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  • Oct 21 / 2018
  • Comments Off on For What were you Set Apart? (Acts 12:25-13:5)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

For What were you Set Apart? (Acts 12:25-13:5)

Download Notes in a .MD file

For what were you set apart?

Acts 12:25-13:5 (Pastor Heo)

12:25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

On Cyprus

4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.

This chp 13 takes off where chp 12 ended.

12:25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.

What mission? Delivering their gift to the mother church in Jerusalem.

Returned from where? From Antioch.

Let me introduce briefly the background of the birth of Antioch church (chp 11, 12, 13 connection).

Chp 11

Remember with the death of Stephen, there was great persecution in the Jerusalem church. Because of this, most of the believers scattered like seed – Judea, Galilee, even Antioch. They preached the gospel there, and some people accepted the Lord and the mother church heard about this and sent Barnabas to Antioch to help them.

Barnabas was the organizer and first senior pastor of that church. But he needed a helper, so he went to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found Saul, he brought him to Antioch and they worked together for 1 year.

There became a big famine over the entire Roman empire, so they gathered a special offering for the mother church (Jerusalem) and they sent this gift to the mother church with Barnabas and Saul.

This is the story of chp 11.

Chp 12

Then, James was killed, Peter in prison. At that time, Barnabas and Saul were there together with them. After Paul’s deliverance, they returned to Antioch – their sending church.

This is chp 12.

They returned with John Mark (Barnabas’ nephew – or young cousin).

We know that Antioch church is a very significant Antioch in church history. There are two, but this was the Antioch in Syria. Later, in 13:14, we can see the other Antioch.

This Antioch is 300 miles north of Jerusalem and near the Mediterranean. It was the 3rd biggest city of that time (after Rome, and Alexandria).

This Antioch holds many FIRST records:

  1. The FIRST public, willing evangelism to Gentiles
  2. The FIRST place believers were given the nickname “Christians”
  3. The FIRST to give an offering to their mother church
  4. The FIRST to pray with fasting (all together) – at least according to the record of the Bible
  5. The FIRST to send foreign missionaries abroad “officially”

Our Antioch is named after THIS Antioch (this is a good model – and we are trying to follow this model – so we need to understand how the original Antioch was at that time)

v. 1

“13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.”

At that time, Antioch had 5 pastors – Barnabas was the “senior” pastor and these others were the “assistant” pastors.

Antioch was amazingly heterogeneous – very international. Let’s look at each briefly.

  1. Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement”) – native of Cyprus (island in the Mediterranean)
  2. Simon (very common name in the Bible) – this name suggests his Jewish background. But he had a Latin name also (“Niger” – which literally means “black skin”). He may have been mixed – Jew and African
  3. Lucius of Cyrene (Latin name) – Cyrene was in northern Africa, as the capital of Libya (so he was black)
  4. Manean (means “comforter”) – he had grown up with Herod the tetrarch (Herod Antipas who’d had John the Baptist beheaded) – he was a foster brother of this Herod. They grew up together and spent their childhood together – one grew to be an evil politician, one grew to be a leader in the Christian church. How ironic that a member of Herod’s family grew up to be a member of the church.
  5. Saul – Pharisee of the Pharisees, highly trained – a Jew and Roman (“Paul”). He was listed last because he was the newest believer, or because he was the second most important person in this list. (Sometimes in Greek, the two most important words in a sentence were placed at the first and last position.) – Anyway, he will be FIRST soon.

The social geography and racial variety of these men shows the spirit of God had been moving rapidly, over a broad geographic area. Not only had the word spread, but also the Spirit of God had assembled this team for the next phase of the adventure.

They were a human patchwork (like a quilt – or mosaic).

What variety is found in God’s church! These men were from different cultural and different racial backgrounds. So, it is very reasonable to assume they had different skills, abilities, ages, personalities, characters, likes, dislikes. The common trend among them was their deep faith and love for Jesus.

So, from this story, we must NEVER exclude anybody whom Jesus has called to follow him.

One sign that we are in God’s mission is when our church is a human patchwork of people from all kinds of races, colors, backgrounds, etc.

