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  • Feb 23 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The Demonstration of Faith through Moses (Hebrews 11:23-29, Exodus 2:1-2)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Demonstration of Faith through Moses (Hebrews 11:23-29, Exodus 2:1-2)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Demo of Faith thru Moses

Hebrews 11:23-29, Exodus 2:1-2 (Pastor Heo)

Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

Exodus 2:1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.


Faith is conviction, assurance of what is unseen. By faith in Christ, we can have hope in this kind of situation. We can have hope in glory, heaven, eternal life. Also, by faith, we can live a heavenly life on this earth.

Last Sunday, we saw the demonstration of faith by Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

We know Genesis finishes with the story of Joseph. And the story of Moses begins in Exodus. In the time of Joseph, there was still great famine in Canaan, and he invited his whole family from Canaan to Egypt – where he was Prime Minister. So, all Jacob’s children and grandchildren (70 in all) settled in Egypt. But Joseph knew that a day would come when they would leave Egypt. They knew their settlement was not permanent, but temporary. “One day, God will come and take you out of this land to the Promised Land. At that time, take my bones with you.” From the death of Joseph to the beginning of Exodus was 400 years.

They ended Genesis with 70 people, and became 1-2 million by the start of Exodus (400 years later).

A new king, who did not know Joseph became king and became afraid of the people becoming bigger and bigger. So he ordered that the boy babies be killed. In this terrible, dangerous time, Moses was born.

Now in Hebrews, we saw “by faith” x5.

1. Moses’ parents’ faith (and his preservation)

v. 23 “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”

  • Moses’ father: Amram
  • Moses’ mother: Jocebeth?

They disobeyed the king by faith. They knew that God had a special plan and purpose for Moses. So “by faith” they hid him for 3 months. But after 3 months, they could no longer hide him because of his crying. They had nothing to do for their child. But we must remember that it was at the very moment that they had something great to do for their loving child – to entrust him to the hand of God – by faith, with prayer. In this terrible, dangerous situation, they made a box of papyrus and tar and pitch, and they put it outside among the reeds along the Nile river.

It is not difficult to imagine what they did after they put that box outside. They knew that God had a special plan upon that child. Is it possible, after putting that box outside to say, “Goodbye, good luck”? No. We can be easily sure what they did after putting that baby box outside. They cried out continually to God, “LORD! Help us!”

If you were in the place of Moses’ mother and father, you would continually cry out also for God’s providence upon that box.

We know that Christian parents can suddenly create an atmosphere of faith at home. This should be the first school of faith – at home.

“They knew he was no ordinary child.” (In a sense, every child is like this to their parents – maybe even geniuses to their parents.) If you are Christian parents, remember, the BEST thing you can do for your son or daughter is to entrust them into the hand of God with constant prayer support. God bless Christian parents.

2. Moses’ identity

v. 24-26 “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Yes, after putting that basket outside, his parents prayed continuously. His sister Miriam stood at a distance to see what would happen to that box.

At that moment, Pharaoh’s daughter came to the Nile river to swim? She saw it and her slave girl opened it. She saw a beautiful baby crying. (We also should cry out before God to receive his mercy – Jer 30:33 “Cry out to me and I will show you unmeasurable things”). Seeing that crying baby the princess had compassion. Immediately, Miriam approached her and said, “May I get a Hebrew woman to nurse this baby for you?” “Yes, OK.” Immediately, she brought the baby’s real mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Please nurse this baby for me and I’ll pay you.”

Imagine this situation. God did something so amazing and so exciting! Sometimes we need to understand that God is doing SO MUCH MORE than we understand and imagine and expect.

This baby was saved from death, adopted by the princess, given the best education and food, raised by his real mother’s milk and love.

In this situation, our lesson is: If Moses wanted, he could identify himself with the Egyptians – as the royal family, an heir of Pharaoh. He could have chosen the easiest, most comfortable life. He could have chosen the pleasures of sin. But in this situation, Moses rejected – refused all of them. Why? How? “By faith…” This is the real power of faith. He chose to be mistreated by the people of God – he chose to suffer “for the sake of Christ.” But wait – Moses lived 1500 years before Jesus was even born. Yet v 26 “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ…”

Even Christ himself says, “Moses wrote about me, Moses testified about me.” (John’s gospel)

This means that God’s history of salvation and redemption continued through until the birth of Christ. And Christ gave up all his glory for our sake, our salvation, our redemption.

We must know: Are you Christian? If you believe in Christ as Savior and Lord, then you have no choice but to live for Christ.

“Believing in Christ as real Savior and Lord and NOT living for him is impossible.”

  • “Believe” = “Be” and “live”
    • “Be” for Christ
    • “Live” for Christ

So, we must choose careers and life paths that please God.

Therefore, our identity as Christians is so important.

3. Moses’ separation

v 27 “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

The background – found in Exodus 2. One day, when he was grown, he went out to see how the fellow Hebrews were. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, so he killed him. The king heard of that and tried to kill Moses – so Moses fled to Midian. In this same situation, there is a little difference in the Exodus and the Hebrews explanation.

  • Exodus: “Moses feared, so he fled.”
  • Hebrews: “Moses left ‘by faith’.”

This is a different perspective – they seem contradictory – but there is no real contradiction.

  • Exodus = viewing the outward situation
  • Hebrews = seeing more deeply into this story

Yes, Moses did not choose this situation by himself at first. But, when he was confronted by this situation to leave, he didn’t accepted it willingly, with courage. Moses knew that then was not the time for him to take action for his people. He knew he had to wait for God to say, “NOW is the time to go to Pharaoh and take action for my people.”

Sometimes, when our fighting instincts say, “Go on and fight!” But it takes a big and brave man to WAIT. It is human to fear to miss the chance. But it is great to wait for the timing of God. So, by faith, we can see God in all situations.

Today, our situation is good or bad? Bad, they say. But even in this situation, we must see God who is unseen, and we must understand that he is in control of everything. This is the real power of faith.

4. Moses’ salvation

v 28 “By faith by kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.”

Background: Exodus 12

We know the Passover, the biggest feast in Hebrew history. Spiritually and symbolically, this is also the most significant. It was the 10th and final judgment on Egypt.

Unleavened bread had to be made, and a Passover lamb killed, and every door post smeared with the blood of the lamb. Then, the angel of death would see this blood and “pass over” those houses.

Not only this Passover lamb, but also on that night, as they were leaving Egypt, Moses wrote down that they must keep the Passover forever. In other words, he never doubted that they would leave Egypt and reach and conquer the Promised Land – at some point.

Imagine: Here is a population of 1-2 million slaves – untrained, unorganized, about to start on a dangerous journey through a wilderness, into an unknown land. At the same time, here is a massive, trained, armed force pursuing them.

Yet, Moses never doubted that God would bring them safely through to the Promised Land. This is the power of faith. Are you living by faith.

1 Cor 5:7 “Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb who has been crucified for our sins.” Thus, John the Baptist, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”

Even though we are very weak and do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, our situation, corona virus, whatever, nevertheless, our situation is VERY certain in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the real power of faith.

5. Moses’ Deliverance

v. 29 “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.”

Exodus: They were confronted with their first barrier. Yes, we know that our salvation is very safe, but nevertheless, there are many barriers we may face. This is the first: The Red Sea – they needed a way to continue but there was no way – because the soldiers of Egypt were pursuing them very rapidly behind.

In this situation (Exodus 14) Moses proclaimed, “Do not be afraid!” (Front: sea, Back: soldiers) “Stand firm! You will see the deliverance and salvation God will bring you today. The soldiers you see today, you will NEVER see again because God is fighting for us.”

Romans 8 “God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

The real source, the source of real faith – what is the greatest barrier? It is NO barrier if God is there to help us pass over it because God is Almighty. Do you agree? Then, accept it and enjoy it. This is a fact.

The source of real faith is close intimacy in our relationship with God. For Moses, the source of real faith = close intimacy in his relationship with God. Bible says, “Moses spoke to God face to face.”

Also for us:

Source of Faith = Real intimacy with God

Hebrews conclusion? “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Remember, the source of real faith is closeness, intimacy in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Chp 12:2

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our [my] faith.”

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 17 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Enjoy a Clean Conscience in Christ (Hebrews 9:1-14)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Enjoy a Clean Conscience in Christ (Hebrews 9:1-14)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Enjoy a Clean Conscience in Christ

Hebrews 9:1-14 (Pastor Heo)

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

1 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ

11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!


Only the blood of Christ can clean our consciences.

God instructed the Israelites to build a structure – the tabernacle – which could be disassembled and travel with the people to the Promised Land, Canaan. This became the place that God lived among them.

At that time, the people had to travel to the temple – in Jerusalem – but before that temple was built, this tabernacle traveled with the people – as a representation of God’s presence and availability.

This building was the CENTER of their moving, living, working, breathing – likewise, Christ is the CENTER of our lives.

v. 1-5 explanation of the tabernacle – it is a symbol of the reality that is in heaven (Christ)

“1 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.”

This tabernacle is a symbol of the reality of Christ. ALL parts point to Jesus Christ.

In the study of this tabernacle:

A. Size

100 cubits long x 50 cubits wide = 1 cubit (50 cm) – from elbow to the end of the second finger in an adult man – my cubit is 48 cm.

So about 50m x 25m.

There was only ONE gate – only one way in to see God. This was a symbol of the entrance of salvation / life. Jesus says, “I am the Gate. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but I’m the Gate; I’ve come to give you eternal life.”

“Salvation is found in no one else. There is no other name under heaven, given to men by which we may be saved.”

John “I am the Gate” x2

1. Bronze altar =

Burnt sacrifice – burnt offerings of killed animals.

Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins who takes away the sins of the world.

2. Bronze Laver =

Wash basin – the priests cleanse their hands and feet before their duty. It symbolized their need for spiritual purity.

We also need daily purification / sanctification.

“If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you. But if you confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:7-9

“The blood of Jesus purifies me from all sin.”

B. Outer Room =

Only priests could enter, and there are 3 things present there.

  1. Table of showbread
  2. Aaron’s staff
  3. Pot of manna

3. Table of Showbread =

All the time, 12 loaves of bread displayed on the table – each one representing one tribe of Israel. Once a week on the Sabbath, that bread was changed to new bread, and the old bread was eaten by the priests on duty.

This is a symbol of spiritual nourishment: God provides for his people.

Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry / will never go thirsty.”

4. Golden Lampstand =

7 candles symbolizing “perfection” spiritually

Morning and evening, the priests burned candles. It’s a symbol of enlightenment, light, guidance in the world.

Jesus, “I’m the Light of the World. Whoever comes to me shall never walk in darkness.”

John’s gospel “In the beginning was the light, the light of men, it shined in darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

5. Altar of Incense =

Burned incense continually

Symbol of acceptable prayer of believers and continual access to God. How can we access God now? Through prayer.

We can approach the throne of grace with confidence because this symbolizes Jesus interceding for us as mediator.

Timothy “There is one mediator between God and man – the man Jesus Christ who gave his life as a ransom for all men.”

Incense = vapor going to heaven, like this our faithful prayers go to heaven.

C. Second Room =

The Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) – only the High Priest could enter that place ONCE per year on the Day of Atonement

In this room there is only ONE thing: The Ark of the Covenant

6. The Ark of the Covenant =

A symbol of God’s promise with his people (법궤).

It was overlaid with pure gold, and inside were three things:

  1. The Ten Commandments
  2. Aaron’s budded staff
  3. Pot (gold jar) of manna

The cover (called “The Mercy Seat”) was covered with cherubim (angels).

  1. Mercy Seat
  2. Atoning Sacrifice
  3. Propitiation (for our sins)

In that box: the most important thing: The Ten Commandments.

Before the Ten Commandments, everyone was recognized as sinners. The Commandments were like a spiritual mirror. With these Commandments, all people were recognized as sinners – and so the sins of the people were IN that box, and covered with the Mercy Seat.

The High Priest entered that place only ONE time per year ONLY with blood of lambs or goats, and sprinkled that blood on the top of the Mercy Seat (thus its name).

Through the sprinkling of blood on top of the Mercy Seat, God did not see the sins that were contained inside that box. This is a symbol of Christ.

  • 1 John “Jesus Christ is our atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.”
  • Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • Romans 3:24 “But all can be justified freely through his grace through Jesus Christ.”

God gives the forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus, by his grace.

v. 6-10

“6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.”

“…the time of the new order” = Jesus Christ – the better covenant

You know in this tabernacle, there is always a barrier to God.

  1. Ordinary people = to the Gate (not inside)
  2. Levites = into the courtyard
  3. Priests = into the Holy Place
  4. High Priest (one person) = the Most Holy Place

Jesus took ALL these barriers away and became our peace and reconciliation – between Jews and Gentiles, man and woman, slave and free, high and low.

Gal 3:28 “There are no Jews, Gentiles, no slave, free, no male, female in Christ. Jesus has made the TWO to become ONE and has destroyed all barriers between God and man.”

Conclusion: We can apply and enjoy this in our own lives – we must believe, accept, enjoy.

Conclusion: Only the BLOOD of Christ can make our consciences clear.

Is your conscience clear?

v. 9 “This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.”

v. 11-14

“11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Conclusion verse: “how much more!”

This is the contrast between v. 13 & 14

“How much more, then , will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Jesus himself never changes, so he is able to change everything.

  • He didn’t enter the earthly sanctuary, but the heavenly one.
  • He didn’t enter with the blood of animals, but his own.
  • He didn’t sacrifice for his own sins, but all our sins.
  • He didn’t enter the sanctuary repeatedly, but dwelt there repeatedly – where he IS, is the sanctuary.

In 4 ways, Jesus sacrifice of himself is totally different from the ceremonial system of the first covenant.

  1. Voluntary (animals lives were taken from them) – He laid his life down for his friends – now he calls you “friend”
  2. Spontaneous (animals were the product of LAW) – Jesus’ sacrifice was the product of LOVE
  3. Rational (animal victims did not know what it was doing – why it was there, what was happening to it) – Jesus, from first to last KNEW what / why he was doing it – and he died with his eyes wide open – he knew everything (rational)
  4. Spiritual / moral / loving (animals = mechanical sacrifice, like an assembly line, robots, etc) – but for Christ, all things at Calvary were not ceremonially prescribed, not mechanical – but his sacrifice was made through the Holy Spirit (eternal Spirit)

v. 14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to od, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Jesus’ sacrifice was not the mechanism of Law, but all three members of the Trinity were involved.

  1. Jesus the Son offered himself
  2. through the eternal Spirit
  3. to the Father God
    • to the surpassing greatness of God compared to the blood of animals.
  • v. 13 = Did the blood of animals have an effect? Yes, some effect – outwardly, temporarily, ceremonially, they were cleansed.
  • The point? IF the blood of animals had SOME effect, then HOW MUCH MORE the blood of Christ, who is God?

If you understand and accept this, you should respond “Amen!” (Do not check my English)

If you understand this message from the movement and touch of the Holy Spirit, you should respond “Amen! I have a clean conscience!”

Forgiveness: has two sides:

  1. God’s side: his demand for holiness is satisfied fully by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross
  2. Man’s side: our guilty consciences are scrubbed clean – there is no reason to feel defeated by guilty consciences – because he satisfies his requirements for holiness and wipes our “criminal record” (sins) clean – they are “NO MORE.”

If, let me give you one serious, practical question: Are you bothered by guilt today? At least there are two reasons:

  1. You have not understood that God can make your conscience clean – you must accept, believe, and enjoy this fact as real. God can make our consciences clean simply because of what Jesus did on the cross
  2. You have not yet received the gift of God through Christ because you have not asked. Accept your own inability to clean your own conscience and ask him to come in and do it for you.

Do you have any bad record in your history? He can cleanse ALL your conscience – there is no sin too great that he cannot forgive.

When Jesus comes into your life, he will change it.

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

Jesus changes everything in our lives.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 29 / 2019
  • Comments Off on True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles

Hebrews 6:7-12 (Pastor Heo)

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.


Last Sunday, I shared hermeneutics – right teaching, right interpretation, makes right Christians.

  • 1 John “If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you.”
  • Later in the same book “He who does what is sinful is of the devil. No one who is of God, sins.”

These two verses do not contradict each other. They support each other.

This means: we are sinless while we remain in God’s Word – but it is also possible for Christians to sin continually and deliberately. It is also possible for non-Christians to seem like true Christians for a time, but not to the End.

Point #1: Fruitfulness

We must produce fruit if we are born-again Christians.

v. 7-8

“7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

The real seed given care by the farmer and planted on fertile soil will produce bountiful crops. In this verse, the “seed” is the Word of God…

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus says, there’s only one kind of seed = “gospel”, but there are 4 kinds of soil = “hearts”.

The first three soils did not produce a crop.

  1. Hard (doesn’t understand the Word – immediately, the Word is snatched away)
  2. Rocky (the Word is received with joy, but half understood, no root, no faith – so when trouble comes, he falls away quickly)
  3. Thorny (infested – receives the Word, but mixed with the worries of this world, so they choke his faith out and makes it unfruitful)
  4. Good soil (receives the Word with faith, understands it, applies it to his life, obeys it, and produces fruit – authentic and living faith produces visible fruit)

Yes, our faith is invisible, but produces visible fruit.

Jesus in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, “Like this, by their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes? Like this, bad trees bear bad fruit, good trees bear good fruit. So then, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also like this, we will be recognized in the eyes of God by our fruit. How? Why? Because we have salvation – “found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)

v. 9

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.”

Keywords:

confident, assurance, salvation, better things

All things that accompany salvation are MUCH better than things we can get in this (material) world. In our inner and outer lives – visible and invisible lives.

Inwardly

The things that belong to salvation are evidenced by the HS as he testifies. Are you feeling the witness of the HS in you? He continually testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. Also, we have subjective voices inside that authenticates our standing with our God. One evidence = the sublimely conversive desire to converse with God as Father.

“You did not receive a spirit of fear, but a spirit of sonship and by him we cry, ‘Abba, father!'” This displays very close intimacy with God.

At the very root of this is the inner assurance that we are totally forgiven. We are reconciled to God and have the inner peace of God through Christ (supernatural and eternal).

John: “Peace, I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Outwardly

The things that belong to salvation are witnessed to by the characteristics of our character:

  1. True light
  2. Forgiving spirit
  3. generous heart
  4. truthful tongue

Authentic Christian heart produces authentic Christian character.

Like this, when the HS whispers “you are the child of God”, when we have a sense of inner peace, when our character has grown spiritually by the help and guidance of Christ, we can be confident of our spiritual standing.

If we are really born-again Christians, we need to know HOW our lifestyle should be. So the next verse teaches us this.

v. 10

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

We can see how our lifestyles should be as real born-again Christians.

God is just / right / righteous judge (Romans 14 “We all will stand before God’s Judgment Seat”) – individually, personally, we will all give an account of ourselves before God. Remember, he will never forget how hard we have worked for him, and his glory.

Sometimes we want to be remembered by others. But we must know that man’s remembrance of us is temporary – but God’s remembrance of us is eternal. Reward / inheritance of man is temporary, from God is eternal.

True salvation must change our lifestyles.

God never overlooks nor forgets our hard work for him. So we must continue to work wholeheartedly for him. So our service and caring for others are shown to him.

This doing good for others for his glory and his kingdom is not a performance, but a lifestyle. There’s a good example to show this lesson:

At the last Judgment Day, the King says to the saved on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, and receive your inheritance.” The Lord says to them, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25:35) They say, “When?” He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”

This is a very interesting, but meaningful story. It means that God remembers something about us that we do not remember.

Why do they not remember what they did? Because this was their lifestyle.

However, if this helping, serving, caring was an event, they would remember. But, as a part of their natural lifestyles, they do not remember.

  • So, what you have done without remembrance IS YOU – your lifestyle.
  • If you remember your deeds, this is not YOU – it is a performance, an event.

“When you give to the needy, do not let your right hand know what the left is doing…”

This means, caring, loving, serving should be our lifestyle – just like breathing. Can you count how many times you breathe in a day? No.

So, our caring lifestyle for others is loving God – because he created all human beings.

We must recognize that, generally speaking, God is father even to unbelievers – and potential “Father”.

  1. Be diligent! (v. 11)
  2. Do not be lazy! (v. 12)

v. 11-12

“We want each of you to show this same *diligence* to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Matt 24:13 “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

This does not mean that you must stand firm to the end in order to be saved, but rather it means that he who is REALLY saved is SURE to stand firm to the end.

These verses encourage us:

Avoid laziness, sloth, sluggishness.

Some people think: laziness is a matter of character / style / disposition. But this is a misunderstanding of laziness. Laziness is a terrible sin. It is wickedness.

Matt 25: The parable of the Talents.

One man got 1 talent, one 5, one 10. The man with 1 did nothing, he hid it. Jesus said, “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be thrown out into the darkness.”

What made him lazy? We must know the root of this attitude.

This servant who was lazy said, “Lord, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I hid the talent underground. See, here is the talent belonging to you.”

From this story, we can understand that laziness is misunderstanding about God – doubt about God. The root of laziness is faithlessness, no hope, no expectation, no grace, no love.

Laziness results from unbelief and results in condemnation. It is evidence of a graceless life.

Is there the grace of God in you? Are you under the grace of God? Are you assured of God’s grace at work in you?

1 Cor 15:58 (last verse of this resurrection chapter): “Therefore, my dear friends, let nothing move you, but always give your whole life fully / wholly to the work of God because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Paul “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” If we are real Christians, we should also be able to confess this. “By the grace of God, I am who I am.” (memorize this). Do you agree? Up to now in your life?

It means: “I confess, it is only God who did all things in my life up to now.”

  • And the next sentence “…I am what I am…”
  • Paul did NOT say “… so I did not work hard.”
  • Rather, Paul confessed, “… so I worked HARDER than all the other people.”

It means diligence is a sign that the grace of God is at work, actively, powerfully in you.

  • Laziness is a sign that there is no grace in my life.
  • Perseverance in loving service is clear evidence of hope.

Shall we say together: “…in order to make your hope sure.”

“Hope makes all the difference.”

The gospel is FULL of hope because it is the good news of great joy for ALL the people (young, old, intro/extroverted, etc). All people are invited into the hope of Christ. If you set your life in the hope of Christ, tomorrow offers huge opportunities – and Jesus has offered the hope – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Next time, let’s continue in detail with God’s Promise.

  • “God bless you with hope.”
  • “Put your hope in Jesus Christ.” (Really?)

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 22 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Move on toward Maturity! (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Move on toward Maturity! (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Recording started late – almost the end

Move on toward Maturity

Hermeneutics = theologically academic term – a very important subject in Bible school.

It means “the study of HOW to interpret the Bible.” To interpret the Bible biblically is so important. We know that many other religions also use the Bible and teach it and love it – but the difference is “interpretation”. They are different from us in crucial doctrinal points – especially salvation.

Different doctrinal beliefs makes faith different – this makes assurance of salvation different – our worldviews, lifestyles, and actions different. And finally, our final destination is different.

In a word: Different interpretation makes ALL different.

That’s why interpretation is so important. If we do not interpret the Bible biblically, we can be so uncertain – especially depending on which page in which we read.

  • One page: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
    • Another page: “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ enters the kingdom of heaven.”
  • One page: “We are saved by faith, not by works.”
    • Another page: “A person can be justified by what he does.” (James)
  • One page: “No condemnation in Jesus Christ.” (I’ll never lose my salvation).
    • Another page: “Through this, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Oh, no, I could lose it!)

That’s why interpretation is SO important. No verses actually contradict each other. Every verse edifies, builds up every other verse.

Another thing: TEXT must be interpreted IN CONTEXT.

We must interpret the Obscure by the Obvious.

As for salvation:

ONCE salvation = ALWAYS salvation (this means “eternal life”). A TRUE believer can never lose their salvation if they are a true believer in the sight of God.

If a sinner repents and believes in Christ, they can never be lost. But today’s passage is a serious warning:

It is possible to enjoy the blessings of God without being regenerated.

Q: Is it possible for non-Christians to enjoy the blessings of God – even spiritual blessings – without knowing God? YES.

What time is it now…

3 Examples:

My Story:

When I was in Tanzania and Kenya, my son John was in a boarding school – for missionary children. There were several one week breaks per year (Christmas, Easter, etc) – to see their parents. During the break, most students had to come out from the school because it was closed. Most of them went to stay with their parents, but some had difficulty to go to their parents for several reasons. Once, John brought his friend to my house to stay with me, at my house. Outwardly, I offered him the same benefits I offered my own son – food, bed, shopping, water, picnics outside. He enjoyed these blessings from me, and I blessed him in the name of Christ. But when he left my house, no more.

It was not that he was my son at the beginning, and when he left he lost his sonship. He was never actually my son at the beginning. He was just a visitor, staying in my house, receiving the same benefits my son received.

2nd Story:

Several times we saw the Exodus event.

Israel as a nation was a covenant community. In the Exodus, all of them placed the blood of the animals on their doorposts and all of them ate the lamb for Passover. All of them came out, and all of them passed miraculously through the Red Sea. All of them drank water from the rock, all of them ate manna from heaven. All of them heard the voice of God from the mountain, and all of them died in the wilderness.

The difference: Some were regenerated, some were not, but they were all members of the same heavenly covenant – so they all enjoyed the same blessings.

3rd Story:

Judas

He was a disciple, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

v. 4-6

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”

Judas, like this, tasted the Word of God, the powers of the coming age, the message and blessings of Jesus. But the truth was NOT that he WAS saved, and LOST it. The truth: he was an unbeliever from the beginning. Some time later, he fell from this life and returned to his old lifestyle. Jesus said, “It would be better if he had not been born. He was a devil from the beginning.”

Do you remember the 6 basic doctrines of Christianity from last week?

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith

These two go together all the time, and we must practice them every day. That’s why we must believe in Christ.

You know, as long as you stay in church, in the Christian community, you can enjoy blessings, no problem. But, that is not salvation. Salvation is found in Christ alone by faith alone, through grace alone.

Where there is life, there is growth. (I’m repeating this 3 weeks in a row.) Where there is salvation, there is change.

So, we must move on toward maturity. We must show we are saved through our growth.

Difference between immature vs. mature choices:

It is very clear, so check yourself – immature side, or mature side. Test yourself.

  • Mature choice: helping / serving others
    • Im: being helped / served
  • M: Developing a depth of understanding
    • I: struggling with the basic truths
  • M: Evaluating yourself
    • I: Criticizing yourself
  • M: Evaluating your feelings in the light of the Word of God
    • I: Evaluating your feelings according to your emotions
  • M: Seeking unity
    • I: Promoting disunity
  • M: Seeking to please God
    • I: Seeking to satisfy yourself
  • M: Studying, observing carefully
    • I: Accepting opinions and half-hearted efforts
  • M: Active and strong faith
    • I: Cautious and doubtful
  • M: Desiring spiritual challenges and sacrifices
    • I: Desiring entertainment and an easy life
  • M: Living with confidence, thanksgiving, love
    • I: Living with uncertainty and complaining
  • M: Ministry in church; mission in the world
    • I: No ministry in church; no mission in the world

Do you have these? So, we must pray at every moment. We must grow more and more, and love him more and more, and renew our dedication and devotion. We know TONIGHT is THAT day: Dedication Service (헌신예배). This is not a “show” or “performance” but another opportunity given from God to renew our dedication – not only together, but also individually and personally.

God bless all of us.

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.

  • Jul 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is Superior to Moses

Hebrews 3:1-6 (Pastor Heo)

1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, *fix your thoughts on Jesus*, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.


Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ

We have studied:

  • Jesus over angels
  • Jesus over Moses (today)

Jesus is much superior to Moses – we all agree, I think. If this is true, we may think, “Why we need to review and study this topic. This point is so obvious and natural. We don’t need to study this I guess.”

We know Jesus is God, Savior, Lord, Creator. Moses is a creation – a servant of God (one of the great ones, but not worthy to be compared to Christ).

Then, why do we need to study this topic?

To understand this, we need to understand the background – esp Jewish background. If we are unfamiliar with Jewish history, it is difficult to appreciate Moses’ high standing in their culture.

At that time he was the GREATEST of all men. At that time, some thought he was superior to Jesus, in fact.

In John 9, one day Jesus healed a man born blind. He spit on the ground and made mud with his saliva and put it on his eyes and told him to go wash. He did, and immediately, he could see.

After doing this, the people around him asked, “Who opened your eyes?” He said, “The man they called Jesus.” They asked again and again. He said again, “I answered clearly. Do you want to become his disciple?” They then insulted him. “YOU! You are the disciple of that fellow! But we are disciples of Moses!” (They thought Moses was superior to Jesus.)

According to Jewish history, there are 6 reasons why Moses is so highly exalted.

(But this is not the main topic – only to understand the background.)

  1. He was an inconquerable deliverable
    • (divinely chosen for his task – his life was miraculously preserved even under the sentence of death as a baby – plucked from the Nile river. God ordained him at the burning bush.)
  2. He performed the most miracles
    • (at least 10 plagues over Egypt – Nile -> blood, frogs & gnats, flies, the death of livestock, boils, hail, darkness over Egypt, death of the firstborn – after the plagues, he parted the Red Sea with his staff and passed through on foot – he smote the rock and released mineral water in the desert. In the battle against the Amalakites, when his hands were up, the Jews were winning).
  3. He was the greatest prophet
    • (God communicated to other prophets through visions, dreams, symbols, revelation – but to Moses directly. God said, “Listen to my words” (Numbers 6:12) “with Moses, I speak face to face.”)
  4. He was the Law Giver
    • (The Law was the greatest thing in all the world at that time – 10 commandments, etc – When he received the 10 commandments, his face shown and radiated. He received laws about the tabernacle, the levitical law, etc. The first 5 books of the Bible are the Law of Moses).
  5. He was the greatest historian
    • (The Pentatuch – the first 5 books in the OT – these are still the most important historical and religious books to the Jews today. Moses wrote them all.)
  6. Moses was meeker and gentler than all others
    • (God said, “My servant Moses is meeker than all others on the face of the earth.” He was the MOST “gentle”man.)

The first recipients of the book of Hebrews were the Jews. So, it was important to make it clear that Jesus is superior to Moses.

How about today? Yes, we still need to know that Jesus is much MORE important than the most important thing or person you have in your mind. Are you clear in this matter?

Challenge: If Jesus is NOT #1 in your life, Jesus is not your Lord / Savior.

Please take this and think on it seriously.

Today, who is Moses to you? What is your “Moses”? (The most important other thing / person in your life.) Jesus is much more superior to this.

v. 1

“1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”

Holiness:

  • Set apart FROM something
    • TO something
  • From Satan, sin, the world
    • To God, holiness, service

“I’m holy.”

We are set apart to service to God. Salvation is a heavenly calling. Someday, God will bring us to his home – heaven – and go to live with Christ forever and ever. If we are called, we must fix our thoughts on Jesus. This is the key message.

“Fix our thoughts on Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith.” (repeated idea)

Are you doing this?

Let me ask this question: What / who are you becoming?

Consciously or unconsciously, we are BECOMING whatever we are looking at and looking for. We are becoming what we are focusing on and seeking and worshiping. What / who are you worshiping? We are becoming what we are worshiping.

Yes, no we are worshiping Christ – but “to fix on” means to “give diligent and continual observation and mind to”. Continually contemplate on these things.

What do we need to fixate on Christ? Let me share 4 things.

#1 Desire (zeal / passion / enthusiasm)

This is the beginning point. No desire? No fixation.

David showed his desire to see God. Ps 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

Ps 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul thirsts for God. My tears have been my food day and night.”

NT: Apostle Paul in Phi 3:8-10 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing my Lord Jesus – for whose sake I’ve lost all things – I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I want to know Christ and his resurrection, becoming like him in his death.”

Do you have desire?

Without desire, it is impossible.

If you have no desire, pray for it. “God, give me passion to know you and make you known to others.”

#2 Concentration

We must put Jesus first in our lives and keep him before us at all times in order to fix our thoughts and minds on him.

Concentration is power.

#3 Discipline

This comes from “disciple” – we want to be disciples and disciple-makers.

Without discipline, disciples cannot be made fully.

Discipline = “self-training”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

I need discipline. I know that. And so do you.

#4 Time

This worship service is 11-12:20 or so. “We need time.”

But we know today that people are losing patience – becoming more and more impatient. They like “microwave – culture”. Quick service, “Rocket delivery”, fast food.

But, especially in the spiritual life, we need patience, perseverance, endurance. We need time to meditate, to think, to grow, to heal, to recover, to fix our thoughts on Christ. We need MORE time.

For example: We cannot enjoy the beauty of this country without time.

Please spend more time, much time with him in your devotional time.


Who is Jesus in this verse one?

“…the apostle and high priest…”

This is very interesting. This is the ONLY place in the whole 66-book Bible where he is referred to as this “apostle.”

As “high priest” he is introduced about 12 times. This is one of the themes of Hebrews.

What does this mean?

  • “Apostle” = “the one who is sent”
  • Apostolos = Greek = he who is sent

Jesus explained that he was “sent” by his Father God – more than 10 times in John. This means that Jesus is the FIRST, greatest apostle. He is the source and foundational of ALL following apostles. His apostleship means “Mission Accomplished.” (He shouted this on the cross ‘it is finished.’)

He is also the High Priest (par excellence) – he was fully God and fully Man.

Jesus is the ONLY person through whom God speaks to man; and man can approach God (Jesus is the bridge / mediator).

Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he is always interceding for them.”

Jesus is the representative of the Trinity God in meeting man. Also, he is the representative of ALL human beings in meeting God.

He is the bridge between God and man.

v. 2-6

“2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, *testifying* [this is the real reason Moses was considered a great man before God] to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

The logic:

  • Moses is a house? Jesus is the builder.
  • Moses is a servant? Jesus is the son.

What a difference.

The real spiritual, eternal reason why Moses was accepted by God as “great” was that he was faithful to his task – given by God.

The reality of Moses was that he was faithful in his mission – to testify about Jesus. What a great secret / mystery from the perspective of God.

In John, Jesus evangelized a man named Philip and when he met him he said, “Follow me.” After being evangelized, the first thing Philip did was to evangelize others. Immediately, he met his friend Nathaniel and said, “Come and see! I have found the One whom Moses wrote about in the Law! He is Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.”

That’s why Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” – because Moses wrote about Jesus.

Jesus himself testified that Moses wrote the 5 books about him.

That’s why, whenever I preach, I should focus on Jesus. If you believe my sermon, you will believe in Christ as Savior and Lord because I focus on Christ.

We are called as heavenly, holy people and someday we will leave this world and live with him.

The greatest and eternal legacy we can leave behind on earth is to testify about Christ.

Last sentence: are you saved?

Remember, very practically,

To BE saved, yet NOT to proclaim Christ as Savior is impossible – because salvation has such a powerful power.

God bless your thoughts, mouth, hands, feet, interests, purpose in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 30 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Pay More Attention (Hebrews 2:1-4)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Pay More Attention (Hebrews 2:1-4)

Download Notes in a .MD file (No recording this week)

Pay more attention!

Hebrews 2:1-4 (Pastor Heo)

1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.


Jesus is the creator, sustainer, purifier, sitting down at the right hand of God in heaven. He is the brightness of God’s glory and exact representation of his being. He is the visible representation of the invisible God.

Last week, we saw Jesus’ superiority over all angels. He is NOT a superior angel but is superior TO angels.

  1. Superior name
  2. honor/worship
  3. status
  4. existence
  5. duration

We are much more blessed than the OT believers who received the Word of God through angels and prophets only – but we are receiving God’s Word through Christ’s mouth and actions. This is why we have the Bible. The Word is near you – in your mouths, hearts.

Faith comes from hearing the message – and the message from the Word of Christ.

The fact that we are much more blessed means that we also have much more responsibility.

Today’s message is SERIOUS.

Maybe some of us may dislike today’s message, but I hope and wish that all of us will be blessed through today’s message.

Hebrews is a book of warnings.

Do you like warnings? When you drive on the highway, you may encounter warning signs.

This part is the first warning in Hebrews – the warning of neglect. All warnings SHOUT “danger!”

Yes, our Christian life is a pilgrimage – we are foreigners on this earth. As our journey through this world, it will be dangerous.

Warnings in Hebrews

  1. Danger of Neglect
  2. Danger of Unbelief (chp 3)
  3. Danger of Not growing (chp 5)
  4. Danger of Drawing back – old life (chp 10)
  5. Danger of Refusing God (chp 12)

One of the ancient symbols in Christianity is a boat.

Matthew 15 – after Jesus fed 5,000 men, he made the disciples go in a boat across the water to the other side. He sent the crowd home, and went up onto a mountain to pray. He remained up there until night.

After midnight, the boat was far out in the lake, and buffeted by strong winds and waves. Jesus walked out to them.

They said, “It’s a ghost!”

Jesus said, “Do not worry. It is I.”

Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, call me to you.”

Jesus said, “Come.”

Peter walked out on the water toward Jesus – but when he saw the wind and waves, he began to sink into the water, and cried, “Lord! Save me!”

Jesus did so, but said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”

They climbed into the boat and the wind and waves died down. They all knelt before him and worshiped him and called him “Son of God.”

Peter – when he fixed his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on the water. But when he saw the wind and waves, he sank.

Hebrews: “Fix your eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Yes, our lives in this world are also like a boat – and a journey – we are constantly on the move. Paul also confessed this. We cannot be fixed in the same position and status all the time – whether or not we recognize this, we are constantly on the move and changing.

The fact that we are changing means – we are changing:

  • to the better (good)
  • to the worse (bad)

If we are not becoming BETTER, we are becoming WORSE.

Today’s warning: Pay more careful attention to change to the better.

v. 1

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. “

[recording?]

“Drift away” = nautical term = a boat term

This means that a boat on the sea is just moving passively, aimlessly, by wind or waves with no set direction or purpose.

How can we drift away? Very easily: Do nothing.

If you do nothing – the wind, the stream, the waves, life’s circumstances – will make you drift away.

In our Christian life, drifting away is very easy. This does not mean rejecting salvation but neglecting salvation. It’s not a non-Christian, but a service-less Christian.

We may become careless or complacent in our devotion to Christ. We may backslide into sin that we formerly rejected. We may compromise our morals and disobey Christ’s teaching. We may neglect Christian service and become inactive, indifferent Christians.

At this moment, I want to ask very practical questions – also to me – for checking our lives and know whether we are drifting away or not.

In these questions, our answers should be “YES!” (should be, hopefully) – to make it clear that we are not drifting away.

“You must pay. more. careful. attention.”

  1. Pay more attention to the Word of Christ than the words of man?
  2. Pay more attention to your ministry in church than your own hobby, taste, dress?
  3. Pay more attention to your mission from God than your career and salary? (Well…)
  4. Pay more attention to the GOOD news of salvation than the BAD news on channel 9?
  5. Pay more attention to attending worship on Sunday than doing your own schedule on Sunday?
  6. Pay more attention to winning the lost to Christ than pleasing yourself?

0/6

For most of us, the threat is not that we plunge into disaster, but that we drift into sin.

FEW Christians suddenly turn their backs on God, but MANY Christians drift away slowly.

Few Christians commit some drastic, terrible sin at once, but many drift into small sins, slowly, gradually, and one day find they are far off course.

That’s why we must be aware all the time – careful of where we are going.

The REASON to pay attention

v. 2-3

This is the REASON why we must pay more careful attention.

“2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”

Yes, Jesus is much more superior to angels. IF he surpasses angels, then his message must surpass the message of angels.

We know angels are the messengers of God.

“If” is not “maybe” but “because” in this sentence – repeated twice.

“If” angel’s messages are to bring blessing and be obeyed, or if the messages brought punishment, HOW MUCH MORE in the case of Christ?

Christ’s word = much MORE blessing; or greater punishment and judgment.

This is the message of v. 2

This is why we have much more responsibility. “”Ability to respond”

To WHAT we should pay attention

v. 3

“3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”

That’s why salvation is called “Great Salvation.”

You know, this IS great. It is the miracle of miracles; the sign of signs; the wonder of life.

Q: Are you living a Christian life in this world?

This life is ALL about salvation. Our Christian life begins with salvation. If you are not saved, no matter how long you’ve attended church, you are not a Christian.

  • Also, the journey, pilgrimage of a Christian life is salvation.
  • Also, the final destination of a Christian life is salvation.

Eph 2:12 ‘Continue to work out your salvation with humility, fear, and trembling.’

This is the journey of salvation.

1 Peter 2:9 “The final goal of your journey is salvation.”

“Salvation can be found in no one else; there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 2:12)

“What a Beautiful Name it is.” – the name of Jesus Christ – it is beautiful because salvation is found only in this name.

1 Tim 1:15 “Trustworthy saying – Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.”

We all need salvation.

“It is by grace, through faith, you have been saved. It is the GIFT of God so that no one can boast.”

We must remain humble.

Yes, even Father God, Son God, the Holy Spirit God (the Triune God). The HS testifies about the Son because salvation is only available through him.

How to APPLY this lesson

v. 4

This is our job – our practical lessons – how to apply this lesson.

“God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

Even the Father testified to “it” – what is “it”? “It” is “Great Salvation” which can be found only in Jesus Christ.

Signs, wonders, miracles are not the END – they are just the MEANS (method).

There should be no differentiation made between them because God’s work encompasses them all. God’s work = “wonderfully miraculous signs” – and through these, God is testifying to “Great Salvation” through Jesus Christ. Also – the gifts of the HS testify to him – and are distributed according to his will.

John 5:37 “The Father who sent me has testified concerning me…”

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes whom I’ll send to you from the Father, he will testify about me…”

What are the “gifts” of the HS? This word is used in various ways and has various meanings depending on context:

  • salvation, grace, favor, faith, present, talent for ministry, ability for service…

Usually we consider this word to mean talent / ability for service in church. But in this context it means “special ability to help save others.”

The HS empowers every believer with one or more gifts – distributed according to his will. To use these gifts effectively, we must realize that all these gifts come from God and not everyone has the same gifts. The HS decides which gift each believer should have. The gifts are various, but the purpose is one in the same – to testify about Christ, build the church, and spread the kingdom of Christ in this world.

Do you have gifts?

What am I doing with these gifts? With this gift for the salvation of others?

We have a privilege, responsibility, to use and sharpen our gifts.

v. 1 “You must PAY ATTENTION…”

We are given a special task / purpose.

Without purpose, our lives in this world are meaningless motion, directionless activity, reasonless events.

God has given us a “purpose driven life.”

“I must live by God’s given purpose driven life.”

God bless your tongue, your words, that they may be fruitful in this world for his glory.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 26 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Gospel (Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Gospel (Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Romans: The Gospel (Pastor Heo)

Romans 1:1-7, 1 Cor 15:1-4

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Cor 15:1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,


These verses are the CORE message of the gospel. We know (we recently studied) that ALL the books in the Bible are “All About Jesus”. Also, this book, Romans, is focused on the gospel. Romans is the gospel of gospels – and it is focused on the gospel from first to last. The full, pure, clear, direct gospel – the essence of the gospel.

The word “gospel” appears 12 times. This is more than in any other book than the whole Bible. Interestingly, even more often than in the first 4 books of the New Testament (these are referred to as the “Gospels”: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). So, in this way, Romans is “The Gospel according to Paul.”

We know this gospel is not a new story, but a very, very old story. This is not invented by men, but originates from God – it is always unchangeable – the same message forever.

The Christian Truth is a paradox = something that appears wrong/strange but it true.

  • Jesus: “He who wants to save his life, will lose it.”
  • “He who wants to be first, will be last.” – To be a leader, you must serve.
  • Last week: “True freedom is found in slavery (to Christ).”

This morning’s paradox: “The gospel is an OLD story, but it is NEWS. It should be proclaimed everyday, even today. It is the story of Death (but we call it ‘Good News of Great Joy’). The gospel is an unchangeable story, but it changes you and me – from death to life, purposeless to purposeful, defeat to victory.”

Romans 1:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-4 are the BEST and MOST CLEAR messages of the Gospel in the whole Bible.

“…according to the Scriptures” = according to Old Testament prophecy.

Jesus =

  • fully Man (proven by his physical birth – Romans 1:3), and
  • fully God (proven by his resurrection – Romans 1:4)

So, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the core message of the gospel = the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “What I received I pass on to you as of first importance…” The gospel message = that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose again from the dead for our complete salvation and he is able to save completely those who trust in him.

This is the miraculous story of the substitutionary death of Jesus for us.

The core message of the gospel is: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Today’s sermon title: “Gospel”

Today in our sermon, I want all of us to focus on the core message of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ). Let me share 6 characteristics of this core message:

Core: Jesus Died on the cross for you sin (my sin) and rose again from the dead, and is now able to save completely from death those who trust in Him. This message is begun from before Genesis. Yet, this is “news” that should be announced and known and revealed today as “good news.”

Characteristics of the Death & Resurrection:

#1 These are MAIN prophecies in the OT

This was promised and preached even in the OT, long ago – even though they didn’t realize what they were writing.

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [Eve], and between your offspring [devil, evil spirits] and hers [the Messiah]; he [Jesus] will crush your head [Satan’s – first prophesy of Jesus’ resurrection], and you [Satan] will strike his heel [his suffering, crucifixion, and death on the cross].” Literally, this is a curse given to the serpent – the first curse.

This verse, in the very first curse in the world, the gospel is included. So, this verse is called the “Primitive Gospel” (원시복음) – Euangelion = gospel (Greek)

We can trace the path of blood through the whole Old Testament.

  1. Genesis 4: Able,
  2. Ram on the mountain (Isaac),
  3. sacrifices throughout Israel’s history
  4. David, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, etc…

ALL these offerings point to ONE offering that will be offered on the cross by Jesus.

Isaiah prophesied: “He was crushed for our iniquities…”

#2: The pages that mark the story of the gospel take up more pages in the NT than any others – this is remarkable.

Jesus lived on earth for 33 years, but the gospel message (death and resurrection) = 1/5 of all the Gospel books. Even in the OT, this event was marked as supreme importance (focus of prophecies).

#3: The death and resurrection is the MAIN PURPOSE of The Incarnation (God becoming Man)

There are several purposes of The Incarnation:

  1. To teach us doctrine
  2. To show an example
  3. To become our High Priest
  4. To die (the MAIN purpose) and rise (for our salvation)

Actually, God cannot die – but he became a Man to die. That’s why Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” John “If a kernel of wheat does not die, it does not produce a crop, but if it dies, it produces MANY.”

This is the direct purpose and connection with the Incarnation (the redemption of the lost). The Incarnation is not an “end” in itself, but it is a “means to an end” – to save the lost.

#4: Essential for our forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life

John 3:14-15 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Yes, this gospel is absolutely necessary for our eternal life.

Hebrews 4:2 “Jesus Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Question: how can we be saved from our sin?

We need forgiveness everyday, every moment. Just like we need to wash our hands everyday, every night and morning. So, how can we receive this forgiveness from God? By repentance – Yes and No.

  • God is a righteous God, so he cannot pardon sin ONLY on the ground of the sinner’s repentance.
  • God can forgive a sinner ONLY when the penalty is first PAID. He is a holy and righteous God.

In order to forgive sinners, and still remain a holy and righteous God, Jesus first PAID the penalty for us in our place. Now, if we believe in him, there is no condemnation against us and God can forgive our sins and welcome us back into his kingdom.

“The blood of Christ purifies us from all sins.”

The root of all disease, sickness, suffering is sin. There is only one remedy for sin: the blood of Christ.

#5: These are Vital elements in Christianity

Honestly speaking, Christianity is NOT a religion, but it is called a religion – because in this world there are many religions. Actually, Christianity is LIFE itself. So, what is the difference between Christianity and other religions?

Other religions base their claims on the teaching of their founders (Muhammad, Buddha, etc).

But Christianity assigns all its importance on the DEATH of its founder. If we remove the death of Christ from Christianity, then it becomes the same as a religion of the world. This is the heart of Christianity.

Other religions do not even mention the death of their founders. Why? Because they are dead and gone (and they have massive, beautiful tombs enshrining them that many take pilgrimages to visit). But, Christianity’s founder? Where is his tomb? There is none.

Jesus’ resurrection is called the “First Fruits” of human resurrection. Only Christ has the power and authority to say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me.”

  • He died for our sins,
  • he is living for our salvation, and
  • he is coming again soon for our eternal glorification.

The founders of other religions are dead, gone, entombed, and leave only a memory.

But Christ is risen from the dead and gives us a power and love and life through his resurrection.

#6: This is of supreme interest even in heaven

In the Kingdom of Heaven, this is the first concern. For example, do you know the story of the Transfiguration on the Mountain? Jesus, Peter, and John met Elijah (the Prophets) and Moses (the Law). (This is repeated in Matthew and Luke). They spoke with Jesus on the mountain about his “departure” (i.e. death and resurrection) which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem soon. This indicates that the main concern of heaven is this event. You know, even in Revelation, the elders and choir sang a song about the redemption accomplished by the death and resurrection of Christ. Rev 5:11 “thousands upon thousands and ten thousands upon ten thousands of angels joined in the chorus…” – to sing a song of the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ.

This indicates that this event is the #1 concern even in heaven.

So, those who have the veil of humanity removed from their eyes and can see the kingdom of heaven, fully praise and exalt the death and resurrection of Christ. So, we also must study this.

Romans 1:1-7 we can see “called” 4 times:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, *called* to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship *to call* all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and *called* to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this mean?

We are called by God to call others to God through the message of the gospel.

Who were the great men in the OT? The men who HEARD the call of God and ANSWERED. (Abraham, Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Moses)

Even today, this is the same.

  • We are CALLED. Did you hear? Are you hearing?
  • We are called to call others to God through the message of the gospel.

God bless all of us so that we may hear and respond to the call of God.

God is calling me to call others to God through the message of the gospel, the message of salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 16 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Believe in Jesus, and be Saved

Acts 16:16-31 (Pastor Heo)

“Accept Jesus, and everything will be fine.”

  • Not true: in that even though we accept Jesus, some things will be NOT fine.
  • But TRUE: in that we know that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”


Still, this last sentence is available to everybody at anytime “Believe and you will be saved – you and your household.”

  1. After Macedonia, Paul and his team set sail on the Aegean Sea and traveled to Philippi – a Roman colony (and Paul’s first mission field in Europe).
  2. After arriving on the Sabbath Day, they went outside to a place of prayer – where they met a small group of women.
  3. Paul shared the gospel with them, and one woman believed (Lydia) – and her whole household also believed and were all baptized immediately.
  4. She then opened her house to these apostles as their mission base in Europe. This is the story of the first Christians in Europe.

v. 16

“16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,…

we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Why did this annoy Paul?

We should know that evil spirits can speak the truth partially, temporarily, but the end goal is destruction.

Imagine, if Paul accepted the witness of the evil spirit, he would be thought to be linking the gospel of Christ with the evil spirits – and also the slave girls’ owners were doing “prophecy for profit” which Paul would be accused of if he didn’t end it. Thus, he was upset and troubled.

Remember, Paul did not say this to the girl, he spoke to the evil spirit directly, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (He did not cast the demon out by his own power, but by the power of Christ).

Yes, the Christian life is engaged in spiritual warfare. Eph 6 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Our struggle is against… spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Our fighting is not against other human beings, not against our spouses, nor children, nor our neighbors, nor other people. Rather, it is against Satan, against the sinful nature, against demons, against our old selves.

Immediately, the demon left her.

Good news or bad? GOOD!

She became free from the control of Satan’s evil spirit, but her owners were not happy and became very angry. They didn’t concern themselves with this poor girl, but only cared about $$$.

Paul was preaching eternal truth, but they had no care that this girl was healed. They exploited her misfortune for their fortune…

Even today, there are people around us whose only, first concern, is money. This is a clear sign of idolatry.

The men seized Paul and dragged him into the marketplace.

v. 19-21

“19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” “

By calling them “Jews” (accurate though it was), they were playing off natural “anti-Semitism” present in the area.

v. 22

“22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. “

Can you imagine this situation?

Paul and Silas stripped half-naked and beaten within an inch of their lives, so painful, put in prison, two feet fasten with chains, all doors shut up tight, a jailor watching over them day and night.

Actually, they’d committed no crime, but they were treated as one of the most dangerous criminals (maximum security prison) for doing good.

Consider this:

Yes, Paul and Silas are Christians, brothers in Christ with us.

IF you were Paul and Silas in this TERRIBLE situation, what should you do? How would you respond?

What did they do?

They did not complain; nor blame; nor cry out; call out for revenge; they did not curse anyone nor anything nor themselves.

They worshiped God in this dark place.

Let us give a big hand to them in heaven now.

Imagine in THIS situation, they worshiped God with prayer and songs (“It is well” perhaps? something similar). HOW is this possible?

They responded to their terrible circumstances so unnaturally, so supernaturally. They DECIDED to worship God in this situation (and yes, it was a DECISION). How is this possible?

Here are 4 grounds for WHY they had to worship God in this terrible situation:

WHY Paul & Silas worshiped God in their darkness

1. They knew they believed God WAS THERE

Yes, in body, they were in prison, but they KNEW God was there with them in spirit. Wherever we may be, God is there.

Wherever you may go, God is there with you. The presence of Christ is present wherever you may be.

“God is there; God is here.”

Even when you are fighting; you are in a bad, sad, or terrible situation. This is always true, whether you remember or not: God is THERE.

Psalm “If I go to the heavens, God is there; if I go to the depths of the sea, God is there.”

With God, there is FREEDOM even in prison, there is LIGHT even in darkness.

Tortulion? said, “If your heart is in heaven, your legs will feel nothing even in stocks.”

They chose to worship God because the knew he was THERE with them.

2. They believed GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yes, even today, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, sovereign, and in control of all things.

Yes, Paul and Silas had no reason to expect a miracle. Yes, they knew that God had previously delivered Paul from prison, but they also remembered that Stephen and James had been martyred. So, they didn’t know what would happen to them.

Yet, they still sang praises to God because they believed that he COULD deliver them if he chose. This is reminiscent of the three friends in Daniel (Sadrach, Mishach, and Abednego), “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves in this manner. If you throw us into the fire, our God is able to save us from the fire. But even if he does not, we shall never worship your gods nor the image of gold you have set up for yourself.”

Remember: God is in control of everything.

3. They believed Jesus (their Lord) would REWARD them

They were being persecuted for the sake of their Lord. So they knew without doubt that Jesus would reward them abundantly.

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted for me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In this way, the people persecuted the prophets in the OT.” (Matthew)

Paul “I do not consider our present sufferings to be anything compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to everyone as he has merit.”

4. They knew / believed without doubt that in the END (the very end), everything would be fine

This is strong faith.

Yes, we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, 10 years later, 100 years later, but we DO KNOW what will happen in the VERY END – and it’s gonna be fine.

Paul “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul “If I live, I belong to Christ; if I die, I belong to Christ. So whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.”

Paul’s attitude:

  • If I die, I get to be with Christ – WIN!
  • If I live, I get to preach about Christ – WIN!

How will we respond to sufferings and trials in our lives? And how will people react to our responses?

Remember: Prayer and praise are POWERFUL weapons in spiritual warfare.

v. 25

“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” “

Please remember, prayer and praise are powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.

All of a sudden, God responded to their faithful attitude. He shook the foundations of the prison and opened all the doors widely and loosed all the chains.

All the prisoners could have fled if they had wanted, but they all stayed right there. The fear of God was upon them all, and God himself kept them there. The prisoners knew that the praying and singing of these two prisoners had caused this, and there must be something very special about them.

But the jailor thought they had run, so he almost committed suicide.

At that time, according to Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailors should receive the penalty of the prisoners.

But at that time, Paul said to the jailor, “Don’t harm yourself; we are all here.” He ran out and knelt down before the prisoners. “What must I do to be saved?”

In this situation, suddenly the tables were turned:

  • the jailor became the prisoner (spiritually);
  • and the prisoners became the jailor. “What must I do to be free?” (This is the cry of the lost worldwide.)

This is the most relevant question in our lives. His question means he KNEW he was lost, a sinner, a prisoner, a captive. He knew he needed freedom and he asked, “What must I DO to be saved?”

Do you have a clear answer to this question? All the lost have this question in their hearts, in their spirits. Do you have a clear answer to this question?

  • Paul did not answer: “DO something…”
  • He answered: “BELIEVE in Christ.”

If we receive (or spread) the message that “you must DO something” to be saved, then this is NOT the gospel message. Just BELIEVE in Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, “for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 3?).

Jesus said, “It is FINISHED!”

He has DONE all things necessary for our salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth you confess and with your heart you are justified…?”

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved. It is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”

Acts 3 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

What a powerful name.

John 3:16-17 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world… Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed.”

What is the meaning of ‘believe’?

Believe = Be – Live

  • BE in Jesus
  • LIVE in Jesus

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

This does NOT mean that the jailor’s faith will automatically bring faith to his family – but rather, “they will be saved IF they also believe.”

We cannot be saved by proxy nor in a group – we are only saved individually, with a personal relationship with Christ.

Still today, all lost souls cry out from their spirits: “What must I DO to be saved?”

“Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Around us today, who knows if the one we share the gospel message with was not one who wanted to kill themselves just one minute ago. “Don’t kill yourself!”

Even around us today, there are so many people who are harming themselves on purpose or in spite of themselves.

What a glorious thing to offer salvation to those who are harming themselves simply by believing in Christ (plus nothing).

We must give this message to the lost:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Let’s pray.

 

  • Dec 09 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Story of the First Christian in Europe (Acts 16:11-15)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Story of the First Christian in Europe (Acts 16:11-15)

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The story of the first Christian in Europe

Acts 16:11-15 (Pastor Heo)

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.


15:36-18:32 = Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

The original plan was to revisit the churches he’d previously established already in Asian Minor. But the area of his journey was unexpectedly widened.

First part: revisited Derbe, Lystra, Iconium – and tried to preach in neighboring areas. But he was prevented from preaching the gospel by the HS. So, he tried to go near the Black Sea, but he wasn’t allowed. God closed the door twice. So, he went to Troas – the west end of Asia Minor. Here, God opened the door through a vision.

Yes, God closes some doors and opens others. Even today, all our steps and all our stops should be led and guided by God.

In this story, God closed the familiar, easy, known doors, but opened the difficult, impossible, farther doors. We can see 4 wonderful openings in this chapter.

  1. Opened the doors for Europe mission
  2. Opened the heart of Lydia
  3. Opened the doors of the prison (earthquake) – next Sunday
  4. Opened the doors of the Philippian jailors – next Sunday

Practical lesson:

  • Some doors we want to be opened may be closed (job seeking, children’s education, dreams, ambitions, family, etc).
  • But what is important is that though some doors are closed DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED – because God can open unexpected doors.
  • Never give up expecting the unexpected guidance of God.

Chp 16 highlights 3 individuals who became believers by Paul’s ministry in Macedonia:

  1. Lydia – business woman
  2. Demon-possessed girl
  3. Philippian jailor

Even today, the gospel reaches old and young, rich and poor, male and female, because it is unchangeable and immutable. “The gospel is the POWER of God for everyone who believes.”

v. 11-12

“11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. “

We know Troas was the place where Paul saw the vision of the man of Macedonia. In response to this, Paul and his team immediately boarded the ship and sailed across the Aegean Sea. They traveled 10 miles inland to Philippi from there. This is a significant location for European mission.

The city name = named after Philip II of Macedon – the father of Alexander the Great. This city became a Roman colony in 42 BC. This place is the FIRST place the gospel was preached in Europe. It was Paul’s first mission in Europe as well. He wrote a letter called: “Philippians” to this church – it is very tender, showing his relationship with this first church he planted.

Remember: Philippi is the FIRST place the gospel was preached in Europe and the first mission of Paul in Europe.

v. 13

“13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. “

Are you also looking for a “place of prayer” in your life?

Remember, Paul always went to the synagogue first in a new city. This is where the truth-seekers went – the Jews and the Gentiles who liked the Jewish traditions.

Actually, there was no synagogue in Philippi – there were very few Jews. In Jewish traditions, at least 10 Jewish men needed to be present for their to be a synagogue. In this situation, the Jewish people would often go outside the city near the riverbank or seaside for prayer. That’s why Paul went out there – also to pray for guidance in his ministry and to find the people who were praying.

Paul knew personally that God had called him there – but he still needed to pray.

  • Yes, when we do NOT know God’s will, we must pray. We know this.
  • But, when we DO know God’s will, we ALSO must pray.

Someone said, “We don’t need to pray because ‘God knows your needs before you ask.'” But actually the OPPOSITE is true. If we believe this, then we absolutely MUST pray! Because God will meet our need through our prayer. It is not enough to know WHAT and WHERE God wants us to work, but we must also learn WHEN and HOW he wants us to work.

In this place, Paul’s first contact was with a group of women (even though he’d seen a man in his vision). He presented the gospel to these women.

God led Paul to a Roman colony and a Christian flag was “unfurled” in Rome that day. This area became the beginning of the mission.

v. 14

“14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”

One woman responded to his message – a woman from Thyatira (referenced in Revelation later) named Lydia.

This woman Lydia, like Cornelius, was very religious and sincere – a worshiper of God – a woman of high character, but not yet saved (so she needed salvation). She needed Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else.” (this is a basic pillar of Christianity).

We need to notice that God opened her heart to respond to the message of the gospel. God opened her heart. This woman listened earnestly, positively, attentively, to the Word of God. It is the Word of God that brings the hearer to Christ (Rom 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing”)

  • Phil 2:12 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”
  • Jesus: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and obeys them … has crossed over from death to life.”

Paul’s witness of Christ and Lydia’s attentive listening was opened and orchestrated by God. God is opening and closing the doors.

  • Proverbs 13:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord establishes his footsteps.”
  • “Trust in God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength; in all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

v. 15

“15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. “

As Lydia placed her trust in Christ, she experienced the joy of all her sins being forgiven, and her joy overflowed into her whole household – and they were all saved and baptized together. This is “household salvation”. In Acts, there are at least 4 instances of this occurring.

  1. Chp 10: Cornelius and family
  2. Chp 16: Lydia and family
  3. Chp 16: Jailor and family (next week)
  4. Chp 18: Crispus and family

They were all converted together and baptized together (not necessary for salvation). Baptism is an OUTWARD sign of an INWARD reality – that you now belong to Christ.

She then invited the missionaries to use her house as their home base while in Philippi.

The fruit of her conversion: hospitality

Actually, this is so important: the ministry of hospitality.

  • Romans 12:13 “Share with those who are in need, practice hospitality.”
  • 1 Peter 4:9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Hospitality is related to “hospital” and “hospice.” We practice this when we generously and cordially throw open the doors of our house to care for, strengthen, edify, build up others.

The result? Others find emotional, mental, physical help – they leave us as healthier, happier, more whole people than when they came to us.

Is this your hospitality? Is this your practice?

Our house should be a hospital and hospice.

We are saved by grace alone through faith alone (plus nothing). But remember, salvation has POWER and generates FRUIT.

  • “Salvation has POWER”
  • “Salvation is new Life”
  • “Salvation is new Creation”

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation. Behold! The Old has gone, the New has come!”

So, if we are TRULY saved, then we will be changed, and there will be transformation in our lives as evidence of this change.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)

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The First Church Council

Acts 15:1-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Council at Jerusalem

1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” 12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ [Amos 9:11-12] 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain (1) from food sacrificed to idols, (2) from blood, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. 30 The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them [34 but Silas decided to remain there]. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.


This, chp 15 is the first church council / conference in history. This is “The Jerusalem Council”. Main locations are Jerusalem and Antioch (300 miles / 500 km between them). This council happens between Paul’s 1st and 2nd Missionary Journeys.

  • Chp 13, 14 = Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey
  • Chp 16, 17, 18 = Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey

There is only one agenda here: is circumcision essential for Gentile salvation? No. This may seem very clear to us today, but at that time, it was very divisive and debated.

The question was: Should Gentiles be circumcised first to be saved?

In many cities, during Paul’s Missionary Journey, many Gentiles turned to the Lord and became believers. Also many Gentile churches were planted there, and this news spread rapidly even to Jerusalem.

Some Jewish believers were happy, but others were not – they also doubted the salvation of the Gentiles and their sincerity.

To Jews, at that time, circumcision signified them as God’s covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back – he would be a Jew forever. Of all the traditions of the Jews, at that time, circumcision was the MOST IMPORTANT to distinguish them from their pagan neighbors.

When the Gentiles began to believe, Paul and Barnabas were preaching the simple message, “Just believe in Christ and be saved.” But the Judaizers were afraid that soon the Gentiles would outnumber the Jews and that the Gentile believers would lower the moral standard of the Jews – if they didn’t strictly follow the Jewish laws.

So, elders came down from Antioch and strongly argued that the Gentiles must become circumcised (must become Jewish) first before being saved.

Consider this situation:

  • A Korean says to a non-Korean, “You must become Korean before you can become a Christian.”
  • Or a black man to a white man, “You must become black before you can become a Christian.”

This is silly.

We should say to EVERYONE, “Believe in Christ Jesus and be saved!” Short and simple.

So, Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to make this clear.

v. 1-2

“1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

As delegates, Paul and Barnabas and others, went to Jerusalem to have this big meeting with the other elders there. At first, in this meeting, Paul and Barnabas gave their first missionary report (just as they did at Antioch church). If Antioch church is the mother church in that Paul and Barnabas are foreign ministers sent by the church, then the Jerusalem church is the “grandmother church.” Jerusalem was the mother church of Antioch church.

After their mission report, strong Judaizers stood up and argued strongly, “No! Gentiles must be circumcised first!”

v. 5

“5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” “

They had much discussion, and the head of the conference, Peter stood up and spoke. He made it very clear that Gentile salvation is only “by faith in Christ through grace” (“plus nothing”). The decision of this council is:

“Salvation is the grace of God through faith in Christ PLUS nothing

Peter also made it clear that God had purified Gentiles as a result of his ministry experience (Cornelius in chp 10) – this happened about 10 years earlier. Peter shared his own ministry experience with Cornelius to the assembly. Then, Paul and Barnabas also shared their experiences in their First Missionary journey – the signs, miracles, and wonders that are evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit in the Gentiles.

v. 12

“12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. “

  • First speaker: Peter
  • Second speaker: Paul and Barnabas
    • They shared their ministry experiences and supported each other.
  • Final speaker: James

After listening to his argument, this conference reached its conclusion with their final decision.

v. 13-21

“13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: [Amos 9:11-12] 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain (1) from food polluted by idols, (2) from sexual immorality, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.””

This James is the brother of Jesus and the writer of the epistle James, as well as one of the head leaders of the Jerusalem church. He was well-respected and well-known for his holiness and devotion to the Law. He was called “Camel Knees” (because he prayed so much) 낙타 무릎

His point is: God’s promise given to David – to keep his kingdom – was not earthly/politically, but by the Messiah who would renew the spiritual kingdom and rule forever. This was evidenced by the resurrection of Christ and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. So, the salvation of Gentiles by the grace of God through faith alone, does not contradict the Old Testament scriptures.

  • Peter, Paul, and Barnabas used: missionary experience to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone
  • James used: the Word of God (Amos) to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone

The four of them had the same argument. The difference =

  • Paul, Peter, Barnabas used the experience;
  • James used the Word of God.

Thus, we can witness that the final test of truth is the Word of God.

Yes, ministry experience and our own beliefs are important. But the final test of truth must be the Word of God. This is the only absolute proof and absolute standard. Thus, what is important is what the Word of God says. The more we read, meditate, etc, the better able we will be able to determine what is correct in times of doctrinal debate.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

#4 Things of “Loving Compromise”

Abstain from:

  1. Idolatry (free FROM it, not TO it)
  2. Sexual immorality
  3. Meat of strangled animals
  4. Blood

Do you eat blood? No problem, this is not a matter of salvation.

In fellowship, eating together is a big part of fellowship. Without eating together, having fellowship is almost impossible.

Lev 17:11, 12 “The life of a creature is in the blood. Do not eat blood.”

Do you know strangling an animal would keep the blood in the circulatory system and not drained away. This would cause the blood to be eaten with the meat.

If we kill by strangling, it is difficult to remove blood from the meat. So at that time, Jews never ate blood. But doing this was very common to Gentiles. So, by eating blood, it would be almost impossible to have fellowship between Jews and Gentiles.

At that time, they often shared common meals like our potluck. This is not a matter of salvation, but a matter of nutrition, unity, fellowship, etc. We want unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Even today, we must learn the art of “loving compromise.”

Yes, no question, we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But IF we are, there must be evidence of change – by rejecting the old lifestyle – because “salvation has power” and “salvation is NEW life.”

2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation…”

They reached this final agreement and wrote a letter – the decision of this council – to send to Antioch church to encourage and strengthen them.


v. 23-29

“23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell. “


Antioch sent two delegates: Paul & Barnabas to Jerusalem with this debate. Jerusalem sent two delegates back: Judas (Jew) & Silas (Gentile) with this news

v. 34

“34 but Silas decided to remain there” (some manuscripts have this, some don’t) NIV: no KJV: yes

Later, this Silas will accompany Paul in his Second Missionary journey in the place of Barnabas who visited different cities with John Mark.

Next Sunday, we will begin the study of this Second Missionary journey.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

Yes, we say this today, but practically, there are many challenges and temptations to add small things.

  • Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved through faith – this not of yourselves, it is the work of God – so that no one can boast.”
  • Romans “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation in Christ, for the law of Christ sets me free from the law of sin and death…”

Remember, the death of Christ is the price paid for our redemption and salvation and freedom.

In ancient markets, slaves were bought for a price. Redemption speaks of the purchase of our salvation – as the price for our sin. The emphasis is on our “freedom” which we receive by the price paid by Christ.

Conclusion:

We can put the matter like this.

  • Essentials: Unity
  • Non-essentials: Diversity
  • All things: Charity and freedom
  1. “In essentials: unity;” (Eph 4 – “One God, one faith, one baptism, one hope”)
  2. “In non-essentials: diversity and variety;”
  3. “In all things: Charity and liberty.”

“God bless you with unity, variety, charity, and liberty.”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 02 / 2018
  • Comments Off on You are an Usher of Christ to the World (Acts 10:1-33)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You are an Usher of Christ to the World (Acts 10:1-33)

Download Notes in a .MD file

You are an usher of Christ

Acts 10:1-33 (Pastor Heo)

10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. 5 The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa. 9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.

13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. 17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” 22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

24 The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”


The first part of chp 10 is the story of the conversion of Gentiles – Cornelius and his relatives. This is a pivotal chapter – a turning point in the history of the church. The one true God, the God of the Hebrews was about to unveil his plan – hidden throughout the ages. There was no Jew or Gentile – all are united in Christ.

Peter was holding the keys to faith.

  • Chp 2 – He opened the door of faith to the Jews.
  • Chp 8 – To the Samaritans
  • Chp 10 – To the Gentiles

This chp 10 happened about 10 years after the Pentecost. God is expanding the growth of the church founded on the crucifixion of Christ on the cross.

Cornelius and his family are the first Gentile converts – they are the beginning of the expansion of the church. This is starting to fulfill the prophecy of Christ (Acts 1:8)

“When the HS comes on you, you will be my witnesses to Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

v. 1-2

“10:1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”

This Caesarea was located on the coast of the Mediterranean – 100 km NW of Jerusalem. It was the largest and most important port city of the sea. It was the capital of its province and the first to have non-Jewish converts and a non-Jewish Christian church.

Cornelius was a centurion (cent = 100) = commander of 100 soldiers (but actually the regiment had 300-600 soldiers). They were the backbone of the Roman legion, doing most of the work – intermediate ranking.

  1. He was a man of devotion – pious, sincere
  2. He was “God-fearing” (In NT times, it is a technical term for Gentiles who were weary of small Roman gods and had attached themselves to the Jewish religion. They studied the Word of God and attended synagogues.)
  3. He was an alms (tithe) giver – so respected even among the Jews
  4. He was a man of prayer (Jews had 3x prayers per day, morning, noon, afternoon (3pm))
  5. He was noble, a man of character, generous giver, a man of prayer
  6. He WAS NOT YET saved

This is the point – he needed to be saved. Later he and his family would be saved through the ministry of Peter.

Why not saved? Because he was a Gentile? No. Because he did not yet believe and receive Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. He did not yet recognize in his heart and with his mouth that “Jesus is Lord.”

We must remember that this is very important.

It is very possible to be:

  1. Nice
  2. Holy
  3. Devout
  4. Pious
  5. A generous giver
  6. A man or prayer
  7. NOT be saved

He was a good example of a very religious person – but the difference between himself and others was that he KNEW his religion enough was not enough to save him. But some “religious” people still think that their good character and behavior will warrant them into heaven.

Please remember, “Salvation is a transformational event that happens immediately to a believer.” That’s why it’s called “rebirth” – “born again.”

Salvation is NOT a step-by-step thing (that is sanctification AFTER salvation).

We know today there are many sects, cults, religions, etc who say, “Yes, we believe in God.” But salvation is found in NO ONE else – except Jesus Christ.

“If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

v. 3

“3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!””

He was diligently seeking the truth. So God sent an angel to him. The main job of an angel is to deliver the message of God – angel = “herald.” Angels may deliver God’s message, but they are not able to preach the gospel. This is the responsibility God has given to Man.

v. 4-6

“4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. 5 The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.””

Joppa is 50km from Caesarea. But Cornelius obeyed immediately (he’s a soldier). So, when they arrived at Joppa, they had almost arrived at Simon the tanner’s house, and at noon, Peter was praying on the (flat) roof of the house. (Houses were usually small and crowded with many members – so people went to the roof for privacy.)

Peter was hungry and in a trance, a vision. In this vision, he saw a sheet being lowered from heaven with ALL kinds of animals, birds, and fish.

v. 9-12

“9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.”

v. 13-16

“13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.”

  • This happened exactly THREE times.
  • (Look at very 19, THREE men came for him.)

Question:

  • Can you say “No” to your boss? No, you may be fired.
  • So, how can you say “No” to God?

2 Cor 1 “All things can be ‘yes’ in God – to the glory of God.”

  • If God is really your Lord, you cannot say “No”.
  • If you can say “No”, then he is not (yet) really your Lord.

v. 17-20

“17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.””

Next time we will see the message of Peter and their salvation story.

v. 25-33

“25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.””

At the end of last Sunday’s sermon, I said Peter was staying in Joppa after he raised Tabitha to life. Then MANY people turned to the Lord after that – but they needed Christian education, so Peter stayed with Simon the tanner for a considerable time.

Actually, this was an “unclean” job according to Jewish standards. So, this was beginning to break down his prejudice against people who were not like him. Why is this important? In the gospel, all barriers are broken down.

In the Bible, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.”

  • Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, Greek, slave nor free, we are all one in Christ.”
  • Romans “This righteousness from God comes from faith in Christ.”
  • Romans 10:12-13 “There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. There is one God who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Mosaic Law was a barrier between Jews and Gentiles. But this barrier was broken down by Christ’s death on the cross. At the moment of his death, the veil that separated the temple into the Holiest Place and the Holy Place was torn – this was a spiritual symbol.

“Jesus is our peace.”

He has destroyed all barriers between us. His purpose was to create ONE people from the two. He put to death their hostility. He preached peace to the Gentiles and to the Jews. Thus, through Christ we all have access to God through one Holy Spirit.

Do you have any prejudice? “That person is not my style, not my type, not like me.”

Concluding story

(True story in human history)

Mahatma Gandhi

He was a peaceable leader of the resistance against the British Empire’s occupation of India. In his autobiography, he wrote:

In England, he read the Bible very much in his time as a student there. He was very moved, very touched by reading the gospels – especially the Sermon on the Mount (“if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him your left as well”).

He seriously considered becoming a Christian – away from his Hinduism. He thought this might provide a solution to the caste system that divided India.

One Sunday, he went to church and afterward wanted to ask the pastor about salvation. When he arrived, he approached a beautiful sanctuary. But at the gate, an usher stopped him and did not allow Gandhi to enter the sanctuary. “Please go somewhere else – suitable for you.”

After that, he left the church and NEVER came back for his whole life.

Yes, Gandhi liked the teaching of Christ, so he wanted to meet Christ personally. But it was the Christians themselves, not atheists, Hindus, etc, who stopped him from coming to Christ.

Imagine if Gandhi had become a Christian – how much different history would be. We cannot imagine.

Lesson: An usher often has much more authority than a pastor – because if the usher does not let someone in, then they will never hear the message of the pastor.

We often hear the message: “All religions are equal.” No. This is false. Christ alone is the Lord of all humanity and all human beings. Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.

Remember, whenever we preach the gospel to ANYONE – Jesus confronts them with his strong command and demand to throw away their old values and replace them with himself.

This powerful encounter is indispensable and cannot be avoided – because only Christ Jesus can save.

“Salvation is found in no one else – there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

“I’m an usher of Christ in this world.”

Many churches have made BIG mistakes like this. Even the Korean church – had once separated the church into “men’s side” and “women’s side.”

We must be careful.

“We are all ONE in Christ Jesus.

Let’s pray.

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