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  • Jun 27 / 2021
  • Comments Off on Thank God for His Mercy (Exodus 34:4-7a)
Pastor Kang, Sermons

Thank God for His Mercy (Exodus 34:4-7a)

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

Thank God for His Mercy!

4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

Exodus 34:4-7a

A Little Mercy Goes a Long Way

The following story is taken from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936.

Henry Henke, a service manager for a large truck dealership in Lowell, Indiana, had a mechanic named Bill whose work had become less than satisfactory. Instead of yelling or threatening him, Mr. Henke called him into his office and had a heart-to-heart talk with him.

“Bill,” he said, “you are a fine mechanic. You have been in this line of work for a good number of years. You have repaired many vehicles to the customers’ satisfaction. In fact, we’ve had a number of compliments about the good work you have done. Yet, of late, the time you take to complete each job has been increasing and your work has not been up to your own old standards. Because you have been such an outstanding mechanic in the past, I felt sure you would want to know that I am not happy with this situation, and perhaps jointly we could find some way to correct the problem.”

Bill responded that he hadn’t realized he had been falling down in his duties and assured his boss that the work he was getting was not out of his range of expertise and he would try to improve in the future.

Did he do it? You can be sure he did. He once again became a fast and thorough mechanic.

With that reputation Mr. Henke had given him to live up to, how could he do anything else but turn out work comparable to that which he had done in the past. In short, if you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics. And it might be good to assume and state openly that other people have the virtue you want them to develop. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make concentrated efforts rather than see you disillusioned.

With Henke’s mercy, Bill’s attitude changed.

This kind of benevolent heart can change the attitude of others. But God’s mercy has greater power than that because God’s mercy doesn’t just save someone their reputation, or their job. God’s mercy saves human life.

The Law of God begins our relationship with Him

All the way back in Exodus chapter 20, God had written the Ten Commandments directly on two stone tablets and given them to Moses. He then spent the next twelve chapters in Exodus teaching Moses and laying out his law and requirements for the people of Israel. But in Exodus chapter 32, when Moses was descending down from Mount Sinai to rejoin the Israelite camp, he saw the people singing and dancing around an idol of a golden calf, and his anger burned.

Exodus 32:19-20

19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

The breaking of the stone tablets in this manner was meant as a symbolic act that demonstrated how Israel had broken their covenant with Jehovah. But in Exodus 34 verse 1, “The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” This word from God suggested that the broken relationship would be restored.

Sin breaks our relationship with God

The word for “broke” at the end of verse one is ‘Shiber’ in Hebrew, which means ‘to fall apart.’ We can understand from this word that the tablets were not just broken into a few pieces, but completely shattered. Likewise, the relationship between the Israelites and God was completely shattered in that moment.

At this most important moment when God was teaching the Ten Commandments to Moses to give to the people, they were sinning. The Israelites abandoned God and served idols out of impatience and impulsiveness, and when their leader Moses saw it, he threw the very words of God down the mountain in anger.

Now, in this story, be careful about too quickly assuming that you would have been like Moses, in condemning the sinful behavior of the people in holy anger. In fact, if we are honest with ourselves, we all would most likely have been in the crowd of idol worshipers, sinning against God, and breaking our covenant with him. Because as sinful human beings, we are no better than they were. How many times have we repeated that same sin in different ways? At the most important moment when God is trying to guide us, or teach us something, how often do we get bored, or impatient, or impulsive, and turn our back on him and sin right in front of him? If we are honest with ourselves, it is far more often than we would like to admit.

So, then what was God’s mood when he saw this behavior of Moses and the Israelites? What is God’s mood when he sees the same kind of behavior in us? We may expect God to judge them (and us) for their sins.

Surprisingly, however, God soon ordered Moses to prepare new stone tablets. If the first stone tablets were symbolic of the covenant between the Israelites and God, then the second set of stone tablets were symbolic of the restoration of that covenant, and the mercy that God had on the people of Israel.

God’s mercy restores our relationship with Him

Exodus 34:2-5

2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. 3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.” 4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.

Verse 3 reminds of the same command God gave Moses in Exodus 19 the first time he ascended the mountain to talk with God.

Exodus 19:12-13

12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, `Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 He shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on him. Whether man or animal, he shall not be permitted to live.` Only when the ram`s horn sounds a long blast may they go up to the mountain.”

This warning is a reminder, though the same rules apply. That’s why it’s in a more concise format than before. But we should be careful not to assume that this means the second time Moses ascends the mountain will just be a repetition of the first. In fact, this second time was a special event in that God has shown his great mercy in response to the sins of the Israelites.

But why did God have mercy on those who sinned? The Bible tells us why.

Exodus 34:6-7

6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,  7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

God’s mercy is declared here in verse 6 and is the word ‘Rahum’ in Hebrew. The King James translation of the Bible makes it easier to see this word:

Exodus 34:6b

The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

In the NIV translation, the Hebrew word “rahum” is translated to “compassionate”, but in the KJV translation, it is “merciful.” In any case, this is the same mercy and compassion that God showed the Israelites in Exodus chapter 32 when he did not immediately destroy them for making a golden calf and turning away from him in worship.

God remembered the sins of the Israelites. But, as Exodus 34:6-7 reminds us, he is the LORD, the compassionate, merciful, and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

Actually, this same term, “rahum” meaning “merciful” or “compassionate” can also be expressed in motherhood, when a pregnant woman endures extreme pain to give birth and then nurture their child as they grow. God chose Israel as his child, and would not give up on them despite their continual sins.

