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  • Sep 29 / 2019
  • Comments Off on True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles

Hebrews 6:7-12 (Pastor Heo)

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.


Last Sunday, I shared hermeneutics – right teaching, right interpretation, makes right Christians.

  • 1 John “If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you.”
  • Later in the same book “He who does what is sinful is of the devil. No one who is of God, sins.”

These two verses do not contradict each other. They support each other.

This means: we are sinless while we remain in God’s Word – but it is also possible for Christians to sin continually and deliberately. It is also possible for non-Christians to seem like true Christians for a time, but not to the End.

Point #1: Fruitfulness

We must produce fruit if we are born-again Christians.

v. 7-8

“7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

The real seed given care by the farmer and planted on fertile soil will produce bountiful crops. In this verse, the “seed” is the Word of God…

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus says, there’s only one kind of seed = “gospel”, but there are 4 kinds of soil = “hearts”.

The first three soils did not produce a crop.

  1. Hard (doesn’t understand the Word – immediately, the Word is snatched away)
  2. Rocky (the Word is received with joy, but half understood, no root, no faith – so when trouble comes, he falls away quickly)
  3. Thorny (infested – receives the Word, but mixed with the worries of this world, so they choke his faith out and makes it unfruitful)
  4. Good soil (receives the Word with faith, understands it, applies it to his life, obeys it, and produces fruit – authentic and living faith produces visible fruit)

Yes, our faith is invisible, but produces visible fruit.

Jesus in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, “Like this, by their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes? Like this, bad trees bear bad fruit, good trees bear good fruit. So then, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also like this, we will be recognized in the eyes of God by our fruit. How? Why? Because we have salvation – “found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)

v. 9

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.”

Keywords:

confident, assurance, salvation, better things

All things that accompany salvation are MUCH better than things we can get in this (material) world. In our inner and outer lives – visible and invisible lives.

Inwardly

The things that belong to salvation are evidenced by the HS as he testifies. Are you feeling the witness of the HS in you? He continually testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. Also, we have subjective voices inside that authenticates our standing with our God. One evidence = the sublimely conversive desire to converse with God as Father.

“You did not receive a spirit of fear, but a spirit of sonship and by him we cry, ‘Abba, father!'” This displays very close intimacy with God.

At the very root of this is the inner assurance that we are totally forgiven. We are reconciled to God and have the inner peace of God through Christ (supernatural and eternal).

John: “Peace, I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

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

Outwardly

The things that belong to salvation are witnessed to by the characteristics of our character:

  1. True light
  2. Forgiving spirit
  3. generous heart
  4. truthful tongue

Authentic Christian heart produces authentic Christian character.

Like this, when the HS whispers “you are the child of God”, when we have a sense of inner peace, when our character has grown spiritually by the help and guidance of Christ, we can be confident of our spiritual standing.

If we are really born-again Christians, we need to know HOW our lifestyle should be. So the next verse teaches us this.

v. 10

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

We can see how our lifestyles should be as real born-again Christians.

God is just / right / righteous judge (Romans 14 “We all will stand before God’s Judgment Seat”) – individually, personally, we will all give an account of ourselves before God. Remember, he will never forget how hard we have worked for him, and his glory.

Sometimes we want to be remembered by others. But we must know that man’s remembrance of us is temporary – but God’s remembrance of us is eternal. Reward / inheritance of man is temporary, from God is eternal.

True salvation must change our lifestyles.

God never overlooks nor forgets our hard work for him. So we must continue to work wholeheartedly for him. So our service and caring for others are shown to him.

This doing good for others for his glory and his kingdom is not a performance, but a lifestyle. There’s a good example to show this lesson:

At the last Judgment Day, the King says to the saved on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, and receive your inheritance.” The Lord says to them, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25:35) They say, “When?” He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”

This is a very interesting, but meaningful story. It means that God remembers something about us that we do not remember.

Why do they not remember what they did? Because this was their lifestyle.

However, if this helping, serving, caring was an event, they would remember. But, as a part of their natural lifestyles, they do not remember.

  • So, what you have done without remembrance IS YOU – your lifestyle.
  • If you remember your deeds, this is not YOU – it is a performance, an event.

“When you give to the needy, do not let your right hand know what the left is doing…”

This means, caring, loving, serving should be our lifestyle – just like breathing. Can you count how many times you breathe in a day? No.

So, our caring lifestyle for others is loving God – because he created all human beings.

We must recognize that, generally speaking, God is father even to unbelievers – and potential “Father”.

  1. Be diligent! (v. 11)
  2. Do not be lazy! (v. 12)

v. 11-12

“We want each of you to show this same *diligence* to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Matt 24:13 “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

This does not mean that you must stand firm to the end in order to be saved, but rather it means that he who is REALLY saved is SURE to stand firm to the end.

These verses encourage us:

Avoid laziness, sloth, sluggishness.

Some people think: laziness is a matter of character / style / disposition. But this is a misunderstanding of laziness. Laziness is a terrible sin. It is wickedness.

Matt 25: The parable of the Talents.

One man got 1 talent, one 5, one 10. The man with 1 did nothing, he hid it. Jesus said, “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be thrown out into the darkness.”

What made him lazy? We must know the root of this attitude.

This servant who was lazy said, “Lord, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I hid the talent underground. See, here is the talent belonging to you.”

From this story, we can understand that laziness is misunderstanding about God – doubt about God. The root of laziness is faithlessness, no hope, no expectation, no grace, no love.

Laziness results from unbelief and results in condemnation. It is evidence of a graceless life.

