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  • Mar 29 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The conclusion of the Faith chapter (Hebrews 12:1-4)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The conclusion of the Faith chapter (Hebrews 12:1-4)

2020.03.29 Full Online service

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

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The conclusion of Chapter 11: Faith

Hebrews 12:1-4 (Pastor Heo)

God Disciplines His Sons

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.


We finished chp 11’s study last time: the chapter of Faith. Through this study, we have seen heroes of faith in the OT. These are just a few, so the author says, “What more shall I say? I don’t have enough time to tell more.”

This first part of chp 12 is the conclusion of chp 11.

“Because..” we have seen faith, the demonstration and power of faith, … these 4 verses are actually the conclusion of chp 11.

In this conclusion, we can see a strong word: “Let us”

  1. Let us throw off
  2. Let us run
  3. Let us fix our eyes

This is not a suggestion, but a strong, absolute encouragement.

1. Altogether, we must do it together.

We must edify, minister, serve together because we are linked together as one body of Christ, we are affected and affecting each other. So, in verse 1, we can see the summary of the Christian life. What is it in this world?

v. 1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance [endurance, determination] the race marked out for us.”

We are like runners, athletes, marathon runners.

First, we have a purpose, a goal, a finishing line. We have a finishing line in our lives – a purpose, a goal, a final destination.

Yes, as Christians, we are travelers, foreigners, pilgrims, but we are not tourists. Our lives are leading somewhere. We must lead goal-driven, purpose-driven lives. What is the purpose of your lives? What is driving your life? What is the driving force?

We have purpose, a finishing line, but like runners, every athlete has his own running course and finishing line. But the running course / finishing line is just offered to them – they have no right to decide their own course or finishing line. This running course and finishing line was offered to them by the host of the race.

Like this we have a course and a finish line, but we have no right to choose our own course nor finish line – because we are not the hosts. Our maker, God, Creator, Father, is the host.

Romans 8:28 “God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.”

2. We have witnesses / inspiration

v. 1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,…”

This cloud of witnesses was introduced in the previous chapter, 11. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Joseph. Also, my father and mother are acting as witnesses for me / to me.

They are witnesses in a double sense – they witnesses about their confession to Christ, and are now witnessing to us, but not as spectators.

Martyr comes from the Greek word translated for “witness.” They are not merely observing us, but they are witnessing to us, and God is witnessing to us. From this truth, we can know that this is a hard time, but whatever sufferings we are going through, there are many witnesses and people of faith before us who suffered much more than us, but endured to the end and won the race. They are cheering us on: “I did it! So can you! Endure to the end!”

We do not struggle alone – we are not the first people who are experiencing suffering and difficulties, and we have witnesses.

3. We have handicaps / weaknesses

We are surrounded by the greatness of the past, but are also surrounded by our handicaps / weaknesses / hindrances.

v. 1

“…let us throw off [remove] everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,…”

We must know that yes, we are human, so we are surrounded by sin and temptation to sin as long as we stay in this world. But we must know that with sin, it is impossible to run and finish this race well.

What is sin that so easily entangles you or me? Disbelief, selfishness, dishonesty, greed, lust, envy, jealousy, self-indulgence? What is the sin holding us back from running this race? Whatever it is, it must be stripped off and left behind.

Jesus “If you eye / hand / foot causes you to sin, gouge it out because it is better for you to enter heaven with only one, than go to hell with both.”

This shows that we cannot finish this race without radical determination and fighting. We must fight continually – not only sin, but also hindrances – they must be removed.

What are hindrances? Maybe not sin, but if it hinders your running, it must be removed.

“…let us throw off every [weight]…”

For example: my necktie, nice? Yes, wearing a necktie and these clothes are not a sin, but if I participate in a running race, I must remove these things – I must change my clothes because these make me heavy, weighty, and slow, preventing me from running well in this race.

This about this sincerely. What is holding you back from this faith race? We must be very sincere and honest in this question.

4. We have means / method to endure

“…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

– endurance, perseverance

We know in a marathon, endurance, perseverance, stamina, energy are essential. Like this, in the Christian race, endurance is very essential. But we must know that biblical endurance is not merely sitting down and receiving things, rather it means refusing to give up without the loss of hope. Biblical perseverance = nothing can stop us from going our course until we reach our final destination and touch the final finishing line.

How is this possible? How can we do it in this world?

Today’s sermon is : the conclusion of chp 11. So, what is the conclusion of this message?

The conclusion: Jesus Christ

The answer to all the questions: Jesus Christ

v. 2-4

“2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who *for the joy* set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” [the point of death]

Remember in chp 11, there is one sentence I repeated almost every time? “by faith…” we are saved, justified, being sanctified, will be glorified, can please God, can overcome this world.

This was purposeful – to make something clear. We can see what is clear in this sentence: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Yes, faith helps us to be positive in our thinking, and optimistic in our perspective, strong in our self / mind control. But we must be clear that positive thinking itself is not faith, an optimisitic attitude is not faith.

Faith = believing in Christ as Savior and Lord – accepting and confessing him, committing my whole life to him as Savior and Lord.

Jesus is the source, the ground, the foundation, the reason, object, goal, of our faith, the author and perfecter of our faith.

This means, he is the founder, originator, pioneer, finisher of our faith. So, I said in the first sentence, in the Christian life we have 4 things – and the answer is found only in Christ.

  1. Goal / Purpose (Christ is our goal – if he is your Savior and Lord) – our worship, service, ministry, everything we are doing must be Christ-centric because he is the measure of all things
  2. Witness / inspiration (Jesus is the inspiration of all inspirations) – we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, but Jesus must be the whole sky – the center of our sight.
  3. Handicaps / temptations (the only way to find freedom, cleansing, sanctification from all these things is Jesus – 1 John “the blood of Christ purifies us from all sins”)
  4. Means / endurance / patience (through the study of chp 11, we have seen how much they endured in their lives, but Jesus endured far more than any hero of faith in chp 11)

Jesus endured the cross. It means = shame, suffering, opposition, contradiction, the most terrible / horrible / painful / shameful death.

v. 4

“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

None of us endured to the point of death – but he did. On the cross, he suffered for all the sins of all the people all over the world. Only Jesus is a perfect example for us to follow – a perfect example of patience and endurance.

1 Peter 2 “To this you were called, because Jesus suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow.”

He is an example and an enabler.

v. 3

“Consider him..” This is the greatest power – as long as we consider what he did and how he did it, there is nothing in this world we cannot endure. He is the greatest power in this world to overcome all things, temptations, challenges, hardships.

Why / how could he do that and for what?

v. 2

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who *for the joy* set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This event happened 2000 years ago, but due to that joy, he is now rejoicing. We can know pain is short, but joy is long, eternal.

What joy was he expecting? He endured the cross expecting the joy set before him in advance. What was that joy? It enabled him to endure even the cross, even to the point of death.

We can see at least 3 kinds of joys he was expecting

  1. Joy of the reunion with his Father in heaven (his homecoming day)
  2. Joy of being crowned with honor and glory and making everything put under his feet (after resurrection “All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me”)
  3. Joy of salvation of his believers (your salvation is Jesus’ joy – he endured for our salvation)

If Jesus did not endure the cross, then your and my salvation would be impossible. Due to his sacrifice on the cross, our salvation has become possible.

So, today, what is our joy?

Today Jesus invites us to share in his joy together. If we can see that joy set before us by faith in advance, then we can endure any situation and difficulty even joyfully.

God bless us that Jesus’ joy make be ours. Still his joy is available to us if we live by faith in Jesus Christ.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 22 / 2020
  • Comments Off on By Faith let us stand firm to the end (Hebrews 11:35-40)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

By Faith let us stand firm to the end (Hebrews 11:35-40)

Watch full service on YouTube

Download Notes in a .MD file

Tithes and Offerings

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

By faith let us stand firm to the end

Hebrews 11:35-40 (Pastor Heo)

35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.


Let us trust God fully and wholly in this time. God bless his church in this time.

This is the last part of this great chapter on faith, but we will see the conclusion of this chapter next time in the first part of chp 12. Let’s open our Bibles and read together.


