18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
One of the big problems of Corinthians was disunity, division. One reason they had difficulty in keeping unity was because they were so different in background, culture, lifestyle, history, esp before becoming Christians.
The Corinthian church was mixed: Jews, Greeks.
At that time, Greeks treasured philosophy (philo “love” sophia “wisdom”) = “love of wisdom.” Greeks were so famous for philosophy. Even today, we study this: Greek Philosophy. This is considered the root of western philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Socrates).
Jews valued miracles, miraculous events. From Exodus to Jerusalem and Jesus, they desired miracles, and looked for them. They asked Jesus for miracles, but he refused.
We read “wisdom” here, and it is repeated 13 times. Both to the Greek and the traditional Jew, the message of the cross sounds foolish and stupid.
v. 18 is one of my personal favorite verses
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The message of the cross is very simple: Jesus DIED to save sinners.
This message has two results. All of humanity will end up in one of two classes.
Foolish = reject belief and perish in hell
Wisdom = accept and gain eternal life, they are being saved.
“I’m not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for all who believe…” (Paul)
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”
To the Greeks: At that time, Christianity was associated with a poor Jewish carpenter who died the most shameful (naked) death – hanging on a tree in the air, exposed to the eyes of anybody. It was illegal to crucify Roman citizens, so this death was never even mentioned in polite Roman society. Even the image of crucifixion was not acceptable. It was a form of the worst capital punishment. So, how is it possible that the Savior of the world would be crucified? To the Greeks, valuing logic, this was totally foolish.
To the Jews: They had only the Old Testament at that time, and among the OT books, one of the most important was Deuteronomy. (21:23 “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under a curse from God.”) According to this verse, it would be totally unacceptable and unthinkable for the Messiah to be crucified. So it is a stumbling block to them.
“but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
God’s wisdom cannot be mixed with man’s wisdom. His wisdom is revealed primarily in the cross of Jesus. It is not about form / matter, but about content / reality.
Sometimes we need to doubt our doubts, question our questions.
Real wisdom: Giving up our wisdom to gain God’s wisdom.
What is real power and what is real wisdom?
Think about your own personal situation – about who / where you were when you were saved.
“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.”
This is my story. When I became Christian, I was very foolish.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.”
That is why finally, for him to get glory, we can know that God is never impressed with our character, position, politics, money, etc.
Among the earliest 12 of Jesus’ disciples, do you know what their jobs were?
5 were fishermen
1 tax collector
6 unknown careers
God’s view of power is upside-down. He is more interested in the weak than the strong – he is more interested in the low than the high.
The cross of Jesus will turn our concept of wisdom and power upside-down. If you are really saved, remember that we were called to salvation not because of what / who we are, but in spite of it – so that no one can boast in themselves.
Ex: Jesus’ ministry
Several times this may have happened.
On the way to Jerusalem one day, he encountered a blind beggar, and Jesus purposefully healed him.
The Bible recognizes him by recording his name: Batholemus
In history, historical books, such an individual would be passed over and remain nameless.
In Luke 16, there was the story of the RICH man and the beggar. But in this story also, the rich man is nameless, but the beggar has the name Lazarus.
So the story’s name is the Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
This is God’s foolish wisdom, God’s weak power.
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.””
Righteousness = justification
holiness = sanctification
redemption = glorification
At first I said that the key sentence is “Jesus is our Wisdom and Power.”
The emphasis here is that the Father God reveals his wisdom through Jesus Christ by means of righteousness, holiness, and redemption.
only in following Jesus can we walk rightly. Only in listening to Jesus can we hear the truth.
Col 2:3 “In Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
having a right relationship with God. This has to do with our standing / position before God. He declares us righteous simply because we put our trust in Jesus
5:21 “God made him who had no sin to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.”
John 17:19 “For them (my followers) I sanctify myself so that you too may be sanctified (set apart).”
At the same time that we are sanctified already, we are also BEING sanctified.
Jesus can deliver us (liberate us) from past sin and future fear.
There are three tenses of perfect salvation:
Past = we have been saved from the penalty / punishment of sin (righteousness)
Present = we are being saved from the power of sin (holiness) – “Work out your salvation continually with fear and trembling”
Future = we will be saved from the presence of sin (redemption)
We have been bathed in his blood and saved, and redeemed by his cross.
The cross of Jesus is true wisdom because it is a cure for human limitations from a God who chose to empty himself and experience human limitations.
The cross of Christ is TRUE power who chose to subject himself to death and share himself with others.
True power? = Self-giving, others-centered
Willing self-sacrifice for the weak. This is TRUE power.
One story (illustration):
Are you a father? There’s a father, and his 7-year-old son play together with games like running and arm-wrestling. In this competition, the son’s purpose is victory – to defeat his father. But the father’s purpose is not victory – it is to build up a friendship and relationship, intimacy with his son. To encourage him, make him feel more happy.
In this competition, the father controls and loses his own power to empower his son. Then they both can achieve their purposes.
The father shows his own power by becoming weak. The father shows his wisdom by becoming weak.
The son’s happiness comes from victory.
The father’s happiness comes from loss.
This is the picture of the cross.
That’s why the cross is our REAL power and REAL wisdom.
Jesus is our wisdom, power, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Without Christ, we are nothing.
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 12 / 2020
Comments Off on Enjoy the Resurrection Power in your Daily Life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Resurrection power is available for us in our daily lives.
1 Corinthians 15 The Resurrection of Christ
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Christ is Risen! Amen!
Christ is alive in your life all the time? Yes, Christ is risen. He died for our sins, rose for our salvation, and is still alive now forever and ever.
Rev “That Jesus is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those that pierced him.”
Yes, Jesus is the reason we celebrate. What power! What love! What victory! What triumph!
v. 1“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,”
Every Sunday, I preach the gospel to you, but let me now remind you of the gospel message. It is “Good News” of great joy for all the people, eternally. Yes, every day we need good news, especially nowadays especially in these not good looking situations thanks to corona virus.
Imagine, if a perfect vaccine for corona virus is made and all patients are cured immediately, what good news! Yes, I pray and hope for peace for the suffering of those people with the virus.
But the gospel is so much BETTER news than even that kind of good news.
v. 2“By this gospel you are saved.”
Gospel is the perfect vaccine for life.
v. 3-4 is clear in the message of the gospel.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”
This is very clear. This is the core message of the gospel. Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our salvation.
Here, we can see twice “according to the Scriptures” (v. 3, 4).
From Genesis to Revelation, this phrase appears only 2 times, here. So what does this mean?
You may think it means, “as prophesied in the OT”, and that is not wrong, but it means so much more than that. It is the summary of the whole Bible – the message, the theme, the main topic of the whole Bible:
Jesus died for our sins, and rose again for our salvation.
This is what “according to the Scriptures” means.
Now, let me summarize the gospel message.
OT: The prophecy of the coming Messiah, his death, and resurrection.
Gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke, John): The literal fulfillment of this – and Jesus’ death is a substitutionary death for us. That is why these books are called gospels.
Acts: The fruit of the resurrection of Christ: the church (called the body of Christ) – He is the “head” of the church.
So the period of time between his resurrection and second coming = the period of Mission – the growth of the church.
Revelation: the future, the coming king, the lord of lords, the final God.
There is no gospel message without the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the heart, the core of everything we believe, receive and experience both on earth and in heaven later.
Jesus said, “It is finished.”
He was pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah)
God made him who was without sin to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter: Jesus himself bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and rise to righteousness.
1 Peter 3:18 Jesus died for the sins of this world, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you and me to God.
Romans 5:8 “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have been reconciled, how much more shall we be saved through his resurrection.” The cross and the resurrection go together all the time, they are inseparable.
Without the resurrection, the cross is a complete failure.
“Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins, and raised for our life. Who is it that condemns? … He is able to save completely those who come to him.” (Romans?)
Remember, by his resurrection, Jesus defeated all enemies, and Satan. He defeated the source of sin, all worry, anxiety, bitterness, the past, the shame, all problems which come from sin. Satan was defeated and conquered and under the feet of Christ. This means, Satan is not “going to” be defeated at some point in the future, but he “was” defeated in the past already. Jesus sealed Satan’s defeat by his resurrection. So we must know that Satan has no power over you and me unless you give power to him. He has no authority unless you give it to him.
Col 2:15 “Jesus Christ has disarmed all powers, authorities, principalities, and has made a public spectal of them, triumphing over them by his cross.”
His resurrection power sets us free from all enemies, from Satan, from sin, from worries, from anxieties, shame, the past, bitterness.
Romans 8:11 “If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because he lives in you.”
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available in you.
Resurrection power does not come from heaven tomorrow, but is in you now.
Galatians “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me shall live even though he dies.”
This is the resurrection power.
Then, how is it possible to enjoy this resurrection power in our practical lives?
How can we enjoy this?
Let me share HOW we can enjoy this power practically and really this power in our daily lives. Let me share 4 things about this power in our lives.
1. By believing
– By faith we can enjoy the resurrection power in our daily lives. By believing in Christ as Savior and Lord, we can experience and enjoy his resurrection power.
We know that resurrection power / life is available for us. Jesus died for our sins, and rose again for our justification. He rose for our salvation. But we must believe it, we must accept it by faith. When you believe it, the truth becomes a reality. We must recognize the reality of God’s spirit living in us and making our mortal lives immortal.
2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Behold! The old has gone, the new has come!”
2. By confessing
– With our words, our mouths, our tongues we can enjoy this power.
Speak with your words what you believe in your heart. Your word has power. “My word has power.”
Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your tongue that you confess and are saved.”
Please, every morning when you wake up, declare, “Jesus’ resurrection power is living in me! It is available for me! It is living and working through me today.”
3. By applying
– The name of Jesus Christ, the blood of Christ, the resurrection power to every situation, we can enjoy resurrection power practically.
Yes we know Satan is defeated already. If any challenge or trial comes to you, for example, fears, worries, shame, bitterness, temptation to sin, etc, apply the name of Jesus and declare, “The curse is OVER in my life!” Declare it and act on it.
The enemy is defeated, we know that. He was sealed, we know that. But we must still act on it.
Romans 8:11 “If the spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you and me, he will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who lives in you.”
Practically, this means that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available for you and me, by faith. So, every day, we must apply the blood and name of Christ.
4. By preaching the gospel
– (very important)
Let’s return to the text:
v. 1 “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you” v. 3 “what I received I passed on to you as of first importance”
Please remember all the time, the gospel is Good News of great joy for the salvation of everyone who believes.
If we accept this, and believe it, we are to preach it to others as well.
If you are saved, the gospel message is passed on to you by somebody.
Why was it passed on to you? In order to BE passed on to others.
Gospel: “Good news” News should be announced. News is news when it is announced and shared with others. That’s why after his resurrection, there was one comment and commission he left for us to do as his followers as of first importance.
Mark: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
By believing in Christ, by confessing with our mouth, by applying the name of Christ, the blood of Christ, by preaching the good news of Christ, we can enjoy the resurrection power in our daily lives.
God bless you.
Korean Translation provided by Deacon Sangman Lee
♥ 허목사님 설교 완역(200412)
▸제목: 「여러분의 일상적인 삶에서 부활의 능력을 즐기십시오(Enjoy the Resurrection Power in Your Daily Life)」
▸본문: 고린도전서 15: 1-4)
예배당에 오심을 환영합니다. 행복한 부활절(Easter)이시길 빕니다. 하나님께서 우리 모두를 자기 권능, 특히 부활의 권능(resurrection power)으로 축복하시기를 빕니다. 하나님의 부활의 권능은 믿음에 의해 저와 우리 모두에게 주어져(available) 있습니다. 그의 은혜와 자비로 우리의 일상생활에서 부활의 권능을 즐깁시다. 아멘. 갓 블레스 유! 이제 하나님의 말씀을 열어 보시겠습니다. 고린도전서 15장 1절에서 4절까지입니다. 사실상 고린도전서 15장은 부활의 장입니다. 1-4절 같이 읽겠습니다. 성경을 가지고 계신 분은 저와 함께 1절에서 4절까지 읽으시겠습니다. 제 1절입니다. (이어서 2-4절입니다.)