Is there the grace of God in you? Are you under the grace of God? Are you assured of God’s grace at work in you?

1 Cor 15:58 (last verse of this resurrection chapter): “Therefore, my dear friends, let nothing move you, but always give your whole life fully / wholly to the work of God because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Paul “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” If we are real Christians, we should also be able to confess this. “By the grace of God, I am who I am.” (memorize this). Do you agree? Up to now in your life?

It means: “I confess, it is only God who did all things in my life up to now.”

  • And the next sentence “…I am what I am…”
  • Paul did NOT say “… so I did not work hard.”
  • Rather, Paul confessed, “… so I worked HARDER than all the other people.”

It means diligence is a sign that the grace of God is at work, actively, powerfully in you.

  • Laziness is a sign that there is no grace in my life.
  • Perseverance in loving service is clear evidence of hope.

Shall we say together: “…in order to make your hope sure.”

“Hope makes all the difference.”

The gospel is FULL of hope because it is the good news of great joy for ALL the people (young, old, intro/extroverted, etc). All people are invited into the hope of Christ. If you set your life in the hope of Christ, tomorrow offers huge opportunities – and Jesus has offered the hope – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Next time, let’s continue in detail with God’s Promise.

  • “God bless you with hope.”
  • “Put your hope in Jesus Christ.” (Really?)

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 07 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Foolish or Wise? (Matthew 25:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Foolish or Wise? (Matthew 25:1-13)

06.07.2015

06.07.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

Foolish or Wise?

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Matthew 25:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 

9 ” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.


 

We must be watchful, vigilant.

As we know, our Lord is the greatest story teller, this is one of the last stories he told before his crucifixion. In this chapter, he tells 3 stories:

  1. The 10 Virgins
  2. The Talents
  3. The Sheep and the Gold?

Jesus is COMING – this is certain. Surely, suddenly, unexpectedly, he will come. How is he coming?

  1. Bridegroom
  2. Lord and Master
  3. King and Judge

These three stories clarify further what it means to be vigilant and ready for his return.

The emphasis:

  1. Everyone is responsible for his OWN spiritual condition. How is your personal spiritual condition?
  2. The need to use WELL what God has entrusted us with – use your gifts and talents well for his kingdom.
  3. The importance of serving others in need.

No one parable by itself completely describes our preparation – each one presents one part of our preparation.

This is the first Parable – verse-by-verse.

This parable of the wedding shows the need for readiness. In that time, the wedding customs differed between different cities, but EVERY wedding included a ceremony of the bridegroom before the house of the bride.

Every wedding had a celebration and party after dark. The bride would be accompanied with lamps to the bridegroom’s house for this feast. In this parable, the virgins are unmarried bridesmaids. They were going out to receive the bridegroom who was coming to the bride’s house to join this procession back to his house for the wedding feast. All this happened after dark. At that time, there were no street lights, so lamps were important to light the way (torches). So, everybody was required to carry his/her own torch at that time. People without lamps were considered party crashers – uninvited guests.

5 were foolish, 5 were wise – are you foolish or wise?

  • Foolish = lamps but no oil = unprepared – if their lamps were going low, they could not feed the fire further
  • Wise = lamps + jars of oil = prepared – they could keep their lights on ALL night
  • Foolish = unprepared
  • Wise = prepared

In this case, it does not mean 1/2 of the world will be saved and half will not, it merely clarifies that there are TWO categories – believers in Christ (saved), or non-believers (lost)

v. 5-7

During the long wait, all the virgins became drowsy and fell asleep. But, this was not criticized because both the wise and foolish slept together. “Sleep” merely means they waited a LOOOOONG time – (yes, the Second Coming of Christ will be a LONGER wait than anyone expected). The difference is that one group has prepared, made preparations and the other group has not.

Suddenly, midnight, the cry! “He’s here!”

The torches were usually made with rags soaked in oil.

  • Foolish = realized that their torches were going to burn out and realized that they needed more oil to raise their lamps higher – they asked the wise
  • Wise = “No” they didn’t have enough to share – this is not selfishness, rather a simple realization that if they were to share, ALL torches would become weak and they wouldn’t have enough light for the wedding procession.

This suggestion to go to the dealer to buy oil was unusual. If there was a small village or town, the oil would be sold until midnight.

Jesus continued the story…

While the foolish were off preparing for his arrival, the bridegroom already came and the door was shut.

The central focus of this parable is: “and then the door was shut…”

Jesus point is: “to be late, not ready at the right time = to lose ALL, to miss ALL completely…”

Yes, they came later with much oil and said, “Lord, Lord!” but he said, “Truly, I say to you, ‘I don’t know you.’” Those who are outside will have no more opportunity to be let in. And you will not know the day nor the hour. So, his true followers must be ready and keep watch – because he will come when we least expect. Yes, he will delay longer than we wish or expect.

So, what lesson can we get? There are TWO meanings: Local, immediate – wide, universal.

  1. 1. Local, immediate meaning = directed against Israel. They were the chosen people of God, so their whole lives should have been preparing for Jesus’ first arrival – but they were totally unprepared and therefore shut out until today. The unpreparedness of Israel is the tragedy of the Jews until today.
  2. 2. Wide, universal meaning = TWO meanings

Universal meaning #1

1. We must remember there are certain things we cannot obtain/prepare at the last minute. Yes, it is TOO late for a student to prepare for an exam on the day of the exam. It is too late to obtain a skill or character trait if we already don’t possess it, when a certain task demands that from us. It is too late to be saved if we are not already saved when Jesus comes again or when we leave this world.

