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

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

Tithes and Offerings

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

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

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

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

Psalm 5:1-3

How do you feel about early morning prayer?

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

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

Another said: 

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

What do you think about this?

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

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

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

Why pray at dawn?

Psalm 5:3

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

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

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

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

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

2 Kings 3:20

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

Psalm 46:5

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

Psalm 143:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark 1:35

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

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

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

What is the basis for prayer?

Psalm 5:4

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

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

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

What gives us confidence in answered prayer?

Psalm 5:7

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

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

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

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

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

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

What prayer result should we seek?

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

Psalm 5:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 5:43-44

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

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

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

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

How does prayer change us?

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

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

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

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

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

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


<새벽기도의 의미>

시편 5:1-12

0. 새벽 기도의 의미

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

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

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

다른 신학생이 말합니다.

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

여러분은 어떻게 생각하십니까?

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

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

새벽 기도는 그리스도인으로서 하나님께 마땅히 드려야하는 의무일까요?

새벽에 기도하는 것은, 다른 시간에 기도하는 것과 무엇이 다를까요?

1. 새벽시간의 의미

오늘 본문 3절입니다.

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

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

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

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

열왕기하 3장 20절입니다.

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

시편 46편 5절입니다.

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

시편 143편 8절입니다.

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

성경에 등장하는 사람들은 왜 이른 아침에 하나님을 찾았을까요?

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

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

그 시간은 그가 사람들 또는 원수들에게 둘러 쌓이지 않는 시간입니다.

하나님과 독대할 수 있는 모두가 잠든 고요한 시간입니다.

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

마가복음 1장 35절입니다.

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

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

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

2. 기도의 근거

본문 4절입니다.

4 주는 죄악을 기뻐하는 신이 아니시니 악이 주와 함께 머물지 못하며

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

그는 하나님이 죄악을 싫어하는 분이라 고백함으로써, 

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

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

3. 기도 응답의 확신

본문 7절입니다.

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

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

성소에 들어갈 수 있는 조건은 무엇일까요?

그것은 하나님을 경외하는 마음입니다.

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

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

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

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

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

4. 하나님의 주권을 의지

기도자가 하나님께 진정으로 구해야 하는 것은 무엇일까요?

자신이 처한 고난과 역경을 극복하는 것일까요? 

하나님이 자신의 문제를 해결해 주시는 것일까요?

본문 8절입니다.

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

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

시편에서는 매우 자주, 기도자들이 그들의 원수들에 대해 이야기합니다.

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

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

이것이 의미하는 것은 무엇인가요?

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

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

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

기도자는 비록 자신의 문제로 인해 하나님의 개입하심을 원했습니다.

그는 하나님이 원수들로 인해 얼룩진 자신의 권리를 찾아주시기를 원했습니다.

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

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

기도자들은 끓어오르는 감정을 억누르지 않고 하나님 앞에 모두 털어놓습니다.

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

이는 기도자가 하나님께 전적으로 자신을 맡긴다는 뜻입니다.

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

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

이런 사람은 하나님의 뜻을 여쭈어보고 하나님께 순종합니다.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

이것이 새벽에 하나님을 찾는 사람들에게 베푸시는 하나님의 은혜인 것입니다.

우리가 하나님이 허락하신 이 새벽제단을 사모하길 원합니다.

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

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

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

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

  • Aug 19 / 2018
  • Comments Off on What a Transformation! (2) (Acts 9:19-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What a Transformation! (2) (Acts 9:19-31)

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What a Transformation! (2)

Acts 9:19-31

Galatians 1:15-21

Acts 9:19-31

18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.


Galatians 1:15-21

15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.


What a transformation!

  • The leader became a follower.
  • Persecutor became persecuted.
  • He was a hunter of the saved, but became a hunter of the lost.
  • His physical eyes were closed for three days, but spiritual eyes were opened for eternity.
  • He was a wild bull, but became like a docile lamb to preach the gospel as far as possible.
  • He started to Damascus breathing out murderous threats, but surrendered in humility in Damascus.
  • Paul’s mindset / belief set were turned completely 180 degrees upside-down.
  • Up to then he had been doing what he wanted, what his own will commanded. But from then on, he must do what Christ commanded.

We must understand, if we’re living a Christian life, it means doing what Christ wants us to do. A Christian is a man who stops doing what he wants and does what Christ wants.

v. 19-22

“19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”

If we want to know the chronology of the whole period of Paul’s whole conversion, we must also read Paul’s own account of the matter.

Galatians 1:15-21

When we put these two accounts together, the chain of events runs like this:

  1. Paul is converted on the Damascus road.
  2. He preaches immediately in Damascus.
  3. He goes away to Arabia, the desert.
  4. He returns to Damascus and preaches there again.
  5. After three years, he goes to Jerusalem.
  6. He escapes to Caesarea.
  7. He returns to Syria and Cilicia. (southern Turkey)

We can see Paul began with 2 important things:

1. Immediately witnessed for Christ in Damascus.

At that time, there were many Jews in Damascus – so many synagogues there. It was in those very synagogues where Paul raised up his voice for Christ.

This was boldness, fearless, moral courage. The same synagogues he preached the gospel – were the same synagogues where he had been going to persecute the believers. It would have been much easier to start his Christian life somewhere he wasn’t well known.

“I’m a changed man!”

Those who know me / you best should know that.

“I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

2. Commune alone with God

Not mentioned in Acts, but let me share with you. We can get a hint from Galatians. After that, he went to Arabia (the lonely, isolated desert).