Gal, “There is no longer any slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female, for we are ONE in Christ.”

Eph “Make every effort to keep unity in the bond of peace – for there is ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God – who is over all, in all, through all. “

Remember, if we are really in God, our differences cannot be a reason for disunity, but rather, they should be life-fulfilling.

Variety in unity;
unity in variety.

This is the heart of our Father God.

This is the heart of God.

v. 2-3

“13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Today’s title: “For WHAT are you set apart?”

Notice that the commission of the HS (in v. 2) is “set apart for me” – this came on them while they were worshiping and praying. Also, Jesus gave us a Great Commission: “Therefore, go, … baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and HS, and teaching them all I have commanded you.”

The HS came on them in worship.

This means that Worship and Service go together hand-in-hand all the time.

We call is a “worship service” – this is “serving” God with our worship (trying to make him happy). But another meaning is “our worship must be FOLLOWED BY our service to others.” Remember, worship and ministry service must go together. If you are really a Christian, remember this.

“Worship and service go together.”

They can never be separated. If you try to work for the Lord, without worshiping him, you will be Legalistic (self-centered, religious service for self-righteousness – like humanitarian satisfaction)

If you worship without service, you will be outwardly godly, but internally empty – no power, no fruit, no testimony to share with others.

Do you have your own Christian life story? Remember, without service, without work for God, there is no testimony.

After Paul was set aside for God, he confesses Gal X:15-16 “God set me apart from birth, he called me from my mother’s womb. He revealed his Son in me that I might preach his Son to the Gentiles.”

Romans “Set apart for the gospel of Christ.”

Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us [the children of God] before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. He predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ for his will and purpose.”

Fasting is always a mark of deep spiritual concern indicating that someone has set aside the demands of life to concentrate on what God wants.

Fasting is intense prayer without food for a specified period of time in order to focus on the Lord.

Yes, sometimes these days, some Christians are fasting for the solutions to individual problems. This is not bad, BUT fasting (biblically) should be done for commitment and sacrifice to the Lord, and for the benefit of the Christian community, and the salvation of others. Christ also fasted 40 days and nights before his ministry began.

v. 4-5

“13:4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”

Let us bless the beginning of their ministry.

In chp 13 & 14 we will continue to follow their missionary tour, so today, let me just quickly summarize.

  • Chp 13-14 is Paul’s First Missionary Journey
  • Chp 15:36-18:22 is his Second
  • Chp 18:23-21:16 is his Third
  • Chp 21:17-28:31 (the end) is his Journey to Rome as a prisoner to be tried by Caesar

After finishing his First, he returned to the sending church (Antioch) and stayed for some time (like a sabbatical year)

After finishing his Second, he returned to the sending church (Antioch) and stayed some time again

After finishing his Third, he did not return to Antioch, but went to Jerusalem – to be arrested. He knew, if he went to Jerusalem that he would be arrested. The HS taught that to him through a vision – but he went to be arrested because he wanted to go to Rome.

His FINAL goal was to go to Spain, through Rome – because they thought this was the end of the earth at that time. That’s why he willingly was arrested. Can you also do that?

Yes, we can, if we are filled with the HS.

God bless you.

First mission field was Cyprus (island in the Mediterranean Sea). Remember, the first thing they did when they arrived at their mission field was preach the Word of God in the synagogues.

v. 5 “When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”

In this sentence, there are at least two things we must remember.

1. Barnabas and Saul were sent by the HS (outwardly it looks like sent by Antioch church members) – this is also our story. Yes, we are here today being sent by somebody – our own choice / decision, but BEHIND this, we are sent here by the HS. Jesus, “As the Father sent me into this world, so I am sending you into this world.” (He repeated this two times – before his crucifixion and after his resurrection).

After this worship service, where will you be? Wherever you are, this is the very place GOD SENT YOU. This is your mission field.

CBNU? THAT is your mission field. You are SENT by Christ.

The HS is a spirit of mission, evangelism, witnessing about Jesus Christ – because his main ministry is to testify about Christ to human beings.