TOO LATE is the greatest tragedy. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Coming of the Son of Man.” Up to the day Noah entered the ark, they never knew what would happen to them until the flood came to destroy them all – this is how it will be in the Second Coming of Jesus. Yes, he will come SO suddenly, quickly, in the blink of an eye that there will be NO CHANCE for last minute repenting/bargaining. So, we must ask TODAY to follow Christ – to serve him more diligently and sincerely.

Universal meaning #2

2. We must remember there are certain things that we cannot borrow/prepare at the last minute. Yes, we can borrow money from others, but not character. We can borrow information but not health. We can borrow ideas and knowledge but not a relationship with God. Our personal relationship with God must be OUR personal relationship with God – not someone else’s. No one can rely on anyone else.

Yes, we are one family in Christ so we can/must edify, build up, love and serve each other, but we can never lend or borrow our personal relationship with God for someone’s salvation.

Another point:

There are foolish and wise – but this does not say “the wise are sitting in church” or “the foolish are sitting outside the church” – actually, they are fully MIXED together.

They were virgins, bridesmaids, wearing a uniform, wanting to meet the bridegroom earnestly, sincerely – both wanted to go – both took their lamps. In these days, we may not be able to distinguish the foolish from the wise in the same church, the same place, doing the same thing.

There is only ONE (not two) difference between the foolish and the wise. This ONE difference makes ALL the difference:

OIL

Crucial point: do you have your oil in your lamps? Do you have oil in your lamps? Oil is invisible, lamp is visible. Oil is contents, lamp is container.

Oil may be many things, but according to Jesus’ teaching – OIL = the Holy Spirit + the Word of God. Without these it is impossible to have REAL salvation, REAL regeneration, REAL rebirth. (John 3? Nicodemus – “unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”)

Bible says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is my Lord’ except by the ministry and empowering of the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, only ONE material – OIL – makes ALL the difference. Outwardly, oil looks very simple – not complicated. Then, in oil there is every element needed to make fire burning continually. Yes, our faith, our belief and confession, “Jesus is my Savior and Lord and King” – this is short and simple – very easy to say right? But if we truly believe and confess from our hearts, in this one sentence (let’s say it together)

“Jesus is my Savior, Lord, King, and God”

In this one simple sentence there is ALL that is needed for our salvation, regeneration, and blessing in this life and the life to come.

Jesus “If anyone hears my Word and obeys it, he is a wise man who built his house upon the ROCK – the winds came and the rains beat down and the house stood. But anyone who hears my Word and does NOT obey it, is like a man who built his house on the sand – the winds came, the rains beat down and the house FELL with a terrible CRASH.”

Are you wise or foolish? Be watchful, waitful, careful. Jesus is coming all of a sudden in the blink of an eye. Are you ready to receive Jesus Christ? If we are not ready today, it may be too late.

Let’s pray.

  • May 24 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Who is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Who is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)

05.24.2015

05.24.2015-PBrian

Who is My Neighbor? Sermon Notes

Luke 10:25-37 (Pastor Brian)

Download notes in a .RTF file

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

10:25-28pp — Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise…”

This is a very familiar Scripture, but it’s interesting that Jesus said the final statement in the Continuous Present tense – this is something we should be doing continually – it’s not easy.

When I grew up, we used to go to Saturday matinees (movie – jo-jo ticket price). “When you’ve got friends and neighbors, all the world is a happier place…If you’ve not a penny, and your house may be tumbling down, with your friends and neighbors, you’re the richest man in town.” (song from one movie) Express your troubles to your friends and neighbors and it makes it easier.

In Canada, there was a show about a man (Mr. Rodgers) who always ended the show with the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

This Pharisee here was trying to discredit Jesus – testing him with difficult questions. He didn’t care about the law, justice, morality, truth, etc, they (Pharisees) just wanted to trap him. (Remember the woman caught in adultery from last week? – Jesus bent down and started writing – their sins? commandments? – on the ground – and they all left – “neither do I condemn you, go and sin NO MORE.”)

This kind of thing is also happening here with this lawyer who is questioning Jesus. “What should I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Love God – love others” – the entire commandments are summed up in these two.

“You are right” said Jesus “you know it, now DO it and you will live.”

Remember James 1:22? “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.”

Jesus says, “Do this and you will live.” Is this salvation by works? No. Then what? Ray Steadman “he was merely pointing out that if you TRULY loved God and others PERFECTLY, you’d have eternal life – God demands perfection – every second of every day – from the moment you’re born until your final breath – and also loving others all the time, perfectly.”

Jesus is really telling the man, “Heaven bound? Be perfect and you’ll make it.”

Yet, we’re all sinners, and God doesn’t “grade on the curve.”

Here, the lawyer wants to change the debate, he wanted to “justify himself” so he asked, “so then… who is my neighbor?” To “justify” himself, he’s seeking to declare himself righteous. (God makes righteous those he justifies – but it’s only in HIM that we have eternal life). Here, it’s slightly different – he wants to show that he’s RIGHT in doing what he’s doing.

“Who IS my neighbor?” was the question, not “What can I do for him?” or “How can I love him?” He’s a lawyer, so he’s looking for a loophole – to love SOME people and not others.

Spurgeon: “He meant to say, ‘Actually, I have no neighbors – my family is all dead and gone away, and no one is close to me. So, I must be excused from ‘loving’ my neighbors.’”