1: “(그리스도 안에서) 형제들(그리고 자매들)아, 내가 너희에게 전한 복음이 너희에게 기억되기를 원하노니, 이는 너희가 받은 것이요 또 너희가 그 위에 서있는 것이라.”
2: “너희가 만일 내가 전한 그 말을 굳게 지키면 이 복음에 의해 너희는 구원을 받으리라. 그렇지 않으면 너희는 헛되이 믿은 것이니라.”
3: “내가 받은 것을 제일 중요한 것으로서 너희에게 전하였으니, 이는 성경대로 그리스도께서 우리 죄를 인하여 죽으시고,”
4: “장사되셨다가 성경대로 사흘 만에 다시 살아나셔서,”
아멘. 그리스도는 정말로 살아나셨습니다. 아멘? 여러분은 어떻습니까? 그리스도는 살아나셔서 늘 여러분의 삶에서도 살아계십니까? 예, 그리스도는 살아나셨습니다. 그리스도는 우리의 죄를 위해 죽으셨으며 우리의 구원을 위해 다시 살아나셨습니다(rise again). 그리고 지금도 영원히, 영원히 살아 계십니다. 요한계시록 1:7은 이렇게 말합니다.
“보라, 다시 살아나신 그가 구름을 타고 오시리라. 모든 눈이 그를 볼 것이며, 그를 찌른 자들도 그를 볼 것이니라.”
얼마나 놀라운 구원자이시고, 주님이시고, 왕이시고, 하나님이신지요! 그렇습니다. 예수님은 살아나셨습니다. 얼마나 특별한 날을 우리는 축하하고 있습니까. 얼마나 놀라운 사랑의 힘입니까. 얼마나 대단한 승리(triumph)입니까! 1절은 말합니다.
“형제자매들아, 내가 너희에게 전한 복음을 너희에게 기억하게 하노니,”
저에게도 또한 1절과 마찬가지로 여러분이 아시다시피 매주 주일마다 저는 제 설교시간에 복음을 전하고(preach) 있습니다. 그러나 지금 이 순간 저는 제가 주일마다 여러분에게 전해드리고 있는 복음을 여러분에게 기억시키기(remind of)를 원합니다. 복음이란 무엇입니까? 문자 그대로(literally)의 복음은 구원(salvation)의 기쁨을 뜻합니다. 우리는 복음(福音)을 간단히 ‘좋은 소식’(good news)이라 부르는데, 이는 영원토록 모든 사람에게 기쁨을 주는 좋은 소식이라는 말입니다. 예, 구원은 정말 좋은 소식이죠. 우리는 매일 좋은 소식을 원합니다. 모든 사람은 좋은 소식을 필요로 합니다. 특별히 요즘은 코로나 바이러스로 인해 좋아 보이지 않는 상황에서 우리는 지금 좋은 소식이 필요합니다. 저도 그렇고 여러분도 그렇고 좋은 소식이 필요한 거죠. 상상해 봅시다. 만약 코로나 바이러스에 대한 완벽한 백신이 개발된다면 이 세상의 모든 환자들이 완전히, 지금 바로(immediately) 처치되고 치유되어 이 세상에 더 이상 코로나 바이러스가 없어진다면, 얼마나 좋은 소식입니까? 저는 코로나 바이러스로 인해 고통 받고 있는 이 세상 모든 자들에게 위로와 평강과 회복(recovery)이 임하기를 기도합니다. 저는 기도하고 소망합니다. 그러나 복음은 이 세상의 어떤 것보다 더 좋은 소식입니다. 왜일까요? 이는 오직 복음에 의해 우리는 구원을 받기 때문입니다. 2절은 말합니다.
“오직 복음에 의해서만 너희가 구원을 받으리라”
복음은 죄에 대한, 지옥에서의 영원한 죽음에 대한 백신입니다. 이것이 모두가 복음을 필요로 하는 이유인 것입니다. 우리는 또한 매일 우리의 실제 삶에서 복음을 필요로 합니다. 그렇다면 복음의 메시지는 무엇일까요? 3절과 4절에는 무엇이 복음의 메시지인가가 명료하게 나타나 있습니다. 3절은 말합니다. (4절이 이어집니다)
3-4: “내가 받은 것(복음을 의미함)을 제일 중요한 것으로서(as of the first importance) 너희에게 전하였으니(pass on to), (복음의 메시지는) ‘이는 성경대로 그리스도께서 우리 죄를 인하여 죽으시고, 장사되셨다가 성경대로 사흘 만에 다시 살아나셨다(입니다)”
매우 명료합니다. 복음의 핵심(core) 메시지는 “예수님은 우리 죄를 위해 죽으셨고 우리의 구원을 위해 다시 살아나셨다(rose again)”입니다. 이 본문에서 우리는 ‘성경대로(according to the scriptures)’라는 표현이 두 번 반복됨을 알 수 있습니다. 3절에서 ‘성경대로’, 4절에서 ‘성경대로’… 창세기에서 요한계시록에 이르기까지 성경 전체에서 ‘성경대로’라는 구절(phrase)은 여기서만 딱 두 번 등장합니다. 오직 여기서만 ‘성경대로’라는 구절이 나타나는 것이죠. 그러면 이 구절 ‘성경대로’가 의미하는 바는 무엇일까요? 여러분은 이것이 구약 성경에 따라 예언되었고 그래서 이것이 신약에서 이루어졌다는 뜻으로 받아들이리라 생각합니다. 예, 그렇습니다. 옳은 말씀입니다. 그러나 ‘성경대로’가 의미하는 바는 훨씬 그이상인 것입니다. ‘성경대로’는 성경 전체의 요약, 전체 성경의 핵심적 메시지라는 의미입니다. 이는 성경 전체의 내용에 대한 요약이고 핵심적 메시지이자 주제입니다. 전체 성경의 핵심 적 화두는 ‘예수님은 우리 죄를 위해 죽으셨고 우리의 구원을 위해 다시 사셨다’입니다. ‘성경대로’라는 것을 이것을 의미하는 것이죠. 지금 이 시간 저는 성경 전체의 메시지를 요약해 보기로 하겠습니다.
구약은 메시아의 오심과 그의 죽음과 그의 부활(resurrection)에 대한 예언(prophecy)입니다. 그리고 신약의 처음 4권 마태, 마가, 누가 및 요한은 메시아의 오심, 우리 죄로 인한 그의 죽음 및 우리의 구원을 위한 그의 부활을 문서로 이루어낸 것(literal fulfillment)입니다. 그러므로 우리는 예수님의 죽음과 부활을 대용적 죽음 (substitutionary death), 승리적 부활이라 부릅니다. 이 네 권의 책을 복음서(gospel books)라고 부르는 이유가 여기에 있습니다. 마태복음, 마가복음, 누가복음, 요한복음 이렇게요. 그리고 사도행전(Acts)은 예수 그리스도의 죽음과 부활에 대한 역사적 열매입니다. 이는 ‘교회’, 교회의 탄생을 말합니다. 이것이 교회는 그리스도의 몸이고 그리스도는 교회의 머리라 불리는 이유인 것입니다. 이로 인해 우리는 예수님의 부활 및 승천(ascension to heaven)과 그의 재림(second advent, second coming) 사이의 기간을 세계의 구원, 세계의 복음화(evangelization)를 위한 그리스도의 몸으로서의 교회 사역의 시대(era of church mission)라 부릅니다. 그리고 성경의 마지막 책 요한계시록(Revelation)은 우리 죄를 인해 죽으시고 우리의 구원을 위해 다시 살아나셔서 영원토록 살아계시다가 곧 왕 중의 왕, 주인 중의 주인으로서, 최후의 심판관이요 최후의 하나님으로 영원토록 자기 나라를 세우고자 다시 오시는 예수님에 관한 책입니다. 이것이 성경 전체의 이야기입니다. 그러므로 예수 그리스도의 죽음과 부활이 없이는 기독교도, 교회도, 크리스천도, 복음 메시지도, 구원도 없는 것입니다. 예수 그리스도의 죽음과 부활은 우리가 이 세상에서, 또한 장차 천국에서 믿고 받아들이고 경험하는 모든 것들의 핵심(core)입니다. 예수 그리스도는 십자가 위에서 “다 이루었다(It is finished)”고 말씀하십니다. 이사야 57: 4-5에는 이렇게 기록되어 있습니다.
4: “그(메시아)는 실로 우리의 질고(infirmity)를 지고 우리의 슬픔을 당하였거늘(carry),…” 5: “그러나 그가 찔림(pierce)은 우리의 허물(transgression)을 인함이요, 그가 상함(crush)은 우리의 죄악(iniquity)을 인함이라. 그가 징계(punishment)를 받음으로 우리가 평화를 누리고 그가 채찍에 맞음(wound)으로 우리가 나음을 입었도다.” ……………………………………………………………………….. *역자 주: 제 개인적으로는 이 부분이 영어 원전과 우리말 번역의 어휘에 약간의 뉘앙스 차이가 있는 듯해서, 참고로 몇몇 어휘를 영어에 충실해서 정리해 드립니다.
“하나님이 우리를 위해 죄가 없는 자(예수 그리스도)를 죄가 있는 것으로 만드셨으니, 이는 그의 안에서 우리가 하나님의 의가 되게 하려 하심이니라”
베드로전서 2: 24에는 이렇게 쓰여 있습니다.
“그(예수 그리스도)는 친히 나무(십자가)에 달려 그의 몸으로 우리 죄를 감당하셨으니(bear), 이는 우리로 죄에 대하여 죽고(die to sins) 의에 대하여 살게 하려 하심이라. 저가 채찍으로 맞음으로 너희는 나음을 얻었나니”
마찬가지로 같은 책 베드로전서 3: 18에서는 말합니다.
“그리스도께서도 (이 세상을 위해) 단 한번에(once for all) 죄를 위하여 죽으사 의인으로서 불의한 자를 대신하셨으니, 이는 우리(여러분과 저)를 하나님 앞으로 인도하려 하심이라”
로마서 5: 8-9에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
8: “우리가 아직 죄인 되었을 때에 그리스도께서 우리를 위하여 죽으심으로 하나님께서 우리에게 대한 자기의 사랑을 확증하셨느니라(demonstrate)”
9: “우리가 그의 피로 인해 의롭다 여김을(하나님과의 화해를) 받았으니, 그(의 부활)를 통해 하나님의 진노(wrath)로부터 우리가 얼마나 더 구원을 받겠는가!”
이러한 내용들은 성경에서는 언제나 십자가와 부활은 떨어지지 않고(inseparably) 함께 감을 의미합니다. 십자가 없는 부활은 없고, 또한 부활이 없으면 십자가 죽음은 온전한 실패라는 이야기입니다. 이것이 로마서 4:25에서 다음과 같이 말하는 이유입니다.
“예수 그리스도는 우리의 죄를 위해 십자가에서 죽음으로 건네어짐이 되었고, 그는 우리의 의롭다 여김을 위하여 죽음에서 다시 사셨느니라.”
누가 정죄합니까(condemn)? 죽으셨을 뿐만 아니라, 더욱이 다시 살아 나사 지금 하나님 우편에 앉아계시면서 우리를 위해 중보하고 계시는 예수 그리스도입니다. 예수 그리스도는 그에게 오는 자들을 자기를 통해 온전히 구원하실 수 있습니다. 왜냐하면 그는 살아계셔서 우리 모두를 위해 중보하시기 때문입니다. 아멘? 여러분 기억하십시오! 실질적으로 말하면, 예수님은 부활을 통해 모든 원수들을 물리치시고 정복하셨습니다. 특히 그는 부활을 통해 사탄을 물리치셨죠. 그는 죄의 근원을 물리치시고 모든 두려움, 걱정, 근심, 과거의 부끄러움과 또한 과거의 쓰라림 및 죄악에서 오는 모든 문제를 극복하셨습니다. 여러분이 알아두셔야 할 것은 사탄은 예수 그리스도의 발 아래에서 패하고 정복되었다는 사실입니다. 이는 사탄은 이제 앞으로는 언제든 패배하지 않을 것임을 의미합니다. 왜냐하면 사탄은 과거 2천 년 전에 이미 패배하였기 때문입니다. 아멘? 그러므로 사탄은 우리의 정복된 원수인 것입니다. 예수 그리스도는 자기 부활을 통해 이미 사탄의 패배를 인치셨기(seal) 때문이죠. 사탄은 그의 부활로 인해 패배한 것입니다. 그러므로 우리는 사탄은 여러분이 그에게 권능(power)을 주지 않는 한 여러분과 저에 대한 아무런 권능이 없음을 아셔야 합니다. 또한 사탄은 여러분이 그에게 권세(authority)를 주지 않는 한 우리에 대한 권세가 없습니다. 골로새서 2: 15에서는 이렇게 말합니다.
“예수 그리스도는 정사(power)와 권세와 주권(principality)을 벗겨내어(disarm) 이들을 밝히 드러내시고 자기 십자가와 부활로 이들을 이겨냈느니라.”
이는 모든 적들에 대해 승리하셨음(triumph)을 의미합니다. 아멘? 이는 예수님의 부활 권능이 우리를 모든 원수들로부터, 사탄으로부터, 죄악으로부터, 두려움으로부터, 걱정으로부터, 근심으로부터, 과거 속에서 사는 것으로부터, 과거의 부끄러움으로부터, 또한 과거의 쓰라림으로부터 자유케 하신다(set free)는 뜻입니다. 로마서 8: 11에서 말합니다.
“예수를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 이의 영이 너희 안에 거하시면 그리스도 예수를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 이가 너희 안에 거하시는 그의 영으로 말미암아 너희의 죽을(mortal) 몸도 살리시리라”
이것이 무엇을 의미할까요? 이는 예수 그리스도를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 그분과 똑 같은 권능이 여러분 안에도 작용할 수 있음을 의미합니다. 아멘? 이는 놀라운 소식, 즉 “부활의 권능은 내일 하늘에서 오는 것이 아니라 부활의 권능은 지금 여러분 안에 있다”는 놀라운 소식인 것입니다. 아멘? 이것이 갈라디아서 2: 20에서 (바울이) 다음과 같이 말하는 이유입니다.
“나는 그리스도와 함께 십자가에 못 박혔으니, 그러므로 이제는 내가 사는 것이 아니요 오직 그리스도가 내 안에 사시는 것이라. 이제 내가 육신 가운데 사는 삶은 나를 사랑하사 나를 위해 자기 자신을 주신 하나님 아들에 대한 믿음 안에서 사는 것이라.”
이것이 예수 그리스도가 다음과 같이 선포하신(declare) 이유입니다.
“나는 부활이요 생명이니, 나를 믿는 자는 비록 죽을지라도 살 것이요, 살아서 나를 믿는 자마다 결코 죽지 않으리라. 너희는 이를 믿느냐?”
이것이 부활의 생명이요 부활의 권능(resurrection power)입니다. 우리는 우리의 실제 삶에서 이 부활의 권능, 부활의 생명을 향유할 수 있습니다. 그렇다면 우리가 어떻게 우리의 일상생활에서 부활의 권능, 부활의 생명을 향유할 수 있을까요? 저는 이제 여러분과 실제로, 정말로 이런 종류의 권능을 우리의 일상생활에서 누릴 수 있는 방법에 대해 나누고자 합니다. 이런 종류의 삶, 이런 종류의 권능을 우리의 일상적인 삶에서 향유할 수 있는 네 가지 방법을 여러분과 나누도록 하겠습니다.
첫째, 믿음으로써 믿음을 통해 우리는 일상생활에서 부활의 권능, 부활의 생명을 향유할 수 있습니다. 예수님을 우리 개인의 구원자이자 주인으로 믿음으로써 우리는 부활의 권능을 즐길 수 있습니다. 이는 믿음에 의해 예수 그리스도를 우리의 개인적 구원자이자 주인으로 받아들임으로써 우리는 우리 삶에서 부활의 권능을 즐길 수 있다는 말입니다. 예, 우리는 압니다. 우리는 이미 인정합니다. 부활의 생명, 부활의 권능은 우리 앞에 부여되어 있습니다. 예수님은 우리 죄를 위해 죽으셨습니다. 예수님은 우리의 칭의(justification)를 위해, 우리의 구원을 위해 다시 살아나셨습니다. 그러나 우리가 이를 반드시 믿어야만 하는 것입니다. 아멘? 믿음에 의해 이를 받아들여야만 합니다. 우리가 이것을 받아들일 때 그 진리가 여러분과 저에 대한 현실이 되는 것입니다. 우리는 우리 안에 거하시면서 우리를 살게 하시고 죽어야 할(mortal) 우리에게 삶을 주시는 하나님의 생명을 나날이 깨닫고 그것을 껴안을(embrace) 수 있어야 합니다. 그렇기 때문에 예수님께서는 우리에게 “나는 너희에게 생명을, 영원한 생명을, 부요한 생명을 주기 위해 왔노라”고 격려하십니다. 고린도후서 5: 17을 보시죠.
“그러므로 누구든지 그리스도 안에 있으면 새로운 피조물(새로운 남자, 새로운 여자)이라. 보라(behold), 옛 것은 지나가고 새것이 왔도다!”
아멘! 예수 그리스도를 개인적인 구세주로 믿음으로써 우리는 일상적인 삶에서 부활의 권능을 즐길 수 있습니다. 매우 간단하면서도 아주 확실한 단 한 가지 방법인 거죠.
둘째, 우리의 말로, 우리의 입으로, 우리의 혀로 고백함으로써 우리는 부활의 권능을 누릴 수 있습니다. 즉, 우리가 우리 마음으로 믿는 것을 우리의 입으로 말함으로써 말입니다. 여러분은 여러분의 말이 능력이 있음을 아십니까? 여러분 스스로에게 말해 보십시오.
“내 말은 권능이 있다. 내 말은 권능이 잇다”
이것이 로마서 10: 9에서 이렇게 말하는 이유입니다.
“네가 만일 네 입으로(네 말로) 예수를 주로 시인하며 또 하나님께서 그를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 것을 네 마음에 믿으면 구원을 얻으리라.”
아멘! 여러분이 믿고 의롭다 여김을 받는 것은 여러분의 마음으로입니다. 또한 여러분이 고백하고 구원을 받는 것은 여러분의 입, 여러분의 혀를 통해서입니다. 바라건대 매일 아침 여러분이 잠에서 깨어 침대에서 일어날 때마다 이렇게 선포하십시오.
“부활의 권능이 내안에 살고 있다.”
여러분이 아침에 잠에서 깨어 일어날 때마다 여러분의 입으로 선포하십시오.
“그래 오늘도 부활의 권능이 내 앞에 놓여있다.” “부활의 권능이 오늘 내 안에 살면서 나를 통해 일을 하고 있다.”
셋째, 예수 그리스도의 이름, 예수 그리스도의 보혈, 부활의 권능을 모든 상황에 적용함으로써 우리는 부활의 권능을 실제로 그리고 진정으로 향유할 수 있습니다. 예, 우리는 사탄이 이미 십자가로 인해, 부활로 인해 패배했음을 압니다. 그렇다면 우리의 일상적인 삶에서 어떤 도전이 여러분에게 다가오고자 하면, 예로서 만약 두려움, 걱정, 근심, 과거의 부끄러움, 과거의 쓰라림, 혹은 죄의 유혹, 혹은 심장 한가운데의 고통이 여러분에게 닥쳐올 듯하면, 예수님의 이름을 받들어 선포하십시오.
“내 삶에 저주는 끝났다.” “내 삶 가운데 원수는 패배하였다.” “전에는 받아들였던 원수가 이제는 패배하였다”
이를 적용하고 그에 따라 행동하십시오! 예, 우리는 원수가 이미 패배했음을 압니다. 원수의 패배는 예수님의 부활의 권능으로 인침되었습니다(sealed). 우리는 이를 알고 있습니다. 그러나 우리는 이를 실행에 옮겨야(enforce) 합니다. 그것을 바탕으로 행동해야 합니다. 늘 로마서 8:11을 기억하면서 절대 실수하지 마십시오! 이는 앞에서 이미 언급되었습니다만, 한 번 더 반복하겠습니다.
“예수 그리스도를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 이의 영이 너희 안에 거하시면 예수 그리스도를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 이가 너희 안에 거하시는 그의 영으로 말미암아 너희 죽을 몸도 살리시리라”
이것이 뜻하는 실질적인 의미는 예수 그리스도를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 것과 똑 같은 권능이 정확하게 여러분과 제 앞에 놓여 있다는 것입니다. 믿음에 의해 똑 같이 적용되는 것이죠. 그러므로 우리는 매일 예수님의 이름을, 특히 예수 그리스도의 보혈을 적용해야 하는 것입니다. 아멘?
마지막으로, 이는 매우 중요한 포인트입니다만, 복음을 전함으로써 우리는 부활의 권능을 향유할 수 있습니다. 다시 본문으로 돌아가서 1절을 보시죠.
1: “형제들아, 내가 너희에게 전한 복음이 너희에게 기억되기를 원하노니,”
3절에서 이렇게 이어집니다. 3: “내가 받은 것(복음을 의미함)을 제일 중요한 것으로(우선순위 1번으로) 너희에게 전하였으니,…”
그렇습니다. 복음을 전파함으로써 우리는 부활의 권능을 가장 잘 누릴 수 있는 것입니다. 절대 잊지 마시고 꼭 기억하십시오! 복음은 큰 기쁨을 주는 구원에 관한 좋은 소식입니다. 복음은 모든 믿는 자의 구원을 위한 하나님의 권능입니다. 여기서 만약 우리가 구원을 위한 좋은 소식인 복음을 받아들인다면 우리는 또한 똑같은 구원, 똑 같은 부활의 권능, 그리고 또한 우리를 통해 하나님의 격려를 필요로 하는 다른 사람들에게 다시 이 소식을 전해주어야만 합니다. 만약 여러분이 구원을 받는다면 이는 복음 메시지가 어떤 사람에 의해 여러분에게 전해졌음(pass on to)을 뜻합니다. 왜 복음이 여러분에게 전해졌습니까? 여러분에게 복음이 전해지는 목적은 여러분을 통해 다른 사람들에게 전해지기 위함이라는 것을 기억하시기 바랍니다. 또한 복음은 뉴스입니다. 우리는 복음을 좋은 소식이라 부릅니다. 뉴스는 무엇입니까? 뉴스는 발표되어야 합니다. 뉴스는 발표되어야만 뉴스인 것이죠. 뉴스는 발표되기 위해서, 다른 사람들과 공유되기 위해서 존재하는 것입니다. 이것이 그의 부활 이후 예수님이 자기 제자들로서, 자기 추종자들로서 우리가 이행하도록 남기신, 가장 중요한 것으로서의 하나의 명령(Command), 하나의 사역(Commission)입니다. 마가복음 16: 15이 곧 이것입니다.
“너희는 온 천하에 다니며 만민(all creation)에게 복음을 전파하라”
그가 부활 후 승천(ascension)하시기 남기신 단 하나의 문장은 “온 천하에 다니며 모든 사람들에게 좋은 소식을 전하라”입니다. 아멘!
(요약하면) 예수 그리스도를 믿음으로써, 우리의 말로 고백함으로써, 예수 그리스도의 이름을, 예수 그리스도의 보혈을 실제의 삶에 적용함으로써, 그리고 마지막으로 이 소식, 이 복음을 다른 사람들과 나누고 전파함으로써 우리는 부활의 생명, 부활의 권능을 누릴 수 있습니다. 아멘!
하나님께서 부활의 생명, 부활의 권능으로 우리 모두를 축복하시기를 빕니다. 갓 블레스 유! 다 같이 기도드립시다.
- 아 멘 -
Feb 24 / 2019
Comments Off on Don’t Worry, Wake Up! (Acts 20:1-12)
1 When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed three months. Because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
Because of the riot (we saw last week), the whole city was in an uproar – and they rushed as one man into the theater and shouted, “Great is Artemis!” for two hours. Conclusion? Dismissed by the City Clerk.
The name of Demitrius (who dishonored God) is forgotten today.
The name of Paul (who honored God) is remembered today.
Paul was to go on from here to conclude his Third Missionary Journey. He shed tears with the elders before he was to go.
1 When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed three months. Because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
After finishing his ministry at Ephesus, his plan was to go on and collect offerings from Gentile believers at his previous churches and share that with the poor in Jerusalem. Then, he was to go on to Rome.
After this, he went to Macedonia to encourage the struggling believers there and he continued down to Corinth. But there, his original plan had to be delayed / postponed – because there was a plot to kill him. He had to stay at Corinth for at least 3 months, then go back through Macedonia again. Looks like his original plan failed.
But what happened during this stay at Corinth for three months? He wrote the book of Romans – one of the greatest books in this world. (So we can see that God was in control of his circumstances).
The first chapter conveyed his deep desire to go to Rome, but God’s sovereign hand in control of his situation. Romans 1:10 “I pray now… I long to see you…”
Romans 1:10 “I pray that by God’s sovereign will, the way will be opened to me, and I may come to you. I have desired to go many times but have been unable to until now.”
Romans 1:10 “I pray that by God’s sovereign will, the way will be opened to me, and I may come to you. I have desired to go many times but have been unable to until now.”
Paul’s deep desire to go to Rome, and
God’s “not yet”
caused him to sit down and write this great Magna Carta of the Christian faith.
The same is true for us. Sometimes, our deep desires and God’s “not yet” can cause us to do something differently. Sometimes, we must not see (worry) about what lies far in tomorrow, but just do clearly what you can see in front of you today. The reason some people miss opportunities is because it is disguised as “hard work.”
1 Tim 4:4 “Nothing is to be…”
Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has its own trouble. Worrying about today is enough business for us.
Lesson #1: Do not worry about this world
Lesson #2: Wake up in this church!
Part 2: HOW can we not worry about this world? Wake up in this church. If you fall asleep in the church, you will worry about tomorrow in the world.
5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days. spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
The first person pronoun in v. 5-7, “we” – this means, the author, Luke, was again a part of this ministry. He probably met Paul in Philippi for the last leg of the journey.
Paul must have rejoiced to have these coworkers at his side again. We can see Troas as well. Do you remember this place? This is the very place where Paul saw the vision of Macedonia – several years ago.
The man of Macedonia stood and called, “Come over and help us!”
With this vision, in Troas, Paul, Luke, and Timothy started out for Philippi in Macedonia. Now, again, in the same Troas, Paul and the same coworkers had a reunion. Imagine how happy they were!
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is related to the Passover, but not the same.
Passover: one day (24 hours) remembering the day the Israelites were saved in Egypt and the Angel of Death “passed over” their houses
Feast of Unleavened Bread:seven days – the evening after the Passover. They were to remove yeast from their bread to remember their [time in the desert and] continual striving for holiness. (1 Cor 5:7 “Remove all yeast…”)
Jesus willingly came down from heaven and took the form of a man and willingly died for you and me. Even though he was rejected by all men at that time, he endured so that he could become a complete sacrifice and reconcile us to God.
From v. 6-12, in Troas, there was a worship service. Here we can see HOW they met and worshiped God. There are 5 worship essentials.
5 Worship Essentials
#1 The Lord’s Day
We worship on the first day of the week because:
Christ was raised on the first day of the week
The church was born on the first day of the week (at Pentecost)
#2 The Lord’s People
If the church building is empty, there is no worship. They met in the evening because Sunday was not a holiday at that time. Some undoubtedly were slaves – unable to attend service until the day’s work was done.
They met in an upstairs room – possibly a private home of one of the believers. This was a cosmopolitan, mixed group. But these racial, societal differences made no difference.
Gal 3:28: There is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, …
Eph: There is ONE God, one faith, one hope, one baptism.
They shared a feast – a “potluck”. I’m sure God is very happy when we share a potluck (an “agape love feast”) together. After this, they observed the Lord’s Supper.
#3 The Lord’s Supper
v. 7 “to break bread” = the Lord’s Supper
v. 11 “broke bread” = regular meal
By sharing and eating with one another, they could fellowship and give testimony of their unity in Christ. Yes, we are equal in our value and price for his kingdom and glory.
#4 The Lord’s Word
For worship to be authentic, the Word of God is essential. (Are you bored or excited during the Message?) The Word of God was preached continually in the churches.
“Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”
“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him, all things were made. …. This Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:1
Romans: “Do not say in your hearts, ‘Who will ascend to heaven to bring Christ down? Who will descend into the deep to bring Christ up?'”
The Word of God is in your heart, in your hand, in your head. We worship God by meeting him through his Word. How can we meet with Jesus personally? By meeting with his Word.
So the Word of God is very important for our growth and education – it is our “spiritual food.” Without food, we cannot grow.
The Word of God is compared to a “seed.” Seeds have life, future, development, abundant fruit, power, potential.
#5 The Lord’s Power
“There is Power of the Lord in Worship!” (There’s Power in the Blood)
Eutychus was sitting at a window (dangerous place).
In Greek, pi = “young man” (maybe teenager or early twenties)
Also pi = “slave” (so he may have worked all day)
He tried very hard to stay awake, but humanly speaking, this is an easy situation to fall asleep. This room was packed, full of people, and time was late (midnight) – and he was also likely very tired from working all day.
There were many lamps (torches) – so light was probably dim. The atmosphere was probably stuffy. The air was warm, humid, lacking oxygen. Paul was giving a long sermon (that’s why I try to shorten mine).
I’m sure Paul’s sermon was not boring, but also not done.
And Eutychus fell out of the window, and died. Paul ran outside and put his arms around him. Paul put his arms around him and said, “Don’t worry! He’s alive!”
(This is reminiscent of what the angels said when Christ was resurrected – and this is what the angels will say also when we are resurrected in Christ’s coming kingdom. Do you want to hear this voice? Believe in Christ!)
Can you imagine the impact that would have on the congregation, on Eutychus’ mother and father, the believers, and other people of Troas?
This is the power of the resurrection of Christ. This power is still available to us today.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me shall never die.”
We should keep awake in church.
“Remember if you fall asleep and die in church, there is no apostle today to raise you again from the dead.”
How can we remain “awake” in church?
#1 Confess our sins
“If we say we have not sinned, the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)
#2 Confess our faith in Christ
#3 Daily turn to Christ
“The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Let us remove the deeds of darkness and put on the deeds of light.” Romans 13:11-12
Eph 5:14 “He is the light that makes everything visible.”
Wake up, o sleeper! Rise from the dead!
Our Lord Jesus will shine upon you.
May Christ fill you with joy and the power of the resurrection of Christ.
Feb 11 / 2018
Comments Off on Christ is our Model of what Christian Acceptance means (Romans 15:1-7)
Christ is our model of what Christian Acceptance means
Romans 15:1-7 (Pastor Heo)
15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Chp 14:1 “Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment.”
The Roman church at that time was a hybrid community:
Jews + Gentiles,
free + slave,
conservative + liberal,
rich + poor,
strong + weak
So, at that time, in the church, it was very difficult to accept one another. But we must remember, mutual acceptance in church is not optional but necessary because we are the body of Christ. Acceptance means taking people into our homes and hearts. We must avoid racism, discrimination, favoritism, differences. We must seek common ground for fellowship and relationship.
Are you strong or weak? Do you want to be stronger or remain weak?
In every area of this world, there are the strong and the weak: physically, financially, mentally, spiritually, socially, etc.
Strong believers = understand their freedom in Christ and are sensitive to the differences of others.
Strong believers can function in a variety of circumstances and be an influence for good.
Weak believers = not yet mature in faith so as to be free from some rituals or traditions.
Weak believers find that they need to stay far away from some situations in order to maintain a clear conscience.
But we must remember that the Word of God and the message of salvation is unchangeable. But human habits and traditions and cultures and thinking are very changeable. So, we must be clear in this matter:
Fixable to Christ
Flexible to culture
Faithful to the Word of God
Flexible to the world
For me, when I went to the Philippines and Tanzania, I had to learn all about their language, history, culture, lifestyle, etc. I must become one of them, be identified with them. But at the same time, I must keep my own identity as a child of God and Christian missionary.
Identification without loss of identity is called contextualization.
Paul confessed as a missionary: “I’m free. I belong to nobody, but I make myself a slave to all men. To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the Law, I became like a man under the Law though I’m not under the Law, to win them to Christ. To those without the Law, I became like one without the Law, though I myself am not, in order to save some. I became all things to all men so that I might save some of them.”
This was Paul’s identification.
1 Cor 2:2 “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
This is Paul’s identity.
Identification and Identity go together.
In this life, Jesus was the most powerful person who ever lived, but he did not please himself (v. 3). He did the Father’s will. Finally, death on the cross was not the path he would have chosen to please himself, but he chose to please God in heaven.
Acceptance is not independence from God, but total dependence on God – esp. power / strength in church does not come from independence, but from mutual dependencies.
“Christ is our model for what Christian acceptance means.”
“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus because to this you were called. Jesus Christ left us an example.”
Jesus (in heaven) came down to the lowest place – to raise us from the dead and put us into heaven.
Jesus (very rich) became poor and naked to make us rich (heirs of the kingdom of heaven).
Jesus (the strongest) became weak to make us strong.
Today, according to v. 7, “Accept one another”
“3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Verse 7 means:
When (if) we realize truly that God accepted us as unlovely, wicked, sinful, immature when we came to him, THEN we can be able to accept our brothers and sisters (esp our weak brothers and sisters).
Let me share Jesus’ character as a human being.
We know Jesus is fully God and fully man (not half).
During his stay for 33 years on this earth, how was his character, esp. in accepting others from his deep heart. Let me share 5 characteristics of Jesus as fully man.
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.”
5 Characteristics of Jesus as a Man
#1 Absolute Holiness
Jesus lived a holy life – he was absolutely separated from all sins. He was separated in his mind and conduct – he was sinless – totally and completely.
So the Bible challenges us to “be holy as Christ is holy” in all that you do. Can you do this?
We can – as long as we belong to Christ.
No matter how far we may fall from being like Christ, we have no lower standard that the perfection of Christ.
Christ is our model and example of sinless perfection. This is nothing short of absolute perfection. He has shown how to be holy.
This means, the holier we are, the further from sin we are.
Holiness is power. Holiness is strength. Fighting against sin is our power / strength.
#2 Genuine Love (agape)
Unlimited, divine, unending, agape love – Jesus loved all human beings – even his enemies. Jesus loved his own to the last – even his betrayer, even the ones who spit on his face. Can you follow his example? No. But, Jesus IN YOU can do that.
So, we must remember that Jesus is always IN US. I cannot do that, but Jesus IN ME can do that.
Jesus loved those his beat him, persecuted him, nailed him on the cross. That’s why the Bible challenges us to imagine “how wide, how far, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall famine or sword or hardship? No, nothing. I’m convinced neither death nor life, angels nor demons, nor any power, height nor depth will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
And then Jesus challenges us: “A new command I give you. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this they will know you are my disciples: if you love one another.”
Love is power. Love is my strength.
#3 True Humility
He became willingly humiliated by his own accord.
Phil 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who being the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being found in human likeness. He humbled (emptied himself) and became obedient to death, even death on the cross.”
His life – 33 years on earth – can be summarized as a life of humility (being humble).
He was born in a stable, an animal’s food box
During his ministry, he had no house – no place to rest his head
He associated with the lowly, called the “Friend of Sinners” and tax collectors and prostitutes
Most of his followers were of lowly origin, but he revealed the secret mystery of the kingdom of heaven to them
He was crucified on a cross
He was buried in a borrowed tomb
Jesus says, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom.”
Service is power. Service is strength.
This world says “Power is the ability to rule over others under them.”
But in church, “Power is the ability to build others up under them.”
Service is power. If you are strong spiritually, you are here to serve. If you are not strong, you cannot serve.
Service is power.
#4 Meek and Gentle
Meekness sometimes looks like weakness outwardly.
Jesus says in Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from you and you will find rest for your souls. I am gentle and humble, my burden is light.”
He did not fight, quarrel, even cry out for his own benefit. “Nobody heard his voice on the streets.” Even a smoldering reed he did not put out.
He was very meek in dealing with Judas Iscariot – he knew, but was meek.
He was meek in dealing with Thomas who doubted his resurrection.
He was meek in restoring and reinstating Peter who denied him 3 times.
He was meek before his crucifiers.
“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”
We can get lessons from the animal world.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” This is true in the spiritual world and the physical world and the animal world.
Consider the lion, tiger, and bear. They lost their land, their earth. Many of them are put in prison (zoos). But see the meekest animals, hens, sheep, goats, ducks. They are very meek, but they can be seen all over the earth.
This principle can be applied in our Christian life.
If you are too strong – so strong in your own position in non-essential areas, then the room for your welcome will become smaller and smaller, narrower and narrower.
Paul says, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” This is a true mystery.
Meekness is power.
Weakness is power.
Weakness can be strength.
#5 Perfect Balance
Especially in his emotions.
He was very grave (sad) without being gloomy.
He was very joyful, but not vigorously.
He took earthly life very seriously.
Isa 53 “Jesus Christ was despised, rejected by men, he was a Man of Sorrows. He wept over Jerusalem.” Do you weep over Jeonju, Korea, the world?
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, over the death of his friend Lazarus.
Jesus sorrowed over those who willingly rejected his free salvation. He bore our griefs and sorrows. But at the same time, he was a man of joy.
John “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and so that your joy may be complete. I have said these things while you are in this world so that you may have the full measure of my joy.”
He was a Man of Sorrow and a Man of Joy.
His Joy was largely anticipation (seeing the large multitude of the church worshiping him in glory)
Paul also was a strong man. Even in prison he was filled with joy, “Rejoice! I will say it again, rejoice!”
Are you joyful? Yes!
Paul suffered so so much because of Christ, but he was full of joy. Yet, at the same time, he was filled with sorrow, “I have unceasing grief in my heart for the sake of my brothers.”
What does this mean?
When we see Christ, we are filled with joy.
When we see Christ in us, we are filled with joy.
When we see the lost, we are filled with grief.
May God bless us to be strong Christians.
Let us take some time to follow and imitate the characteristics of Christ:
Meekness / Gentleness
May 14 / 2017
Comments Off on The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)
7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
We have a special speaker from the US today: Dr. Merv Weerasekera on The Power of Prayer.
International church: Korea, Uganda, Indonesia, Ghana, US, etc…
I was born in Singapore – a merchant sailor. My dream was to see the world at 12, so at 17, I joined a ship and started sailing. When I became 21, I had circled the globe many times – been to almost every country represented by this church. At around that age, I became very disillusioned because my dream had already come true. I asked myself, “If you died tonight, where would your soul go?” I’d been in a war zone, shot at, almost got washed out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean, many terrible accidents as well. And I asked that question. I had to answer: “I don’t know.”
Youth with a Mission (Intl Mission Org) put tracts on that ship and I read one and heard the story of being born again. Every time I read that tract, I cried. On the third night, I read “4 Spiritual Laws” and it’s as though Jesus was standing right there in front of me. I asked him into my heart at 2:30am outside Singapore. There was fear and anger in my heart and at that exact moment, the fear and anger left and peace and joy entered my heart. I’ve been this way for 35 years. After that, I joined that same Mission Org (Youth with a Mission) – and ever since then I’ve worked on telling the next guy the story of Jesus.
Once I had a revelation about Jesus. I was mopping the floor, admiring my clean floor, and the Lord spoke to me and said, “You’ve always wanted to feed your fellow man – how about I use you to give them eternal life?” WOAH! I was totally transformed!
You know, if I could give every person I met $1 million, but after death, who knows where they would go? But, if God asked me to give that person eternal life, there is NO job higher than that.
That is the epitome of life. God using you to give others eternal life!
After that, I started preaching the gospel to the people on that merchant ship – and I met Pastor Jingu Park. Later, I married an American woman in Singapore – she was deported 6 months later – so I ended up in the US not knowing WHAT I would do. I didn’t even have a high school diploma at that time. I had a hard time reading Newsweek Magazine. I thought I would be mopping the floor for the Lord.
I was in the US, didn’t know how to drive – always walked or took the bus/subway – and I had to start absolutely from scratch. But I remember praying all night with Pastor Park – from 12am to 6am. That’s what I did in the US. I became a waiter in a Chinese restaurant and was washing dishes at night. I tried to save money to go “home” to Singapore. But God had different plans.
I joined a church and we started praying all night. God started opening doors and opening my eyes. “Son, you’re not going home. I have plans for you here.”
This Scripture here says, “If you’re in a bind and you don’t know where to go, get down on your knees and cry out to the Lord.”
Ask -> Seek -> Knock
Ask God in a place of prayer – make that place of prayer in your life.
You know, life is NOT in a straight line. You know the “Prosperity Gospel”? (Give to God, he’ll make you rich). But I don’t see that in the Scriptures. I see a loving, powerful, all-knowing God who has a PLAN of LOVE for each and every person. God wants to SHOW you himself. THIS is the gospel.
So, here I am in the US, trying to save to go home to Singapore, and praying on Friday nights and asking, “What am I doing here? YOU are out of your mind!” (Oh, no! Please, sorry, I must have made you angry! Please forgive me! Forgive even my temptations!)
God said, “I want you to go to school and start studying.” God opened the door and let me take my GED (High school diploma equivalent).
I prayed, prayed, prayed.
My life, suddenly, (no family in the US at all) is ONLY consisting of GOD.
God will PUT you in those kinds of places.
Don’t expect Christianity to be all flowers and roses and an easy life. Yes, in church, we worship the Lord, we dance and praise and sing and dance and love one another. When we come to church, we must come to KNOW him.
I’m trying to put my story together, but God won’t tell me. Type A personalities want to know the WHOLE plan right NOW. We all in a HURRY!
But the Scripture doesn’t say that. You aren’t in it to GET something from God. God isn’t your credit card, he’s not Santa Claus. You want to KNOW Him, really KNOW Him.
Before Youth with a Mission, I was also running 2 businesses – I wanted to be rich. But when I joined YWAM, I didn’t want that any more. I said, “God, just let me tell others about you.” God said, “No, I want you to walk with me – and I will provide for you.”
Jesus wants YOU to come to HIM and ask Him. Don’t ask for THINGS. NO!
Ask God that whatever you do, each step you take, you will get to know HIM. You want to know the character of God.
If I preach to you anything other than Christ and him crucified, I’m not preaching the gospel!
So, in the US, I’m working my butt off, got my GED, in church, praying, and started going to college. By the time it’s all over, I have 4 college degrees and 1 doctorate degree.
Merchant sailor -> Missionary -> washing dishes -> 4 college degrees -> Doctorate = WOW! That’s God.
When I studied Algebra, I thought, “What does this have to do with serving God?”
You know what he said to me?
“Obedience is better than sacrifice.”
So, now, here I stand. I have my wife (American – surgery nurse), 3 children (one with a Master’s, one with a Bachelor’s, and my son, 19, will be a second year in college). I’m taking my son with me – we are going to China and then Singapore.
This faith in my life is just a journey.
But let me share this Scripture about prayer.
You think, “Yeah, you tell us all these fantastic stories, and think Wow! But let me tell you, God puts me in places where He’s all I’ve got – I have to hold on to Him alone. I want to tell you that this Scripture is TRUE.”
I spent 3 years in Seminary – and one of my professors told me, “Anything you lean on outside of Christ is a bruised reed.”
Looking at this Scripture and seeing what he said, I remember sitting in that class, lecture after lecture, and he really touched me. Everything he lectured on, at the end of the lecture, he ALWAYS pointed you to Jesus Christ. I said, “Lord, I want to be like that man. When I teach, I want to point them to the Lord. Help me, in anything I say or do, that it will point them or move them to You.”
If you can bring someone to the knowledge of Christ and they can receive his power, what have you NOT done for them? This is the epitomy of life!
Remember, Jesus is GOD! – He can do anything he wants. He can take a Merchant Sailor from a ship to the US and change his life and change his mind. Is that not the God you want to worship, serve, learn from, KNOW?
But there’s something you must have that every Christian must have: a revelation of who he is.
When you go to God and pray, this Scripture is saying, “Ask, seek, knock.”
I want to leave this with you.
GO TO GOD (empty) – Today –
Empty your mind, your desires, (this takes a lot of thinking) – surrender your ambitions, dreams, everything.
Say, “Lord, I want to come to you. I want to KNOW you.”
You know, many people see this Scripture as a license to ask for “things.” NO. Every Christian must do this – this is the message I must preach, I always preach.
Every Christian must go to God and SEEK him, and ASK him, and KNOCK and say, “Jesus, I want to KNOW YOU.” (The King of Kings, Maker of Heaven and Earth – He said “Let there be LIGHT!”)
You know how I have faith? When I go out into the sun, I say, “WOW! My God SPOKE that sun into existence!! Wooo!~” You cannot stand still!
That’s the God I pray to, the Jesus I worship~!
Ask, seek, knock = “I want to KNOW You.”
Then, when you know him, ask, “NOW, lead me.”
And watch Him lead you.
“God, which college do you want me to go to?” I had no money.
“Go to that one.” (Lee University – Cleveland, TN)
I drove over there, to O’Cobey Street – and I drove my truck into a spiritual curtain – they gave me full scholarships – every semester. God provides! Ask Him to show you who he is!
So, in my church now in the US, I run a prayer ministry.
Let me tell you about the US. The church is very powerful in the world. It is very strong in the Word of God – I’ve studied much good literature from the West. The worship is also very good – good music. Lacking in Prayer.
Word is good.
Worship is good.
Lacking in Prayer.
What I’m trying to do in my local church – I learned from Pastor Daniel Park (Koreans are a very strong praying culture) – we cut off the TV, go to work, go to church, fast on Tuesdays, pray from 7pm-10pm on Fridays.
I’m trying to cultivate the spirituality in my life that we don’t have.
You know, when you are in a comfortable place in your lives, you forget to pray to God. At first, when life is HARD, you pray A LOT. But as God starts to bless you, you forget to pray.
So, I’m trying to cultivate fasting and prayer. I want to do an altar call (come forward and pray for you). I want to leave the core of prayer to be IN YOUR LIFE.
When you are in a difficult situation (being from another culture is very difficult, very scary), just find a place where you can GO and PRAY and ASK God.
Don’t ask, “God, get me out of here!”
Rather, ask, “God, what are you doing? Speak to me!”
Before I became a Christian, I was living in Asia.
Buddhists pray to idols, Catholics pray to Mary.
A Christian brother once told me, “Merv, YOU can hear the voice of God!” What? God speaks? Wow! I did not KNOW that! I thought it was a one-sided conversation. No! It’s a relationship. He’s not an idol! He’s a person! He loves me, He loves YOU! He wants you to come to Him.
When I’m in prayer, God shows me a little bit of his holiness. I had to turn off the cable. (And God sent me $150 – the cable fee).
When God says, “I don’t want you to be there” listen! When you start to SEEK God, to KNOW God, you stand there, stay focused on Him, and depend on Him to lead you and get you out of there.
There was a time when I was so angry at church. Mad at a brother in church. My professor said, “Merv, take your eyes off the situation, and shift your focus to Jesus.” (Wow, after my 30 minute complaint).
Now, I tell everybody, ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, and FOCUS on Jesus. He knows the plan! Why do you worry?
When God wants to open a door, he can do it in a second. He can do anything for you. You don’t serve a lame duck God. No! He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth! If you say, “Merv, or James” the devil says, “Who cares?” But if you say, “Jesus”, the devil must go.
But do you KNOW the Jesus you talk about?
Do you KNOW his character? Do you KNOW Him (not just ABOUT Him)?
If you say, “Come, let me show you Jesus” that’s what you want.
If you want to come up here and ask this one question to the Lord, “Lord, I want to know you, and I want the annointing and hunger to PRAY to you.” A praying person is a powerful person. A praying Christian is a powerful Christian. I want to cultivate that in my life.
Let’s have the musicians come up and I’ll pray. Let me ask the Lord to give you a personal touch for prayer in your life. Come up to the front.
Mar 26 / 2017
Comments Off on Let God Alone Judge! (Romans 2:1-16)
2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism. 12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
Remember last week, a bad story? Idolatry, etc. This is the continuation of that story.
Let me ask a question: difficult/easy:
When you stand before a mirror, what is the first thing you see? (Myself) Is that right?
Likewise, whenever we stand before the Word of God, the first thing we MUST see is Myself (in God). We can, of course, see the world, others, the future, and many other things. But the FIRST thing we must see is MYSELF. This is a spiritual mirror:
James 3:23-24 “Anyone who listens to the WOG, but doesn’t do what it says is like a man who looks in the mirror but goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
2 couples heard the same message in the same place in the same seminar.
One became stronger, happier, and more faithful to God.
Another became worse, fighting more, and complaining more.
What is the difference?
One couple SAW THEMSELVES (“I must love my wife more. I must respect my husband more.”)
The other couple SAW THEIR PARTNER. (“THAT person must love/respect ME more!!!”)
This is the difference.
Jesus said this, “Once, two men went to the temple to pray. One man said, ‘Thanks, God, I’m not like THAT MAN!’ The other man said, ‘God, have mercy on me, I’m a sinner!’“
The first man saw the other man and justified himself, and returned home condemned.
The other man saw himself, repented, and walked home justified.
In this passage, we can see the word “YOU” 15 times.
First, Paul is addressing the Jews.
Previously, we saw a terrible, grim, ugly picture of humanity (last Sunday). This world was under condemnation by God. At that time, the Jews totally agreed with that condemnation – but they never dreamed that THEY ALSO were under such condemnation. They always thought that they were privileged before God. They thought God only judged the Gentiles, but protected them. They thought that Abraham sat at the gates of hell and would not allow even evil Israelites to go to hell.
Actually, God loves ALL nations. But they believed at that time that God judged all nations except their own. That’s why we need chapter 2.
Also, last Sunday, if you thought “Oh, this is not MY story, but someone else’s story” then we NEED chapter 2. Who cannot find in himself at least ONE terrible sin (of 24 listed there)?
1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Today’s topic: Let God alone judge!
What shall we do?
If we say, “Let God judge” then we also must be ready/prepared to be judged by God. Are you ready?
Let me tell you WHY we cannot judge others. There are at least 4 reasons.
#1: We have no authority to judge
This is common sense. The Creator judges his creation. Creation does not judge its Creator. The Master judges his servants, not vice versa.
Please remember, we have no right to judge others.
#2: We have no power to judge
In order to judge without shame, I must be PERFECT, sinless, faultless, errorless, stainless, blameless in my character, personality, actions, ideas, thoughts. I must be PERFECT 100% to judge without shame. Who can say “I am perfect 100%”?
#3: We have no knowledge to judge
In order to judge RIGHTLY, correctly, I must have 100% knowledge about his background, ideas, motivation, hidden history, etc. I must know WHY he did it. Nobody can say, “I’m omniscient (all-knowing).”
#4: We have no permission to judge
We are not permitted by God to judge. Yes, Jesus says directly, “Do not judge or you will be judged. In this same way, you will be judged. With the same measure you use, you will be judged. He has a speck of sawdust in his eye. You have a plank in your eye.”
Of course, I can see my neighbor’s eyes, but I cannot see my own eyes. Therefore, we cannot judge others.
God hates judgment because judgment belongs to GOD ALONE. He has the right, privilege, power, and permission to judge all.
“Nothing is hidden before the eyes of God, everything is revealed, made bear before him.”
Ecclesiastes conclusion: “God will bring ALL THINGS into judgment – including all hidden things, whether good or evil.”
In this passage, God alone judges.
Let me share 3 items regarding this:
God judges according to:
Truth (v. 2)
Our actions – what we have done/been doing (v. 6)
Our secrets (v. 16)
v. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is **based on truth.**
This means, God has ONLY ONE standard. There is only ONE principle. There are no double standards for differing people. God is the God of ALL. He does not show favoritism – he is a universal God.
God judges according to Truth = “inward reality as a foundation of outward phenomena”
So, before God, the invisible, spirit God, looking at some woman lustfully = committing adultery with her in his heart.
Greed = idolatry
Hate = murder
Everything not of faith = sin
God judges according to the inward reality of a person.
God judges according to Truth = our attitude toward Christ (Jesus IS the Truth – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – and no one comes to the Father except through me.”) Rejecting Jesus = the original sin, the root of sin, the sin of sins. What is your attitude toward Christ? Why? Because THIS ATTITUDE determines how we will be in eternity.
This is the basic principle “God judges”. Also, God judges according to Truth = the Bible. This is the Standard (B.I.B.L.E = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth…)
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but the WOG will remain forever.”
#2: Our actions / deeds
v. 6 God “will repay each person according to **what they have done.**”
God judges according to deeds DOES NOT mean “we are saved by deeds.” No, we are justified and saved by FAITH alone. But remember, TRUE SAVING FAITH results in obedience and godly living (deeds).
True faith = godly works (deeds)
God says, “Be holy as I am holy.”
God does not judge based on our heritage, but on the lives we live – the total impact of our character and actions – even though there may be occasional faults.
David = not perfect = murderer, stole another man’s wife – BUT, the TOTAL impact = “a man after God’s own heart”
Judas = did some good things working with Jesus – BUT, the TOTAL impact = sinful
Consider agriculture: if we do not keep the laws of farming, we starve.
Or health: if we do not follow the laws of health, our bodies suffer.
Like this, we must keep the laws of God to not suffer – to prosper.
13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
Yes, right now, we have a big blessing to have and possess and hear the Word of God. BUT, this wonderful privilege and blessing makes our responsibility and accountability even GREATER to obey his Word. That’s why God judges according to what we have done.
#3: Our secrets
v. 16 This will take place on the day when God judges **my secrets** through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
What does this mean?
This is a serious issue.
Yes, God is holy, and commands us to be holy like him (like Father, like son). God is not holy sometimes, but is holy ALWAYS. Like this God does not want “sometimes” but wants “all the time.” God does not want sometimes holy things, sometimes worldly things. Actually, God wants us to do spiritual things in this unspiritual world ALL THE TIME. He wants us to be holy in this unholy place ALL THE TIME.
Question: What is heavenly/divine, and what is worldly? How can we distinguish between these two?
Pray, study the Bible, etc = spiritual?
Working, shopping, computer, KakaoTalk = worldly?
Is this true? Then we are holy/unholy/holy/unholy all day all the time.
How can we be holy all the time? God judges us according to “secrets” = according to our motivation, final purpose, etc.
Yes, now, I’m preaching. Do you think I’m doing holy things? Actually, only God knows. If I’m preaching the Word of God without love for you and the glory of God, but rather for MY GLORY, then this is an UNholy thing.
Likewise, if YOU work, shop, clean the house, etc, with love and for the glory of God, then YOU are doing HOLY things.
“Do everything with love.”
“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of GOD.” – This is a holy thing. We will do this (holy thing) after service today.
God judges according to our secrets = “our methods” or how we handle the truth.
In this passage, “…my gospel” = Paul’s gospel. But honestly, before God, are you able to call this gospel also “my gospel”? Who can call this gospel “my gospel”? God bless us all to be able to call this gospel “my gospel.”
Yes, the gospel is of God, from God, not the message of men but of God. This is the gospel message of God. Also, the gospel is the message of Jesus Christ, especially his death and resurrection. Also, the gospel is the message of the Holy Spirit in that only the HS is able to regenerate a sinner into a child of God.
Gospel = the gospel of
So, WHO can call this gospel “my gospel”?
There are 2 qualifications.
Do you have experience? Have you experienced the power of the gospel in your life? Creating, transforming, life-giving, life-changing power. Have you experienced this? Has the gospel changed even your hobbies? Hallelujah~
Only those who EXPERIENCE the power of the gospel in their own lives can call this gospel “my gospel.”
Commitment: Are you committed? Have you dedicated your WHOLE life to this gospel message?
“The Gospel is GOOD News (of great joy for all the people at the same time forever and ever)!”
News that is not told, announced, is not news.
If you have this gospel, this news in you, is it being declared?
Only those who share the good news can call the gospel “my gospel.”
God bless us to live like this.
Mar 12 / 2017
Comments Off on I’m not Ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Today, I will focus on only verse 16.
Remember, Romans 1:1, Paul introduced himself as a slave of Christ before God – apostle of Christ in this world – set apart for the gospel.
Then, the summary of the message of the gospel: Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead as a guarantee for our life (salvation and eternal life). This is the key message of the gospel. Jesus died for your and my sin and rose again from the dead. If we believe in this physical, bodily resurrection, then we can recognize his presence here and now as well.
Then, Paul expressed his personal concern.
First, I give thanks.
I long to see you.
I want to produce more fruit.
I am obligated (indebted) to the gospel – and must preach it.
V. 16. “I am not ashamed of the gospel”
1:16-17 = the key verses of this book (and on the banners) – these are the transition from the introduction of the letter into the main theme of the whole book. They act as a preposition to the remainder of the book.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel” – are you?
This is a seriously important question. From this short sentence, we can see 2 things.
1. Paul’s personal willpower –
commitment and volition, determination, dedication, devotion, fearlessness, bravery for the gospel. “I AM not ashamed, I WILL not be ashamed, I am PROUD of…”
At that time, 2000 years ago, there were many reasons/temptations/challenges to be ashamed of the gospel. His heart is going to Rome. At that time, the gospel was identified with a poor Jewish carpenter/criminal (crucified). It was the lowest form of execution given to a criminal. Rome was a PROUD city. Christians were middle-class, common, lower-class, slaves. Rome did not respect these kinds of people.
Also, at that time, Christians regarded each other as brothers and sisters – ONE in Christ – but this went strongly against the pride of Rome. But Paul, knowing this, shouted, “I’m NOT ashamed.”
Even now, the Devil is alive and doing many jobs, but his main jobs are 2 things:
To keep the lost LOST
To keep Christians ASHAMED of the gospel
If you think “my faith is private, not public” – we may be ashamed. 2 Cor 4:4 “Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of Christ.”
2. “I’m not ashamed of the gospel BECAUSE…”
The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes – first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (memorize this, OK?)
This is a short sentence, but contains the ESSENCE of the Bible – so we should spend considerable time studying this.
From this short sentence, I want to share 5 grounds/truths/facts/reasons why we should NOT be ashamed of the gospel.
Why we should not be ashamed of the gospel
#1. It is the message of God
It originated with God, from God, not men. The message was designed and made by God himself, in his heart, from the Creation of the world, even eternity.
From this pulpit, I’m preaching a message that is not my own. The gospel is the message of God, not men.
Whenever we share this message, remember, this message you are preaching is the message from God – not my own message, not made by me or any other person.
Imagine, in your school, if you carry the message of your school principal to the other teachers, can you be ashamed of this message? No. How about in your office/job, if you carry the message of the boss to your colleagues, can you be ashamed of it? No. You may be proud of it because you know whose message it is.
Like this, if you carry the message of your country’s President to another country, you are the ambassador of that message and would be so proud.
But this message is from God, who is much higher than any human President or CEO. God created all things (something from nothing) with just his Word. “Let there be light” and there was light. God is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (everywhere), omniscient (knows all). So, how is it possible for us to be ashamed of this message from our Creator?
Please remember this whenever you preach/share this message. Whose message is this? God’s. 2 Cor 5:18-20 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to him through Christ and gave us the message of reconciliation….”
1. We cannot be ashamed because this is God’s message
#2. Its operation is POWER
Can you be ashamed of power? Big muscles? At that time, Rome was most proud of its power – material, military, physical, etc. The fear of Rome hovered over all nations. They were conquerors with bases and military positioned all over the world. But, mentally and spiritually, Rome was very weak. How about today? Where is Rome now? The gospel looked very weak in the eyes of the people, but it had POWER. Still today, it is working in power.
Greek word (power): dunamis
Greek word (love): agape
dunamis = “dynamite” in English
This chemical substance was invented in 1867 by Nobel – it was named after the Greek word for power.
Yes, the gospel is spiritual dynamite. It can abolish human powers, traditions, and world views. It can overcome all things. It is effective and powerful. But it must be handled very carefully only by those who know how to handle it well. It can be preached only by those who actually experienced the power of this gospel.
Remember, it is impossible to experience the power of the gospel and then be TOTALLY silent before men.
Gospel = God’s Power – transforming, saving, life-changing power
No wonder Paul was not ashamed of this power because he experienced this power in his own life. He was radically transformed from a persecutor of the gospel to a preacher of the gospel. Plus, he’d seen how it worked in other cities – so he had confidence that it was powerful. Later, Rome would be conquered by the gospel.
The gospel has more power than any power in this world. Bible says, “The weakness of God is stronger than the strength of man; the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”
#3. Its result is Salvation
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God **that brings salvation** to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The fruit of the gospel = salvation. This is the main theme in this book. Its literal meaning = deliverance, from one place to another, redeeming.
Everybody has his own need.
What is your first need? Job, education, family, relationship, degree…
All human beings need salvation. This is the greatest need of every single man and woman.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… The wages of sin is death… A man is destined to die once and after that face the Judgment…”
Everybody is a sinner before God. I’m a pastor, but also a sinner before God. Nobody can escape from eternal hell after the Final Judgment. This means everybody needs Salvation (deliverance from Satan, sin, hell, evil). Yes, Salvation is the forgiveness of sins, but it goes much deeper. It is the deliverance from a child of evil to a child of God. It takes us from the agony of hell to the glory of heaven.
The only way to receive this Salvation is to accept Jesus as Lord. That’s why Jesus’ death and resurrection is the key message of the gospel.
Acts 3:12 “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
1 Timothy “Here is a trustworthy saying: that Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners (like me).”
#4. Its boundary is ALL people
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation **to everyone** who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The limitation of the gospel is ALL people, in ALL places and ALL times.
“first for the Jew, then the Gentile” =
this is NOT exclusivity, nor priority.
This is only in the order of events (chronology).
There is NO difference between Jew and Gentile in the matter of condemnation and salvation. In the same way, today, there is no difference between black, white, yellow, red, etc.
“This gospel will be preached in the WHOLE WORLD as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the End will come.” (Matthew – Jesus)
#5. Its condition is only “faith”
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone **who believes**: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
How nice, this God. How gracious and compassionate. God does not ask for us to “behave better” to be saved. He only asks “believe.”
FAITH (JESUS) + NOTHING = EVERYTHING
JESUS + ANYTHING ELSE = NOTHING
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
God prepared for us to do something in advance. We are not to “do good” to be saved.
Rather, we are “saved by faith” to do good.
Saving faith, therefore, produces indestructible faith in God.
John “To all who believe, God gave the right to become children of God.”
So, how can we be ashamed of this wonderful, marvelous message of the gospel?
message of God(1)
is the power of God(2)
Jesus says, “If you are ashamed of me before men, I will be ashamed of you before my Father in heaven. But if you are proud of me before men, I will be proud of you before my Father in heaven.”
This is a normal thing.
Imagine if you are ashamed of your parents before others, how sad they will be. Let us make our Father God happy. Let us make our Lord Jesus Christ happy and proud of us because we are saved by his grace.
The Great Commission (Final will and command of our King, God, Lord, Savior – the command of a king is not optional, but absolute. We MUST obey this mandate.)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Our Lord Jesus is a King, the King of Kings. So, he has authority to use POWER.
Matthew stresses Jesus’ authority – shown through
his teaching and healing –
authority over Satan,
ALL authority (in heaven and on earth)
So we can obey him without fear – in whatever circumstances and situations we find ourselves. By his death and resurrection, he defeated ALL enemies and won ALL authority.
He is a missionary king. Christianity is a missionary faith – God’s character demands it = “God is love and desires that no men perish, but all come to a saving knowledge of his Son…”
If we knew that, we would also want to go out and tell all the world this good news.
In this Great Commission, Jesus says, “Go out and make disciples.”
What is a disciple? Biblically:
A disciple is a Christian who is making disciples who can make more disciples… (Twitter)
First step = commit my life to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
This disciple who makes other disciples will be able to fully experience the 4 dimensions of Immanuel ( “God is with us” ).
The book of Matthew = the book of Immanuel.
Chapter 1 “All this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they shall call him “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”’”
The final sentence “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age” is another view of Immanuel.
So, the book of Matthew = begins with Immanuel and ends with Immanuel.
The whole Bible is a book of Immanuel – a book of World Missions.
These are the same in human language, but different in meaning and effect:
In the WHOLE BIBLE, 5 types (many hours of study compressed into 25 minutes):
Immanuel = God is With Us / God is With Me
#1: One-dimensional = Immanuel applied to all Creation of God (living and unliving things – humans and non-humans) –
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is creator, sustainer, and keeper of ALLLLLLL Creation.
Eph 4:6 “There is one God”
The Bible makes this clear “There is only ONE God who is over all, through all, and IN all.” He is omnipresent – he feeds the birds, he grows the plants. Not even one things falls to the ground without the permission of God.
Heb 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being – he is sustaining all things with his powerful Word.” Why is the SUN up in the air? Because Jesus is ACTIVELY sustaining it. (Sidenote: some of us may have too SMALL an understanding of God)
#2: 2D = Immanuel applied to ALL human beings (good and bad) – God is with ALL people Christian and non-Christian.
Psalm 139:7-9 “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the mountain, if I go to the depths, you are already there.”
God sends his rain to the Christians AND the non-Christians. Yes, even though the non-Christians do not recognize that God is with them, YET he is with them. This is the “General Grace” of God – to ALL human beings.
#3: 3D = Immanuel applied to Christians (children of God – believers – penitent humans who’ve confessed Christ as Savior and Lord).
Jesus himself says his nickname is Immanuel (John 10:20?) “I give you eternal life – you will never perish – no one can snatch you out of my Father’s hand.”
Heb 13:5 “Keep yourself free from the love of money – keep yourself content with what you have for God has (promised) “NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.””
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing in all Creation. In all these things we are MORE than conquerors.” (Romans 8:38~)
This is Immanuel given to only born again Christians – the children of God. This is:
intimate fellowship/relationship with God,
perseverance of the saints.
We are safe and secure in Christ based on not what I did, but based on what Christ did on the cross.
#5 (skip 4 for now) = Cannot be experienced in this world – this is YET TO COME.
This is the Immanuel (God with us) which true Christians will experience in the literal heaven with God for eternity.
1 Thes “The Lord Jesus Christ will come down from heaven with the cry of the archangel and a loud trumpet sound and the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those who are alive in Christ will be caught up with him in the air and we will be with him forever more.”
This is the FIFTH dimensional Immanuel which we will enjoy in heaven eternally.
What is the meaning of this Immanuel?
We will SEE God face to face, we will reign with Christ as co-heirs with him, we will share his victory. Absolutely we cannot experience this kind of Immanuel with these physical bodies – so we will be changed into heavenly bodies with him.
There is no more crying, no more troubles, pain, cancer, suffering, death.
#4: 4D (*What time is it now?) = this is the promise and guarantee that Jesus is mentioning in this final verse “And surely I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS to the very END OF THE AGE.” (this is not the eternal 5D Immanuel)
This type of Immanuel is only available in THIS world. He will no longer be available to us in the next age (heaven).
So, you can see how this one word “Immanuel” is the same in language, but TOTALLY different in meaning.
God is with Creation
God is with humans
God is with believers
God is with disciple-makers (functional, conditional)
God is with believer IN HEAVEN
#1,2,3,5 are immutable, unconditional
#4 = conditional – make disciples and THEN I am with you
Remember Moses and Joshua?
Already, Moses had been enjoying Immanuel with him – then God called Moses to free the Israelites in the Exodus “I will be with you”
Before this, he was afraid (and 80 years old) “No, no, who am I that I should do this? I can’t.” God promised “I will be with you.”
Not only in the OT, but also the NT, the BEST BLESSING AND GUARANTEE is “I will be with you.” (Immanuel)
Joshua = Moses’ successor
God was with Joshua at least 40 years. Joshua was enjoying Immanuel God with him but when God called him to conquer Canaan, God gave him the promise of Immanuel again “I will be with you. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you through ALL the days of your life.”
So, what is the difference?
THIS promise of Immanuel is for:
Mission, ministry, service
This is the promise of Jesus in Matthew 28, the Great Commission.
To Moses = the promise that “you will be like a god” before Pharaoh, before the people, before your brother = you will be MY agent (as long as you carry out your mission, my power will be manifest through you and shown outwardly) THIS is the 4D Immanuel.
“All authority has been given to me. THEREFORE, go and make disciples of all nations.” (And MY authority will be manifested through you).
Moses performed at least 10 miracles before coming out of Egypt – then he made the sea part, then water came out of rocks (twice).
Who performed these miracles?
God performed the miracles through Moses.
Moses performed the miracles BY God.
“Go and make disciples of all nations and surely I AM WITH YOU to the very end of the age.”
Thank you for coming today. Now, GO – make disciples.
This is the Great Commission (the Great Command) of our King.
May God bless all of us with this 4D Immanuel. Let us all recognize further, more and more, how GOD IS WITH US.
Eventually, this led me to considering how the stone in front of the tomb might begin to look like a solar eclipse as it were being rolled away if there was a great light behind it. So, I started searching for “Photoshop eclipse tutorials” and eventually stumbled upon a pretty good one by Abduzeedo that helped me to create this art:
Apr 05 / 2015
Comments Off on The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Jesus is alive! again!
So, Jesus’ resurrection holds a unique place in Christianity. Christianity is the ONLY religion on earth that bases its foundation of faith on the resurrection of its founder.
Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to our faith and to our salvation – provided for by his death.
In 1 Cor 15, this is the Resurrection chapter.
Paul wrote 13 books, 87 chapters – but THIS chapter is the longest chapter. EVERY line, every verse, every sentence is concentrated on the resurrection of Christ.
Everything in our faith stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus.
Are you Christian? Who is a Christian? One who is united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. Believe his death is “my death” and his resurrection is “my resurrection.”
We can see one very short word repeated many times in almost every verse today: IF (repeated 7 times today). Through these IFs we can see 5-6 negative facts:
(v. 14) IF Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless. (Our gospel is robbed of its joy – the joy would become a funeral dirge?) – What’s the point without the resurrection? There’s nothing to preach.
(v. 14) IF there is no resurrection, our faith is in vain and worthless. All we have we received as a free gift of God – divine childship, justification, sanctification, glorification, salvation, a home in heaven – it’s all worthless.
(v. 15) IF no resurrection, then all witnesses are false – liars and deceivers (essential for apostleship = a witness of the resurrection) – the KEY message of all missionaries, evangelists, preachers, etc is Jesus substituationary death and resurrection
(v. 17) IF no resurrection, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins. Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Only Jesus is our Savior from sin and death – the wages of sin = death. Only Jesus paid completely and totally the punishment, power, presence, of sin. Only Jesus defeated the LAST enemy, death. But IF he didn’t rise from the dead, then he has no more saving power than any other man throughout history.
(v.18-19) IF no resurrection, all who died in Christ are LOST = in hell, and WE are the most miserable – above ALL people in the world – we ought to be the most pitied. Up to today, throughout the world, many Christians have been martyred with only ONE hope – the hope of the resurrection. So, how miserable they are if there is NO hope – if there is NO resurrection.
Isn’t that true?
It is better to be sorrowful for NO hope than sorrowful for FALSE hope.
So, today, I want to share the CREDIBILITY of the resurrection of Christ.
Yes, this is a miracle. The kind of evidence needed to prove this fact is the same evidence that we need to prove any other miracle. i.e. reference to the laws of nature cannot apply when the laws of nature are bent (miracles work outside natural laws). So, competent witnesses and other proofs are the most appropriate methods to show the credibility of this fact.
Cause and Effect = the first
Argument from witnesses = the second
Every effect around us has a cause. Without an effect, no cause.
So, if Jesus’ resurrection = a cause, then what are the effects? There are MANY throughout history, but I will share only 4.
1. The empty tomb
The fact that the tomb was empty was testified to by many competent witnesses – both friends and enemies, angels, Roman soldiers, women, disciples.
How can we explain this? The angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat on it, said to the women, “Don’t fear, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified, but he is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the very place where Jesus lay.”
2. The Lord’s Day
(Sabbath = Saturday, right?) then why do we worship on Sunday? For us, every day is “technically” the Lord’s day because he created them all, but the first day of the week is the “Lord’s Day” because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.
At that time, to keep the Sabbath (Saturday) service had been VERY important. So, who would ever dare to change it? On what grounds could it be changed?
The origin of the Sunday worship service can only be explained by the resurrection.
3. This building
The temple of Jesus Christ – the Christian church – all over the world
There are so many churches all over the world, the Church is a grand institution all over the world. What would the world be without church? Helping ministry, mercy ministry, worship, songs, preaching, etc. Where did this church come from? This is an effect, what is the cause?
The reason Jesus appeared and visited the discouraged and revived the faith of the disciples to send them forth on mission to announce BOLDLY and LOUDLY (the character change of the disciples is also another effect of the cause of the resurrection) the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ – to continue his work and expand his kingdom on earth.
This is HOW the church began. This is why the church is called the “body of Christ” and Jesus is the “head of the Church.”
4. The New Testament
This is the Word of God written in human language for us to understand clearly. For our understanding, the Bible is written in human language. This is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Had Christ remained dead, his story ALSO would have remained buried with him. What would be the point to tell such a story of a dead zealot/rebel?
As you know, in the New Testament, his resurrection is spoken of more than 100 times. There are fruits, interpretations, meanings, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the “Book of the Resurrection” – the WHOLE New Testament.
Next, there are the testimonies of the witnesses:
We need three things:
Enough in number (more than 2)
Have a good reputation
All the disciples qualify in these respects. They all said, “We are EYE WITNESSES” – there were at least 12 appearances of Jesus to the disciples. There were MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses to his resurrection.
If only I said, “Wow, I saw a tiger running on the street yesterday.” (But do you trust my reputation?) What if Pastor Brian said that? The same thing. Would it still be difficult to believe? If FIVE people said the same thing, would you believe? What about 10, 50, 100, ALL members of AICF? Would you believe then? Jesus appeared to MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses who testified to his resurrection.
What about their character, human reputation? Yes, we know before the resurrection, many of the disciples were timid, cowardly – Peter denied Christ 3 times at the cross and all the others RAN AWAY returning to their old lifestyles. They lost their faith and hope totally.
Yet, after they met the risen Christ again, these believing disciples became STRONG and TIRELESS believers and they ANNOUNCED his resurrection LOUDLY putting their own lives at risk and DIED as martyrs.
Yes, today, this message remains the same.
The resurrection is our HOPE, our JOY, our HOPE of HOPES.
(v. 58) “STAND FIRM” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Let nothing move you” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” – why? Because Christ has risen. “And we know that our service for the Lord is not in vain” – why? Because Christ’s resurrection is HOPE for us.
Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits (guarantee) for us who believe in him. Only Christ can say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.” Do you believe this? If we believe, then we also believe that Jesus is still guiding us now. If we believe, it means that we are to give our lives to his service – we will also be resurrected into eternal life later.
Romans 8 “If the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is living in you and me, then he will also give you life.”
Phil “We want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and sharing in his suffering.”
Why? Without death, no resurrection.
May God bless us with his resurrection joy, power, and HOPE.
John 11:26 “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will never die…”
We must share in his death and cross. Without these, there is no resurrection nor crown.
Jul 13 / 2014
Comments Off on The Kingdom of Heaven is Like: Wheat Among Weeds, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast (Matthew 13:24-43)
Wheat, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast Matthew 13:24-43 (Pastor Heo)
The Parable of the Weeds 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast 13:31,32pp — Mk 4:30-32 13:31-33pp — Lk 13:18-21 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained 36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 13 is a parable chapter of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus uses 7 material things to teach us something about the KOH. Parable = earthly story with heavenly meaning/truth.
Parable #1: The Sower with 4 kinds of Soil
Today, 3 parables about the KOH.
Man sows a good seed – Wheat among Weeds
#1: KOH = Wheat among Weeds
There is a saying “Ill weeds grow apace.” This was very familiar to the Palestinian audience. Weeds are a curse against which farmers must labor. During their early stages, the weeds and wheat look the same. It’s impossible to distinguish one from the other.
But, when they grow a little more, they could be distinguish. But, their roots were twisted together, so it was impossible to uproot the weeds without affecting/hurting the wheat. So, both had to be left to grow together until the time of harvest.
Then, at the time of harvest, the wheat and weeds had to be separated. The weeds were poisonous and bitter – a narcotic and causing sickness.
The Jews called the weeds “bastard wheat.”
The one who sows the good seed = Jesus.
The good seed = the children of the KOH.
The enemy who sowed the evil seed = Satan.
The weeds = the children of this world.
The field = this world.
The harvesters = angels.
Satan CANNOT uproot true Christians.
So, Satan merely plants FALSE Christians to infect and influence the true Christians.
Our task is not to pull the weeds, but plant the wheat. We are not detectives, but evangelists. We are not pullers, but planters.
Yes, we should expose the lies of the Devil, but we must also (more importantly) bear fruit.
In this world, there is always a hostile power waiting and seeking to destroy the good seed.
Helps the seed of the world?Word? to grow and flourish.
Tries to destroy the good seed.
We must always be on guard, on watch in this world.
Believers and unbelievers are living together – even here in this service. There are some in the KOH and some who are not. So hard it is to distinguish. A man may appear good, but be in fact bad. A man may appear bad, but be in fact good.
We (dangerously) quickly classify men as “good” or “bad” without knowing the truth. We must wait until the time of the harvest to know the truth. A man is not judged by a single mistake in his life – but by his whole life. Through the grace and sacrifice of Christ, a man may make an ugly life a beautiful thing. Alternatively, a man may live his entire life purely, and at the last moment, fall into sin. Judgment comes someday, at the end, not hastily.
Humanly speaking, a sinner in this world may not ever receive his consequences in this world. But there is a new life to come. Goodness likewise may not ever receive its reward in this world, but there is a new life to come. Only Jesus knows and can judge all things perfectly, completely. At the last time, God will judge all things rightly. Therefore, we must judge ourselves (2 Cor 3?) “Judge yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless you fail the test.”
The KOH = wheat among weeds (present and growing in this world full of sin and unbelief).
#2: KOH = mustard seed
The smallest of seeds – produces a large tree.
The point is very clear: the growing power of the mustard seed – from smallest to largest. The KOH is like this – from insignificance to magnificence.
The KOH began with the smallest – JC as a baby in the manger, his death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension. Then, the church was left in the care of 12 apostles and a few hundred followers.
But someday the KOH will cover all the world (2 billion Christians in the world today).
Humanly speaking, Jesus came as a weak person – in a manger, son of a poor carpenter.
When Jesus comes again, he will come as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and his kingdom will cover all the world. At that time, all knees will bow and worship him, and all mouths will confess he is the Lord, Son of God.
In daily application?
This can be true in our small group, churches, schools, academies, careers. The KOH may start with only one person, and nobody knows how big that may grow one day.
A man who is set on fire for Christ is a person who kindles others.
If you plant (preach the gospel message) – this is your mustard seed in his heart and it CAN (with God’s water and help) can grow large in his heart.
This parable was shocking to them.
Actually, throughout the Bible, yeast is a symbol of SIN – uncleanness. For example, during the Passover, they had to eat unleavened (un-yeasted) bread. Yeast had to be removed from their sacrifices as well.
Yeast was also a symbol of carnality and hypocrisy on the church.
This would be shocking. “The KOH is like the symbol for uncleanness.”
“What?” This obviously got their attention.
The point? The transformational power of yeast. Just a LITTLE bit with transform the entire loaf of bread.
Without yeast, the bread is hard, tasteless, unappetizing, not delicious. With yeast = soft, spongy, delicious. The yeast transforms it all.
Like this, the KOH transforms our whole lives. The hidden reality of the KOH = Jesus and he transforms our personal, spiritual, physical, social lives.
In human history, there are great societies, great communities where the KOH transformed the whole society.
1. Life for women in history.
At that time, women were considered property. Men would pray, “Thank God I’m not a Gentile, slave, or woman.” She was completely secluded.
In Korea, until Christianity came, a woman was like a half-slave to her husband and his family.
In India, until Christianity came, there was a horrible practice – when a husband died, his wife was buried alive to follow her husband.
2. Life for slaves
In human history, until Christianity came, in every community, country, society, there were slaves. Even in Abraham’s community, in Greek, Rome, America, India, Korea – every place there were slaves. A slave was a piece of property – a walking piece of real estate – not a person. But, wherever Christianity penetrated, slavery has gone.
Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. So stand firm, do not let yourselves submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
In all aspects of life, only Jesus can give you freedom.
3. Life for children
In ancient times, children had a good chance of dying during his childhood. So, a child was not counted in number, not allowed to attend public meetings. Jesus said, “Let them come to me. Do not stop them. The KOH belongs to such as these.” Jesus received them and blessed them.
4. Life for the weak, sick, and aged
In pagan life at that time, these people were considered a nuisance, irritation. In Greece, in Sparta, when a boy was born, he was to be shown to the examiners – if healthy, he was allowed to live. If weak, sick, or deformed, he was put on the mountain to “live” alone (he died).
In history, Christianity is the first faith to be interested in these broken things in life.
Yes, even today, only Jesus can transform our lives and societies.
From slaves to free, from children of hell to children of God.
May God bless us all with this transforming power in our lives.