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  • Feb 23 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The Demonstration of Faith through Moses (Hebrews 11:23-29, Exodus 2:1-2)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Demonstration of Faith through Moses (Hebrews 11:23-29, Exodus 2:1-2)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Demo of Faith thru Moses

Hebrews 11:23-29, Exodus 2:1-2 (Pastor Heo)

Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

Exodus 2:1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.


Faith is conviction, assurance of what is unseen. By faith in Christ, we can have hope in this kind of situation. We can have hope in glory, heaven, eternal life. Also, by faith, we can live a heavenly life on this earth.

Last Sunday, we saw the demonstration of faith by Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

We know Genesis finishes with the story of Joseph. And the story of Moses begins in Exodus. In the time of Joseph, there was still great famine in Canaan, and he invited his whole family from Canaan to Egypt – where he was Prime Minister. So, all Jacob’s children and grandchildren (70 in all) settled in Egypt. But Joseph knew that a day would come when they would leave Egypt. They knew their settlement was not permanent, but temporary. “One day, God will come and take you out of this land to the Promised Land. At that time, take my bones with you.” From the death of Joseph to the beginning of Exodus was 400 years.

They ended Genesis with 70 people, and became 1-2 million by the start of Exodus (400 years later).

A new king, who did not know Joseph became king and became afraid of the people becoming bigger and bigger. So he ordered that the boy babies be killed. In this terrible, dangerous time, Moses was born.

Now in Hebrews, we saw “by faith” x5.

1. Moses’ parents’ faith (and his preservation)

v. 23 “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”

  • Moses’ father: Amram
  • Moses’ mother: Jocebeth?

They disobeyed the king by faith. They knew that God had a special plan and purpose for Moses. So “by faith” they hid him for 3 months. But after 3 months, they could no longer hide him because of his crying. They had nothing to do for their child. But we must remember that it was at the very moment that they had something great to do for their loving child – to entrust him to the hand of God – by faith, with prayer. In this terrible, dangerous situation, they made a box of papyrus and tar and pitch, and they put it outside among the reeds along the Nile river.

It is not difficult to imagine what they did after they put that box outside. They knew that God had a special plan upon that child. Is it possible, after putting that box outside to say, “Goodbye, good luck”? No. We can be easily sure what they did after putting that baby box outside. They cried out continually to God, “LORD! Help us!”

If you were in the place of Moses’ mother and father, you would continually cry out also for God’s providence upon that box.

We know that Christian parents can suddenly create an atmosphere of faith at home. This should be the first school of faith – at home.

“They knew he was no ordinary child.” (In a sense, every child is like this to their parents – maybe even geniuses to their parents.) If you are Christian parents, remember, the BEST thing you can do for your son or daughter is to entrust them into the hand of God with constant prayer support. God bless Christian parents.

2. Moses’ identity

v. 24-26 “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Yes, after putting that basket outside, his parents prayed continuously. His sister Miriam stood at a distance to see what would happen to that box.

At that moment, Pharaoh’s daughter came to the Nile river to swim? She saw it and her slave girl opened it. She saw a beautiful baby crying. (We also should cry out before God to receive his mercy – Jer 30:33 “Cry out to me and I will show you unmeasurable things”). Seeing that crying baby the princess had compassion. Immediately, Miriam approached her and said, “May I get a Hebrew woman to nurse this baby for you?” “Yes, OK.” Immediately, she brought the baby’s real mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Please nurse this baby for me and I’ll pay you.”

Imagine this situation. God did something so amazing and so exciting! Sometimes we need to understand that God is doing SO MUCH MORE than we understand and imagine and expect.

This baby was saved from death, adopted by the princess, given the best education and food, raised by his real mother’s milk and love.

In this situation, our lesson is: If Moses wanted, he could identify himself with the Egyptians – as the royal family, an heir of Pharaoh. He could have chosen the easiest, most comfortable life. He could have chosen the pleasures of sin. But in this situation, Moses rejected – refused all of them. Why? How? “By faith…” This is the real power of faith. He chose to be mistreated by the people of God – he chose to suffer “for the sake of Christ.” But wait – Moses lived 1500 years before Jesus was even born. Yet v 26 “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ…”

Even Christ himself says, “Moses wrote about me, Moses testified about me.” (John’s gospel)

This means that God’s history of salvation and redemption continued through until the birth of Christ. And Christ gave up all his glory for our sake, our salvation, our redemption.

We must know: Are you Christian? If you believe in Christ as Savior and Lord, then you have no choice but to live for Christ.

“Believing in Christ as real Savior and Lord and NOT living for him is impossible.”

  • “Believe” = “Be” and “live”
    • “Be” for Christ
    • “Live” for Christ

So, we must choose careers and life paths that please God.

Therefore, our identity as Christians is so important.

3. Moses’ separation

v 27 “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

The background – found in Exodus 2. One day, when he was grown, he went out to see how the fellow Hebrews were. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, so he killed him. The king heard of that and tried to kill Moses – so Moses fled to Midian. In this same situation, there is a little difference in the Exodus and the Hebrews explanation.

  • Exodus: “Moses feared, so he fled.”
  • Hebrews: “Moses left ‘by faith’.”

This is a different perspective – they seem contradictory – but there is no real contradiction.

  • Exodus = viewing the outward situation
  • Hebrews = seeing more deeply into this story

Yes, Moses did not choose this situation by himself at first. But, when he was confronted by this situation to leave, he didn’t accepted it willingly, with courage. Moses knew that then was not the time for him to take action for his people. He knew he had to wait for God to say, “NOW is the time to go to Pharaoh and take action for my people.”

Sometimes, when our fighting instincts say, “Go on and fight!” But it takes a big and brave man to WAIT. It is human to fear to miss the chance. But it is great to wait for the timing of God. So, by faith, we can see God in all situations.

Today, our situation is good or bad? Bad, they say. But even in this situation, we must see God who is unseen, and we must understand that he is in control of everything. This is the real power of faith.

4. Moses’ salvation

v 28 “By faith by kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.”

Background: Exodus 12

We know the Passover, the biggest feast in Hebrew history. Spiritually and symbolically, this is also the most significant. It was the 10th and final judgment on Egypt.

Unleavened bread had to be made, and a Passover lamb killed, and every door post smeared with the blood of the lamb. Then, the angel of death would see this blood and “pass over” those houses.

Not only this Passover lamb, but also on that night, as they were leaving Egypt, Moses wrote down that they must keep the Passover forever. In other words, he never doubted that they would leave Egypt and reach and conquer the Promised Land – at some point.

Imagine: Here is a population of 1-2 million slaves – untrained, unorganized, about to start on a dangerous journey through a wilderness, into an unknown land. At the same time, here is a massive, trained, armed force pursuing them.

Yet, Moses never doubted that God would bring them safely through to the Promised Land. This is the power of faith. Are you living by faith.

1 Cor 5:7 “Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb who has been crucified for our sins.” Thus, John the Baptist, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”

Even though we are very weak and do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, our situation, corona virus, whatever, nevertheless, our situation is VERY certain in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the real power of faith.

5. Moses’ Deliverance

v. 29 “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.”

Exodus: They were confronted with their first barrier. Yes, we know that our salvation is very safe, but nevertheless, there are many barriers we may face. This is the first: The Red Sea – they needed a way to continue but there was no way – because the soldiers of Egypt were pursuing them very rapidly behind.

In this situation (Exodus 14) Moses proclaimed, “Do not be afraid!” (Front: sea, Back: soldiers) “Stand firm! You will see the deliverance and salvation God will bring you today. The soldiers you see today, you will NEVER see again because God is fighting for us.”

Romans 8 “God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

The real source, the source of real faith – what is the greatest barrier? It is NO barrier if God is there to help us pass over it because God is Almighty. Do you agree? Then, accept it and enjoy it. This is a fact.

The source of real faith is close intimacy in our relationship with God. For Moses, the source of real faith = close intimacy in his relationship with God. Bible says, “Moses spoke to God face to face.”

Also for us:

Source of Faith = Real intimacy with God

Hebrews conclusion? “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Remember, the source of real faith is closeness, intimacy in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Chp 12:2

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our [my] faith.”

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 16 / 2020
  • Comments Off on You Are to Live for Eternity (Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 50:22-26)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You Are to Live for Eternity (Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 50:22-26)

Download Notes in a .MD file

You are to live for Eternity

Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 50:22-26 (Pastor Heo)

Hebrews 11

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

Genesis 50

The Death of Joseph

22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”

26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Hebrews 11

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

When Isaac went to give the blessing to Esau, he was tricked by his wife and son Jacob. When he blessed Jacob the first time, in the trick, he knew that his future blessing would go through Jacob, so later, he blessed Jacob again with full knowledge of this. (This is v. 20)

Jacob had 12 sons and these sons became the Father of the 12 tribes of Israel. So, when his death was near, he blessed them with prophecies and blessings. He also blessed Joseph’s two sons. These were his grandsons.

Manasseh was the first – so he was put on the right hand of Jacob. Ephraim was on the left side because he was the second son.

At that time, Jacob could not see because he was dying, yet he crossed his arms to bless them. His right hand on Ephraim’s head, his left hand on Manasseh’s head. Joseph said, “No father! This is the first son!”

Jacob: “I know. He will be a great nation, but the second will be greater.” By knew (by faith) and blessed them (by faith) according to the will of God.

v. 22

“22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.”

Joseph was the last patriarch and lived a great life of faith. He remembered God’s purpose and plan for him and his descendants. His story:

  1. Sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt (at age 17)
  2. Sold again to an official in Egypt (and thrown in jail)
  3. Because of his fear of God, he was eventually promoted to Prime Minister.
  4. He lived until 110.

This means he lived in Egypt 90 years – and he became Prime Minister at age 30 (so he was in the highest position – with power – for about 80 years in Egypt). If he had wanted to, he could have set up his own empire in Egypt as his home. But, amazingly, during his stay, he never considered Egypt as his home. He always considered himself a stranger / foreigner / not a citizen in Egypt – because he remembered God’s promise to his great grandfather Abraham.

He made his children swear to carry his bones out of Egypt when God delivered them. So, these descendants passed his will down generation to generation for 400 years until they were delivered. And finally, Joseph’s mummy (embalmed) was carried out to Canaan where Joshua conquered the land.

What we can learn:

1. To bless others is very important.

  • Jacob blessed his children and grandchildren by faith.
  • Joseph blessed his children and brothers by faith.
  • Parents are given the responsibility / blessing to bless their own children.

In this passage, each person’s life is summarized not by how they lived, but by how they died. Someday, our lives also will be characterized by how we finish this life.

Are you living by faith?

Living by faith is very important. But dieing by faith is MORE important. To die by faith requires us to live by faith.

Say to yourself: “I’m not an accident.”

Your birth is no mistake, no mishap. Perhaps your parents did not plan your birth, but GOD DID. That is why we are here, now, today.

God was not surprised by your birth nor my birth. Long before you were conceived, you were chosen and thought of by God.

Eph “You were chosen before the foundation of the world by Jesus Christ to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

God thought of you before anyone else (he thought of you first). God deliberately designed and decided our days, our times, our birthplaces, the times of our birth and death. He planned where we would be born and where we would live.

This life is very SHORT. At most – less than 100 years. But remember, we will spend eternity in heaven. More than anything else, we were created to live for eternity. We have an inborn instinct to live for eternity. This is because God designed us to live for eternity.

Ecc 3:11 “God has made everything beautiful in its time. And he has set eternity in the minds / hearts of Man.”

But we don’t fully understand what he is doing from beginning to end.

You know, someday, your heart, my heart, will stop beating. This is the end of this body on earth, but it is not the end of you and me. It is just a transition into eternity.

Are you not happy about physical death? But today’s passage mentions Isaac’s death, Jacob’s death, and Jacob’s death. You know the last verse in Genesis is “Joseph died…”

We must be serious about the matter of life and death. The Bible calls our physical body a “tent.”

2 Cor “Now we know that if our tents (physical bodies) are destroyed, we have a house in heaven not built by human hands.”

So, in all this we must live in the light of eternity. We were created to live for eternity.

The main point of this story:

Isaac, Jacob, Joseph received the promise from God, but they never entered the Promised Land in their lifetimes. They never received the promise – Israel never became a great nation, they all lived as strangers in this world. But they didn’t die in despair, but in hope.

Their thoughts and beliefs / faith were like this: God’s promise and plan is VERY SURE and he never breaks his promise. I, personally, may never see that promise fulfilled, but I’m a link in the chain to its fulfillment. So, whether or not that promise comes, depends on me.

We must take the same lesson:

Do you have hope?

Maybe they will NEVER be fulfilled in our lifetimes, but we must live in such a way as to hasten their coming for future generations. And our FINAL HOPE is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Matt 24? “This gospel will be preached in the whole world, and THEN the end will come.” Great Commission: Matt 28 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And surely I’m with you to the very end of the age.”

This Great Commission may not be fulfilled in our lifetimes, but it WILL be fulfilled. Do you believe this? Therefore, we must be a LINK – we must be connected for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We must live from the perspective of eternity.

Faith makes us able to see beyond the temporary, into eternity. It allows us to see beyond what is seen and into unseen.

If we fully comprehend that there is more to life than the here and now, and that our physical life is only preparation for eternity, then we will begin to live differently.

If we really understand that, then many goals, problems, and plans will seem so small and not worthy of our attention. We must use our Time, Talent, and Treasure more wisely, for eternity. WHO I AM is more important than what I have.

Our attitudes and character is much more important than fame, money, possessions, power. Paul: “What was for my gain, I consider loss compared to the greatness of Christ. I consider all things rubbish so that I might be found in Christ.”

We experienced pregnancy in our mother’s womb. This 9-10 months was not an end in itself, but a preparation for life in this world. Likewise, our 90-100 years on earth is preparation for the next life.

“God has a plan. God has a purpose for my life on earth.”

If you believe God has a purpose and plan for your life on earth, you must know that his plan for you doesn’t end in this world. This is very important.

My physical life will end someday, but God’s plan for me doesn’t end even though I pass away at some point. This is a very important lesson for us.

Ps 33:1 “God’s plans / purposes last forever.”

Heb 13:14 “Here we do not have an enduring city, so we are looking forward to the city that is to come.” This world is not our home, so we are looking forward to our everlasting city in heaven.

So, to make the most of our lives in this world, we must keep the value of eternity in our hearts. Measured against eternity, this life is too short – shorter than the blink of an eye. We must know that even though our lives here are very short, the consequences of our actions on earth are eternal – they decide our relationship to God in eternity.

There are many countries, jobs, hobbies, but eternity offers only two options: heaven vs. hell.

If you accept Jesus Christ, if you believe and trust in Christ as your Savior and Lord on this earth, then you will be invited to spend eternity with God in heaven. But if you reject God’s grace through Jesus Christ, you will spend eternity separated from God. That’s why our lives on earth are so important though they are so short.

We are not living yesterday’s life, nor tomorrow’s. “I’m living TODAY’S life.”

Why is “today” so important?

Because “today” is the first day of the rest of our lives (including eternity). And someday – in the future (which will be called “today” on that day) will be our last day, and it is so important.

v. 20-22

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.”

We are living for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all creation and THEN the end will come.

We may see the fulfillment of this Great Commission in our lives, or we may not. But what is important is that it WILL be fulfilled in God’s time, in God’s way, by those who live BY FAITH. And we must be connected to this.

God bless you.

  • Jul 28 / 2019
  • Comments Off on When you hear the Word of God, don’t harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-19)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

When you hear the Word of God, don’t harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-19)

Download Notes in a .MD file

When you hear the Word of God…

Hebrews 3:7-19 (Pastor Heo)

Warning Against Unbelief

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’

11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.


Can you say “Amen” to today’s word? The Word of God is food.

Our physical body needs food, also our spiritual body needs food.

Jesus: “I am the bread of life… Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Today’s food is not milk, but meat. Not soft, but solid.

For us to grow and mature and be stronger, sometimes we need hard, solid food and meat. Today’s food is very solid. Do you want to eat it?

Hebrews is a book of warning (yellow card). There are at least 5 exhortations and warnings.

chp 2:1 “Give more attention to what you have heard to not drift away.” (Warning: Neglect) – Don’t drift away without a target / purpose.

Today: second warning: (Warning: Doubt) – danger of mistrust. This is a very simple sentence, but a serious warning in our lives. No one can say, “I’m totally free from this warning.” Not even me.

It is possible to start well and end terribly.

In school, career, marriage, office, church life, etc – it is possible to start well (big celebration) and end poorly, shamefully. Even in the pastoral ministry, this is possible. I know this as well. So I must be careful all the time.

Starting well is good, but finishing well is MORE important.

Paul: “Be careful not to fall, when you think you are standing.”

Romans 15:4 “Everything written in the past was written to give us a lesson.” So that through endurance, patience, encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope.

Today’s example is Israel in the OT.

We are familiar with the story of Israel in the OT – esp. Exodus. The reason that story was written was to give us a lesson. We must learn from history.

In the whole history of earth, no migration of people has started so well – with such a great expectation. They’d experienced 10 great signs and wonders through Moses already. And on that final night, all Israelites were safe in their homes, but the Angel of Destruction struck down the first born of every household – man and animal. There was not a house in Egypt without someone dead. The bad king of Egypt called Moses and yelled, “GO! You are too much for us.”

Can you imagine this migration? 600,000 (about the population of Jeonju) men + women + children. This would be closer to 1.5 – 2 million (Gwangju?).

All these people and animals began this exodus by tribal divisions and they plundered the Egyptians. Many other people also joined in this exodus.

But in the desert, the day is so hot and the night so cold. So, God led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire. This was symbolic of “God with us” and also protection from heat and darkness and cold. Soon, they encountered the Red Sea.

Then, Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued Israel with his best chariots and army. Moses said, “Do not be afraid. God is fighting for us. The Egyptians we see now, we will never see again. We need only be still, and God will deliver us.”

Moses raised his staff and stretched his arm over the Red Sea. The sea parted in two and 2 million people, animals, and belongings all passed safely over on dry land. The Egyptians pursued them. Moses again stretched out his hand and the Red Sea returned to its original state. All the chariots and army were buried in the sea.

What a fabulous beginning! Soon, they would be in their Promised Land, Canaan. But then…

They began so well, but finished so shamefully – because of their doubt and rebellion against God continually.

When they arrived at the BORDER of Canaan, God said to Moses, “Send some men to research and explore that land.” This would be like a short-term vision / mission trip today.

Moses chose 12 assistant pastors (kind of) – one from each tribe, and sent them into the land with a mission: “To see” the land, towns, soil, people.

They explored for 40 days and returned to Moses and reported back. 10/12 gave a bad report of the place (negative). In front of God, negative word is bad, evil, wicked. “We cannot attack them, they are too strong for us. We look like grasshoppers compared to them.”

2/12 (Joshua and Caleb) gave a good report. “No, we can! If God is with us, who can be against us? That land was promised by God. God never breaks his promise. We can take that land.”

But, sorry to say, the bad report prevailed over the entire community of Israel. The entire community raised their voices and cried aloud and complained against Moses and against God – and tried to stone Joshua and Caleb. “Why did God bring us here?!” So, we must be careful with our speaking. “If only we had to die, is it better to die in this desert, or die in Egypt?”

God heard and said, “OK. I will do to you the very things you said.” They had explored for 40 days, but God let them wander for 40 years in the desert (1 year / day). They wandered until they all died – and their children wandered and suffered for their sins.

Remember, at departure 600,000 men departed? All of them died in the desert, except Joshua and Caleb.

This is a serious story. So the great lesson we must receive is: It is possible to start well and end terribly.

v. 7-10

“7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’ “

God was angry. Yes, he is good all the time, and he loves us, but he can become angry because he is a person and he is holy.

One warning: TODAY (x3) do not harden your hearts.

  • v. 7 “Today…”
  • v. 13 “encourage one another daily as long as it is called today…”
  • v. 15 “Today…”

Today = while there is yet time.

While we can speak of “today” we must give our trust and obedience to God. For individuals, “today” means “while life lasts”. In Hebrew: “While you have the opportunity, give God full submission that you must give.”

Someday, my life will end. The sun will set on my life…

But we still have hope. There are great warnings here.

1. God makes man an offer (gift)

just like he offered the people of Israel the blessings of the Promised Land, so he offers us today the blessings of a life that is far beyond a life we can live without him.

But to receive the blessings of God, two things are necessary:

  1. Trust in Christ (“Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me.”)
    • We must believe that what he says is true.
  2. Obedience: absolutely necessary. Are you obeying the Word of God? All the time?
    • Imagine, a medical doctor says to a patient, “I can cure you if you obey my instructions…”
    • Or a teacher says to a student, “I’ll make you a scholar if you follow my instructions…”
    • A trainer says to an athlete, “I’ll make you a champion if you do not deviate from the instructions I lay down.”

In this world, success depends on obedience to the word of an expert.

God is THE Expert of the world, and provides joy with full obedience to his Word.

2. There is a limit

“There is a limit to my life.” (The duration of your life) – and we do not know when that duration will end.

We often speak so easily about tomorrow. “I’ll go there tomorrow…” but for us individually, someday “tomorrow” will never come – and nobody knows when and how that will happen. That’s why this is a warning and encouragement.

  • The blessing of God must be accepted TODAY!
  • And full trust and obedience to God must be given TODAY!
  • 2 Corinth “Now is the time of God’s favor; Now is the time of God’s grace…”

v. 11-19

“11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter [the Promised Land], because of their unbelief. “

Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ

  • Christ is superior to Moses
  • Jesus is much greater than Moses

The message is: If this is true, that Jesus is much greater than Moses, the loss in rejecting Christ is much greater than rejecting Moses’ word.

  • The loss of rebellion against Moses = 40 years wandering in the desert – not entering the Promised Land.
  • The loss of rebellion against Jesus = the loss of eternal life in heaven.

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so I must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in me may have eternal life.” (Jesus)

Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

John the Baptist introduced him as “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The people of Israel in Egypt were delivered by the blood of the lamb during the Passover. This is a symbol of the believer in Christ – delivered from the slavery to sin through the blood of Christ.

“The blood of Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness.”

Because of their rebellion and distrust, they failed to enter God’s rest, but we (who believe in Christ) are able to enter his rest.

We are living “today”, not “tomorrow”.

Jesus “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest.” This is the invitation of Christ. This is real rest, eternal, heavenly rest in Christ.

God bless us to enjoy his rest and peace.

Romans 15:4 “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us a lesson so that through the endurance, patience, and encouragement of the Scriptures, we may have hope.”

  • “Jesus is our hope!”
  • “Jesus is my hope!”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is Superior to Moses

Hebrews 3:1-6 (Pastor Heo)

1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, *fix your thoughts on Jesus*, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.


Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ

We have studied:

  • Jesus over angels
  • Jesus over Moses (today)

Jesus is much superior to Moses – we all agree, I think. If this is true, we may think, “Why we need to review and study this topic. This point is so obvious and natural. We don’t need to study this I guess.”

We know Jesus is God, Savior, Lord, Creator. Moses is a creation – a servant of God (one of the great ones, but not worthy to be compared to Christ).

Then, why do we need to study this topic?

To understand this, we need to understand the background – esp Jewish background. If we are unfamiliar with Jewish history, it is difficult to appreciate Moses’ high standing in their culture.

At that time he was the GREATEST of all men. At that time, some thought he was superior to Jesus, in fact.

In John 9, one day Jesus healed a man born blind. He spit on the ground and made mud with his saliva and put it on his eyes and told him to go wash. He did, and immediately, he could see.

After doing this, the people around him asked, “Who opened your eyes?” He said, “The man they called Jesus.” They asked again and again. He said again, “I answered clearly. Do you want to become his disciple?” They then insulted him. “YOU! You are the disciple of that fellow! But we are disciples of Moses!” (They thought Moses was superior to Jesus.)

According to Jewish history, there are 6 reasons why Moses is so highly exalted.

(But this is not the main topic – only to understand the background.)

  1. He was an inconquerable deliverable
    • (divinely chosen for his task – his life was miraculously preserved even under the sentence of death as a baby – plucked from the Nile river. God ordained him at the burning bush.)
  2. He performed the most miracles
    • (at least 10 plagues over Egypt – Nile -> blood, frogs & gnats, flies, the death of livestock, boils, hail, darkness over Egypt, death of the firstborn – after the plagues, he parted the Red Sea with his staff and passed through on foot – he smote the rock and released mineral water in the desert. In the battle against the Amalakites, when his hands were up, the Jews were winning).
  3. He was the greatest prophet
    • (God communicated to other prophets through visions, dreams, symbols, revelation – but to Moses directly. God said, “Listen to my words” (Numbers 6:12) “with Moses, I speak face to face.”)
  4. He was the Law Giver
    • (The Law was the greatest thing in all the world at that time – 10 commandments, etc – When he received the 10 commandments, his face shown and radiated. He received laws about the tabernacle, the levitical law, etc. The first 5 books of the Bible are the Law of Moses).
  5. He was the greatest historian
    • (The Pentatuch – the first 5 books in the OT – these are still the most important historical and religious books to the Jews today. Moses wrote them all.)
  6. Moses was meeker and gentler than all others
    • (God said, “My servant Moses is meeker than all others on the face of the earth.” He was the MOST “gentle”man.)

The first recipients of the book of Hebrews were the Jews. So, it was important to make it clear that Jesus is superior to Moses.

How about today? Yes, we still need to know that Jesus is much MORE important than the most important thing or person you have in your mind. Are you clear in this matter?

Challenge: If Jesus is NOT #1 in your life, Jesus is not your Lord / Savior.

Please take this and think on it seriously.

Today, who is Moses to you? What is your “Moses”? (The most important other thing / person in your life.) Jesus is much more superior to this.

v. 1

“1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”

Holiness:

  • Set apart FROM something
    • TO something
  • From Satan, sin, the world
    • To God, holiness, service

“I’m holy.”

We are set apart to service to God. Salvation is a heavenly calling. Someday, God will bring us to his home – heaven – and go to live with Christ forever and ever. If we are called, we must fix our thoughts on Jesus. This is the key message.

“Fix our thoughts on Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith.” (repeated idea)

Are you doing this?

Let me ask this question: What / who are you becoming?

Consciously or unconsciously, we are BECOMING whatever we are looking at and looking for. We are becoming what we are focusing on and seeking and worshiping. What / who are you worshiping? We are becoming what we are worshiping.

Yes, no we are worshiping Christ – but “to fix on” means to “give diligent and continual observation and mind to”. Continually contemplate on these things.

What do we need to fixate on Christ? Let me share 4 things.

#1 Desire (zeal / passion / enthusiasm)

This is the beginning point. No desire? No fixation.

David showed his desire to see God. Ps 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

Ps 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul thirsts for God. My tears have been my food day and night.”

NT: Apostle Paul in Phi 3:8-10 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing my Lord Jesus – for whose sake I’ve lost all things – I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I want to know Christ and his resurrection, becoming like him in his death.”

Do you have desire?

Without desire, it is impossible.

If you have no desire, pray for it. “God, give me passion to know you and make you known to others.”

#2 Concentration

We must put Jesus first in our lives and keep him before us at all times in order to fix our thoughts and minds on him.

Concentration is power.

#3 Discipline

This comes from “disciple” – we want to be disciples and disciple-makers.

Without discipline, disciples cannot be made fully.

Discipline = “self-training”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

I need discipline. I know that. And so do you.

#4 Time

This worship service is 11-12:20 or so. “We need time.”

But we know today that people are losing patience – becoming more and more impatient. They like “microwave – culture”. Quick service, “Rocket delivery”, fast food.

But, especially in the spiritual life, we need patience, perseverance, endurance. We need time to meditate, to think, to grow, to heal, to recover, to fix our thoughts on Christ. We need MORE time.

For example: We cannot enjoy the beauty of this country without time.

Please spend more time, much time with him in your devotional time.


Who is Jesus in this verse one?

“…the apostle and high priest…”

This is very interesting. This is the ONLY place in the whole 66-book Bible where he is referred to as this “apostle.”

As “high priest” he is introduced about 12 times. This is one of the themes of Hebrews.

What does this mean?

  • “Apostle” = “the one who is sent”
  • Apostolos = Greek = he who is sent

Jesus explained that he was “sent” by his Father God – more than 10 times in John. This means that Jesus is the FIRST, greatest apostle. He is the source and foundational of ALL following apostles. His apostleship means “Mission Accomplished.” (He shouted this on the cross ‘it is finished.’)

He is also the High Priest (par excellence) – he was fully God and fully Man.

Jesus is the ONLY person through whom God speaks to man; and man can approach God (Jesus is the bridge / mediator).

Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he is always interceding for them.”

Jesus is the representative of the Trinity God in meeting man. Also, he is the representative of ALL human beings in meeting God.

He is the bridge between God and man.

v. 2-6

“2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, *testifying* [this is the real reason Moses was considered a great man before God] to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

The logic:

  • Moses is a house? Jesus is the builder.
  • Moses is a servant? Jesus is the son.

What a difference.

The real spiritual, eternal reason why Moses was accepted by God as “great” was that he was faithful to his task – given by God.

The reality of Moses was that he was faithful in his mission – to testify about Jesus. What a great secret / mystery from the perspective of God.

In John, Jesus evangelized a man named Philip and when he met him he said, “Follow me.” After being evangelized, the first thing Philip did was to evangelize others. Immediately, he met his friend Nathaniel and said, “Come and see! I have found the One whom Moses wrote about in the Law! He is Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.”

That’s why Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” – because Moses wrote about Jesus.

Jesus himself testified that Moses wrote the 5 books about him.

That’s why, whenever I preach, I should focus on Jesus. If you believe my sermon, you will believe in Christ as Savior and Lord because I focus on Christ.

We are called as heavenly, holy people and someday we will leave this world and live with him.

The greatest and eternal legacy we can leave behind on earth is to testify about Christ.

Last sentence: are you saved?

Remember, very practically,

To BE saved, yet NOT to proclaim Christ as Savior is impossible – because salvation has such a powerful power.

God bless your thoughts, mouth, hands, feet, interests, purpose in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 19 / 2018
  • Comments Off on What a Transformation! (2) (Acts 9:19-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What a Transformation! (2) (Acts 9:19-31)

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What a Transformation! (2)

Acts 9:19-31

Galatians 1:15-21

Acts 9:19-31

18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.


Galatians 1:15-21

15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.


What a transformation!

  • The leader became a follower.
  • Persecutor became persecuted.
  • He was a hunter of the saved, but became a hunter of the lost.
  • His physical eyes were closed for three days, but spiritual eyes were opened for eternity.
  • He was a wild bull, but became like a docile lamb to preach the gospel as far as possible.
  • He started to Damascus breathing out murderous threats, but surrendered in humility in Damascus.
  • Paul’s mindset / belief set were turned completely 180 degrees upside-down.
  • Up to then he had been doing what he wanted, what his own will commanded. But from then on, he must do what Christ commanded.

We must understand, if we’re living a Christian life, it means doing what Christ wants us to do. A Christian is a man who stops doing what he wants and does what Christ wants.

v. 19-22

“19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”

If we want to know the chronology of the whole period of Paul’s whole conversion, we must also read Paul’s own account of the matter.

Galatians 1:15-21

When we put these two accounts together, the chain of events runs like this:

  1. Paul is converted on the Damascus road.
  2. He preaches immediately in Damascus.
  3. He goes away to Arabia, the desert.
  4. He returns to Damascus and preaches there again.
  5. After three years, he goes to Jerusalem.
  6. He escapes to Caesarea.
  7. He returns to Syria and Cilicia. (southern Turkey)

We can see Paul began with 2 important things:

1. Immediately witnessed for Christ in Damascus.

At that time, there were many Jews in Damascus – so many synagogues there. It was in those very synagogues where Paul raised up his voice for Christ.

This was boldness, fearless, moral courage. The same synagogues he preached the gospel – were the same synagogues where he had been going to persecute the believers. It would have been much easier to start his Christian life somewhere he wasn’t well known.

“I’m a changed man!”

Those who know me / you best should know that.

“I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

2. Commune alone with God

Not mentioned in Acts, but let me share with you. We can get a hint from Galatians. After that, he went to Arabia (the lonely, isolated desert).

Into Paul’s life had come a life-shattering change, so he had to be alone with God for a time. Before him stretched a new life, so he needed:

  1. Guidance
  2. Strength

For these things, he went to Arabia to be alone with God. Also, he needed time to know three things (we can check ourselves on these as well – are we clear on these?)

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?
  2. Who am I?
  3. What shall I do then?

These are the very basic, fundamental questions.

  1. Who is Christ (to me)?
  2. Who am I (in Christ)?
  3. What shall I do about it then?

#1: Who is Christ?

Remember, on the way to Damascus, Saul heard a voice and saw a bright light:

  • “Saul, why do you persecute me?”
    • “Who are you, Lord?”
  • “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
    • “What shall I do?”
  • “You will be told what to do.”

So, Paul went to Arabia to learn these three things.

Do you know Christ?

  • Jesus says, “This is eternal life, that you may know God and Jesus whom he sent.”
  • Jesus asked two disciples: “Who am I to you?”
  • Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
  • Jesus: “You are very blessed, but this was revealed to you by my Father in heaven. On this confession, I’ll build my church.”

Those who know Christ have power to open the gates of heaven – to salvation, and also power to bind the workers of Satan.

Phil 3 “Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything in this world a loss for the sake of Christ. I consider everything as rubbish so that I may be found in Christ and know Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.”

Remember, if you know Christ, you will want to know him more.

Do you know Christ?

#2 Who Am I?

Whenever we see Christ truly, we truly see ourselves. This is like when we see our reflection in a mirror.

Isaiah did when he saw the Holy God (chp 6): “Holy, holy, holy, sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The train of his robe filled with the temple.” Immediately he cried in response: “Woe to me, I’m ruined for I’m a man of unclean lips!”

Are your lips clean?

He saw himself as he was – as God saw him.

Paul also needed this same experience – he needed to get over being Saul.

Actually, Saul had two names from the beginning.

Some people think he was Saul in the beginning, then converted, and he changed his name to Paul.

False.

  • Saul is a Hebrew name – after Israel’s first king, Saul.
  • Paul is his Roman name.

Until his conversion, he preferred the name Saul – after Israel’s first king. He was very proud of being a Benjamite (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) – these went into battle in the front lines in history. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees.

  • “Saul” means “asked” – it’s very high.
  • But after his conversion, he preferred the name “Paul” – which means “small.”

He was now yoked to Christ for his service.

Jesus: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, I’m gentle and humble in heart.”

Are you holding Jesus’ yoke on your shoulders?

When God wants us to do an impossible task, God asks an impossible man and crushes him.

God always uses, takes, ourselves to the end of ourselves before he uses us.

But Paul learned who he was in Christ.

Not knowing who Jesus is makes it impossible to know who I am.

#3 What shall I do?

What should you do?

He was chosen – a chosen instrument of God to be a mighty hunter, missionary, apologist. But – he would not only climb mountains, but also endure pain. When Christ called him, he said to him (through Ananias), “I will show you how much you must suffer for my name.”

  • When Jesus called Paul, he did not say, “You must know how blessed you are.”
  • Rather, he said, “I will show you how much you must suffer for my name.”

Paul was prepared for powerful, effective service through the time he spent alone with God in Arabia.

Also, today is the same.

If we want to serve Christ, we need some time to be alone with him. God may not ask us to seclude ourselves for several years, nor even several months, but we need time with Christ – one on one.

Moses also spent 40 years learning to think he was “somebody” – but then spent another 40 years learning who he REALLY was. Only after that, could he serve Christ effectively.

Even Christ spent at least 18 years preparing for the 3 years of his ministry.

  • Also, at the beginning of his ministry, he spent 40 days and nights alone in the desert with God.
  • Moses was also alone with God in the desert.
  • Paul also went to the desert to be with God.

We need to retreat to be with God daily – to have communication with him, to be prepared by him, to have his purposes in us.

We can, yes, immediately be saved, but preparation for ministry never happens overnight. God is never in a hurry. He is building us for eternity.

Remember:

  1. Damascus
  2. Desert (Arabia)
  3. Damascus (3 years) – but the response of the Jews was not good

v. 23-25

“23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.”

The Jews even set a guard on the gate lest Paul should escape them. At that time, the Asian cities were walled cities. Those walls were open wide enough for chariots to be driven around the top of them. On the walls there were houses whose windows opened over the walls. And in the dead of night, Paul was taken into one of those houses and let down with a rope in a basket – and smuggled out of Damascus. Then, he began his journey to Jerusalem.

This is only the gateway of his adventures for Christ – but he is already escaping by the skin of his teeth. This is a witness of his courage.

He must have seen the great gatherings against him in the synagogues. He had also seen what had happened to Stephen years ago. And he knew what he himself had intended to do to the Christians. So, he knew well that the Christian life is not a “safe” life in this world.

He knew through his own observations and experiences that a Christian’s life is not easy, not “safe.”

A wolf will never attack a painted sheep.

What idea can you get from this sentence?

Don’t be fake. Counterfeit Christianity is always “safe” in this world, but real Christianity is in danger in this world.

To suffer for Christ is certain proof that others think we really matter.

v. 26-31

“26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

From Damascus, he went to Jerusalem. When he arrived, he found himself regarded with grave doubt and suspicion. How could it be otherwise? They did not believe that Paul became a real Christian. This is natural – from a human perspective.

In this same city, several years ago, Saul had dragged men and women from the church here to prison.

But, we can see how certain people help Paul at certain points in his ministry.

Yes, we also were saved by grace through faith in Christ, but through our faith journey, whether we know it or not, there were several people who helped us grow in faith. Also, we can help others grow in faith.

  1. Stephen helped Paul grow in faith. When Saul was an enemy of the church, Stephen helped with his message and loving, interceding prayer, and death. He gave a great impact to Saul.
  2. Ananias also helped Paul very much when he was in great confusion and bewilderment. He came kindly and said, “Brother Paul, the Lord has sent me to you.”
  3. Barnabas helped with encouragement and confidence. When everyone else was afraid of Paul – doubting him – Barnabas took him by the hand and stood before the apostles with him. How beautiful is the ministry of Barnabas?
    • Giving a word of encouragement,
    • reconciling believers with other believers,
    • taking a risk for Christ in relationships,
    • promoting the ministry of others,
    • giving encouragement,
    • rejoicing in others’ successes.

Even today, God mightily uses men and women like you, like us. We need men and women like Barnabas today.

Barnabas insisted on believing the best of others. When others suspected Paul of being a spy, Barnabas insisted on believing he was a real Christian. Even today, there are two kinds of men.

  1. Those who think the best of others
  2. Those who think the worst of others

Which side are you?

Do you think the best / worst of others?

1 Cor 13 “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Nobody is perfect. Yes, including me, we have failed, made mistakes, sinned. If God held our past against us, nobody could come to God. Who could come to God.

“If you confess you sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Are you Christian?

Please, do not condemn others – NEVER condemn others due to their past failures or mistakes.

God receives us as we are today. We can approach him at any time due to what Christ has done for us on the cross.

v. 31

“31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

This was a time of peace, not complacency. They grew spiritually and numerically.

Acts 1:8

  • The door of faith opened to the Jews in chp 2,
  • opened to Samaritans in chp 8, and
  • will open to the Gentiles in chp 10.

Saul has moved out of the scene, and in chp 10, 15, Peter will appear again. Then, Paul will fill the rest of the pages of Acts.

God changes his workmen.

20 years ago, I was not a pastor in AICF. God changes his workmen, but his work goes on and on continually. Today, you and I are blessed and privileged to be a part of that work.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Be faithful to the point of death…

Acts 7:1-60 (Pastor Heo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

He is the first non-apostle:

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

In this sermon, he

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

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

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

Let’s look at each individually (briefly).

Abraham

v. 2-8

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

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

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

Abram is a picture of Jesus Christ.

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

Joseph

v. 9-17

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

[Read to here]

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

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

Jesus is the eternal Savior and forgiver of all sins.

Moses

v. 18-44

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

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

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

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

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

Moses prophesied Jesus’ coming:

Deuteronomy 18:15 quoted in this passage:

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua

v. 45

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

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

David & Solomon

v. 46-50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climax (all OT prophets and Jesus Messiah)

v. 51-52

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

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

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

His sermon vindicated himself and convicted his hearers.

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

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

Conclusion

v. 59-60

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

The lesson given to us:

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

Here are 2 points.

#1 For Stephen himself = coronation (crown)

the meaning of his name actually is “crown”

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen had 5 holy qualities:

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

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

#2 For Israel = condemnation (judgment)

This was Israel’s 3rd murder.

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

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

Bible promised in Rev 2:10:

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

Can you?

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 03 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)

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The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (2)

Acts 3:12-26 (Pastor Heo)

12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’

24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”


In this book Acts, there are 14 sermons by 4 preachers.

  • 6 from Peter,
  • 6 from Paul,
  • 1 from Stephen,
  • 1 from James.

Last Sunday, we saw Pentecost. So many people gathered in Jerusalem at that time, and the HS came down. And about 3,000 people were added to the church that day.

At this time, during the time of prayer, at the temple, Peter and John healed a lame man. So many people saw it and rushed to them to see how this was possible. This setting gave Peter another opportunity to preach the gospel.

Just like the first sermon, this one is:

  1. Full of the HS
  2. Full of the Word of God
  3. Focused on Jesus

v. 12-16

“12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 *By faith in the name of Jesus*, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

First, the final purpose of this miracle = to bring glory to Christ. v.13 makes this clear. The final purpose was not to heal this man and make him strong, but to bring glory to Christ.

Also, the crucifixion is not only for the sins of the whole world, but also the greatest crime in human history. This is the meeting of God’s absolute justice and unconditional love. This is also the meeting place of God’s mercy and man’s rebellion.

The resurrection is proof that Jesus is indestructible and Lord of life and death. This is ironic – he gave life, they killed the author of life. But this – the resurrection – is final proof that Jesus is God.

We have no power – but we may be a channel of the power of the risen Christ. As long as we think only of what we can do and be, there is only failure and fear. But when we think of “not I but Christ in me” (Gal 2:20) there is the power of Christ in me.

So, how can we be channels of this power of Christ? By believing and using the name of Christ.

Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ” in his first sermon. In this sermon also, “silver and gold I have not, but I will give what I have – in the name of Christ, stand up and walk.”

What does a name mean / carry with it? It carries with it the full authority of the one to whom it belongs.

Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”

Let me introduce some of the names of Christ. (The Bible is full of names of Christ.)

  • Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”
  • “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I with them.”
  • Luke “Forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations in the name of Christ.”
  • John “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
  • Jesus “I will do whatever you ask in my name.” (in the book of John 4 times)
  • “The Father will send the Counselor (Holy Spirit) in my name.”
  • John: The Bible is written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we may have life in his name.
  • Acts: “Repent and be baptized every one of you and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Peter “Repentance and forgiveness will be given to you in his name… There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • Joel, Acts, Romans: “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • Phil 2:9-10 “Therefore, God super-exalted Jesus Christ and gave him the name that is above every name – that at his name every knee should bow, in / on / under the earth.”
  • Col 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether word or deed, eat or drink, do it all in the name of Christ – giving thanks to God through him.”
  • 1 John 3:15 “I write this book so that you may know that you have eternal life in the name of Christ.”

Last Sunday, I encouraged / challenged you: we cannot give what we do not have. We can give only what we have. If you have the name of Christ really in you, you can give to this world – healing to those who need it, salvation to those who need it, peace to those who need it, life solutions to those who need them. This is the power of the name of Christ.

God bless us so that we may believe and enjoy and use this name.

v. 17

“”Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”

They crucified the Author of Life in ignorance (they didn’t realize what they were doing).

In the history of Israel, the Jews had NEVER expected a “suffering Messiah” – but had anticipated a “super hero Messiah” – politically, physically, etc strong. So, when Christ came as a carpenter and died on the cross, they missed it.

In the OT, there is a difference between deliberate and unintentional sins.

  • If someone sinned deliberately, he was cut off from the tribe / God, etc.
  • But if it was unintentional, he was given an opportunity to repent.

Intentionality does not mitigate guilt, but changes the circumstances.

In this case, the people committed sin unintentionally – so there was not immediate condemnation, but rather the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness, judgment, etc and call all men to repentance.

Remember, nowadays in our times, because the HS came and is convicting us of sin, we have no more opportunity to say, “I rejected Christ in ignorance.” – The HS is witnessing, convicting, testifying about Christ.

Romans 1:18-20 “We have no more excuse…”

Like Peter’s 1st sermon, this second one is full of the Word of God (OT).

Peter’s 1st sermon: quoted Joel and Psalms

v. 18-24

“18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

The point: even the OT is full of Jesus’ story. From Genesis to Malachi – 39 books – are full of Jesus’ story.

Ex: introduces Moses, Samuel, and all the prophets. Next verse we will read v. 25: Abraham as well

Moses

v. 22 ” ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'”

This is foreshadowing Christ and quoted from Deuteronomy 18:15, 18:18 (word-for-word quotations).

Moses prophesied the Messiah.

Jesus says in John, “If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me, because Moses wrote about me.”

Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible).

When Philip found Nathaniel he said, “We have found the one Moses wrote about.”

Also, Hebrews 11:26 (the faith chapter) – in the human calendar, Moses lived 1500 years before Christ. But in Hebrews it says, “Moses considered all this pain, suffering, etc for Christ more than all the treasures in Egypt.”

Samuel

v. 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

Samuel was the first in the succession of the prophets – he anointed David as king and spoke clearly of the establishment of David’s kingdom. “God will establish the throne of David FOREVER.” (2 Samuel)

Is there actually the physical, human throne of David today? No. But the king is Christ. This was a prophecy of the Messiah to come. “All the prophets” testified about this. “That everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

v. 19 “Repent, then, and turn to God,”

Peter also mentioned repentance in his first sermon. This is a change of mind about sin and reorientation of the self toward God.

John the Baptist also prepared the way for Christ by preaching the message of repentance. This is acknowledging person sin and turning from it TO God.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we repent, God promises to wipe out our sins and also to bring spiritual refreshment.

Yes, at first, repentance seems painful – because it is hard to give up some sins – but God will give us a better way. Do you feel a need to be refreshed? Forgiveness is available for everybody today at the foot of the cross.

1 John 1:7 “The blood of Christ purifies us from all sin.”

v. 22

“‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; [we] must listen to everything he tells you.”

This is a very serious question. Are you listening to everything Jesus is telling you? Even at the Transfiguration (mountain), God pointed at Christ and said, “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased, LISTEN to him.”

Question: What is your posture when the Word of God is preached?

  • Do you HEAR it only? Coming in one ear and out the other?
  • Or do you listen with INTENTION of being a DOER of the Word of God.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” – and change the way you live.

Please listen (and obey) every word in the Word of God.

v. 25

“And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring [seed] all peoples on earth will be blessed.'”

“offspring” = “seed”

There is another amazing story:

Yes, Abraham lived 2,000 years before Christ – he lived FOR Christ and testified about Christ through his life and story.

  • One day (Genesis 12:2-3), God called Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation – and I will bless you. You will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you – and ALL peoples on earth will be blessed (saved) through you.”
  • Genesis 22:18, 26:4 “Through your seed, all nations on earth will be blessed.”

The point is: seed (singular – not plural). There is only ONE seed.

Gal 3:14-16 makes it clear: This seed is Jesus Christ.

This is very important.

Gal 3:14-16

“14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. … 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”

  • “Who is Christ!”
  • “The conclusion is Christ!”

v. 26

“When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.””

God sent Christ to bless us, not curse us. God is good all the time, but Satan tempts us all the time about God’s goodness and faithfulness. Please do not allow Satan to tempt us of this.

  • John 3:16.
  • John 3:17 “God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is the same yesterday, today, forever. He is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine.

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Saving Faith leads to “God sent” Faith

Romans 10:13-21 (Pastor Heo)

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


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

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

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

This Bible is the same book –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 13-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story of Joseph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 16-17

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

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

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

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

These are all fulfilled in the NT

Summary of the fulfillment of these things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready? Ok, go!

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

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

#1 Bible (first character) –

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

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

#2 Father God

His main ministry is to testify about his son

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

#3 Holy Spirit

The key mission is to witness about Christ.

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

#4 Abraham

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

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

#5 Moses

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

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

#6 David

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

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

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

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

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

#7 All prophets

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

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

This is the end of the summary of the OT.

#8 (NT) John the Baptist

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

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

#9 All apostles (representative: Peter)

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

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

#10 Paul

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

#11 The Church

No question – the church is the body of Christ.

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

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

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

#12 YOU (Holy-spirit filled believers)

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

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

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

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

This is evidence of being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has a Purpose for You!

Romans 9:19-24 (Pastor Heo)

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


God has absolute sovereignty.

Last week we saw that:

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

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

God’s sovereign will seems to create a problem.

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

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

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

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

These are very serious questions.

Let us pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has Absolute Sovereignty

Romans 9:1-18 (Pastor Heo)

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

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

God’s Sovereign Choice

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

8:37-39

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul’s concern for Israel

v. 1-3

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

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

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

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

Remember chp 8?

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

Now, chp 9

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

There is a similar prayer in Exodus 32 –

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

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

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

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

This is a true heart of love.

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

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

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

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

The Election of Israel

v. 4-5

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

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

Key Point:

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

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

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

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

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

Question today:

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

Ans:

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

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

God’s absolute sovereignty / redemptive will in choosing man

v. 6-10

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

What does this mean?

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

There is a difference between:

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s purpose in Election

v. 11-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

“God has absolute sovereignty” He is God.

v. 14-18

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

Why? Because he is God.

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

God is God.

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

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

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

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

Paul quoted Exodus 33.

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

In this passage, Paul is using two examples:

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

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

The hardening of Pharaoh:

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

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

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

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

God’s faithfulness is still unchangeable.

Let’s pray.

 

  • Oct 11 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Deuteronomy: Remember – Obedience Brings Blessings & Disobedience Brings Punishment (1:1-46, 10:12-13, 30:19-20)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Deuteronomy: Remember – Obedience Brings Blessings & Disobedience Brings Punishment (1:1-46, 10:12-13, 30:19-20)


10.14.2015

10.11.2015-PHeo-update

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