Into Paul’s life had come a life-shattering change, so he had to be alone with God for a time. Before him stretched a new life, so he needed:

  1. Guidance
  2. Strength

For these things, he went to Arabia to be alone with God. Also, he needed time to know three things (we can check ourselves on these as well – are we clear on these?)

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?
  2. Who am I?
  3. What shall I do then?

These are the very basic, fundamental questions.

  1. Who is Christ (to me)?
  2. Who am I (in Christ)?
  3. What shall I do about it then?

#1: Who is Christ?

Remember, on the way to Damascus, Saul heard a voice and saw a bright light:

  • “Saul, why do you persecute me?”
    • “Who are you, Lord?”
  • “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
    • “What shall I do?”
  • “You will be told what to do.”

So, Paul went to Arabia to learn these three things.

Do you know Christ?

  • Jesus says, “This is eternal life, that you may know God and Jesus whom he sent.”
  • Jesus asked two disciples: “Who am I to you?”
  • Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
  • Jesus: “You are very blessed, but this was revealed to you by my Father in heaven. On this confession, I’ll build my church.”

Those who know Christ have power to open the gates of heaven – to salvation, and also power to bind the workers of Satan.

Phil 3 “Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything in this world a loss for the sake of Christ. I consider everything as rubbish so that I may be found in Christ and know Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.”

Remember, if you know Christ, you will want to know him more.

Do you know Christ?

#2 Who Am I?

Whenever we see Christ truly, we truly see ourselves. This is like when we see our reflection in a mirror.

Isaiah did when he saw the Holy God (chp 6): “Holy, holy, holy, sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The train of his robe filled with the temple.” Immediately he cried in response: “Woe to me, I’m ruined for I’m a man of unclean lips!”

Are your lips clean?

He saw himself as he was – as God saw him.

Paul also needed this same experience – he needed to get over being Saul.

Actually, Saul had two names from the beginning.

Some people think he was Saul in the beginning, then converted, and he changed his name to Paul.

False.

  • Saul is a Hebrew name – after Israel’s first king, Saul.
  • Paul is his Roman name.

Until his conversion, he preferred the name Saul – after Israel’s first king. He was very proud of being a Benjamite (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) – these went into battle in the front lines in history. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees.

  • “Saul” means “asked” – it’s very high.
  • But after his conversion, he preferred the name “Paul” – which means “small.”

He was now yoked to Christ for his service.

Jesus: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, I’m gentle and humble in heart.”

Are you holding Jesus’ yoke on your shoulders?

When God wants us to do an impossible task, God asks an impossible man and crushes him.

God always uses, takes, ourselves to the end of ourselves before he uses us.

But Paul learned who he was in Christ.

Not knowing who Jesus is makes it impossible to know who I am.

#3 What shall I do?

What should you do?

He was chosen – a chosen instrument of God to be a mighty hunter, missionary, apologist. But – he would not only climb mountains, but also endure pain. When Christ called him, he said to him (through Ananias), “I will show you how much you must suffer for my name.”

  • When Jesus called Paul, he did not say, “You must know how blessed you are.”
  • Rather, he said, “I will show you how much you must suffer for my name.”

Paul was prepared for powerful, effective service through the time he spent alone with God in Arabia.

Also, today is the same.

If we want to serve Christ, we need some time to be alone with him. God may not ask us to seclude ourselves for several years, nor even several months, but we need time with Christ – one on one.

Moses also spent 40 years learning to think he was “somebody” – but then spent another 40 years learning who he REALLY was. Only after that, could he serve Christ effectively.

Even Christ spent at least 18 years preparing for the 3 years of his ministry.

  • Also, at the beginning of his ministry, he spent 40 days and nights alone in the desert with God.
  • Moses was also alone with God in the desert.
  • Paul also went to the desert to be with God.

We need to retreat to be with God daily – to have communication with him, to be prepared by him, to have his purposes in us.

We can, yes, immediately be saved, but preparation for ministry never happens overnight. God is never in a hurry. He is building us for eternity.

Remember:

  1. Damascus
  2. Desert (Arabia)
  3. Damascus (3 years) – but the response of the Jews was not good

v. 23-25

“23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.”

The Jews even set a guard on the gate lest Paul should escape them. At that time, the Asian cities were walled cities. Those walls were open wide enough for chariots to be driven around the top of them. On the walls there were houses whose windows opened over the walls. And in the dead of night, Paul was taken into one of those houses and let down with a rope in a basket – and smuggled out of Damascus. Then, he began his journey to Jerusalem.

This is only the gateway of his adventures for Christ – but he is already escaping by the skin of his teeth. This is a witness of his courage.

He must have seen the great gatherings against him in the synagogues. He had also seen what had happened to Stephen years ago. And he knew what he himself had intended to do to the Christians. So, he knew well that the Christian life is not a “safe” life in this world.

He knew through his own observations and experiences that a Christian’s life is not easy, not “safe.”

A wolf will never attack a painted sheep.

What idea can you get from this sentence?

Don’t be fake. Counterfeit Christianity is always “safe” in this world, but real Christianity is in danger in this world.

To suffer for Christ is certain proof that others think we really matter.

v. 26-31

“26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

From Damascus, he went to Jerusalem. When he arrived, he found himself regarded with grave doubt and suspicion. How could it be otherwise? They did not believe that Paul became a real Christian. This is natural – from a human perspective.

In this same city, several years ago, Saul had dragged men and women from the church here to prison.

But, we can see how certain people help Paul at certain points in his ministry.

Yes, we also were saved by grace through faith in Christ, but through our faith journey, whether we know it or not, there were several people who helped us grow in faith. Also, we can help others grow in faith.

  1. Stephen helped Paul grow in faith. When Saul was an enemy of the church, Stephen helped with his message and loving, interceding prayer, and death. He gave a great impact to Saul.
  2. Ananias also helped Paul very much when he was in great confusion and bewilderment. He came kindly and said, “Brother Paul, the Lord has sent me to you.”
  3. Barnabas helped with encouragement and confidence. When everyone else was afraid of Paul – doubting him – Barnabas took him by the hand and stood before the apostles with him. How beautiful is the ministry of Barnabas?
    • Giving a word of encouragement,
    • reconciling believers with other believers,
    • taking a risk for Christ in relationships,
    • promoting the ministry of others,
    • giving encouragement,
    • rejoicing in others’ successes.

Even today, God mightily uses men and women like you, like us. We need men and women like Barnabas today.

Barnabas insisted on believing the best of others. When others suspected Paul of being a spy, Barnabas insisted on believing he was a real Christian. Even today, there are two kinds of men.

  1. Those who think the best of others
  2. Those who think the worst of others

Which side are you?

Do you think the best / worst of others?

1 Cor 13 “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Nobody is perfect. Yes, including me, we have failed, made mistakes, sinned. If God held our past against us, nobody could come to God. Who could come to God.

“If you confess you sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Are you Christian?

Please, do not condemn others – NEVER condemn others due to their past failures or mistakes.

God receives us as we are today. We can approach him at any time due to what Christ has done for us on the cross.

v. 31

“31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

This was a time of peace, not complacency. They grew spiritually and numerically.

Acts 1:8

  • The door of faith opened to the Jews in chp 2,
  • opened to Samaritans in chp 8, and
  • will open to the Gentiles in chp 10.

Saul has moved out of the scene, and in chp 10, 15, Peter will appear again. Then, Paul will fill the rest of the pages of Acts.

God changes his workmen.

20 years ago, I was not a pastor in AICF. God changes his workmen, but his work goes on and on continually. Today, you and I are blessed and privileged to be a part of that work.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 12 / 2018
  • Comments Off on What a Transformation! (Acts 9:1-19)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What a Transformation! (Acts 9:1-19)

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What a Transformation!

Acts 9:1-19 (Pastor Heo)

9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. 6 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.


This is the conversion story of Saul/Paul

This story is one of the greatest events in church history – after

  1. the coming of the HS at Pentecost, and
  2. the conversion of the Gentiles in chp 10, this –
  3. Paul will become a great apostle to the Gentiles.

This is an event of supreme importance. In world history, both secular and church history. The conversion of Paul is mentioned 3 times in Acts: chp 9, 22, 26.

There is no one else whose conversion story is repeated 3 times – only Saul’s.

As we know,

  • in chp 7, when Stephen was stoned to death, Saul was there, giving approval to his death. And
  • in chp 8, he began to persecute the Christians, dragging them from their houses and putting them in prison.

Actually, Saul’s conversion is not “sudden conversion” – but a “sudden acceptance.”

Saul was there when Stephen died, he heard him and saw him – what he said and how he died. Perhaps something about this stayed with him for the rest of his life. “How could a bad man die like this?” maybe he asked himself. So, he plunged into the most violent action possible in chp 8 – putting Christians into prison. But this only made it worse.

He had to ask himself: “What secret gives them this boldness, peace, joy, etc in the face of suffering, persecution, and even death.”

He went on to the Sanhedrin and asked for a letter of credit to go to Damascus and kill all the Christians to destroy the church. It was about 175 miles northeast from Jerusalem. It was a key commercial city – one of the largest at that time, and it had a large Jewish population. This journey would be taken by foot, for about one week.

The only companions he had were officers of the Sanhedrin. But because he was a Pharisee, he could have nothing to do with them. So, he could only walk and think.

Saul (origin)

v. 1-2

“9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”

When he almost arrived at Damascus, suddenly a light flashed around him – at noontime. It was brighter than the sunlight. Because of this light, he fell to the ground and the voice from the light said, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord.” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” “What should I do?” “Get up and go into the city and you will hear what you should do.” He went and fasted in the city for 3 days.

Saul (transformation)

v. 3-9

“9:3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. 6 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. “

  • Jesus knew Saul by his personal name. Likewise, Jesus also calls us by name.
  • Jesus didn’t say, “Why do you persecute my believers?” but rather, “Why do you persecute me?” Anyone who persecutes the church – even today – is guilty of persecuting Christ – because believers are the body of Christ.

Here, Saul’s experience is no mere hallucination, vision, he saw the actual, risen Lord. Later, he continually insisted that he looked upon the risen Lord just as the disciples did in the Upper Room on the first Easter. Saul continually insists that he saw the risen Lord – and he based his apostleship on this reality.

  • Before, he saw Jesus dead (crucified) but now he saw him alive.
  • He thought he was a bad man, but discovered he was the Messiah, prophesied by the OT. If Jesus is alive, then Paul would have to change his mind about his message.
  • He thought he was God’s man, but discovered that he was persecuting God.
  • He thought he was righteous, but discovered he was a lost sinner – in need of repentance and forgiveness and salvation.

Remember, true conversion comes from a personal encounter with Jesus and gives new life in relationship with Jesus Christ.

Have you ever experienced this true conversion by having a personal meeting with Christ?