But, let’s read a little further to understand the true meaning of God’s mercy.

Exodus 34:6-7

6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,  7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

God restored the relationship of the covenant broken by the Israelites through his mercy. But at the same time, God made it very clear that there is still a punishment for sin. In other words, in order for the relationship between God and man to work, human beings must take responsibility for their actions.

Nevertheless, the biblical emphasis on mercy is so huge and surprising that the punishment for sins may seem trivial. The merciful and compassionate God ALWAYS forgives wickedness, rebellion, and sin IF a repentant person returns to Him.

Jesus Christ is Evidence of God’s mercy

Exodus 34:8-9

8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes,” he said, “then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

Moses, who saw the glory of the Lord, bowed down and worshipped God.

Moses humbled himself before God, and held his mercy in high esteem. He acknowledged the stubbornness of the Israelites, whose stubbornness reflects our own, and petitioned God in humility to forgive their sins and continue to accompany them, as we also must do in our own lives.

Moses realized that sinners, which we all are, can do nothing on their own. He also realized that Israel could not move forward without God’s continued mercy.

The Bible contains stories like these about Moses and the Israelites to cause us to reflect on their experiences in comparison with our own lives, and to teach us lessons about the truth of God and his mercy. 

Sometimes we seem to think, wrongly, that we can live without God’s mercy. But without God’s continual mercy and daily patience toward us, our lives will not last.

Jesus, as God’s son, is the visual, physical, manifestation of God’s qualities, including mercy. Let us observe how Jesus treated a person who sinned in the book of John.

John 8:3-7; 10-11

3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Just like the people of Israel in Exodus chapter 32, this woman was caught in sin and brought before God, in the person of Jesus Christ, to answer for her sin. Yet Jesus did not condemn her, but showed her great mercy. The mercy he showed her made the unmerciful teachers of the Law so ashamed that they also left without condemning her.

Jesus saved this woman’s life from criticism, condemnation, and the attack of the people. But, and this is the important point. Even though he showed her great mercy, he did not condone her sin, and he would not allow her to go on living her sinful life. Instead, he encouraged her to “go and sin no more.”

In fact, God hates sin. He cannot tolerate sin because he is wholly good and righteous. But God’s mercy came to us, sinners, through Jesus Christ.

Jesus has become a bright light in the lives of sinners who have no hope. By believing in Jesus as our savior, we can gain freedom from sin. And just as Jesus shows us mercy, he also orders us to be merciful to our neighbors, much in the same way that the truck dealership manager Henry Hanke did for his mechanic, Bill, at the beginning of this sermon. Rather than condemning our neighbors for their mistakes, Jesus has taught us through his word and through his example to be merciful and compassionate to our neighbors and encourage them also to leave their lives of sin. 

As a disciple of Jesus, if we practice his mercy, we will be able to experience a small heaven in our hearts and lives. This is because it is Jesus’ mercy and love that are flowing through us.

Let us thank God for his great mercy for us today!

And let us convey the mercy of God and the love of Jesus to our neighbors!

하나님의 자비

4 모세가 돌판 둘을 처음 것과 같이 깎아 만들고 아침에 일찍이 일어나 그 두 돌판을 손에 들고 여호와의 명령대로 시내 산에 올라가니 5 여호와께서 구름 가운데에 강림하사 그와 함께 거기 서서 여호와의 이름을 선포하실새 6 여호와께서 그의 앞으로 지나시며 선포하시되 여호와라 여호와라 자비롭고 은혜롭고 노하기를 더디하고 인자와 진실이 많은 하나님이라

출애굽기 34:4-6

예화: 헨리헨키 이야기

인디애나 주 로웰에 있는 대규모의 화물 자동차 대리점 고객 서비스 부장인 헨리 헨키는 함께 일하는 기술자가 하는 일이 만족스럽지 못하자 그에게 고함을 지르거나 윽박지르는 대신 사무실로 불러 마음을 터놓고 대화를 나누었습니다.

“여보게 빌, 자넨 훌륭한 기술자야. 자네는 이 일을 오랫동안 훌륭하게 해왔지 않은가? 자네가 수많은 자동차를 수리해서 고객들에게 만족을 주었지. 사실 자네가 한 일에 대해 고객들이 얼마나 칭찬을 많이 하는지 아나? 그런데 최근 들어서는 자네가 일하는 데 시간도 걸리고, 하는 일도 예전 같지가 않은 것 같네. 자네가 예전에 그토록 뛰어난 기술자였기 때문에 내가 지금의 상태에는 만족하고 있지 않다는 것을 알아주길 바라네. 우리 서로 협력해서 문제를 풀어보세.”

빌은 자신이 하는 일의 질이 그렇게 떨어지고 있는지를 모르고 있었다고 말하면서 지금 하는 일이 자신의 전공 분야이므로 앞으로 더 잘해 보겠다고 약속했습니다.

빌이 과연 더 잘했을까요? 물론입니다.

그는 다시 빠르고 뛰어난 기술자가 되었습니다.

헨키가 빌을 책망하지 않고 자비로운 마음으로 대했기 때문에, 빌은 어려움을 극복할 수 있었습니다.

사람의 자비로운 마음으로 한 사람의 태도가 달라질 수 있습니다.

그러나 하나님의 자비는 그보다 더 큰 힘이 있습니다.

하나님의 자비는 사람의 생명을 살리기 때문입니다.

오늘은 하나님의 자비라는 제목으로 출애굽기 34장 말씀을 나누겠습니다.

오늘 본문의 요약입니다.

여호와께서는 모세에게 새롭게 두 개의 돌판을 준비하라고 명령하셨습니다.

그 이유는 이스라엘 자손에게 십계명의 말씀을 다시 유효하게 하시기 위해서였습니다.

전에 여호와께서 친히 준비하시고 십계명을 기록해 주셨던 돌판은 모세가 시내산에서 내려오던 길에 이스라엘 회중의 부패한 참상을 보고서는 땅에 던져 깨뜨려 버렸습니다.

모세가 돌판을 던져 깨뜨린 것은 이스라엘 백성이 여호와와 맺은 언약을 파기했음을 의미하는 상징적 행위였습니다.

그에 반해 다시 돌판을 만들라는 여호와의 말씀은 그 깨진 관계가 회복될 것임을 암시하였습니다.

사람의 죄

출애굽기 34:1

1 여호와께서 모세에게 이르시되 너는 돌판 둘을 처음 것과 같이 다듬어 만들라 네가 깨뜨린 처음 판에 있던 말을 내가 그 판에 쓰리니

본문 1절에서 깨뜨린을 뜻하는 히브리어 ‘쉬베르’는 ‘산산조각 나다’라는 뜻입니다.

이를 통해 우리는 모세가 깨뜨린 증거판이 단지 몇 조각으로 깨진 것이 아니라 완전히 산산조각 난 것으로 해석할 수 있습니다.

출애굽기 32:19

19 진에 가까이 이르러 그 송아지와 그 춤 추는 것들을 보고 크게 노하여 손에서 그 판들을 산 아래로 던져 깨뜨리니라

모세가 증거판을 깨뜨렸을 때 그가 상당히 화가 난 상태였습니다.

이스라엘 백성들이 모세가 하나님께 십계명을 받으러 간 사이 금송아지를 만들어 방탕한 짓을 하고 있었기 때문입니다.

하나님이 십계명을 전달하는 중요한 순간에도 사람들은 죄를 지었습니다.

이스라엘 백성들은 하나님을 버리고 우상을 섬겼고, 지도자 모세는 자신의 분노 때문에 하나님께 받은 말씀 판들을 산 아래로 던져 깨뜨렸습니다.

하나님은 모세와 이스라엘 백성들의 이런 행동을 보고 어떤 마음을 가지셨을까요?

우리는 하나님이 그들의 죄 때문에 그들을 심판하였을 것이라 예상할 수도 있습니다.

그러나 놀랍게도 하나님은 모세에게 새로운 돌판을 준비하라고 명령하셨습니다.

그 이유는 하나님께서 이스라엘 백성들에게 자비를 베푸셨기 때문입니다.

하나님의 자비

출애굽기 34:2-5

2 아침까지 준비하고 아침에 시내 산에 올라와 산 꼭대기에서 내게 보이되 3 아무도 너와 함께 오르지 말며 온 산에 아무도 나타나지 못하게 하고 양과 소도 산 앞에서 먹지 못하게 하라 4 모세가 돌판 둘을 처음 것과 같이 깎아 만들고 아침에 일찍이 일어나 그 두 돌판을 손에 들고 여호와의 명령대로 시내 산에 올라가니 5 여호와께서 구름 가운데에 강림하사 그와 함께 거기 서서 여호와의 이름을 선포하실새

3절에서 하나님이 온 산을 경계로 지정해서 사람과 짐승의 접근을 막았습니다.

이것은 과거에 하나님이 처음 모세에게 십계명을 주셨을 때의 상황과 비슷합니다.

출애굽기 19:12-13

12 너는 백성을 위하여 주위에 경계를 정하고 이르기를 너희는 삼가 산에 오르거나 그 경계를 침범하지 말지니 산을 침범하는 자는 반드시 죽임을 당할 것이라 13 그런 자에게는 손을 대지 말고 돌로 쳐죽이거나 화살로 쏘아 죽여야 하리니 짐승이나 사람을 막론하고 살아남지 못하리라 하고 나팔을 길게 불거든 산 앞에 이를 것이니라 하라

하나님은 이스라엘 백성들에게 다시 율법을 주셨을 때, 산에 접근하는 것에 대한 경고를 반복하셨습니다. 그리고 그 경고는 이전 보다 좀 더 간결한 형식으로 바뀌었습니다.

중요한 것은 이 사건이 단순한 반복이 아니라는 것입니다.

그것은 모세와 이스라엘 백성들의 죄에 대해 하나님이 자비를 베푸셨다는 점에서 특별한 사건이었습니다.

하나님은 왜 죄를 지은 그들에게 자비를 베푸셨을까요?

성경은 우리에게 그 이유에 대해 알려줍니다.

출애굽기 34:6

6 여호와께서 그의 앞으로 지나시며 선포하시되 여호와라 여호와라 자비롭고 은혜롭고 노하기를 더디하고 인자와 진실이 많은 하나님이라

하나님은 그의 자비에 대해 선포하셨습니다.

여기서 자비는 히브리어로 ‘라훔’ 입니다.

이것은 전에 이스라엘 백성이 금송아지를 만들어 하나님께 죄를 지었을 때, 하나님이 이스라엘 백성을 향한 분노를 돌이키셨을 때를 사용된 자비와 의미가 같습니다.

하나님은 이스라엘 백성이 저지른 온갖 죄들을 기억하시고 그 모든 것을 용서하시는 자비롭고 은혜롭고 노하기를 더디하고 인자와 진실이 많은 하나님입니다.

또한 이 자비는 잉태한 여성이 극심한 고통을 감내하며 출산하고 양육하는 모성적 사랑으로 표현됩니다.

이스라엘을 그의 자녀로 선택 하신 하나님은 이스라엘의 죄에도 불구하고 그들을 끝까지 포기하지 않으리라 결단하셨습니다.

하나님의 자비의 진정한 의미는 무엇일까요?

출애굽기 34:7

7 인자를 천대까지 베풀며 악과 과실과 죄를 용서하리라 그러나 벌을 면제하지는 아니하고 아버지의 악행을 자손 삼사 대까지 보응하리라

하나님의 자비는 이스라엘 백성이 파국으로 몰고 간 언약 관계를 하나님께서 그의 주권으로 다시 회복시킬 것이라는 희망적인 단서가 되었습니다.

하나님은 7절의 선언을 통해 죄에 대한 형벌이 있음을 분명히 밝히셨습니다.

즉, 하나님과 사람의 관계가 진실 하기 위해서는 사람이 자신의 행동에 대한 책임을 감당해야 한다는 의미입니다.

그럼에도 불구하고 하나님은 그 죄책을 덮고도 남을 만큼, ‘악’과 ‘과실’과 ‘죄’를 용서하시는 하나님의 인자하심을 강조하셨습니다.

사람이 악과 과실과 죄를 지어도 자비하신 하나님께 돌아오면 우리의 주님은 언제나 용서해주시는 것입니다.

하나님의 자비의 증거, 예수 그리스도

출애굽기 34:8-9

8 모세가 급히 땅에 엎드려 경배하며 9 이르되 주여 내가 주께 은총을 입었거든 원하건대 주는 우리와 동행하옵소서 이는 목이 뻣뻣한 백성이니이다 우리의 악과 죄를 사하시고 우리를 주의 기업으로 삼으소서

여호와의 영광을 보고 그 분의 성품이 선포되는 장면을 온몸으로 접한 모세는 급히 땅에 엎드려 여호와께 경배하였습니다.

모세는 하나님께서 조건 없이 자비를 베푸시고, 그의 백성을 끝까지 책임지시는 하나님의 성품에 경탄하였습니다.

모세는 하나님의 자비를 근거로 하여 비록 이스라엘 백성이 고집이 세지만, 자신들의 죄를 용서해 주실 것과 앞으로도 계속 동행 해주실 것을 간구하였습니다.

모세는 사람이 스스로 아무것도 할 수 없는 죄인이라는 것과, 하나님의 자비 없이는 이스라엘이 앞으로 나아갈 수 없다는 것을 깨달았습니다.

성경은 모세와 이스라엘 백성들을 통해서 우리의 모습을 돌아보게 합니다.

우리는 때때로 하나님의 자비 없이도 살아갈 수 있다고 생각하는 것 같습니다.

하지만 하나님의 자비와 인내가 없다면 우리의 삶은 지속 될 수 없을 것입니다.

우리는 요한복음에서 예수님이 죄를 지은 사람을 대하는 모습을 볼 수 있습니다.

요한복음 8:4-7; 10-11

4 예수께 말하되 선생이여 이 여자가 간음하다가 현장에서 잡혔나이다 5 모세는 율법에 이러한 여자를 돌로 치라 명하였거니와 선생은 어떻게 말하겠나이까 6 그들이 이렇게 말함은 고발할 조건을 얻고자 하여 예수를 시험함이러라 예수께서 몸을 굽히사 손가락으로 땅에 쓰시니 7 그들이 묻기를 마지 아니하는지라 이에 일어나 이르시되 너희 중에 죄 없는 자가 먼저 돌로 치라 하시고

10 예수께서 일어나사 여자 외에 아무도 없는 것을 보시고 이르시되 여자여 너를 고발하던 그들이 어디 있느냐 너를 정죄한 자가 없느냐 11 대답하되 주여 없나이다 예수께서 이르시되 나도 너를 정죄하지 아니하노니 가서 다시는 죄를 범하지 말라 하시니라

하나님의 자비는 예수님을 통해서 나타났습니다.

예수님은 죄를 짓다 끌려온 여자를 다른 사람들과 같이 정죄하지 않았습니다.

오히려 그는 자비를 베풀지 못하는 사람들에게 스스로를 돌아보게 하시며 부끄럽게 만드셨습니다.

예수님은 사람들로부터 여자의 생명을 구해 주시며 다시는 죄를 범하지 않도록, 바른 길로 살아가도록 권면 하셨습니다.

선하신 하나님은 죄와 함께 할 수 없으시며, 죄를 미워하십니다.

그러나 하나님은 예수그리스도의 자비를 통해 직접 죄인인 우리에게 찾아오셨습니다.

예수님은 아무런 희망이 없는 죄인들의 삶의 밝은 빛이 되셨습니다.

우리가 예수님을 구원자로 믿음으로 우리는 죄에서 자유를 얻게 되었습니다.

예수님은 오늘 우리에게 이웃에게 자비를 베풀 것을 명령하십니다.

이웃의 잘못해 대해 정죄하기 보단, 자비를 베풀고 그가 더 선한 길로 갈 수 있게 도우라고 말씀하십니다.

우리가 예수님의 제자로서, 예수님이 자비를 이웃에게 나눈다면 우리는 그 때 우리 마음속에 작은 천국을 맛볼 수 있을 것입니다.

그 이유는 우리 안에 예수님의 자비와 사랑이 흐르고 있기 때문입니다.

오늘 우리를 향하신 하나님의 크신 자비에 감사하며, 그 자비를 이웃에게 나누는 하루 되길 소망합니다.

  • Jul 05 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Holy Communion (Matthew 26:14-30)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Holy Communion (Matthew 26:14-30)



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Sermon Notes

4 Things to remember about God

  1. God is alive
  2. God is good
  3. God is great all the time
  4. There is nothing impossible without God

The Holy Communion

Matthew 26:17-30 (Pastor Heo)

17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out from many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


Today we will take communion. I’m just following the series of Matthew.

In this chapter, we are moving toward a crisis – Jesus is preparing and getting ready to suffer and die – willingly and of his own accord to save all believers.

  • Last week: worship vs. waste (anointing by Mary)
  • Today: faithfulness vs. betrayal (upper room)

This story is told in all the other 3 gospels.

3 section today:

1. v17-19 (preparation for Passover)

It was necessary to purchase materials for the feast, and necessary to find a good place to hold the feast.

(According to Luke 22 – Jesus sent Peter and John to take care of this – “a man carrying a jar? will be there and follow him to the place – he will show you a large upper room fully furnished” – they went and found exactly these things. At that time, it was very unusual for a man to carry a jug of water – usually women did that.)

Also the men would need to get bread, bitter herbs, lamb, wine and prepare everything for the feast to be ready.

2. v20-25 (announcement of betrayal)

“Surely not I, Lord?”

They lived at least 3 years together with Jesus Christ – but even up to the end the disciples didn’t know that one of them was a betrayer. They didn’t feel any difference in the method that Jesus treated Judas. This is an outstanding testimony to Jesus patience and love.

They were eating and suddenly shocked – looking amongst themselves – wondering who the betrayer might be. They asked Jesus, “not me, right?”

Jesus gave the bread to Judas – Judas received it, knowing full well that he would betray him.

Psalm 41:9 “My close, intimate friend, whom I trusted, with whom I shared my bread, has lifted up his heal against him.”

Jesus holding the bread was a gracious act of kindness, for Judas to receive it was a wicked act of betrayal.

“Woe to that man – it would be better for him if he had not been born…” the worst of curses.

This shows human and divine points of view.

  1. God’s point of view: this treachery was predicted and prophesied in the OT and part of God’s plan
  2. Human’s point of view: Judas was fully responsible for his actions the whole time.

God’s design + human action = not in conflict.

God is 100% in control at the same time that we are fully 100% responsible for our own choices. Paradox.

Then Judas went out, and the others thought he went to buy something, help the poor, etc. For Judas, all the time, night – no day for Judas.

3. v. 26-30 (institution of Communion)

“Do this in remembrance of me”

Because of that word, we are doing this continually (Korean: “나를 기념하라”)

It was after Judas ate the food with Christ – but AFTER he left the room, Jesus established something NEW – the Lord’s Supper.

This is one of the TWO sacraments established by Christ himself.

  • Lord’s Supper, Lord’s Table = commemorates the Passover meal Jesus ate with his disciples at the end
  • Last Supper, Breaking of the Bread = symbol of Jesus broken body and blood (as a symbol)
  • Communion = through this we have fellowship with Jesus and with others
  • Eucharist = we give thanks to God for what Jesus has done on the cross (comes from eucharisteo = thanksgiving in Greek)

What is the meaning/purpose of the Lord’s Supper? We do it at least once per month. Today even the Korean church already did it five times in the morning services.

There are 7 points (why):

  1. It is in obedience to the commands of the Lord – whatever blessing are derived from the keeping of his ordinances are kept out of obedience by the church ( “Do this in remembrance of me” – to obey him)
  2. It is in memorial of his atoning death and shed blood on the cross for us – why did he die on the cross for us? Substitutionary death for us – only by his death do we receive redemption, salvation, and reconciliation with God. – All were made possible by Christ’s death on the cross.
  3. It is a proclamation, declaration of Jesus’ atoning work – 1 Cor 11:26 “Whenever you eat this and drink this, you proclaim the Lord’s death until his Second Coming”
  4. It is a statement of the anticipation of the return of Christ to FINISH his redeeming work (1 Cor 11:26 – this must be done until his Second Coming – we are anticipating, looking for his coming again. Are you yearning for it? Are you looking forward to it?)
  5. Communion = fellowship, relationship, sharing with our Lord Jesus Christ – we receive faith, blessing, strength in fellowship with our Lord (1 Cor 10:16 “Is not the cup, the bread, participation in the body of Christ?”) We receive his blessing, strength, encouragement by faith
  6. This communion = also a communion of the body of Christ – it shows the unity of the body of Christ – we are all saved by the same faith, serving the same Lord, sharing the same vision (Gal 3:23 “There is neither male nor female, slave nor free, for all are one, so make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”)
  7. We must also have two different minds when participating in communion:
    1. Humility = admit you are unworthy of this. No one sits in pride at this table – it is only of God’s grace that we have been born into the family of God
    2. Boldness = if we are true children of God, we can come to him BOLDLY – not because of what WE have done, but because of what HE has done for us
      1. Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since you have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus – we have gained access to God through Christ.”
      2. Heb 4:15 “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may find help in our time of need.”

Who can participate in the communion?