2. If we pray, “show me, tell me what to do” – God will say to you, “preach the Word of God in season and out of season”

Do you want to come closer to Christ? Closer to God? Before saying “Amen” you need to think about this. Because the nearer you come to the Lord, the more intensely “missionary evangelist” you must become.

Is this a blessing or a burden? Both!

God bless us with his peace and joy and assurance of mission.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 21 / 2015
  • Comments Off on True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds (Matthew 25:31-46)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds (Matthew 25:31-46)



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Sermon Notes

True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds

Matthew 25:31-46 (Pastor Heo)

What is the difference between sermon and testimony?

  • Same: subject = Christ
  • Different: material
  • Testimony = personal experience + Word of God
  • Sermon = Word of God

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


There are 6 items (v. 35-36)

Conclusion is:
Eternal life in heaven for those who believe in Christ

OR Eternal death and torment in hell for those who do not believe

Last Sunday: faithful/unfaithful

  1. What has God given you?
  2. What are you doing with what God gave you?
  3. What do you believe about your Lord?
  4. What do you think God will say about you at the Judgment?

Today, the sheep and goats.

Yes, originally, Jesus came as the most powerless – a baby.

In his Second Coming, he will come as the most powerful – the reigning King over all the earth and all time.

  • ALL the angels with him –
  • ALL the nations before him –
  • He will separate the people one from another
  • Believer/non, Saved/lost, Christian/non, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Jesus used sheep vs. goats to picture the difference between Christians and not.

  • During the day, sheep and goats graze together. But at night, they are separated.
  • During the growing season, weeds and wheat are grown together. But at the harvest they are separated.

Likewise, in life, the “sheep” and “goats” work together and play together in the same place, even the same church, but at the Judgment, we will be separated.

At the Judgment, he will say to the righteous, “Come and partake of the inheritance that has been prepared for you…”

  1. I was hungry, you fed me
  2. I was thirsty, you gave me a drink
  3. I was a stranger, you invited me in
  4. I needed clothes, you clothed me
  5. I was sick, you looked after me
  6. I was in prison, you visited me

Likewise, the opposite is also true for the unrighteous.

From this story, one thing we must NOT be confused by: it seems to teach salvation by good works – not so! There is NO salvation by good works – nobody at any time was ever saved by good works. The OT saints were saved by faith, the NT saints were saved by faith in Christ. We are being saved by faith in Christ. There is no gospel of “DO GOOD.” Yes, we must do good, but this is not the gospel.

Romans? “It is only by grace you have been saved by faith so that no one can boast – this not of yourselves, but it is a gift of God.”

  1. Habakkuk 2
  2. Romans 11
  3. Corinthians? Colossians?
  4. Hebrews 10:38 

All say the same thing, “The righteous will live by FAITH!”

This story is not teaching “salvation by works” but “EVIDENCE of salvation by works.”

You know a tree by its fruit. Likewise, you know genuine salvation by its works.

When we compare two judicial sentences (34, 41)

  1. One for believers (righteous)
  2. One for left siders (unrighteous)
  • v. 34: “’Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for tyou since the creation of the world.”
  • v. 41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

What’s the difference?

The righteous = blessed by Father God

  1. v. 41 is NOT cursed “by my Father” – just “cursed” – God does not want to curse anyone
  2. v. 34 = inheritance (by birth) – this kingdom prepared for YOU since the creation of the world
  3. v. 41 = this kingdom prepared for the DEVIL
  4. The fire was NOT prepared for YOU

There is no evidence from Scripture that says that God predestines sinners to go to hell. (send to Twitter)

But, if sinners do not repent and believe in Christ, that’s where they’ll end up.

There are 4 lessons here.

1. God will judge us according to our ACTION in response to human needs (our HELP). He does not judge us according to our KNOWLEDGE, reputation, fortune, degrees, etc.

Remember Revelation 22: “Behold I am coming soon! I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

2. There are certain things we must know about the HELP we must give.

It must be help in SMALL things.

You know the things here that Jesus picks out are things that ANYBODY can do.