Think of parents: “Pick up your toys.” “Which?” “ALL.”

Here’s the parable: A man was going down to Jerusalem and was attacked by robbers, who stripped him and beat him half to death and robbed him. A priest and Levite both found him and just passed him by – but a Samaritan found him and took pity on him and took him to an inn to be cared for and paid for it all – including the promise for reimbursement.

Here, we don’t know what man this was who was walking here – Jew? Gentile? Actually, doesn’t matter. He could have been anybody. This, in the first sentence is the beginning of the answer to the question: “Who is my neighbor?” A: “Anybody.”

The priest (like a pastor), and the Levite (perhaps like a deacon) – if ANYBODY would stop and help, it SHOULD be these “church people” yet they just cross the road to the opposite side and pass him by as if they don’t even “see” him.

They may have had good excuses – perhaps they would be “defiled” if they were on the way the temple. Sometimes people could pretend to be injured on the road and waiting in ambush to attack another passersby. But the fact is, they just passed him by.

The Samaritan stopped?? Ewwww~ Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another. Remember John 4, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink – she was shocked “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?” Samaritans were “impure blood” – Jews had intermarried with Gentiles and created the Samaritans. This would have provoked troublesome thoughts among his audience – to hear that the Samaritan stopped for him. Even James and John wanted to call down fire on Samaria when they didn’t let them through the place.

When Jesus revealed that the “hero” was a Samaritan, the people would be shocked. We might say “Shinchonji” went to him and helped him – nevertheless, he went and helped the person. There’s some real meaning here.

If he was taking a chance (is this a trick?) anyway, he took it. And then he ministered first aid. He helped him, bandaged up his wounds and poured him oil and wine and gave him his ride – he inconvenienced himself to help this man. He didn’t even just drop him off at a police station or a hospital, but he took him to an inn to REALLY help him – gave about 2 days wages to care for him and even promised to reimburse the rest.

After giving this story, shocking the audience, Jesus turned to the lawyer and asked, “so, who do YOU think was the ‘neighbor’?” Now, the lawyer is in the trap he’d been setting. The words likely stuck in his own throat as he said them (couldn’t even say “Samaritan”) – “the one who showed mercy.”

Jesus said, “Right, no go and do likewise.”

Now, why would one who’s been given mercy show further mercy? Eph 4:10 “Because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in order that in the coming Ages, he might show us his incredible grace – expressed in Christ – for it is by grace you have been saved and this not of yourselves, this is not works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in his likeness, to do good works that he’s determined for us to do.”

We are not striving to become worthy of God’s gift, he wants to demonstrate God’s kindness and mercy – he is showing something beautiful so that he might show this further in the history of humanity.

Ex: a grandfather is looking and showing his grandchild a trophy case with lots of trophies. See, in the ages to come, God will “show off” these similar kinds of “trophies” of his grace. “This one was a robber, now he’s mine. This one was a prostitute, now she’s with me. That’s what they used to be, look what they are now.” – because of God’s mercy and grace.

Now YOU go and show mercy.

Memorable poem from the Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare) – the lawyer in that one was pleading for the one who has been in need: “The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven on the earth beneath. It blesses him that gives and him that takes.”

God’s mercy is likewise – mercy is not strained, stretched, it’s poured out like spring rain so that we can be SOAKED in it. It blesses he who receives it and the one who gives it.

What is the takeaway?

“It all depends on your outlook.”

  • To thieves: the traveler was a victim to be exploited
  • To the priests: a nuisance to avoid
  • To the Samaritan: a neighbor to help

What Jesus said to the lawyer, he says to us, “From the overflow of the love and mercy of God in you, go and do likewise.” Love God with your whole being and love others as much as you love yourself – actually this “high standard” is really a “mission impossible” because you can’t do this without God’s love and mercy in you.

Yesterday, we noticed loads of “terrible drivers” who’d done “stupid things” and we realized “oops, wait, we aren’t being very ‘neighborly’” – where did all our love go? It was there just a minute ago. This happens throughout life.

Revelation – the Ephesians had been overflowing with love and joy and mercy and Paul praised them for their overflow to their neighbors and everyone else around them. In Revelation, they needed a wakeup call. Rev. 2: 1-7 – the message to the church in Ephesus had unique challenges to follow Christ – it was the home of the emperor’s cult and the worship of the deity Diana. Actually, Paul had gotten in trouble for preaching this there at that time.

Demetrius protested against Paul and he and his followers were dragged into the town hall and everything was in an uproar – but the town clerk calmed them and they were saved from a worse fate by the providence of God and Paul was able to continue his journey.

From the writings in Acts and others, when Jesus speaks to the church in Ephesus, “they had great discernment against false teachers and heresy, but are faulted for having lost their first love” (their zeal and ardor for their salvation – the love of Christ had made them alive in Christ – they’d been so overjoyed and that joy overflowed to the culture around them). Jesus (through John) commends them for their ability to detect heresy, but reprimands them for their love for him that’s cooled into “religion” – Jesus warns them that they’re in danger of falling away – “return to me and rekindle the love that’s begun to cool.”

We face the same kinds of difficulties in this modern world. The first love we have been given is love for Christ and others – speaking the truth in love, we will grow up into the head who is Christ.

We must take warning from the letter to the Ephesians concerning Christ from the letter in Revelation to not let that love grow cold.

If you look back to when you first met Christ, there’s nothing you wouldn’t have done to help others and make him known. So, this statement that Jesus said to the lawyer must be in the Present Continual tense – continually help those in need around you.

“He that does my Will will know the truth of my doctrine.” (Christ) – when you DO what he wants, you will KNOW that his truth is true.

This is a lesson that is constantly needed to be heeded by us.

If we see someone in need this week, HELP.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 19 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14)

04.19.2015

04.19.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

Download Notes in a .RTF file

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Wedding Banquet

Matthew 22:1-14 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

22:2-14Ref — Lk 14:16-24

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off–one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”


I hope and bless that we are not only invited but also chosen.

The KOH is in you and you are in the KOH – this is not an empty cliche. This is a wedding banquet – do you like this? This will be so much better than any wedding banquet in this world.

In the KOH, every day, every moment is like a wedding banquet. Rev 17:18-19? “Let us rejoice and give thanks for the wedding of the Lamb – the wedding supper of the Lamb.”

In this passage, there are TWO parables.

  1. v. 1-10
  2. v. 11-14

We can understand their meaning more easily and fully if we look at them separately. The first events are completely in accordance with normal Jewish customs:

When invitations to a feast were sent out, the time was not stated. Only when EVERYTHING was prepared, the servants were sent out again for a final summons. So, in this parable, the king sent his invitation a LONG time ago, but it is not until everything is ready that the final summons was sent out – and finally, the people refused.

In this first parable, we have TWO stories.

  1. Local (Jews) v. 1-10
  2. Global (Gentiles included)

This local meaning is an accusation of the Jews. The invited guests who when the time came, refused to come, stands for the Jews. LONG ago, Israel was invited by God to be his “Chosen People” but when Christ came into the world and they were invited to follow him, they refused contemptuously.

God is also inviting the people to come to his wedding banquet in Acts. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit, this invitation to the KOH is going out on to the Jews (until chapter 7). But the national leaders of Israel rejected this invitation AGAIN and persecuted the church. The rejected this first when they refused to listen to John the Baptist, then rejected it again when they arrested and crucified Jesus, then the same men captured and killed Stephen in Acts 7.

Then God sent other workers in his great patience. The Holy Spirit came upon the early believers and witnessed that Jesus is alive and performed great miracles – proofs that God was at work in and through them. But, they refused the invitation numerous times. Then, with the stoning of Stephen, God’s patience with Israel began to end – even though he delayed the final judgment for almost 40 years more (destruction of the temple).

v. 7 “The king was enraged…” (super angry)

These servants of the king were literally killed by the people (James, Peter, Stephen, etc). And the temple in Jerusalem was literally destroyed in AD 70 – this is the picture of the king in the story burning the city.

Then, God sent his servants out into the streets to get the sinners and the Gentiles (including you and me). This is the LOCAL meaning of this first parable.

What is the universal meaning?

We can see 3 points here:

#1: this invitation of God to the KOH is a feast – an invitation to joy, not to sadness or burden

The Bible says continually, “Be joyous all the time, give thanks in all circumstances” God desires us to be joyful, not sorrowful. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!” – If we reject this invitation of God to his kingdom, we miss JOY. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest – and my joy will be complete in you.” If we reject this invitation, we lose real, endless JOY. Yes, everybody wants joy, but only true joy is in the KOH.

#2: v. 5 – very meaningful even to us today

“But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business.”

They did not go out for immoral adventure or wild carousal. They refused simply for their daily lifestyles. They just wanted to efficiently manage their business lives. Yes, this is not bad, not wicked, sometimes very necessary. But because of this “business” they rejected the KOH.

Remember, if DOING some thing prevents us from coming to the house of God, that thing is wicked, evil in the eyes of God.

How about church? Yes, we may miss church, not for the purpose of sinning, but for the purpose of looking religious. We must be careful because there may be danger, challenge, temptation. It is a matter of what is MORE important in our personal lives.

Please, do not lose the things of eternity to get the things of time. Do not follow the things of temporary and miss the things of eternity.

Col “Since then you have been raised with Jesus Christ, set your hearts on things above… not on earthly things.” Please, do not lose LIFE itself by being too busy with administration, management, govenment of life itself. Do not refuse the KOH to remain on this earth.

#3: This invitation is the invitation of GRACE

Grace is a free gift (v. 8-10)

Are you in the KOH really? Remember if we are really in the KOH already, then regular and faithful participation in Sunday worship is only the STARTING point, not the ending point.

Realize that this invitation is the invitation of grace – people are invited from the highways and byways had no claim on the king – never expected this invitation, and never deserved it. It came to them from nothing other than the generous hospitality of the king. It is the grace that gathers ALL in.

How about our story? Yes, now and here, we are what we are, where we are, by the grace of God – predestined, called, invited, chosen, elected, saved, blessed, justified, sanctified, glorified by the grace of God. The door is open – not only to good men, also to bad men.

The Christian church is (obviously) multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-aged. No nation, nor personality type has a lock on the KOH. Yet, at the same time, we are ONE. Eph 4. We are unity in variety, and variety in unity.

v. 11-14 Second parable

This parable is a very close continuation and amplification of the first parable.

This is the story of one guest who appeared at the ROYAL wedding feast without wearing wedding clothes. This is just common sense – it is unthinkable to go to a wedding ceremony in dirty clothes. If I do this, I insult/despise the bridegroom and bride as hosts.

  1. Local meaning
  2. Universal meaning

1. Local meaning = the king sent the servants out to gather ALL men in. This story told how sinners and Gentiles would be gathered in. The door is opened very widely.

Yes, in this church, the two doors are opened widely – not only to good men, but also to sinners.

But this parable strikes a necessary balance. When we come IN, we must bring LIFE – the life given to them. The door is WIDELY open, yes, but NOT open for sinners to come in and REMAIN a sinner without change. The door is open for sinners to come in and BECOME a saint.

We must become clothed in NEW goodness, new holiness.

2: Global meaning

The WAY in which we come to anything demonstrates the spirit in which we come.

For example, if we go as a guest to a friend’s house, we don’t go in pyjamas (pajamas). It is simply a matter of respect to present ourselves to the friend’s house as neatly as possible. This is the way we outwardly show our respect, esteem, love for our friend.

So it is with the KOH and church. Yes, we know this has nothing to do with our CLOTHES which we wear to church, but rather with the ATTITUDE we take with us to the house of God. These are the “clothes” of expectation, humility, repentance, faith, love, reverence, – the clothes of our attitude when we come to church.

To our sadness, many times we approach God WITHOUT any preparation at all.

If every Christian prepared to enter the house of God with prayer, repentance, humility, then our worship would be worship indeed.

v. 14 “Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

This is very serious.

Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in this world, will he find faith on this earth? Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves – enter through the narrow gate. Many enter through the wide gate that leads to destruction – and only a few find the narrow gate that leads to life.”

This sentence does not mean eternal INsecurity in our salvation – rather, we have TOTAL security ONLY in what Christ has done on the cross for us. We must therefore continue to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling and thanks and worship.” Why? Because God works in you and me to act according to his good will and purpose.

May God bless us that our assurance of salvation is MORE secure on the basis of what Christ has done on the cross for us and in what he is doing in our lives now.

Let’s pray.

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

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


 

— No bulletin today. Computer crashed —


 

Sermon Notes

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The Workers in the Vineyard

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are the lessons?

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

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

GOD (3 attributes)

#1: The balanced comfort of God

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

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

#2: His infinite compassion

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

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

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

#3: His abundant generosity

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

———-

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

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

There are 3 groups of workers in terms of payment:

#1: First-comers

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

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

#2: The middle-comers

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

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

  • Promise-workers

#3: The one-hour workers

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

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

  • Grace-workers

They finally received 12x as much as they deserved.

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

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

Here’s another illustration:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 28 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Taming of the Tongue (James 3:1-12)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Taming of the Tongue (James 3:1-12)

12.28

12.28.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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The Taming of the Tongue

James 3:1-12 (Pastor Brian)

1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongues also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.


 

James has been talking about the importance of works in demonstrating our faith (these are evidence that we ARE saved – but they doesn’t save us in and of itself). We are saved by faith alone through grace alone. But where’s the evidence that you’re saved? Works. (James asserts)

James picks up on the topic of teachers now. This moves into an exhortation to all of us.

The Lord has established his church with a leadership with many responsibilities. (The five-fold ministry: apostles, evangelists, preachers, teachers, prophets) These “job descriptions” are present to help build up Christ’s church.

  1. Prophets speak God’s heart to his people – exhortations, encouragement, challenge.
  2. Evangelists bring in new people, spread the word to unbelievers.
  3. Preachers educate and instruct the church, helping people become mature in the faith.
  4. Apostles establish new works and lead the church into new things.

What happens if you aren’t doing your job? Bad things can happen. You should take your job seriously.

As teachers/preachers, we interpret the Word and tell people how to live out the Word of God. Therefore, we need to be careful to preach the TRUTH. (Paul says, “Entrust these to faithful men who would then teach others.”) – You must be faithful to learn – you can’t teach what you haven’t learned yourself. And all people will one day be accountable for all their words and works in the end.

Jesus told a parable – “blessed is the slave who is found by his master to be [doing all things with integrity] – but if he thinks ‘my master will be a long time in coming’ and starts to [take advantage, take for granted, act without integrity], then his master will come at an unexpected hour and rip him to pieces and hold him accountable for all his evil.”

The servant was to feed the others, but if he is slothful, lazy, gets drunk, beats the others, he will be punished horribly when the master returns. This is a parallel to the stricter punishment that teachers may incur if they “beat” the children of God and don’t feed them. (Remember when Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep”? – this was the “reinstatement” of Peter – Jesus also prayed that his faith would not fail.)

  • Jesus then asked him 3 times, “Do you love me?”
  • Peter said, “Of course, you know all things.”
  • Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

(Remember Peter had previously denied Jesus 3 times, now Jesus is giving him an opportunity to acknowledge his love for him an equal 3 times.)

When we talk about pastors, preachers, teachers, Bible study teachers, cell group leaders, home study leaders, fathers and mothers at home – we all have a greater responsibility as teachers – we all have a responsibility to learn and grow – and we all will be held accountable in the end.

James says, “But not only teachers… consider your tongue.”

  1. The bit and bridle of the horse.
  2. The rudder of a ship.
  3. A spark that starts a forest fire.

Pauline’s story about “Dan” the horse. She was 5, on a horse, the horse walked on, came to a road, stopped, looked both ways, crossed, and went on a bit, turned around, came to the road, stopped, looked both ways, continued on home. She was safe. The horse had been well trained.

This bit is a very tiny part that guides the larger whole.

Incident of Derick Prince – he was in Israel teaching (married a European lady). She’d gone into a small store and was haggling – she didn’t buy anything and left. As she left, she stumbled. The Lord said, “The owner has just cursed you.”

This may seem far-fetched, but your words have power. Emotional power, spiritual power, sometimes physical power.

We must be careful in how we speak and in what we say.

The stumbling is not just a stammering in speech or saying something incorrectly, but we can literally start a fire, poison people, bring bitterness in the heart of another person.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” – chant from childhood

There are 4 headings of speech we must be aware of:

1. Gossip:

The WORST sin in a church – it often “looks” like counseling or “prayer requests”, but it is very common, done often, and may hurt others deeply and permanently.

Paul warned Timothy and Titus saying, “malicious gossips” (deabolos = devil) – When we gossip, it goes like this, “Did you hear…?” “WHA??? No way! Tell me more~~” and we jump on it like a hungry dog.

Don’t do this “devil talk” (deabolos) – gossip the gospel instead.

2. Tearing down/insulting

We are quick to point out the splinter in someone else’s eye, especially when they deserve it!

But we must speak the truth in love, not in criticism. Give a blessing, not evil for evil. (1 Peter 3:8-9)

In everyday life, we tear down politicians, neighbors, co-workers, family, friends we misunderstand. We must repent of this.

3. Profanity – bad language

What does the Scripture say? “Let no unwholesome speech come from your mouth, but only the words that may edify and build up so that it may give grace to those who hear it.” – Unwholesome = “rotten” putrid, not fit for use.

This isn’t only for the 4 letter words.

There are also fart jokes and etc that you don’t need to speak. This will probably require practice. But, “practice makes perfect.”

4. Complaining

Are you cold? Heater’s broken.

  • But this is forbidden in Scripture as well. “So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, humility, kindness, gentleness, bearing with one another and forgiving each other just as the Lord forgave you.”
  • James 5:9 “Do not complain against one another brethren. The Judge himself is standing at the door.”
  • “Do all things without grumbling or complaining so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless.” Those who are blameless before God, forgiven by God, ought not allowed themselves to become ugly and complaining before men.
  • Proverbs “He who restrains his lips is wise.”

But we can’t all take a vow of silence. So, how can we control our tongues? Go to the SOURCE. (heart)

Jesus “Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man, out of his treasure (heart) brings forth good, and the evil man, out of his treasure, brings forth only evil.”

So what should you do? Don’t try to stop your MOUTH. You’ll fail. Start by stopping it in your heart.

1 Corinthians “We take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.”

  1. Are these thoughts from temptation?
  2. Are these thoughts from my flesh?
  3. Are these thoughts from the Holy Spirit?

If it’s building, edifying, uplifting, encouraging, you can use it. The other 4? Avoid at all costs.

In the upcoming New Year, let’s challenge ourselves to make our tongues (hearts) more receptive to God’s inspiration and more edifying to the people around us.

Amen.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 12 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Saving Faith is Confessing Christ (Matthew 16:1-19)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Saving Faith is Confessing Christ (Matthew 16:1-19)

10.12

10.12.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

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Saving Faith is Confessing Christ

Matthew 16:1-19 (Pastor Heo)

The Demand for a Sign

16:1-12pp — Mk 8:11-21

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”Jesus then left them and went away.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s Confession of Christ

16:13-16pp — Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”


 

Jesus taught the disciples about his crucifixion and upcoming death, but they were slow to catch on.

This whole chapter is all about Faith.

4 Kinds of Faith

  1. No Faith (v. 1-4) – Challenging Christ
  2. Little Faith (v. 5-12) –
  3. Saving Faith (v. 13-19/20) – Confessing Christ
  4. Serving Faith (v. 21-28) – Following Christ

Sadducees and Pharisees came together and challenged Christ.

Originally, fundamentally, these two were diametrically opposed – totally different in beliefs, policies, and lifestyles.

  • Pharisees = traditionalists, conservative, legalists, unbelieving religious party looking for self-righteousness
  • Believed in life after death, angel and demons
  • Were waiting and hopeful for the Messiah
  • Sadducees = political, wealthy, small aristocracy, a collaborationist party that cooperated with the Roman govt to keep their wealth
  • Did not
  • Were not

These two groups were so totally different, and yet they united so completely to kill and accuse Jesus Christ.

  • They didn’t lack evidence, but lacked honesty and humility.
  • They were spiritually adulterous and wicked (v. 4)

The sign of Jonah – also previously mentioned in chp 12. In this sign, just as Jonah was 3 days and nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. This is the sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is ENOUGH sign that Jesus is the promised Savior and Lord and King of Kings.

This is ENOUGH sign also for US to believe in Christ.

Parable: Luke 16 – The rich man and the beggar (Lazarus?)

The rich man lived in luxury every day and the beggar laid at his gate. One day, both died. The rich man went to hell. Lazarus went to heaven. This rich man’s name wasn’t written in the Book of Life (so we don’t know it), but Lazarus’ name WAS written there.

The rich man lived on earth for a short time with much – in riches, in luxury. Now, he lives on in hell as a beggar. Lazarus lived on earth for a short time as a beggar, but now lives in heaven in luxury.

The rich man said to Abraham, “Please, send Lazarus to tell my family (5 brothers)!” “No, they have Moses and the Prophets.” “But… if someone comes back from the grave to tell them…” “No, if they didn’t listen to Moses, they won’t listen to Lazarus.”

  1. We have ENOUGH evidence.
  2. We have ENOUGH witnesses.
  3. We have ENOUGH to know.
  • Look around at the houses – you don’t know who built them, but there is some kind of evidence that they WERE built and didn’t just “come to exist.”
  • Look at the sky – at the stars – there is also some evidence that SOMEONE put them there. If they were not put there by a man, then someone wiser than a man must have.
  1. Psalm 119? “The heavens declare the glory of God…”
  2. Romans 1 – ‘Since the beginning of time, God’s power and qualities have been CLEAR and can be understood so that NO ONE can be excused before God.”

#2 – Misunderstanding Christ (Little Faith) – v. 5-12

Spiritual things can be understood by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

“Oh you of little faith… Don’t you remember the feeding of the 5,000 (Jews) and the 4,000 (Gentiles)? I wasn’t talking about bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Jesus left his confrontation with the Ps and Ss and his disciples went with him, but they forgot bread (and worried). Jesus used this opportunity to teach them about the dangers of the Ps and Ss: the “yeast”. Yeast makes bread grow larger and larger. Meaning: Evil influence, evil doctrine.

In the ministry of Jesus on earth, many people misinterpreted the meaning of his words physically, rather than spiritually. Ex: “You must be born again” to Nicodemus. “How is this possible?” Ex 2: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst, it will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – to the Samaritan woman “Yes, sir! Give me this water so that I don’t have to come to this well again!” Ex 3: “Whoever eats my body and blood will be raised by me at the last day.” – to his disciples “How can we eat him???” Maybe turned away at that point and no longer followed.

Misunderstanding produces little faith. (almost non-faith) – Therefore, “be on your guard” – keep Jesus at the center of your faith.

#3: Saving Faith – Confessing Jesus Christ

At least we must reach THIS level of faith

(v. 13-19)

In the New Testament – this is the first place the word “church” appears (referring to Peter and how Jesus will “build my church upon the Rock”)

Jesus took his disciples to the Gentile territory. Sycerea – near Philippi – it was the center for Baal worship and had many idols. Even the Greek god Pan had its shrines here. When Philip became the ruler here, he named the city Philippi.

Jesus asked “Who do men say I am? Who do you say I am?” Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Isaiah – there are similarities

  1. John the Baptist – STRONG messages – about repentance – “You brood of vipers”
  2. Elijah – omnipotent?
  3. Jeremiah – the weeping prophet, also rejected and despised by his own brothers and nation, a man of sorrows and humility and suffering

These answers are all incorrect, this answer cannot save them. “How about you? What do you think?” “Don’t ask me, ‘How about you?’ ask yourself, ‘How about you (me)?’”

Who do people say Jesus is?

We may think this kind of question is silly – but our personal destiny is determined by the answer to this question. The most important question we should ask ourselves throughout our whole lives is “Who is Jesus Christ to me?”

Peter answered: v. 16 “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”

Jesus was pleased and said, “You are blessed.”

Even today, if we confess like this, Jesus will say to us, “You are blessed.”

What is the meaning? Christ (Greek word) = Messiah (Hebrew word) = Anointed One

3 offices were anointed by oil in those days:

  1. Priest (interceding for man to God by prayer),
  2. Prophet (preaching the Word of God),
  3. King (overseeing the people of God and leading them)

All the offices of all the men were merely shadows of the ONE man who would fulfill ALL of them – Jesus. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of God’s self-revelation.

  1. Romans 8 – “He is interceding for us…”
  2. Hebrews 1
  3. Colossians – “All the fullness of the diety in bodily form…”
  4. Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – no one can snatch you out of my hands…”
  5. Jesus says continually (v. 17) – “Blessed are you Simon Peter, for this was not revealed to you by man but by God my Father.”

We don’t learn and understand about Jesus through our own personal investigation – it is only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we can get to know him and believe in him.

“On this Rock, I will build my church.”

Who/what is the Rock? NOT Peter himself.

The Rock = a symbol of God (repeated many times in the OT) – this Rock is Jesus Christ himself and the confession of believers who say “You are the Christ and the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus doesn’t say, “I will build your church” nor “you will build my church” but rather “I will build MY church.” The builder, founder, top-line AND bottom-line of the church (the head pastor) IS Jesus Christ alone. And anyone who confesses Christ as Savior and King is a living STONE that builds HIS church.

What is the church? (this is the first appearance of this word in the NT)

  • Ecclesia – Ec = out of; clesia = congregation/ assembly/ gathering
  • Ecclesia = “calling the people of God OUT of this world to establish the Kingdom of God IN this unholy world”

The gates of Hell (Hades) will never overcome it. (Not Peter, the church). Gates = symbol of power, Hades = symbol of death. This will never overcome the church because JESUS is the holder of the keys and the builder of the church.

“I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” Do you have this key in your pocket?

Jesus (continual truth-teller) says “You have the keys, whatever you bind/loose on earth will be bound/loosed in heaven.”

Today, Jesus is giving this key (the key of salvation) to the church. Jesus died for the church and then trusts the church to open or close the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven. Since his death to his Second Coming = the “Church Age”. During this Church Age, the timeless truth = it is the ONLY church in this age. There are many “institutions” (schools, govts, etc) in this world – but Jesus only died for ONE and only gives the responsibility and power to ONE – the church, his church.

If we confess Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and King “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” then you ARE the church – a member, a living/working stone in this church.

Jesus says, “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven…”

May God bless us with his blessing upon the church.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 27 / 2014
  • Comments Off on How Can We Make Our Old Treasures Into New Ones? (Matthew 13:44-58)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

How Can We Make Our Old Treasures Into New Ones? (Matthew 13:44-58)

07.27

07.27.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

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How Can We Make Our Old Treasures Into New Ones?

Matthew 13:44-58 (Pastor Heo)

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Net

47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. 52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

A Prophet Without Honor

13:54-58pp — Mk 6:1-6

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

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