Only those who have been “born again” into the family of God have the right to sit at this table in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ. The time is short, but we have MUCH to do:

We must do TWO things:

1. Pray, meditate, examine yourselves

1 Cor 11:28-29 “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of this bread and drinks of this cup. Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

What should we examine of ourselves?

4 things:

  1. Do I really, truly, believe in Christ as my Savior and Lord? This is simple, but serious (fundamental) question
  2. Am I truly, really born again into the family of God as a son/daughter of God?
  3. Do I really, heartily REPENT (not only confess) of my sins (confession without repentance = a mockery)
  4. See around you – is there anyone around me whom I hate? Whom I did not forgive? “If you give your offering at the altar and remember your brother has something against you, leave you offering at the altar and first go and be reconciled to your brother. Then come back and continue your worship.” – “If you forgive your brothers and sisters when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you (and vice versa).”

2. “Do this in remembrance of me”

During Communion, meditate and ponder over

  1. Who Jesus is
  2. What Jesus has done
  3. What he is continually doing for me – His miracles, teachings, sufferings, trials, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, Second Coming, glorification.

Time is short, but please:

  1. Examine yourselves
  2. Meditate on Jesus (all he is, does, has done, will do, will be)

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 26 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23)



Sermon Notes

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The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 (Rev. Ahn Choongsik)

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


This morning we have a special speaker: Rev. Ahn Choongsik

He has served as senior pastor in a Korean church in NY and as a seminary professor for many years. After retirement in the US, he came back to Korea to retire (also mobilize the Korean church and teach here as well – also in hospitals – he came from Seoul last night).


It’s a God given, gracious opportunity to meet you and greet you and share with you today.

There is a word “shepherd” is mentioned 500 times in the Bible.

  • They were shepherding for hundreds of years, so they were quite familiar with the role of a shepherd.
  • In Palestine, sheep are a very familiar animal – they are eaten as daily food, skins are used for clothing, also wool.
  • Sheep are very important and necessary animals for people in Palestine. This animal was also offered as a sacrifice, and they chose the BEST one to sacrifice.

Due to talking about sheep and shepherds, we must talk about both at the same time.

  1. There are many gentle animals in the world, but the sheep is incredibly gentle. Isaiah described the sheep “a lamb before the slaughter” (talking of Jesus).
  2. Of the shepherd, he goes out to find the lost sheep – the sheep is always protected by the shepherd – he couldn’t go out to find pasture or water by themselves.

As they were protected all the time, Ezekiel writes, “because the sheep had no shepherd, they were all scattered and the wolves killed and ate them.” This is why shepherds seek out their sheep.

Luke “Suppose one of you has hundreds of sheep, and loses one. What would you do? You’d leave the other 99 and go looking for the one who is lost until you find it. Once you find it, you’d be so happy that you’d call your friends and neighbors to celebrate. There will be more joy than this in heaven over one sinner who repents than over many who are righteous and do not need to repent.”

This parable shows the character of the shepherd – he will leave 99 and go looking for one. We should understand his love and mercy and sacrifice – that the prophet Isaiah has written of.

The prophet Isaiah wrote of God sending his only son to the world for us.

He gave himself for our salvation, for our freedom from bondage in sins, for our restoration in broken relationship with God, for our rescue from the belly of death.

Amazing story of Elizabeth – writer of they hymn “There were ninety and nine.”

“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way that marks out the tracks. Then, will shadow for me the shepherd who could bring back. Lord, where are thy hands, wretched and atoned. Here appears tonight by many a thorn…”?

Elizabeth identified herself as a lost sheep, she understood that she was the lost sheep of Jesus Christ. She also understood that Jesus shed his blood on the cross for her salvation. The story of the lost sheep touched her heart and inspired her to write this poem.

1873, Moody was in England – with his reader Dave S… He was going to preach on this topic after a few days in Edinburgh, but had no good hymn to go along. By God’s providence, they found this poem in the newspaper at that time. They then prepared and performed the hymn for the congregation. What do you think most moved and touched the congregation? The voices? The music? The poem? All are partly true. But, it was the love and mercy of Christ that most moved and touched them.

Just like the lost sheep couldn’t come home by herself, but it depended on the willingness of the shepherd as well.

In the wilderness, the wolves would eventually kill the lost sheep.

In Psalm 23, David saw himself as the lost sheep, being protected by God all the time.

“He leads me beside quiet waters, he guides me into pasture. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a table for me before my enemies and my cup overflows.”

David was a WARRIOR and knew the triumph of victory. When returning home from battle, David had killed thousands of Philestines and the women came out from the towns and sang “Saul has slain thousands, and David tens of thousands.”

From that day, Saul sought David to kill him. So David fled and hid in Jeph? David saw that Saul was going to kill him – Saul was the king of Israel with all the power in the nation. But David’s most interesting thing was that God gave him the people and the nation of Israel.

David’s relationship with God was the most important part of his life. When he met Goliath, the Philestine called, “Hahah, have your ‘bravest warrior’ come down to meet me.” But David came and retorted, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come after you in the name of the Lord God of Israel.”

David never broke his relationship with God, he was rather always dependent upon God. However, Saul didn’t listen to the prophets, nor commandments, so that the Spirit of God left him and his kingdom perished. In addition to this, he eventually took his own life. What’s his real problem? It’s described in 1 Samuel 15, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience to the Lord or sacrifice? It is better to obey – rebellion is like idolatry and witchcraft. Because you rejected his commands, he has rejected you as king.”

We reviewed David’s relationship with God 3,000 years ago as well as Elizabeth’s in 1873. Where is God now? What is your conception of God? Think about it. Who is YOUR God?