Faith, what is faith? Being sure of what we hope for – assurance, conviction, confidence in the unseen. By faith we are saved, justified, being sanctified, and one day we will be glorified. By faith we please God, give glory to God, overcome the world. Today, according to the text, let me share some characteristics of real faith.

Faith has the power of balance.

Faith is unconditional.

Relative faith is not faith. Conditional faith is not faith. What does it mean, “Faith has the power of balance”?

Last time: By faith, they experienced wonderful victory in war, marvelous deliverance and escape from lions and fury of fire, experienced the rising of the dead. This is the power of great faith.

Today, the story looks the opposite.

By the same faith, some experienced empowerment to persevere, endure in suffering to the end even to the point of death – without losing their hope of the better and eternal resurrection.

Faith provides empowerment.

To persevere and endure in suffering.

Something true can be proved as true. This can be proven as true only by enduring to the end.

If we have “true” faith in Christ, how can we prove it? We can reveal it as true only by remaining faithful to Christ to the end.

Jesus “he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Something that is revealed, exposed as not true in the end was not true from the beginning.

So, steadfast faith in Christ does not guarantee a problemless life in this world. Actually true faith almost always guarantees some form of abuse in this world.

v. 36-37

“36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–“

From the world’s view, they are miserable losers – terrible losers. From the temporary and material, they lost everything. But in God’s view, they are great winners and great victors. From the eternal values, they gained everything.

What is faith? The power to see something from God’s view, not from the world’s view – from an eternal value, not a temporary value.

Sometimes to endure and persevere takes more faith than to escape. If God is glorified by delivering his people, yes, he will do that – deliver them from suffering, from difficulties, from any hardships. God is almighty God.

But if it is better to suffer and persevere for some time even to the end (from his eternal perspective) then God will allow us to suffer. But he will provide us with power to endure and persevere.

So, do not conclude that the absence of immediate deliverance is a lack of love for his children.

Faith looks to the future – to eternity

For that is where the greatest rewards are found. Faith empowers us to turn from the approval of this world and seek the approval of God.

Some baby Christians may think that pain and suffering are an exception in the Christian life. So when this happens, they may ask, “Why me?” and they may feel that God deserted them – and is not as dependable as they thought.

But mature Christians ask, “Why NOT me?” If we expect pain or suffering, we will not be surprised when suffering comes.

John 16:33 “In this world, you will have troubles, but take heart: I have overcome the world.”

We can overcome the world, any kinds of suffering, pain, difficulty, hardship, by faith in Christ.

v. 38

“38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”

The world was not worthy of them…

This sentence is very short, but VERY powerful.

It means this world was not worthy of those who live by faith. The evaluation of this world and that of God are totally different.

Paul: a good illustration of this.

  • The world evaluated Paul: “You are out of your mind! You are insane! Not fit to live!”
  • God said, “You are my chosen vessel, my chosen instrument – for my purpose.”

This is very different. If you live by faith in Christ, God will be very proud to be called your father. If you live by faith in Christ, this world does not deserve to contain you as its own possession.

Example:

A container + a thing

If the container is so dirty, but the thing is so pure and clean and precious, then this container is not worthy of this thing.

Like this, the world is sinful and selfish and only material, temporary.

If we are really people of faith, it means we are fighting the good fight against sin and selfishness.

Yes, we are a body, but also spirit and made to live eternally with God in heaven. Thus, this world does not deserve to contain us as its own possession.

1 John 2:17 “This world and its desires and passions pass away, but the man who does the will of God [lives by faith] lives forever.”

Even though we live in this world, remember, the world is not worthy of us because we are living by faith in Christ.

v. 39-40

“39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

For several times we have studied this great chapter of faith. Do you remember the opening verse?

v 39 and v 2 are similar:

  • v 39 “These were all commended for their faith, “
  • v 2 “This is what the ancients were commended for.”

Those who persevered in suffering were commended for their faith. It means that God never forgets those who love him and serve him.

v 39 “yet none of them received what had been promised.”

This means: God had planned something better for you and me.

Hebrews is the book of better:

  • Better hope,
  • better sacrifice,
  • and so on.

God has planned “something better” – what is it? A new and better covenant, fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The faithful of OT times died before the Messiah appeared, so they entered heaven by faith – with the Promise unfulfilled. Only IN Jesus Christ (the new covenant), their salvation, our salvation, and the salvation of future believers – will be made perfect and complete.

One day, all the OT believers, NT believers, and future believers will share the promised blessing in Jesus Christ.

Faith is personal, individual, and private.

We know that faith is personal, individual, and private. I’m saved by MY faith – not my parents’. This means it is personal, individual and private. At the same time, faith involves the entire community of all believers. So how can we get connected? To the local church, through a small group, sharing with each other. To the Christian overseas, through the support of missions.

Also, all believers in Christ are connected vertically and horizontally – with one Savior, one Father, one hope.

Faith is also social.

Our salvation / faith is personal, but also social. It concerns the whole children and family of God.

As I mentioned, all believers are called a “family of God” with one hope, one Savior, one Father.

God is in control of everything. He is so faithful in keeping his word and fulfilling his promise. The Bible encourages us: “Do not be afraid, do not fear, do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus’ saying looks likes opposites.

  • He says, “In this world you will have trouble.”
  • and also, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

If we have faith, we can live without fear.

Q: Is Jesus really your Lord and Savior? If that is true, that is enough. Jesus encourages us and promises “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me shall never die.” Do you believe this?

Jesus challenges us in this.

Promise: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, and God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted [to suffer] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor 10:13 – Jesus himself suffered for us, and is now sitting in heaven and interceding for us.

Hebrews “Because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Romans 8:38 “In all things, [including what is happening all around us today], God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” Amen

Let us stand firm to the end by faith. Let us love God and Christ more and more with our hearts, minds, souls, and strength because he is working for our good, for our benefit from an eternal perspective.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 05 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Let us keep on in the Faith (Hebrews 10:32-39)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Let us keep on in the Faith (Hebrews 10:32-39)

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Let us Keep on in the Faith!

Hebrews 10:32-39 (Pastor Heo)

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.

38 But my righteous one will live by faith.

And if he shrinks back,

I will not be pleased with him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.


This is the first of a new year, a new decade. But to start something, means something else must end. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

v. 32 “Remember…”

If we remember what we should, and forget what we should forget, we will be blessed. We can do that by the power of the Holy Spirit.

v. 32-34

“32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

Let us remember what we must remember:

  1. God is our Creator, our Father, our Savior, King, Lord – remember God
  2. Remember who Jesus is in us, what he has done for us – what kind of people we should be, what mission he’s given us.

Do you have stress, pressure, sometimes? There are many hard words in this passage: hardships, tribulations, insults, persecution. When we face these, we need to remember the word of God. “Blessed are you when people persecute you… because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”

Romans 1:17-18 “If we are children of God, you are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” (IF) “If indeed you share sufferings in him, we also share glory. But I consider our present sufferings not to be comparable to the glory that will be revealed.”

Christian life is like a marathon. v. 32 “…in a great contest.” (Greek = athleses = athletics in English). We need strong endurance and patience. Sometimes we have suffering, insults, persecution, stress, pressure, because of our mission.

One example: Person A, Person B – they are different in nationality, language, culture. They both want communication, relationship, fellowship. How? One person must learn the other’s language. If A learns B’s, then A becomes low and humble – the student. B is like a teacher, high and strong.

For me, I went to Tanzania as a missionary. We were different in language and culture. I had to learn their language, culture, history. I should not force them to learn mine. So, I began my life there as a baby. Do you remember you first experience with the ABCs? We are like a baby. I must be low, humble, weak, vulnerable. They are my teacher, I’m the student. I must change myself to become like them. BUT, I had a mission – to change them like ME (a Christian). That was my hidden mission.

We know Jesus came into this world to have communication, fellowship, and friendship with man. He did not force man to learn his language and culture (from heaven), but rather, he became lowly, put on man’s clothes, ate man’s food. That’s why Jesus began life as a baby. He became weak, vulnerable, humble. Many times he was insulted, misunderstood, persecuted, and rejected.

v. 34

“You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property…”

Like this, Jesus became totally naked, experiencing the confiscation of ALL his property. Can you also live this kind of life in this world? Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.

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

But we have hope because we have better and lasting possessions.

The book of Hebrews: “The book of Better”

Better Hope, Covenant, Promise, Sacrifice, Resurrection, Word, Country, High Priest, Possessions – better = superior in quality and reality.

Because we have BETTER, we are LONG-term investors. As long as we are LONG-term investors, we can give up EVERYTHING in this world, except God’s promise. Even if we lose EVERYTHING by unfair treatment, we have a better hope. So our lives today must reflect the buoyancy of this promise. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where thieves do not break in a steal and moth and rust do not destroy.”

What do we need?

  1. Confidence (assurance of salvation)
  2. Perseverance

v. 35-36

“35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

How can we have confidence? Assurance of salvation? This is based solely on what JESUS has done for us – not based on our feelings, nor what we’ve done for him. If you base your assurance of salvation only on your feelings, in the same day, you can say, “I’m sure I’m saved; I’m sure I’m unsaved…”

If you put your assurance of salvation in his word, you can say, “I’m saved!” even when angry, fighting, etc. Our assurance must be based on THIS promise, and on Jesus’ sacrifice once for all. We need fortitude (perseverance).

I’m a pastor, but let me confess, I need to be patient and persevere. Sometimes I’m also impatient, so we need to persevere. Patience is one of the great, unromantic virtues. Patience is not easy in times of trials, hardships, difficulties.

Most people can start well! Happy New Year’s Resolutions! And in the time of great effort, everyone can mount up on wings of eagles, to run and not be weary. But it’s so hard to keep on and keep on and keep on even during suffering.

We must understand that suffering can build our patience and mature Christian character. Also, in times of great stress, we can find help from God’s people we never expected, and we can feel his presence more clearly. This all helps us grow in faith and deepen our relationship with Christ.

Romans 5 “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings.”

The Bible SHOUTS! “I CAN rejoice in my suffering!” because suffering produces perseverance, and patience, and maturity, and character, and HOPE – and this hope does not disappoint us.

James, “Consider it PURE joy my brothers, whenever you endure trials of many kinds because the testing of your faith produces perseverance and mature Christian character… and shown to be genuine faith.”

If you have REAL faith, as long as you stay in this world, your faith will be tested, – and through the testing of our faith, we can receive what God has promised.

Why can we persevere to the end? Do you believe Jesus died for YOU? (Not together as a group, but for “me”, individually). Because he died for ME, and will return for us, we can persevere to the end. Perseverance grows out of our real commitment to Christ.

v. 37

“37 For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.”

Do you believe this? Jesus has come, he is coming, he will come. ALL prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled except just ONE – his return.

Jesus said DIRECTLY (not through the apostle John), “Behold, I am coming soon and my reward is with me.” (last chapter of Revelation) – this is repeated 3 times. “YES! I am coming soon!” (Maranatha – “Come, Lord, come”)

“The peace of God be with God’s people.” – this is the last word of the Bible.

So, if we believe this prophecy, this word of God, how then should we live in this world?

v. 38-39

“38 But my righteous one will live by faith. (from Habakkuk 2:4)

And if he shrinks back,

I will not be pleased with him.””

“My righteous one will live by faith…”

Repeated here:

  • (Hebrews 10:38),
  • Romans 1:17,
  • Galatians 3:11

This is the same sentence repeated. Interestingly:

  • Romans: emphasizes “the righteous”
  • Galatians: “will live”
  • Hebrews: “by faith” (chp 11 = “The Faith chapter” – coming soon~~)

v. 38

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”

Our questions: HOW? WHY?

Many Christians often feel worried, fearful, dismayed when we see what is happening around us in this world. It seems to be going well with bad people in this world around us. “He’s not sick…” But sincere Christians are suffering. WHY? WHY ME? Some Christians complain against God, “why me?! There are many bad people around me! I did my best to serve you! I did my best to serve you!”

This is Habakkuk’s question and ours as well.

God says, “Trust me.”

To trust God fully = to trust God in ALL situations even when we don’t understand WHY such things happened. We must understand that God is directing ALL things toward his final purpose.

The meaning of “the righteous will live by faith” – this is my gift for the new year.

v. 39

“39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”

Practically, to walk by faith = to walk by God’s word and live for Jesus Christ. Remember, the Christian life is a PARADOX. We must lose our lives for Christ in order to save them.

  • Conclusion: We need to keep on, and keep on, and keep on – focused on Christ,
  • remembering what Jesus HAS done (past), IS DOING (present), WILL DO (future).

This is our Christian life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 24 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior (John 3:10-21)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior (John 3:10-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior

John 3:10-21 (Pastor Brian)

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”


Pauline and I were discussing the comparison Jesus makes with himself and the serpent in the desert (this is a symbol of evil – Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the shape of a serpent). Yet, Jesus says, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son of Man.”

This passage is very familiar – when Jesus meets with Nicodemus at night. Nicodemus said, “I believe you must be from God because no one can perform such miracles without help from God.” Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Unless born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Then, he brings up this comparison – like Moses in the wilderness.

If you go back to the OT and see the real events that happened there (Numbers 21) Because the Israelites disobeyed the Lord, they would not enter the Promised Land.

Numbers 21:4-9

Arad Destroyed

1 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made this vow to the LORD : “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities.” 3 The LORD listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.

The Bronze Snake

4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Manna = wafers with honey – God provided – but this was ALL they could eat day-by-day. So they complained.)

6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”

Bronze / brass = symbol of judgment. The people who complained were judged, but the Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent, raise it up, and the people who were bitten and looked UP – would live.

Ever get discouraged? It’s much better to complain TO God than complain AGAINST God. Check out the Psalms, Jeremiah, the prophets, Habakkuk.

Interview: Ever get overwhelmed by problems? Yes, I give them over to the Lord. I think about Psalm 44 and 88. David poured out his heart to the Lord and complained TO God. (In fact 88 ends “in darkness”).

This interviewee had parents who were alcoholics, his “father” he recently discovered was not actually his father. But his hope was in the Lord and he was trusting Him.

About this passage: “How often we / I take our blessings for granted – to think them worthless.” (Is this manna just so-so?) Sometimes we lose the import and impact of the Word, but we need to continue treasuring it in our hearts.

“The only remedy is for fiery serpents to awaken us to our need – and how our very sinfulness has been crucified and laid on Jesus.”

It can be difficult and painful to experience our own wilderness journeys. But the Israelites did not do this – so they suffered the consequences of the Lord in discipline. Sometimes we also suffer the discipline of the Lord – but not because he is mean, but so that he can make us HOLY.

Sometimes, we go through struggles and discipline, and at the other side, we are more like Christ.

Why “fiery serpents”? Probably because the sting was fiery hot.

Paul: “Yield the shield of faith to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy.”

Thankfully, the people realized their mistake and asked Moses to pray for them that the serpents would be driven away. They then trusted in the Lord to make them go away. And Moses interceded for them, prayed, made the brass serpent, raised it, and the people who were bitten looked upon it and were saved.

2 Cor 5:21 “He made him who had no sin to BECOME sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.” He was treated like a sinner, though he was holy and sinless. Yet he was making a substitutionary sacrifice for us – taking the death we deserved, and transferring us his own righteousness. Whoever believes in Christ receives this righteousness from Christ – who took our place in death in sin.

God in this way loved the world.

This harkens back to how Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert. Jesus, likewise was raised up on a tree (cross) and those who look to him will receive healing, forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life.

In the OT, we see the prophet Isaiah foretold of this sacrifice.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to our own way. And the Father has laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.”

Isaiah 45:22 “Look to me and be saved all you ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.”

So the serpent represents our sin, and the curse that sin brings with it – the curse of the Law – which was placed upon Jesus.

Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (cross).’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.” The Promise of God is now for ALL the nations – who accept Him.

We can be similarly blessed by having faith in Christ.

Deut 5:28? The blessings and curses that the Israelites pronounced on themselves: blessings for obedience, curses for disobedience.

