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  • Jun 06 / 2021
  • Comments Off on How Early Morning Prayer Will Transform Your Life (& Heart) (Psalm 5:1-3)
Pastor Kang, Sermons

How Early Morning Prayer Will Transform Your Life (& Heart) (Psalm 5:1-3)

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Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong

How Early Morning Prayer Will Transform Your Life (& Heart)

1 For the director of music. For flutes. A psalm of David. 

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:1-3

How do you feel about early morning prayer?

Today’s message is titled “How Early Morning Prayer Will Transform Your Life (and Heart)” and it is taken out of Psalm chapter 5.

On a spring day in 2006, a group of new seminary students, including me, were having a conversation about early morning worship. “I’m already worried about my future in ministry because of the early morning worship service. I’m a man who needs a lot of sleep in the morning,” said one.

Another said: 

“I agree. Do we have to do an early morning worship service? I don’t think God only prefers and receives our worship in the early morning. Besides, if we don’t wake up at dawn, we will have much more energy to do church work much more vigorously…”

What do you think about this?

Some of us may have a habit of starting the day with the Bible and prayer. But even for those who have a habit of praying at dawn, it would have been much more difficult to get up for dawn worship services in the past.

So, is early morning prayer a specific duty for Christians?

And what difference does it make between praying at dawn and praying at other times?

Why pray at dawn?

Psalm 5:3

3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

In the text, David, the Psalmist, has come to the sanctuary early in the morning and laid out his heart before God about his difficult situation. 

‘In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation’

In this sentence, the key phrase “I wait in expectation” indicates that the Psalmist is observing his predicament from afar and waiting in nervous, yet hopeful, anticipation for God’s answer. In fact, many prayers appear in the Bible like this, particularly in the Psalms. 

In these instances, the people who prayed these prayers were waiting in such hopeful anticipation for God’s intervention in their situation that they purposefully approached him in prayer at the earliest start of the day. Here are three more examples of people waiting on God at dawn: 

2 Kings 3:20

20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was — water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.

Psalm 46:5

5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 143:8

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Why did the people in the Bible often seek God early in the morning?

The words indicating ‘morning’ in the passages we read are called ‘boker’ in Hebrew, which means ‘dawn’ or ‘early morning’.

Consider a person who is undergoing a serious hardship or trial in their lives that cannot be solved through human wisdom alone. In such dire straits, when would be the best time to meet God? 

Usually, the best time to meet God when your life is in chaos around you is when you are at peace. For biblical characters, this would be a time when they weren’t surrounded by other people, distractions, or enemies. It would ideally be a quiet time when everyone else was asleep and when the seeker could meet God alone in peace and solitude.

In biblical times, the main reason a person came to pray at the temple at dawn was because there was a desperate prayer he wanted to convey to God.

Mark 1:35

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

The desperate heart of this type of prayer is revealed in the image of Jesus who also prayed at dawn in earnest.

In our text today, the next verse reveals David’s motivation for his early morning prayer as well as his conviction that God will answer him.

What is the basis for prayer?

Psalm 5:4

4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.

In this passage, David is both reminding God and reminding himself that God hates sin. David speaks of ‘the wicked’, which also includes the arrogant, the liar, the fighter, the crook, and all others who commit sin. With his confession that God hates sin, David is laying the groundwork for God to respond to his prayer and to protect him from the wicked and punish them. He anticipates that God will, even must, respond to his prayer because he is good and cannot tolerate evil.

But David doesn’t merely stop with prayer presenting the basis for God’s prayer response. Next, he will talk about his strong confidence that God will respond to his prayer.

What gives us confidence in answered prayer?

Psalm 5:7

7 But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple.

A sinner who has not repented can not enter the temple of God. But, as David confesses here, because he is able to come into God’s holy temple, he is fully convinced that he will be answered by God.

So, in what condition must we be in order to enter the sanctuary? Like David throughout his life, we must be in awe of God. In the Bible, this is also referred to as the ‘fear of God.’ As Proverbs 9:10 asserts, reverence for God (the fear of the Lord) is the foundation of wisdom and a life that pleases God. In other words, this ‘fear’ does not mean anxiety about punishment, but rather a holy respect and reverence toward God.

But, what motivates man to serve God? We serve God not because he is a fearful judge, but because he is our master and creator.

And with what attitude should we serve God? What is the right relationship between us and God? First, God doesn’t want us to succumb to him like slaves. He doesn’t want us to be mindless robots either.  And he certainly also doesn’t want us to act brash nor disrespectful.

Rather, the ideal relationship between us and God is a relationship filled with respect and trust. The New Testament says that awe is an appropriate expression of love for God.

What prayer result should we seek?

When we ask God to help us overcome our hardships and adversity, should we expect his favorable response right away? And if God does solve our problems immediately, does that mean that he always solves them according to our greatest expectations? And even if God does solve our problems exactly as we prayed, does that mean that there is no longer any reason to continue to pray? Verse 8 gives us a good answer to all of these questions.

Psalm 5:8

8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies — make straight your way before me.

Remember that at the beginning of this Psalm, David prayed for the destruction of the enemies who were hostile toward him. This is a very common practice in the Psalms, as the prayers very often seek God’s help in overcoming enemies.

But while the beginning of the Psalm is focused on the outcome of his enemies, this verse instead focuses on his own attitude and response toward his enemies. It is true that at times, there may be certain enemies in our lives that cannot be overcome quickly nor easily. And sometimes, no matter how earnestly we pray for their end or destruction, the end remains far away. In such instances, the only thing that we can do is what the Psalmist here has done. In verse 8, David takes a proactive stance in his prayer when he prays that God will protect and guide him, making his way straight before him, in light of his overwhelming enemies.

In the Psalms of kings and Israelites, strangers and foreign peoples are often regarded as enemies. But in general, the enemies of the Prayer are more often other Israelites and may even be the Prayer’s closest neighbors. What does this mean?

In fact, our enemy is not always an enemy who is far from us, geographically or spiritually. Someone who appears as an enemy to us may even be a person within our own church community or family. This is because the evil spiritual forces that oppose God can also make us shake and feel discouraged through the people we love and are closest to. This is Satan’s scheme. For this reason, the Psalmist often avoided the people around him, seeking God in the early morning stillness, and regarded the sanctuary of God as a refuge. And there, he expected God to take his side and prove him right.

When David asked God to intervene in his problems, he wanted God to restore to him his rights which had been stained by his enemies. But as he prayed, he realized one very important key to prayer. The response a Prayer should seek from God is not his own path, his own idea of what is right. Rather, a Prayer should seek God’s will and sovereignty in all situations above all other things. Even Jesus did this in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was crucified when he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

In the earlier text of the psalm, the Psalmist does not hesitate to petition God to take revenge on his enemies on his behalf. In fact, the Psalmist pours out his boiling emotions before God and holds nothing back. This is something we also have the ability to do, because prayer is in essence a pouring out of our hearts to God. It is often a raw, emotional conversation with him.

But the Psalmist then gives God space to answer his prayer in the way that God sees fit. He does not demand that God meet his expectations for the exact execution of punishment for his enemies. But instead, he gives God room to work according to his will and sovereignty. The reason for this is that he understands that only God had the ability and right to take revenge or enact punishment. 

In this way, by making a request to God, but also stepping back to allow God to work in the manner that he has chosen to, the Psalmist expresses his complete faith in God.

Furthermore, in the New Testament, Jesus flipped the common wisdom about hate for one’s enemies on its head.

Matthew 5:43-44

43 “You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.`
44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

In the Old Testament, a person who lived by the Law that God gave Moses was regarded as a “righteous person”. Such a person was seeking the will of God and obeying him in their lives. Matthew expresses the same idea in a similar sense by showing how the teaching of Jesus was given by God, accepted, and conveyed by the Christian Church.

Also in the New Testament, Paul uses the word ‘righteousness’ in a different way. Even if a person strives for ‘righteousness’ on their own, they can not achieve God’s will by themselves. Therefore, God looks to recognize the obedience of Jesus Christ in a person, who was the representative of God’s righteousness for all mankind. When Jesus lives in a Christian’s heart, the righteousness that is Jesus’ righteousness is transferred on to the Christian who believes in him. 

God regards any person who confesses the belief that Jesus died for their sins, in their place, as a righteous person because Jesus traded his righteousness for their sin and shame on the cross. Any person who is recognized by God as a righteous person in Jesus Christ will be able to do God’s will after that.

How does prayer change us?

Remember the deep hurt and anguish in the mind of the Psalmist who came to the temple at dawn to pray in the beginning of this Psalm? His heart was completely changed and recovered through his meeting with God.

Initially, David cried out to God with raw emotion about the pain and injustice he had suffered. But, during prayer, which is a conversational dialogue with God, his heart slowly changed as he listened and waited on the Lord. In the end, he decided to leave the judgment of his enemies entirely up to God’s sovereignty. And eventually, even his great anger toward his enemy turned into forgiveness and love.

This is the grace God gives to those who seek him early in the morning.

But don’t be dismayed if you cannot have a dawn prayer time with God due to your personal circumstances. You can still give God the first (and best) part of your day as a kind of tithe of your time in the morning.

For those who earnestly seek him through prayer, God will deepen their realization of the love of Jesus Christ. And if we live each day with Jesus’ heart in our hearts, and Jesus’ spirit guiding our spirits, the enemies who make us fear and hate will be transformed into those who need Jesus’ love just as we do.

This is the heart God gives us, and the beautiful transformation we can experience through a regular prayer time with Him, and the privilege that we can enjoy heaven in this land.


<새벽기도의 의미>

시편 5:1-12

0. 새벽 기도의 의미

오늘은 “새벽기도의 의미”라는 제목으로 시편 5장의 말씀을 나누도록 하겠습니다.

이천 육년의 어느 봄날, 저를 비롯하여 신학교에 갓 입학한 신학생들이 이런 대화를 하였습니다.

“나는 새벽예배 때문에 벌써 내 앞날이 걱정돼, 나는 아침잠이 많은 사람이라서”

다른 신학생이 말합니다.

“맞아, 꼭 새벽예배를 드려야하나? 하나님이 새벽에만 예배를 받으시는 것도 아니고, 새벽에 푹 자면 우리가 훨씬 더 활기차게 사역을 할 수 있을 텐데…”

여러분은 어떻게 생각하십니까?

새벽에 하나님 앞에 나와, 말씀과 기도로 하루를 시작하는 것이 일상처럼 된 분들이 있을 것 입니다.

하지만 새벽 기도가 습관이 되신 분도 그 분의 혈기 왕성한 시절을 떠올려보면, 과거에는 아침잠을 물리치기 어려워 새벽 제단을 지키기 어려웠을 때도 있었을 것입니다.

새벽 기도는 그리스도인으로서 하나님께 마땅히 드려야하는 의무일까요?

새벽에 기도하는 것은, 다른 시간에 기도하는 것과 무엇이 다를까요?

1. 새벽시간의 의미

오늘 본문 3절입니다.

3 여호와여 아침에 주께서 나의 소리를 들으시리니 아침에 내가 주께 기도하고 바라리이다

본문에 등장하는 기도자는 아침 일찍 성소에 나와 자신의 어려운 사정을 하나님께 아뢰고 있습니다.

‘아침에 내가 주께 기도하고 바라리이다’ 에서 ‘바라다’ 는 문자적으로 ‘망보다’ 라는 뜻으로, 하나님의 대답이 언제쯤 올 것인지, 망을 보며 긴장한 채로 기다린다는 의미입니다.

사실, 시편 5편의 기도자를 비롯한 성경에 나타나는 사람들은, 하루 중 가장 이른 시간에 하나님이 개입하시기를 기다렸습니다.

열왕기하 3장 20절입니다.

“아침”이 되어 소제 드릴 때에 물이 에돔 쪽에서부터 흘러와 그 땅에 가득하였더라

시편 46편 5절입니다.

하나님이 그 성 중에 계시매 성이 흔들리지 아니할 것이라 “새벽”에 하나님이 도우시리로다

시편 143편 8절입니다.

“아침”에 나로 하여금 주의 인자한 말씀을 듣게 하소서 내가 주를 의뢰함이니이다 내가 다닐 길을 알게 하소서 내가 내 영혼을 주께 드림이니이다

성경에 등장하는 사람들은 왜 이른 아침에 하나님을 찾았을까요?

방금 읽었던 구절에서 등장한 ‘아침’은 히브리어로 ‘보케르’ 라고 하며, 정확히는 ‘새벽’ 또는 ‘이른 아침’을 의미합니다.

스스로 감당할 수 없는 고난에, 애통하는 마음으로 하나님을 찾는 기도자는 어떤 시간을 찾을까요?

그 시간은 그가 사람들 또는 원수들에게 둘러 쌓이지 않는 시간입니다.

하나님과 독대할 수 있는 모두가 잠든 고요한 시간입니다.

하나님께 간절히 구하고자 하는 절실한 마음이, 기도자를 하루 중 가장 이른 시간에 주님의 전에 나오게 한 것입니다. 

마가복음 1장 35절입니다.

35 새벽 아직도 밝기 전에 예수께서 일어나 나가 한적한 곳으로 가사 거기서 기도하시더니

하나님께 간절히 구하고자 하는 절실한 마음은, 새벽기도를 하는 예수님의 모습에서도 동일하게 나타납니다.

그렇다면 본문의 기도자는 어떠한 근거를 통해, 하나님이 자신의 기도에 응답해 주실 것이라 믿고 있는 것일까요?

2. 기도의 근거

본문 4절입니다.

4 주는 죄악을 기뻐하는 신이 아니시니 악이 주와 함께 머물지 못하며

기도자는 악인, 교만한 자, 악한 일을 저지르는 자, 거짓말쟁이, 싸움꾼, 사기꾼 등 죄악을 저지르는 사람들에 대해 언급합니다.

그는 하나님이 죄악을 싫어하는 분이라 고백함으로써, 

하나님이 악인들에게서 자신을 보호해주시고, 그들을 처벌하실 것이라는 근거를 마련하고 있는 것입니다.

이 기도자는 기도의 응답의 근거를 제시하는 것에 그치지 않고, 이제 기도 응답의 확신에 대해 이야기 하고 있습니다.

3. 기도 응답의 확신

본문 7절입니다.

7 오직 나는 주의 풍성한 사랑을 힘입어 주의 집에 들어가 주를 경외함으로 성전을 향하여 예배하리이다

회개하지 않은 죄인은 들어갈 수 없는 성전에, 자신은 머물 수 있다는 사실을 통해 기도자는 하나님께 응답받을 것이라 확신합니다.

성소에 들어갈 수 있는 조건은 무엇일까요?

그것은 하나님을 경외하는 마음입니다.

성경에서 말하는 ‘하나님을 경외하는 마음’은 하나님을 두려워한다는 뜻입니다.

그렇지만 하나님 경외가 지혜 및 하나님을 기쁘시게 하는 삶의 근본이라고 할 때, 이 두려움은 형벌에 대한 불안함을 호소하는 것이 아닙니다.

사람은 권능이 넘치는 하나님 앞에서 떠는 것이 아니라, 창조주이신 하나님을 어려워하며 받들어 모셔야 한다는 것입니다.

하나님에 대한 올바른 관계는 노예처럼 굴복하거나 또는 반대로 건방지게 자신만만해 하는 것이 아닙니다. 그것은 공경과 신뢰로 가득 찬 관계입니다.

신약 성경에서는 이를 넘어서서 경외를, 하나님에 대한 사랑의 표현이라고 말하고 있습니다.

4. 하나님의 주권을 의지

기도자가 하나님께 진정으로 구해야 하는 것은 무엇일까요?

자신이 처한 고난과 역경을 극복하는 것일까요? 

하나님이 자신의 문제를 해결해 주시는 것일까요?

본문 8절입니다.

8 여호와여 나의 원수들로 말미암아 주의 의로 나를 인도하시고 주의 길을 내 목전에 곧게 하소서

기도자는 그를 대적하는 원수들의 멸망과 함께 자신을 보호, 인도해주시기를 바라며 기도합니다.

시편에서는 매우 자주, 기도자들이 그들의 원수들에 대해 이야기합니다.

임금이나 이스라엘 온 백성에 관한 시편에서는 하나님 백성에게, 낯선 자들이나 이방 백성들이 원수로 나타납니다.

그러나 일반적으로 기도자의 원수들은 이스라엘 백성에 속한 사람들이며 심지어는 기도자와 가장 가까운 이웃 사람들로 나타납니다.

이것이 의미하는 것은 무엇인가요?

원수는 우리에게서 멀리 있는 적이 아니라, 우리 교회 공동체나 가족이 될 수도 있다는 것입니다.

왜냐하면 하나님을 대적하는 악한 세력은 우리가 사랑하는 사람들을 통해 우리를 흔들고 낙심하게 만들기 때문입니다. 이것이 사단의 계략입니다.

이에 기도자는 사람들을 피해, 성소를 피난처로 삼고, 자신이 옳다는 사실을 하나님이 확증해 주시길 기대합니다.

기도자는 비록 자신의 문제로 인해 하나님의 개입하심을 원했습니다.

그는 하나님이 원수들로 인해 얼룩진 자신의 권리를 찾아주시기를 원했습니다.

하지만 그가 기도 중 깨달은 사실은 기도자에게 열려야 할 것은 자신의 길이 아니라 하나님의 길이라는 사실입니다.

이 시편 본문에서는 복수심을 자제하지 않고 마구 드러내는 듯한 느낌을 줍니다.

기도자들은 끓어오르는 감정을 억누르지 않고 하나님 앞에 모두 털어놓습니다.

그렇지만 그들은 형벌의 집행을 하나님께 맡기는데, 그 이유는 오직 하나님만 그리하실 능력과, 권리가 있기 때문입니다.

이는 기도자가 하나님께 전적으로 자신을 맡긴다는 뜻입니다.

더 나아가 신약 성경에서는 예수께서 제자들에게 복수를 포기하고, 원수를 사랑으로 이길 것을 요구하심으로써 이런 정당한 바람을 넘어서게 하십니다.

구약 성경에서는 하나님이 백성에게 자신의 뜻을 알리신 율법에 맞추어 사는 사람을 ‘의로운’ 사람이라고 합니다.

이런 사람은 하나님의 뜻을 여쭈어보고 하나님께 순종합니다.

마태도 이와 비슷한 뜻으로 이 낱말을 쓰면서, 하나님의 뜻이 표현된 ‘율법’이 뜻하는 바는 그리스도교회에서 받아들여 전해 내려오는 예수님의 가르침 가운데 나타난다고 합니다.

그렇지만 신약성경에서는 특히 바울의 경우에는 이와 나란히 ‘의로운’에 대한 또 다른 뜻, 신약 성경에만 있는 뜻을 찾아 볼 수 있습니다.

곧 사람이 선을 위해 제 아무리 힘쓴다 하더라도 혼자 힘으로써 하나님의 뜻을 이룰 수 없으므로 사람 예수 그리스도의 순종을 하나님이 사람의 순종으로 인정해 주실 준비가 되어 있다는 것입니다.

죄에 대한 하나님의 심판이 자기에게 내린 줄 인정하고 예수께서 자기를 대신해서 죽으신 것을 믿음으로 받아들이는 자는 하나님 앞에서 ‘의롭다’고 인정받는 것입니다.

그런 다음에 이렇게 선사받은 의를 통해 사람은 이제 하나님의 뜻을 행할 수도 있는 것입니다.

새벽에 성전에 나온 기도자의 답답한 마음은 하나님과의 만남을 통해 변화되고 회복됩니다.

즉, 갈급한 심령으로 나와 자신이 당하는 고통에 억울함으로 호소하였던 기도자가, 기도 중에 나를 힘들게 하는 원수에 대한 심판을 하나님께 맡겨드리게 되고, 나중에는 원수를 복수가 아닌 사랑으로 이기게 되는 심경의 변화를 맞이하게 되는 것입니다.

이것이 새벽에 하나님을 찾는 사람들에게 베푸시는 하나님의 은혜인 것입니다.

우리가 하나님이 허락하신 이 새벽제단을 사모하길 원합니다.

만약 당신의 개인적인 상황으로 인해 새벽 시간을 가질 수 없다면, 당신의 하루 중 가장 처음 시간을 하나님께 드리십시요.

하나님께서는 새벽에 주님을 찾고 기도하는 자들에게 예수 그리스도의 마음을 깨닫게 하실 것입니다.

우리가 예수님의 마음으로 하루를 살아간다면, 우리를 힘들게 하는 원수 같은 사람들이 사랑을 베풀어야할 대상으로 변화하게 될 것입니다.

그것이 하나님이 우리에게 주시는 마음이며, 이 땅에서 천국을 누릴 수 특권입니다. 

  • May 31 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Obedience and Prayer (Hebrews 13:17-19)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Obedience and Prayer (Hebrews 13:17-19)

Tithes and Offerings

Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong

Download notes in a .MD file

Obedience and Prayer

Hebrews 13:17-19 (Pastor Heo)

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.

Obedience

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.

v. 17

“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.

v. 18-19

“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.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 01 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ is the Source of our Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:1-10)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ is the Source of our Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:1-10)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Jesus Christ is the Source of our Eternal Salvation

Hebrews 5:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

5:1 Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

4 No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.” 6 And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.


Jesus is our Great High Priest, superior to any human High Priest. Last week, we saw the differences between them.

Human: Earth, is continually changed (replaced), offered sacrifices for their own sins + others, entered Most Holy Place once / year, did not die for others, could not intercede for others in heaven, no right / power to forgive – they could do nothing to remove sins

Jesus: Heaven, eternal High Priest, no need to offer sacrifice for his own sins, went to heaven once for all, died for all human beings, intercedes for us now in heaven, has power / privilege / right to save and remove sins (1 John 2:2 “Jesus Christ is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”)

5:1-10 – These 10 verses show the commonalities and differences of the qualifications and functions between a human High Priest and Great High Priest

  • v 1-4 = Human High Priest
  • v 5-10 = Story of Jesus

v. 1-4

“1 Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

4 No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. “

There are 3 S’s – the qualifications for a human High Priest:

1. Solidarity

v. 1 “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

Solidarity = oneness with humanity – fundamental for the priestly ministry – no deceased soul, no angel could satisfy this – it must be a living human being. The High Priest was a representative of the people to God (making atoning sacrifice for sins)- and God to the people (teaching His word).

In that day, only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place with the blood of the slain animal to atone for the sins of the community.

High Priest = must be human

Only a man can represent other men. (Solidarity)

2. Sympathy

(Compassion)

v. 2 “He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray [KJV: He can have compassion / sympathy on those who are going astray…], since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. “

The High Priest is only a man, only a human being, subject to the same weaknesses and faults, and mortality and human limitations. He also needed mercy, compassion, sympathy from God. He was not better than other people, so he must have been able to see how he also was weak.

3. Selection

v. 4 “No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.”

The position of High Priest carried special honor – but no one could become a High Priest simply by desiring it. God himself appointed the High Priest – he must be called and appointed by God.

Do you know the story of Aaron?

In the wilderness after the Exodus, he made a golden calf as an idol. Nevertheless, God called him as a priest during the wandering in the wilderness. Leviticus 8-9 describes the ceremony to become a priest. Aaron and his sons were washed, placed their hands on bulls and rams as they were killed, and given special clothes. This shows that holiness and selection comes from God himself, not from man.

In the OT, some people tried to do the function of priest by their own choice and were judged by God.

  • King Saul invaded the priesthood and lost his kingdom.
  • Cora and his followers tried to make himself priest, God judged them immediately.
  • King Uziah tried to enter the temple and burn incense, but God struck him with leprosy until he died.

Qualifications for a Human High Priest

  1. Solidarity
  2. Sympathy
  3. Selection

Qualifications of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest (we need to focus more on it) – there are 5.

1. Solidarity

Jesus became man to become our representative and understand us fully and experience all things we also experience

v. 5 “So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.”

2. Sympathy

This makes it very clear – Jesus became man. John 3:16 also: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son…”

Phil “Jesus, by very nature God, became man…”

“…he became obedient to the point of death on a cross…”

3. Selection

Jesus is not a temporal High Priest, but eternal – that’s why he even now can intercede for us.

v. 6 “And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

This is difficult to understand, but if you can, it is very helpful.

Melchizedek – from Psalm 110:4

Yes we know, all human High Priests belong to the order of Levites (Aaron). Aaron was the first “official” ordained High Priest in the OT.

But Jesus belongs to the order of Melchizedek – not Aaron.

Who is Melchizedek?

This name is mentioned in only 2 places in the OT.

Genesis 14, Psalm 110

In the NT, his name is mentioned only in THIS book – Hebrews (10 times). Here it is mentioned 2x (v. 6, 10). We will see his name also again later.

  • Aaron was from the tribe of Levi.
  • Jesus was not. He was from the tribe of Judah – through the seed of David.

Aaron was the first official High Priest – he started to appear in Exodus.

Melchizedek appears in Genesis – about 500 years before Aaron. He blessed Abraham and received a tithe from Abraham. This means he was higher (and before) Aaron.

He was a real man. His name means, “King of righteousness, king of peace.” He is the only person in history who was a king AND a priest. He was a kingly priest, and a priestly king.

There is no story about his origin – but God used him as a symbol and picture of Jesus as our King AND Priest – our righteousness forever and ever.

4. Submission & Prayer

Jesus lived a life of prayer. God bless us all to be a person of prayer as well.

v. 7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from [out of] death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

He did not pray to escape physical death on the cross – but he believed and prayed for his resurrection.

He prayed during his life and ministry regularly and habitually. He spent long seasons in prayer – sometimes overnight prayer. At other times, he got up very early and prayed, at other times – before great tasks. Luke 22:44 “In great anguish, he prayed so earnestly that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

He prayed submissively and obediently.

Imagine – if the Son of God needed to pray – how much more do we (weak) human beings need to pray?

Phil 2:5 “Your attitude must be like that of Christ Jesus.”

5. Man of Humility

v. 8 “8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered “

He emptied himself, took on the form of a servant, was found in the likeness of human beings and obeyed to the point of death. He was also meek and humble on earth. He was so rich – as God – but he became poor to make us rich.

We know the story of Christmas. He was born in a stable (an animal food box) because there was no room for him in the inn. He confessed, “I have no place to put my head.”

He said, “I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.”

He washed the feet of his students.

Conclusion:

What is the title of today’s sermon?

Jesus is the Source of our Eternal Salvation

v. 9-10 “and, once made perfect, he became *the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him* 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

Question: Am I obeying him?

What is salvation?

It is forgiveness of sin. Delivery from the bondage of Satan – becoming a child of God – freedom from condemnation and the penalty of hell – eternal life.

“He became the source of Eternal Salvation” (v. 9)

Please make this sure in your hearts. Salvation can be found only in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7:25 “Jesus Christ is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for us.”

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else for these is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

There are many good / great / wonderful men – but salvation can be found ONLY in Christ.

Yes, we know there are many religions around us. Religion is good because no religion says, “Do evil” – all religions teach us to do good. But in the matter of salvation, it is only found in Jesus Christ.

How can we receive this salvation? v. 9 “and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”

“Obey him” is essential. What does this mean? To do what he says.

God bless you.

Obey him:

  1. Believe in him
  2. Accept him as personal savior / Lord
  3. Commit my whole life for his glory / kingdom

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Application:

Part one: The qualifications of human High Priests

If we are saved, this is important, but I’ll tell the meaning next time. Here’s the title: “If we are saved, God is calling us as Priests.”

Are you saved? Then you have a right / authority / privilege / responsibility to say:

“I’m a priest.”

Please remember this until next Sunday. Next Sunday, I’ll share: What does this mean?

This is not my word, but the word of God.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (Meditate on and memorize this verse)

Next week, I’ll share continually what the meaning of “I’m a Priest” is.

Bless your neighbor, “Priest, God bless you.”

Let’s pray.

  • May 27 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the name of Jesus Christ

Acts 3:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.


The Jews had 3 times to pray (set times).

Daniel prayed 3 times per day – even in Babylon, opening his windows toward Jerusalem.

Do you also have your own fixed time(s) to pray during the day?

Our lives should be one long and running conversation with Christ through prayer. Eph 6:8-10 “Pray in the HS in all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Be alert and pray for all the saints.”

1 Thess “Pray unceasingly.”

The secret to success for endless prayer = to set times during the day to practice it.

Today’s story is a miracle: the healing of a lame man (crippled man).

There was a crippled man lying down by the temple gate and he asked Peter and John for some money. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” He looked straight at him with John. Usually when we help a beggar, we just give a coin and he doesn’t look at us.

Peter said, “Look at us!” – so maybe he expected big money. But Peter said, “Sorry, no money.” He was probably disappointed / angry. “BUT what I have, I’ll give you.” Peter said, “Rise up and walk” and immediately, his feet and ankles became strong. He stood – walking, jumping, leaping, praising God and he entered the temple with Peter and John and worshiped God. He praised God.

What is important is that he didn’t praise Peter, but he praised God. He knew that the source of the healing power was from God. Even in this exciting and emotional moment, he praised God who’d given him a new lease on life.

Yes, we should also thank our neighbors. “Thank you very much.” But we must praise and worship only God – because he is behind every “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).

Yes, this miracle is our story today as well. Don’t you know that we have already experienced such a miracle as this? Stand up please. Wow! You can stand! You can walk! You can jump!

Please know that if you can stand, walk, jump, then you have reason enough to praise God.

Yes, today, our standing, walking, jumping is a miracle. We should praise God MORE than this guy – because he began all these things at age 40. But we began all these things at the age of 1 or 2.

If I say, “Stand up please” and you are the only one who is able – you will feel this is a miracle – a special grace from God. But you don’t think this because all of us can do it.

Please remember, miracles are ABSOLUTE experiences, not RELATIVE experiences.

If my salvation is a miracle, it is a miracle regardless of other people’s salvation. If you can stand and walk and jump, it is a miracle regardless of other people’s ability to do so.

  • The wrong question: Why is this a miracle?
  • No, we must know what a miracle is.

Yes, a doctor or surgeon today can do the things that were understood as miracles long ago. It means that God has revealed new truths about medicine. One doctor has said, “I bandaged the wound, but God healed it.” Even today, miracles are available in the hands of many people – because God is alive and unchangeable in his power and attributes – and he is the one who performs miracles through our hands.

The question is “What can we give to this world?” We can give only what we have, not what we do not have. We cannot give what we pretend to have. We can only give what we HAVE.

This man’s crippled condition is a picture of the powerless, hopeless condition of the sinner. Romans “While we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”

What God can do for this man is an illustration of what God can do in our lives today.

Are you saved?

Yes, salvation is very basic. The first step in the Christian life. So my first prayer request for all AICF members is that all members have Assurance of Salvation. This is the miracle of miracles. If we have this, we have all we need.

Let me share 8 points (similarities) between this man’s story of healing and our own salvation.

8 similarities between the Beggar and Ourselves

#1 Born Lame

  • This man was born like this.
  • We also were born unable – even unable to walk – but unable to please God.

Adam passed on his lameness (inability to please God) to all his descendants (including us).

#2 Beggar

  • This man was a beggar.
  • We also were beggars before God – unable to pay the tremendous debt we owed God.

#3 Separated from God

  • He was also outside the temple gate (he was put there every day).

At that time, there were 9 gates that led from the Court of Gentiles to the temple itself.

This gate, Gate Beautiful, was probably the western gate.

  • Like this, all sinners are separated (outside) from God – no matter how good they look, nor how near to the gate they may be.

#4 Wholly Healed by the Grace of God through the Power of the Name of Christ

Next time, we also will study MORE about how powerful the name of Christ is. Is this name in you? Are you using it practically in your daily lives?

He was saved by the grace of God through the name of Christ.

We also are saved like this.

Eph “You are saved by grace, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

#5 Instant Healing

v. 7

“Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

How long do YOU need to be saved? One month, year, day?

No, our salvation is also IMMEDIATE.

This is instant healing because HE did nothing to be healed. It is only by the grace of God that he was healed.

Also, we can do nothing to be saved. If we try, we need almost an infinite number of years to do so. But, our salvation happened immediately – because Christ did all things necessary for our salvation, justification, glorification. How amazing!

#6 Evidence

Are you saved? Let me see the evidence.

This man showed the evidence of what God had done for him – by standing, jumping, walking, praising God. He showed the evidence of what God had done in public, in the sight of many eyes.

If we are really saved, we can show the evidence of what Jesus has done by saying, “Jesus is my Lord” and witnessing before others in public. This is our witness (evidence) before others. Are you showing this evidence every day in public? That is why there is always persecution found in the Christian life – because our witness should be done in public.

In the book of Acts (Mission), all witnessing and preaching is done in public.

#7 People could see the change

The change in this man’s life was amazing and gave people wonder and amazement. Actually, it is natural that the Christian life is wonderful – full of wonder.

Even today, Jesus is the same – he has changed our lives totally. He can, has, is, changing us physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually. Remember – the internal changes are just as miraculous as external healings.

Important question: The people who knew you before you became Christian must be able to see amazing changes in your life. They must be able to recognize the difference between your “how I was” and “how I am.” They must also see that we are continually growing and changing.

Tim “Let the see / know your progress.”

In what ways has God changed your life? Can others see changes in your life? Can outsiders see changes in my life? “yes”

We can worship God, praise God for all he has done in our lives.

#8 He didn’t get what he asked for, but what he needed

  • He asked for money, but God gave him something MUCH better – the use of his legs.
  • In our own lives, we often ask God to solve our small problems – but God wants to give us a NEW life and help ALL the problems.

Yes, you may ask God for what you WANT.

But do not be surprised when God gives you what you really NEED.

We do not know what we really need – we do not know what to pray – we do not know what is best for our future. Our wisdom and knowledge is not perfect, but God’s is. That’s why the HS helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to pray – but the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

  • Eph “Our God is able to do immeasurably more than we think or imagine.”
  • Romans 8:28 “In all these things, God works all things together for good, for those who love him.”

The outside world is looking and waiting earnestly for a solution to their problems. Our task is to give – only what you HAVE – not what you pretend to have.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 07 / 2018
  • Comments Off on New Year: Be a Person of ________. (Romans 12:11-21)
New Year, Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

New Year: Be a Person of ________. (Romans 12:11-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Be a person of ________.

Romans 12:11-21 (Pastor Heo)

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Book of Romans: The Righteousness of God

  • Part One: The Revelation of the Righteousness of God
  • Part Two: The Practice of the Righteousness of God in our lives – through Jesus Christ
  • Part One: What God has done and is doing for us in Christ – believe in your heart, confess with you mouth. (Chp 1-11)
  • Part Two: Reveal what you believe in your actions – hands, feet, mouths, etc. Without obedience, nothing happens, with obedience, great things happen.

Whenever we read / receive the Word of God, we must be diligent and faithful. But the FINAL PURPOSE of the Word of God is to “put it into practice.” Without obedience, nothing happens.

We know the story of the first miracle of Jesus in John 2. The wine was gone, so the men filled the jars full of water – then drew some out. How? With their hands and feet. So, they were the first eyewitnesses of the first miracle of Christ. BUT, if they had not obeyed, nothing would have happened.

Thus, the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes – conclusion is: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand…” (Matt 7)

Today’s text is very short, simple, clear, strong, powerful.

ALL the sentences are Imperatives. “Do this… be this…”

Out of these 21 sentences, we can see 24 imperatives (commanding sentences).

Let me read these. Your response must be “Yes, I will obey / No, I will not obey” Show your reaction publicly before God.

  1. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but
  2. keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
  3. 12 Be joyful in hope,
  4. be patient in affliction,
  5. be faithful in prayer.
  6. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need.
  7. Practice hospitality.
  8. 14 Bless those who persecute you;
  9. bless and do not curse.
  10. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice;
  11. mourn with those who mourn.
  12. 16 Live in harmony with one another.
  13. Do not be proud, but
  14. be willing to associate with people of low position.
  15. Do not be conceited.
  16. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
  17. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
  18. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
  19. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but
  20. leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
  21. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
  22. if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
  23. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but
  24. overcome evil with good.

What a great list for the New Year~~

If Christ is our Savior, no question, he is also our example for what kind of person to be and what to do. “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I’ll give you rest… Learn from me…”

1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”

We saw 24 imperatives, but let me summarize these into 4 imperatives. We should be like this because Christ is like this. Who is your example? Christ. In our motivation, personality, activity, etc.

4 Imperatives for the New Year

#1 Be a Person of PASSION

v. 11

“11 Never be lacking in zeal [passion], but keep your spiritual fervor [enthusiasm], serving the Lord.”

Christ was a man of PASSION (The Passion of the Christ)

“My Father is working up to now, so I also am working. We must work as long as it is day because night is coming soon when nobody can work.” As long as it is day in your lives, you should work.

In his earthly ministry, he had a passion to:

  1. Preach
  2. Teach
  3. Heal the sick
  4. Raise the dead
  5. Cast away evil spirits
  6. Seek and save the lost
  7. Fulfill / finish the will of God
  8. Save you and me
  9. To give eternal life to each of us individually (even if you were the only person on earth, he would have died to save you alone)

His passion to save us saved us. His passion to give us life, gave us life.

  • What kind of passion (for Christ) do you have?
  • Is your heart burning with a holy passion and enthusiasm to glorify his name?
  • If we belong to Christ, we must be people of PASSION.

God bless us in 2018 to be people of PASSION!

#2 Be a person of PRAYER

v. 12

“12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Christ is original God, yes, but in his earthly ministry, he was a “man of prayer”. In Luke there are 11 occasions that it is mentioned “he prayed”.

  • Sometimes he prayed ALL NIGHT (the founder of all-night prayer)
  • Sometimes he prayed EARLY in the morning (the founder of dawn prayer)
  • He prayed before BIG events or situations (before beginning his ministry; before choosing his disciples; before crucifixion – he prayed so earnestly his sweat was drops of blood)

Hebrews 5:7 summarizes his whole ministry and life of 33 years “During his whole life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death. Because of his obedience, he was received.”

How about you? Are you a person of prayer?

I cannot explain ALL the benefits of prayer:

  • It makes us humble, but bold.
    • Not to pray makes us fearful, but cowardly.
  • To pray, makes us more and more like Christ our example.
    • Not to pray makes us nearer and nearer to demons.
  • To pray helps us understand the will of God.
  • To pray makes God work FOR us.
    • Not to pray makes Satan work AGAINST us.
  • To pray can make the impossible possible.
    • Not to pray makes the possible impossible.

Do you pray, regularly, believingly, faithfully?

  • To pray means: “I believe in you, I need you, I depend on you, you are my King, Savior, Lord.”
    • Not to pray means: “I don’t believe in you, I don’t need you, I don’t like to spend time with you, I want nothing to do with you.”
  • Prayer is intimate communication and relationship with God.
  • Prayer is “breath” in the life of the believer. Are you breathing now?
    • Not to pray is to STOP BREATHING.

God bless us in 2018 to be people of PRAYER.

#3 Be a person of PEACE

(reconciliation – between God and ourselves, God and others, ourselves and others)

v. 13-18

“13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 _If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone._”

Christ is/was a person / King / Prince of Peace.

Isaiah prophesied he would be called:

  • “Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Prince of Peace.”
  • “Glory to God, peace on earth to men on whom his favor rests.”
  • “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as this world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled.”

(Real / heavenly peace cannot be found in this world – only in Jesus Christ.)

Do you want peace of mind, peace with neighbors, coworkers, family members? Real peace can only be found in Christ.

  • Romans: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have PEACE with God.”
  • “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.” (by outsiders)

Everybody in this world needs salvation, but not everybody wants salvation because of their spiritual blindness. But everybody needs and wants PEACE. True peace is found only in Christ.

“Peacemaker” means “preacher of the message of the gospel.” The definite way to be a peacemaker is to be an evangelist in this world between God and men – to be reconciled to God.

God bless us in 2018 to be people of PEACE.

#4 Be a person of PARDON

(forgiveness)

v. 19-21

“19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Do you have someone in your mind / heart to forgive? Someone who needs forgiveness? I do not know – only God knows.

Yes, it can be difficult to forgive – even Christ forgave the people who KILLED him. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  • 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called… that Christ gave you an example to follow. ” 22-23 “He committed no sin, no deceit was found in his mouth. He did not repay evil for evil, but trusted himself to the one who judges justly.”
  • “If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if not, he also will not.”
  • 1 John 1:9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to cleanse us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Do you repay evil for evil? Evil for good? Good for good? Anyone in the world can do this. But as Christians, we are called to live at a HIGHER LEVEL: repay good for evil.

  • Do not be unforgiving.
  • Hating is hurting yourself more than the one you don’t forgive.
  • Unforgiveness is a prison of your own making – you put yourself in mental / spiritual prison when you don’t forgive.

Conclusion:

This looks like Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Bless those who persecute you… If you love those who love you, what good is that to you? If you only greet your brothers, what good is that to you? Even pagans do that. Be perfect therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”

This is a HUGE challenge. We CANNOT be perfect. He knows this very well. He knows who we are and what we are like. We cannot be perfect though he encourages us to. But, we can allow Christ (in us) to live his life in us / through us in this world.

Let’s pray together.

2018: Be a person of:
PASSION, PRAYER, PEACE, PARDON

  • Dec 10 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Cry Intercession and the Blessing of God (Jeremiah 33:1-3)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Cry Intercession and the Blessing of God (Jeremiah 33:1-3)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Cry Intercession & the Blessing of God

Jeremiah 33:1-3 (Pastor Park)

33 1:While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it-the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’


Mark 10:52 – Prayer of Barthemeous (blind beggar)

When he heard Jesus passing by, he really cried out, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Today, I want to share how important cry intercession is. This is not to pray for yourself, but to pray for others.

Jesus died not for himself but for you and me. His intercessory ministry is not his problem, but other people’s problem.

We read Jeremiah 33:1-3

The blessing of God is the bonus of God.

Jeremiah 33:1

“While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time:”

Wherever you are, the most important thing is whether you receive the Word of God or not. Jeremiah was in prison – he didn’t know if he would be hanged tomorrow, or how long he would be there. But he received the Word of God which came to him a second time.

In any situation, the most important thing is to receive the Word of God.

Jeremiah 33:2

“2”This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it-the Lord is his name:”

God does everything in his time, and can do all things. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, nor even in 5 minutes. But we know who holds the future (Jesus!) – God holds our future and our tomorrows.

He is the one who formed and established and does everything according to his will.

Jeremiah 33:3

“3 ‘Call [cry] to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'”

Cry and call are totally different.

  • “Call” is like “hello!~~~~” like a phone call.
  • But “cry” is putting our whole being into the CRY out to God.

So, in the English, this translation is not very good. But the original version is very good.

Exodus 2:23

“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.”

You know this story – after 400 years, the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. Originally, with Joseph and Jacob and the brothers, they were happy, living with their brother. But after 400 years, the Pharaoh(s) died and they became slaves. So, they CRIED out for help. This is the same CRY.

Exodus 2:24-25

“God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”

God’s covenant was to take them into the Promised Land. But here they are NOT there. But at this time, God remembered his promise and plan for them.

Likewise, God has a plan for each one of us. Each person has a different speciality and different guidance from God. God has his plan for all of us, but when he starts to work for you is WHEN YOU CRY OUT TO THE LORD. God had a plan for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but he remembered it when they cried out to him.

Psalm 86:5

“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call [cry] to you.”

Psalm 86:6

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.”

Psalm 86:7

“In the day of my trouble I will call [cry] to you, for you will answer me.”

Unfortunately, these days many English translations reduce this powerful word “CRY” down to “call”. Even Korean people have forgotten loud voices in their prayers.

A few weeks ago, I went to Japan with my wife. After I retire, I plan to start a ministry in Nagoya, Japan.


video


Some people wonder why Japanese church is so slow to grow, but Korean church is so fast to grow.

My opinion (not theological) is that Japanese people don’t know how to pray. Japanese people are so quiet when they pray, but Korean pray so LOUDLY with one heart – CRYING out to Jesus.

The Bible says, “Cry out to me” not “whisper unto me.”

When our Uganda brothers pray so loudly, I love them so much. I think the Ugandan church will grow very quickly.

But Japanese people are so formal and quiet and don’t want to disturb other people. But the Bible says, “Cry out to God!”

Psalm 102:1

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to you.”

LOUD voice in your prayer. God wants to hear that.

Psalm 102:2

“Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call [cry], answer me quickly.”

  • CRY out to God = 10 points
  • “call” = 1 or 2 points

Luke 18:7 (Parable of the Unjust Judge – looked down on poor people)

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Even an unjust judge, who looks down on poor people – he will not overlook people who cry out to him day and night, forever. Even he says, “I guess I should answer.”

However, our loving God wants to listen to people who cry out to him day and night.

Luke 18:8

“I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Why does Jesus talk about a loud voice with prayer first and then, “will he find faith on the earth”? Why did Jesus compare / contrast these? The person who CRIES out to the Lord HAS FAITH.

Jeremiah 33:3

“Cry unto me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Here you can see this as one sentence. But it’s two sentences in one.

  • “Cry unto me and I will answer you.”
  • “I’ll tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

The AND is like a bridge.

There is a promise. The Bible always has a promise.

  • “If you believe in Jesus, you will become children of God.”
    • There is an optional step on your part, and THEN a result on God’s part.
  • “Come to me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden and you will have rest for your souls.”
    • IF you come, THEN you will have rest.
  • “Ask and knock, then I will answer you.”
    • God always answers us.
  • “Cry unto me!” THEN God will show great and mighty things which you do not know.
    • IF you cry out to God, THEN God will answer you.

Testimony from Mei Lin in Singapore

I conducted a Prayer Meeting with many different people. At one time, a lady attended the meeting and I asked, “What is your prayer item?” She wrote it, “Get married.” I thought, “Is this the first? Remarried?” She was a large lady, so I thought she must have already been married. So, I asked her (not her age) but I found out she was 40 at that time. (I also was 40). At that time, I was uneasy in my heart. Who else could propose to her? In my view, she didn’t look like a normal lady. So, I prayed for her, “Lord, sister Mei Lin wants to get married, so where is her husband now?” Suddenly I had some thought in my mind that this would be impossible. I had a negative mindset. The thought disturbed my prayer – and eventually I gave up the prayer.

After one week, I went back and she asked me, “Hi pastor! Have you prayed for me?” Uhhhh… I’m sorry. I could not. She told me, “If a Korean pastor intercedes for me, I WILL get married!~” But this was very difficult in my heart.

I tried to pray for her the following day – she checked every day.

I prayed, “Lord, if it’s your will, let her meet somebody.” I just prayed simply and quickly. At that time, I still had doubt in my mind. I thought, “Wow, who can propose to her? She seems not single. She’s big and looks already married.”

Around one month I prayed in that way, very simply.

One day when I prayed, the HS touched my heart. He said, “I don’t look outward – I look at the heart.” (1 Sam 17). I was really surprised. “God, you are God, so you always look at the heart. But I’m just a man, we always see the outside first.” God said, “Yes, but you are a SERVANT of God, you also must see as I see.”

“But God, in my heart, I have great doubt. How can I pray for her?”

“CRY unto me for her!”

Cry? Why I should cry for her? This is not my problem. This is her problem.

But God touched my heart. So I searched the Bible – where is this word “cry”?

I saw Moses, Jeremiah, David, Jesus CRY unto God.

They prayed for the people.

The people fell unto idols and worshiped idols.

  • Moses: “Lord, if you kill them all, people will say, ‘You have no power to lead the people into the Promised Land.’ Lord, PLEASE forgive them!”
  • God: “As you have prayed, so I will forgive them.”

This is intercessory prayer. The Israelites were forgiven.

So this word touched my heart very much. So, I tried to cry unto God for her. “Lord, even though she looks like she has no pair, let her find someone to marry!” I really cried out to God for her.

At that time, I realized new things from the Lord. When I cried out to God, in my thoughts, Mei Lin was big, heavy, not pretty. But when I cried out to God, that kind of negativity and human thinking just came out. One by one, everything just came out. Then after about one month, I realized there was no longer any doubt in my heart. “God WILL let her DEFINITELY see the RIGHT person that HE has prepared!” I had confidence in my heart.

Brothers and sisters, why does God ask you to cry unto him?

When you do so, all the negative things, the dark mind, comes out to him.

So, after one month, I now have confidence that God has someone for her. So I asked her. Later she came back from Canada and a few days later she brought me a love letter. (Well, not really.) It was just a greeting letter (from a man who had no hair) – 10 years age difference. The letter said, “Mei Lin, how are you? When you have time, come again.” (This is just a greeting letter, not a love letter.)

We prayed for another one.

Later one young man came to our prayer meeting and asked me to pray for his future wife (he looked 25, but was 35). Hmm, Mei Lin was 40. 5 years age difference.

So I asked him, “What kind of lady do you want? Tall, short, beautiful?”

He replied, “Pastor, I can’t see the outward appearance.” WOW! FAITH!

He said, “when the lady talks and shows her activity in church, we know whether she has faith or not.”

I also prayed for him.

Long story short, 8 months later, the two of them came to my office. Eric said, “Pastor, I decided to get married with Mei Lin.” At that time, I was SO happy! Wow Eric! You have real faith!

“Pastor, we are going to be married because of your prayer, so you should officiate.” They asked me to pray for 1 hour. (No, no, no, it should be only 10 minutes.) “No, we have 700 people coming, non-Christians – so you may share evangelistically! Reveal the demon possession of our relative that came out, the Lazarus story, etc.” They knew my preaching and my style, so they chose some, edited them, and brought them.

On that day, I preached 1 hour.

Then the wedding march. The people clapped.

I thought, “I CRIED unto God and God answered me!” I was very content because they were married.

The Bible says, “Cry unto me and I will answer you!”

But it doesn’t stop there, “And I will show you great and mighty things!”

So, I was so happy.

At that time, the senior pastor (60, I was 40), came to me and said, “Pastor Park, would you please come to our Revival Message as a guest speaker in 2 months?” I was so embarrassed because my message had been in broken (not very good) English.

Then the senior pastor said, “You must come to my church as an English speaking preacher.” I was so shocked. From that day, God used me as an English preacher. I NEVER thought this – I never asked God for this. This was a “great and mighty thing” which I didn’t know.

Later, after this couple’s one month honeymoon, they brought back a present and said, “Mei Lin’s sister could not sleep because of your preaching – she thought she would go to hell because of the rich man and Lazarus story. So, she asked you to bring the Bible to her house and teach her.” After 6 months, we baptized her.

A few days later, she sent me a letter with a $3000 check there. “Linda, how can you send this big check?” She said, “Pastor, I’m a business woman, after I was baptized, God touched my heart. The pastor is your spiritual father, and takes care of your spiritual life, so you must take care of his pocket money.” WOW! Hallelujah! I never asked God for this, but he took care of me nonetheless.

The Bible says,

“Cry unto me and I will answer you and will show you GREAT and MIGHTY things which you do not know!” This is the power of crying out to God.

Even though you didn’t ask, you didn’t pray specifically for this, God provides and knows better than you what you need.

During that time, for 20 years, I received $3000 every month. When I came to Antioch Church, I told her I didn’t need that any longer.

The story: God said in John 10:10 “Life with abundant blessings” (abundant life)

God promised us abundant life, but why do we always feel it’s “not enough”? Many people are here as foreigners (also, my wife and I are American citizens). The keys that Jesus spoke to us “will I find faith when I return”? FAITH is CRYING OUT to Jesus.

So, I’m going away after this month. This is a very important message. This is God’s promise if we cry unto him.

Photo of Mei Lin

God prepared Mei Lin’s husband according to his will.

  1. God is ABOVE.
  2. You are HERE.
  3. You need someone to INTERCEDE for.
  • When you intercede for someone else, God answers for them, and gives a bonus blessing to you.

God gives the blessing – the great and mighty things – the bonus when you intercede for others.

If you pray for your brother and sister as intercessory prayer – CRYING out – he will answer, and he will show you the blessing that you never prayed for.

Many Christians feel they have NOT ENOUGH of everything. This is because they do not pray for others. They do not intercede for others. My mother always carries a note to get prayer requests from others and intercedes for them.

Jeremiah 33:3 (BBE 1964)

“Let your cry (*clama* in Latin) come to me, and I will give you an answer, and let you see great things and secret things of which you had no knowledge.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (Latin Volgate 405)

“clama ad me et exaudiam te et adnuntiabo tibi grandia et firma quae nescis”

Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV 1611)

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and might things, which thou knowest not.”

My missionary life was very content, with abundant blessings from the Lord.

Finally,

Jeremiah 33:3 (BBE 1964)

“Let your CRY come to me, and I will give you an answer, and let you see great things and secret things of which you had no knowledge.”

You never knew, never thought, but you will receive great and mighty things from the Lord if you CRY out to God for others.

May God bless you richly.

Please stand up.

Romans 8:26

“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

What is our weakness?

  1. We don’t know how to pray to God.
  2. The Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  3. This is the cry unto the Lord. Then God listens and answers.
  4. Then the bonus of blessing, the great and mighty things will come to you.

Let’s try Abba Prayer (“Father Prayer”) maybe 10 seconds.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 10 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Best is Yet to Come! (Romans 8:18-27)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Best is Yet to Come! (Romans 8:18-27)

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The Best is Yet to Come

Romans 8:18-27 (Pastor Heo)

Present Suffering and Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.


This is the chapter of Freedom in Christ

  1. 1. Freedom from judgment (Assurance of Salvation)
  2. 2. Freedom from defeat (no obligation to the sinful nature) – last week
  3. 3. Freedom from disappointment / discouragement (no frustration) – today

v. 18 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Do you like suffering? We should like suffering and also NOT like suffering. (It is well, with my soul)

Ex: When you drive, if you have no skill, you may suffer. Also, if we do some things – without the necessary skills, ideas, information – we may suffer.

There are many sufferings in this world – but ALL can be typified in only two categories:

  1. GOOD suffering (for Christ)
  2. BAD suffering (against God)

v. 18 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

These sufferings are not due to our carelessness, sins, mistakes, etc. In this sentence, “our present sufferings” = those sufferings because of Christ.

v. 18 (alt) “18 I consider that our present sufferings (for Christ) are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (in Christ).”

We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – in all areas – in duties, privileges, responsibilities, and even sufferings. (this is the previous verse – v. 17)

v. 17 “17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Imagine: If someone paid $1,000,000(,000) for your house bill, would you find it difficult to pay $1 for his ice cream? This should not be difficult.

v. 18 means = Our service, sacrifice for Christ is less than $1 compared with the $1 bil sacrifice that Jesus paid for us. (and vice versa)

  • Present suffering = temporary
  • Future glory = eternal

If we open our spiritual eyes, we can see and know that the present glory that Abraham/Paul is now enjoying with Christ in heaven is non-comparable with the previous sufferings he received on earth for Christ.

How about us?

Yes, a day will come (soon) when the next generation will witness about us – “My grand/parents now enjoy such glory in heaven with Christ that cannot be compared with the sufferings they once paid in the past” (now)

Keyword: Groan (x3)

Literal meaning = “long and deep sound due to pain, suffering, trouble, disappointment, discouragement”

Usually, actually, this word is used negatively. BUT in this section, this word is used positively. It is not useless, but useful. Not meaningless, hopeless, but meaningful, hopeful groaning. This is a very positive meaning.

To understand this inward, eager, positive groaning, we most open our spiritual eyes and ears. If we open these, it is not difficult to understand. But if our spiritual eyes and ears are closed, this looks a little strange. Let’s open our spiritual eyes and ears now.

#3 Groans

1. Groaning of Creation (inwardly)

v. 19-22 “19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation *has been groaning* as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (현재 완료 진행)

This is not meaningless, hopeless groaning. This is like the pain of childbirth.

When God finished Creation in Genesis 1, at first, the Creation was “good.” (7x the same sentence “it was good” – finally “it was VERY good”) – Because God is good all the time, everything God created and does was, is, will be always and forever GOOD.

Because of the fall of Adam, this “good” Creation became “groaning” Creation – from “blessed” to “cursed” (Genesis 3).

Yes, Creation could not / did not sin – but because of human sin, the land of Creation was cursed and became a “groaning” Creation. Also today, we must pray “heal this land.” –

  • If this land is full of children of God, this land will be blessed.
  • But, if this land is filled with evil men, this land will be cursed and filled with “groaning.”

When we go out to a picnic (even Niagara Falls) – we may say, “Wow! Beautiful!” – but this is only outwardly. Inwardly, Creation is groaning. We must be able to see this if we are spiritual men.

Even today – Nature is angry with man through Fires, Droughts, Famine, massive Hurricanes, etc. This is surely not what Creation was meant to be. This is an outward expression of inward groaning.

But this groaning is still not hopeless, meaningless. It is hopeful and meaningful – as the pains of childbirth.

Mothers, did you have the experience to deliver your child? I respect and honor you. Yes, in this delivery, there is so much pain. But this pain will FINISH when the child is born.

Like this, a day will come when this groaning Creation will be exchanged for glorious freedom in Christ. When this earth becomes full of the children of God.

v. 21 “21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

This sentence will be fulfilled in Revelation – when Jesus returns. Even Nature is earnestly looking forward to the return of Christ.

Rev “The first heaven and earth have passed away and the New heaven and earth have come.”

  • First groaning: All Creation

2. Groaning of Believers’ spirits

Are you groaning? For what?

In the spirits of non-believers, there is not this inward groaning.

v. 23-25 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, *who have the firstfruits of the Spirit*, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

If we are really Children of God, our spirits inwardly groan. The reason – we have the experience of the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit (v. 23)

What does this mean? It’s a foretaste (시식) of the future glory to come.

Ex: If you go shopping (Mall of Hyoja) – there are many “tasting” corners. There are many things to taste. If that foretaste is very delicious, a satisfying foretaste is not enough, but makes you GROAN for more (고구마). My experience yesterday.

Pleasant talking on the phone (Skype) with your son/daughter from America – makes you GROAN to talk to him/her face to face soon.

These are all foretastes.

The first miracle of the Lord Jesus is turning water into wine. This first miracle gives us a meaningful and practical message. The person who had tasted that water (became wine) said, “Wow! All men bring out the best wine first and cheap wine later! But you have saved the best wine until now!”

This means Christian life is “better” than before – because we are living with Christ our Saviour.

  • Our today is better than yesterday.
  • Our tomorrow is better than today.
  • Next year is better than this year.

Why? Because our lives – as Christians – are holy pilgrimages – getting nearer and nearer to the BEST. Because “The Best is Yet to Come!”

But at the same time, the earthly life without Jesus is the opposite. A journey, nearer and nearer to the WORST destination – hell. That is why we must preach the gospel.

v. 23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

But wait, this looks a little strange. We know (from last week) that we have already received the spirit of adoption / sonship. We are ALREADY adopted. So then why does THIS verse say, “We wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies.”

We must remember there are 3 times in our adoption.

1. PAST – In the counsel of God

this was the action of God in eternity PAST – before the Creation of the world (Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy, blameless, and set apart. He chose us to be adopted as sons and daughters in Christ…”)

2. PRESENT – Personal experience

at the time of receiving Christ as Savior (John 1:12 “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, God gave the right to become children of God.”) – so at the moment we accept Christ, we are adopted

3. FUTURE – full realization / consummation of this adoption (Redemption of the body)

v. 23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, *the redemption of our bodies.*”

Yes, even though we are saved, our physical bodies are not perfect. But when Christ comes again, our bodies will be changed into perfect, heavenly bodies. This is the redemption of our bodies.

This eager anticipation is like a person who drives all night and looks forward to the morning when all the darkness, mist, and fog will be driven away.

Like this, we eagerly await our new bodies. (I have hope for my new body – eagerly.) Also, we look forward to the New Heaven and Earth – to rest and reward for our service, – to eternal family and home – to the absence of sin and suffering – to being with Jesus Christ face-to-face

“Look forward to eagerly” (학수 고대하다)

  • First, All Creation groans
  • Second, Believers’ spirits groan

3. The Holy Spirit groans

v. 26-27 “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

v. 26 “the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us through groans that words cannot express.”

Our weaknesses may sometimes be emotional, physical, spiritual. The HS intercedes for us and fills the burdens of our weaknesses.

  1. Actually, no one can call Jesus “Lord” except by the ministry of the HS.
  2. “The HS testifies with our spirits that we are children of God.”
  3. And we call God “Abba, Father” through his ministry.

Prayer in the Christian life is “breath”

  • To pray according to the will of God is much more important.

Most of us know what we like, what we want. But many of us don’t know what we NEED. (Consider kids at the mart.)

We do not know exactly what we NEED. So we often do not know what we must pray for. So the HS helps us to intercede for us and pray for the will of God in our lives.

The will of God is SO important in our lives. (Let’s continue with this next time.)

Let’s pray.

  • May 14 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Power of Prayer

Matthew 7:7-8 (Dr. Merv Weerasekera)

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.

  1. GO TO GOD (empty) – Today –
  2. Empty your mind, your desires, (this takes a lot of thinking) – surrender your ambitions, dreams, everything.
  3. 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~!

  1. Ask, seek, knock = “I want to KNOW You.”
  2. Then, when you know him, ask, “NOW, lead me.”
  3. And watch Him lead you.

My story:

  • “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.

  1. Word is good.
  2. Worship is good.
  3. 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.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 05 / 2017
  • Comments Off on That is why I’m so eager to Preach the Gospel (Romans 1:8-15)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

That is why I’m so eager to Preach the Gospel (Romans 1:8-15)

Download Notes in a .MD file

That is why I am so eager to preach…

Romans 1:8-15 (Pastor Heo)

Welcome to new people, especially students. And welcome to Korea.

Acts 17:26 “From one man, God made all the nations that they should inherit the whole earth and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands…”

Today, the population of the world is around 7 billion (did you count?). From one man, God created all men.

Welcome in the name of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 **That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel** also to you who are in Rome [Jeonju].


Today is the third time to study Romans.

  1. Our identity in Christ (slaves of Christ) – this means “apostles sent by Christ into this world as his ambassadors with a great commission = we are set apart, sanctified, and ordained to preach the gospel”
  2. The core message of the gospel = Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection – Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our lives – to forgive our sins and grant us eternal life
  3. Today: 5 keywords that are related to the gospel – for/because of the gospel
    1. Thanksgiving (thankfulness)
    2. Prayer
    3. Love
    4. Fruit
    5. Debt (I don’t like this – so it’s difficult to pronounce)

All these 5 words are related to the gospel.

#1 Thankfulness (v. 8)

8 First, I **thank** my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.

This is a vital characteristic in the Christian life. It measures the degree of our spiritual and mental development.

  • 1 Thess 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
  • Psalm 104 “Enter the gate of God with thanksgiving and praise”

Yes, we know this is actually very easy to give thanks for what we WANT: success, health, money. But the Bible says, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances” (i.e. even the HARD things). How is this possible?

2 Keys:

  1. Assurance of salvation – if we have this, we can definitely give thanks in ALL situations. Salvation means “guarantee of the best” – even the worst of this world = the entrance to the BEST of God in the world to come.
  2. If we trust God and believe in his attributes: “good all the time, faithfulness to heaven” – then, yes, we can give thanks in all circumstances (“We know that in all things, God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes” – Romans 8).

Paul gives thanks to God simply because he hears the news that is scattered, that the gospel is working among them. Actually, at that time, Paul had never been to Rome, and the church had not been planted. Most of the Christians were unknown to him in Rome. Personally, he had NO relationship with them personally. But he gave thanks to God because the gospel was working among them. This thankfulness is pure and acceptable to God.

May God bless all of us to be people of thanksgiving to the good / benefit of others.

#2: Prayer

If you pray? For what do you pray? (For ALL = correct answer)

9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

They did not know of Paul’s prayer support – but God knew it and honored it. I wonder how many of us know of the people who pray for us. I wonder how many of us pray for others who do not know we pray for them.

Personally, I do not know how many pray for me. But I know there are some or many who pray for me. Honestly, I need your prayer support and we need each other’s prayer support.

Then, for what do we pray? 2 Supporters:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. Jesus Christ

Romans 8:26 “In this way, the HS helps us in our weaknesses, and though we don’t know what to pray for, the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Also, at the same time, Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:40? “Yes, Jesus is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. So, Christ is able to save completely all those who come to him…”

Paul’s prayer request #1 is “to preach the gospel”.

You have prayer requests, right? What is your #1 request? These can change. For example: “I pray for a better job.” If answered, then I will change my request.

Yet, in the Christian life, there is ONE overarching prayer request: “to preach the gospel.”

Yes, we may pray for daily things in our lives: bread to eat, clothes to wear, success, etc.

But ONE thing we should NOT miss = to pray for World Salvation, World Evangelization, World Mission.

We know how Paul suffered, simply because of the gospel, Paul received much suffering (40 lashes minus 1 twice), he was stoned, shipwrecked, danger from Jews, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, mountain, country, desert, many sleepless nights, days without food, without clothes, etc. Why? The gospel.

Simply because of the gospel, he was imprisoned. Imagine this. If I write a prayer letter with requests to my brothers and sisters outside of prison, I would write: “Please, pray for my release as soon as possible.” But Paul wrote: “Please, pray for me to ALWAYS preach the gospel fearlessly.”

Amazing Prayer request:

Ephesians 6:19-20 (personal prayer request)

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Wow. What a prayer request. Remember, prayer is not merely preparation for some great work. This is also a great work. Remember, when we pray, GOD WORKS. Yes, talking to man is a great job, but also, talking to God FOR OTHERS is a great job.

God bless us all to be great people of prayer for others’ salvation.

#3: Love

Do you love?

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

Paul says: “I long to see you. I long to preach to you, to make you strong, to be blessed by blessing you. I long to bless you.” This is the loving heart (pastoral heart) of the Lord in Paul. It is an affectionate heart.

Yes, LOVE is the Greatest commandment.

  • Jesus: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. And love your neighbors as you love yourself.” Is this possible?
  • Jesus says: “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Is this possible? Amen. If so, you are great.

Paul says, (1 Cor 13):

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

This love is agape love, unfailing love, sacrificial love. No one can love their neighbor like this, yet the Bible demands it.

  • Love is sharing
  • Love is giving

Bible asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we have no power. God has provided one solution in which we can fulfill this divine love: By preaching the gospel. Why? Because in the gospel message is the FULL love of God. In this gospel, we can get the Best of the Best, salvation, eternal life, heirs / children of God, reconciliation with God, real joy/peace/freedom/victory, final glory.

All of this is found in the gospel. That’s why sharing the gospel is the great commission.

  • Love is the greatest commandment.
  • Gospel is the greatest commission.

These two ALWAYS go hand-in-hand. They are inseparable.

#4: Fruit

Do you have fruit?

13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

The fruit Paul desires to bear = winning souls to Christ by preaching the gospel. Yes, fruit is very important.

  1. Do you have fruit as a Christian?
  2. If we have fruit, what kind of fruit do you have as a Christian?

Fruit is essential to SHOW that “I’m alive” and “I’m growing” and to show who I am (what kind of person), also necessary to receive reward – also that “I’m producing seed for the next generation without stop”. If there is no fruit for the next generation, then that is the end.

Non-living things have no fruit, no matter how huge and fantastic they look. If we have life (Jesus’ life), then it is very natural for us to produce fruit. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit” (Jesus). “By their fruit, you will recognize them. Every good tree bears good fruit… good trees cannot bear bad fruit… every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also we are to be recognized by our fruit. So, what fruit should we bear?

There is only one kind.

Yes, we can produce much fruit, but there is only ONE kind on a tree.

  • Apple trees only produce apples.
  • Banana trees only produce bananas.
  • Mango trees = mangoes.
  • Coconut trees = coconuts.
  • Cats = cats.
  • Dogs = dogs.
  • Tigers = tigers.
  • Lions = lions.
  • Humans = humans.
  • Christians = Christians. New Christians. Another Christian who also has the ability to reproduce another Christian.
  • Fruit of non-Christian = non-Christians.

That’s why Paul says, “13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”

#5: Debt

Do you have experience with debt? If you do not pay it back, you must go to jail.

14 I am obligated [a debtor] both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

If we are born again Christians, we are debtors of the gospel. – We owe a debt we cannot pay back. – But Christ paid the debt he did not owe.

Are you Christians?

  • We are debtors of the gospel to the Father God who so loved us he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
  • We are debtors to Christ who died for us and rose again to pay the penalty for our sin
  • We are debtors to the Holy Spirit who touched our hearts and opened our eyes to see and receive Jesus as our Savior
  • We are debtors to the people who helped lead us to Christ

So, HOW can we repay these large debts?

Only by preaching the gospel to others.

Paul says, “When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, because I am compelled to preach the gospel. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”

On our part, preaching the gospel = repayment. But God counts this as a GREAT reward – the greatest reward in this life.

Conclusion:

God bless all of us so that we may become:

  1. People of thanksgiving for the gospel
  2. People of prayer through the message of the gospel
  3. People of love through preaching the gospel
  4. People of fruit through preaching the gospel
  5. People of (repayment of) debt by preaching the gospel

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 10 / 2016
  • Comments Off on Zechariah: Give Yourself to Christ as a Living Sacrifice (1:1-21, 8:3, 9:9)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Zechariah: Give Yourself to Christ as a Living Sacrifice (1:1-21, 8:3, 9:9)

07.10.2016

07.10.2016-PHeo

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  • Jul 19 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)

07.19.2015

07.19.2015-PHeo

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The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-46 (Pastor Heo)

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little father, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”


 

Conclusion: Rise! Let us go!

Our conclusion is the same: Rise! Let us go!

Even, “here comes my betrayer” – to confront/face everything that comes before us.

Last time, we saw the Passover meal and communion. In the middle of the meal, Judas ran away to betray him. After the communion Jesus took with his 11 disciples, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane (the Mount of Olives) – a private garden – he’d often used as a retreat.

Gethsemane = “oil press” – this is a significant name in the light of Jesus’ passion here. This is something we must approach on our own knees. We must observe this passage in reverence – to see his passion in this passage.

The word “passion” can be negative or positive. Here, Jesus has a “holy passion” – enthusiasm:

FIVE points:

1. The agony of Christ (v. 37-38)

“my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” – he left 8 disciples at the entrance and took only 3 inside the garden with him. He could feel the death that lay before him – death as a TRUE, real, 100% man – no man wants to die at the age of 33 – at the pain of the cross.

Here is a supreme struggle to submit his earthly will to the will of God. This was not play-acting, this was a HARD struggle – in which the salvation of the world swayed back and forth – it was at risk in the garden. Jesus had a choice to turn back and God’s will would be frustrated. All Jesus knew at this point was that he must go on continually.

Jesus started his ministry with temptation from Satan (Matthew 4) “if you are the Son of God…prove it”

  • Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” 
  • Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, rather he was tempted in EVERY way just as we are, yet was without sin.”

Why was he tempted like us? So he could fully understand us, be like us, help us. This is the true reality of the incarnation.

Yet, even though he was tempted in every way, his LAST determination all the time was, “not my will; YOUR will be done.” (Even in the Lord’s Prayer we see this).

Yes, we will struggle with trials, temptations, difficulties – but if we are TRULY Christians, we must be able to say, “not my will; but YOUR will” – “not I; but Christ.”

2. The loneliness of Christ

Do you feel lonely sometimes?

Yes, there had been such a great multitude that had followed him at one time, but ALL of them abandoned him – one disciple betrayed/sold him, 8 waited for him, only THREE (Peter, James, John) went with him – this was the third time he’d taken only the inner circle with him:

  1. 1. Mt. of Transfiguration
  2. 2. Room of Jarius (resurrected his daughter)
  3. 3. Garden of Gethsemane

He wanted them to watch and pray. Jesus was entering into a very difficult time, so their prayer support would be a GREAT encouragement to Jesus – but they fell asleep THREE times in this final crucial moment. They were not “with” Jesus in spirit. Jesus had to fight his battle ALL alone.

As long as we live in this world, this is the truth for all people – there are certain things we all face, certain decisions we must make, certain times ALL other comfort and help is gone (visibly) – but remember God is always with you (was with Christ at this time too). Even when you feel ALL alone – there is the presence of Christ who also experienced this GREAT aloneness like you.

Even when you feel all alone, Jesus is there.

3. The trust of Christ

The situation is very terrible. This trust is even more visible in Mark’s account (14:36) “Jesus started his prayer with ‘Abba, Father,…’” 

There is a world of loveliness in this word – it’s not Hebrew, nor Greek – it’s Arabic meaning “Daddy” from a little child to their father. “아빠”

Until this time, no one had thought to call God by this word. But Jesus did. In his childlike, trustful, intimate way – as a little child to his Daddy.

Yes, we know what our little children call us when we are fathers. Yes, even his spiritual conviction was that God was pushing him to a cross – he called him as a little child.

Isaiah 40:55 “God’s thought/plans/ways are HIGHER than ours.” – because He is Creator – “just as far as the heavens are from the earth, so are God’s thoughts from our thoughts.” We may not be able to understand what’s happening TO us or AROUND us, but we know we can TRUST Christ – because his FINAL plan is good and best for us.

Also, we are allowed to call God “Abba” as Jesus did.

  • Romans 2:8 “You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, you received a spirit of sonship by which we call him “Abba, Father.””

Yes, even when all is against us, we can trust God as our Abba, Father.

4. The prayer of Christ

Here are three times that Jesus prayed, prayed, and prayed. Jesus wanted them to pray and watch not to fall into temptation. Jesus closed his ministry here with prayer, and his life on earth with prayer “Father, God, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing…Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Sometimes Jesus spent all night in prayer. Sometimes he rose very early (3, 4,am) to pray.

  1. He prayed before great tasks.
  2. He prayed before missionary tours.
  3. He prayed before choosing the disciples.
  4. He’s praying before the cross.

Luke “In anguish, Jesus prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

  • Heb 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent position.”

Is the SON of God needed to pray and wait, how much MORE do we need to pray and wait?

5. The courage of Christ

Even though he prayed earnestly three times about this visible situation, the situation itself did not change. Yet, in the last verse, he says, “Rise, let’s go.”

It means the time for prayer, for this garden is past, now is the time for action – to take action – to face everything set before him. He rose from his knees to go out into the battle of life.

This is the PURPOSE OF PRAYER.

Do you pray? In prayer, we kneel down before God. Then we can stand erect before men. The more you kneel before God in prayer, the more you can stand up before men.

  1. In prayer, we submit to the will of God, so that we can resist and defeat the will of Satan.
  2. In prayer, we meet heaven, so after prayer we can confront this earth.

This passage shows the:

  1. Agony of Christ
  2. Loneliness of Christ
  3. Trust of Christ
  4. Prayer of Christ
  5. Courage of Christ

Let’s pray.

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