Here’s my experience:

He’s been my God for my whole pastor’s journey, and will be with me in my future life as well. Like David, hiding in the wilderness, I also was hiding in an apple orchard in North Korea. My father and brother were in the house, and one afternoon 24 policemen came and encircled the house. A few hours before they came to search us.

Because of that, we were prepared at the critical moment. My friend was in the attic of the small room. My father was shoveled in the vegetable garden, my brother was laid down in the apple orchard. I was pretending to be a helper so I was in the living room with the grandparents. They searched us for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, a policeman came into the living room and went into the room where my friend was hiding. My heart stood still while the policemen are about to open the small door. The policemen tried to widen to gap between the bolt.

After a few minutes, he saw white bedding and shouted “Come out!” All 24 came to the living room and arrested them all. I was emotionally exhausted so like a stone.

Through the experience, I believe that God was with me during that critical moment. Not only then, but also all my life in the past. The only thing was, they couldn’t see me as one of the hiding people in the same house. Like David, I wasn’t handed over – I was like a lost sheep in the wilderness. I had no choice to do anything there. I prayed and asked God, “God of Israel, answer me!”

Later, in February, I met 2 officers from an island in the West Sea. They were the same two who took my father a few weeks ago. I had to decide to stay in North Korea, or go with the two officers to the island to escape North Korea. Either way, there is no guarantee.

But I was saved eventually.

Let’s look at Psalm 23 – David’s confession – “The Lord is my shepherd” – David did nothing for his own salvation – it was all done by the shepherd’s willingness. We must see that salvation belongs to our God 100%.

  1. Though David was a soldier, he didn’t depend on his military experience.
  2. Though a king, he didn’t depend on his power.
  3. Though a musician and poet, he didn’t depend on his own talent and ability.

The most important thing was his relationship with God.

His last words to his son Solomon clearly states the most valuable things to human beings, “My time to die has come – do whatever the Lord commands and obey all his commands. He will keep his promise when he found you that my descendants would rule the land as long as they serve him with all their hearts and spirits.”

This statement shows us his relationship with God and what he was most concerned about.

Now, I’m worried that you will ask me, “Did you obey all the commands in the Bible?” No, that’s why I need his love and mercy as a lost sheep. But I have some things to tell you proudly.

The North Korean govt told all the schools that the children must choose either church OR the school. If he wants religious freedom, you give up educational freedom. This is why I don’t have a middle school certificate.

Friends, don’t misunderstand. I had a strong face as a teenager? No, God protected me from cutting off my relationship with God entirely. Isaiah says, “But you Israel, are my servant, you are the people I’ve chosen – you are descendants of my friend Abraham. I brought you out of slavery and made you my servant. I didn’t reject you, but chose you. Do not be afraid – let nothing terrify you. I will make you strong and help you – I will protect you and save you.” We are all like lost sheep, but are not afraid of anything. The Lord Almighty will protect us and be will us even in the wilderness.

May God bless you, thank you.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 27 / 2013
  • Comments Off on It Is Finished! (John 19:28-42)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

It Is Finished! (John 19:28-42)


01.27.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

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Do you like Jesus’ death?

As a Christian, what do you believe, or what can you say about the death of Jesus Christ?

If you are a Sunday school teacher / evangelist / missionary, what will you teach/preach about the death of Christ?

For humans, usually death is sorrowful news, there is no more work to be done.

But, in the case of Jesus, it is “good news of great joy for all the people, for all time.”

Good news of the gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the death and resurrection, the gospel cannot be gospel.

Jesus’ death is a great work, the greatest work.

It didn’t come unavoidably, but by his definite choice according to his own purpose. 

  • “It is finished.” in Greek is only one word.
  • “It is accomplished. All is paid.” etc.

This is one of 7 sentences he spoke at the cross.

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
  2. “I tell you the truth, today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Even at the point of death can you also preach to save souls as he did?)
  3. “Dear woman, this is your son.” To John, “This is your mother.”
  4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  5. “I’m thirsty.” (literal thirst)
  6. “It is finished.” (all is done)
  7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

It is finished = with my death, I do all things I’ve wanted to do for all eternity for all men (in the past, in the future)

Actually, our whole lives are not long enough to fully meditate on the death and meaning of Jesus’ death.

6 Spiritual Meanings.

#1: Substitution 

He did not bear his own sins, but substituted himself for our sins. Numerous scriptures say, “Jesus died for you…for others…for us.”

  • Isaiah 53:5-6 “Christ was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities…by his wounds we are healed…we all like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way, but God laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
  • Romans 5:8 “God demonstrated his great love for us in this…”
  • 1 Corinthians 15 “What I received, I passed on to you as of first importance.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5 “God made him without sin to become sin for us.”
  • 1 Peter “God made him on the tree for us.”
  • 1 Peter 3 “Jesus died for us all to bring us to God (once for all).”

There is no question Jesus died as our SUBSTITUTION – for our sins.

#2: Ransom (Redemption)

Literal meaning = an amount of money paid to set someone free (prisoner, kidnapped)

Redemption = deliverance of that prisoner to freedom.

Jesus death is our ransom price for deliverance from death to life, from child of Satan to child of God, from hell to heaven, from condemnation to forgiveness, from bondage of sin to freedom of truth, from Old Creation to New Creation. 

Jesus already paid the whole price to get us as a child of God.

“You are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore, honor God with your bodies.” (Romans?)

If we try to please ourselves, we are bad men, because we were already bought.

What must we pay to buy salvation? You cannot because it is too late. Already 2000 years ago, Jesus paid the full price. 

How much must we pay? You cannot because it is too expensive, far beyond your ability to pay. 

The price of salvation is priceless.

“The value of one soul is more valuable than the whole universe.”
“I did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for all.”

Galation 3 “Christ became a curse for us to destroy the curse, for everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.”
“It is not from gold or silver we are bought but with the precious blood of the Lamb of God.”

  • Ransom (cause)
  • Redemption (effect) 

#3: Propitiation (atoning sacrifice)

Literal meaning = covering or mercy seat or appeasing.

In the OT, the cover of the Ark of the Covenant (with 10 Commandments) was called the Mercy Seat (propitiation).

If there is something bad, dirty, etc, and I cover it, then I can no longer see it. 

The covering over us is Jesus’ death, is the propitiation for our sins so that God no longer sees the sins.

Appeasement = if someone is angry at me, and I relieve that anger by giving a gift, that is my propitiation. 

Propitiation removes God’s wrath from us.

How can God declare the unrighteous righteous? Are you righteous before God? Can you say you are a perfect man?

If you are, then God is no longer righteous.

Propitiation is when God declares the unrighteous righteous because he believes in Jesus and his death for our sins.

Romans 3:25-26 “God presented Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins.” (KJV)

“God presented Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV)

“because in his long suffering, he had left sins before Christ unpunished. He did this to be just and to justify the one who believes in Christ.”

1 John 2:2 “Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world.”

#4: Reconciliation

The Bible encourages us and challenges us to be reconciled to God. 

First, enmity (enemies) and then reconciliation (friends again).

2 Corithians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.”

God reconciled all human beings through Christ. If we are reconciled, then we are given the message and ministry of reconciliation. 

The story of reconciliation goes like this:

At first, God and man stood face to face in fellowship with original koinonia (Genesis 1-2)

If God judged immediately because of human sin, there would be no more Bible because we fell in Genesis 3. So, the rest of the Bible is God’s pursuit of us to reconcile us and save us from condemnation.

  • At first, Adam and God could talk face to face, and listen to each other. 
  • Usually, sinful man does not like holy God. So, man turned away from God and walked away.
  • Also, holy God could not see sin, so turned away from man.

“The sinful mind is hostile to God, but Jesus Christ has fully satisfied the commands of God and has reconciled us to him.”

Still now, man is entreated, encouraged to be reconciled to God by believing in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:3 “Be reconciled to God.”

Without reconciliation with God, there is no reconciliation with yourself, with others, with your parents, children, spouse, friends.

The key to all reconciliation with anyone is first reconciliation with God.

“Jesus Christ is our peace who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier between God and man.”

#5: Fulfillment (Satisfaction)

“It is finished.” “All is done.”

Jesus’ death is the fulfillment and satisfaction. His death is the fulfillment of God’s law, God’s justice, God’s holiness, God’s love, God’s prophecy, God’s covenant. 

  • In God’s law, sin must be paid by death. 
  • In God’s justice, must be punished.
  • In holiness, must be removed.
  • In love, must be forgiven and all things given up.
  • In prophecy, nothing must be left undone.
  • In covenant, all requirements must be met.

All these are met in death – perfectly in Jesus’ death.

“Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets, I have come to fulfill them.”

Romans “Jesus is the end of the law, the fulfillment of the law.”

#6: Our Story

  • Substitution
  • Ransom
  • Propitiation
  • Reconciliation
  • Fulfillment

All this mental agreement and mental knowledge is NOT enough to save us.

Even Satan knows and believes this and shudders. He knows and believes but is not saved, why? He does not commit his life to Christ.

Mental agreement is not enough.

#6 is our personal story, personal belief, personal relationship

Jesus’ death is MY death (personally).

Can you personally confess this? 

“Jesus’ death is MY death.”

Can you be united with Christ in his death, really, truly? This is the full truth of Jesus’ death from the text this morning.

Visible things are temporary, but invisible things are eternal. If we really have faith, we must be able to see things that are invisible.

  • Today, visibly, it looked like THEY killed him.
  • Invisibly, Jesus killed death, the final enemy.

Yes, we say, “Jesus died for me.”

This is the first step (confession).

Unbelievers never say this because they don’t believe – so they don’t confess the real meaning, effect, blessing. For them, this is resolved until they believe.

  • It looks (visibly) that Jesus died for me.
  • In reality (invisibly) we died with Christ 2000 years ago.

Where Were You When Jesus Was On the Cross? (last sermon)

Galatians “The life I live in the body I live by faith…”

Romans 6:6 “I was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin was done away with… 

This morning, did you see the sun in the sky?

It rises in the morning and sets at night – even the Bible expresses this. 

But in the invisible world, the sun is constant, and the EARTH is moving. But we do not feel it, do not see it.

Visibility doesn’t always equal reality.

The Christian life is union with Christ (first) in his death. Then, if you are really united with him in his death, then you can be (second) united with him in his resurrection. 

If you are not united with him in death, you cannot be united with him in resurrection, and nothing else that happens after (life, glory, etc).

But, if you are united with him in death, then you are also united with him in all things that come after.

Romans 6:4-5 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead for the glory of the father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death, we will also certainly be united with him in his resurrection.”

Let’s stand and confess and proclaim.

  • If you do not believe, keep silent.
  • If you believe, open you heart and mouth.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen