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  • Oct 06 / 2019
  • Comments Off on From Abraham to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:13-20)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

From Abraham to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:13-20)

Download Notes in a .MD file

From Abraham to Christ Jesus! (Hebrews 6:13-20)

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.


Hebrews is a book of warning AND encouragement. There is a warning not to discourage nor threaten us, but to give us hope in patient faith, continually. Remember the end of last Sunday’s sermon? This book encourages us not to be lazy, but diligent with hope and patience in faith. After giving this encouragement, this passage gives us a sample to imitate: Abraham.

One of the key words here is “promise.” God gave this word continually to Abraham.

Actually God does not need to swear to speak an oath – because he never lies. There is no one greater than God. So what does this mean, God taking an oath by himself? This means this is DOUBLE emphasis of importance.

Also today, Jesus says, “Truly, truly I tell you…” – Jesus doesn’t need to say this actually, because all things he speaks are truth. “I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” So what does this mean? this is Jesus vow / oath to give us double certainty.

This passage is from Abraham to Jesus. Also in Matthew 1 – the genealogy of Jesus, it begins with Abraham and ends with Jesus. So this passage gives us an example to imitate Abraham.

Several times, the Bible mentions:

  • “Abraham is the father of all who believe.”
  • Galatians 3:7 “Those who believe in Jesus are children of Abraham.”
  • Romans “Abraham is the father of all who believe.”

What does this mean?

Abraham is not perfect in his character – he told several lies about his wife “she’s my sister” to keep his life. Also, he was NOT the first person to be saved by faith – who believed in God. MANY people believed and were saved before Abraham. So then, why does the Bible introduce us to Abraham as the “father of faith” so often?

What does this mean to you / me personally? “Abraham is my father.” – this means there should be a very close relationship, right?

This passage wants to make it clear, all who believe are children of Abraham, and children of God.

Abraham is the Father of all who believe (2 points):

#1 God gives

(promise is a keyword)

  • First, Abraham is the first public example of how we can be saved and declared righteous / justified. In this fact, he is our father, we are his children.

Second, we are heirs of Abraham’s promise. Still today, if we believe in Christ, we are sharing Abraham’s ultimate mission / inheritance.

v. 15

“so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

Not only this sentence, but also another promise that Abraham did not receive. (Make a note beside this sentence.)

The OTHER promise (he did NOT receive) – even until today, we are receiving and sharing that promise. That promise is BEING fulfilled through those who believe in Christ.

#2 God saves

  • Abraham is our public, official sample of how to be saved (there is a gap of 4000 years between him and us – but we are saved by the same faith by which he was saved).

Let me share HOW he was saved and declared righteous. Listening to this, we must continually remember we are saved in the same way.

His salvation story is the SAME as ours (3 points)

1. By faith

(Genesis 14 – today’s message is “solid food”) – Abraham was saved by faith, not works

In Genesis 14, he defeated allied kings to save his nephew Lot – and he was wondering if they would return to fight him again.

At that time, his name was Abram – and called him, “Do not be afraid. I’m your shield and your very great reward.” At that time, the thing Abram wanted most of all was a son. God gave him a promise – took him outside to see the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be.” He was 85.

Abram believed this promise. “Amen.” (“It is true.”)

So, saying Amen is SO important – God receives glory simply when we say, “Amen.” “I believe” means “Amen.”

“Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness.” (credited = imputed / like a credit card – banking term – to put to his account). For example, a man works, earns money, and the money is credited to his account.

But, Abraham did NOT work for his promise. God spoke, Abraham believed, and THAT FAITH was counted as righteousness and justification to his account.

It was Jesus Christ who did work for him on his account. And it was the work of Jesus on the cross that was credited to his account.

Like this, we also do nothing for our salvation. When we believe / accept Jesus as Savior, his righteousness is transferred to my account. His righteousness becomes my righteousness. Like whenever someone transfers money to my account, that money becomes my money.

  • “…in him we might become the righteousness of God…”
  • “…Jesus Christ is our righteousness…” (Corinthians)

#2 By Grace

Not by circumcision, not by keeping the Law.

When he believed and God credited it to him as righteousness, he was 85 years old – in Genesis 15.

In Genesis 17, when he was 99 years old, he became circumcised.