In this event, Saul entered Damascus a changed man. What a transformation! What a changed man! (Remember v. 1-2?)

  • He started to go to Damascus to arrest all Christians and take them to Jerusalem. But he arrived totally changed.
  • The persecutor changed into the persecuted.
  • The leader became the follower. And his physical eyes closed, but his spiritual eyes opened.
  • He was like a wild animal, a bull, but became like a lamb – a vessel of honor, the instrument of Christ – to preach the gospel to the ends of the world.
  • He started his journey with murderous threats, but ended with humility and obedience.

What a transformation!

This is the biggest change in his whole life – also in Christian history.

Up to this time, Saul had been doing what he liked and what he wanted – what his will dictated – what he thought best and righteous. But from this time on, he would do what God wants him to do. This is the life of a real Christian. So, let me ask, “what do you do?”

The Christian is the one who has stopped doing what he wants to do and has started doing what God wants him to do.

  • Do you do what you want to do?
  • Or do you do what God wants you to do?

Are you sure that what you’re doing recently is what Christ wants you to do? Or is it just what you want to do?

Also from this story, we can know, “yes” Saul was saved completely by believing in the risen Christ. Saul didn’t choose him, but Christ chose him.

v. 15

“15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.””

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace we are saved, not by works. It is the gift of God, so that no one can boast.”

Saul didn’t choose Christ but Christ chose him.

Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us before the Creation of the world and predestined us to be his sons and daughters through Christ in accordance with his will.”

Jesus “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit.”

This is the greatest conversion story in the church.

  • The greatest persecutor became the greatest preacher.

So, we must not limit God. God can reach anybody and everybody for salvation.

Saul confesses later he is the “chief of sinners” : 1 Tim 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: that Christ died to save sinners, of whom I’m the worst.”

We should never think in our minds: “That person is too strong, impossible to be saved.”

Actually, God “wants all people to be saved – he desires that no one perish.” He can save anyone by his grace through faith in Christ.

Ananias’ story

v. 10-19

“9:10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.”

Without a doubt, Ananias is one of the forgotten heroes of the Christian church. But God remembers. We can only find his story here – only once.

Yes, Ananias knew the reputation of Saul – he knew Saul’s purpose to come to Damascus. Humanly speaking, he was probably very afraid. But in a vision, God said, “Go, that man is my chosen instrument.”

This mission of Ananias was scary, dangerous, etc. But his first words to Saul were, “Brother Saul…” These men had been the bitterest enemies but they became brothers in Christ. This is one of the strongest examples of Christian love.

From this story of Ananias, we can get 3 lessons.

#1: God can use the most unknown servant in doing something great

Ananias was an obscure and unknown saint at that time – but God used him. Behind many well-known servants of the Lord were many less-known servants. But God keeps a record, and rewards all according to his ministry, service, sacrifice.

What is important is not “faith” before men, but faithfulness before God.

#2: We shouldn’t be afraid to obey God’s command/will

At first, Ananias argued and gave many good reasons not to visit Saul. But we should remember that God had everything under control, and Ananias obeyed. We must remember that God is always working – at first and last.

At the same time that God gave a vision to Ananias, he also gave a vision to Saul.

God’s perfect will is always best.

#3: God’s works are always balanced

This is a kind of miracle.

Anyone among us experienced a “light” from heaven? This is a miracle.

But God’s works are always balanced.

  • He balanced a great, public miracle with a quiet, private meeting with Saul and Ananias.
  • The light and voice were loud, bright, dramatic. But the visit with Ananias was a very ordinary thing.
  • The hand of God pushed Saul from pride to the ground of humility. But he used Ananias’ hand to bring Saul up to where he needed.
  • God spoke directly from heaven, but also spoke through the voice of Ananias.

Today, God is the same. He is doing something great, extraordinary, marvelous, beautiful – but he can use our small-looking obedience in doing his great miracles. He can use ordinary people like you and me in doing his extraordinary miracles.

God bless you.

Still, God is doing his job behind us and ahead of us.

  • Peter preached before several thousand.
  • But Ananias was sent to preach to only one person – Saul – but what a person!

He would become the great apostle for the Gentiles. Even secular historians agree that Paul is one of the great figures in secular world history.

It means that God is doing something great in the invisible world.

  • We know in church history – Billy Graham – he did great things in church history. But who knows who led Billy Graham to Christ?
  • We know Martin Luther, William Carrey, did great jobs in Christian history. But who knows who led them all to Christ? Only God knows.

In our situation, if you preach just to one person, who knows if that person will touch thousands, millions, etc. We do not know. Only God knows. So every person is important before God.

“I’m so important before God.”

All the time, expecting, – when you evangelize one person, maybe that person will touch millions and millions. Through this story, we can know that God does great things through us, around us, and in us.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 20 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Thanks be to God…

Romans 7:14-25 (Pastor Heo)

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.


Conclusion: (v. 25) “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Today is the third time in chapter 7. The whole chapter = the Discussion of the Law.

  1. Our relationship with the Law (we died to the Law, alive in Christ)
  2. The Ministries of the Law (what the Law CAN do – there are 4)
    1. Reveals sin
    2. Arouses sinful nature
    3. Kills
    4. Displays the sinfulness of sin
  3. The Inability of the Law (what the Law CANNOT do – 3 points)

The Inability of the Law (3 Points)

#1 Law cannot change us

v. 14 “14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”

  • The Law is holy, came from a Holy God – he is righteous in all he says and does.
  • The Law is good, it reveals God’s holiness to us – and helps us to see our absolute need for a Savior.
  • The Law is spiritual – it deals with the inner man – as well as the outer actions.

Problem: “I am unspiritual (sinful by nature).”

  • The Law’s nature = spiritual
  • Our nature = unspiritual (even though we are saved, still we are unspiritual – we have a sinful nature )
  1. The Old Nature does not know the Law
  2. The New Nature does not need the Law

The Law cannot transform the Old Nature – it only shows how sinful that Old Nature is. If we try to live under the Law, we will only activate the Old Nature – not eliminate it.

How can we be free from sin and yet continue to do wrong?

“In Christ” – we are FREE from

  1. the penalty of sin (judgment),
  2. power of sin (powerlessness),

but NOT FREE from

  1. the presence and
  2. possibility of sin.

Under grace, the Law is changed from judgment to guidance – to a character study of the one who shaped us.

Only Jesus died for us on the cross, and only HE can change you and me.

#2. Law cannot enable us to do good

Do you want to do good or evil? Good.

The Law cannot help us to do good.

v. 15-21

“15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”

Are you confused? “I want to do what I don’t want to do, but I don’t do what I want to do, it’s what I don’t want to do that I do…….”

  1. Do you always do what you want to do?
  2. Do you always NOT do what you DON’T want to do?

Paul, personally, confessed, “I do not understand what I do. I do what I DON’T want to do. I DON’T do what I want to do.”

What does this mean? Is he declining into sinfulness? Getting worse and worse? NO. There are 3 points here.

#1: More blessing = more conscious of sin

More we become holy, the more we desire to become holy.

v. 5:20 “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

This means, the more we experience the grace of God, the more we become conscious of sin and fighting sin. This is a basic doctrine of Christianity. The more grace/love of God, the more sensitive to sin we are, the more we desire to become holy – and hate/fight sin.

The more blessing we receive, the more blessing we are to give.

Practical example:

  • If you own $1000 / month, and give $100 in tithe, this is the correct, acceptable tithe.
  • If you earn $1,000,000 and give $1,000 as tithe, even though this is 10x the first amount, this is not the correct amount, it is not a full tithe.

Example 2:

  • How’s your suit/clothes? If you wear VERY expensive, wedding dress, etc, maybe you will be VERY careful about your actions and where you sit. You will be very careful to keep it clean. Even one small stain will be outstanding (noticeable).
  • But if you wear casual, cheap, loose clothes, you don’t care how to move, where to sit, etc. Even if something stains your clothes, it will not be noticeable and you will not be unhappy.

i.e. “The more holy you are, the more holy you want to be.”

In the Bible, there are certain books written by the apostle Paul.

  • 2 Cor = AD 56
    • (chp 11:5 “I am not less than any super apostle. I’m not in the least inferior to those.'”)
  • Eph = AD 60-61
    • (chp 3:8 “I am less than the least of all God’s people.'”)
  • 1 Tim = AD 62-63
    • (chp 1:15 “I am the worst of all sinners.”)

Look at this transformation.

Is Paul becoming worse and worse? No, the opposite is true.

The more we experience the grace/love of God, the more humble we must become.

In your case? Do you find the same things that you didn’t recognize as sin before you were saved – now you recognize it as sin since you are saved?

After saving, do you find the same things 1-2 years ago, you didn’t think “That’s a sin”, but now you recognize it as sin – then you are becoming more holy.

Paul “If I do not preach, I sin a terrible sin – curse on me.” Personally, he experienced the amazing grace of the gospel – and it changed his whole life completely. Now he cannot be happy without preaching the gospel.

If we experience this same power and grace in our lives, we also cannot be happy without doing this as well.

Samuel confessed (1 Sam 12:23) “As for me, far be it from me, that I should sin be failing to pray for you.” (Not praying for others was a terrible sin – because he experienced the special grace of God in his own life)

The more grace/love of God, the more we become sensitive to sin. May God bless us all with more grace.

#2: Christian life is a struggle

I’m a fighter. Christian life is a struggle in this world.

Q: “Are you dead IN sin, or dead TO sin?”

Be clear about your answer.

What is the difference? (a single two-letter word)

BIG difference:

  1. Dead IN sin (Eph 2:1 “…you were dead in your sins and transgressions…”) – we were children of the devil and slaves of sin – so at that time, we didn’t struggle, fight against sin – we just followed alone
  2. Dead TO sin = slaves of righteousness, children of God – no more condemnation or penalty or punishment of sin – alive to the consciousness of sin. This means we are fighting, struggling against sin.
  • Dead in sin = following sin
  • Dead to sin = fighting sin

Eph 5 “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. For our fighting is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground when the day of evil comes.”

Paul confessed, near the end, “I have fought the good fight.” (2 Timothy verse 7)

1 Pet 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist Satan, standing firm in the faith.”

Christ “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have struggles of many kinds, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

#3: We have responsibility

Both for our sins and our actions.

v. 17 “17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”

v. 20 “20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

What is the real meaning of these sentences?

Paul is not giving up / abdicating his responsibility. But, he confesses that his desires and sin fight against each other all the time.

For us as well, because in this world, our redemption is not 100% complete yet. We are still living in the presence and possibility of sin in this world.

  • Until under the grace of God, sin possessed me.
  • Now still, under the grace of God, I possess sin.
  1. Before the grace of God, we were responsible for being sinners.
  2. After we were redeemed, we are still responsible for our sin.