It’s great to read about the blessings~! “You’ll be blessed in you life; the head, not the tail; blessed and fruitful in your work.” (The head decides, the tail gets dragged around).

IF they obeyed, they would be blessed.

But then, go read the curses – it’s pretty horrific. If they disobeyed, they’d be cursed: “The tail, not the head; families would not be blessed, etc.”

This all happened to them, because, as humans, they gave into temptation and sin; punished and disciplined. YET always with the Promise to return to him if they repented, forsook their sins, and returned to Him. This is the same for all humanity. Repent, forsake your sin, return to God.

The solution to the problem in the desert: LOOK upon the pole, and be healed. Jesus says the same, “Look upon me” – he bears the curse and our sins. When you look upon him, you also will receive forgiveness, and eternal life.

The Divine Exchange: Jesus became the curse of sin.

He was punished that we might be forgiven. He bore our shame and punishment. He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.

He was the Suffering Savior that we might be made whole and well. Spiritually, physically, emotionally – God WANTS us to be prosperous in these things in general. “He delights in the prosperity of his people.”

  • Jesus was wounded that we would be made whole.
  • He was made sin that we might be made righteous.
  • He died in our place that we might have life: abundant, eternal life.
  • He became poor that we might become blessed.
  • Poverty in that time was a “curse”.
  • He was buried in a borrowed tomb, that we might be enriched in life.
  • He was hung on a cross naked and shameful, bearing our shame that we might become partakers in his glory.
  • He bore rejection, the worst kind, betrayal, rejection of his own father. Jesus bore that rejection – he’d always had communion with his father, but as sin on the cross, the father turned his face away and Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”

It was bearable for the disciples, his closest friends to betray him and flee, but when his own father rejected him, it was unthinkable. Yet, Jesus bore this rejection so he is able to empathize with us.

He also bore the curse of sin so that we might receive his blessing.

Let me now share an extended testimony: Charles Spurgeon (prince of preachers) – in his autobiography, he shares how he was saved.


I think I might have been in darkness until now, if not for Christ sending a snowstorm one morning. I was going down the street, but turned elsewhere, and went to a Methodist church. There weren’t many people, but I wanted to know how I might be saved. The minister couldn’t make it, snowed in. At last, a small man, a shoemaker perhaps, went up to preach. It is well if preachers know how to preach – but this one was stupid. He was obliged to stick only to his text (this text) “Look to me and be saved all the ends of the earth.” He didn’t even pronounce the words correctly. He began, “The text says, ‘look’ – this ain’t hard. You needn’t go to college to look. You could be a big fool, a poor fool, or a child. Anyone can look.

Look unto ‘ME’ – many of you are looking to yourself, but you’ll find no comfort there. Some look to the father – yes, later. The text says, ‘Look to CHRIST.'”

After about 10 minutes, he was finished – unable to say much more. He then looked at me (15 years old) and noticed I was a stranger. He fixed his eyes on me: “Young man, you look miserable.” Mmm, that’s true, but strange. “And you’ll always be miserable in life and in death unless you obey my text; but if you obey now in this moment, you’ll be saved. Young man, LOOK LOOK LOOK to Jesus! You have nothing to do but LOOK and LIVE.”

I didn’t know what else to do. I’d been waiting to do 50 things. But when I heard that word, it seemed so charming, I LOOKED – the cloud was gone, and I could have risen that instant and sung with the most enthusiastic of them.

Oh, that somebody had told me that before! “Look to Christ and be saved.”

That happy day when I found the Savior was a day never to be forgotten by me. I listened to the word of God and that text led me to the cross of Christ.


He went home that day and his family could immediately see the change in him.

Spurgeon suffered much of his life with depression. In one of his first sermons, someone cried out “Fire!” as a joke. Everyone rushed out and a handful of people were killed – he carried that burden for years. He suffered depression for much of his life. But he never forgot that particular day when he was saved by grace and realized the Lord is his strength.

We all struggle, have trials and temptations because of our personal sins – OR just because we live in a fallen world. When these terrible things happen, sometimes we may be tempted to complain against God or authority.

But I hope this sermon is a reminder to cast your cares on him because he cares for you.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 04 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Accept Foot Soldiers (Jeremiah 12:1-6)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Accept Foot Soldiers (Jeremiah 12:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Accept Foot Soldiers

Jeremiah 12:1-6 (Missionary Symon Sarker)

Jeremiah’s Complaint

1 You are always righteous, O LORD ,

when I bring a case before you.

Yet I would speak with you about your justice:

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do all the faithless live at ease?

2 You have planted them, and they have taken root;

they grow and bear fruit.

You are always on their lips

but far from their hearts.

3 Yet you know me, O LORD ;

you see me and test my thoughts about you.

Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!

Set them apart for the day of slaughter!

4 How long will the land lie parched

and the grass in every field be withered?

Because those who live in it are wicked,

the animals and birds have perished.

Moreover, the people are saying,

“He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

5 “If you have raced with men on foot

and they have worn you out,

how can you compete with horses?

If you stumble in safe country,

how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

6 Your brothers, your own family-

even they have betrayed you;

they have raised a loud cry against you.

Do not trust them,

though they speak well of you.


Everybody has to deal with unexpected circumstances. We can see this also with Jeremiah. He was chosen before he was born. He was outreaching to the people – some were living freely, though they were in captivity. “Why do the wicked prosper?”

Do you have questions like this?

  • Why do people who worship other gods prosper? Why not me?
  • But as Christians, faithful believers, we are praying, fasting, suffering. Why do they live in peace, but we suffer?
  • Why someone is in leadership, but we are not? We never miss the QT, nor a single worship service. Why do we suffer? Why our family, country suffers?
  • Why my neighbors have it so well? I’m praying, fasting, worshiping. Why? I have so many questions.
  • Why so many unqualified people are in the ministry?
  • Sometimes is looks like saints are sad, but sinners celebrate.

This is the question Jeremiah is asking.

He also is blaming God. “You have planted them, and they have taken root. You are always on their lips, but far from their hearts.” – “They are not qualified to have those blessings!”

We also judge others and think they have no right to have such blessings. Jeremiah also feels like that.

v. 3 “Yet you see me…” How can I be struggling in such ways? Jeremiah also suggests to God, “Drag them off like sheep to be butchered…”

Can you imagine such a godly man, a famous prophet to pray like this? Selfishly? “Drag away my neighbors and kill them because I can’t stand to see them enjoying their blessings.”

House, property, car, job, we look around and see people with these – more / better than us – and we judge.

What God has for you, is only for you, and no one else can take it from you. Amen?

We are on the way to be blessed as well. Matthew “He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and rain to fall on all their fields.”

God created ALL men, Korean, Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc, and he wants all people to come to him.

When God blesses our neighbors, you will be next. Don’t be jealous, just prepare yourself.

1 Corinthians “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Jer 12:4

“4 How long will the land lie parched

and the grass in every field be withered?

Because those who live in it are wicked,

the animals and birds have perished.

Moreover, the people are saying,

“He will not see what happens to us.” “

When you judge others, remember, the same God created you both. God can bless you both. Because of sin, we are in judgment.

You know about Korea? The growth of Muslims and Christianity? There are huge churches in Korea now. Years ago, there were only 20-25 churches, and I said, “Someday, they will evangelize your children.” So, be an interceder.

2 Kings “If my people, will call my name and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and turn and heal their land.”

Jeremiah was considering his own ideas, not God’s will. You need to consider God’s will. He wants to use your hands, ears, hearts, eyes, everything.

v. 5-6

“If you have run with foot soldiers and they have worn you out, how can you run with horses?”

They are defense first – the front line – but not the best equipped. After foot soldiers, better troops come, they are the horses.

Most of the time, we complain about foot soldiers in our lives. We need to understand that nothing can compare with what is coming next. Stop complaining.

No promotion? No partner? No job? These are foot soldiers in your lives. They are not to break you down, but to prepare you for a better future.

Every day, accept the foot soldiers – this is a sign you are walking in the right direction.

But if you give up with these foot soldiers, you’ll never see greater blessing. God will take you to another level when you accept the foot soldiers in your lives.