This circumcision happened 14 years AFTER he believed in the promise of God – so it is clear that his circumcision did NOT affect his salvation. And also, the Law was given through Moses – who lived 500 years later.

So circumcision, observing the Law, had nothing to do with Abraham’s salvation. God only gave him a promise, and he responded with “Amen.”

  • Why did God give him a promise?
  • Was Abraham worthy of it?
  • Did he deserve it? Did he earn it?
    • NO

God gave him a promise for a son BY GRACE – for nothing – this was a gift.

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved, not by works, so that no one can boast. This is not of yourselves…”

3. By the power of Jesus’ Resurrection

Not by his own power.

We know God appeared to Abraham and said, “I’ll give you a son” when he was already 85 years old in Genesis 15. So…. maybe he would expect a son, pretty soon…. Seems a bit old….

He knew God was so faithful and capable of keeping his promise. “Your children will be like the stars.” So, he should expect to receive this promise immediately. Yet, God delayed and delayed and delayed until Abraham became 100, and his wife was 90 years old. Humanly speaking, this is unimaginable – impossible.

In chp 17, when he was still Abram, and 99 years old, he came to him again and said, “I am God Almighty. Walk blamelessly before me. I *have made* you the father of many nations.”

*have made* = present perfect (already)

Yet… no son.

God said, “No longer will your name be Abram – change it to Abraham.” (This name means “exalted father.”)

Abraham did not walk by sight but walked by faith. One reason God delayed and delayed (we know he is good, so faithful, and NOTHING is impossible)… So WHY delay? To wait. To commit ALL their physical strength and natural energy to decrease and disappear completely. Then, at age 100, he had a son. Then he had a rejuvenation of his body – this is a symbol of the resurrection power of Christ.

Abraham believed God’s promise, and it was credited to him as righteousness. The application is very clear.

As long as a sinner believes he has SOME power to save himself, he cannot be saved by grace. ONLY when we admit and confess: I’m totally helpless on my own – Only then, can God’s holy, helping, saving power help us.

We can see the situation of Abraham in Genesis, 4000 years ago.

There was no Bible; no church history books; no devotional books; no witnesses; no fellowship with other believers – he was almost completely ALONE – surrounded by unbelieving pagans. And yet, in this hard, terrible situation, he believed God’s promise. So, God honored and rewarded his faith.

Abraham’s faith in God’s promise did not diminish as time passed.

If we have true saving faith – it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger as time passes, regardless of our surrounding circumstances.

If you have faith, what is the basis of your faith?

If your faith is based on WHAT Jesus has done on the cross, it will become stronger and stronger over time. But if your faith is based on your own performance – your own work for God, it becomes weaker and weaker over time.

  • If your faith is based on GOD’S promise, it grows stronger and stronger.
  • If your faith is based on your feelings or circumstances, it becomes weaker and weaker as time passes.

Hallelujah~ One example.

If your lover is now far away in Africa or America, and he gave you a promise: I will return to you within 10 years. Our initial faith can be very strong: YES – I believe this. You will be full of expectation to see him.

One year, two years, three years, four years, five years, he does not come.

In this situation, your initial faith will become stronger? Or weaker? Depends on your heart / attitude.

If our initial faith becomes weaker and weaker – it means that our faith is based on our feelings – not on believing his promise. If we believe the PROMISE, then as the time passes, we believe stronger and stronger.

So, after one year passes, the probability of his return is 1/10. In the second year, 2/10 probability or returning. In the 3rd year: 3/10. In the 9th year: 9/10. In the 10th year: the probability of returning is 100% (10/10). So, as time passes, our faith becomes stronger and stronger with patience and hope.

Hope is a symbol of an anchor – an absolute standard.

Jesus also promised: “I am coming soon.” at the end of Revelation (3x). He gave this promise already 2000 years ago – and although we do not know the limitation of the period of time in which he will return, there IS a limit. So if we believe in his PROMISE, our initial faith will become stronger or weaker? Stronger. Because the period of time left is smaller and smaller and the probability of his return becomes bigger and bigger.

Still today, Jesus gives us a promise with an oath. “Truly, truly, I tell you…”

“Whoever hears my voice and believes in him who sent me will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.”

“To all who received him, … he gave the right to become children of God.”

“If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, you will be saved.”

The meaning of “Abraham as father”

v 15

“so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

This is why one of the 9 spiritual gifts is patience.

There is yet another promise which he did not yet receive. WE are receiving that promise given to Abraham.

This is very important – this is very close to the end.

God’s promise was for a son – but this was not the only promise.

Abraham received his one son, Isaac, but this was not God’s only promise: “You will be the father of many nations.”

Genesis 12 – the Calling of Abram

God called Abram and said, “Leave you house and your hometown and go to the land I will show you.”

v 2-3

“I will make you into a great nation; I will bless you. I’ll make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and ALL people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This promise is the gospel.

The ultimate promise of God given to Abram is “ALL nations will be blessed through you.” (saved through you)

Gal 3:9 “God preached the gospel in advance to Abraham.” There was no gospel preacher at that time – God preached to Abram in advance: “All nations will be blessed / saved through you.”

We know God is so faithful and almighty. God gave his promise to Abram 4000 years ago. This promise has been fulfilled through Abram in his lifetime? NO.

Since that promise was given, 4000 years have passed – and this promise is BEING fulfilled.

Conclusion:

This promise: “All nations will be blessed / saved through you.” – only by Jesus Christ.

Title: From Abraham to Jesus Christ.

We are now between Abraham and Jesus Christ. This ultimate promise / mission given 4000 years ago is now being fulfilled through those who believe in Christ. That’s why we are called his children – because we are sharing in this promise and his inheritance as his heirs.

Hebrews 11: Faith chapter (more than 20x “by faith”)

v. 39-40

“39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Remember, today, through us, that ultimate purpose given 4000 years ago is being fulfilled.

You are given the same mission: “World blessing / mission / evangelisation.”

Let’s pray.

  • May 05 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 25:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Festus

1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”


Paul has been in prison for 2 years. He had returned to Jerusalem after his 3rd missionary journey, but the leaders had arrested him. Even 40 Jewish men took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they’d killed him. So, the commander of the Roman army there sent him away to Governor Felix (about 60 miles away). Felix knew that he was innocent after hearing the case, but to receive bribes from Paul and favor from the Jews, he kept Paul in prison for 2 years. This is after that story – now the new governor Festus has become governor.

There are 2 sections today:

  1. v. 1-12 Conciliation between Festus the new governor and the Jewish leaders
  2. v. 13-22 Consultation between Festus and King Agrippa

Part 1

v. 1-12

“1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Only three days after his new appointment as Governor, Festus visited Jerusalem to find favor with the Jewish leaders – and the Jewish leaders (2 years later) were still the same in their hatred of Paul and moral abasement.

Once again, the Jewish people had formed a plot to kill Paul in ambush on the way. They asked the new governor to send Paul again to Jerusalem so they might kill Paul on the way. In secular history, this governor was governor from AD 58-62 after Felix.

Paul was a Jew whose countrymen wanted to kill him.

At the same time, a Roman whose government didn’t know what to do with him.

If the new governor were to release him, the Jews would hate him. But if he kept him in prison, he would have to explain why a Roman citizen was being held in prison without charge.

In this situation, the Jewish leaders urged Festus to send Paul to them again (so they could kill him). He urged them to come to Caesarea to reopen their charges against him. 8-10 days later, he left and they followed to do as he said.

Festus opened the court, the Jews accused him, Paul defended himself. But there was nothing new – nothing different from 2 years ago. But the governor Festus didn’t want to be against the Jewish people, so he asked Paul – “Do you want to go to Jerusalem?”

Paul: “No! I appeal to Caesar!”

This was the key answer to solve ALL the problems at once. He appealed to the emperor. At that time, every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar. This did not mean that Caesar himself would hear the case, but the Supreme Court would. Who was the emperor at that time? Nero. (AD 60) He had not yet started the persecution of Christians. But when he appealed to Caesar, Festus had no choice but to send Paul to Rome.

What made Paul make this wise decision?

  1. He knew his final destination (Rome)
  2. He knew the fastest way to go was to appeal to Caesar
  3. He knew the Jews would never give up their hope of killing him

v. 12

“After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Paul knew that because the Jews still wanted to kill him, it was wise to stay under the protection of Rome (they would have to guard him). But even though he appealed to Rome, Festus’ problems were not over.

Part 2

v. 13-22

“13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.” “

Next Sunday, we will also hear him – what Paul said to Agrippa.

Festus’ problems were not over. He hadn’t hurt the Jews, but he also hadn’t formally charged Paul. He couldn’t send Paul to Rome without documentation. This was the official course of action.

Then, King Agrippa visited him to say, “Congratulations on your new position.”

Who is this Agrippa?

  • Herod Agrippa II.
  • Son of Herod Agrippa I who killed the apostle James and imprisoned Peter.
  • He was the grand nephew of Herod who killed John the Baptist.
  • He was great grandson of Herod the Great who killed all the boys 2 years and under in Bethlehem just to kill Jesus.
  • This is the last of Herod’s dynasty that ruled Palestine from 40BC – 100AD.

Just like a father to son, Agrippa received a flawed personality passed down from his father. Each son received mistakes and missed opportunities from his father. Each generation had a direct or indirect connection with Jesus but missed the opportunity. This is in the line of Esau (half-Jews). They were eager to please the Roman government who appointed them as the kings of the Jews.

From this story we can get many lessons.

From the family of Herod:

They had a great opportunity – a long history of encountering Christ – but each time they rejected forgiveness and eternal life.

One of the most sobering lessons form this family is: Families tend to pass on both positive and negative traits to the next generation.

Today’s is Children’s Day. My question: What kind of spiritual example are you setting? What will be your legacy you leave to the next generation?

Second, Paul is still in prison, but his main purpose was not his own defense but being a witness of Jesus.

v. 19

“Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.”

Paul was defending much more than religion in general. He was defending and declaring the resurrection of Christ. We also are witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.

We know there are famous graves in this world.

  • The Pyramids (mummified bodies of Egyptian kings)
  • Westminster in UK (bodies of nobles)
  • Wellington Nat. Cemetery in Washington DC (bodies of dead soldiers)
  • Mohammed’s Tomb (beautiful decorations)
  • Jesus’ Tomb is also very famous – because it is EMPTY – there is no landmark

Jesus’ resurrection is the basis and foundation that all that is necessary for our lives and ministries is available to us – and also a guarantee that our bodies will also be resurrected very soon.

  • Romans 11 “If the one who raised Christ is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies…”
  • Jesus “If anyone believes in me, he will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”
  • Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live though he dies.”

If we are children of God, we also are not only defenders of ourselves, but of Christ’s resurrection. Yet, we will not escape false accusations – because Satan is “the god of this age.”

v. 7

“When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. “

Paul, simply because he was a witness of Jesus’ resurrection, was surrounded by false witnesses and accusations. He had to listen to these false accusations for more than 2 years.

Have you ever been accused, condemned, criticized wrongly for doing nothing wrong? Remember, if we are really born-again Christians, we are not free from false accusations. “Satan” means “Accuser” – The Bible says, when we suffer false accusations and criticisms, the first thing we must do is consider Christ.

Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes upon Christ, the author and perfector of our faith… he endured the cross…”

1 Peter 2:19 “It is commendable if a man bears the pain of unjust sufferings because he remembers Christ. What credit is it to you if you receive a beating for doing evil? But it is credited to you if you receive such for doing good. To this you are called… No lie or cheating was found in Christ’s mouth. When he suffered, he did not make threats, but entrusted himself to God who judges justly. He bore our sins on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live righteously. By his wounds, we are healed.” He is our healer.

Our enemy, Satan, never gives up his job/ministry against us: Accusing us. Condemning, criticizing.

You must know that Satan is never gonna give you up…

  • Satan can see what you did (not what you will do), and he accuses you because of it, “Look at you. You’re such a ….”
  • We reply, “Yes, I know!” (And we should reply, “I know I’m not worthy of salvation, but I’m not saved by my deeds, but by my faith in Christ.”)

Do not be defeated by the false accusation of Satan. Our spiritual lives are a spiritual war.

Finally,

We must WAIT.

We are studying chp 25. Remember, in chp 23, God had promised that Paul would go to Rome and preach the gospel. But for two years, nothing has happened. Is God sleeping? No, he is working and waiting for the BEST time.

  • Our time is not the best time.
  • We should not be impatient when we need to be patient.

Paul waited for 2 years, but remember Joseph as well – the stories are similar.

Joseph’s story

Joseph was in prison, unjustly, for 2 years (like Paul). But Joseph continued to trust in God and God was with him and God gave him success in whatever he did.

One day the king’s cupbearer and baker were put in the same cell. They both had a dream – very meaningful – so they were upset and troubled. So Joseph explained the dreams and just as he interpreted, one man was hanged 3 days later, the other (cupbearer) was restored to his original job. In this situation, Joseph asked, “Remember me” when you are restored and work with Pharaoh again. But when he was set free, he forgot Joseph – for 2 years.

Question: When we wait for a LONG time, when the issue of waiting for God to act for us, when we have little to do but trust God and wait for him to act – are you angry? Troubled? Upset? Disappointed? Discouraged? Anxious? That time is very important and serious. A crucial time.

Being forced to wait is a good test for our patience and faith.

Then, when 2 full years had passed, the king of Egypt also had a meaningful dream. The king called all the magicians and wisemen but nobody could interpret this dream. It was JUST THEN when God made the cupbearer remember Joseph. Then (eventually) Joseph became made Prime Minister of the greatest country of that time.

God never sleeps. Remember!

  • Jesus “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
  • Paul “Give thanks in ALL circumstances – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…. God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 21 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Introducing James (James 1:1-11)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Introducing James (James 1:1-11)

09.21

09.21.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Introducing James

James 1:1-11 (Pastor Brian)

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.


 

Where are you on the journey of Faith?

You’ve exercised faith, lived by faith in your life before – looking back, surely you can see it. “Lord! You’ve got to come through! Show me you’re there!” And he does!

Wow. The book of James is a challenge to me (the pastor) and to all of us. May God bless us with MORE faith.

James majors in FAITH PROVING ITSELF THROUGH WORKS.

  • Do we live by Faith?
  • Do we live by Works?

Luther lived during a time of Legalism when lots of abuses of faith were in place – indulgences, etc, trying to “work” yourself into the presence of God. But he finally found peace with God when he read “The righteous will live by faith.”

Actually, Luther – who’d lived by works for much of his life – went overboard after he changed his opinion. He strongly disliked (hated) James afterward.

But James is not only about “works” alone – but THE “works” and the “work” OF our faith. “Without works, faith is dead.” says James.

After repentance, we live by faith, grow by faith, and WORK on it. This is what James says.

——

We know that the Lord used 40 authors to write the 66 books of the Bible.

  • John = fisherman
  • Matthew = tax collector
  • Luke = doctor
  • Samuel = in the temple
  • Moses = royalty
  • Daniel = slave

2 authors in the Bible lived a life NO ONE else lived: James & Jude: brothers of JESUS.

When Jesus began his ministry, he taught from many different places:

The boat, the mountain, hilltops, the synagogue, homes…

Even there was a synagogue in his hometown (Mark 6:1-3) “He went to his hometown and taught and many were astonished and saying, ‘Who is this man? Where did he get this wisdom? Isn’t this the son of Mary? The brother of James? Aren’t his sisters also here?’ And they took offense at him.”

His own family and hometown rejected him.

Jesus was the oldest of 5 boys – nothing set him apart physically from the others. These people had watched Jesus grow up from the time he was young.

  • Mark 6:4 “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, among his relatives and his own family.”
  • In John 7:5 “Not even his brothers believed in him.” (after he was preaching and performing miracles) His brothers even teased him and said, “Hey, if you wanna be famous, go up to the temple brother!” (snickering)

They didn’t believe in him then, but then WHY is there an epistle from James (his brother) and Jude (his brother) in the Bible? They didn’t believe in him THEN, but AFTER his resurrection, they couldn’t NOT believe.

In his resurrection, James and Jude (at least) believed, became born again, filled with the Spirit, apostles, (and later martyred for their own brother/Savior).

We also need to believe and accept THIS TRUTH – that Jesus is the Son of God, died for our sins, was buried and resurrected on the third day to give us new life (this is the Apostle’s Creed which we’ve read this morning).

Paul

“I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas (Peter) but I didn’t meet anyone else except James, the Lord’s brother.”

14 years later, James spoke with authority at the Council of Jerusalem. This guy who once hadn’t believed in Jesus, became the lead pastor of the Jerusalem church! Galatians 2:12 “There are men coming to Antioch FROM JAMES.”

Even Jude, when he wrote his letter, he quotes his brother James, “Jude, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (my brother) and the brother of James.”

Neither of them ever quote Jesus as being their brother. This is part of their humility. They are SERVANTS of the Son of God – they recognized his authority and power and position as the Alpha/Omega – and acknowledge their position as his bond servants.

In the OT, if a person had fallen into debt, he could go into servitude and serve that master as a slave for only up to 6 years – in the 7th, he MUST be freed. But, some slaves felt, “My master is a good master – he takes care of me and my family – if I leave, I’ll likely be worse off. I’ll stay.” Then, there was a ceremony before God and the others to take him into his home. They used an awl to pierce his ear into the doorpost of the master’s house. He was then committed to this master FOR LIFE. This is the meaning of “bond servant.” THIS is how James and Jude see their relationship (now) with Jesus.

James then addresses his letter to the “Diaspora” – the twelve tribes of Jerusalem (i.e. the WHOLE church).

Many Jews had come back to the temple during Pentecost and heard Peter preach, had become born again and filled with the Spirit (3,000+ men in a single day), and went back to their homes and preached the good news there.

James is writing to THESE believers and encouraging them to remain faithful and encouraging them to PRACTICE their faith in a PRACTICAL way.

How many of you have had TRIALS this past week? They come and go, it’s a part of life – especially the Christian life because we’re living in “enemy territory.”

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds.” (one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible) – v.2

They counted it as JOY when they were persecuted and suffered for the name of Jesus.

  • Is “all” an adjective? “Count it ‘fully joy’?”
  • Actually, it’s a noun. “Count ‘everything’ joy.”

In a message my family was listening to – we became quite stirred up. This was the story of a man who was a homosexual – in fact, a prostitute. The Lord got a hold of him, saved him, blessed him, and gave him a powerful testimony. He still had mannerisms that outwardly described him as feminine. But this gave a remarkable illustration of Naman – a general who had leprosy and was told to “go to the prophet” to be cured of his leprosy. He went there, and expected Elijah to wave his hands over him and clean him up immediately. But that didn’t happen, Elijah sent his servant out to him, and said “Dunk yourself in that river 7 times” (wasn’t that river dirty?) – Naman was ANGRY “Hmmmph! The rivers where I come from are WAY better than this!” The servant said, “Listen, IF the prophet had asked you to do some great, enormous, glory task, you would do it right?” “Right.” “Then, just do this – it’s so simple…” So Naman eventually did.

The man (homosexual) said that MANY times during his life, he’d had to “re-dunk” himself in the grace of God. He felt like he was becoming clean. It’s a PROCESS – it’s not IMMEDIATE. Have patience with yourself and others who are going through the process. God sees all and knows all and deals with it and HEALS.

If you see “Dunkin’ Donuts” remember that YOU need more “dunks” before you’re righteous and holy.

“Should I forgive 7 times?” Jesus: “Nah, 77 times.” You want mercy, give it as well.

I’ve got trials, but don’t count it “joy” but “trying.” Difficulties are “difficult.”

If you lack wisdom, ask God, he gives GENEROUSLY, LIBERALLY. When in a trial, ASK God and he will give you wisdom to know how to react.

Ex: Car accident

Cut off, side-swiped, “Lord, give me patience.” The thing worked out very well. LESS anger in Korea = less crazy. I got my car back BETTER than I left it. (Me too, same story.)

“How can I show myself as a Christian in this trial, rather than just as a ‘crazy’ angry guy?”

LOOK BACK on how God has helped you previously and ask IN FAITH for God to help you out in THIS PRESENT situation.

If you don’t ask in faith, what good is it? You’re acting like 2 different people. God HELPED you before, won’t he again? This is faith. If you have trouble with faith, ASK, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

James says, “God is a good God.”

Jesus says, “If your son asks for a fish, will you give him a snake? NO. If you (evil by nature) know how to give good things to your children, how much MORE will he give you the Spirit?” CONTINUE asking, go DEEPER in the Spirit, be continually FILLED, LED, GUIDED by the Spirit, worship in the Spirit – and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.

From NOW, let’s prepare our hearts to EXPECT God to do good works in us and those around us. Let us now, “put our Faith to work.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 20 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Joy in Jesus (Philippians 1)
Pastor Brian, Philippians: A Study in Contentment, Sermons

Joy in Jesus (Philippians 1)

07.20

07.20.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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JOY IN JESUS

Philippians 1:1-30 (Pastor Brian)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

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