If you fight someone, can you say “I didn’t beat you. This fist beat you.” We must always remember we are responsible for our actions, for our sins.

We must never use the power of sin/Satan as an excuse – because these are defeated enemies. Yes, without Christ’s help, sin/Satan are more powerful than we are, so we would not be able to defend ourselves against Christ’s attacks. So, we should never stand up to sin all alone. Christ is the one who defeated sin ONCE and for all. After that, Jesus promised to fight by our side. So, if we look to Christ for help, we will not have to give in to sin.

But we must always remember that we are responsible for our own actions and sins because Satan is defeated.

  1. Law cannot change us
  2. Law cannot enable us to do good

#3. Law cannot set us FREE

Do you want freedom?

v. 22-25 “22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

It is very clear. The Law cannot give us true freedom. It is only Christ who can set us free. Only Christ can give us real freedom.

“You know the truth and this truth will set you free.”

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Even today, some Christians may say “Yes, salvation by grace of God through Christ, but our sanctification is by OUR actions – service, willpower, etc.” NO! Please remember that – not only our salvation, but also sanctification, growth, final glorification, from FIRST to LAST, all steps – all the course of the Christian life – is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.” This is applied in ALL areas of the Christian life.

At the same time, the Bible encourages us, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13?)

v. 24 “24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

Conclusion: v. 25 “25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

  • When you look to yourself, there is only powerlessness.
  • When you look to Christ, there is sure power, victory, possible through Christ.

Our proclamation: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 13 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Kingdom of Heaven is Like: Wheat Among Weeds, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast (Matthew 13:24-43)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like: Wheat Among Weeds, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast (Matthew 13:24-43)

07.13

07.13.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Wheat, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast
Matthew 13:24-43 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
13:31,32pp — Mk 4:30-32 13:31-33pp — Lk 13:18-21
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.


Matthew 13 is a parable chapter of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus uses 7 material things to teach us something about the KOH. Parable = earthly story with heavenly meaning/truth.

Parable #1: The Sower with 4 kinds of Soil

  1. Hard
  2. Rocky
  3. Thorny
  4. Good

Today, 3 parables about the KOH.

  1. Man sows a good seed – Wheat among Weeds
  2. Mustard seed
  3. Yeast (leaven)

#1: KOH = Wheat among Weeds

v. 24-30

There is a saying “Ill weeds grow apace.” This was very familiar to the Palestinian audience. Weeds are a curse against which farmers must labor. During their early stages, the weeds and wheat look the same. It’s impossible to distinguish one from the other.

But, when they grow a little more, they could be distinguish. But, their roots were twisted together, so it was impossible to uproot the weeds without affecting/hurting the wheat. So, both had to be left to grow together until the time of harvest.

Then, at the time of harvest, the wheat and weeds had to be separated. The weeds were poisonous and bitter – a narcotic and causing sickness.

The Jews called the weeds “bastard wheat.”

  • The one who sows the good seed = Jesus.
  • The good seed = the children of the KOH.
  • The enemy who sowed the evil seed = Satan.
  • The weeds = the children of this world.
  • The field = this world.
  • The harvesters = angels.

Satan CANNOT uproot true Christians.

So, Satan merely plants FALSE Christians to infect and influence the true Christians.

Our task is not to pull the weeds, but plant the wheat. We are not detectives, but evangelists. We are not pullers, but planters.

Yes, we should expose the lies of the Devil, but we must also (more importantly) bear fruit.

In this world, there is always a hostile power waiting and seeking to destroy the good seed.

  1. Helps the seed of the world?Word? to grow and flourish.
  2. Tries to destroy the good seed.

We must always be on guard, on watch in this world.

Believers and unbelievers are living together – even here in this service. There are some in the KOH and some who are not. So hard it is to distinguish. A man may appear good, but be in fact bad. A man may appear bad, but be in fact good.

We (dangerously) quickly classify men as “good” or “bad” without knowing the truth. We must wait until the time of the harvest to know the truth. A man is not judged by a single mistake in his life – but by his whole life. Through the grace and sacrifice of Christ, a man may make an ugly life a beautiful thing. Alternatively, a man may live his entire life purely, and at the last moment, fall into sin. Judgment comes someday, at the end, not hastily.

Humanly speaking, a sinner in this world may not ever receive his consequences in this world. But there is a new life to come. Goodness likewise may not ever receive its reward in this world, but there is a new life to come. Only Jesus knows and can judge all things perfectly, completely. At the last time, God will judge all things rightly. Therefore, we must judge ourselves (2 Cor 3?) “Judge yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless you fail the test.”

The KOH = wheat among weeds (present and growing in this world full of sin and unbelief).

#2: KOH = mustard seed

v. 31-32

The smallest of seeds – produces a large tree.

The point is very clear: the growing power of the mustard seed – from smallest to largest. The KOH is like this – from insignificance to magnificence.

The KOH began with the smallest – JC as a baby in the manger, his death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension. Then, the church was left in the care of 12 apostles and a few hundred followers.

But someday the KOH will cover all the world (2 billion Christians in the world today).

Humanly speaking, Jesus came as a weak person – in a manger, son of a poor carpenter.

When Jesus comes again, he will come as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and his kingdom will cover all the world. At that time, all knees will bow and worship him, and all mouths will confess he is the Lord, Son of God.

In daily application?

This can be true in our small group, churches, schools, academies, careers. The KOH may start with only one person, and nobody knows how big that may grow one day.

A man who is set on fire for Christ is a person who kindles others.

If you plant (preach the gospel message) – this is your mustard seed in his heart and it CAN (with God’s water and help) can grow large in his heart.

#3: Yeast

v. 33

This parable was shocking to them.

Actually, throughout the Bible, yeast is a symbol of SIN – uncleanness. For example, during the Passover, they had to eat unleavened (un-yeasted) bread. Yeast had to be removed from their sacrifices as well.

Yeast was also a symbol of carnality and hypocrisy on the church.

This would be shocking.
“The KOH is like the symbol for uncleanness.”

“What?” This obviously got their attention.

The point? The transformational power of yeast. Just a LITTLE bit with transform the entire loaf of bread.

Without yeast, the bread is hard, tasteless, unappetizing, not delicious. With yeast = soft, spongy, delicious. The yeast transforms it all.

Like this, the KOH transforms our whole lives. The hidden reality of the KOH = Jesus and he transforms our personal, spiritual, physical, social lives.

In human history, there are great societies, great communities where the KOH transformed the whole society.

Examples:

1. Life for women in history.

  • At that time, women were considered property. Men would pray, “Thank God I’m not a Gentile, slave, or woman.” She was completely secluded.
  • In Korea, until Christianity came, a woman was like a half-slave to her husband and his family.
  • In India, until Christianity came, there was a horrible practice – when a husband died, his wife was buried alive to follow her husband.

2. Life for slaves

In human history, until Christianity came, in every community, country, society, there were slaves. Even in Abraham’s community, in Greek, Rome, America, India, Korea – every place there were slaves. A slave was a piece of property – a walking piece of real estate – not a person. But, wherever Christianity penetrated, slavery has gone.

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. So stand firm, do not let yourselves submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

In all aspects of life, only Jesus can give you freedom.

3. Life for children

In ancient times, children had a good chance of dying during his childhood. So, a child was not counted in number, not allowed to attend public meetings. Jesus said, “Let them come to me. Do not stop them. The KOH belongs to such as these.” Jesus received them and blessed them.

4. Life for the weak, sick, and aged

In pagan life at that time, these people were considered a nuisance, irritation. In Greece, in Sparta, when a boy was born, he was to be shown to the examiners – if healthy, he was allowed to live. If weak, sick, or deformed, he was put on the mountain to “live” alone (he died).

In history, Christianity is the first faith to be interested in these broken things in life.

Yes, even today, only Jesus can transform our lives and societies.

From slaves to free, from children of hell to children of God.

May God bless us all with this transforming power in our lives.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 30 / 2012
  • Comments Off on In Christ Jesus VS. In This World (John 16:16-33)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

In Christ Jesus VS. In This World (John 16:16-33)

9.30

Bulletin_09.30.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

v. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This section we read is the conclusion of our Lord’s upper room discussion. In the conclusion, he deals with the emotions of the disciples.

At this time, they were frustrated, worried, afraid, grieved. They didn’t understand some of Jesus’ teachings. They were humans, very ordinary, not even that well educated – but later they were used greatly for God’s kingdom.

So, there is hope for each of us to be used greatly for God’s kingdom as well, though we are ordinary. So, don’t give up! We always have hope!

3 Lessons

#1 v. 16-22 Principle
#2 v. 23-28 Promise
#3 v. 29-33 Position to Proclaim

#1 v. 16-22 Principle (Standard) to understand and apply in our daily lives.

“In a little while”?
“See me”?
“Grief will turn to rejoicing”

Principle = Our God brings, gives in our hearts and lives JOY finally – not by substitution, but by transformation (change).

To explain this, Jesus uses the story of a mother delivering a baby.
HUGE pain! initially, but at the same time, receiving that baby = HUGE joy!
The baby caused the pain, but brought joy!

God doesn’t substitute something else to bring joy from the pain, but he transforms what is ALREADY THERE – pain that is already there, and changes it to joy.

Child with a broken toy.
Substitution = parents buy another toy, if broken, buy another toy, if broken, another toy, etc, etc. Whenever broken, buy a new toy. SO, that child grows up expecting EVERY problem to be solved by substitution.
Child-adult, adult-child – they grow up.

Another option = transform that experience to become joy for that unhappy child.

The way of substitution = immaturity.
The way of transformation = maturity.

If somebody replaces our broken toys ALL THE TIME, we will be immature.

The same baby that caused pain, caused great joy as well.

“So with you.” The same with Christian lives.

In the Bible, Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to Egypt, and he went to prison. But God transformed that hopeless situation into joy.

Saul pursued David to kill him, but the pain and worry was transforming David into the man of God to write beautiful Psalms.

Jesus died on the UGLY cross – a symbol of death, but God transformed that cross into a symbol of life.

Today, many people may think “joy is an emotion depending on my circumstances.”
That is only HALF true. 

True joy is MORE than that. TRUE joy is will-power, determination, inner attitude.

Remember Paul? In prison, weak in body, sick, and he shouted in joy, “I WILL rejoice at all times in the Lord!!”

Habakkuk confessed, “the olive tree doesn’t produce fruit, no sheep, no cattle, no fruit, no harvest, YET I will rejoice all the time in my God and my Savior!”

Joy is NOT only a feeling, but a determination! If you choose joy, you can be joyful – regardless of circumstances.

Also, we must understand the words, “a little while.” repeated 7 times.

v. 16 – “In a little while….”
They were worried and frustrated because they didn’t understand the true meaning of “a little while”

Double meaning – at that time, Jesus was talking about his soon coming event, death and resurrection. When he died on the cross, during his burial, they could not see Him, but after a little while, they saw Him in his resurrected body.

The second meaning is FROM returning to Father God UNTIL his Second Coming, we cannot see him. So, this period (now) is “a little while” before God.

When Jesus comes back “soon” we will see him forever.

2 Peter 3:8 “With God even 1,000 years are like a day, and a day is like 1,000 years.”

In human history, no matter how long it is, ANY and EVERY period is “a little while.” (Imagine your history textbooks)

James 4:14 “What is your life, you are a mist, a fog that appears for a little while and then disappears.”

What is the longest period of human history?
From Creation to Jesus’ Second Coming.
Even this is “a little while” when compared with eternity.

Rev. “the first earth and heaven will disappear, and a new heaven and new earth will appear”
Even this is “a little while” when compared with eternity. 

Forever is kind of a long time.

Remember that the best is coming soon. 
If we remember that, we can be joyful under every circumstance.

#2 v. 23-28 Promise
“Ask in my name”
How beautiful this promise given to us.
It is a promise of prayer – ask “in my name”

The central theme here is prayer.

As his cross is coming nearer and nearer, he emphasizes the necessity and blessing of prayer.

Originally, John 14, 15, 16 was a single sermon – Jesus repeats 7 times “in my name”
John 14:13 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask for anything in my name.”
John 14:26 “HS whom the Father will send in my name will teach and remind you of all I’ve said.”
John 15:16 “Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name”
John 16:23 “In that day (age of Holy Spirit – now – we are absolutely free to approach God at anytime in the name of Jesus), you will no longer ask me anything, …in my name. 24 Until now, you have not asked…in my name…26 In that day, you will ask in my name…”

7 times “in my name”
Prayer is one of the most wonderful promises and great privileges we can have.
1 Corinthians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Is this “pray continually” thing a burden? or a privilege? 
This means that I’m ALWAYS ready to listen to your voice to bless you, to walk with you, to help you (God says).

Parents love their children’s voices – if they talk for 3 hours, it’s great! But if they talk for 24-hours a day all day, every day….can you keep listening?…. “You said that before…Go to bed! Stop!”
Our God is never tired, never bored of our voices. 

This is a HUGE blessing, right, privilege.

Story:
Once, there was a dispute (debate) between Catholic Priests and the born-again Church on this matter.
Catholics argued, “this is a difficult job, we need many complicated processes – Jesus’ name PLUS Mary’s interceding PLUS saint’s interceding PLUS my good work” (the more help the better)
Pastor, “no, Jesus name is MORE than enough to approach God.”

Through the name of Jesus we have gained access to God’s grace.
Acts 4:12 “ There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved,…”

Priest interrupted – “Yes, Bible says this, but reality says… ‘When we want to meet a human President – like Obama, Lee MyungBak – we need many processes, gates, requirements, security, permission, appointment, wait’ …Imagine if a HUMAN President is so difficult to meet, how much more difficult to meet is GOD?”

Pastor, “Yes, humans are difficult, but, how about the CHILDREN of that President? I’m a child of God, how about you? I can walk into his office for no good reason whatsoever, just to say ‘Hi’ or ask for a candy.”

God has given each of us the right to become children of God (Romans?)

One of the main ministries of the Holy Spirit is to remind us that “you are a child of God” no matter how your (face) faith looks (ugly, or beautiful) – we are STILL children of God – that’s why we can always, anytime, approach God about anything – in the name of Jesus.

This is one of the greatest blessing we could receive. Please, enjoy it without measure.

#3 v. 29-33 Our Position to Proclaim
“You believe at last!”
“I have overcome the world!” (my favorite)

Through this passage, we can see it is possible to have faith, understanding, but fail to the Lord.

Unless we apply our faith, apply our understanding, we will fail when the testing comes.

Our Lord warned Peter that he would deny him three times – it happened.
Here, he warns that all the disciples would forsake him and leave him all alone – it will happen.

Even though I’m alone, the Father is with me.

Yet, ONE time, Jesus felt the absence of the Father – when God turned his back on his Son on the cross.

But Matthew – last verse “Surely I’m with you to the end of the age.”
Hebrews “never will I leave you, never forsake you, no one can snatch you out of my hand.”

But, when he became sin for us – in our place, God turned from him. He became alone so that we would never be alone. He became forsaken so we would never be forsaken.

Is there a time that you feel God is far? You are far from him.

Is there a time that you feel God is doing nothing? Then, you are doing nothing for him.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In Jesus Christ, there is peace, but in this world there is trouble and tribulation.

In heaven, there is only joy.
In hell, only tribulation.
On this earth, joy and trouble go together.
Do you have peace or do you have trouble?

If you are a really true Christian, the correct answer is “both.” Jesus told us we would have trouble.

Many people think (incorrectly) that peace is the absence of trouble. But if you think that, then you will have no opportunity to have peace.

Everyone has trouble because we are in this world. Unbelievers have no peace because they are not in Christ. We have peace because we are in Christ. But, we still have trouble.

Experiencing peace WITH trouble is the power of the true Christian faith.

Which overcomes which?

Are you overcome? Or overcoming? Overcomer?

We have trouble in this world.
We have peace in Christ.

This world is not in me.
Christ is in me.

So, peace can OVERCOME the trouble – ANY trouble. We are of Christ Jesus, we are not of this world.

1 John 5:4 “Everyone born of God overcomes the world.” This is the victory of our faith.

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!!!”

May God bless us with his Word.
Let’s pray.

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