20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
22 Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter.
23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.
24 Greet all your leaders and all God’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings.
25 Grace be with you all.
This end finishes with greetings, blessings, and doxology. Let me also end this way.
Thank you all for being with me through the study of Hebrews. Although we have finished Hebrews, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is our Great, High Priest and our shepherd.
“Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter.”
“My word of exhortation” is this letter – it is very short, and can be read in only 1 hour, but includes much, deep Christian creeds and truth. It contains rebukes, warnings, encouragement, advice, and so on. We are encouraged to follow these things with the right heart.
At that time, some Christians received this book with a hard heart, because some sentences are very strong. And some received it with a soft heart.
Yes, even today, with the same message, different people receive the message in different ways. How about my message? How are you receiving it?
“23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.
24 Greet all your leaders and all God’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings.”
In the whole Bible, this is the only location that we see the imprisonment of Timothy. He was imprisoned in Rome maybe one time and then released. He is accepted as the same Timothy in the NT that Paul wrote two letters to. He joined Paul in his second missionary journey and is listed as a co-sender of the letters to the early church.
He is one of the key members of the early church, continuing the ministry of the gospel after Paul’s death.
Here, the book ends with a benediction, and we also likewise end our service with a benediction.
“20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
This benediction is also a doxology. It begins with God as a God of peace.
Jesus is a God of Peace
Peace is intrinsic to the character of God. God’s peace is soundness, wholeness, completeness, well being. And only God’s peace is real – only he can make us at peace with each other and with ourselves. God wants us to enjoy his peace.
Jer 28:11 “God declares, ‘My plan for you is peace, not disaster. I want to give you a hope and a future.'”
That’s why Jesus came into this world, as the Prince of Peace, the King of Peace. Jesus said, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”
You know, in this world, there is no real peace, but God gives us heavenly peace. “He has made the two one…”
God is the God of peace and reconciliation.
Jesus is the God of Life
God is also the God of life (resurrection and resurrected life).
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,”
Yes, only God can give us peace in life, and even triumph in death. Without the resurrection of Christ, there would be no new covenant. This is a central fact of Christian history. On this fact, the church of Christ is built. Without his resurrection, there would be no church, it would be complete vanity, nonsense.
Even other religions have strong ethical concepts about the afterlife, their holy writings, etc. But only Christianity has a God who became a man who came to earth and died for us, then rose again.
Other religions base their beliefs on the recognition of their teacher’s teachings. But Christianity is the ONLY one that puts its whole emphasis on Jesus’ resurrection. His atoning sacrifice happened once for all and was verified by his resurrection.
Take away the death and resurrection of Christ and the heart of Christianity is gone.
Jesus is our Great Shepherd
This Jesus is our Shepherd. Ps 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.”
What kind of shepherd? The Good, Great, Kind Shepherd. He worked for us and died for us. On the cross he completed the great work of redemption.
“The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
And now as our Great Shepherd, he is still interceding for us and caring for us. He is providing us with everything we need.
Finally, as our Chief Shepherd, he will come for us again.
“When the Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
He is working in us and will bring us to a place of spiritual perfection. We will reach that place when he returns.
We have God’s eternal life, eternal promise that is called the New Covenant. And we also have our Great Shepherd’s prayer.
We are also blessed with this doxology and benediction (v. 21).
“20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
From this benediction, know:
1. God has a purpose for us
God has a purpose for us, a special will for us.
Eph “We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do.” Because he is our Maker, Father, Creator, we can say, “The best knowledge is to know God’s will / purpose upon my life.”
The most glorious life we can enjoy in this world is to do and finish the works that God is calling us to do.
Through this benediction, we can also see that:
2. God wants to do his work through us
Phil 1:6 “God, who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Phil 2:13 “It is God, not man, who works in you to will, to act, according to his good purpose.”
3. God is equipping and enabling us to do his work
He never gives us a task without giving us the power to also accomplish that task. When he sends us out, he sends us out equipped with everything we need.
“…he works in us what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever.”
Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs through his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus works in us to make us the kind of people who will please God; and he equips us to do the work that pleases God.
“I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. But apart from me, you can do nothing.”
This is entologically true because apart from Jesus, we would not exist.
All creation and all God’s work is done through Jesus Christ. He created all things, and sustains all things.
Col 1:16-17 “By him [Jesus] all things were created – in heaven, earth, visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, powers, authorities, spiritual, material, and FOR him, and IN him, all things hold together and find their being.”
When we started Hebrews, chp 1:3 “Jesus is sustaining all things with his powerful word.”
This is an unchangeable, immutable truth. The power to do what is pleasing to God is only given to us through Jesus Christ, IF we want it.
Q: Do you want it? Do you desire it? Do you pray for it?
If you pray this kind of prayer every day, there will be great change in our daily lives: “Oh Lord, make me perfect in every good work to do your will. Do it through me in Jesus Christ and may he receive the glory.”
If we pray this prayer, there will be great change from the inside. Let there be, and let God use the change to change others.
“Grace be with you all.”
The last sentence of the Bible, Revelation last sentence, last verse, 22:21 “Grace of our Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
Grace be with you all, and God bless you with this wonderful, holy book. Thank you again for having been with me through the study of this book.
May 31 / 2020
Comments Off on Obedience and Prayer (Hebrews 13:17-19)
17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.
Why does God bless us? We know from the example of Abraham – he blesses some to bless others. Through Abraham, all people on earth will be blessed. Also today, we are channels of heavenly blessing.
So, our relationship with God is revealed through our relationship with man.
We pray like this in the Lord’s Prayer “forgive our debts as we also forgive our debtors…”
Bible says, “If you forgive others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, if not, then not…”
and also “If you say you love God but do not love others, you are a liar.”
All of these things make it clear about our relationship with God – we can see through our relationship to others.
Today’s two keywords = Obedience and Prayer
Obedience:surrendering to God + submission
Also, our obedience to God can be seen as a reflection of our obedience to man. And we must pray for our coworkers and leaders.
Do you like surrendering, submission? This is not a popular word, it looks like “loser.” But these days in the modern culture, we like the words, “overcoming, fighting, winning, etc” – but we must know that obedience is essential to a Christian life. Christ says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
3 Reasons to surrender to God:
1. Surrendering is the heart of worship
Worship is our lifestyle – the heart of our lifestyles, and the heart of worship is obedience
Romans 12:1 “I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.”
The word: to worship and, to surrender are the same in root.
From Greek: proscunero
English = prostrate (throwing our bodies flat on the ground with faces touching the ground in full submission and surrender) so full worship = to surrender
You will not surrender to God unless you trust him. You cannot trust him until you know him better.
If you say “I know God” but do not obey you are a liar.
2. We are humans and he is God – we are created beings with limitations
Yes, we accept our limitations mentally, but sometimes we do not accept them emotionally – we react with anger, resentment. We want to be stronger, healthier, more talented, taller, more beautiful. We want to do it all, have it all, and when we can’t, we become upset. When we see others have what we want and we do not have, we react with envy, anger, self-pity.
Yet, we must accept our limitations by surrending.
3. Humans are designed to surrender
We are designed to surrender to God – if not God, it will be something else: money, pride, our ego, sinful nature, etc
We are designed to worship God, but if we fail, then we will create other things to give our lives to – this is called idolatry.
What is surrendering to God?
This is not passive resignation, nor an excuse for laziness. This means a positive attitude to fulfill God’s will on me – a holy enthusiasm to please God for his glory.
When we live a surrendered life, that decision will be tested. This means sometimes doing a difficult or unpopular job – doing a dangerous job, or doing the opposite of what we FEEL like doing.
Paul: “I die every day.” What does this mean? There is a moment of surrender.
Also, the practice of surrender is moment by moment and life-long. We must make this a daily habit. That is why Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Let me share the blessings of obedience and surrender. Can you imagine how blessed you are in surrendering to God?
3 blessings in surrendering to God
1. This makes our life meaningful.
Is your life meaningful or meaningless?
For example, this microphone is meaningful because it is used by me. It is useful as long as it is being used. But if no one is using it, it is meaningless.
Like this, we are made by God – he is our maker – so our life is meaningful only when he is using us, because he is our creator and maker.
God can use anybody and everybody. He can use tall, short, rich, poor, black, white, educated, uneducated. But he cannot use the disobedient.
Being obedient is an essential element to being used by God.
We know the story of the virgin Mary. God used her to be the mother of Jesus Christ, not because of her status, but because of her surrender – even though she could not understand fully. Yet, she obeyed fully, saying, “I’m a servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.”
2. We can receive peace and blessing
God is love. Surrendering to him brings peace, not bondage, and freedom. When we surrender to Christ, we can discover he is a friend and brother, not a dictator.
When we accept Christ as our Lord, he accepts us as his friend. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Surrender to him and you will find real peace and freedom.
3. Surrendering brings power and victory
Surrendering to bring us power is a paradox.
The more we surrender to God, the more powerful we become. The importance of a surrendered life is in the hands of God. Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God.
If you surrender to God, there is nothing to fear in this world.
The faith displayed in chp 11 shows many experienced great power and victory – but only when they surrendered fully, immediately to God.
This is the secret to be powerful and victorious in this life.
How, practically, can we obey God and surrender our whole lives to God?
1. First of all, we should surrender to Jesus Christ and accept him as our personal Savior.
This is the command of all commands in the Bible.
“One day they came to him and asked, ‘what must we do to do the work of God?’ Jesus answered, ‘Believe in me.'”
Phil 2 “At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every mouth confess that Jesus is Lord.”
The first thing we must do to surrender to God is accept Christ as Savior and Lord.
2. Obey human beings and human leadership – especially church leadership
We show our obedience to God by obeying man, also we must obey man in order to obey God.
“17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Romans 13 “Everyone must submit himself to the human (governing) authorities because all authorities that exist have been established by God.” So, he who rebels against the human establishment rebels against God.
1 Peter 2:18 “Servants, submit yourselves to your human masters, not only good and considerate masters, but also harsh masters.”
Obeying human leaders is not easy, but obeying harsh masters is even more difficult.
We obey human leaders in order to obey God, but this is not an easy job – so we need his help.
Even to surrender to him, we need his help, his power. That’s why we need to pray.
“18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.”
Jesus is our example and we are to be like him. He is the supreme example in the Bible.
We know his example: In the garden before his crucifixion, he prayed until his sweat became as drops of blood on the ground, “Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me, but not my will but yours be done.”
Hebrews summarizes his whole life: “While on earth, he offered up prayers with loud cries and he was heard and accepted because of his obedience.”
Even still, Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God and praying for us. So, if he is still praying for us, we also must pray for others.
If the Son of God needed to pray, how much MORE do we need to pray.
Please meditate on these two keywords: Obedience and Prayer.
Let us be obedient to God and pray for his grace and mercy.
God bless his church, his children.
Apr 19 / 2020
Comments Off on We are Spiritual Marathoners (Hebrews 12:12-15)
Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong
We are Spiritual Marathoners
Hebrews 12:12-15 (Pastor Heo)
“12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Warning Against Refusing God
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
We are in Hebrews. Chp 12 starts as we studied a few weeks ago. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders…Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
“Let us run the race…”
We can say that the Christian life in this world is like a spiritual marathon. Do you know about marathons? We know about physical marathons. They are 42.195km. This is a LONG distance. We know how difficult it is to finish this full course well. So, since we know how difficult it is to finish well, when they do finish well, they are filled with a big smile.
Like this, when we finish this race set before us well, we also will be very happy and satisfied.
2 Tim “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, and there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, that the Lord will award to me and to all who have longed for his second appearance.”
Remember, the Christian life is a marathon. God bless us to finish the race well.
“12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
God is our coach, pushing us beyond our limits.
Yet, difficult times should not cause us to fear, but we are not to be satisfied with only self-survival in mind. We must be good to others to follow Christ very well. We must run tough and hard, very well. We must not choose the easy way for ourselves, but make an easier way for others to believe in Christ – by becoming good examples.
As we know, in every Christian community and society, there are some who are weaker, likely to go astray and abandon the struggle. So it is up to us to put fresh vigor into weak arms and fresh strength into failing feet.
One of life’s greatest privileges is to become an encourager to one who is in despair and a strengthener of one whose strength is failing.
As Christians, we have double-duty – before God and before man. Make your way straight in the sight of men, and God, then we will find favor before God and men. We must have a pure heart before God and an upright life before man. We are long-distance runners in this world.
So, let us run rough and tough together.
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps.”
If we want to become a good example for others, we need discipline, and suffering. We must run hard and run together as co-marathoners in this world.
“Make every effort [do your best] to live in peace with all men [even your enemies] and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
This means, without holiness we cannot be saved. Let us run rough and tough and run after peace and holiness. In our marathon, all the time, we must run after peace and holiness.
Peace is not negative in the Bible – it is intensely positive. God bless us with his peace.
Peace = everything that is made for man’s highest good and happiness (i.e. to be found in obedience to God), also right relationships between God and man, and man and man. Hatred is no more and each person pursues his neighbor’s good.
We must pursue peace with all people in this world. We must have peaceful relationships with our unbelieving relatives and neighbors, our enemies, and people in the church.
Yet, in this imperfect world, we know it is impossible for all men to live together in peace – but we must DO OUR BEST.
Romans “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.”
Romans 14 “Let us do all we can to bring peace and mutual edification.”
Romans 5 “Therefore, we have been justified, so we have peace with God.”
How is this possible? Only through Christ.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons and daughters of God.”
2 Cor “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come.” If you memorize this, you must also memorize the next verse. 18 “All this is from God who reconciled himself to us and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
This means we have been given the ministry of reconciliation – to reconcile people to God and reconcile with other men. We are to be kind, thoughtful, considerate, to help others, pray for others, even for our enemies – even those who hate us.
But the best way to make peace between God and man and man and man: To preach the gospel – the “good news of great joy for all the people.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
Jesus is the author of our peace and the source of our peace. That’s why long ago, before he came, it was prophesied, “He will be called Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah) and in Eph “He himself is our peace.” Only real peace can be found in Jesus Christ.
We must be holy. What is the meaning? It is literally: different and separated.
“Holiness” applied to God = his moral perfection and the fact that he is totally separated from all humanity and all creation.
“Holiness” applied to us = set apart, consecrated, set aside for a purpose.
Remember, the world’s standards are not our standards.
Romans 12 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Our actions, thoughts, concerns, purpose. Our final goal is different.
“Without holiness, no one can see God” because sin always blocks our vision of God. If we want to see God, we must renounce sin and obey God.
Important: We are made holy once for all by the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are perceived as holy by what Jesus has done for us on the cross and we are called “saints” which means “holy ones.”
But in a practical way, “holiness” means “honoring God in how we treat others” – neighbors, husband, wife, spouse, employees, children, parents, co-workers, and how we run our business, how we behave at work, etc. Holiness causes us to behave differently from unbelievers.
Yes, we must do our best to live at peace with everyone, but at the same time, we must be different (set apart) from the world.
1 John 3:2 “Yes, dear friends, we are now children of God. If we are, though what we will be has not been made know now, yet when he appears we shall be made like him and we shall see him as he really is.” This is the fulfillment of holiness when we finish our marathon course.
This is why we run after peace and holiness.
Finally, we need his grace. Without it, we cannot finish this race well. His grace is essential for us to continue our race and finish very well.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
We must run in the grace of God.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God” means that it is possible to miss it. Remember, the grace of God does not fail, but we can fail to depend on his grace. The grace of God brings us the opportunity / chance to make our lives what they are meant to be. But we can miss that chance because of our sin, ignorance, laziness, procrastination, and pride. So, against that, we must be on watch in spiritual visions.
Romans 5:20 “Where sin increased, the grace of God increased all the more.” What does this mean? We should not misunderstand this sentence. It does not mean that we should sin more to experience more grace, rather it means that the more we realize HOW MUCH we need his grace, the more we realize HOW GREAT his grace is.
“It is by grace that you are saved by faith. It is not of yourselves, but is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”
Romans 5:2 “Through Jesus Christ, we have gained access into this grace in which we now stand.”
James 4:6 “God gives us more grace, greater grace, but he rejects the proud, but gives more grace to the humble.”
For our daily needs, there is daily grace. For sudden needs, there is sudden grace. For overwhelming needs, there is overwhelming grace. His grace is always available to us.
“Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Remember, his grace is always very near us, but we must be spiritually vigilant to appreciate and enjoy this grace.
Yes, the Christian life is like a marathon. So let us run hard, but let us also run together. Let us run toward peace and holiness. And let us run focusing our eyes on Jesus Christ – only he is the author and perfecter of our faith and he is the final goal of our faith.
God bless you with his peace, holiness, and grace.
『설교 전문』 할렐루야! 예배당에 오신 여러분을 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 환영합니다. 우리 주 예수 그리스도로부터 우리 모두에게 평강과 은혜가 함께 하기를 기원합니다. 아멘? 지금 우리에게 주신 하나님의 말씀은 히브리서 12장 12-15입니다. 히브리서 12: 12-15. 성경을 가지고 계신 분들은 성경을 여시고 12절에서 15절까지 함께 읽도록 하겠습니다.
12: “그러므로 힘없는 팔과 연약한 무릎을 강건케 하고
13: “너희 발을 위해 곧은길을 만들어 저는 다리가 불구가 되지 않고 고침을 받도록 하라”
14: “모든 사람과 화평하게 살고 거룩해지도록 모든 노력을 다하라. 거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라.”
15: “어떤 사람도 하나님의 은혜를 놓치지 않도록 주의하고 어떤 쓴 뿌리가 자라서 고통이 되어 많은 사람을 더럽히지 않도록 주의하라”
아멘. 이것이 하나님의 말씀입니다. 우리는 지금 히브리서를 공부하는 중입니다. 오늘 본문과 같은 장(12장)은 우리가 몇 주 전 공부한 바와 같이 이렇게 출발합니다. 1절은 이렇게 출발합니다.
“그러므로 우리는 구름처럼 많은 증인들로 둘러싸여 있으니 모든 장애물(hindrance)과 얽매이기(entangle) 쉬운 죄를 벗어 던지고(throw off), 우리에게 주어진 경주를 인내(perseverance, patience, endurance)로써 달리자. 우리 믿음의 지으신 자요 이를 온전케 하신 자인 예수 그리스도만을 바라보자.”
“우리에게 주어진 경주를 달리자” 이는 이렇게 표현할 수 있습니다. 이 세상에서 신앙적인 삶은 장거리 경주입니다. 마치 마라톤처럼 장거리 경주인 것입니다. 그러므로 저는 이 세상에서 신앙인의 삶은 영적인 마라톤이라 말하고 싶습니다. 우리는 영적인 마라토너들이고요. 이 땅에서의 영적인 삶은 마라톤이나 마찬가지인 거죠. 여러분은 마라톤을 알고 계시겠죠? 혹시 여러분은 마라톤 대회에 참가하신 적 있나요? 우리는 마라톤, 육신의 마라톤을 잘 압니다. 마라톤 코스는 얼마의 거리인지 아십니까? 마라톤 코스는 42.195 킬로미터입니다. 결코 짧지 않고 긴 거리입니다. 우리는 마라톤 풀 코스를 제대로 완주한다는 것이 얼마나 어려운지 알고 있습니다. 그러므로 마라톤 풀 코스를 잘 마친다는 것은 쉽지 않기 때문에, 선수들이 그 풀 코스를 훌륭하게 마무리 한 다음에는 이들은 완전한 만족감으로 행복해 하지 않을 수 없습니다. 아마 만면에 미소도 가득할 거고요. 마찬가지로 우리의 마라톤 풀 코스에서 우리가 이 풀코스를 성공적으로 완주한 다음에는 우리는 매우 행복할 것입니다. 우리는 온전한 만족감 속에서 큰 보상을 받으며 행복해 할 것입니다. 사도 바울은 이 진리를 매우 잘 알고서 디모데후서 4: 7-8에서 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“내가 선한 싸움을 싸우고 나의 경주를 마치고 믿음을 지켰으니, 이제 나를 위해 의의 면류관이 예비되어 있고 주 곧 의로우신 재판장이 이를 그날에 내게 상급으로 주실 것이니, 이는 내게만이 아니라 주의 두 번째 나타나심을 사모하는(long for) 모든 자에게도 마찬가지니라.”
예, 이 세상에서의 신앙인의 삶은 마라톤인 것입니다. 하나님께서 미리 우리 모두에게 축복하셔서 그의 은혜와 권능으로 우리가 이 풀 코스를 매우 성공적으로 마칠 수 있기를 기원합니다. 처음 두 절을 다시 보실까요? 12절과 13절입니다.
13: “너희 발을 위해 평편한(level)(‘straight 곧은’을 뜻함) 길을 만들어 저는(lame) 다리가 불구가 되지(disabled) 않고 고침을 받도록 하라”
예, 영적인 삶은 장거리의 달리기입니다. 우리는 영적인 달리기 선수(athlete)인 것입니다. 그러므로 우리의 하나님, 우리를 만드신 분, 즉 우리의 창조주 하나님은 우리의 감독(coach)인 거고요. 그 분은 우리가 한계에 도전하도록 독려하는 감독으로서 우리 생각으로는 이루기 어려운 일에 도전하도록 우리에게 용기를 불어 넣어주십니다. 예, 우리는 예수님의 제자들로서, 제자직분의 길을 가는 데는 자기 연단(discipline), 자기 훈련, 자기 통제(self-control)가 필수적입니다. 그러므로 자기 통제는 성령의 열매들 중 하나인 것입니다. 따라서 연단 혹은 핍박(persecution), 고난(suffering)이 우리를 두렵게 해서는 안 됩니다. 오히려 어렵고 힘든 시간들은 우리에게 참고 견디어내도록 용기를 불어넣어 주는 것입니다. 우리의 팔이 연약하고 우리의 다리가 휘청거려(shaking)도 우리는 굳건히 서야 합니다. 우리는 오직 마음속의 생존(survival in mind)만으로 만족해서는 안 됩니다. 이는 다른 사람들이 그리스도를 매우 잘 좇도록 우리가 좋은 본보기(example)가 되어야 한다는 뜻입니다. 그러므로 우리는 거세게 달리고 열심히 달려야 합니다. 그러나 이를 위해 우리는 모두 함께 거세게 달려야만 합니다. 예, 우리는 자신을 위해 쉬운 길을 택해서는 안 됩니다. 그 보다는 우리가 좋은 본보기가 됨으로써 다른 사람들을 위해 예수그리스도를 잘 믿고 따르도록 더 쉬운 길을 만들어 주어야 하는 것입니다. 아시다시피, 집회(congregation) 때마다, 모든 크리스천 사회와 공동체에는 길 잃고(go astray) 방황하다가 싸움을 포기할(abandon) 가능성이 있는 보다 연약한 사람들이 있습니다. 이들을 더욱 강건하게 만들고 이들의 연약한 팔 안에 신선한 비전을 안겨주고 실족할(failing) 발에 힘을 불어 넣어 주는 것이 우리의 의무입니다. 이것은 사실입니다. 삶의 제일 큰 특권(privilege)들 중의 하나는 절망(despair)에 빠질 수 있는 사람에게 용기를 심어주는 자(encourager), 힘이 다해 가는 사람에게 힘을 심어 주는 사람(strengthener)이 되는 일입니다. 그렇습니다. 여러분이 크리스천이라면 크리스천은 이중의 의무를 지니고 있습니다. 우리는 하나님께 일차적 의무가 있고 우리 동료들에게 이차적 의무가 있습니다. 하나님이 보시기에 정결한(pure) 마음을 가지십시오. 또한 사람이 보기에(in the sight of men) 평탄한(level) 길을 만드십시오. 그러면 우리는 하나님의 눈에도 사람의 눈에도 호의(favor)를 얻을 수 있게 됩니다. 이는 하나님께는 우리의 순수하고 깨끗하고 선한 마음을 바쳐야 하고, 동시에 사람에게는 올곧은(upright) 삶을 보여야 한다는 뜻입니다. 우리는 이 땅에서 영적인 마라토너들, 장거리 경주자들이기 때문입니다. 그러므로 튼튼한(masculine) 신앙인이 되는 것이 가장 중요합니다. 거세게, 강건하게 달립시다. 동시에 또한 우리 함께 강건하게 달립시다. 성경은 베드로전 2: 21에서 이렇게 말합니다.
“이를 위해 너희가 부르심을 받았으니, 이는 그리스도가 너희를 위하여 고난을 받으사 너희에게 본을 남겨 그의 자취를 따르게 하려 하심이니라”
이는 예수님이 우리를 위해 고난을 받으심으로써 우리에게 좋은 본보기를 남기셨음을 의미합니다. 이것은 우리가 다른 사람들에게 좋은 본을 보이기 위해 우리는 연단과 고난을 필요로 함을 뜻합니다. 우리는 열심히 달려야 합니다. 동시에 우리는 이 세상에서 마라토너 동지로서 함께 열심히 뛰어야 합니다. 여러분을 향한 하나님의 축복을 빕니다. 그러면 다음절인 14절을 보시겠습니다. 14절은 이렇게 말합니다.
14: “모든 사람(원수, 증오자, 적대자, 이웃, 옆집 등)과 화평하게 살고 거룩해지도록 모든 노력을 다하라(최선을 다하라). 거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라.”
여기서 ‘어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라’가 뜻하는 것은 거룩함이 없이는 우리가 구원을 받지 못함을 의미합니다. 이게 무슨 뜻일까요? 먼저 저는 함께 강건하게 그리고 열심히 달리자고 말했습니다. 계속해서 우리는 화평과 거룩함을 향해 달려야 합니다. 마라토너로서 우리는 화평과 거룩함을 바라보고 이를 향해 달려야 하는 것입니다.
먼저, 화평에 대해 살펴보도록 하겠습니다. 성경에서 화평은 전혀 부정적인 개념이 아닙니다. 성경에서 화평은 언제나 매우 강한(intensively) 긍정의 의미를 지닙니다. 하나님께서 자기 화평으로 여러분에게 축복해 주시기를 빕니다. 화평은 두 가지입니다.
첫째, 화평은 인간의 최고의 선, 최고의 행복이 되는 모든 것입니다. 최고의 선은 오직 하나님께 순종하는 가운데 얻어질 수 있습니다.
둘째, 화평은 또한 하나님과 사람 사이 및 사람과 사람 사이의 올바른 관계를 의미합니다. 이는 더 이상 증오(hatred)가 없어지고(banished) 각자가 자기 이웃의 이익만을 추구하는(pursue, seek) 상태나 조건을 나타냅니다. 크리스천으로서 우리는 이 세상 모든 사람들과의 화평을 추구해야 합니다. 어떻게 이것이 가능할까요? 우리는 교회 내에서 조화로운 관계(harmonious relationship)를 가짐은 물론, 우리의 친지들(associates), 나아가 믿지 않는 이웃들과 우리의 원수들하고도 가능한 한 평화로운 관계를 가져야만 합니다. 예, 우리는 압니다. 이 불완전한 이 세상에서 모든 사람들이 함께 평화롭게 사는 것은 불가능합니다. 그러나 적어도 우리는 화평과 화목(reconciliation)을 추구하기 위해 최선의 노력은 기울여 보아야만 합니다. 우리는 이 세상에서 분쟁(dissention)을 야기해서는(cause) 안 됩니다. 그러므로 로마서 12:18에서는 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“될 수 있는 일이라면, 그것이 너희에게 달려 있는(depend on) 한(as far as), 모든 사람과 평화롭게 살아라.”
계속해서 로마서 14:19에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“그러므로 화평으로 인도하는(lead to) 일과 서로의 덕(mutual edification)을 세우는 일에 모든 노력을 다하자(make every effort).”
또한 로마서 5:1에서는 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“그러므로 우리가 믿음을 통해 의롭다 여김(justified)을 받았으므로 우리 주 예수 그리스도를 통해 하나님과 화평을 누리고 있다(enjoy)”
그렇습니다. 우리가 누려야 할 최초의 화평은 하나님과 더불어입니다. 하나님과의 화평, 하나님의 화평은 어떻게 가능합니까? 오직 예수 그리스도를 통해서입니다. 또한 예수 그리스도 자신도 말씀하고 계십니다.
“화평케 하는 자에게는 복이 있나니, 이들은 하나님의 자녀들(아들 딸 들)이라 일컬어질 것이니라.”
이는 무엇을 의미합니까? 고린도후서 5:17에서는 말합니다.
“그러므로 누구든지 그리스도 안에 있으면 새로운 피조물(creation)이라. 옛 것(the old)은 지나가고 새것(the new)이 왔도다!”
이 구절은 우리에게 매우 익숙한 구절입니다. “만약 누구든지 그리스도 예수 안에 있으면 새로운 피조물이다. 옛 것은 지나가고 새것이 왔도다!” 여러분은 그 다음 절을 알고 계십니까? 만약 여러분이 이 절을 외우고 계신다면 다음절도 외워두셔야 합니다. 다음 절인 18절에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“이 모든 것이 하나님으로부터 났으니, 그가 그리스도를 통해 우리를 자기와 화목하게 하시고 또 우리에게 화목의 사역(ministry of reconciliation)을 주셨으니”
이는 만약 우리가 새로운 피조물이면, 우리가 만약 그의 은혜로 구원을 받았으면, 우리는 하나님과 사람 사이를 화해시키는 자(reconciler)가 되는 사역을 받았음을 의미합니다. 화해시키는 자의 사역은 하나님과 사람 사이에 화평을 이룩하는 일입니다. 그렇습니다. 다른 사람들과 화평하기 위해서는 (이들을) 용서하고, (안 좋은 일을) 잊고, 친절하고, 사려 깊고, 배려하고, 돕고, 또한 다른 사람들, 특히 우리를 미워하는 원수들까지도 위해서 기도하고자 하는 의지(will)가 있어야 합니다. 그러나 여기서 기억하셔야 할 것은 하나님과 인간 사이, 그리고 인간과 인간 사이에 화평을 이루게 하는 최고의 방법은 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 복음, 즉 모든 사람들에게 큰 기쁨이 있는 좋은 소식을 전하는 일이라는 사실입니다. 말씀(the Word)이신 예수님께서 말씀하십니다.
“화평케 하는 자는 복이 있나니, 저희가 하나님의 아들로 불릴, 하나님의 아들로 인정될(recognized) 것이다”
이것이 의미하는 바는 하나님과 인간 사이, 인간과 인간 사이에 화평이 이룩되는 최선의 길은 주 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 복음 메시지, 즉 큰 기쁨을 주는 좋은 소식을 전하는 일이라는 것입니다. 왜냐하면 오직 예수님만이 우리들 평화의 지은 자, 근원, 뿌리이시기 때문입니다. 이것이 오래 전에 그가 이 세상에 오신 이유인 것입니다. 이렇게 예언되었었죠(prophesied).
“그는 평화의 왕자, 평화의 왕이라 불렸다”
에베소서 2: 14은 매우 확실합니다.
“그는 자신이 우리의 화평이시니, 둘을 하나로 만드시고 중간에 있는 적대(enmity, hatred, hostility)적 벽의 장애물들을 허무셨으며”
진정한 화평은 오직 예수 그리스도 안에서만 찾을 수 있는 것입니다.
(화평) 다음으로, 우리는 또한 거룩함을 향해 달려야 합니다. 14장 후반절에 이렇게 쓰여 있습니다.
“거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 보지 못하리라.”
우리는 거룩해야 합니다. 거룩함(holiness)의 의미는 무엇입니까? 문자 그대로의 거룩함의 기본 의미, 그 근원적 의미는 ‘차이(difference)’ 및 ‘구분(separation)'(구별되었다는 뜻)입니다. 하나님에게 적용할 경우 거룩함은 그의 도덕적 온전함, 및 그가 완벽하게, 전적으로 모든 인간과 모든 피조물로부터 구분된다는 사실을 말합니다. 반면에 거룩함을 우리에게 적용할 경우, 하나님의 특별한 목적을 위해 따로 떼어 놓(set apart) 존재로서, (그 목적을 위해) 헌신하고(dedicate) 신성해진다는(consecrate) 것을 의미합니다. 우리가 비록 이 땅에 살지라도 우리는 달라야 합니다. 우리는 이 세상과는 구별되어 있습니다. 우리의 기준(standard)은 세상의 기준이 아님을 기억하십시오. 성경 로마서 12: 2에서 다음과 같이 말하고 있습니다.
“더 이상(any longer) 이 세상의 패턴을 따르지(conform) 말고 마음을 새롭게 함(renewing)으로써 변화를 받아라(transformed). 그러면 너희는 하나님의 뜻, 즉 그의 선하시고 기쁨을 주시고 온전하신 뜻이 무엇인지를 분별하고 받아들일(approve) 것이다.”
이는 이 세상의 기준을 따르지 말라는 뜻입니다. 우리의 행동, 우리의 생각, 우리의 관심, 우리의 흥미, 우리의 목적, 우리의 궁극적 목표는 (이 세상과는) 다른 것입니다. ‘거룩함이 없이는 어떤 사람도 주님을 볼 수 없으리라’의 의미는 ‘하나님은 거룩하시기 때문에 죄악은 하나님에 대한 우리의 비전(시력)을 차단하게 된다는 것입니다. 그러므로 우리가 하나님을 보기를 원한다면 죄를 끊고(renounce) 하나님께 순종해야만 합니다. 그렇습니다. 중요한 것은 물론 우리는 단번에(once and for all), 예수 그리스도의 단 한 번의 희생을 통해 거룩해졌다는 사실입니다. 우리는 하나님께로부터 예수님이 우리를 위해 행하신 사역에 의해 거룩하다고 생각되어지는 것입니다. 이는 우리가 성인(saint)(실제로는 성도)이라 불린다는 뜻입니다. 만약 우리가 정말로 거듭난 크리스천들이라면 우리 모든 크리스천들은 이미 성인이 되는 것입니다. 여러분도 성인, 저도 성인, 우리는 성인들입니다. 성인(성도)이란 우리의 위치, 우리의 지위(standing)가 거룩한 사람이라는 뜻입니다.
그러나 실질적인 면에 있어 거룩함의 의미는 하나님에 대한 우리의 공경(honoring)과 함께, 우리가 다른 사람들을 어떻게 취급하는가, 즉 우리 이웃, 우리 가족 식구들, 우리 부부(처와 남편), 자녀들, 부모님, 심지어는 우리 원수들을 어떻게 대하는가, 그리고 우리 사업을, 우리 재정을 어떻게 운영하는가, 그리고 우리의 사무실에서, 우리의 학교에서 우리의 직무를 어떻게 수행하는가와 관련을 갖습니다. 거룩함은 우리의 행위, 우리의 사고(thought), 우리의 태도가 믿지 않는 사람들과는 다르도록 만듭니다. 그렇습니다. 우리는 다른 사람들과 화평하기 위해 우리의 최선을 다해야 합니다. 그렇지만 동시에 우리는 이 세상과, 믿지 않는 자들과 달라야만 할 것입니다. 예수 그리스도의 죽으심과 부활에 의해 우리에게 부여되는 거룩함은 우리 주님을 진정한 그의 모습대로(as he really is) 볼 수 있도록 허용해줍니다(allow). 요한1서 3: 2에서는 이렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“사랑하는 친구들아 지금 우리는 하나님의 자녀들이이라. 장래에 우리가 어떻게 될지는 아직 알려지지 않았다. 그러나 그가 나타나실 때 우리는 그와 같아질 줄을 알고 있나니, 이는 우리가 그의 참 모습 그대로 그를 볼 것이기 때문이다.”
여기에 나타나는 모습이 우리가 마라톤 풀 코스를 완주한 후 이루어질 거룩함의 실현(fulfillment)입니다. 이것이 곧 우리가 화평과 거룩함을 좇아 달려야 하는 이유인 것입니다.
마지막으로, 우리는 그의 은혜를 필요로 합니다. 왜냐하면 그의 은혜가 없이는, 하나님의 은혜가 없이는 우리가 이 경주를 잘 끝낼 수 없기 때문입니다. 그의 은혜는 우리가 이 경주를 성공적으로 완주하는데 절대적으로 필수불가결합니다(necessarily essential).
마지막 절을 보실까요?
15: “어떤 사람도 하나님의 은혜를 놓치지 않도록 주의하고(see to it that) 어떤 쓴(bitter) 뿌리가 자라서 고통이 되어 많은 사람을 더럽히지(defile) 않도록 주의하라”
그러므로 우리는 하나님의 은혜가운데 달려야 합니다. 이 절의 첫 번 째 부분은 이렇게 말합니다.
“어떤 사람도 하나님의 은혜를 놓치지 않도록 주의하라.”
이 문장이 뜻하는 바는 우리가 하나님의 은혜를 잃을 수 있다는, 놓칠 수 있다는 것입니다. 하나님의 은혜는 결코 헛된(fail) 일이 아닙니다. 반드시 실행됩니다. 이 은혜는 절대적(absolute)입니다. 그러나 우리는 하나님의 은혜에 의지하지(depend on) 못할 수도 있습니다. 하나님의 은혜는 우리 자신이, 우리 삶이 그 되어야 할 바(what they are meant to be)대로 될 수 있는 기회를 우리에게 제공합니다. 그러나 우리는 하나님이 우리에게 주시는 그 기회를 죄악, 우리의 무식(ignorance), 무지(unawareness), 게으름, 지체(procrastination), 그리고 자존심으로 인해 놓칠 수 있습니다. 그러므로 그것에 대비해서 우리는 늘 영적 경계(spiritual vigilance) 가운데 깨어 있어야만 합니다. 로마서 5: 20에서 이렇게 말합니다.
“죄가 더한 곳에 은혜가 더더욱(all the more) 더했으니”
이것이 무슨 말입니까? 죄가 더한 곳에 은혜가 더더욱 더했다니요? 우리는 이 문장은 오해해서는 안 됩니다. 이 문장은 우리가 더 많은 은혜를 입기 위해 더 많은 죄를 지어야 한다는 것을 의미하는 것은 아닙니다. 절대 아니죠. 이는 우리가 얼마나 많은 죄사함, 하나님의 죄사함을 필요로 하는가를 더욱 잘 깨달을수록(the more realized), 우리는 예수 그리스도를 통한 하나님의 은혜가 얼마나 위대한가를 더욱 잘 깨달을 수 있다는 뜻입니다. 그러므로 에베소서 2장 8-9에서도 그렇게 말하고 있습니다.
“너희가 구원을 받은 것은 믿음을 통한 그의 은혜로 인한 것이니, 이것이 너희에게서 나온 것이 아니요 하나님의 은사(gift)이니라. 이는 행위에 의한 것이 아니니 이는 아무도 자랑하지(boast) 못하게 함이니라(하나님 앞에서 자랑할 게 없다는 뜻).”
로마서 5: 2에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“그로 인해 우리가 믿음으로 서 있는 이 은혜에 들어갈 수 있게(get access into) 되었으며”
야고보서 4: 6에는 이렇게 쓰여 있습니다.
“하나님은 우리에게 더 큰 은혜를 주셨으니”
그러나 기억하십시오. 하나님은 오만한 자(the proud)를 반대하시고(oppose) 거절하시되(reject), 겸손한 자(the humble)에게 더 많은 은혜를 주시는 것입니다. 그렇습니다. 매일의 필요를 위해서는 매일의 은혜가 있고, 급한 필요를 위해서는 급한 은혜가 있으며, 막대한(overwhelming) 필요를 위해서는 막대한 은혜가 있습니다. 그의 은혜는 언제나 우리 앞에 주어져(available) 있습니다. 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 우리에게 아주 가까이 놓여 있습니다. 이것이 히브리서 4 :16절을 통해 우리에게 용기를 불어 넣어주는 이유인 것입니다.
“그러므로 우리가 긍휼함을 얻고 우리가 필요할 때 우리를 도우시는 은혜를 받기 위해 자신 있게(with confidence), 확신을 가지고(with assurance) 은혜의 보좌(throne)(즉, 하나님 계시는 곳 presence of God) 앞에 나아가자.”
그의 은혜는 늘 우리 바로 앞에 있음을 기억하십시오. 그러나 이 은혜를 받아 이를 누리기 위해 우리는 늘 영적 경계에 들어가야 합니다. 아멘?
예, 신앙적인 삶은 이 세상에서 영적 마라톤과 같습니다. 그러므로 열심히 달리되, 또한 함께 열심히 달립시다. 화평과, (무엇?) 거룩함을 향해 달립시다. 또한 하나님의 은혜 가운데 오직 예수 그리스도만 바라보면서 달려 나갑시다. 왜냐하면 오직 예수만이 우리 믿음의 지은 자(author)이시고 온전케 하시는 자(perfector)이시기 때문입니다. 또한 예수 그리스도가 우리의 마라톤 풀 코스의 최종 목표입니다. 이것이 우리가 오직 예수 그리스에게만 우리의 눈을 고정시켜야(fix our eyes on) 하는 이유인 것입니다.
하나님께서 그의 평강과 거룩함과 은혜로 여러분을 축복하시기를 빕니다. 아멘! 다 함께 기도합시다!
- 아 멘 -
Feb 04 / 2018
Comments Off on Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and *everything that does not come from faith is sin.*
Actually, this second part of this chapter is a continuation / repetition of the first part of the chapter for more emphasis and development of our character in Christ – especially in terms of our relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Remember last week?
4 Reasons we should not judge our brothers & sisters in Christ:
4 Reasons we must accept each other:
God accepted him
God makes him stand finally
We are together fellow servants of the same Lord
We will altogether be judged by the one same judge
If we try to drive a car without knowing how, we know what will happen to us.
This is the same if we judge without knowing how.
Also, if we drive with no license, we know what will happen.
And if we judge with no license, what do you expect to happen?
When Jesus first met Peter, the first words he spoke to Peter were, “Follow me.” And after Jesus’ resurrection and first meeting of Peter to restore his position and relationship, he said, “Follow me.” Peter started to, but turned and saw John and asked, “What of this man?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
What does this mean? “Let me worry about John, not you. Let me be the Lord of John. You do your business, I’ll do my business.”
Negatively we should NOT judge each other. BUT we should not STOP with just non-judgment.
We are members of ONE body. That’s why today, we need this passage.
In the second part of this chapter, I want to share 3 points to see our position and standing.
#1 We affect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ
sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, consciously or unconsciously
“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, *make up your mind* not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.”
Yes, we affect each other negatively or positively.
Negatively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to fall down, be distressed, be hurt, angry, unhappy, even destroyed.
Also positively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to be built up – edifying each other, serving each other.
So… do you have more interest in your impression, or your impact?
Impression vs. Impact
Worldly people have much more concern about their impression that they give to each other (look at social media). They think about what to wear, what to buy, surgery for their faces or bodies, what attitude to show, etc. This is for their “impression” that they want to convey to others.
Yes, this is not bad, but what is MORE important for Christians is what IMPACT you are giving to others – your brothers and sisters in Christ and the lost.
A Christian’s life is being evaluated by our IMPACT on this world, NOT by our IMPRESSION we give others.
v. 13 “make up your mind” (we make up our faces)
Making up your face = for good impression
Making up your mind = for good IMPACT
Yes, we want to grow in our knowledge. Strong Christians are strong in good knowledge of God. If you have this knowledge: “All food is neutral, no food is unclean, so I can eat all food. Idols are nothing.” If you have this knowledge, you have right, good knowledge and you are a strong Christian.
BUT, if somebody is hurt by your “right” knowledge, it means your “right” knowledge is destroying your brothers and sisters who are weak.
“Knowledge puffs up; love builds up” (1 Cor 8)
Yes, we need to grow in knowledge. But knowledge without love can destroy somebody. So knowledge and love must be balanced. These two must go together.
The moment we become Christians, the feelings of others become more important than our own.
What is true biblical Christianity?
Putting Christ first,
#2 We must have PRIORITY
What is your #1 priority?
Yes, in daily life, we have many obligations, but what is your mission, your #1 priority? This is very important as a child of God. Please check yourself very honestly right now.
“16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, [matter of priority] 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”
This is the matter of priority.
Yes, we must be very clear in the matter of what our priorities are.
Saying: “The second best is the greatest enemy of the best.” (not always, but often true)
We need food, material, clothes, shelter, but these things do not bring us closer to God. These things cannot be priority #1 in our lives.
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus) Jesus knows what we need (physically), but this is not #1 priority in your life.
If you are not clear on the #1 priority in your life, you may regard less important things as more important. Therefore, we will major in the minor subjects.
Do not fight over minor subjects – the place, date of picnics, etc – because we must stick to our priority #1. These are heavenly things, not earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.
v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
Also, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness and then all these things will be given to you.”
One day, Jesus condemned the teachers of the Law and Pharisees saying, “You hypocrites! You give 1/10th tithe, BUT you have neglected the more important matters of the Law – grace, mercy, faithfulness. You strain out a gnat but you swallow a camel.” Jesus criticized them because they majored in minor things.
v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
Righteousness is having right relationship with God and man.
Peace is more than the absence of trouble. It is not a non-negative thing, but is EVERYTHING positive – it is for our highest good. Jesus says, “I do not give as this world gives. My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
There is joy in our hearts.
“Be joyful always (in Christ) – for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.”
Joy is not a selfish thing. It is not in making ourselves happy, but in making OTHERS happy.
If you make yourself satisfied, you may feel happy.
But if you make God and others satisfied, you WILL fell JOY.
Romans 5 shows these three elements of the kingdom of heaven: “Therefore since we have been justified through Christ, we have peace with God.”
Justification through Christ.
Peace with God.
Joy in the glory of God.
These three items are essentials in the kingdom of God.
God bless us to be filled with real righteousness, real peace, and real joy.
Conclusion: We must do everything IN love, BY faith.
1 Cor 16:14 “Do everything in love [by faith].”
God bless you all – make up your mind, not your face.
“21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and **everything that does not come from faith is sin.**”
Memorize this last part. Keep it in your heart and brain and mind.
Conclusion: Do everything in love by faith.
Yes we know, everything we are doing is nothing without love. And everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Sin came into this world – we are fighting against sin as long as we are in this world. We are saved completely, once for all, from sin – but still we are struggling. So, we must be clear in this matter.
In the last part, I want to make two things clear:
What is the meaning of salvation from sin
“Everything that does not come from faith is sin”
#1 Salvation from sin
Past: We *were* saved once for all from the **penalty and punishment** of sin the moment we accepted Christ as Lord
Present: We *are being* saved from the **power and temptation** of sin through the power of Christ and ministry of the HS
Future: We *will be* saved from the **presence** of sin when Jesus returns or when we see him, face to face
#2 Everything that does not come from faith is sin
What does this mean? What time is it now? Are you still with me?
I want to make it CLEAR what is sin.
In a Christian life, we are not sinless. Nobody can be sinless as long as we are in this world. But we must be clear about what is sin.
What is sin?
Biblically (not from the perspective of Man, but from God’s perspective – which is really important):
There are 4 things:
The first two are related essentials and a matter of text (from the Bible).
The second two are non-essentials and gray areas of things not directly mentioned in the Bible (depends on circumstances – depends on context, not text).
1. Not believing in Jesus Christ
(the greatest sin – which leads to death (eternally)) Jesus himself says, (John 16:9) “They do not believe in me.”
This is the greatest sin which cannot be forgiven. If you do not agree with this sentence, you are not a Christian.
2. Disobedience to the Word of God (God’s clear commands) –
Sin of Commission: To do what God forbids,
Sin of Omission: or NOT to do what God commands us to do
Negatively: “Do not lie; do not cheat; do not steal; do not murder; do not commit adultery.” We should NOT do it.
Positively: “Love your neighbor as yourself, forgive your brother; Love the Lord your God with all of you” – We SHOULD do it.
3. (Matter of context – gray area) Personal convictions
for example smoking, going to the movies on Sunday, etc. It depends on circumstances and context.
This depends on personal, individual faith conscience and conviction.
If I smoke with a Christian conscience, no sin.
But if I do something against my conscience or against my convictions, this is sin to me.
Keyword: Christian conscience and conviction (this is the message of this chapter)
4. (Gray area) – How personal convictions affect others
If I do something in my conscience and with big conviction, it is not sin to me.
However, if I’m doing something that is not sinful to me (my conscience and conviction are clear), but if MY action causes another person to stumble, it is sin.
1 Cor 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23 (4x repeated – for big emphasis) “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial / constructive.”
1 Cor 8:23 “If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat that food again so that I will not cause my brother to fall into sin.” (This is called “making up your mind”).
In essentials: we must keep unity
In non-essentials: we must be open-minded for variety and diversity
In everything: we must do in love (by faith)
These are basic principles of the Christian life in this world.
Jan 07 / 2018
Comments Off on New Year: Be a Person of ________. (Romans 12:11-21)
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Book of Romans: The Righteousness of God
Part One: The Revelation of the Righteousness of God
Part Two: The Practice of the Righteousness of God in our lives – through Jesus Christ
Part One: What God has done and is doing for us in Christ – believe in your heart, confess with you mouth. (Chp 1-11)
Part Two: Reveal what you believe in your actions – hands, feet, mouths, etc. Without obedience, nothing happens, with obedience, great things happen.
Whenever we read / receive the Word of God, we must be diligent and faithful. But the FINAL PURPOSE of the Word of God is to “put it into practice.”Without obedience, nothing happens.
We know the story of the first miracle of Jesus in John 2. The wine was gone, so the men filled the jars full of water – then drew some out. How? With their hands and feet. So, they were the first eyewitnesses of the first miracle of Christ. BUT, if they had not obeyed, nothing would have happened.
Thus, the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes – conclusion is: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand…” (Matt 7)
Today’s text is very short, simple, clear, strong, powerful.
ALL the sentences are Imperatives. “Do this… be this…”
Out of these 21 sentences, we can see 24 imperatives (commanding sentences).
Let me read these. Your response must be “Yes, I will obey / No, I will not obey” Show your reaction publicly before God.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but
keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope,
be patient in affliction,
be faithful in prayer.
13 Share with God’s people who are in need.
14 Bless those who persecute you;
bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud, but
be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but
leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but
overcome evil with good.
What a great list for the New Year~~
If Christ is our Savior, no question, he is also our example for what kind of person to be and what to do. “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I’ll give you rest… Learn from me…”
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”
We saw 24 imperatives, but let me summarize these into 4 imperatives. We should be like this because Christ is like this. Who is your example? Christ. In our motivation, personality, activity, etc.
4 Imperatives for the New Year
#1 Be a Person of PASSION
“11 Never be lacking in zeal [passion], but keep your spiritual fervor [enthusiasm], serving the Lord.”
Christ was a man of PASSION (The Passion of the Christ)
“My Father is working up to now, so I also am working. We must work as long as it is day because night is coming soon when nobody can work.” As long as it is day in your lives, you should work.
In his earthly ministry, he had a passion to:
Heal the sick
Raise the dead
Cast away evil spirits
Seek and save the lost
Fulfill / finish the will of God
Save you and me
To give eternal life to each of us individually (even if you were the only person on earth, he would have died to save you alone)
His passion to save us saved us. His passion to give us life, gave us life.
What kind of passion (for Christ) do you have?
Is your heart burning with a holy passion and enthusiasm to glorify his name?
If we belong to Christ, we must be people of PASSION.
God bless us in 2018 to be people of PASSION!
#2 Be a person of PRAYER
“12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Christ is original God, yes, but in his earthly ministry, he was a “man of prayer”. In Luke there are 11 occasions that it is mentioned “he prayed”.
Sometimes he prayed ALL NIGHT (the founder of all-night prayer)
Sometimes he prayed EARLY in the morning (the founder of dawn prayer)
He prayed before BIG events or situations (before beginning his ministry; before choosing his disciples; before crucifixion – he prayed so earnestly his sweat was drops of blood)
Hebrews 5:7 summarizes his whole ministry and life of 33 years “During his whole life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death. Because of his obedience, he was received.”
How about you? Are you a person of prayer?
I cannot explain ALL the benefits of prayer:
It makes us humble, but bold.
Not to pray makes us fearful, but cowardly.
To pray, makes us more and more like Christ our example.
Not to pray makes us nearer and nearer to demons.
To pray helps us understand the will of God.
To pray makes God work FOR us.
Not to pray makes Satan work AGAINST us.
To pray can make the impossible possible.
Not to pray makes the possible impossible.
Do you pray, regularly, believingly, faithfully?
To pray means: “I believe in you, I need you, I depend on you, you are my King, Savior, Lord.”
Not to pray means: “I don’t believe in you, I don’t need you, I don’t like to spend time with you, I want nothing to do with you.”
Prayer is intimate communication and relationship with God.
Prayer is “breath” in the life of the believer. Are you breathing now?
Not to pray is to STOP BREATHING.
God bless us in 2018 to be people of PRAYER.
#3 Be a person of PEACE
(reconciliation – between God and ourselves, God and others, ourselves and others)
“13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 _If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone._”
Christ is/was a person / King / Prince of Peace.
Isaiah prophesied he would be called:
“Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Prince of Peace.”
“Glory to God, peace on earth to men on whom his favor rests.”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as this world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled.”
(Real / heavenly peace cannot be found in this world – only in Jesus Christ.)
Do you want peace of mind, peace with neighbors, coworkers, family members? Real peace can only be found in Christ.
Romans: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have PEACE with God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.” (by outsiders)
Everybody in this world needs salvation, but not everybody wants salvation because of their spiritual blindness. But everybody needs and wants PEACE. True peace is found only in Christ.
“Peacemaker” means “preacher of the message of the gospel.” The definite way to be a peacemaker is to be an evangelist in this world between God and men – to be reconciled to God.
God bless us in 2018 to be people of PEACE.
#4 Be a person of PARDON
“19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Do you have someone in your mind / heart to forgive? Someone who needs forgiveness? I do not know – only God knows.
Yes, it can be difficult to forgive – even Christ forgave the people who KILLED him. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called… that Christ gave you an example to follow. ” 22-23 “He committed no sin, no deceit was found in his mouth. He did not repay evil for evil, but trusted himself to the one who judges justly.”
“If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if not, he also will not.”
1 John 1:9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to cleanse us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Do you repay evil for evil? Evil for good? Good for good? Anyone in the world can do this. But as Christians, we are called to live at a HIGHER LEVEL: repay good for evil.
Do not be unforgiving.
Hating is hurting yourself more than the one you don’t forgive.
Unforgiveness is a prison of your own making – you put yourself in mental / spiritual prison when you don’t forgive.
This looks like Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“Bless those who persecute you… If you love those who love you, what good is that to you? If you only greet your brothers, what good is that to you? Even pagans do that. Be perfect therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
This is a HUGE challenge. We CANNOT be perfect. He knows this very well. He knows who we are and what we are like. We cannot be perfect though he encourages us to. But, we can allow Christ (in us) to live his life in us / through us in this world.
Let’s pray together.
2018: Be a person of:
PASSION, PRAYER, PEACE, PARDON
May 28 / 2017
Comments Off on Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
In chp 4, we saw 2 things:
By what Abraham was NOT justified
By what Abraham WAS justified
Chp 5 is the explanation of the end of Chp 4.
Our justification is not just a promise of heaven, but also a tremendous source of blessings we can enjoy now and here. “Abundant blessings of justification.”
As we know, we have nothing to boast about in our faith – but we have much more to boast about in Christ – because faith means we depend on Christ for our salvation. Christ has more than enough for our salvation and justification.
By faith in Christ, we are saved. Do you agree and believe?
By faith we are:
overcome this world,
defeat the power of Satan and sin,
receive the answers of our prayers,
experience the power of God (making the impossible possible),
make God happy. Do you make God happy?
By faith we can do everything God wants us to do.
Today, we read Chp 5:1-5, which are full of abundant blessings which we can enjoy now and here.
Let me share 5 blessings we can enjoy now and here.
#1 Peace with God through Christ
v. 1 “1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Condemnation = God declares us sinners (war)
Justification = God declares us righteous (peace)
Peace is more than the absence of war. It is the perfect restoration of relationship without the rending of any hearts.
Without peace with God, there is no peace. No peace of self, spirit, heart, mind, with others, with Creation, etc. Peace with God is the root / source for us to have / enjoy all peace in this world. This peace can only be found through Jesus Christ.
Jesus is called “Prince of Peace” (King of Peace) – even 700 years before he came to earth.
Eph: “Jesus Christ is our peace.” – He preached peace to us.
Jesus IS peace and a man of peace. His greeting is “Go in peace; My peace I leave with you.”
One time, Jesus said something strange. “Do not think I have come to bring peace, but a sword.” (huh?) What does this mean?
It means, in this world, there are many false peaces – sometimes we heard of fake news – also there are many fake peaces. These must be destroyed first in order to have real, true peace and allow it to be built up.
Carnal peace must give way to spiritual peace.
World peace to heavenly peace.
Temporal peace to eternal peace.
Yes, everyone wants peace – all kinds of peace – then, the root of peace is “Peace with God”. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How is this possible?
Who is a peacemaker? I want to bless you all to be peacemakers in this world.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How?
Peacemakers are not entertainers, recreational leaders. No, they are gospel preachers. They tell the story of Jesus – who is the King of Peace.
We can enjoy this peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
#2. Access to God in Christ
We are worshiping God – we are now in the presence of God.
v. 2 “2 through *whom* we have gained access by faith into _this grace_ (the presence of God) in which we now stand. And we boast (rejoice) in the hope of the glory of God. “
In ancient times, ordinary people were not allowed to enter the presence of the king – also the same was true of God. Only the High Priest, the rep of all the people was able to enter the Most Holy Place (the symbol of the presence of God) with the blood offering and bells and string tied around his waist (just in case – if he had something wrong against God in the Most High place, he was to die immediately – but nobody could enter to take his dead body, so they had to pull his dead body from outside by pulling on the rope).
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating the Holy and Most Holy place was torn completely in half – indicating that we would now have access to God directly through Christ.
Gentiles originally were kept out of the temple by a wall – a veil – but when Christ was crucified, it was broken in half. This means that Jesus is the new way for us to enter the presence of God.
Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is torn. And since we have a great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and assurance of faith – having our bodies washed with pure water.”
Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy to help us in our time of need.”
“…in which we now stand…”
Justification has to do with our position – our standing.
In the OT time, nobody called God “Father” in a personal relationship. Question: “Can you call God, ‘Father’ in a personal relationship with him?”
Even Moses, David, nobody was allowed to call God “Father” in a personal relationship. But we are. How blessed we are. This means we received a new position / standing in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “You can pray like this, ‘Our Father in heaven…'”
Isaiah “…Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…”
Today, we do not call Jesus “Everlasting Father” – so this means, only IN Jesus, we are allowed to call God “Father.” We have access anytime, every time for the help we need. God is very happy to hear your voice. You know that?
#3. Hope of the glory of God
“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Hope of the glory of God
We can come to God anytime.
The hope of the glory of God takes care of our future.
Originally, mankind was created for God’s glory. – But because of sin, we “fall short of the glory of God.”
Therefore, God wants to recreate his glory in us. So, we look forward to the time in which we will share his glory. So, this helps us to overcome our frustrations when we are not all we want to be, nor all God wants us to be. So, when we have THIS hope, we can rejoice in any situation.
If you hold THIS hope, you can rejoice in any and all situations (even suffering).
#4. Rejoice in suffering
v. 3-4 “3 Not only so, but we also glory (rejoice) in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
If you really agree and believe this, you are a mature Christian. If not, you are a baby Christian. Check yourself through reading these two verses.
This begins with HOPE -> suffering -> perseverance (patience) -> character -> HOPE
We are not FREE from suffering, but we can rejoice in suffering.
Remember, justification does not free us from suffering, but it gives us the power to rejoice in suffering. We don’t rejoice in suffering because we like pain, but because we know that our Father God is using these life difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build up our character.
All our suffering, problems in this world:
develop our perseverance (patience), and
develops our character, which
increases our hope and glory in the future.
It is likely that your patience will be tested in some way EVERY day.
Do you serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to serve our Lord Jesus Christ?
Remember, if you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, suffering is unavoidable. You cannot escape suffering if you serve the Lord in this world. Remember, he suffered for us first.
1 Peter “To this you are called because Christ suffered for you first and leaving you an example to follow in his footsteps.”
Phil “I want to know the power of Christ and his suffering….”
1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
Romans “Our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Christianity is the story of a life a suffering.
“Blessed are the persecuted because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven. They persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Tribulation is a kind of suffering.
John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble (tribulation) but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
“Tribulation” = from Latin “Tribulum” = flail
Flail (도리깨) = a threshing tool with a long handle to hit the wheat and separate the wheat from the chaff. How painful! How much suffering for the wheat! But through this suffering, the pure wheat is separated from the chaff (garbage).
Like this, through our own suffering, we are purified and our spiritual “wheat” is separated from our worldly “chaff”.
Like this, through our suffering, we can get to know “how I am” and how my heart is constituted. Sometimes, I don’t even know who I am before God, but through this suffering, I can know who I am before God.
Moses vs. Pharaoh
Moses = man of God
Pharaoh = man of this world
Both experienced the same miracles from God.
Through this, Moses became closer and closer to God through patience, perseverance, character, hope.
But, Pharaoh, through the same miracles, became harder, more stubborn, farther and farther from God, immature temper / disposition, disappointment, failure.
Remember, all the time, God is good.
“God is good – all the time.”
“All the time – God is good.”
But, in your daily life, in your suffering and trials, can you say THAT?
Imagine:I lost my job, got divorced, lost great money, someone I loved died, I’m suffering painfully in body, soul, spirit, emotions….BUT “God is good, all the time. God is in control of all things…”
Can you say THAT?
#5: We are not disappointed
v. 5 “5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
God has put his love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who he’s given to us. We will study more of the love of God, but for now:
Imagine, before we were saved,
God showed his love by sending his Son – surely he will love us more and more NOW – he is pouring it out more and more.
Faith, Hope, Love combine to give us patience in the suffering of this world. This patience makes it possible for us to grow in character and become a child of God.
Romans “I’m strongly persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor anything else in all this world will be able to separate us from the love of God.”
What can separate us from the love of God?
“No condemnation in Jesus Christ”
“No separation in Jesus Christ”
Dec 20 / 2015
Comments Off on Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) – Christmas 2015
1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for Their Gifts
10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22 All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
In chp 3, Paul had warned against the legalists (Judaizers) who took the focus off of Jesus and tried to put it back on the OT Laws as qualifications for salvation. Paul tried to say, “Look, fellows, if anyone is qualified – I’m SUPER qualified – but that stuff is worthless in the face of the glory and mercy and grace of Christ.” Christ had died for his (our) sins – and Paul continually warned against falling into the trap of legalism. However, they should still keep their eyes on the prize. It was the grace of God to allow him to do the things that God himself had set out for him to do from the beginning of time.
In the early days of the church, they were expecting the quick return of the Lord. In fact, every generation SHOULD have that kind of expectation. During one’s lifetime, an expectation of prophesies fulfilled and events come to pass to advance the progress of his coming.
Phil 4. “Therefore my brothers,…
v. 1-4 “in the Lord” 3 times:
Stand firm in the Lord
Agree in the Lord
Rejoice in the Lord
Clearly Paul has a great affection for the believers in Philippi (Lydia, the slave woman, the jailer, etc) – they had a good relationship between them. They are his “crown” – diadema (diadem = kingly crown), stephanos (crown of achievement – that Olympic athletes coveted – leaves that encircled one’s head. This is the word that Paul uses for the Philippians). Paul is also envisioning them at the great wedding feast of the Lamb (Jesus) with these crowns adorning their heads as well.
They give him joy, honor, he can appeal to them as friends. So his closing words are very positive. (Lyrics: Mr. In-between?)
Paul mentions two women by name: Euodia, Syntyche – apparently this disagreement was not merely a private matter but had caused problems among the fellowship. He didn’t order one or the other to do something – he didn’t assign blame but treated each the same and just “pleaded” with them to “agree together in the Lord.” (no churches like that today, eh?)
Regardless of the disagreement – we can agree together in the Lord.
He also agreed with the assignment of the “yokefellow” mediator between the two women. He said, “their names are in the book of life” and he praises them for their service to the Lord and the sharing of the gospel.
Some people may be good gospel witnesses, but have weaknesses in other areas of their lives.
These women needed some help to patch things up and so the yokefellow was called upon to help mediate. Since their names are in the Book of Life, they really ought to try to get along NOW.
Rejoice in the Lord! Again, I will say it, rejoice!
Yet, at this time, Paul is chained, under house arrest in Rome. “I can do all things in Christ” he says. Yes, it can be hard to rejoice when there are personal disagreements, or persecution. How would you fare in such circumstances? Keeping your eye on the prize in these circumstances is much more difficult. We need to pray for ourselves and for others in this situation to continue to be faithful and grow in faith in the Lord.
10,000 Reasons is not enough for Paul to rejoice in the Lord.
We have a salvation that no one can take away from us.
Let your “gentleness” be evident to the Lord. (”gentleness” = untranslatable, really – “moderation” in King James). The Greeks defined this word as “justice and BETTER than justice.”
William Barclay: “As teachers, if you have two students: one with 80%, one with 50%, perhaps the 80% student has all the right circumstances in his LIFE to acquire that. The one with 50% may have horrible life circumstances that dragged him down. The 80/50 would be justice. But the teacher may take things into consideration and assign 80/>50. This is mercy, and “gentleness” as defined here.
“Don’t be anxious about anything…”
Be CONFIDENT that God will take care of ALL your needs. Paul is helping the Philippians concentrate on the positive.
God’s love desires what is best for us.
God’s wisdom knows what is best for us.
God’s power brings to pass what is best for us.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy …think on such things.” This is a challenge (especially with world news… or interpersonal relationships) – even to memorize this verse in order is a challenge.
If you have a problem with someone, do that (above) and you will find peace (which surpasses understanding) that will guard (a military word) your heart and mind (this is a gift from God) in Christ Jesus.
“Whatever you have learned, received, heard from, or seen in me, put into practice.”
How many of us could say this with confidence? Paul has “walked the walk” as well as “talking the talk.” If you do that, the God of Peace will be with you. These are both tremendous promises.
The God of Peace, Love, Comfort. The Great Shalom – not just the absence of conflict, but Well-Being (Korean word there) when we imitate godly people.
Paul then thanks the church for the help they sent him while he was in prison. He is thankful for the physical gift, but he uses this as an opportunity to point them away from focusing on the physical – spiritual is so much more important.
“I can do everything through him who infuses his strength in me… I’ve had times of plenty, and times of poverty – and have ALWAYS looked to Christ in EVERY situation.” Christ gives strength to endure when times are tough. Not all of us can live the lives of prosperity and comfort we wish to – Christ enables us to endure all circumstances (this is NOT “Christ will help me DO ANYTHING I want!” – consider the context – a text taken out of context is a pretext – untrue).
Yet, it was good of you to share in my troubles. In the early days, not one church shared with giving and receiving except for you. (In Corinth, the Philippians supported him – a strange turn of events since the Philippians were quite poor, but the Corinthians quite wealthy.)
The stoic philosophers used to say, “the desire to not have desires” – Paul used this to say, “I’ve been (become) content in all circumstances.”
The giving of the Philippians = the equivalent of a bank account accruing interest. When we serve God physically, we reap in spiritual rewards.
The sacrifice pleases God – whether offerings to poor or missionaries, and “my God will meet all your needs in Christ Jesus.” He is no one’s debtor. The reason we can be generous is because God will meet all our needs.
The End Doxology
Post script – personal greetings to the saints in Philippi (especially those who belong to Caesar’s household – civil service members). Paul drops a hint that the gospel is bearing fruit in significant places and significant ways. About 300 years later, Christianity in fact, will become the “national” faith.
What better way to conclude than by receiving the Lord’s grace? Let’s remember the Lord in his death and resurrection and coming again with the Lord’s supper.
Remember, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus took the bread and said, “This is my body, broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same manner, he took the cup saying, “This cup is a new covenant in my blood, drink ye all of it.”
May 25 / 2014
Comments Off on Do You Have an Abundant Life? (John 10:10)
Do You Have an Abundant Life? John 10:10 (Missionary Kwak)
The Thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy. But I have come that they may have Life and have it to the full.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have Life, and have it abundantly.”
Some time ago, after returning to Korea from India, I saw on TV a documentary about a shoemaker. There was no one to talk with in the dark room, and he said, “Can I talk to the TV? Can it talk back to me? It’s better to get back to work to meet my customers, to talk with them and laugh with them.”
So many people want happiness. Does TV do that? Does fellowship with people give us real satisfaction in life?
People seek fleeting pleasures in life.
Money: can it give real joy? Billionaires have real life, joy, satisfaction? How about fame? Military power? Military glory?
Alexander the Great conquered the whole known world at that time, and he wept saying, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
Today, people enjoy many (exciting) games in the smartphone. Many Koreans enjoy tourism. Does this give real satisfaction.
Jesus says, “I have come that I may give you life and abundant life.”
Greek “ego, enor, equasin…”
“I have come ‘ego ethon’.”
First pronoun = “I” empathetic – I did not send an angel, prophet, or anyone else, “I MYSELF came”
“I came to lay down my life to give you life. To sacrifice my life to give you abundant life.”
He took our sorrows to give us joy.
He suffered the pain of the cross to give us true happiness.
He suffered bitterness to give us sweetness.
To give life. Abundant life.
The Greek verse says, “presson” = abundantly (abundant – adjective or adverb – two ways to translate it).
What is abundant life?
He did everything to give us abundant life, so he should have abundant life, he showed abundant life.
What is abundant life?
To be filled with the Holy Spirit – then you will have abundant life – enjoying true satisfaction in Christ. Jesus said, “God has a gift to give you. If you drink this (vinegar) water, you will thirst again, but I have true water – that will well up in you to eternal life.” John 4:14
John 6:38 “The Holy Spirit is like the rivers of living water.”
Psalm 1 “The righteous person is like a tree planted by the streams of water.” They grow high with green leaves and bear their fruit in season.
The land receives rain and produces flowers and trees and the trees bear fruit.
When the rivers of Living Water flow in our hearts, we’ll become beautiful – have flowers (no need for makeup). You will start to bear fruit.
#2: Romans 14:17 “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness and peace and joy in the HS.”
1 Peter 1:8 “Even though you haven’t seen him, you love him, and even though you don’t see him now, you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
When I traveled to Jeonju (from India) my son called me and asked, “What are you doing?” “Sitting on the bus.” “Oh, seems boring.” But I never felt bored since I believed in Jesus. There’s no time to be bored. God gave us true joy.
In 2011, one institute had a survey – with 21 countries. It said, 87% of Indian ladies have a stressful life. 45% of Korean ladies do not feel happy in their marriages. Many ladies are oppressed by men. They do not feel happy. But our Lord came to give REAL joy in our lives.
#3: Fueled with the peace of God
Peace like a river
You have many anxieties and worries and fears, but our Lord gives us peace. Let the peace flow in our hearts.
I can feel the peace of God. It’s real. He gives TRUE peace.
When I was a child, I had LOTS of worries. God gave me. Phil 4:6-7 “Do not worry about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts in Christ Jesus.”
God will guard our hearts securely – he will be our security against the thieves and robbers of this world.
Abundant life = true satisfaction, spiritual satisfaction, divine love
1 John 3 “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Anyone who doesn’t love is still dead.”
Divine Love is an attribute from God. When you have this attribute, you have love from God.
Jesus says, “You can have abundant life in the HERE and NOW.”
Jeus died on the cross to give us abundant life. He came to give us abundant life. Do you enjoy this abundant life in your daily life?
Are you always happy? Always joyful? We need this abundant life right now, here.
How can we have this life?
#1: I’m the good Shepherd and the good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 6:55 “My flesh is real food and my blo0d is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood…will have abundant life.” That’s the food for our spirits, we need his sacrifice, his life, his blood. We must remind ourselves again and again of his sacrifice for us on the cross. His blood gives us life.
#2: I’m the Door/Gate.
Greek (ego enni edura) – “I’m the only door.” If you pass through this door, you will have salvation, sins forgiven, you’ll be cleansed, sins washed away, you’ll have rest, peace, life.
“Whoever enters through me will be saved and he will come in and go out and find pasture.”
If we are saved in him, we will find delicious food for our spirits in him. He is the only door to find pasture for our spirits.
Last Thursday, I visited a staff member 108/208. I pressed the bell, but nobody came. Ooops… Got the wrong building. So I went to the next building and got the right unit number, and the door is open.
Like this, Christ is an open door. We can go to the open door and find it open with delicious food for our spirits. And this food is healthy, and we can receive healthy and abundant life.
#3: OBEY his words
John 10:1, 6 Jesus is compared to the Good Shepherd, and the sheep follow the Shepherd.
John 10:2 “The man who enters by the gate is the Shepherd of the sheep and he is the watchmen for the sheep and he calls them by name and watches out for them.”
John 10:4 “They follow him because they know his voice, but they will not recognize a stranger’s voice, because they do not know his voice.”
Voice = 3 times here.
If you have a dog, and you move away even 2,800km, the dog can come back to you.
But the sheep is different, he can only see up to 3 feet or 2 meters in front of him – but they are very sensitive in hearing. So, they must pay attention to the voice of the shepherd. If they don’t pay attention to the voice of the shepherd, they can fall off the cliff, into danger, etc.
There are MANY voices and sounds trying to drown out the Shepherd’s voice these days: TV, phones, games, Facebook, cults, religious leaders, politicians, shopping malls, etc, etc.
But we must pay attention to HIS voice and follow him.
How can we hear his voice?
Through the sermons.
Through meditation on the Scriptures.
While we pray.
There are many voices in this world. Many sounds. But turn away from the voice of the world and turn to the True Shepherd. Obey his commands.
Many people know the Bible well, memorize the Scriptures, but few keep his commands.
John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. You are my friends if you keep my commands.”
Our Lord looks for the people who listen for his voice and keep his commands. Then, you will have abundant life.
He’s your Lord, he’s your King.
Sep 29 / 2013
Comments Off on Choose Your Master: God or Money (Matthew 6:19-34)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Do not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor of spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Amen. This is the living Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless all of us with this living Word of our Lord and King, Jesus.
Today’s topic is: Choose your Master: GOD or Money?
Did you choose? Did you choose already your Lord? You know, we have a tendency to divide life into two parts: the spiritual and the material. But this is not right. Our Lord Jesus makes no such division. In his many parables, in his many teachings, Jesus makes clear a right attitude toward materials. A right attitude toward money is a mark of true spirituality.
We know in the Bible, the Pharisees loved money and used money to make money in the name of “religion.” You know, if we have the true righteousness of Jesus Christ in our lives, we will have a right, proper attitude toward materials, toward money.
In the Bible, Jesus never praises poverty anywhere. Jesus never criticizes being rich materially because we know God made all things including our clothes, food, precious metals. Anything and everything, God made them, and God has declared all things he has made “good.” So, it is not wrong for us to possess materials, but it is wrong for materials to possess us.
Materials vs. Materialism
Materials themselves are not bad, but Materialism is bad. Materialism enslaves our hearts, our wills, our souls, even our spirits. The Bible never says, “Money is evil. Money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Do you like money? But, the Bible says, “The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows and griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10)
And Heb 13:5 says, “Therefore, keep your lives free from the love of money. Be content with what you have because God has said, ‘I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.’” You know, the Bible says there will be three kinds of Loves that will grow and grow as the last day comes nearer and nearer:
The love of Self
The love of Stuff (Money)
The love of Sex (Pleasure) – The love of physical pleasure, the love of lust.
Shall we see once again, from verse 19-24? Let me read, you can see together.
Hate the one and love the other: idolize one, demonize the other.
We need to underline, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” You know the literal meaning in the Greek Bible is, “You cannot be a SLAVE both to God and money.” Whether we like it or not, we are made to be a slave to somebody or something. Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that when you offer yourselves to somebody to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey?” But, even though we are slaves, we have the right to choose our own Master, but we cannot have two Masters or more. We can have two friends or more, but we can have only one Master, only one Lord.
God vs. Other Gods
Then, we need to notice, Jesus does not say in the last sentence, “You cannot serve both God and Mohammed” – or God and Buddha – or God and somebody else – or God and something else. But Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and Money.”
It means, to Man, to human beings, money is a god, practically. Money is more influential, more powerful in a human’s practical life. The power of money, the influence of money is almost equal to God in our practical lives. We cannot deny it.
Then, the first verse, verse 19…
It means it’s very safe. It means it will last forever and forever, “where thieves do not break in and steal.” What does this mean? To “store up our treasures in heaven”? You know the Earth is the symbol of what is temporary. Then, Heaven means the symbol of something that is eternal. It means, USE what is temporary FOR what is eternal.
Check your spending style
At this moment we need to check our money spending style.
For example, how much do you spend for food?
How much do you spend for your clothing?
How much do you spend for your housing and furniture?
How much do you spend for ONE cigarette?
For the lottery?
For our hobbies or sports?
How much do you spend for face renovation?
How much do you spend for helping others?
How much do you spend for winning souls to Christ?
And how much do you spend for tithes and offerings?
Yes, there are MANY ways for us to store treasures in heaven, not on earth, but the Bible is very clear in teaching us one of the BEST ways for us to store our treasures in heaven is tithes and offerings. That’s why the Bible says this:
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, “How do we rob you?” “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food [the symbol of my treasure] in my house [literally, it means the temple, the symbol of heaven]. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
[One of my personal favorite verses]
This is the Word of God Almighty.
During our Christian lives, we do continually tithes and offerings, but we need to know the true meaning of tithes and offerings, biblically – for God and for me. At this moment, I want to say just six points about the meaning of tithes and offerings, briefly.
6 Points about the Meaning of Tithes and Offerings
#1 First, as mentioned in Malachi 3:8-10, tithes and offerings is one of the best ways to store up our treasures in heaven.
Please remember whenever you give your offerings and tithes.
#2 Second, tithes and offerings is the action of obedience.
Tithes and offerings is not an optional choice, but an essential command in the Bible, not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament.
Already we read together Malachi 3:10, “Bring your whole tithe.”
And Exodus 23:15 says, “No one is to appear before God empty handed.”
Also in the New Testament, it’s the same.
In the New Testament, in Matthew chapter 23, Jesus our Lord agrees that we should give our tithe.
Second Corinthians 9:7 says, “That’s why each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give. Not reluctantly or under compulsion because God loves a cheerful giver.”
#3, tithes and offerings is a thanksgiving sacrifice.
We can show our thanksgiving to God by giving, by our action.
#4 Also, tithes and offerings is an acknowledgement of God’s ownership and our stewardship.
#5, tithes and offerings is a kind of prayer for more blessing.
Also, tithes and offerings is sowing with the expectation of reaping. Also a holy investment for harvest. You know, Jesus says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” We are not allowed to test God. Do you agree? But, in the Bible, in the whole Bible, there is only one area in which we are allowed, we are encouraged to test God. This area is tithe. We read already, God encourages us, God challenges us to “Bring the whole tithe and then test me in this and see if I won’t bless you more and more! I will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for that.”
Also 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: whoever sows little will reap little, whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but whoever sows generously (bountifully) will reap generously (bountifully).”
#6 And finally, let me say one more, tithes and offerings is a proclamation of freedom from the love of money.
We know the last sentence, “We cannot serve God and Money” but we can serve God with money. With our tithes and offerings, we say to money (please, do you have money in your pocket? Say to your money), “I need you, but I am not your slave. You are my slave. Please follow me, I don’t follow you. You have no right to control me, but I have the right to control you.” We can say this to money with our tithes and offerings.
Please remember, God knows we need money. So, if we serve God, God will provide us with money, as much as we need. But, money doesn’t know we need God. That’s why, if we serve money, money gives us only worry. So, the next topic is worry. In the next passage, we can see the word “worry” at least 6 or 7 times. Worry, worry, worry. Do you like worry? Please, do not worry about worry. Shall we see the next paragraph? At this moment, I bless all of us, God may bless, so that we may be free from worry. Verse 25:
The Real Reality of Worry (v. 25-34)
At this moment, we need to know what is the real reality of worry. I want to say at least four points about the reality of worry.
#1, first, please remember, worry is totally needless, useless, and even positively, actively harmful, injurious.
Worry it cannot affect the Past – the Past is passed. Like this, worry about Tomorrow is useless. Worry about Tomorrow is a wasted effort. You know, worry about Tomorrow can do nothing for Tomorrow except taking away the joy, energy, and effectiveness of Today. God has provided for us Today. You know, the regrets of the Past and the worry of Tomorrow destroys the quality of Today. Then, worry is worse than useless. Worry is harmful – positively, actively harmful.
We know already, worry is one of the great causes of physical sicknesses and diseases, such as headaches, stomach ulcers, coronary trouble. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a worrying heart dries the bones.” How right it is.
And finally, worry makes us gradually, progressively unable to deal with our life.
Please remember that.
#2, second, worry is blind.
Worry makes us blind. Worry makes us unable to see, unable to learn the lesson from nature. Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air…” Do you know, do you believe that we are more valuable than the birds of the air? Do you agree? And Jesus says, “Look at the grass, the lilies of the field…” Do you believe we are much, much more valuable than grass, flowers. Do you believe this? We are created in his image.
But remember, Jesus does not say, “Look at the birds of the land… Look at the birds of the tree…” But Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the AIR.” You know, to be in the air, to be in the sky, birds should fly, and fly continually with their eyes opened. Jesus does not say, “Look at the lilies of the bottle… Lilies of the living room…” But Jesus says, “Lilies of the field.” You know, to remain standing in the field, lilies should put their roots under the ground, and should draw water from below, and should confront the wind and the sunshine – sometimes cold, sometimes hot. It means, they are in the RIGHT place, doing the right jobs according to God’s original designs for them. But they do not worry, they depend on God. God never fails.
“No worry” does not mean “no work, or no plan, no thought.” “No worry” means “no worry” and being in the right place according to God’s original design for us, and doing the RIGHT jobs according to God’s original design for us. Where is the right place we should be according to God’s original designs? The answer is we must be in God, in Jesus Christ.
#3, worry is essentially irreligious.
Please remember, worry is a matter of the heart, not a matter of outward circumstances. In the same circumstances, one man can be peaceful, can be serene, and another man can be worried to death. Peace and worry come not from circumstances, but from the heart.
You know one day a gentleman met a beggar on the street and:
That gentleman said to the beggar, “Hey, my friend, may God give you a good day.”
The beggar said, “I thank God that I never had a better day.”
Then, the gentleman said again, “My friend, may God give you a happy life.”
The beggar said, “I thank God I was never unhappy.”
Then that gentleman was surprised and said, “What do you mean?”
Then the beggar said, “Well, when it is fine, I thank God. When it is raining, I thank God. When it is cloudy, I thank God. When I have much, plenty, I thank God. When I am hungry, I thank God. Because God’s will is my will. Because whatever pleases God pleases me. Why should I say I’m unhappy because I’m happy?”
Then in astonishment, in surprise, the gentleman asked, “Who are you?”
The beggar answered, “I’m a king.”
The gentleman asked again, “What? You are a king? If you are a king, where’s your country? Where’s your kingdom?”
The beggar answered, “In my heart.”
Proverbs 4:23 says, “More than anything else, above all else, keep your heart, guard your heart because it is the source of life, the fountain of life, the wellspring of life.”
Please remember, if we think about a matter with fear over and over, it is worry. But, if we think about Jesus Christ with the Bible over and over, it is meditation. So, we have already a great ability to meditate very well. No problem.
#4 Worry is a sin to God
Let me say lastly one point. Please remember, worry is mistrust, unbelief, disbelief to God. In conclusion, worry is a sin to God. Shall we say together, “Worry is a sin to God.” In verse 30, Jesus says, “Oh you of little faith.” Oh you of no faith. What does this mean? This means that worry is evidence of little faith, no faith. And verse 32 says, “for the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
This means that worry is the pagan’s lifestyle. Today in our version, worry is the unbeliever’s lifestyle.
Yes, outwardly, we may worry because of this, because of this, because of that, such and such, many things we may worry, but the fundamental reason, the basic reason why I worry is because I do not trust in God, because I do not believe in Jesus Christ. Please remember, as long as we live in this world, the fundamental remedy, the fundamental solution for worry is believe in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and King and Master, really, truly, and act on that faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus gives peace of heart
Jesus died for us. Who died for us except for Jesus Christ? Jesus died for us, and that same Jesus who died for us and rose again from the dead gives us eternal life, abundant life. Jesus says, “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, no one shall snatch you out of my hand.” Just if we believe in Jesus Christ, that eternal life is ours. That abundant life is ours. Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust in me. I give you my peace, peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as this world gives. So, do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid.”
We know we want peace of heart. We want, we need that kind of peace. But this kind of peace can be found only in Jesus Christ. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast, throw away, cast all your anxieties, all your worry, on God because he cares for us.” Trust in Jesus Christ and to worry cannot go together.
Today is the moment. Today is the day for us to choose our true Master, our Lord: God or Material, God or Money, God or Worry.
First, Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends, which surpasses all understanding, all wisdom, all knowledge will keep your hearts and minds in our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Shall we pray together?
I want each of us to take a short time before God, very honestly, please, right now, ask to yourself, WHO is your Lord? Who is your Master? Truly, practically? And if your Lord, true Lord, is Jesus Christ, let us give thanks to him, who died on the cross for our sins, and who gave us eternal life, salvation, real peace, real joy, real safety.
Thank you so, so much for giving us real freedom, real joy, real peace that cannot be found in this world. Father God, we know only we can be free from all kinds of worries, all kinds of anxieties, all kinds of troubles only in our Lord Jesus Christ, only by trusting in our God who is our Creator, who is our Maker, who is our Designer, who is our God, also Father.
Father God, help us please, not only through our tongues, but also from our deep hearts, our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ may be acceptable by you as real faith, real trusting.
Father God, fill us with the Holy Spirit. We cannot do that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, without the filling of the Holy Spirit it is impossible for us to get victory against the temptation of the material world in this world.
Father God, by your Spirit, by your power, by your wisdom, let us be victorious in this world. And let us live your life, heavenly life in this world, even though our body is here on this earth, we are not of this world because our citizenship is in heaven already. Help us to store our treasures in heaven eternally, not temporarily on Earth.
Thank you for your teaching us, thank you for your guiding us,
In Jesus’ name I pray.
Dec 23 / 2012
Comments Off on Peace to You – Christmas 2012 (Luke 2:14)
Jesus came to give us peace – eternal peace, heavenly, earthly, peace.
Do you have peace now?
Chinese greeting is “Ni hao ma?”
Tagalog is “Como esta…?”
Tanzania is “….”
English is “How are you?”
Korean is “Annyonhasayo?”
Secular greetings ask questions with uncertainty.
Christian greeting is a blessing, proclaiming with certainty.
“Peace to you!”
After Genesis 3, the Fall, sin, all men became peaceless, restless wanderers. Apart from God, anyone, everyone, is peaceless and a wanderer, true peace cannot be found in this world.
True peace, heavenly peace can only be found in Jesus Christ. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, I do not give as the world gives, do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” – Jesus
Ephesians 2:14 ‘Jesus Christ himself is our peace, he has made the two one…’
This world says, “If you want peace…prepare for war!”
The Bible says, “If you want peace…proclaim for Christ!”
#1 Now, I bless that you and I may have peace with God.
Romans “Therefore since we have been justified by grace through faith into this peace in which we now stand…we have peace with God…”
2 Corinthians 5:25 “Be reconciled to God.”
How can we have peace with God? There is only one way, only one condition. By believing Christ as our Lord, proclaiming that he is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, we can have peace with God.
By turning away from sin, and TO God in Christ in our deep hearts, we can have peace with God.
And then, possessing this true peace with God, Proverbs says, “peace of mind, heart, conscience.”
#2 Bless that you may have peace with others – with our neighbors.
How can we have peace with our co-workers, brothers, neighbors, people on the street?
We can have peace with others by blessing others with peace.
Matthew 10:12 “As you enter the home, speak your peace. If that home is deserving, leave your peace there, if not, let it return to you.”
And we can have peace with other by forgiving them and accepting them as Jesus did with us.
Matthew 6:14 “If you forgive man when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you your sins. BUT, if you do not forgive, your Heavenly Father will NEVER forgive your sins.”
In the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” So, we must remember that even very difficult people for us to forgive are the very people for whom Jesus came to die.
Also, we can have peace with others by remembering that judgment and avenging are God’s job, not our job. Please remember humans, our neighbors, are not objects to fight against, but to live together with in peace.
Romans 12:18-19, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with EVERYONE, but leave room for God’s wrath, for as it is written: ‘I will repay’ says the Lord God.”
#3 Bless that we may become peacemakers (peace creators)
Jesus says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God in this world.”
How can we become peace makers in this world?
We can become peace makers by making Christ, the Prince of Peace, known to this world, by proclaiming the Gospel of Peace.
2 Cor 5:18 “God reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
“Peace to you!” So, like this, when we have peace with God, peace of heart, conscience, mind, peace with others, it will be glory to God.