6 items:

  1. I was hungry, you fed me
  2. I was thirsty, you gave me a drink
  3. I was a stranger, you invited me in
  4. I needed clothes, you clothed me
  5. I was sick, you looked after me
  6. I was in prison, you visited me

Imagine these 6 items is NOT a big “give a million dollars” kind of thing – this list describes acts of mercy that we can do EVERY day in our EVERY day lives.

This does not depend on being wealthy, ability, nor intelligence. No special talent is needed. This is a VERY simple action – just to help others (the Golden Rule). Jesus demands our PERSONAL involvement in helping others.

Jesus actually repeated this list of 6 items FOUR times – this shows how important it is as a guideline (not exhaustive) to lead our lives.

3. These deeds were uncounted.

Both the righteous and unrighteous were surprised by what the did or did not do.

The righteous did not think they were helping Christ and piling up eternal reward. They simply, naturally helped because they had a loving heart. Their motive was NOT reward, but sacrificial reward – this was just an ordinary, daily, instinctive lifestyle. This was not a “special” event.

The unrighteous reaction was the same “Really? When? How?” This was in self-defense. “Oh Lord, of COURSE I would have helped if I KNEW it was you. But at that time, I thought that person was just a regular old guy.” Remember, if we help for popularity or publicity, this is NOT true help – not generosity.

The help which wins the real approval of God is “help for nothing but the sake of helping itself.”

4. Jesus confronts us with the wonderful truth that ALL such help given in this way is given to himself. At the same time, ALL such help NOT given is help that is withdrawn from him.

If you are parents, it is not difficult to understand this.

  • If somebody helps my son, his help for my son is helping me – if I’m a good father to my son.

Our God is the BEST Father, the greatest Father. To delight the heart of God is to help his children. So, today, around us, who are God’s children?

Narrow meaning and wide meaning.

  1. Narrowly = only believers in Christ – this is the only way we become adoptees into his household and inheritance in his Kingdom (John 1:12-13 “To all those who believed, he gave the right to become children of God.”)
  2. Widely = all people on earth – God is Creator, the Father of ALL – all people are made in his likeness. (Ephesians 4 “Our God is one God who is above all, in all, through all.”)

God gives his sunshine to ALL without finding fault – to sinners and believers alike. He is gracious, compassionate, merciful, generous to ALL. So, we also must develop this kind of heart so that these actions flow naturally and normally from our regular lives.

Yes, we know, just giving a drink is a VERY small gesture of care and concern – but build that up over time (i.e. compound interest style) – and it makes a HUGE difference. God is CHANGING you from selfishness into the likeness of his Son.

Remember: Whatever we do for others demonstrates what we TRULY believe about Christ.

How are we different from pretenders? Where is your final destination?

“Be reconciled to God” by believing and trusting in Christ and helping others.

**Colossians 3:23 “In whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for men.”

Let’s pray.

  • May 24 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Who is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Who is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)



Who is My Neighbor? Sermon Notes

Luke 10:25-37 (Pastor Brian)

Download notes in a .RTF file

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

10:25-28pp — Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise…”

This is a very familiar Scripture, but it’s interesting that Jesus said the final statement in the Continuous Present tense – this is something we should be doing continually – it’s not easy.

When I grew up, we used to go to Saturday matinees (movie – jo-jo ticket price). “When you’ve got friends and neighbors, all the world is a happier place…If you’ve not a penny, and your house may be tumbling down, with your friends and neighbors, you’re the richest man in town.” (song from one movie) Express your troubles to your friends and neighbors and it makes it easier.

In Canada, there was a show about a man (Mr. Rodgers) who always ended the show with the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

This Pharisee here was trying to discredit Jesus – testing him with difficult questions. He didn’t care about the law, justice, morality, truth, etc, they (Pharisees) just wanted to trap him. (Remember the woman caught in adultery from last week? – Jesus bent down and started writing – their sins? commandments? – on the ground – and they all left – “neither do I condemn you, go and sin NO MORE.”)

This kind of thing is also happening here with this lawyer who is questioning Jesus. “What should I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Love God – love others” – the entire commandments are summed up in these two.

“You are right” said Jesus “you know it, now DO it and you will live.”

Remember James 1:22? “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.”

Jesus says, “Do this and you will live.” Is this salvation by works? No. Then what? Ray Steadman “he was merely pointing out that if you TRULY loved God and others PERFECTLY, you’d have eternal life – God demands perfection – every second of every day – from the moment you’re born until your final breath – and also loving others all the time, perfectly.”

Jesus is really telling the man, “Heaven bound? Be perfect and you’ll make it.”

Yet, we’re all sinners, and God doesn’t “grade on the curve.”

Here, the lawyer wants to change the debate, he wanted to “justify himself” so he asked, “so then… who is my neighbor?” To “justify” himself, he’s seeking to declare himself righteous. (God makes righteous those he justifies – but it’s only in HIM that we have eternal life). Here, it’s slightly different – he wants to show that he’s RIGHT in doing what he’s doing.

“Who IS my neighbor?” was the question, not “What can I do for him?” or “How can I love him?” He’s a lawyer, so he’s looking for a loophole – to love SOME people and not others.

Spurgeon: “He meant to say, ‘Actually, I have no neighbors – my family is all dead and gone away, and no one is close to me. So, I must be excused from ‘loving’ my neighbors.’”

Think of parents: “Pick up your toys.” “Which?” “ALL.”

Here’s the parable: A man was going down to Jerusalem and was attacked by robbers, who stripped him and beat him half to death and robbed him. A priest and Levite both found him and just passed him by – but a Samaritan found him and took pity on him and took him to an inn to be cared for and paid for it all – including the promise for reimbursement.

Here, we don’t know what man this was who was walking here – Jew? Gentile? Actually, doesn’t matter. He could have been anybody. This, in the first sentence is the beginning of the answer to the question: “Who is my neighbor?” A: “Anybody.”

The priest (like a pastor), and the Levite (perhaps like a deacon) – if ANYBODY would stop and help, it SHOULD be these “church people” yet they just cross the road to the opposite side and pass him by as if they don’t even “see” him.

They may have had good excuses – perhaps they would be “defiled” if they were on the way the temple. Sometimes people could pretend to be injured on the road and waiting in ambush to attack another passersby. But the fact is, they just passed him by.

The Samaritan stopped?? Ewwww~ Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another. Remember John 4, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink – she was shocked “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?” Samaritans were “impure blood” – Jews had intermarried with Gentiles and created the Samaritans. This would have provoked troublesome thoughts among his audience – to hear that the Samaritan stopped for him. Even James and John wanted to call down fire on Samaria when they didn’t let them through the place.

When Jesus revealed that the “hero” was a Samaritan, the people would be shocked. We might say “Shinchonji” went to him and helped him – nevertheless, he went and helped the person. There’s some real meaning here.

If he was taking a chance (is this a trick?) anyway, he took it. And then he ministered first aid. He helped him, bandaged up his wounds and poured him oil and wine and gave him his ride – he inconvenienced himself to help this man. He didn’t even just drop him off at a police station or a hospital, but he took him to an inn to REALLY help him – gave about 2 days wages to care for him and even promised to reimburse the rest.

After giving this story, shocking the audience, Jesus turned to the lawyer and asked, “so, who do YOU think was the ‘neighbor’?” Now, the lawyer is in the trap he’d been setting. The words likely stuck in his own throat as he said them (couldn’t even say “Samaritan”) – “the one who showed mercy.”

Jesus said, “Right, no go and do likewise.”

Now, why would one who’s been given mercy show further mercy? Eph 4:10 “Because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in order that in the coming Ages, he might show us his incredible grace – expressed in Christ – for it is by grace you have been saved and this not of yourselves, this is not works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in his likeness, to do good works that he’s determined for us to do.”

We are not striving to become worthy of God’s gift, he wants to demonstrate God’s kindness and mercy – he is showing something beautiful so that he might show this further in the history of humanity.

Ex: a grandfather is looking and showing his grandchild a trophy case with lots of trophies. See, in the ages to come, God will “show off” these similar kinds of “trophies” of his grace. “This one was a robber, now he’s mine. This one was a prostitute, now she’s with me. That’s what they used to be, look what they are now.” – because of God’s mercy and grace.

Now YOU go and show mercy.

Memorable poem from the Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare) – the lawyer in that one was pleading for the one who has been in need: “The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven on the earth beneath. It blesses him that gives and him that takes.”

God’s mercy is likewise – mercy is not strained, stretched, it’s poured out like spring rain so that we can be SOAKED in it. It blesses he who receives it and the one who gives it.

What is the takeaway?

“It all depends on your outlook.”

  • To thieves: the traveler was a victim to be exploited
  • To the priests: a nuisance to avoid
  • To the Samaritan: a neighbor to help

What Jesus said to the lawyer, he says to us, “From the overflow of the love and mercy of God in you, go and do likewise.” Love God with your whole being and love others as much as you love yourself – actually this “high standard” is really a “mission impossible” because you can’t do this without God’s love and mercy in you.

Yesterday, we noticed loads of “terrible drivers” who’d done “stupid things” and we realized “oops, wait, we aren’t being very ‘neighborly’” – where did all our love go? It was there just a minute ago. This happens throughout life.

Revelation – the Ephesians had been overflowing with love and joy and mercy and Paul praised them for their overflow to their neighbors and everyone else around them. In Revelation, they needed a wakeup call. Rev. 2: 1-7 – the message to the church in Ephesus had unique challenges to follow Christ – it was the home of the emperor’s cult and the worship of the deity Diana. Actually, Paul had gotten in trouble for preaching this there at that time.

Demetrius protested against Paul and he and his followers were dragged into the town hall and everything was in an uproar – but the town clerk calmed them and they were saved from a worse fate by the providence of God and Paul was able to continue his journey.

From the writings in Acts and others, when Jesus speaks to the church in Ephesus, “they had great discernment against false teachers and heresy, but are faulted for having lost their first love” (their zeal and ardor for their salvation – the love of Christ had made them alive in Christ – they’d been so overjoyed and that joy overflowed to the culture around them). Jesus (through John) commends them for their ability to detect heresy, but reprimands them for their love for him that’s cooled into “religion” – Jesus warns them that they’re in danger of falling away – “return to me and rekindle the love that’s begun to cool.”

We face the same kinds of difficulties in this modern world. The first love we have been given is love for Christ and others – speaking the truth in love, we will grow up into the head who is Christ.

We must take warning from the letter to the Ephesians concerning Christ from the letter in Revelation to not let that love grow cold.

If you look back to when you first met Christ, there’s nothing you wouldn’t have done to help others and make him known. So, this statement that Jesus said to the lawyer must be in the Present Continual tense – continually help those in need around you.

“He that does my Will will know the truth of my doctrine.” (Christ) – when you DO what he wants, you will KNOW that his truth is true.

This is a lesson that is constantly needed to be heeded by us.

If we see someone in need this week, HELP.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 03 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Good Examples (Philippians 2)
Pastor Brian, Philippians: A Study in Contentment, Sermons

Good Examples (Philippians 2)



Sermon Notes

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Good Examples

Philippians 2 (Pastor Brian)

Imitating Christ’s Humility

1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Shining as Stars

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. 25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.


Paul is writing to the believers in Philippi from house-arrest in Rome (chained to the guards). He still teaches and preaches to those that come. He continually looks on the bright side of things regardless of his situation. He realized that the guards and the others around him were hearing and understanding his situation and story.

Philippi – named after Philip (the father of Alexander the Great). He founded the city of Philippi 356 BC. Also the site of (after Julius Caesar’s assassination) where Cassius and Brutus and Octavius and Marc Anthony met and fought. Octavius and Marc Anthony won, then they fought, and Marc Anthony won, and he became Caesar Augustus. The Lord moved on Augustus to make the decree to send all men back to their hometowns – and this allowed Jesus to be born in Bethlehem according to prophecy.

Philippi was a Roman colony (they were Roman citizens) – so they didn’t need to pay taxes. They likely had pride in their status as citizens. Paul likely felt the need to remind them of their place through the example of Jesus.

Paul also exhorts for speediness of forgiveness. We should be quick to be reconciled. There is need for that in the church here as well.

There is a very friendly relationship between Paul and the Philippian believers. Even when Paul was in Rome, they sent money AND a helper to care for him.

So, Paul continues his letter to them by reminding them of the blessings of Christ.

“Be like-minded” = to be like Christ, not to try to be more and more like each other. This is the sure way to be united with one another. The more united with Christ they are, the more united with one another they will be.

The bottom line: “Do nothing out of self ambition, or vain conceit, or pride – they destroy unity and are the essence of sin.” (Remember Satan in the beginning was PROUD – the first sin – and that led him to fight against God and be thrown from heaven).

Christian unity should be about considering others as better and more important than ourselves. This is the way of Christ. “He, the best of humans, didn’t put himself first, but considered others better.” Even Christ said, “I didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for the many.” (Remember he washed their feet: “I’ve done this as an example, so that you will do likewise.”)

Your attitude/disposition should be the same as that of Christ. “He didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped.”

“Being God” = not the normal “being” but expresses the “essence” – the “very nature” or “exact representation/form”

Morphe, Schema

  1. Morphe = essence – we are all humans – this is morphe
  2. Schema = we are all babies, then adolescents, then old, – the outward appearance

Jesus’ Schema changed as he grew, but his Morphe/essence/nature WAS God.

He still didn’t consider this “something to be grasped.”

Careful Jehovah’s Witnesses… this doesn’t mean “Jesus didn’t want to be God.” It means rather, that “Jesus in his humility, didn’t exercise his power and privilege AS God.”

Knowing who he was and where he came from, he took a towel and bathed and dried the feet of his disciples.

This is the self-forgetting, self-forsaking, humble essence of God. We, humans, were created in God’s image, but that image has been marred and broken through sin, so he came to redeem and save us.

Actually, this humility of God is not reducing his awesomeness, but rather increasing and emphasizing his power and awesomeness.

All the hymns we’ve sung this morning are praise for Christ – similar to what Paul is using here to call the Philippian church to follow and obey and be humble as Jesus was.

Jesus willingly set his rights aside to serve our needs and humbled himself to death for us.

The 7-fold humbling of Jesus

  1. Nothing
  2. Servant
  3. Human likeness
  4. As a man
  5. Humbled himself
  6. Obedient to death
  7. Death of the cross

The 7-fold exhalation of Jesus

  1. Exalted him
  2. Gave him a name
  3. On earth will bow
  4. In heaven will bow
  5. Under the earth will bow
  6. Every tongue confess
  7. To the glory of God
  • 7-downward steps from God to death.

  • 7-upward steps from death to glory.

“Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” APPLY the humility of Christ to your relationships with one another.

We all need forgiveness (quickly) – especially in marriages and friendships.

You don’t need to work to GET IN to salvation.

But rather work OUT the implications of salvation in your own lives so that you may become blameless and pure in this wicked and crooked generation.

Conduct (cultivating character) needs to go together with your assurance of salvation.

Timothy (for example) looks to the interests of others. “You know he’s proved himself – as a son and father – he’s served the gospel with me. I look forward to sending him as soon as I find out what happens with me.”

Paul sent this letter on with Epaphroditus – a leader in Philippi who’d come to visit Paul in prison. “He longs for all of you, and is distressed because you’d heard he was ill.” He doesn’t want you to worry – he was ill and almost died – but God had mercy on us all to spare us all greater sorrow.

“Honor men like them.” If you honor people like this, more people will follow their example and serve.

The believers in Philippi couldn’t be there with Paul, so they sent a representative who Paul is now sending back.

3 examples of humility and service

  1. Jesus
  2. Timothy
  3. Epaphroditus

Let’s all follow these examples so that we can grow in humility and service to one another, and grow in greater unity with Christ and each other.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen