). Certainly, God gave the promise of blessing for man’s obedience and loss for man’s disobedience.
  • At that time (in man’s infancy), the only way that God could teach men was through visible rewards.

But the highest obedience is not dependent upon the promise of reward or the threat of punishment.

In Christ’s love, the material things of this world can give us no lasting joy or salvation.

v. 24

Eye of the needle

Jesus does not say “it is impossible” just “hard” – very hard, very very hard.

At that time, the camel was the largest animal in Palestine – so that means that salvation is absolutely impossible with man, but absolutely possible with God.

Salvation is the response of God toward man’s faith in Christ – it cannot be earned, it is a gift. There is nothing for us to do except receive it through faith in Christ.

Abraham was a very rich man materially, but also a man of great faith. This means it is good to possess wealth IF wealth does not possess us. We cannot follow our King Jesus and follow worldly wealth at the same time. We cannot serve God AND money, but we can serve God WITH money.

Money is not inherently bad, but 1 Timothy 6:10 “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil – some people have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

God bless us to possess much money – BUT DON’T let money use you, possess you, nor your heart.

v. 27-30

The last will be first, the first will be last.

At this moment, Peter was very quick to notice the contrast between the rich and themselves (the poor). “We have left EVERYTHING!” (well, not his wife) “What shall we have?”

This is Jesus wonderful promise of reward: Those who follow him to the end will share his glory, his victory, his throne together.

From this story, at least we can know 3 lessons:

  1. If we share his campaign on Earth, we will share his glory and throne.
  2. We will receive much more than we give up for Christ. What are you giving up now for Christ? (v. 29) These are not new material possessions, but new fellowship with men and God. A true Christian is never friendless, homeless. Are you really sacrificing yourself for Christ? You cannot say that because you WILL receive much much more than you are giving. You are not making a sacrifice, but rather an INVESTMENT. But still, we must always check our motivation in the service of God. (The first will be last, the last will be first) – In the world to come, the values of this world will be reversed. Those who seek status on earth will have nothing.
  3. Finally, there will be a big surprise in the final judgment. There is eternity to adjust the misjudgments of time.

This last verse will be amplified in the following chapter in the story of the workers in the vineyard.

From this verse we can know that it is possible for those on earth to be humbled in heaven and many who are humble now to be exalted in heaven.

The first will be last, the last will be first.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 01 / 2015
  • Comments Off on More Warnings (James 5:1-20)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

More Warnings (James 5:1-20)



Sermon Notes

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More Warnings

James 5:1-20 (Pastor Brian)

Warning to Rich Oppressors

1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Patience in Suffering

7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.


Last time, James gave warnings, and here again, more warnings – straight from the heart – no “beating around the bush” – no room for any excuses.

We must not be partial, must not withhold love from others. Our outer conflicts come from our inner conflicts – wars, fights, murders, adultery, proceed from our own hearts.

These conflicts come from an unsurrendered heart.

Also, don’t forget the “sin of presumption” saying, “Oh, of course we can go and do this or that because I PRESUME that everything will go smoothly and the Lord will bless it.” We must rather pray, “if the Lord wills…” because the Lord guides a man’s way.

James 5 – scolding the rich.

James 4 – “you kill” (metaphorically) – he’s writing to Christians abroad – this is what he sees in their hearts. It’s the spirit of murder in a person when in hostility toward another person. “If you harbor hatred in your heart, you harbor murder – without repentance, it may one day manifest into murder.” James here is warning the Christians against this kind of spirit.

James 5 – covetousness and speaking to the rich. Sounds like he has some real anger issues against the rich. Why?

Should we be embittered against the rich?

Not necessarily, there’s nothing inherently evil about money – it’s just a THING. “The (LOVE OF) money is the root of all evil.”

We must own the money, not allow the money to own us. We should use money and love people but most of us use people and love money…

James is writing here to rich people in general – later he will speak to the “brethren.”

These are practical and prophetic sayings to the rich Christians. This was written before the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus in 70 AD. At that time, there were no rich Jews remaining. Everything they had stowed up for themselves was gone.

Lesson: Stockpiling money isn’t God’s will for your life.

It is good to have savings, but not to just stockpile and do nothing with it.

Story of a man in Oregon – rode around on a bike, looked like a beggar, picked up cans and took them to the stores to get bottles. When he died, it was found that he had $10,000,000 and he’d never used it. He even got free meals from the town in which he lived at the soup kitchen.

That money did NO good for anyone, even himself until after he died.

Bible “The wealth of the wicked is stored up for … the righteous?”

Wealth is often used as leverage to gain more wealth. Millionaires may hire people at minimum wage and not actually pay them.

Microsoft for example, for 9 years, hired “perma-temps” which were “permanent full-time employees” who were classified as “part-timers” – so they worked the same as the full-timers with NONE of the benefits…

Eventually, they sued Microsoft, and MS needed to pay.

Ever encountered that? Employ them as full-time, but give the pay/benefits of part-time.

Leviticus : “The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you until morning.”

The men needed their wages – they needed to LIVE.

This wealth was not only used as leverage, but also as power?

Rich criminals sometimes get off completely free, but the poor get blamed. Truth? Not necessarily. The best Lawyers = “truth” and freedom for many.

Thank God there will someday be JUSTICE.

Leviticus: “You shall show impartial justice – don’t be partial to the poor, don’t defer to the rich.”

Illustration from Billy Graham:

A group of the world’s most successful financiers met in a hotel in Chicago? in 1920s. CEOs, Presidents of companies, Presidents of banks, heads of monopolies, etc.

Collectively, these men controlled more wealth than in the entire US Treasury.

For years, newspapers had been singing their praises and encouraging the youth of the US to follow suit.

But 25 years later, many died BROKE – on borrowed money, convicted felons, and committed suicide (3 of them).

They’d made money their god, and when their god fell, they fell.

When they lost their money, they lost their gods, they lost their souls, they lost their lives.

Their end was shocking.

We all have a little bit of envy of those who are better off than us – not even just celebrities – next-door neighbors…

Asaph in the OT, who wrote the Psalms wrote:

Psalm 72:

2-3 “As for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped, for I was envious as … I saw the prosperity of the wicked…

“They are not plagued like other men…

“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence…
“For I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning. I may have become a stumbling block to others if I spoke thus.

“But then, I saw their end… destruction. Destroyed in a moment, utterly swept away by sudden terrors…

It’s easy to look as someone TODAY and be envious, but if we consider their TOMORROW, we’d be better to be patient waiting for the day of the Lord.

  • Do you invest in the world’s system?
  • Or do you invest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

2 Peter “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief when the world and its works will be burned up…”

The hope that the rich are holding onto will be destroyed – they will be without power, without prestige, without friends, without a checkbook.

But for those who have been trusting in the Lord, will find themselves to be very rich – eternal peace, life, love, joy.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you or persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you on account of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven will be great. For this is how they persecuted the prophets as well.”

What about those who are wealthy?

If they are good STEWARDS of the wealth that GOD has given to them, they will be well off.

Luke “Make yourselves purses which do not wear out – treasures in heaven – where moths do not destroy. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Derick Prince:

  • “Yes, trust the Lord, have enough, provide for your family, and have enough to bless others as well.”
  • “If he can get it through you, he can get it TO you. But why would he give it to you if it stopped at you?”

The world revolves around money, but we don’t have to.

Be PATIENT – like the farmer who works hard NOW for the crop and the promise that is to come. Wait for the heavenly reward that is not subject to corruption and destruction.

Let’s meditate on this Word and pray.

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

  • Jan 18 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Enjoy the Freedom and Power of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Enjoy the Freedom and Power of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)

01.18-Pastor Heo


Sermon Notes

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Enjoy the Freedom & Power of Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”


The last verse is the key verse from today’s reading. Remember this not only in your brain, but also in your hearts. This is the conclusion:

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

One time, Peter asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive? 7 times? Wow! So many!” At that time (and in the Bible) the number 7 is a symbol of perfection.

How about you and me? Can we forgive 7 times? Only 3 times? Not even one time?

Peter probably expected praise from Jesus for showing his great faith when he offered to forgive up to seven times. At that time, the rabbis taught that 3 times to forgive was sufficient.

But if we look at this passage clearly, we can see Peter’s serious mistakes:

  1. 1. He lacked humility – he was proud, he was sure that OTHERS would sin against him, but not he against others. Yes, when others hurt us, we remember this very clearly. But we have difficulty to remember our own faults against others.
  2. 2. He asked in measured limitations – if there is a limitation in numbers, then there is no true love in your heart – “Be rooted and established in love to know how wide, how long, how deep, how tall is the love of Christ – so that we may be filled to full perfection in the love of God.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What number is there? NONE. If there was a number, we would surely exceed it and go beyond God’s limited forgiveness (in this scenario).

This parable deals with the power and freedom of forgiveness. This parable is not about our salvation – about grace, freely given. The emphasis here is about forgiveness between brothers – not on God’s forgiveness of sinners.

From verse 23-27:

10,000 talents – how much is that? This debt was CANCELED.

At that time, 2,000 years ago, even 1 talent was enough to start a business (50,000,000 Won?)

At that time, in another parable (Matthew 25?) the Master (king) was going on a long journey and he gave 1 talent to one servant, 2 to another, 5 to another – entrusted to them.

At that time the entire TAX of Jerusalem was 800 talents.

Ordinary people had to work 20 YEARS to make ONE talent. So, it is ludicrous to think that one slave could ever borrow 10,000 talents from the king – it was obvious that he was STEALING when the books were checked.

His story is like our story – he is a guilty debtor. He was an enemy of the king, as we were once enemies of God. He thought he could repay the king by his own effort as we once thought we could pay for our own salvation through our good works. He was powerless in his debt, and at one time, we also were powerless in our sin. Both of us received merciful debt forgiveness.

“The servant’s master took pity on his and CANCELED the debt and let him go.”

v. 28-29

100 denarii – how much is that? – CHOKING over this amount – PRISON for this amount.

At that time, an average worker earns 1 denarius per day. This debt was very small compared to what this servant owed the king. 10,000 talents = a bus full of money. 100 denarii = a pocket full of money. This wicked servant grabbed, choked, threw him in jail. This second servant used the SAME method, pleading that the first servant had used “Please, have mercy, have patience.”

This first servant had been forgiven, but was unwilling to grant to others what he’d already received. He and his family had been spared the shame and suffering of the prison, but he refused to spare his friend.

If we receive unconditional forgiveness from God and then don’t forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are WORSE than him.

v. 31-35

The King delivered this servant from prison, he saved him – but this servant actually put himself back in prison. He did exercise justice and cast his friend into prison – and the king said basically, “OK, cool. Let’s live by ‘justice’ then. Here’s your justice. I’ll do to you just as you have done to him.”

Conclusion: 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

In the Lord’s prayer, we pray all the time, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Jesus says, “If you forgive when others sin against you, also my Father will forgive you, but if NOT, then he WON’T.”

  • Eph 4: “Be kind and compassionate with one another.”
  • Col “Bear with each other. Forgive whatever grievances you have against one another.”

But, we must not forget the conclusion of this matter. This doesn’t mean “if you don’t forgive, your salvation is lost/canceled.” It also doesn’t mean “God MUST forgive you when you forgive others.”

You must understand the true meaning of forgiveness:

What is the ground/foundation of the assurance of salvation?

The assurance of salvation + the assurance of forgiveness = BOTH necessary, mutually exclusive. Without one, you can’t have the other.

Jeremiah 31:34 “The Lord (Jehovah) declares, ‘I forgive your sins. And if I forgive your sins, I remember them NO MORE.’”

Just like ONE salvation = eternal and never changes, likewise ONCE forgiveness against our original sin = eternal and never changes.

If we have assurance of salvation + assurance of forgiveness, then what is the ground/basis for our assurance?

  • We must repent. But this is not the ground upon which God forgives us.
  • We must have faith. But this is not the ground upon which God forgives us.

God cannot forgive/pardon sin/sinners MERELY on the ground of a sinners forgiveness. This would be impossible for a righteous God to do. He can forgive ONLY when the penalty is ALREADY paid.

For Him to forgive, and for us to receive his forgiveness, Christ died upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

This is the ONLY ground/basis upon which we can have the assurance of salvation + forgiveness. Even as he was dying on the cross, he prayed “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Even there, he had HUGE compassion for those who sinned against him.

In this world, the worst kind of prison is an unforgiving heart. We are throwing ourselves into prison and torturing ourselves if we don’t forgive others.

We must experience the power of forgiveness in our hearts. If we live only by justice, we put ourselves in prison. But if we live by forgiveness and mercy, giving others what God’s given us, we can experience true freedom and power of forgiveness and the forgiving of others.

No matter our experience, we cannot fully enjoy freedom, peace, and joy without forgiving others.

Yes, we show the true condition of our own hearts by the way we treat others. If we are humble and repentant, we can willingly and easily forgive others. But where there is pride and a passion for revenge, there is not a place for forgiveness.

Let me show the power of the real freedom of forgiveness in the Bible:

Stephen (Acts 7)

He preached a very wonderful, powerful, marvelous and biblical sermon. His sermon is one of the most powerful sermons in church history. But how did the congregation react? Clapping? Thank you? Nope. Death. By stoning.

Imagine I’m preaching here and someone in the audience began stoning me.

But Stephen did not even pay for this. He prayed for them as they killed him. “Father, do not hold this sin against them.” Why? What made him do this? Was he different? No, a normal man, filled with the Holy Spirit – anointed to do this. The power and freedom of forgiveness that he’d personally experienced empowered him to do this and forgive his own murderers as they were murdering him.

We must experience, enjoy the power of forgiveness deep in our hearts and makes us gentle and forgiving of others.

Our brothers and sisters, coworkers, neighbors, family members – we should forgive them all deeply, readily, quickly.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 24 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Son’s Return (Luke 15:11-24)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Son’s Return (Luke 15:11-24)



Sermon Notes

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The Son Returns

Luke 15:11-24 (Missionary Seo)

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ‘ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Last year, we went to Mongolia in August. We got a call from my university and they said, “We have no more time. Come to China quickly, pack everything, and go back to your home country quickly.”

We contacted the head of Paul Mission and decided not to go back to China. After our retreat, we came back to Korea – about 2 months. Then we went to the US for a sabbatical year. We always prayed “Why were we expelled from China?”

My daughter Haneul is asking “We want to go back home.” We ask, “Where is your home?” She said, “China.” We came back to Korea last month and are very uncomfortable staying here because this is not our home.

This concept forms the basis for this sermon.

  1. Where is your home?
  2. Who is your father?

<< See three pictures: Joseon, …, Rembrant >>

Today’s passage goes like this:

One younger son asked his father: “Give me my inheritance.” The father divided the estate, the son went away with all his money and possessions to a foreign land – where he WASTED it.

At that time, a severe famine came, and he was starving. He was hired to feed pigs, and here at his lowest point, he realized “Hey, my father’s hired men have food to eat!”

So, he went back home with this idea, “I’ve sinned against God and against my father and I’m no longer worthy to be called his son.”

But when he was still a long way off, the father saw him coming and ran to meet him and kiss him. The son confessed his poverty of spirit to his father, and the father brushed it aside and said, “Bring the best robe and my ring and the fattened calf! Let’s celebrate my son’s return!”

The story goes like this:

First Son

“Give me my portion” – at this time I think of my younger daughter. From a few months ago, she always said, “No!” and “Mine!” This is life with a two-year-old 🙂 “That’s mine! Give me now!”

At this time, in the 21st century, if we go to our own fathers and say like this, then how do our fathers think? Rude! In the Jewish society at this time, was this rude or not? In that time, if that happened, it meant “Father, I consider you DEAD. Please die!” So, this younger one is VERY rude.

In the spiritual concept of this, the portion the second son has taken is NOT actually his. This is his father’s portion. If the father divides his portion before he dies, still the estate belongs to the father. Only after death, the estate will transfer ownership to the sons.

We, as Christians, always say, “Everything comes from our Father God.” We say this about materials, time, relationships. Everything is from God. But, how about you?

When I prepared this sermon, I was thinking, “Of course, everything is from God, so everything is yours!” But when I spend my hard-earned money on something, I think, “Oh, no. That now belongs to me.” It’s very hard for me to share something I buy.

In this story, let’s not only consider the son who left, but WHY he left.

Why would he leave his father’s love? Have you ever experienced this leaving?

Let me share my story:

I was in China for 3.5 years. At that time, I was really happy because I saw several students lives changed and many people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. BUT, then they accept him again, and again. Up to 5 times! Something is wrong here. Why do they do 5 times what is accomplished in 1 time? It’s because they do not doubt who Jesus is.

Some other students accept Christ and devote themselves to him and want to become missionaries too. “Wow! God is working and alive in this situation!” At that time, this was the situation in my life. So, I prepared for another journey that God prepared.

Second Son

The second son said “bring all the things” and he packed all his bags and went to another country.

Actually, he left already BEFORE he was leaving.

Spiritually and emotionally, he was GONE before his body left his father’s estate.

The foreign country in this story = this life.
He wastes money on bars, nightlife, possessions. He thinks, “Great! My money! I’ll do whatever I want with it!”

He loved the world (yes, he “loved” his father too… but the world MORE).
He set his priorities:

  1. The world
  2. His father’s love

What are your priorities? Which is #1?

  1. God, Family, Work?
  2. Church, God, Work, Money, Family?

If we love money, we cannot serve God. “A man cannot serve two Masters.” (Jesus)

He loved the world more than his father at that time.

There is a similar parable in the book of Luke 18:18-30 – the Parable of the Rich Official:

“One day, the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, ‘How can I get eternal life?’ Jesus said, ‘You know the Law and the Prophets, keep all the commandments and you’ll get eternal life.’ The rich young ruler said, ‘From childhood I’ve done this.’ So Jesus said, ‘Then do this one more thing: Sell all you have and give to the poor.’ The man walked away sad.”

His priorities were also on Money first, and Eternal Life secondly.

#3: Let’s see the rest of this parable.

The second son said, “Father, I’ve sinned against you and against God. I’m no longer worthy to be called you son.” This was repeated twice in the parable. Was this important? No – the son thought that with the third part (”I’m no longer worthy to be called your son”) he just wanted to please his father.

As a father, I know that the relationship between a father and son CANNOT be broken easily.

The second son thinks, “I’ll go to be a slave.”

The father doesn’t even listen to what his son says. He accepts him back into his arms readily.

The son didn’t truly understand his father.
“If I do this, father will be pleased. If I buy this, or have a good body, father will be pleased.” No. Your Father is pleased JUST WITH YOU. You need to nothing but be you, just to exist, your Father is pleased with you. Just to be in his presence, and he’ll be pleased. Let us not be confused any longer.

In conclusion, I think we should go back to our place. Our rightful place is in our Father’s arms.

“From a LONG distance away, he recognized him and RAN to meet him.” If we go back to our Father, even taking a single step, the Father will see and RUN to meet us.

Before closing, here’s a final story:

A couple days ago, a graduate student came to my house and has spent two days with us. I saw two lives: a graduate student of Yonsei, and a graduate student of another school. One had a hard time, the other, Hyansun-In, had parents who had a high rank in the Communist Party – doctors in the hospital. Usually, with that kind of family background, the student hates or doesn’t accept Christianity, but I was very happy that he accepted Christ.
During that time, there was a big life event: he went to Hanyang university as an exchange student. Every class, the professor began with a prayer. During that single semester, she accepted Christ as she was in the church doing as other members were doing.

Now, she remembers everything. At that time, she came to Jeonju and we went to Hanok village, but we forgot everything. We went back again and she remembered everything.

In her life, that was very precious. At that time, and also this time, I also have some kind of problem with priorities.

We are staying here for just one month and preparing things. My wife will go to China for 5 days from Monday. Also, my student came to town. I have much to do, and some burden – but spending time with that student was happy.


  1. What’s your priority? Money or God?
  2. Do you still think you can serve both?
  3. Then how can we spend our money and time and relationships (in a godly manner)?

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 29 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Choose Your Master: God or Money (Matthew 6:19-34)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Choose Your Master: God or Money (Matthew 6:19-34)



(FULL) Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .PDF file>

Matthew 6:19-34
Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Do not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor of spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Amen. This is the living Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless all of us with this living Word of our Lord and King, Jesus.


Today’s topic is: Choose your Master: GOD or Money?

Did you choose? Did you choose already your Lord? You know, we have a tendency to divide life into two parts: the spiritual and the material. But this is not right. Our Lord Jesus makes no such division. In his many parables, in his many teachings, Jesus makes clear a right attitude toward materials. A right attitude toward money is a mark of true spirituality.

We know in the Bible, the Pharisees loved money and used money to make money in the name of “religion.” You know, if we have the true righteousness of Jesus Christ in our lives, we will have a right, proper attitude toward materials, toward money.

In the Bible, Jesus never praises poverty anywhere. Jesus never criticizes being rich materially because we know God made all things including our clothes, food, precious metals. Anything and everything, God made them, and God has declared all things he has made “good.” So, it is not wrong for us to possess materials, but it is wrong for materials to possess us.

Materials vs. Materialism

Materials themselves are not bad, but Materialism is bad. Materialism enslaves our hearts, our wills, our souls, even our spirits. The Bible never says, “Money is evil. Money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Do you like money? But, the Bible says, “The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows and griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10)

And Heb 13:5 says, “Therefore, keep your lives free from the love of money. Be content with what you have because God has said, ‘I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.’” You know, the Bible says there will be three kinds of Loves that will grow and grow as the last day comes nearer and nearer:

  1. The love of Self
  2. The love of Stuff (Money)
  3. The love of Sex (Pleasure) – The love of physical pleasure, the love of lust.

Shall we see once again, from verse 19-24? Let me read, you can see together.

Hate the one and love the other: idolize one, demonize the other.

We need to underline, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” You know the literal meaning in the Greek Bible is, “You cannot be a SLAVE both to God and money.” Whether we like it or not, we are made to be a slave to somebody or something. Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that when you offer yourselves to somebody to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey?” But, even though we are slaves, we have the right to choose our own Master, but we cannot have two Masters or more. We can have two friends or more, but we can have only one Master, only one Lord.

God vs. Other Gods

Then, we need to notice, Jesus does not say in the last sentence, “You cannot serve both God and Mohammed” – or God and Buddha – or God and somebody else – or God and something else. But Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and Money.”

It means, to Man, to human beings, money is a god, practically. Money is more influential, more powerful in a human’s practical life. The power of money, the influence of money is almost equal to God in our practical lives. We cannot deny it.

Then, the first verse, verse 19…

It means it’s very safe. It means it will last forever and forever, “where thieves do not break in and steal.” What does this mean? To “store up our treasures in heaven”? You know the Earth is the symbol of what is temporary. Then, Heaven means the symbol of something that is eternal. It means, USE what is temporary FOR what is eternal.

Check your spending style

At this moment we need to check our money spending style.

  • For example, how much do you spend for food?
  • How much do you spend for your clothing?
  • How much do you spend for your housing and furniture?
  • How much do you spend for ONE cigarette?
  • For the lottery?
  • For our hobbies or sports?
  • How much do you spend for face renovation?
  • How much do you spend for helping others?
  • How much do you spend for winning souls to Christ?
  • And how much do you spend for tithes and offerings?

Yes, there are MANY ways for us to store treasures in heaven, not on earth, but the Bible is very clear in teaching us one of the BEST ways for us to store our treasures in heaven is tithes and offerings. That’s why the Bible says this:

Malachi 3:8-10

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, “How do we rob you?” “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food [the symbol of my treasure] in my house [literally, it means the temple, the symbol of heaven]. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

[One of my personal favorite verses]

This is the Word of God Almighty.

During our Christian lives, we do continually tithes and offerings, but we need to know the true meaning of tithes and offerings, biblically – for God and for me. At this moment, I want to say just six points about the meaning of tithes and offerings, briefly.

6 Points about the Meaning of Tithes and Offerings

#1 First, as mentioned in Malachi 3:8-10, tithes and offerings is one of the best ways to store up our treasures in heaven.

Please remember whenever you give your offerings and tithes.

#2 Second, tithes and offerings is the action of obedience.

Tithes and offerings is not an optional choice, but an essential command in the Bible, not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament.

  • Already we read together Malachi 3:10, “Bring your whole tithe.”
  • And Exodus 23:15 says, “No one is to appear before God empty handed.”

Also in the New Testament, it’s the same.

  • In the New Testament, in Matthew chapter 23, Jesus our Lord agrees that we should give our tithe.
  • Second Corinthians 9:7 says, “That’s why each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give. Not reluctantly or under compulsion because God loves a cheerful giver.”

#3, tithes and offerings is a thanksgiving sacrifice.

We can show our thanksgiving to God by giving, by our action.

#4 Also, tithes and offerings is an acknowledgement of God’s ownership and our stewardship.

#5, tithes and offerings is a kind of prayer for more blessing.

Also, tithes and offerings is sowing with the expectation of reaping. Also a holy investment for harvest. You know, Jesus says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” We are not allowed to test God. Do you agree? But, in the Bible, in the whole Bible, there is only one area in which we are allowed, we are encouraged to test God. This area is tithe. We read already, God encourages us, God challenges us to “Bring the whole tithe and then test me in this and see if I won’t bless you more and more! I will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for that.”

Also 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: whoever sows little will reap little, whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but whoever sows generously (bountifully) will reap generously (bountifully).”

#6 And finally, let me say one more, tithes and offerings is a proclamation of freedom from the love of money.

We know the last sentence, “We cannot serve God and Money” but we can serve God with money. With our tithes and offerings, we say to money (please, do you have money in your pocket? Say to your money), “I need you, but I am not your slave. You are my slave. Please follow me, I don’t follow you. You have no right to control me, but I have the right to control you.” We can say this to money with our tithes and offerings.

Please remember, God knows we need money. So, if we serve God, God will provide us with money, as much as we need. But, money doesn’t know we need God. That’s why, if we serve money, money gives us only worry. So, the next topic is worry. In the next passage, we can see the word “worry” at least 6 or 7 times. Worry, worry, worry. Do you like worry? Please, do not worry about worry. Shall we see the next paragraph? At this moment, I bless all of us, God may bless, so that we may be free from worry. Verse 25:

The Real Reality of Worry (v. 25-34)

At this moment, we need to know what is the real reality of worry. I want to say at least four points about the reality of worry.

#1, first, please remember, worry is totally needless, useless, and even positively, actively harmful, injurious.

Worry it cannot affect the Past – the Past is passed. Like this, worry about Tomorrow is useless. Worry about Tomorrow is a wasted effort. You know, worry about Tomorrow can do nothing for Tomorrow except taking away the joy, energy, and effectiveness of Today. God has provided for us Today. You know, the regrets of the Past and the worry of Tomorrow destroys the quality of Today. Then, worry is worse than useless. Worry is harmful – positively, actively harmful.

We know already, worry is one of the great causes of physical sicknesses and diseases, such as headaches, stomach ulcers, coronary trouble. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a worrying heart dries the bones.” How right it is.

  1. Worry wears out our heart, our mind, our soul, our body.
  2. Worry affects our judgement.
  3. Worry weakens our decision power.
  4. And finally, worry makes us gradually, progressively unable to deal with our life.

Please remember that.

#2, second, worry is blind.

Worry makes us blind. Worry makes us unable to see, unable to learn the lesson from nature. Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air…” Do you know, do you believe that we are more valuable than the birds of the air? Do you agree? And Jesus says, “Look at the grass, the lilies of the field…” Do you believe we are much, much more valuable than grass, flowers. Do you believe this? We are created in his image.

But remember, Jesus does not say, “Look at the birds of the land… Look at the birds of the tree…” But Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the AIR.” You know, to be in the air, to be in the sky, birds should fly, and fly continually with their eyes opened. Jesus does not say, “Look at the lilies of the bottle… Lilies of the living room…” But Jesus says, “Lilies of the field.” You know, to remain standing in the field, lilies should put their roots under the ground, and should draw water from below, and should confront the wind and the sunshine – sometimes cold, sometimes hot. It means, they are in the RIGHT place, doing the right jobs according to God’s original designs for them. But they do not worry, they depend on God. God never fails.

“No worry” does not mean “no work, or no plan, no thought.” “No worry” means “no worry” and being in the right place according to God’s original design for us, and doing the RIGHT jobs according to God’s original design for us. Where is the right place we should be according to God’s original designs? The answer is we must be in God, in Jesus Christ.

#3, worry is essentially irreligious.

Please remember, worry is a matter of the heart, not a matter of outward circumstances. In the same circumstances, one man can be peaceful, can be serene, and another man can be worried to death. Peace and worry come not from circumstances, but from the heart.

You know one day a gentleman met a beggar on the street and:

  • That gentleman said to the beggar, “Hey, my friend, may God give you a good day.”
  • The beggar said, “I thank God that I never had a better day.”
  • Then, the gentleman said again, “My friend, may God give you a happy life.”
  • The beggar said, “I thank God I was never unhappy.”
  • Then that gentleman was surprised and said, “What do you mean?”
  • Then the beggar said, “Well, when it is fine, I thank God. When it is raining, I thank God. When it is cloudy, I thank God. When I have much, plenty, I thank God. When I am hungry, I thank God. Because God’s will is my will. Because whatever pleases God pleases me. Why should I say I’m unhappy because I’m happy?”
  • Then in astonishment, in surprise, the gentleman asked, “Who are you?”
  • The beggar answered, “I’m a king.”
  • The gentleman asked again, “What? You are a king? If you are a king, where’s your country? Where’s your kingdom?”
  • The beggar answered, “In my heart.”

Proverbs 4:23 says, “More than anything else, above all else, keep your heart, guard your heart because it is the source of life, the fountain of life, the wellspring of life.”

Please remember, if we think about a matter with fear over and over, it is worry. But, if we think about Jesus Christ with the Bible over and over, it is meditation. So, we have already a great ability to meditate very well. No problem.

#4 Worry is a sin to God

Let me say lastly one point. Please remember, worry is mistrust, unbelief, disbelief to God. In conclusion, worry is a sin to God. Shall we say together, “Worry is a sin to God.” In verse 30, Jesus says, “Oh you of little faith.” Oh you of no faith. What does this mean? This means that worry is evidence of little faith, no faith. And verse 32 says, “for the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

This means that worry is the pagan’s lifestyle. Today in our version, worry is the unbeliever’s lifestyle.

Yes, outwardly, we may worry because of this, because of this, because of that, such and such, many things we may worry, but the fundamental reason, the basic reason why I worry is because I do not trust in God, because I do not believe in Jesus Christ. Please remember, as long as we live in this world, the fundamental remedy, the fundamental solution for worry is believe in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and King and Master, really, truly, and act on that faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus gives peace of heart

Jesus died for us. Who died for us except for Jesus Christ? Jesus died for us, and that same Jesus who died for us and rose again from the dead gives us eternal life, abundant life. Jesus says, “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, no one shall snatch you out of my hand.” Just if we believe in Jesus Christ, that eternal life is ours. That abundant life is ours. Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust in me. I give you my peace, peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as this world gives. So, do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid.”

We know we want peace of heart. We want, we need that kind of peace. But this kind of peace can be found only in Jesus Christ. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast, throw away, cast all your anxieties, all your worry, on God because he cares for us.” Trust in Jesus Christ and to worry cannot go together.


Today is the moment. Today is the day for us to choose our true Master, our Lord: God or Material, God or Money, God or Worry.

First, Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends, which surpasses all understanding, all wisdom, all knowledge will keep your hearts and minds in our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Shall we pray together?

I want each of us to take a short time before God, very honestly, please, right now, ask to yourself, WHO is your Lord? Who is your Master? Truly, practically? And if your Lord, true Lord, is Jesus Christ, let us give thanks to him, who died on the cross for our sins, and who gave us eternal life, salvation, real peace, real joy, real safety.

Let’s pray.

Father God,

Thank you so, so much for giving us real freedom, real joy, real peace that cannot be found in this world. Father God, we know only we can be free from all kinds of worries, all kinds of anxieties, all kinds of troubles only in our Lord Jesus Christ, only by trusting in our God who is our Creator, who is our Maker, who is our Designer, who is our God, also Father.

Father God, help us please, not only through our tongues, but also from our deep hearts, our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ may be acceptable by you as real faith, real trusting.

Father God, fill us with the Holy Spirit. We cannot do that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, without the filling of the Holy Spirit it is impossible for us to get victory against the temptation of the material world in this world.

Father God, by your Spirit, by your power, by your wisdom, let us be victorious in this world. And let us live your life, heavenly life in this world, even though our body is here on this earth, we are not of this world because our citizenship is in heaven already. Help us to store our treasures in heaven eternally, not temporarily on Earth.

Thank you for your teaching us, thank you for your guiding us,

In Jesus’ name I pray.


  • Jan 20 / 2012
  • 1
Bible-365, Grow, Slider

Exodus 10-12 (Bible-365.20): Where’s Your Idol?

Exodus 8, 9, 10, 11

These four chapters are quite possibly the most famous in the whole book of Exodus because it is here that God demonstrates his mighty power by sending 10 plagues to Egypt in order to get the Pharaoh to let His people go. Most theologians seem to agree that the 10 plagues God sent weren’t merely chosen at random or as only an invasive inconvenience for the Egyptians. Rather, the 10 plagues were chosen by God to destroy the main idols in Egypt at that time. So, following will be a table describing the plague and the idol it was intended to tear down: Continue Reading

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