My story

I accepted God in 1992, from Islam. No one showed me, I found the message of Christ in a magazine. I wrote the author, “Stop this! I will kill you.” The author replied, “Prove it’s false.” So, just to prove it, I studied it for 22 years. But through this study, one night, I prayed, “God, if you are alive – I don’t trust any god except the one who created me – anoint me, help me.” This was not easy – I’m from Bangladesh with 94% Muslims. I had to give up all my friends, people, etc.

We also face foot soldiers in Korea. Being lost, the language, etc. Don’t worry about your family, your friends, those are your foot soldiers. Foot soldiers are precursors to horses. The harder the trial, the bigger the blessing. If you cannot face the foot soldiers, how will you face the horses? Prove that you can face the foot soldiers so that you can run with the horses. Don’t complain.

I was living in a Bible college bathroom once, but I never complained. I shared the gospel and evangelized people, but once I came back and it was used, so I slept under the dark stairs. But I never complained. And one day, Jesus gave me the whole Bible college. The teacher there, I worked with her, and now she is my cook (my wife).

Don’t ever complain about your situation. This, what you are facing now, are only foot soldiers. Give thanks in every circumstance.

Can you run with the horses? Maybe with dogs, cats, cows. No one can run with the horses. But God is preparing us to run with the horses.

How can a man run with the horses and win? Only with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Until you receive the anointing, you will complain, ask many selfish questions, depend on our own strength and qualifications. But none of these prepare us to run with the horses except the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t content yourself with running with the foot soldiers. Horses will come into your lives, and God will allow us to overcome. Don’t worry what your enemy nor neighbor said. You will have better than that. You can see, correct?

This English is not my mother language, but you can understand.

I went to the Philippines one year, and in that time I had to leave the country within 12 hours. So I came to this country and did my MD here.

I said to God, “God, why? I left everyone and everything behind. Why can’t I get a Visa?” The HS helped me understand that something better was coming. So I came here, and better was waiting for me.

Remember, whenever you face foot soldiers, a better portion is coming.

I finally did my doctor’s degree in India. So I tell my wife. “Don’t worry, it will happen naturally. Trust God.”

v. 6

“6 Your brothers, your own family-

even they have betrayed you;

they have raised a loud cry against you.

Do not trust them,

though they speak well of you. “

God said, “Be like salt and light.” He doesn’t want us to ask him to kill them. Think once again when you hate foot soldiers. How are you doing? How can you go to the end of the world if you cannot handle foot soldiers?

God will enable you to overcome, to live in different, unexpected circumstances.

I was praying last night – someone had to leave this country suddenly – but I remember, pray always, give thanks in all circumstances.

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.

 

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

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

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The Best is Yet to Come

Romans 8:18-27 (Pastor Heo)

Present Suffering and Future Glory

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


This is the chapter of Freedom in Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Present suffering = temporary
  • Future glory = eternal

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

How about us?

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

Keyword: Groan (x3)

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

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

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

#3 Groans

1. Groaning of Creation (inwardly)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • First groaning: All Creation

2. Groaning of Believers’ spirits

Are you groaning? For what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are all foretastes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We must remember there are 3 times in our adoption.

1. PAST – In the counsel of God

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

2. PRESENT – Personal experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Look forward to eagerly” (학수 고대하다)

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

3. The Holy Spirit groans

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

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

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

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

Prayer in the Christian life is “breath”

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 11 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Force of Forgiveness (Luke 23:34)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Force of Forgiveness (Luke 23:34)

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The Force of Forgiveness

Luke 23:34 (Pastor Brian)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.


Key verse = 34 “Father forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”

Some thoughts from a book I picked up in England in Feb. The ministry is very helpful at helping people be restored. “Forgiveness: God’s Master Key” – focusing on this Scripture. “Pray the most powerful prayer on earth” (Father, forgive them).

Forgiveness is a master key.

As I came by SongCheon-Dong (where I work), I saw a phrase “I am the Key” on a building. Hmmm, what kind of building was this? It was on a nurse’s home (or educational center for nurses). That’s probably their motto. This was confirmation for my message today.

Jesus is the Way, Truth, Life, Door, also the Key.

Peter Horrobin points out that there are many rooms in a large house, with many doors and many locks and many keys. But a Master Key unlocks any of the doors in the building.

  • The life we live (have lived so far) is like this building.
    1. Each room contains the memories of important events in life (like the marriage of Pastor Heo’s son and other similar events). Those doors are wide open. We go in, enjoy them, walk out again.
    2. But other doors are closed – yet we can open them whenever we wish (because there is no pain associated with them).
    3. Other doors are closed and LOCKED. What’s behind them is too painful to open and look at. Here are some of their names: Rejection, Accidents, Divorce, Betrayal, Abuse, Pain, Trauma, etc.

Many people go through life with unresolved pain in their lives – caused by others or also by ourselves, our own sins. Sometimes, we don’t know how to resolve these situations. But as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to live with this pain. Some people have so many locked doors that there is very little space left in which to live.

  • They close the doors and expect that this will help them to live, but sometimes, there is so much hidden trauma, anger, and pain, that they become less and less like the people God intends them to be.
  • Sometimes the mess seeps out from under the door – everyone else can see the mess (esp those we are in relationships with), but people may ignore it, or try to clean it up from the outside only.

The only efficient way to deal with this problem is to unlock the door, go in, clean up the mess. Sometimes, this is too much for them alone. But Jesus is the Master Key. He can open even the most stubborn locked door. But he does require our help to unlock it. He wants to go in and clean it up with us. He wants us to cooperate with him.

This golden key is the most powerful prayer on earth – it’s life transforming.

There are many examples of people who were hurt severely but dared to pray this prayer and were miraculously changed.

Example 1

Frieda from Rwanda – she + 15 of her family members were killed. Given the choice of how to die. Do you want a bullet? But, they couldn’t afford the bullet. So, they chose a machete, and Frieda chose a blow to the back of the head. Yet, she wasn’t dead. Someone came along later and rescued her.

Following that trauma, she became a Christian and saw that Jesus said we must forgive them that persecute us. She went to prison and found the man who killed her father and forgave him. This gave tremendous relief.

Yet, even though she’d done this, she still had pain in her head and neck and terrible nightmares. So, at a Christian conference, she prayed to forgive them all and release them. God granted her this and released her also from the pain and the nightmares.

This kind of freedom is also available for us.

Even though we don’t go through these kinds of circumstances every day, we also need this kind of forgiveness. We need to let go. The letting go is through forgiveness.

Example 2

Hanna – almost suicide – but prayed the prayer and forgave her sexually abusive family. There was a struggle to forgive, but when she came through, she was set free.

You see, when we cannot or do not forgive, we are still UNDER THE CONTROL of THAT other person who hurt us. But when we forgive, we release that person and become free from the pain.

Example 3

Jesus is another example of this.

In Luke 23, we can see the different agents of persecution that were happening in Jesus’ life.

  1. Religious leaders – jealous and threatened by his popularity, power, authority (the common people heard Jesus gladly)
  2. Judas – thought 30 pieces of silver was enough to betray him
  3. Pilate – weak-willed governor of Judea – tried to wash his hands of it all – but gave in to the insistence of the Jewish leaders
  4. Herod – powerless Jewish king – second opinion, but ridiculed and mocked him
  5. Teachers of the Law and Preachers – mocked him
  6. The crowds – visiting for a holiday, egged on to crucify him
  7. Barabbas – released instead of Jesus (though he was a murderer)
  8. Roman soldiers – obeying orders – drove the nails through his hands and feet into the cross, divided his clothes, mocked him, etc
  9. You and I – alongside all men from all time, because we’re all responsible (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”)
  10. Two common criminals also were beside him

In the Beginning, Mankind turned its back on God – so death entered into history. It was our sin that caused the Father to put the only possible rescue plan into action to restore our broken relationship. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”

Jesus bore the penalty for our sin – to the full. “It is finished” (the work he’d come to accomplish). His love for us kept him on the cross to death though he could have come down.

No one else on earth has ever suffered more terrible injustice – no one else has greater excuse to cry out “not fair” – but he prayed “Father, forgive them” – and this was the most powerful prayer ever prayed.

He forgave and asked God to forgive. To do this in circumstances like this, was extraordinary. “Bless those who curse you”

Jesus was asking God to allow those who hurt him to enter into the blessings that God has prepared – joy, peace, restored relationship with God.

It’s impossible to ask God to forgive if we also have not forgiven from the heart. “If you do not forgive, God your Father will not forgive you.”

Yes, God wants to forgive US, but also that we meet the condition to forgive others as well.

As difficult as it can be sometimes, we need to come to that place to forgive others. The example of Frieda’s suffering is a valuable object lesson for this. Certainly we can forgive lesser offenses.

When we cooperate with God’s grace, we can forgive and find relief and walk in freedom. But if we choose not to forgive, we attach ourselves to the other people with a chain of unforgiveness and remain under their control.

  • Song “You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all”

We are all still sinners – though redeemed – we have a proneness to wander, so we must continually forgive and ask forgiveness. “How often must I forgive my brother if he offends me? Seven times? No, no, seventy times seven.” (Stop counting, keep forgiving) – You continually sin, you continually need forgiveness, so continually forgive others. Even sometimes, we must forgive the SAME event up to seventy times seven times.

Parable

A servant owed a master a tremendous debt (impossible to pay in a lifetime), but he forgave it. The same servant went out and found a lesser servant who owed a much lesser payment and threw him in prison. The master heard of this and removed the second man, scolded the first, and threw him also into prison.

Jesus forgives, and we must follow his example.

There is constantly a need to forgive – in all kinds of relationships. And we may need to ask God for his grace to help forgive.

What does this do for us?

  1. Transforms our relationship with God – remember Stephen, the first martyr? He forgave them as they stoned him (this must have had a major impact on the future apostle Paul)
  2. Releases the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives
  3. Restores our soul – God is a God of restoration (as well as salvation) – God restored David after his sin and others as well
  4. Opens the door to God’s healing – there are many examples of Christians who’ve suffered physically and emotionally
    1. Linda – Australia – gone on a midnight hike with some others – she fell off a cliff and broke her back in many places – on a lifetime disability pension – heard this teaching – she forgave the guide, and was released.
    2. Another man, Michael’s wife fell for his best friend and left him – as he prayed forgiveness, he was released and able to rebuild his life.

There are some extreme examples – also examples in your and my life – but we need to forgive and our hearts will be transformed – this also releases others into the freedom of our forgiveness as well.

We can begin the process by saying:

“Lord, you know what happened. I’m hurt. Help me to be willing to want to forgive them.”

Let’s take a moment to pray for these others and release them into the freedom of forgiveness.

  • May 28 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5

Download Notes in a .MD file

Abundant Blessings of Justification

Romans 5:1-5 (Pastor Heo)

Peace and Hope

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.


In chp 4, we saw 2 things:

  1. By what Abraham was NOT justified
  2. By what Abraham WAS justified

Chp 5 is the explanation of the end of Chp 4.

Our justification is not just a promise of heaven, but also a tremendous source of blessings we can enjoy now and here. “Abundant blessings of justification.”

As we know, we have nothing to boast about in our faith – but we have much more to boast about in Christ – because faith means we depend on Christ for our salvation. Christ has more than enough for our salvation and justification.

By faith in Christ, we are saved. Do you agree and believe?

By faith we are:

  1. justified,
  2. sanctified,
  3. overcome this world,
  4. defeat the power of Satan and sin,
  5. receive the answers of our prayers,
  6. experience miracles,
  7. experience healing,
  8. experience the power of God (making the impossible possible),
  9. do good,
  10. please God,
  11. make God happy. Do you make God happy?

By faith we can do everything God wants us to do.

Today, we read Chp 5:1-5, which are full of abundant blessings which we can enjoy now and here.

Let me share 5 blessings we can enjoy now and here.

#1 Peace with God through Christ

v. 1 “1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

  • Condemnation = God declares us sinners (war)
  • Justification = God declares us righteous (peace)

Peace is more than the absence of war. It is the perfect restoration of relationship without the rending of any hearts.

Without peace with God, there is no peace. No peace of self, spirit, heart, mind, with others, with Creation, etc. Peace with God is the root / source for us to have / enjoy all peace in this world. This peace can only be found through Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus is called “Prince of Peace” (King of Peace) – even 700 years before he came to earth.
  • Eph: “Jesus Christ is our peace.” – He preached peace to us.
  • Jesus IS peace and a man of peace. His greeting is “Go in peace; My peace I leave with you.”

One time, Jesus said something strange. “Do not think I have come to bring peace, but a sword.” (huh?) What does this mean?

It means, in this world, there are many false peaces – sometimes we heard of fake news – also there are many fake peaces. These must be destroyed first in order to have real, true peace and allow it to be built up.

  1. Carnal peace must give way to spiritual peace.
  2. World peace to heavenly peace.
  3. Temporal peace to eternal peace.

Yes, everyone wants peace – all kinds of peace – then, the root of peace is “Peace with God”. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How is this possible?

Who is a peacemaker? I want to bless you all to be peacemakers in this world.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How?

Peacemakers are not entertainers, recreational leaders. No, they are gospel preachers. They tell the story of Jesus – who is the King of Peace.

We can enjoy this peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

#2. Access to God in Christ

We are worshiping God – we are now in the presence of God.

v. 2 “2 through *whom* we have gained access by faith into _this grace_ (the presence of God) in which we now stand. And we boast (rejoice) in the hope of the glory of God. “

In ancient times, ordinary people were not allowed to enter the presence of the king – also the same was true of God. Only the High Priest, the rep of all the people was able to enter the Most Holy Place (the symbol of the presence of God) with the blood offering and bells and string tied around his waist (just in case – if he had something wrong against God in the Most High place, he was to die immediately – but nobody could enter to take his dead body, so they had to pull his dead body from outside by pulling on the rope).

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating the Holy and Most Holy place was torn completely in half – indicating that we would now have access to God directly through Christ.

Gentiles originally were kept out of the temple by a wall – a veil – but when Christ was crucified, it was broken in half. This means that Jesus is the new way for us to enter the presence of God.

Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is torn. And since we have a great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and assurance of faith – having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy to help us in our time of need.”

“…in which we now stand…”

Justification has to do with our position – our standing.

In the OT time, nobody called God “Father” in a personal relationship. Question: “Can you call God, ‘Father’ in a personal relationship with him?”

Even Moses, David, nobody was allowed to call God “Father” in a personal relationship. But we are. How blessed we are. This means we received a new position / standing in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “You can pray like this, ‘Our Father in heaven…'”

Isaiah “…Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…”

Today, we do not call Jesus “Everlasting Father” – so this means, only IN Jesus, we are allowed to call God “Father.” We have access anytime, every time for the help we need. God is very happy to hear your voice. You know that?

#3. Hope of the glory of God

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

  1. Peace
  2. Access
  3. Hope of the glory of God

We can come to God anytime.

The hope of the glory of God takes care of our future.

Originally, mankind was created for God’s glory. – But because of sin, we “fall short of the glory of God.”

Therefore, God wants to recreate his glory in us. So, we look forward to the time in which we will share his glory. So, this helps us to overcome our frustrations when we are not all we want to be, nor all God wants us to be. So, when we have THIS hope, we can rejoice in any situation.

If you hold THIS hope, you can rejoice in any and all situations (even suffering).

#4. Rejoice in suffering

v. 3-4 “3 Not only so, but we also glory (rejoice) in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

If you really agree and believe this, you are a mature Christian. If not, you are a baby Christian. Check yourself through reading these two verses.

This begins with HOPE -> suffering -> perseverance (patience) -> character -> HOPE

We are not FREE from suffering, but we can rejoice in suffering.

Remember, justification does not free us from suffering, but it gives us the power to rejoice in suffering. We don’t rejoice in suffering because we like pain, but because we know that our Father God is using these life difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build up our character.

All our suffering, problems in this world:

  1. develop our perseverance (patience), and
  2. develops our character, which
  3. increases our hope and glory in the future.

It is likely that your patience will be tested in some way EVERY day.

Do you serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to serve our Lord Jesus Christ?

Remember, if you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, suffering is unavoidable. You cannot escape suffering if you serve the Lord in this world. Remember, he suffered for us first.

  • 1 Peter “To this you are called because Christ suffered for you first and leaving you an example to follow in his footsteps.”
  • Phil “I want to know the power of Christ and his suffering….”
  • 1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
  • Romans “Our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Christianity is the story of a life a suffering.

“Blessed are the persecuted because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven. They persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Tribulation is a kind of suffering.

John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble (tribulation) but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

“Tribulation” = from Latin “Tribulum” = flail

Flail (도리깨) = a threshing tool with a long handle to hit the wheat and separate the wheat from the chaff. How painful! How much suffering for the wheat! But through this suffering, the pure wheat is separated from the chaff (garbage).

Like this, through our own suffering, we are purified and our spiritual “wheat” is separated from our worldly “chaff”.

Like this, through our suffering, we can get to know “how I am” and how my heart is constituted. Sometimes, I don’t even know who I am before God, but through this suffering, I can know who I am before God.

Moses vs. Pharaoh

  • Moses = man of God
  • Pharaoh = man of this world

Both experienced the same miracles from God.

  1. Through this, Moses became closer and closer to God through patience, perseverance, character, hope.
  2. But, Pharaoh, through the same miracles, became harder, more stubborn, farther and farther from God, immature temper / disposition, disappointment, failure.

Remember, all the time, God is good.

  • “God is good – all the time.”
  • “All the time – God is good.”

But, in your daily life, in your suffering and trials, can you say THAT?

Imagine: I lost my job, got divorced, lost great money, someone I loved died, I’m suffering painfully in body, soul, spirit, emotions….BUT “God is good, all the time. God is in control of all things…”

Can you say THAT?

#5: We are not disappointed

v. 5 “5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

God has put his love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who he’s given to us. We will study more of the love of God, but for now:

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love

Imagine, before we were saved,

God showed his love by sending his Son – surely he will love us more and more NOW – he is pouring it out more and more.

Faith, Hope, Love combine to give us patience in the suffering of this world. This patience makes it possible for us to grow in character and become a child of God.

Romans “I’m strongly persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor anything else in all this world will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

What can separate us from the love of God?

  • “No condemnation in Jesus Christ”
  • “No separation in Jesus Christ”

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 31 / 2016
  • Comments Off on Job: Acknowledge the Sovereignty of God over ALL Creation (1:1-22, 13:15, 37:23-24)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Job: Acknowledge the Sovereignty of God over ALL Creation (1:1-22, 13:15, 37:23-24)

01.31

01.31.2016-PHeo

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  • May 03 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Lessons from Seven Woes (Matthew 23:1-39)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Lessons from Seven Woes (Matthew 23:1-39)

05.03.2015

05.03.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

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Lessons from Seven Woes

Matthew 23:1-39 (Pastor Heo)

(One of my (Aaron’s) favorite chapters~)

Seven Woes

23:1-7pp — Mk 12:38,39; Lk 20:45,46 23:37-39pp — Lk 13:34,35

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 

5 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ 

8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. (14?)

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. 

16“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. 

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. 

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! 

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. 

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “


 

This is a hard message to take and receive, but we must take and receive it. This is Jesus’ LAST public message – a VERY critical take-down of false religion that operated under the guise of truth.

These Pharisees are legal copiers and scribes of the Law.

They believed that God gave the Law to Moses, he passed it to Joshua, he passed it to the elders, they passed it to the Pharisees – so they believed they were sitting on the seat of Moses. But they were hypocrites because to teach one thing and do another is wrong.

  1. Must do’s and Must Not do’s – this is what they preached, but Jesus came to make our burdens light.
  2. They had a false concept of greatness – recognition, praise from men. They loved to be called “Rabbi” and “Master”.

Through this LONG chapter, we saw 7 Woes.

Woe = a warning of judgment but a feeling of regret as well, mixture of judgment, sorrow, painful love – because the listeners don’t repent.

Let’s look at these seven briefly. But let’s not look to condemn THEM, rather to test OURSELVES.

  • Romans – “Everything written in the past was written to teach us.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:12? “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training so that the man of God may be equipped for EVERY good work.”
  • “Examine yourselves to be 

What is the meaning of Christian? “Saint” = separated from sin to sacredness.

WOE ONE: v. 13

  • Blessed is the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5)
  • Cursed are the proud in spirit for they keep themselves and others out of the KOH (opposite)

It’s bad enough to keep ourselves out, but WORSE to stand in the way of others trying to enter the KOH.

We have NOTHING to DO – except believe in Christ as Savior and Lord – to enter the KOH. There’s no other way.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

WOE TWO: v. 15

Traveling over sea and land reminds us of missionary work – BUT what’s wrong here? They traveled to win souls to their Legalism – NOT to the living God – to their Phariseeism – not to God.

Our mission is to win souls to CHRIST. NOT to win souls to MY church or denomination.

Imagine how tragic it is when people believe that they are going to heaven, when they are really going to hell. Double conviction when they are wrong only produces double condemnation.

All religions are just made by man – these cannot lead us to heaven. “Salvation is found in no one else – except Christ” (Acts 3?)

WOE THREE: v.16-22

Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 5

  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
  • Cursed are those who hunger and thirst for greedy gain, for they will be empty. (Opposite)

They wanted gold and gifts – why? To make money. But, they didn’t want the temple and the altar – no concern for it – because they couldn’t turn them into their own private property. They confused the externals for the eternals.

Yes, even today, people can confuse majors with minors. “What is your major?” (Science, ed, computer, bio) – but in your LIFE – “What is your major?” (Jesus) If not, Jesus, then you are “majoring” in the “minors” – only Christ can make your whole life perfect (eternally).

WOE FOUR: v. 23

Matthew 5

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Cursed are the unmerciful (oppressors) for they will NOT be shown mercy.

Here, Jesus doesn’t condemn the practice of tithing, but he did condemn their ATTITUDE without justice, mercy, and faith.

Tithe is NOT tax. It is a sign of faith in God who gives us all that we have.

  • Leviticus 27: “A tithe belongs to the Lord.”
  • Malachi 3:8 “Not tithing is ROBBING God.”

What we must remember = we must offer sacrifices to God with our HEARTS – not reluctantly, but willingly, for God loves a cheerful giver. Tithe alone cannot stand in for no justice, no mercy, no love, no faith, etc.

God’s all about the heart.

WOE FIVE: v. 25

Matthew 5

  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Cursed are the defiled/dirty inside, for they will NEVER see God.

Imagine dirty bowls – whatever we put into it becomes unclean as well. Humans can be deceived, but God cannot be deceived.

WOE SIX: v. 27

At that time, Jews were VERY careful not to touch dead things or dead bodies – it would make them unclean (ceremonially). So they painted the outside of tombs WHITE – especially at Passover lest somebody accidentally defiled.

This is a graphic depiction of hypocrisy – outside is white and beautiful, but inside is dead and decaying.

WOE SEVEN: v. 29

Yes, Jesus will be crucified and killed shortly after this.

Jesus charged the history of Israel as a history of murder – killing the men of God. The Jews martyred the men of God throughout history.

Abel + Zechariah = the two examples here.

  1. Abel = Genesis 4
  2. Zechariah = Chronicles 24 – son of a priest, touched by the Holy Spirit, warned the people against their plans – king Joash ordered him to be killed so they stoned him to death.

Why Jesus calls him the last martyr in the Old Testament?

  1. In our Bible, the last book is Malachi.
  2. But in that time, the last book in their Bible was 2 Chronicles.
  3. There were 24 books in their Bible at that time.
  4. This means “from the first (Abel) to the last (Zechariah) – the history of Israel is murder”

Yes, Jesus knows that he will be one of these martyred/murdered and his disciples will be among them as well.

Here is a tragedy. Imagine how tragic this is that the nation that God chose and loved have turned their hands against God. Imagine, the day of Reckoning is coming.

Every person, every individual must answer this question.

CONCLUSION: v. 37

Yes, Jesus is coming soon.

But we cannot read this severe denunciation, this critical condemnation without wonder – marvel – at the patience, goodness, and love of our Father God.

We know that throughout history, no nation has been blessed like Israel, but no nation has sinned against the patience, mercy of God like Israel.

Yes, they’ve been a GREAT channel of God’s blessing to the world. And at the same time, they SUFFER greatly.

  • Jesus was also born a Jew. So, we must thank God for the Jews – they gave us the Bible, God sent his Son through them.
  • Yes, we are Gentiles – we must love not only other Gentiles, but also the Jews. Because Jesus today is stretching out for the lost – not only for the Jews, but also the Gentiles.

This is the heart of God who wants all human beings to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”

May God bless us with this kind of attitude.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 22 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom for Us! (Matthew 20:17-28)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom for Us! (Matthew 20:17-28)

03.22.2015

03.22.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

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Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom

Matthew 20:17-28 (Pastor Heo)

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

20:17-19pp — Mk 10:32-34; Lk 18:31-33

17 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

A Mother’s Request

20:20-28pp — Mk 10:35-45

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (<— memory verse #28)


 

God bless the reading of His Word.

In this same book, chapter 16, Jesus said for the first time that he would go to Jerusalem, be killed and raised to life. Then, in chp 17, he predicted his death again. This here, is the third time he’s announced his arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection.

In the previous announcement, he wasn’t specific about HOW he would die – but here he clearly mentions the cross and his resurrection.

Yet, even though he mentioned this, the disciples didn’t understand well. The message didn’t penetrate their hearts.

v. 17-19

“We are going up to Jerusalem…to die.”

In this story, we can see 5 kinds of sufferings:

  1. Betrayal to the chief priests (suffering of heart broken by friends/brothers)
  2. Condemnation to death (suffering of injustice)
  3. Handed over to Rome to be mocked (suffering of humiliation)
  4. Flogged, scourged (suffering of physical pain)
  5. Crucified (suffering of curse and death – the FINAL suffering)

It was as if he were going to collect in his body EVERY kind of suffering – mental, social, physical, psychological, spiritual. Yet, he mentioned “beyond the cross, the crown.” Beyond death, life. Beyond loss, victory.

v. 20-24

In contrast to this announcement, we see the worldly ambition of the disciples – particularly James and John and their mother.

Even though the other 10 didn’t ask the same request, they actually FELT the same (look, they were “angry” with their request – it’s like “why didn’t I ask that first?”).

“Can you drink the same cup with me?” (The cup of the cross, suffering, and death) – “We can” – “Indeed, you WILL drink of it.”

The result of this request was anger and indignation on the parts of the other disciples. Heavenly wisdom brings peace among men, but worldly wisdom brings fighting – envy, etc.

Here, Jesus speaks of cross, but the disciples think of “crown.”

This same story is also written in Mark 10. There is a little different explanation. James and John asked this request directly to Jesus, but here in Matthew, it’s their mother, Salome?

Anyway, there is no conflict in the Scripture because they were of the same mind and the brothers also agreed “Yes, we can drink of that cup!”

Salome was a good woman. She was at the cross when Jesus was crucified, and she was one at the tomb early in the morning when Jesus was resurrected – she was likely the sister of Mary (Jesus’ own mother). Likely the two brothers were FULL cousins with Jesus. Therefore, they likely felt that they had a “special place” with Jesus.

Of course, parents want their children honored and promoted to a high position – but sometimes this is DANGEROUS if it causes they to lose sight of GOD’S plan for their children. Sometimes God’s plan is different than parents’ plans – not only glamorous.

So, parent’s plans must be held in check so that God’s will may be done in their lives all the time.

Jesus “You don’t know what you are asking.”

Until after the resurrection, they didn’t understand fully that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, but in the hearts and lives of the true believers.

They also didn’t understand the meaning of this cup mentioned here. He’d also mention this same cup in Matthew 26 in Gethsemane “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, not my will but your will be done.” This is the cup of suffering and death that Jesus had to taste in order to accomplish salvation for all human beings.

So, their request was born in selfishness, flesh, worldliness.

How about you and me?

Yes, sometimes, we don’t know what we need, what we should pray for. Sometimes we know what we WANT but not what we NEED. So, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. So, we pray for the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit.

  • “You will indeed drink from my cup.” Do you want to drink of this also?
  • “But to sit at my right or left…” Even though they answered “we can” without knowing the true meaning, they did drink of that cup.
  • James later dies as a martyr – killed by the sword of King Herod (aged 30s) – in Acts 12.
  • John lived MANY years in persecution – and lived his last years in exile on the island of Patmos (after being boiled alive I think?)
  • John’s cup came with lots of waiting.
  • Jame’s cup was martyrdom. (Soongyo)
  • John’s cup was constant discipline and struggle for the Christian life throughout many years.
  • Each had its own difficulties. Each drank of his own cup in his own time.

Some people think that Christian’s cup is always a short, sharp, bitter taste of martyrdom. But not always. Sometimes, the cup is daily discipline, tears, heart break – for MANY years.

Are your REALLY Christian? Born again?

If there is a cup for you to drink, are you ready to drink that cup? Willingly? Are you afraid?

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

God is good all the time, all the time God is good.

God wants us to be happy and joyful and peaceful IN HIM. So, if there is a cup for me and you – it’s because we are able to drink, he enables and empowers us, and it is GOOD for us.

Today in our daily lives, to drink the cup simply means to “follow Christ wherever he goes and to be like him in every situation.”

  • The gift of salvation is priceless and yet free.
  • But the way of discipleship is not painless and easy.

If we commit to Christ truly, yes, this world will test our commitment. Suffering is the price of commitment – the price of discipleship.

Around us, we may see many brothers and sisters in Christ who face their own challenges in following Christ. Therefore, we need to ENCOURAGE and EDIFY (Eph 4:29) each other to follow Jesus fully and truly.

Do you want to be great? Who is great?

“I’m great!” – not in this world, but in the kingdom of God.

v. 25-27

“The last will be first and the first will be last.”

The “Gentiles” = the standard of this world.

In Jesus’ kingdom, we must not follow the standard of this world (Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”)

Our HOPE is in Jesus, not some government, not some program, not some President, celebrity, possession, etc.

Here, a completely NEW set of values has come into our lives.

  1. In this world, greatness is the power to command others to do something for us.
  2. In Jesus’ kingdom, greatness is the power to command ourselves to do something for others.
  3. In this world, greatness is the power to oppress.
  4. In Jesus’ world, greatness is the power to build up.
  5. In this world, greatness is our power, bank balance, possessions, the number of people under us.
  6. In Jesus’ kingdom, greatness is measured by how many people we help and serve, by our attitude and character.

A TRULY great man puts others’ needs before his own – true greatness = service, not dominance.

If we are like this, truly we are in Jesus’ kingdom.

v. 28 is one of the KEY verses in the WHOLE Bible (I told you it was a good memory verse) – along with John 3:16

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Just as this, Jesus is the representative of our actions and attitudes – we must act as he acts, think as he thinks, serve as he serves. We must give our lives in service as he has.

  • 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you are called — he has left you an example.”
  • John “Whoever claims to be a Christian, must walk as Jesus walked.”
  • Hebrews “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature, God, but did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but … he emptied himself, humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

In every action, thought, etc, ask yourself – “Is this pleasing to Christ? What would he do/think? How would he act?”

Yes, Jesus gave his life as a ransom – a payment – to pay for our complete freedom.

Sin is like a slave market where our souls are sold as slaves – but Jesus by his death buys us from this slave market – indicating complete freedom from sin. He looses bonds and sets us FREE by paying the price of his own precious blood on the cross. He frees us from the curse under the Law by BECOMING a curse for us.

He is our complete freedom and liberty.

Without Christ, his death, his service, we can never find the way back to God. Jesus is THE way, THE truth, THE life. He is not the one who SHOWS the way – he is THE way. It is only Christ who can say this, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We must walk in the steps of Christ who has loved us to the uttermost.

  • 1 Corinthians 5:20 “I am not my own, you are not your own, we were bought at a price – the price was Jesus’ blood – therefore, honor and glorify God with your bodies.” What was your price?

Let’s pray.

Pages:12
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen