The Book of Romans
Background of book of Romans:
The Jews were a wandering race after the
Southern kingdom, Judah,
was destroyed. Some Jews were found in Rome
as early as the second Century. By 59 BC, Cicero
wrote of their power and influence in the city of Rome.
In AD 49 Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome, as mentioned in
Acts 18:2. Priscilla and Aquila, who left Rome due to the persecution, were already believers when Paul met them.
Claudius’ expulsion edict, like the earlier
ones, had no lasting effect. A few years later the Jewish colony again
flourished and, as before, included Jewish believers in Christ. By the time
Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, a large number of Gentile and Jewish
Christians comprised a typical church.
Prior to the end of Paul’s 3rd missionary trip,
he stayed in Corinth
for 3 months and wrote this book (Acts 19:21, 20:2, 18:1, 11). The writing time
was about 57-58 AD. The book of Romans was not written by Paul himself (Rom
16:22); Dedu is the one who penned it. Paul signed his name to prove that he
was the one who wrote this letter, because at that time, others would use
Paul’s name to give out false teachings. It is slower to ask others to write
for you, but it is postulated that perhaps Paul had a problem with his eye sight.
The Church of Rome was not build by Paul, as it
existed before Paul went there. He longed to visit them but he failed to go
there. He was imprisoned twice while he was there; the first was recorded in
Acts 28, and the second incident was recorded in history (also, it is mentioned
in the letters to Timothy. So if Paul did not build this church, who built it?
Some guessed (Acts 2:10) Rome
was build by believers who were among the 3000 who were baptized in Acts 2.
They received the truth and went back to preach in Rome. Another possibility suggests that Rome was build by Peter (according
to Catholic history). But we know that it was built by God.
The majority of believers in Rome were gentiles, with Jews making the
minority (Rom 1:13, 2:1, 17, 7:1, 4:1-5), and they were in conflict with one
another. Jews wanted the gentiles to obey the laws of Moses (i.e. circumcision).
The book of Romans gives us a careful, thorough,
and detailed explanation of the Gospel that God called Paul to preach. In
Galatians, we also catch glimpses of the themes that Paul now fully develops.
As we study Romans, we see that in Christ, God has truly taken a new and
dynamic approach to the question of righteousness.
The unique character of the book of Romans:
It systematically explains a profound theology
that man is justified by faith. The theme can be found in 1:16-17: “…For in
[the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is
written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Paul proved that all are sinners. He illustrated
how the gentiles had sinned against God in their daily life. He proved that the
Jews, though they had the law, also sinned against God because a man with
flesh, without help of Holy Spirit, cannot abide by the law. The only solution
for man is Jesus Christ, who died for our sins by shedding of His blood. One
shall die and be resurrected with Jesus Christ by receiving water baptism. Then
one can lead a victorious life by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the life
The structure of the book of Romans.
Introduction & theme:
Justification by faith
1. Gentiles sin
2. Jews sin
3. All sin
1. Personal salvation
2. Whole race’s
Application of Justification by
Thanksgiving and hope (1:8-15)
Guilt of the Gentiles (1:18-32)
Guilt of the Jews (2:1-3:8)
According to divine standards, they were guilty.
God’s truthfulness (2:1-4)
God’s impartiality (2:5-11)
Jesus Christ (2:12-16)
According to their hypocrisy, and their trust in
According to their unbelief (3:1-8)
Proof of universal guilt (3:9-20)
All are under sin (3:9-18)
All are conscious of sin (3:19-20)
Personal salvation (3:21-8:39)
Justification (3:21- 5:21)
God’s righteousness is revealed (-26)
Man can only be justified by faith (3: 27-31)
Abraham was counted as righteous through faith
Abraham believed God’s promise (4:13-16)
The distinguishing feature of Abraham’s faith
The effect of being justified by faith (5:1-21)
Meaning, method, and effect of baptism (6:1-9)
We should live for God after receiving baptism
Slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness (6:15-23)
can we legally be freed from the Law? (7:1-3)
must we be freed from the Law? (7:4-6)
cannot cause men to depart form sin (7:7-13)
happens to a believer who tries to relate to God through the Law? The flesh
cannot resist the law of sin (7:13-25)
happens to a believer who relates to God through the Holy Spirit? There is
freedom and life (8:1-8)
is the source of our victorious experience? (8:9-17)
The longing and sighing of the whole creation
God’s predestination (8:28-30)
No one can bring a charge against us (8:31-34)
No one can separate us from God’s love (8:35-39)
Salvation for the whole race (9:1-11:36)
God’s chosen: the Jews (9:1-29)
Paul’s love and concern for the salvation of the
The children of the promise are the true
God will have mercy on whomever He will have
The absolute freedom of God’s sovereign choice
unbelief and salvation (9:30-11:12)
The Israelites have not attained righteousness (-33)
The requirement of being justified by faith
Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be
The Bible prophesied about the unbelief of the
God will elect the remnants of Israel (11:1-12)
The relationship between gentile’s salvation and
Gentiles should not boast of their own salvation
The Israelites are beloved by God (11:25-29)
All Israel will be saved (25-27; Zech
The wisdom of God and salvation for all races
God will show mercy to all (11:30-32)
The unsearchable depth and judgment of the
wisdom and knowledge of God (11: 33-36)
Application of justification by faith (12-16)
A Christian’s service (12:1-2)
A Christian him/herself (12:3-8)
A Christian and friends (12:9-16)
A Christian and enemies (12:17-21)
Christianity and government (13:1-7)
Christians among Christians (14:1-15:6)
Topical Study: Justification
by faith through the Gospel
Intro: The gospel means good news. There are
many kinds of good news in the world, but there is only one
good news in the Bible.
The gospel was a prophecy and a promise by the
prophets (Rom 1:2)
From Moses to all the prophets in the Bible,
there have been many prophecies and promises concerning Jesus Christ.
Gal 3:16: Through the seed of Abraham, all
nations shall be blessed. The seed refers to Jesus Christ.
Deut 18:18: God said to Moses that one of the
brothers would be raised up like Moses to pass on the words of God. Jesus said
that Moses had proved His existence. (Jn 5:46)
Many prophets had promised the coming of the
Messiah—that a savior would come to save the people. The prophets prophesied
about His life.
Where was He born?
Who would betray Him?
Where was He to be buried?
How was He to die?
More than one hundred verses refer to the coming
of the Messiah; the savior of Israel.
(Nowadays, one needs to gather much information just to identify and search for
an old friend.)
The gospel was not a historical accident;
rather, it was God’s master plan.
It came in the Roman Era, and it shared the same
culture and language.
The road was constructed to reach Rome from all places,
which paved the way for the gospel to be preached.
The location was at the center of the old world.
This was also the reason why Abraham was led to this new land.
Crime punishment was one of the cruelest.
It is just like how it was in God’s plan for Israel to stay in Egypt.
Their language and culture were preserved
because they lived in the same location.
There were many wars in Canaan when they were
slaves in Egypt.
The evil of the people in the land of Canaan
was not yet fulfilled.
Since God is the master planner, we need to plan
ahead, too (Job 12:13). God has counsel and understanding (Prov 8:14, 20:18),
and every purpose is established by His counsel.
Today, we need to plan for our careers,
too. Without planning, we may waste a lot of effort. For example, it may take
double the time to assemble a table if we do not first read the instructions.
The content of the gospel is Jesus and His cross
Jesus was the seed of David according to the
God promised that He would set up David’s seed
after him and make his kingdom strong (2 Sam 7:12). David’s kingdom and his
throne would be established forever before God (2Sam 7:16), which was fulfilled
by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Messiah that Israel has been looking for through
Even in today’s generation, some proclaim to be
the Christ for Israel.
Jesus is proved to be son of God according to
the spirit of holiness. The Holy Spirit resurrected Jesus from His death, and
Jesus showed Himself to more than 500 people after His resurrection. And many
witnessed His ascension.
If Jesus was simply the seed of David, He would
have still carried the sin of Adam. A sinner cannot die for us. So Jesus, the
son of God, was born sinless in order to bear our iniquities.
If Jesus was simply the Son of God, without body
and blood, then He could not have shed blood to redeem our sins (Heb 2:14). By
the death of His body, Jesus was able to put an end to the power of death.
God’s righteousness is manifested through Jesus
and His cross. God set up Jesus as a symbol of mercy. Jesus shed His blood to
wash away the sin of believers. As long as we believe in Jesus and receive
water baptism for the remission of sin, our sins are forgiven (Rom 1:7, 3:25).
Today, we are the seeds of certain ancestors. If
God made a covenant with our ancestors to care for us, we are in good fortune.
By the same token, if we are men after God’s heart like David, God will bless
our descendants. Those who honor their parents will have blessings that will
extend many generations after. So our deeds may not only influence this
generation, but they will influence the generations to come (Ex 20:6). For
example, David’s ancestor was Ruth, and he was from the tribe and lineage of Judah,
the 4th son of Jacob, and both David and Ruth honored their parents.
Today, the Holy Spirit, which proves the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, can declare that we are the sons of God, too (Rom
8:16). We need to have a transforming
life to prove the sign of speaking in tongue.
The gospel is to show the righteousness of God
This verse, Rom 1:17, is the theme of the book
of Romans, which is elaborated upon in the entire book.
In short, humans were born sinners.
Some say that humans are born with spiritual
life and choose to sin later on. For example, The Chinese say that humans are
Some think humans are born neutral—like white/blank
pieces of paper. The environment can make it black or white; therefore,
education is important.
The Bible says that man had fallen from the
beginning, as sin came into the world through one man. Man is born spiritually
dead and alienated from God. Both by nature and by choice, human beings
willingly choose sin, even when they knew what was good. So the Lord Jesus came
to solve the problem of sin and to give us a new spiritual life.
Man can only be righteous through faith in Jesus
Christ and accept Jesus’ salvation.
Many religions teach men how to become good
people. Some religions proclaim that one needs to stay in the mountains his entire
life to cultivate himself and obtain salvation. There is less temptation in the
mountains and easier to cultivate oneself. After one reaches a certain stage of
perfection, one can become Buddha.
In Christianity, Jesus is the one who saved us.
Take the example of one who is sinking in the sea of sin. A Christian believes
that Jesus will come to save him from the sinking sea. Other religions may
simply ask one to swim away from the whirl of the sinking sea.
Of course, through continued faith in Jesus, one
can have power from Jesus not to be drawn and jump into the sinking sea again,
because through the Holy Spirit, one can be empowered and become a stronger
person. For example, One young man was reluctant to
accept water baptism. He was not sure if he was ready, as he was afraid that he
might commit sin after baptism. This is a sign of lack of faith. If we truly
believe in Jesus, we know that Jesus will empower us to overcome sin if we live
a life in Jesus. If we are occasionally overcome by sins, we know that after
water baptism, the fountain of forgiveness is open for us (Zech 13:1). We should
not purposely sin, and we should discern not to commit mortal sin. It is not
difficult to abide by the commandments, for the protection and power of God is
with us (1 Jn 5:3). For example, a brother in the Philippines prays very hard every
time he kneels down. He says that by having the fullness of the Holy Spirit all
the time, he is able to overcome his temptation. So we overcome sin, not by our own effort,
but by the law of Spirit and the law of life. (Rom 8:1-2)
We should not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom
The gospel did not only stir up peace within the
family, for Jesus said, “I come to make father against son, mother daughter”
(Lk 12:49-54). The gospel was also a stirring power in the city of Rome. Even the king
persecuted Christians, and the Jews followed Paul to accuse him in the civil
court. They addressed Paul as a plague that is always turning the city upside
down (Acts 24:5).
Many people don’t like to be the center of
attention and conflict. But Paul was not ashamed of the gospel.
Paul encouraged Timothy, who was timid as a
young preacher, not to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8-9).
We should not be ashamed because of the way we
pray in church. For example, some people are attracted by our prayer.
We should not be ashamed to offer a silent
prayer in public. We should not be ashamed when we pray at the baptismal site.
Jesus said that if anyone does not acknowledge
Him in public, then he won’t be acknowledged by Him in the heavenly kingdom (Mt
For example, in the story about Fargo: The teacher tried
to calm down the young killer by saying: “God be with us.” Annoyed by the
comment, he shot the teacher to death. Then he pointed his gun to a student
asking, “Do you believe in God?” “No, I don’t.” The killer turned away and shot
four other students to death. If there is a gun pointed to your head, how would
you have reacted?
Judgment in the last day is according to the
gospel we preach (Rom 2:16)
The gospel judges people. Our heavenly Father
did not judge men, but He gave the authority to the son (Jn 5:22ff). Jesus said,
“I do not judge man, but My word will judge” (Jn
12:28). People often ask if we are the only one true church, and whether people
in other churches can be saved. If the Lord judges according to the Bible, I
doubt it. But I won’t judge, for the word will judge.
The gospel is to save people because it is the
good news. For example, during the flood, it saved Noah’s family and it destroyed
the world of sin (1 Pet 3:21).
We should preach the gospel
Paul desired to preach in Rome, too (Rom 1:15).
Paul desired to preach to those places where no
one had preached about Jesus before (Rom 15:19-20). Paul would rather not build
the foundation of the gospel on others. He was a pioneer in serving the Lord
even though it was a dangerous and arduous task.
It is physically more challenging to preach in
third world countries, but the Lord gave us many wonders and signs over there.
It is wonderful to see that people’s hearts can be so pure without TV.
No matter where, we should bring the truth to
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach
the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”(Rom 10:14ff)
One of the most joyful moments in life is to see
a newborn baby, and especially a spiritual one.
All you need to do is to share your life story and
be aware of the difference.
We should cherish
the gospel and appreciate what were given. We should know its essence and
understand that preaching the gospel is our God-given duty today. The gospel
can indeed save those who believe in Jesus.
Topical Study: Judgment by deeds (Rom 2:6)
In God’s eyes, there were only two kinds of
people in Paul’s time: there were races with the law of God and races without God’s
laws. In God’s eyes, there are two kinds of people: His children whose sins are
washed away and the children of the world. Paul tried to prove that all are
guilty and all need God’s salvation.
We are justified by faith, but we are judged by
deeds as well. Is there a conflict? Many churches say that once you are saved,
you are saved forever. This is not the message from the book of Romans. It says
that everyone is judged according to his deeds. While justification by faith
mentions the love of God, judging by deeds talks about the righteousness of
If man could solve the problem of sin, Jesus
would not have needed to come to this world. As all have sinned, we need Jesus
to save us from all sins.
Gentiles are guilty (Only Jews worship the one
Gentiles did not have the Law, but God gave them
a conscience (Rom 2:14-15).
The Ten Commandments were written in their
hearts. For example, everybody knows that it is right to honor their parents.
When you visit many remote areas, even in the
third world countries, you can find loving people. From my experience in Kenya, the
members there treated us the way Abraham treated the three strangers.
God’s eternal power and the nature of God is seen from the creations of the world (Rom 1:19-20).
No matter if it is a civilized or remote country, one can find the word “God” in their life. There
may not be walls or cities built in the jungle, but people worshiped gods in
their own ways. “God” is a concept that was put in human hearts (Rom 1:19).
God manifested His power in His creations.
Look at the trees we plant in our yards and the
trees God plants in the national park.
Look at the stars, which are bigger than the moon.
There are millions of them aligned on the same orbit at a constant speed. That
is why we can calculate the exact time to launch a space shuttle to the moon.
When some people reached the moon, they are
recited Psalm 8.
Gentiles, instead of worshiping the creator,
worshiped creation (Rom 1:21ff).
In India, it is a cow.
In Thailand, it is a snake.
In my country, it is earth, tree, people, and
Satan uses such idols to trick people. Satan can
perform miracles to lure people to worship the wrong gods.
Why did Gentiles purposely worship many gods? (Rom
Humans are too smart (Rom 1:23); they think that
more gods are better than one god. What is visible is better than what is
invisible. For example, many truthseekers who worshiped images/idols of Jesus
said that they do not worship an idol. They simply use an idol to remind
themselves of Jesus. They even worship images of Jesus’ mother and His
Humans love to combine god-worshiping with the
lusts of their own hearts (Rom 1:24).
“Current affair”, a TV show, talked
about a young man who recently committed suicide. This young man was the next
leader of a religion, which had only one doctrine: one received salvation
through sex. They would send youths out to seduce others to join their
religion. This young man had sex when he was two, and his father recorded all
his acts for others to learn from. He could not bear the memory of the past and
he killed his mom and then killed himself.
God gave them up. They become vain in their
imagination and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom 1:21).
Those who do evil do not like light. They prefer
darkness (Jn 3:19).
Idols become the tools to lure others (Jer
Gentiles are morally guilty—including
homosexuality (Rom 1:26-27).
What is San
Francisco famous for? The first women’s homosexuality
magazine was published over there.
It is said that homosexuality is an illness.
People cannot choose his sexual behavior. Now, it’s said to be a lifestyle
choice. As long as they do not influence us, we shall not bother them, as we
should not practice sexual discrimination.
One senator has been outspoken to support the
rights of children to have a male father and female mother. But many states
still allow same sex marriage.
Nowadays, people use tax money to put gay books
in the library for the children. Things have changed so much from the days when
Puritans would teach their kids: A for Adam, B for Bible, C
for Christ, etc.
Homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. The word
Sodomy originates from the city of Sodom,
which was destroyed because of God’s rage. As Jesus is a friend of sinners, when
a homosexual comes to our church, we should accept them, but we do not agree
with their actions. For example, even Pope John Paul II said that USA is too
The Bible says that homosexuals will get right
reward for their evil-doings. Take the example of AIDS. There is currently no
cure for AIDS. It can be contracted by sexual intercourse, from a skin cut or
bodily fluids such as saliva of those who are affected. Children can also get
AIDS from their parents. AIDS is a by-product of homosexuality.
TV shows like “Will & Grace” try to normalize
homosexuality. As matter of fact, many gays and lesbians are good people. But
privately, they practice wrongful sexual acts. For example, Jacob’s firstborn
son was a good person in many ways, but he was cursed by his father because of
his sexual behavior.
Other immoral acts are also found in gentiles
Much of the media reveal the sins of
our society. It exposes all kinds of immorality, such as unfaithfulness between
spouses, teen pregnancies, and affairs.
Jews are also guilty in God’s eyes
They had the Law, they
were chosen and had promises and covenant with God.
But Paul said that simply knowing the Law does
not make a person superior—one must observe the Law. In essence, Paul was
accusing Judaism of having become a religion of superficiality. It took pride
in having the Law, but Jews “dishonor God by breaking the Law.” It took pride
in physical circumcision, but ignored the inner circumcision of the heart
accomplished only by God’s spirit. The Jews had many spiritual advantages (Rom
3:1-2), but their unbelief did not make the faithfulness of God without effect
The Law itself may not be enough to resolve every
situation in a human’s life.
The point here is that, as in life, the Law
isn't always black and white; at least, it shouldn't be interpreted that way.
Some of the laws were written on the assumption that most people are simply
incapable of exercising prudent judgment—the best example being the red light
in the middle of nowhere. It would arguably make more sense to have flashing
yellows (for caution: proceed with care) at low traffic density lights out in
rural areas or after a certain time at night, when traffic thins, as opposed to
having red lights for no rational reason and insisting that people obey them,
There's a case to be made that the more a
decision-making government takes out of the hands of the people, the more the
people will become incapable of acting for themselves. In turn, the more rules
and regulations will be necessary to “protect an increasingly addled populace
from the torpor of its own stupidity and stultifying lack of initiative. That's
not a good thing at all—much worse, in fact, than slipping through a red light
at some desolate intersection after making sure the road is clear” (excerpt
from an internet article).
Law can judge man. But if a judge commits the
mistake, he will be judged. Jews were given the Law so they would know the will
of God. They are teachers of the Law and can tell right from wrong. Jews boast
about their laws but they cannot abide by the laws themselves (Rom 2:17-23).
For example, based on their own interpretation of the Law, the Jews crucified
Jesus on the cross. They said to Pilate that they and their descendants would
bear the sins. And from history, we do see judgment reciprocated on the Jews.
They were indeed like a ball kicked by man.
They underwent many persecutions in history.
They grab the treasure of other nations and are
hated by them.
Even today, one can probably found more wars in
their holy land than in other places.
Having circumcision on the body does not
guarantee a person will abide by the Law. Paul said that outward circumcision
is not true circumcision, but the inward circumcision, referring to water
Sign for the chosen (Gen7:9-14)
Sign of separation (Acts 11:2-3)
To get rid of filth (Deut10:16)
Inward circumcision—water baptism:
Sign for the chosen (Gal 2:11-12, 3:27, 29)
Sign of separation (Rom 6:1-4)
To get rid of filth (Acts 22:16)
It does not mean that Jews had no advantages.
Jews were given the Law, which reveals the heart
The Jewish laws reveal that God is faithful and
that man always changes his mind, but man’s unfaithfulness cannot change God’s
faithfulness. The Jews’ disobedience did not change the covenant that God made
with Abraham and David. For example, God creatively divided the nations into
two to keep His promise to David and to punish Solomon for his sins.
The Jews’ reception of the Law is evidence that
God judges those who know the Law. Without the law, there will be no sin and no
If the sins of the Jews can reveal the
righteousness of God, then why does God still want to punish them? (Rom 3:5-6)
It does not have to be Judas to betray Jesus
If a sinner makes a judgment to show his wisdom,
does it mean that the sinner deserve credit?
It is impossible that one can abide by the Law
with his flesh (Rom 3:9-10, 20).
When Jews sin, they will receive the first
When Jews abide by the laws, they will be the
first to receive rewards.
All are guilty (Rom 3:11-16)
We feel guilty under the Law or under
Conscience is the little voice in
our head. It can excuse us or accuse us in our actions. For example, someone
turns himself in to the police after watching “Passion of Christ.”
Sometimes, guilt comes because of a willful
choice we make that we know to be wrong. Sometimes it overwhelms us for
unwitting failures. Either way, to feel guilty is pure agony—a recognition of
our failure and inadequacy. Feelings of guilt are common in our society.
Sometimes the feelings are rooted in specific acts. A spouse is unfaithful. A
mother neglects a young child who is later injured. A teenager lies to his parents
about where he is going. A businessman cheats on a government contract.
Sometimes our feelings of guilt are rooted in the growing awareness that we are
unable to cope with life. We fall short over and over again. Somehow we must be
blamed and the sense of guilt grows. Plagued by the awareness of our
inadequacy, we may try any of several approaches to break free.
What do we do then?
People simply deny guilty feelings to feel
The prostitute ate and wiped her mouth and said
that she did not do it (Prov 30:20, 7:13).
It is the attitude of an ostrich, who buries its
head in the sand when danger occurs.
Example: One counselor suggests that the sinner simply
not go to church, as the church will add to his/her guilty feeling. Just say to
themselves that nothing is wrong as long as they like
People find excuses and reasons with their guilt.
Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed snake. The snake blamed
People masturbate, and their excuses include
health benefits. People have affairs and find excuses for that, too.
People punish themselves for their guilt.
Judas hung himself.
Others get drunk or use drugs to deal with their
Some member had a strong conscience and felt
that he could not have a happy life with religion, because every day he is
burdened and pained about his deeds.
We need to rely on Jesus for our guilt and for
Jesus came after the Law, and He offered His
blood for our sin. We have proved that gentiles cannot avoid sin because of
their conscience and Jews cannot keep the Law by their flesh. Man feels the
guilt in discovering this truth, but Jesus came to solve this problem. We need
to believe in Him and receive water baptism, and then all our sins will be washed
After all of our sins are forgiven by water
baptism, we need to know the following facts.
We need to practice the truth. Once we are
saved, it is NOT true that we will be saved forever. God will judge us
according to our actions. We should, through the help of the word and Spirit,
sin no more. Think about the price of hell if we indeed commit moral sins (Rom
2:6-11). We will be judged by our deeds after believing in God. (Mt 16:27; 1Cor
3:8; 4:5; Rev 20:12)
Jesus spoke three parables in
Matthew 25 to teach us that we will be judged by our service, our love, and whether
we shine His light with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Know the abundance of God’s grace. We should
never give up on Jesus’ love (Rom 21-26). For example, after three days of
repentance, we need to have faith that the Lord has accepted us if we do not
commit mortal sin. We should not remain in guilt. The feeling of guilt is a
fearful feeling. In love, there is no fear. Just believe. Just determine not to
sin any more. Yes, next time, you may do the same thing again because you have
flesh and you are weak. But do you continue going to church? Do you continue
pray and read the Bible? The law of Spirit and life can get rid of sin and
Know God’s punishment and His mercy. God’s
punishment is to show His righteousness so we will fear Him and sin no more. Knowing
God’s mercy allows us to always have hope. Even if one commits mortal sin, do
not give up on hope. For example, someone received the Holy Spirit after sinning.
One needs to be humble, refrain from leadership roles in the church, and
refrain from fighting for the opportunity to serve. You never know how wide and
deep is the love of God.
We must always examine our deeds (Gal 6:4).
We do not believe that once a person is saved,
he/she is saved forever. We believe that God will judge according to each one’s
deeds. We need to obey His commandments after we believe in Jesus Christ.
However, after believing in Him, we should still
rely on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what kind of weaknesses
we may have, we truly believe that God wants us to return back to Him.
Rewards may be big and small. Punishments may be
big and small. God will never judge wrong. For now, I just want to look forward
to God’s grace, for I know He is a merciful God. I won’t dare to go far, for I
know that He judges according to my deeds.
We are justified by faith but it does not mean
that salvation is unrelated to our deeds (Mt 7:21). We can say we rely on our
deeds to be saved; otherwise, we ignore the grace of the cross. Jesus said to
Peter, “I have prayed for you.” The devil is like a roaring lion, so when we
have good deeds to overcome evil, it is because of our faith in Jesus.
Topic: The faith of Abraham
God wanted us to look at Abraham. God called
him, blessed him, and increased him (Isa 51:2).
Abraham was in paradise according to Jesus’
parable (Lk 16).
Abraham is the father of our faith. He is made
famous for his faith.
Abraham was justified by faith (Rom 4:1-3)
Abraham is famous for his deeds. He followed the
words of God and offered his son on the altar. But Paul carefully observed that
Abraham was accounted as righteous when he believed in God at the time when he
was without children; when God promised that he will have many descendants (Gen
Abraham did not rely on circumcision to be
justified (Rom 4:10-11). Some Jews in the Church of Rome wanted the gentile
believers to receive circumcision after their conversion. But circumcision was
fulfilled by Jesus through water baptism.
At Abraham time, there was no Mosaic law, and circumcision
became part of the law (Lev 12:3). Circumcision is a sign of making a covenant
with God (Gen 17:10-12). Today, we are justified by faith. All we need is to
receive water baptism for the remission of sin. Some churches criticize us that
we are justified by deeds, not by faith, because we need to perform water
baptism. This is a wrong accusation.
Circumcision is to shed one’s blood. Water baptism
is to receive the blood of Jesus Christ.
Circumcision is part of the law. Water baptism is
to receive the grace of God.
Circumcision is a work. Water baptism is to
receive a work done by Jesus.
We need to believe to receive water baptism.
“Justified by faith” is a general statement. It
is like Jesus proclaiming that “he who believes in Me
has everlasting life” (Jn 6:47)—this is also a general statement. The method of
believing is to be born again by the water and by the Spirit. Jesus said
“truly, truly, I said to you, except a man be born of
water and of holy spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
Since we are justified by faith, not by deeds,
therefore we cannot boast. If one works to achieve something, he can boast of
himself (Rom 4:2).
If we need to boast, we boast of the cross of
Jesus (Gal 6:13-14).
If we need to boast, we boast of our own
If we have good deeds to be justified, it is
because of our good faith (Jas 4:21-22). Faith is like the root of a tree, and
deeds are like the fruits of the tree. If a tree has a strong root, it will
naturally bear good fruits.
The characters of Abraham’s faith
Abraham believed in God’s promise (Rom 4:16-13).
God promised Abraham and his descendants to
obtain the world. The world refers to the land of Canaan
(Gen 12:7). It could refer to the holy land, the promised
land, and the kingdom
of God where God’s will
was fulfilled (cf. Rev 11:15; Ps 2:8).
By the same token, we should believe in the
promises of God today.
God promised us the Holy Spirit, and if one has
faith, one can receive it. One need not have abided the perfect law to obtain
the promised Holy Spirit (Gal 3:14; Eph 1:13).
God promised that He will guide us in our life
if we acknowledge Him (Prov 3:5). This includes our marriage.
One lost his dog and could not find it. Instead,
he found peace in his heart. This is the same with God’s promise.
If one does not believe in the promise of God
and dares to go out of Egypt,
one is risking his life to die in the wilderness.
Abraham believed that God’s power can raise the
dead (Rom 11:17-19, 4:17).
Abraham told his servant that he and his son would
go to worship and that they would return again (Gen 22:5).
The reason that Abraham offered his son is not
only because of his love for God. The book of Hebrews says that it is also
because of his faith (Gen 21:12). Sarah and Hagar did not get along with one
another, and Hagar was driven out. When Hagar went out, Abraham felt sad. God
comforted Abraham and said to him that only from Isaac would his descendants be
counted. When God told Abraham to offer his son, he thought of this event (Heb
11:19). When he was about to kill his child, his child had already died in his
heart. Abraham offered his son, because of love towards God. But the important
reason is because of his faith. Abraham received every word from God and
believed in it firmly.
Even if God did not prepare a goat, even if God
indeed allowed Abraham to kill his son, Abraham believed that he will resurrect
According to the power that works in us, God can
accomplish things beyond our asking or our thinking (Eph 3:20).
Life is in the hands of God—do you believe in
it? If it is not time for us to die, and we follow God’s will (not test God),
nothing can harm us.
A minister was calm during the SARS epidemic.
A brother was calm as he rolled into the
Abraham believed that God can turn nothing into
something (Rom 4:17).
Abraham could not have kids in his old age, and
his wife had gone into menopause. Yet Abraham believed in the Lord. The older
he was, the stronger his faith grew (Rom 4:19-21).
The creation of God came from nothing to
something (Gen 1:1ff).
The creation of a new man is from being void to
becoming a beautiful life.
Faith is like a journey, and we do not know how
far our journey will be and it is not important. The most important thing is
that we are on the right way. So all we need to do is ask and God will give it
to us. The older Abraham was, the more faith he had. The words of God won’t fail
him, so the destination should draw nearer and nearer. Do not lose heart no
matter how long we need to seek.
What is faith? True faith comes with hope. We
hope for the things that we do not see. We should live by faith, and not by
A boy is flying a kite. No one can see the kite,
but he can feel the kite.
is jumping into the dark knowing that your father will hold you.
Faith is sending out an email, and knowing that
it will reach its destination.
Faith is eyes blindfolded, and we just need to
follow the direction from God.
Faith is not seeing the wind or rain, but you
continue dig the deep trench.
Faith is to walk into the river before you see
the river open for you.
Jesus said to Thomas: “blessed are those who do
not see it, yet believe it.”
If you do not have faith, you do not need
religion—all you need is science. Faith is not seeing it in this life, but
seeing it fulfilled in the life to come (Just like Abraham look forward to a
We should learn from Abraham’s faith (Rom
We do not see Jesus, but we believe in His
resurrection. How do we believe resurrection is possible?
In Jesus’ generation, it was easy to believe.
For Jesus had shown Himself to more than 500 people.
Acts 2:32-33: from the sending of the Holy
Spirit, which proved the resurrection of Jesus (Jn 16:7). They can hear and see
the coming of the tongues of fire. Today, we have the same experience. Another
proof is performing miracles (Acts 3:15). If Jesus did not stand at the right
hand side of God, how can He pray for us or even heal a 40+ year-old of his
cripple? Because the name of Jesus was
used to raise him. Today, we have similar experiences.
What does Jesus’ resurrection have to do with
our justification? (Rom 4:25)
So we can be justified (1Cor 15:17-19, 12).
Since Jesus resurrected, we will resurrect, too.
If Jesus did not resurrect, He did not overcome
death. Then it proved that the Holy Spirit did not have the power to resurrect
Him. Then it would mean that the Holy Spirit had no power in the water to
transform it into the blood of our Lord, which means that our baptism is of no
Other churches do not have the experience of the
Holy Spirit, yet they still believe in resurrection. So we should believe in
Jesus even more firmly.
Today, we should have faith toward the Holy
Spirit and water baptism. We should have faith toward our heavenly kingdom and
toward the promises of God. Then eventually, we will follow all the words of
God. Faith is the root, and deeds are its fruit. If one has faith, naturally
one will have deeds.
Let us learn from Abraham’s faith.
God wanted us to look at Abraham as an
example—how he was blessed and grew in faith.
Abraham did not have a faith exemplar to follow.
God has given us a father of faith to learn from.
Our journey of faith is not a lonely personal
struggle. We simply follow the steps of our father and we will be alright.
Topical Study: Obedience of Jesus and
Disobedience of Adam
Adam’s disobedience brought us death
Jesus’ obedience brought us life
We should be an obedient Christian
The fate of human beings is in the hands of two
people: the first Adam and the later Adam, which the Bible refers to as Jesus.
Both Adam and Jesus are sons of God, but they
made very different choices, both of which greatly influenced our generations.
Death came from Adam’s disobedience
Adam enjoyed God’s love, but he ate the forbidden
fruit. God said that the day he eats the fruit of tree of good and evil, he will
die. After eating, Adam died spiritually. His eyes were opened and saw his own
shame. When a man sins, he always see something that he failed to see before
(i.e. the story of Anon).
Sin came to this world through Adam (Rom 5:12).
How do we prove this?
The toil of man. Man is the son of God, yet man
needs to labor more than other animals in order to make a living.
The thorns and thistles from the ground prove
the sin of man. Man always had difficulty and troubles in life.
The fact that only the snake can run on the
ground for a long distance without feet proves man’s sin. No other animals can
run on the ground for a long distance without feet.
The fact that women have more suffering than all
other animals in bearing children proves the sin of mankind.
The fact that brothers and family members kill each
other proves that sin came to this world. Human babies cannot be independent compared
to other animals.
The wages of sin is death (Rom 5:12).
Death from sin is seen in physical death (Rom
From Adam to Moses, all died, which refers to
physical death. Moses is spiritually alive in the kingdom of God.
He appeared in the mountain of transfiguration.
If Adam did not sin, I personally think man
would be like Enoch and Elijah, who did not need to go through physical death.
Death from sin is seen in spiritual death (Rom
It is part of the stage of departing from the
face of God.
Man came into the logical world after departing
from the spiritual world. From man’s logic, it is hard to find God.
Man felt lonely and helpless and empty after
departing from the face of God. This is a symptom of spiritual weakness.
Eventually, man needs to suffer from eternal death in hell if man is without
Death brings tears and it is the end of hope.
There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor
wisdom (Eccl 9:10).
Their love, hatred, and envy all perish (Eccl 9:6a).
There is no hope under the sun when death comes
(Eccl 9:6b); living as a dog is better than a dead lion (Eccl 9:4).
Their flesh returns to dust, their soul for
judgment, and their spirit back to God.
Death is a king and it dominates our life prior
to the coming of Jesus (Rom 5:14, 20).
Without Law, sin is not counted
(Rom 5:13). Law is for crimes—when there are more crimes, there are more
laws. So at the beginning, there is only one law, but it cannot catch up with
crimes (1Tim 1:9).
From Adam to Moses, there was no law but people
still faced death. Even people who did not eat the fruit of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil. It proved that men died in Adam’s sin.
After Moses, the Law came into existence, but it
cannot solve the problems of sin; it only revealed that people have more sins (Rom 5:20).
The Law lead to Jesus (Gal 3:24).
The Law, like an instructor, tells what is wrong
but cannot save. For example, some educated slaves were captured in the war.
They knew what was right and wrong, but their education could not save them.
The slaves needed a savior.
Adam and Eve realized they had sinned and used
leaves to cover themselves (Gen 3:7). They hid themselves when God appeared.
Leaves are like the law. But God did not say leaves are of no use. Even if God
tells them the leaves are of no use, they would not understand. Man learns by
For example, an experiment was conducted to see
whether mice and cats could live together. The cats did not eat the mice, as it
is a learning process.
A baby was isolated and nothing was given to him
to make noise, so the baby created his own language. A lot of things are
learned from experience.
If at the beginning, God had given them skin
clothing, Adam may have rejected it. It is more comfortable to wear leaves. After
the leaves withered, they were willing to use skin clothing. A lot of people
failed to believe, because they want to use only their conscience. If Paul had
the power to obey the Law, he wouldn’t have believed in Jesus. Adam was willing
to accept the skin clothing because he knew the leaves were of no use. For
example, you share with others that the church has miracles but they ask why,
when there are so many hospitals. Until, one day, they spend all their money
and cannot be healed, and then they will submit to God.
God knows that man wants to rely on the laws, on
themselves, and on their conscience. 1500 years separated Moses and Jesus, and
the people learned from experience. Like Paul said, “who can save me from the life
of suffering?” So the law, eventually, is to guide us to Jesus (Isa 64:6).
Life came from Jesus’ obedience (Rom 5:19)
Jesus’ death reveals the love of God (Rom
Jesus prayed to be delivered from the bitter
cup, but He submitted to the will of the Father. The key moment was when Jesus
prayed in the garden and chose to submit.
Jesus died for us while we were powerless.
For we ourselves are sometimes
foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in
malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another (Tit 3:3). Jesus died for
evil, not for good.
Jesus died for us at just the right time.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent
forth His Son, made of a woman, and made under the law (Gal 4:4).
Jesus was known by God before creation and was
manifested in the last day for us (1Pet 1:20).
Jesus died for the ungodly/sinner, not for the
Some might die for good people.
Japanese soldiers died for their king at the
The extremist carried bombs with them as service
to their god.
But no one will die for the sinner.
We are justified by faith through the blood of Jesus
Christ, whose blood is in water baptism. (Rom 5:9)
friends think that all you need to do is to raise your hand to confess your sin
and call upon the name of God to be justified by faith.
fact, His blood must be involved. They say that Jesus had already done His
work, which is true, but we still need to accept by receiving water baptism (1
Jn 5:5ff, 19:34).
Testimony: There is blood in water baptism. There
is also healing (For example, the little girl from CanogaParkChurch who had a skin
Not only do we make peace with God, we have joy
in Him (Rom 5:10-11).
It is a joy to believe in God; not a burden. For
example, Paul said that we should rejoice all the time.
The joy comes from receiving much grace from God
For forty years, a church is never
without testimonies. The grace of God abundantly dwells among us.
The joy comes from hoping for God’s glory (Rom
Moses recalled the glory of God (Deut 5:5).
Peter recalled the experience in the mount of
transfiguration (2 Pet 1:17-18).
King David’s satisfaction is to see the glory of
God (Ps 17:14-15).
God Himself is the best joy for us (Ex 33).
The joy comes even in times of difficulty (Rom
We know in knowledge (Rom 5:3-4).
Trouble gives us patience.
had patience under judgment. He was like a lamb.
know that after training, we will be refined gold (Job).
know that after training in patience, we can encourage others (2 Cor 1:4ff).
Patience yields experience.
wanted his soldiers to have experience after fighting (Josh 10:24ff).
patiently shepherding the sheep, David had experience in killing lions and
And experience brings hope, and hope is not put
to shame (Phil 1:20). For example, our hope is in God and God is immovable.
First, we should have patience. When we suffer
without patience, we will be stricken down. Second, it may be hard to get used
to at the beginning, but the suffering will ease. Thirdly, hope is not a
theory; it is from past experiences in our life. If our hope is not fulfilled, we
feel shamed. But our hope is fulfilled because of our strong faith.
We know from experience (Rom 5:5).
God pours out His love into our
hearts by His spirit (Rom 5:5).
Willie in BP got rejected from his job.
Paul in BP was praying for a spouse.
The result of obedience is grace, which is
greater than the result of disobedience, which is sin (Rom 5:15).
The trespass of the one man brought physical
death to many. God’s grace—and the gift that came by the grace of the one man,
Jesus Christ—abounded to many. If one man shuts down
the sun, the earth is dark. Then if one restores the sun, not only does the
darkness go away, but there is abundant life with the sun.
The judgment that followed was out of one sin
and it brought condemnation. But, by contrast, the gift that followed was out
of many trespasses and brought justification. For example, we have original sin
from Adam and are supposed to be condemned. But we have our own sins besides
Adam’s sin. When we are justified by God’s grace, both our original sin and our
personal sins are forgiven.
Death reigned through one man. Death is a
tyrant; ruling over people and bringing every person under its fear and into
its grip (cf. Heb. 2:15). As a result, it is also true that those who receive
God’s abundant provision of grace and gift (cf. Rom. 5:15) of righteousness will
reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. The
Lord Jesus is God’s provision for people. Whereas death reigns like a tyrant
over all, believers in Christ who receive God’s grace reign in life. In the one
case, people are dying victims under a ruthless ruler; in the other, they
themselves become the rulers (cf. Rev. 1:6).
Where sin increased grace increased all the
more. Grace is more sufficient than sin (Rom 5:20-21).
We should learn from Jesus to be an obedient
Jesus learned His submission through suffering
Submission needs to be learned. When one first
enrolls in the army, it is hard to submit to the commands but it is very
crucial. For example, my wife trained the dog to go poop outside the house. It
needed to learn and the master needs to give training.
We, the younger generation, should learn to submit
to the older generation.
We should submit to the truth.
If we are disobedient, we would be like
Adam—finding excuses to cover up our sin.
Submission does not mean that one loses his
Submission does not mean that one loses his
Submission is the very fundamental training for
a worker to learn.
What is your choice: to submit or to not submit?
The result will greatly influence the
generations to come.
Topical Study: Live to God and Die to Sin (Rom
This is a sinful world. Jesus does not want us
to depart from the world. The world is temporary under the control of Satan.
There are all kinds of media to lure us to sin. A man keeps sinning and keeps
repenting. He lives in the age of Judges. He cannot break the circle of
committing sin. He feels strong when he is at the church, he acts like a
Gentile when going back home.
Someone may find the excuse that it is ok to
make small sins. He even says that the more we sin, the more grace Jesus will
show.(Ro 6:1) My sin is to tell that Jesus is love.
Therefore I shall take credit to sin. Paul’s answer: “By no means.”
Paul mentioned that we had already died to sin,
how can we live in sin again? He mentioned two points. Baptism is to die and be
buried with Christ, then we shall have a new life
By Water Baptism, we die to sin, and live to
Baptism is to die, to bury, and to resurrect with
Jesus Christ. (Ro 6:3-8)
Baptism is a critical point in a
person’s life. It is from the power of Satan to go into the protection of God.
It is from being a slave of sin to the son of God. It is a transformation from
living in the darkness to living a new life. It is from being a son of
the world to becoming a son of God. Since we are dead in sin, we shall not live
in sin. (Ro6:2)
In performing baptism, we need to be in the
likeness of Jesus’ death.
“For if we have been planted
together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of
[his] resurrection:” (Jn 19:30) This is the revelation
from our early workers. Paul Wei, slept for 3 hours
and fasted for 39 days and nights. He drank water but did not eat food. The
Lord proves that our Water Baptism is indeed effective for the remission of
sins by showing us “blood” and miracles.
In real life after water baptism (WB), we need
to die to sin and live to Christ. We shall not remain in sin. A brother says
that every time he sinned, he can feel as if he nails Jesus again on the cross
to make him cry and to make him shed blood again.
How to die to sin after receiving WB? How to die
to sin in real life? In history, many
ways were proposed to deal with sin.
Sin already dies after Baptism. We have no more sin. (it
is called Eradication). According to this theory, when a person becomes a
Christian the sinful nature dies. This means that the very capacity to sin is
removed. However, this is different from
our life experience. Ex. we see that after Noah’s flood saving 8 members,
(1Pet3:21f) Noah was naked in his own tent. Sinners and sin could be washed
away and destroyed, but the nature of sin remains.
Sin is all
Satan’s fault. (It is called Penalism.)
This approach views all temptations are attacks of Satan. The problem is
never located within us; it’s always the fault of Satan.
Ex. Satan attacked Eve to make her sin. Ex.
Satan went to the heart of Judas to make him betray Jesus.
Peter said that Satan is like a roaring lion,
walks about, seeking whom he may devour. (1Pe5:8)
The right response to Satan’s attack is
As a matter of fact, some of the transgression
may have to do with our own weakness. (Jas 1:14) Ex one believer dozed off in
the service. Later on, she complained that it was Satan’s work. For one vision
says that Satan was walking in among our assembly. When Satan’s hand touches
someone’s shoulder, he will doze off. After saying that it was Satan’s fault,
Satan showed up and snatched her hand, hard. Satan says: “It is not me this
time. You watched a late-night movie last night and now you complain that it is
not let sinful nature grow.(It is called Suppression). (Jas 1:15) According to
this theory, when a person becomes a Christian he or she is given the power to
control the sinful nature. The capacity and the desire for sin are still
present, but the Christian is responsible to hold down that desire.
Paul mentioned that I buffet my body and bring
it to subjection. (1Co9:27). The word “buffet” means “hit under the eye”. It
seems that Paul also suppression his desire. Paul also mentions that we need to
“put to death” the members which are upon the earth. (Col 3:5) We need to “flee” from youthful
In the Old Testament, we learn to “catch the
little fox” in our hearts. We learn to exterminate the evil ones in the land of Cannon.
All those teachings seem to teach us that we
need to “suppress” our evil desires. In the book of The Da Vinci Code,
it describes some devout believers, who wear a “suffering belt” which comes
with a hook to pinch into the skin to make one painful so that he will avoid
However, if we only use our personal will trying
to “hit ourselves under the eyes”, we may end up like the sign of Paul
described in Romans 7. The apostle himself apparently once took this
route—using his personal power to abide the law and failed. Ex. Some minister
asks you to throw away your rock-n-roll CD. One sister says that she did so in
the beginning by taking out all the CDs that were
stored under her bed. But later on, she buys new ones. There are
more rock CDs to be found. Suppression by our personal will seems work only for
a short time.
the sin again and again. (It is called Self-crucifixion.) Noting that we
were crucified with Christ (Gal. ),
this approach to the Christian life visualizes our sinful nature as something
that struggles to get off the cross again. It is the believer’s responsibility,
then, to live the “crucified life.” Each temptation calls for renewed surrender
Jesus was called by the Father to bear the cross
for mankind. Jesus cried in prayer. A rich young man was called by Jesus to
followed Jesus. He left Jesus with sorrow. Both had struggled to be nailed on
the cross. The difference is Jesus prayed and received power to submit the will
of God. The young did not pray and left with sorrow.
Peter said that Jesus had suffered for us in the
flesh, meaning crucifixion; we likewise shall have the same mind. He who has
suffered from flesh has ceased from sin(1Pe 4:1)
Jesus says that if a wheat
does not fall into the ground and die, it won’t bear much grain.
But if one only has the concept of
“self-crucifixion” then he will have painful feelings all time. Ex: If Jesus Christ did not want to drink the
bitter cup, one would have to struggle to nail his old self all the time. Ex. If one believes in God and thinks it is a
sacrifice, not a joy, he cannot follow Christ too long. Paul said that we shall
have joy all the time. One brother even got depression after being too
conscious of his own sin. He is afraid to fail again and again.
Besides the concept of “buffeting” our body,
having the same mind of Jesus to be crucified, Paul gives us more concepts
about dying in sin. That is to union with Christ. (Rm 6:4)
Christ was resurrected with the power of Holy
If one has the power of Holy Spirit, he is
released from the law of sin and law of death. (Ro 8:1f)
Jesus, in order to live a victorious life,
prayed constantly. He fasted 40 days. He prayed for the whole night sometimes.
He got up before day break sometimes. “Satan is nothing to me” said Jesus.
If a Christian does not pray, how can he have
the fullness of power of Holy Spirit? Then it is likely that he will be
overcome with his sinful desires. Holy Spirit is fighting with our desire of
sin. (Ga 6) ex. Peter denied Jesus three times. Why? Because he did not have power
Union with God
means that we attach to the “true vine” all the time. Jesus said that he is the
true vine and we are the branches. If we abide in him, and he in us then sin
cannot have an effect in our life.
Then we have power to see ourselves as dead to
sin. (Ro 6:11)
We are still in the world and sin is still
trying to lure us away. But we shall not respond to sin even though sin indeed
has some power over others.
So naturally, we will dislike Rock and Roll CDs.
We are not forced not to smoke, but naturally we will dislike the smell of
If we have the power of HS, like the living
water in the book of Ezk. (Ezk47:1ff), then we won’t say “I cannot help it.”
“The temptation is more than I can bear” is no more true.
How to live to God after receiving WB?
Having faith in God. (Ro 6:8)
But if we are dead with Christ, we have faith
that we will be living with him. Faith produces power.(Lk
17:6) Our life journey is “from faith to faith.” (Ro 1:17)Dr. Sun Yet-Sun once
said that if one believes that it will work, even the mountain can be pulled
into the sea. If we do not believe that it will work, even if it is as easy as
lifting up your hand to break a branch, it won’t work.
Our faith is to trust that God is able and that
God has power to help us. Many people are able live a new life after believing
in God. They can change bad habit, change old life styles. In our church, there
are gangsters who have become ministers. Lions become lambs.
Ex. I can forgive because I believe that God
will judge. Because I believe that God will forgive me, I believe in God’s
saying; so I do not need to hate my enemies.
We can choose to be slaves for righteousness.
“…you are the servants of him to whom you give
yourselves to do his desire?” (Ro 6:16) Man likes to be his own master, but
mans end up submitting either to the power of sin, or to the power of
righteousness. Not to sin is not enough. One needs to do good.
Our heart simply cannot stand in between. Ex: If a field does not plant roses,
it will grow weeds for sure. Some say that they will allow their kids to choose
their own religion when they grow up. If one lets nature take its course, he
has already chosen the world for his kids.
The Bible says that when a house is clean and
Jesus is not invited to the room, then a devil will lead seven others devils to
occupy the room.
There are two masters on earth; that is God and
Satan. We can not serve two masters at the same time. (Mt 6:24)
If one submits to sin, the result is death. If
one submits to righteousness, the result is sanctification. (Ro 6:16)
We have the free will to make choices. Prior to
making choices, we need to know where our choice lead to is. One leads to
death, the other leads to eternal life.
Samson submitted to sin. He started from hiding
his own action, either good or bad, from his parents who know his future and
his mission. (Jud 14:3-9). Samson told his parents that he wanted to marry a
Gentile girl. Then Samson did not tell his parents concerning his mighty action
of killing a lion. He hid himself from breaking the rule of not touching the
dead body. If we have too many secrets in our life, it means that we walk in
the darkness. We are submitting to the power of sin. Like Samson, we may die.
No matter if one reaches death or reaches
righteousness, he must go through a process.
To see the life of Abraham, we learn that his
faith is not at the peak immediately. He went to Egypt because of famine. He lied
that his wife was his sister. But whenever things happened, he corrected
himself. So if life is an up and down
course, on average, Abraham is submitting to righteous. God talked to Abraham 7
times in his life. We have God in our hearts to talk to us any time. It is much
easier for us to submit to righteousness.
Our zeal to serve righteousness shall be the
same as when we served sin in the past. (Ro 6:19)
Our energy shall be the same, but our master
simply has changed.
Paul changed his direction. He was enemy of God
and he did it zealously. After he was called by Jesus, he did not reduce his
zeal to serve the Lord. He said that no mater what, nothing in the world can
separate his love from God.
We shall check our fruits in our life to examine
where we are. (Ro 6:21f) Sin will yield the fruits of shame. We did not know it
was shame in the past for the light of Jesus did not come to our life. When we
compare ourselves with the standard of the truth, it is easier to tell what
kind of our fruits we are bearing right now. (Ro 6:17)
Without bearing fruits, John the Baptist warns
that the tree will be cut down to be burned. Jesus warned us that he will cut
away the branch that cannot bear the fruit and it will dry and burn. Jesus
cursed a fig tree which did not bear fruits to satisfy the hunger of Jesus. A
list to check our fruits.
Concerning merits. (Ga 5:22)(Eph 5:9)
Concerning love.(Phi 4:17)
Concerning worshiping. (Heb 13:15)
Let others see Jesus in you. Our lives are a
book in front of people.
The next time inner conflict comes;
I will present myself to God and let His righteousness find expression in me.
Ex.: A brother’s testimony: He would sit aside, take a deep breath, and start
to pray in his heart. He was drawn to sin before. After doing this, he said
that sin is like garbage to him. Sin had no more attraction and power.
Topic: Law & Grace (Ro 6:14)
Many people seek the truth and
try to be a good person. However, in our daily life, we still feel the pull of
sin. The struggle which was stated by Paul, “How wretch am I,” still echoes in
our hearts. When we honestly want to respond to do good,
we end up doing bad. How do we live a victorious life? Paul’s answer was
simple, but surprising. “Sin shall not be your master, because you are not
under Law, but under grace” (Rom. ).
Somehow released from the Law, to live a Christian life under grace is vital to
our experience of freedom.
Not under the Law.
What is the Law?
The Lord describes the Law in a very solemn way.
In the Garden of Eden, there was only one law.
When it came to Moses, the Laws can be viewed in three parts, namely the moral law(Ten Commandments), ceremonial laws, and hygienic law.
Only the moral law was written by God’s finger, which is put in the ark of God.(Dt10:5) The others were put beside the ark of God.
The purpose of the Law was intended to give life
and to fulfill the heart of God and the duties of man. The law establishes
standards like a mirror by which people can measure and evaluate their
behavior. It provides a partial explanation of righteousness, illustrating
righteous behavior and specifying what is unrighteous.
From Moses to Jesus, it is proved that the law
cannot cause men to depart from sin. (7:7-13)
Without the law, we do not know what sin is. (Ro
With the law, however, there are two
There are a lot of
“don’t”s in the law. The more “don’t”s we have, the more we like to try them
out. There was only one “don’t” in the Garden of Eden. Eve was curious to know
what was going on. Ex. You tell the kids, “do not eat
cake prior to the guest coming”; the kids would like to try out.
Man will be curious about sin and trying out
sin. When you tell a little kid, “Don’t play with the toilet bowl,” the more you
mention it, the more attention the kid has, the more curious he is.
Satan will take this law to seduce man to sin.
Ex. Without the law of not eating fruits from the tree of good and evil, there
is nothing to go against the commandment.
The purpose of the Law is that we can do good to
get life. (Ro 10:5)
But the fact is that the law cannot cause men to depart from sin. The law does
not make us sin. But sin or Satan stir up through the law. (Ro 10:8) ex. The
story of Gehazi. Ex. Internet pop message.
The law is like the remote control of a TV. It
is designed for us to use it to select good channels. However, Satan and sin
later on uses the remote control (the law) to control our performance. So the
law which was designed to make us alive, now makes us
die. (Ro 7:10)
Our experience tells us that we will struggle to
become a righteous man by obeying the law only. (Ro 7:13-25)
Anyone with a clear conscience
will have the same sigh like Paul. We simply cannot carry out the divine law
with the will of humans.
We must be freed from the Law (7:4-6)
“For when we were in the flesh,
the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring
forth fruit unto death.” (Ro 7:5) Paul is saying that our old nature could be
stirred up by the Law. And the result of the sinful nature will bear the fruits
How can we legally be freed from the Law?
Two ways to make the law lose its force.
Modify the law.
The person dies.
Jesus comes to fulfill the law. The Mosaic Law was
fulfilled through the cross.
When a wife dies, she is no longer called a
wife. She is a woman. The relationship of the husband and wife is not there. It
is okay for the husband to marry someone else. By the same token,
through our Lord Jesus Christ’s death, our old life is dead through baptism. We
used to be married to the Law. Now we die to the Law. The Law does not bind us
So death, by the baptism, makes us free from the
Mosaic Law. It does not mean that we need not to abide Ten Commandments. The Ten
Commandments was put in the ark, while other laws beside the ark. While Jesus
fulfilled the Law, we do not need to abide other Mosaic Law, except Ten
Under the Grace. (which
means in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.)
We have the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ro 8:1-8)
The Law of spirit and life and release, the law
of sin, and the law of death.(Ro 8:1f)
Three laws stated here. The law has the binding
power. Sin has the binding power. If one is addicted to get drunk, it is hard
to get rid of that binding power. The law of sin will lead to the law of death.
Death has the binding power that cuts off the hope of the living one.
The power of life and spirit can release the
power of sin and the power of death. It was the spirit of God that resurrected
Jesus. It was the spirit of God that enabled Jesus to overcome temptation in
So, if anyone is bound by drugs, winning, or
sex, the power of the Holy Spirit can change a person. Ex. A brother from the
mountains came to the city and lived in a pig pen house. He would squander all
his earnings for drinking wine. His brother came to visit him simply to preach
to him. He totally changed after receiving the Holy Spirit. And he was very
serious to seek for the HS. He went into the water to pray when he read Gen 1
that the spirit was on the water. He went up to the mountains to pray when he
read that Jesus also had gone up to the mountains. He fasted and prayed for one
whole night. He was totally changed by the power of Holy Spirit.
Jesus came to fulfill the request of the Law.
The righteousness of the law cannot be
accomplished through the weakness of the body. It is proved in history. Even
Paul could not do it.
Jesus used his blood to pay the price of sin to redeem
those who belong to him.
The righteousness of the law requests holiness.
After Baptism, we put on Christ, the righteous one. Then we are holy according
to the law.
Jesus also gave the sinless sons the promised Holy
Spirit. Jesus was the first one to receive the Holy Spirit. (Ac 2:33) And Jesus
gave the Holy Spirit to live in our heart to empower us.
Status (Religious ceremony);
Offering. (Liv1:3f): to kill cows and sheep to
get rid of sin; for holiness.
Circumcision (Dt10:16): get rid of filthiness of
the heart. get holy
Purification Law (Exd30:18-21; Ezk36:25): use
water or blood. for holy to enter the temple
food.(Liv11:45): For God is holy
body(Liv15:31): For God is holy
How to fortify the Law.
Accept baptism (Act22:16, 1Cor6:11)—becoming holy
has two meanings: become holy in status. (1Cor1:2). It does not refer to the
life of the believer. Since their life is not in accordance with the teachings
of God, if they only take one step further, they shall pursue holiness in their
life. (2Theo2:13)1st: God chooses you. 2nd: believe in
the words of the Truth. 3rd: The Holy Spirit makes you holy:
(1Jn3:7): this refer to the deeds not as recorded in 1Cor6:11 it refers to
status. (Jam2:24). So after believing Jesus we need to have deeds.
Obey the Holy Spirit. (Rm8:13; gal5:16-17)
Keep Moral Law. (Mk10:17ff)
Jesus was a righteous man who could die for
It is not like The Da Vinci Code,
which implies that Jesus had a “holy marriage.” It says that Jesus had a wife
and had physical children. They celebrated a holy marriage.
From now on, we need to mind the spirit, instead
of minding the flesh. (Ro8:5)
What does it mean to mind the flesh?
It is to fulfill lust. (Ro13:14)(Eph
To mind the flesh is the enemy of God. (Ro 8:7)
To mind the flesh can not please God. (Ro 8:8)
In Noah’s age, all day long, man
thinks of evil. God used the flood to wash that generation.
If you go in the way of the flesh, death will
come upon you. Even if you have Holy Spirit. (Ro 8:13)
Man is made of spirit, soul, and flesh. Our soul
shall be guided by the spirit. If our soul and body is guided by the flesh, we
We shall rely on the Holy Spirit (HS).
HS makes us belong to Christ. (Ro 8:9)
HS makes us not belong to the flesh. (Ro 8:9)
HS proves that we are a son of God. (Ro8:16)
HS is the guarantee for the heavenly
inheritance. (Ro 8:16)
HS empowers us to modify the deeds of the body.
HS can resurrect us in the last day. (Ro 8:11)
HS fulfills the righteousness of the Law. (Ro
We shall pray for the fullness of the Holy
Many people had tried to abide by the law with
their own energy. It won’t work without the help of the Holy Spirit.
It is like one who only focuses on the base in a
baseball game, who won’t hit the ball to get on the base. The ball is Jesus, is
the Holy Spirit in this case. We need to pray for the fullness of the Holy
Spirit, then it will be very easy for us to follow the
Holy Spirit. Even if one simply focuses on what he shall not do, he will miss
So if we are under the grace, and we have the
help of Holy Spirit, sin indeed can not be our master.
Topical Study: The Eternal Glory for Children of
The purpose of believing in Jesus is not to
fulfill social pleasure; is not to seek the benefit of this life only; but to
seek the future glory in the life to come. There are three steps for us to
fulfill personal salvation in the new testaments. We do not need circumcision
any more, but 1st: be justified; 2nd: be sanctified; and 3rd: then we shall be
glorified in the future. We will be dressed in an immortal body.
At the end of Jesus’ missionary trip, Jesus
asked the Father for glory. At the end of Paul’s missionary trip, he was
looking forward to a crown of glory. As for us, we are looking forward to our
body being transformed into a celestial body in the last day.
We shall be glorified together with Jesus. (Ro
Pre-qualification: We suffer with Jesus. (Ro
Christ needed to suffer, and then he entered
into his glory. (Lk 24:26)
Christ was able to sustain his suffering by
looking forward to the future joy of glory. (Heb12:2)
So we need to suffer with Christ in the
To resist temptation.
To buffet our body.
To receive training from God.
We can take suffering by comparing current
sufferings with future glory.
is temporary suffering vs. eternal glory. One is suffering in this present time
(2 Cor. ), but for a
moment. Glory is yet to be revealed. (1 Cor. 2:9; 1 Jn. 3:2) It surpasses all that we have yet seen and
known: behind the curtain, that will outshine all. Paul concludes that the
sufferings are not worthy to be compared
with the glory
Light affliction vs. great glory. Paul
experienced both light affliction (2Co11:23-28), and great glory in third
heaven. (2Co12:3f). He was a good writer, but he could not find proper words to
describe the wonderfulness of his experience.
The glory which shall be revealed is something
that our eyes did not see, our ears did not hear, and our hearts had never
imagined. (1co 2:9)
The current suffering includes the following.
The creature was made subject to vanity. (Ro
8:20). After sin entered the world, everything is vanity according to the
Wisdom of Solomon.
All creation groans and travails in pain till
now. (Ro 8:22). The earth was cursed after Adam’s sin. All the animals were
almost destroyed in the flood in Noah’s age. Due to the sin of man, we had
pollution to hurt not only humans’ life but animals’ life. In the last day, the
earth will be consumed by fire.
The future glory is as follows:
We shall be delivered from the bondage of
corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Ro 8:21)
Our body shall be redeemed and transferred into
a spiritual body. (Ro 8:23)
We shall hope for the future glory. We are saved
by hope. (Ro 8:24)
Hope is the extension power of faith.
Hope gives us strength to continue our effort in
suffering. Because of hope for the future glory, we won’t give up in the
current suffering. Like a farmer hoping for harvest, like a mother hoping for baby
to grow, we have hope for future glory.
Hope deferred make heart sick, but when we get
what we hope for is a tree of life. (Pr13:12)
We shall patiently wait for the hope of future
glory. (Ro 8:25)
The patience of the saints shows the keeping of
the commandments of God and the keeping of the faith of Jesus. (Rev14:12)
We shall have patience in trouble. (Ro12:12)
We shall continue doing good deeds. (Ro 2:7)
Some did not patiently wait for God. Most of
those who were born in civilized Egypt did not have the patience for
the Lord and died in the wilderness. Most of those who were born in the
wilderness had patience in times of difficulty of the wilderness. They made it
to enter into the Promised Land.
It is easy for animals to give up. As a human
being with the divine image, we shall persevere to enter into the future glory.
Our help in hoping for future glory.
Spirit helps us. (Ro8:26f)
When we are weak, we truly do not know how to
pray. When we speak in tongue, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to
the will of God.
When we pray, we shall pray according to the
truth. If we pray to God not according to truth, Satan will have room to attack
us. Ex. The story of King Saul, when he went to the witch for an answer. When
we pray according to the truth, we may not receive an answer if it is not
according to the will of God. When we pray in the spirit, the Holy Spirit will
pray for us according to the will of God. When our pray in the Holy Spirit, it
won’t go wrong.
Truth helps us. Knowing of truth of “All things working together for good to them
who love God” (Ro 8:28)
All things include good, bad, and neutral
things. When it seems that a bad thing occurs to a Christian, it is good to
that Christian for his spirituality.
Some people always passively look at their
encounter. We shall look at things positively. Without the first 40 years in
the wilderness, Moses could have lacked the experience in leading the
Israelites to wander in the wilderness for another 40 years. Without being
betrayed by his brothers, Joseph would not have been able to feed his father’s
family in the time of famine. Without being thrown into the lion’s den, Daniel
could not have experienced the miracle of sealing the mouths of the lions.
Things could be bad in our physical eyes, but it will turn out to be good for
those who love Him.
God helps us. (Ro 8:31)
God foreknew us and predestined to save us. (Ro
We were chosen before the foundation of the
world. (Eph 1:4) There is no time and space in the spiritual realm. God is the
same yesterday, today, and tomorrow in the spiritual realm. So God foreknew that
we were chosen.
We are chosen in two ways. 1. One is born in the
TJC family and he is baptized. 2. One gets the chance to listen to the sermon,
understand the sermon, and have faith to accept the truth. Not all who have a
high education can understand the sermon. Even after understanding the sermon,
some people do not have faith to accept the truth.
The foreknowing and predestination is to show
the great love of God. It does not deny the effort of man. Ex. A seed with life
can not grow without being planted and watered. (1Co3:6). We cannot say that
since God has predestined someone for salvation, then we do not need to preach
God never predestined someone to have eternal
death. Again, predestination is to show the love of God. God hopes that all men
can receive salvation. If someone hardens their hearts, God would give them up
according to their hearts. (Ro1:24,26,28)
If God is for us, who can go against us? (Ro8:31)
God sent his only son to die for us. God gives
us more than his only son. (Ro8:32)
God wiped away our sins through the blood of
Jesus Christ. (Ro8:33)
Jesus continues to pray for the saints at the
right hand side of God. (Ro8:34)
Obtaining the future glory by relying on the
love of Jesus. (Ro8:35-39)
All kinds of hardship cannot separate us from
the love of God.
All kinds of things in this life, including life
and death; in the spiritual life, including angels, principalities, and powers;
in different time, including the now and then; in different space, including
high and low; cannot separate us from the love of God.
If we are kept by the love of God, we are able to
make it to the future glory.
Our direction shall be right to live in this
life. We are heading for future glory.
We shall rely on Jesus, and use the help
provided by God to make it.
We hope to see one another not only in this
life, but in the life to come.
Topical Study: The Salvation of Israel.
The truth of Justify by faith also
applies to Israel.
In Roman church, the Jewish believers are minority. Even now a day, very few
Jews were converted into TJC. Why is that? Does God still love the descendents
Paul’s love toward Israel’s salvation. (Ro 9:1-5)
Paul was an apostle of gentile. (Ro11:13). He
always went to preach in Jew’s synagogue first.(Ac13:14;) Since Jews did not want to
listen to the truth, Paul then turned to gentiles to preach to them. (Ac13:46)
has seven privileges in the plan of salvation. (Ro 9:4f)
The adoption. (Ex 4:22) God says that Israel
is the first of his sons.
The divine glory (Ex16:10;24:17)
God’s glory appears many times in the wilderness.
The covenants. It includes the covenant to
Abraham, to David. (Ge15:18)(2Sa 7:12ff)
The lawgiving. (Dt 5:1ff)
The temple worship. Besides what is recorded in
Mosaic law, David setup many creative ways to help
caring the temple
The promises. Concerning the coming of Jesus was
prophecies in the Old Testaments.
The fathers: Physically speaking, our
forefathers were Israel.
had so much inheritance and privilege which make them to judge Jesus with his
appearance. They had too much pride to accept the fact that Messiah would have
come from a carpenter’s house, and from unknown place.
Paul’s love toward his own race was sincere. (Ro
He did not forget where he was from. He was an unbelief Jews who got converted by God.
He had great graveness and continual sorrow in
his heart for his race’s disbelieve. Ex. It is like a wife lost her husband who
would go to the tomb to shed tears everyday.
It was from the move of Holy Spirit. Ex. A
minister knew that some young man committed great sin. Because the Holy Spirit
moved him greatly in his prayers that he shed many tears.
Paul wished to take on himself the curse for his
brothers in flesh. (Ro9:3).
Paul mentioned that nothing can separate himself
from the love of Jesus Christ. But he can lose his eternality for his own race.
Jesus’ new commandment is that we shall die for
Those who sacrifice his life for God will gain
their life. Those great prophets and workers in the bible had the same mind to
sacrifice themselves for the people of God. It includes Moses, Elijah, and
Paul. Moses and Elijah appeared in mountain of transfiguration.
We shall determine to preach to our own races.
We asked the volunteer workers in Africa a question. We come here to help you, or you are
here to help us to preach in the land
In the old days, the Western dared to risk their
lives for the salvation of Asia world. If
other races can die for our races, can we love our own races!
Not all Jews have salvation.
If not all Jews can have salvation, have the
words of God failed? (Ro 9:6) No, even in the Old Testament, not all who are
descended from Israel are Israel.
Abraham had 8 sons. (Ro9:6ff) Only Isaac was the
promised son. The other sons are enemies of Israel in history. The same token,
not all who are Christians can heir the heavenly inheritance. We need to find a
church with promised Holy Spirit.
Jacob and Esau were twins. In previous example,
it was from two different women. In this case, it was from the same woman. God
chose Jacob, and hated Esau. The word “hate” in this sense is not absolute but
relative to a higher chose. Esau was not chosen in the line of promised
children. They were chosen before they are born, knowing good and evil. So it
is God who shoes us, not we God. Jesus
said that I chose you, not you me. (Ro9:10-22)
God have the absolute right to choose his own people.
Is God fair to chose someone and left others
God intervened not Esau
for his hunting. God did show himself to Jacob on his way to his uncle’s house.
God give up on Pharaoh for his evil doing so that God can how his mighty glory.
God did show many glorious to the stubborn Israel whose heart was like of the
Pharaoh in the wilderness. Can we say that God is not fair?
The chosen is in the hands of God. We cannot say
that we pick up someone hitch-hiking and leave others alone is to show that we
are not fair. It is to show our love. We cannot say that a rich man chose a boy
in the orphanage to be his son and leaves others alone because he is not faire.
We cannot say I buy some orange in the market and leave others alone then I am
not fair to other oranges.
A potter had the right the make any kind of
vessel he like. One potter made flower vest imitating Chin Dynasty’s vest. Some of the vessels he made are for
souvenirs. They are made of the same materials, but with different burning time
and different decoration, and different size. All the vessels fit their
The creations cannot rely against God. (Ro 9:20)
If we are made humbly, we still can learn to accept ourselves with thanksgiving
hearts. Then try our best to love man and love God. Ex. someone think she is
too short. She always pay attention to others’ shoes.
However one determined to accept that she is short and try her best in
teaching. She was elected the best teacher in the school.
The salvation will come to the remnant of Israel.
In Old Testament, the Jews chose not to hear the
words of prophets. (Ro 10:18-21). Deacon Stephen agitated his listeners who
were Jews by mentioning the fact that Jews were a disobedient race from the
beginning. ( Ac7:39) They prosecuted the sent prophets and they killed Jesus
Christ, the son of God. (Ac 7:51-53) They tried to establish their own
righteousness through law, they failed to do it. They did not accept the
righteousness of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ro10:1-5) So Jesus
who are the cornerstone in the church
of God becoming a
stumbling block to Jews. (Ro 9:31ff) Paul commented that Jews has the zeal but
lack of true knowledge. So today, we need to worship the Lord with not only
spirit, but also truth.
However, the faithful God would still remember
the old covenant with Jews. The remnant of Jews will for sure receive
(Zek13:7-9)When the last war came, 2/3 of
populations were killed. It did not happen before. It refers to the nuclear war
in the future. It refers to the battle of Megaton. In the battle, there shall
be plague which will kill more people than war. The food is contaminated. There
shall be famine. In Japan 200,000 die immediately after the nuclear bomb. The
remaining lived in suffering. The grass will not grow within 70 years. The new
born after the war were in odd shape. The problem of Israel was in the Arabic world. It
was original family problem, later become race problem and later it became
religious problem. The last war shall take place in the Middle
The remaining will repent and be saved.
All the rest of Jews will become to believe in
Jesus Christ. We believe that they will come to our church.
It is not likely Jewish people who believe in One True God will change their concept to believe in
trinity. In our church, we firmly believe in One True God.
It is not likely Jewish people will forsake
Sabbath day. Not too many denominations observe Sabbath day.
Jews like to see miracles. (1co1:22) All the
miracles which occurred in the Bible can be found in our church.
It is until the numbers of gentiles are
fulfilled. (Ro 11:25ff)
In the last days, an angel will come from the
east to start to seal the forehead of chosen people. (Rev 7:2ff)
As gentiles, we need to take the opportunity of
chances to believe in Jesus. The door of salvation is not going to open
God still loves the descendants
of Abraham. We are confident that all Jews will believe in Jesus with us some
day. Lord, we pray that day comes soon.
Topical Study: O! The Depth Of
The Riches of God’s Wisdom.
Knowledge can be learned. Wisdom
that is pure is from God. Paul praised the depth of God’s wisdom and God’s
knowledge. The theology in the book of Romans is to reveal the wisdom and
knowledge of God. From the history of Israel,
we can see Israel
cannot find righteous in Mosaic Law. The law made Israel stumble on the Spiritual
Rock of Jesus. The stumbling of Israel
was not to make them fall. It declares a plan of God: Christ is the end of the
The Israel followed after the law of
righteousness, yet could not obtain the righteousness. They stumbled at the
Moses says that those who follow the law will
get life by it. (Ro 10:5) Moses declared the right message. The problem is that
no one is able to abide the whole law with the flesh. Therefore man cannot live
by the Law.
The Israel ignored the righteousness of
God, trying to establish their own righteousness. (Ro
10:3). They seek God not according to the true knowledge. If you asked a Jew
today why they did not believe in Jesus. They answer if Jesus is Messiah, why
there are still wars. According to Old Testament, everyone will sit under the
fig tree to enjoy peaceful life when Messiah comes. When Jesus told to Nathanial
that when he was still under the fig tree, the Lord saw him. Immediately he
knew that Jesus was Messiah. (Jn1:48f). Jews do not read New Testament. They
fail to know that Jesus’ kingdom is not on earth. Jesus did not bring peace to
earth, but war in among families. Jews want to establish their own
righteousness through the Law. They do not read New Testament, and cannot know
the mysterious of Old Testament. They do not seek the Lord according to true
Jews did not seek God by faith, but by deeds
only.(Ro 9:32) The religious inheritance make them to
seek God by deeds. They then stumbled on the spiritual rock of Jesus.
Faith is the key to open the blessing of God.
Paul, having faith to God, was able to know the riches of God’s wisdom. He knew
that no one can counsel God. God was far than amazing in his salvation plan
even for Jews. Paul truly knew the mysterious of God. He could write New
Testament book as commentary for Old Testament book.
Is education good for faith? Jews received great
Religious Education, yet by that they rejected Jesus. They judge Jesus by his
appearance. Today, our education teaches us science. Science is justified by
experiment. But in religious field, we need to have faith. When we go to the
third world, we see more people have simple faith. It is much easier for them
to behold the glory of God. In the civilized countries, the signs and wonders
are relatively fewer. Why? Our education made our heart complicated to receive
the grace of God. Does it mean that we shall reject education? By no means. God
used Moses to change Old Testament history. Moses learned all the knowledge of Egypt. God used
Paul to change the New Testament history. Paul had much education. But how do
we keep faith after we had learned so much? Ex. A Harvard graduate believer
says that we need to have profound faith, not simple faith. We can be
sophisticated through education, but we still can firmly believe in God like
Moses and Paul.
Christ is the end of Law of righteousness to
anyone who believe. (Ro 10:4)
The Law is the shadow for the things to come,
the body is Christ. (co2:17) We see the shadow first in history, then the body
of the shadow revealed according to the fulfillment of time. Jesus came to
fulfill the law. (Mt5:17). The law of Moses can not be
justified, but by Jesus all things are justified. (Ac13:39)
Jesus is the Word. “The word is near you, in
your mouth, and in your heart…” (Ro10:8)(Dt30:14)
Moses use songs to teach Israel the word of God. So the
words of God can be in their mouth, and in their hearts. (Dt32:44)
Paul use this verse in OT to tell people that
one can be saved if they confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe
in their hearts that the Lord resurrected from dead. (Ro 10:9). Many friends
use this verse to teach people to believe in Jesus by raising their hands. Is
it what Paul really mean?
Angel told Cornilus to invite Peter to preach to
them. Peter then baptized the gentile people with water. (Ac10:33,47)
Philip told to the eunuch if you believe with
all they heart, you may. What may the eunuch do? To receive water Baptism.
Peter told the keep of prison to believe in
Jesus then he and his household will be saved. (Ac16:31,33).
Paul, still in his wound, baptized him and his household.
We can see that we need to baptize people after
they confess in their mouth and believe in their hearts. To confess Jesus with
mouth is to talk about the object of gospel. To believe that Jesus resurrected
from death is the content of gospel. This verse does not mention the way to
receive salvation which is through Water Baptism for the remission of sin. (Act
)(Jn 3:5). All the church believe in that repentance has to do with salvation.
This verse does not mention about repentance neither.
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach
the gospel of Christ. (Ro10:15)
If Cornilus abide the law, but fail to believe
in Jesus, do you think he can have salvation? No. I do not think so. That is
the purpose for Jesus to train the 12 to setup the early church to preach gospel
of Christ. So we do not only encourage people to be a good person, we urge
people to accept Jesus Christ as their savor.
“Those who call upon the name of the Lord shall
be saved.” The Lord is good to all who call his name. (Ro 10:12f). But if no
believes in Jesus, how can they call up on the name of Jesus? If no one hears
the gospel, how can he believe in the gospel? If no one preaches, who can hear?
(Ro10:14f).So preaching becomes a very important job.
In season or not, we shall continue preaching.
To learn from the spirit of Isaiah, he continues
preaching and cared not how many got converted. (Isa 6)
To learn from the spirit of Noah who preached
for around 10 decades, yet no one believed except his family members.
To learn from Jesus who preached so hard and
later on he got to ask his disciple: “Do you want to depart from me?”
The stumble of Israel is not for them to fall. (Ro
It is for a better purpose. God can fulfill his
will even man fail.
The stumble of Israel is for gentile to receive
salvation. (Ac13:16) Peter was the first one to preach to Gentiles. Paul, later
on, became an apostle of Gentiles.
The salvation come to gentile will prove Israel
to jealousy. (Ro 11:11b) It is a good jealousy so that they will seek hard
concerning God. After the believing of Jews, they can bring more grace to the
world. Paul was like a scribe believing in Jesus who can take out the old items
and the new items. (Mt13:52)
It is to warn that gentile shall not boast
is a separated race.(Ro11:16) ex. It is like the root
– Abraham is holy, the whole tree- race is holy. Ex. It is like a heave of
offering was offered to God. That offering was sanctified so the whole wheat is
Some branches –few Jews– of olive tree were cut
so that the wild branches –the Gentiles– were attached. The wild olive
branches, contrary by nature, have been grafted to the old olive tree. In
grafting, it is usually the good braches grafted on bad tree. (Ro11:24). It is
easier for the own to graft the cut good braches to the good tree. So as
gentile receiving the salvation, we shall boast against Israel.
The gentile, instead of high-minded, shall fear
God. If God can cut the old braches, God can cut the wild grafted braches too.
So we are not save once and save forever. Jews were
cut due to their disbelief after selection. A gentile shall continue having
faith toward God with the rest of his life to remain in the tree.
God is indeed so riches in his
wisdom and knowledge. God is able to accomplish his will in Jews’ stumbling.
God is able to save all races eventually. May all the glory to be God forever.
Topical Study: A living Sacrifice.
Paul beseeches all to offer oneself. (Ro 12:1)
Paul urged us according to the mercy of God.
Knowing the mercy of God can make one to offer
himself to the Lord. The mercy of God is the salvation of God.
If we truly put our feet in Paul’s feet, we
shall have the same feeling concerning God’ s mercy.
One die for all and all die.
To die for the righteous one, one may do it. To
die for the bad guy, no one can do it.
The love of God compels me… How can of feeling
is that? Have you ever been compel by the love of God? Many brothers in this
generation were touched by the love of God.
You truly wanted to dedicated yourself to the
Lord after his kind of understanding. It does not matter what kind of job you
want to do for the Lord. To live is Christ, to die is gain
Paul beseeches us; not command us. (Ro 12:1)
Beseech comes with great love (Philem 8f).
Usually it is from the poor person to ask for something. (Pr 18:23). Paul had
the authority, yet he beseeches us to do the right things. It is the method of
Jesus to Peter. Jesus did not rebuke Peter. Peter love fishes. Jesus asked do
you love me more than these? Peter did not collect that other 113
together, the Lord ask do you love me and feed my
Only a tender attitude can really touch people’s
heart. Jesus said that when he was lifted up, thousands will be drawn to him. Paul
uses the same way to ask us.
A living sacrifice. (Ro 12:1)
A living sacrifice. Sacrifice is dead in the OT.
It is using the animal’s body. In NT, all are shall be living sacrifice to
offer to God.
We are supposed to be consumed by
fire of hell. With the mercy of God, our body and souls is saved to eternal kingdom.
So we shall live as a living sacrifice offering to God. What does it mean?
We shall glorify God with our body. (1Cor )
We shall yield our bodies for the righteous
deeds. (Rm 6:13,18f)
Whatever we do, there is a high purpose of God
behind our deeds. Ex. The story of a old man listening
to the resurrected Jesus was then lived in his body. He did not live in the
tomb anymore. His understanding and reaction was totally different.
A living sacrifice with three unique characters.
A living sacrifice which is holy.
A defected lamb cannot be offered to God. A
dirty body cannot offer to God. If a body offering as a sacrifice was without
holy, what will happen?
Satan will accuse and resist us like
he did it to Joshua.
A anointed one with
shortcoming leaving a change for devil to blaspheme God ex. David’s case.
A living sacrifice which is pleasing to God.
Paul’s life, in death or in life, he will strive
to please God. (2Cor 5:9)
To offer oneself to God and live for God and
suffer for God, it is so easy to touch God. (SS 4:8f)
When we truly honor God’s commandment to feed
his lamb and to reach out his gospel, we can see that our life will be pleased
A living sacrifice which is a reasonable
It is only right for children to love and honor
parents. It is only reasonable for us to serve God, our heavenly father for his
wonderful care and love.
God is a reasonable God and God can reason with
us. (Is 1:18) And God said that the donkey and cow know his master, but this
people did not know him. It is not reasonable at all.
A complete change of lifestyle. (Ro 12:2)
A living sacrifices which is not confirmed to
What is the world pursuing after? (1Jn2:15f)
Sensational feeling. People pursue drug, win,
sex, and Rock & Roll. They are all pursuing for flesh desire.
Money & fame. In order to gain money, moral
is unimportant. Why is American
Idol is so popular in the USA? It is a story from unknown to
be famous, from poor, to rich. It is nothing wrong to the rich. The rich from
God did not bring worry. The problem is where is our heart? Money or God.
To live in the world too long, our concept is
contaminated by the world. We are conformed to the world, our hair style, our
value, our inside and our outside. We speak like gentile, we act like gentile,
we think like gentile. Those kinds of people cannot serve God at all.
We need to be careful not to be like Lot who are conformed little by little and step by step.
Especially our children who may not have the value of God like Lot’s girls,
boys. Lot’s girls sleep with their father. Judah’s boys
were full of the acts of Canaanites.
We are what we read. What is our
attitude toward book like Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code? A
minister sings the last part of hymn in popular song because they listen to it
A living sacrifice which is renew of mind.
Man is a vessel of mind. (Chinese saying). Jesus
said that if you have good stay in heart, you will speak good things.
Our mind needs to remold by the words of God.
It is harder in the civilized world to have a renew of mind. It is so easy to see people receive Holy
Spirit easily in the 3rd country because of their pure mind. Our
mind is polluted by TV and parades.
Holy Spirit can renew of our mind day by day.
That is why we need to pray every day. Holy Spirit can tell what is good and
accept will of God.
Holy Spirit wept prior to eating the food
offered to idols.
Holy Spirit wept for the NYTS students.
Holy Spirit grief a person cannot fall asleep until
he said sorry to his folks.
We cannot use the worldly mind, worldly way to
serve the Lord, it will guide the church to the wrong
direction. It is so nature, we use our gift and talent in society to serve the
Lord. The administration of church were said to be more professionalize. Then
later on, the church becomes more like an organization.
We shall use God’s mind to serve God.
Many people live and die for a personal goal.
Many people live and die for a political goal.
We shall live and die for our Lord. We shall
offer ourselves as living sacrifice which is acceptable to the Lord. This is
the purpose to know the truth of “Justify by Faith.”
Study: Think yourself with sober judgment.
How did people evaluate us? They evaluate us by
our credits, our cars, the location of our houses, our
wearing, and all that we have.
People used the standard of the world to
evaluate themselves. Sometimes, it will bring unnecessary frustration and
crying. In a 100 meter dash, one girl cried because she was the second to the
last in the dash. Another boy simply walked out from the race because he was
the last one in the dash.
From the Bible, we shall neither over-estimate
ourselves, nor under-estimate ourselves. How do we see ourselves with sober
Do not over-estimate yourself (12:3)
Paul encouraged us through the grace of God. The
grace of God, to Paul, was wide.
By the grace f wisdom, by which he understood
the necessity and excellence of his missionary. Paul himself received much
grace concerning his status in the world. Did he over-estimate himself and under-estimate
It was the grace of God that Paul became a
priest of gospel. (Eph 3:7) It was the grace of God that Paul had love and
faith. (1ti 1:4)
A gifted person may think of himself higher than
he ought to, especially if he lives in a small environment.
It is like a fog in the well who thought that
the heaven is only a small circle. When I lived in countryside with many
farmers’ boys, I thought I was somebody by my academic achievement. Only when I
moved to TaipeiCity that I realized that I was nobody.
The problem of the gifted person who thinks higher
than he ought to is pride. The pride comes from the thought that he is a head
God resist the pride.
It is good to be wise, but it is
not good to think that you are wise. There is more hope than him that think he
is wise(Pr 26:12)
Adonijah, the fourth son of David, made himself
as a king. To his surprise, David made Solomon the king in time. Adonijah’s
life was spare by Solomon at very beginning of King Solomon’s reign. Adonijah
thought that he had the support from the army, the greatest general Joab. He
had the support from religious. All he needed to do was to have support from
the people. He could have done it by marrying Abishag, once was a young girl
given to David. He thought King Solomon did not know his hidden agenda. After
King Solomon knew his intension, he was killed. A fool could have more hope
than Adonijah. (Ref 1King 2:16ff)
After speaking with God for 40 days and nights
without eating and drinking, Moses’ face was shining with light. Moses himself
did not aware of it. When Moses realized it, he covered his face with a veil.
When Moses stood before God, he uncovered his veil. (Exd34:29ff). We learned
that it is good that we do not know how sharp we are. Even if people learned
that we are special, we shall be humble in front of man. In front of God, we
can be who we are. Do not think we are somebody in our own eyes.
How do you detected if you had pride? Pride is
like cancer, and some cancers are hard to detect. But we shall go into our
thinking to see ourselves.
The symptoms, according to Romans 12, of those
who think themselves higher than you ought to think are as following.
Rm 12:15: He cannot rejoice with those who had
joy. Ex. Like king Saul treating David’s victory.
Rm 12:15: He can not mourn with those who
mourned. Ex. Like the a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite who
was abandoned by his master because of his ill.(1Sa30:13)
Rm 12:16. He cannot have the same mind with one
Rm 12:16: He always mind
high things/He always had high opinion. (NIV)
Rm 12:16: He cannot agree with the lowly.
Rm 12:16: He is wise in his own eyes.
Do you always like to be head of a group. (3Jn 9) ex. Diotrephes, whose desire is ever to have
the first place among the people. (3Jn 9)
Can you submit to others, even to the newcomer
Do we view others better than ourselves? (Phi
2:3-5) Do we feel uncomfortable/jealous/grief when we see others better than ourselves? ex. Even if you see
the one who scored lower than you, can you see their stronger part?
Do we look down on others/sinners. (Lk 18:11)
ex. The Pharisees to the Tax collector.
Do we fight to be number one to sit by the side
of Jesus. (Mt 18:1-4)
Do you seek your own glory? Keep counting your
past achievement. (Pr 25:27) it is bad to eat too much honey.
Do you associate with the poor? Do you make
friend with those who you think are despised by others? (Pr 16:19)
You cannot fall asleep because of the
performance of others?
You feel uncomfortable when others receive
praise and attention.
You try to kill/hate the one who is better than
you. You cannot be friends with those who are better than you.
Do you have peace, and love of God in you? The
pride one cannot have peace in them, they can only
have themselves in them?
Do you think that you need to be outstanding
because of the attention?
Do not under-estimate ourselves. (1Jn 3:1)
We are purchased with the precious blood of our
Lord Jesus Christ. We are the children of the king of kings and lord of lords.
Our spiritual status is more honorable than that of angels.
King Ahaz in 2ki16:7. We can see that he relied
on King Syria. He said that he was Syria’s servant son and servant.
They meet in Assyria, which was not the
strongest country at that time. Assyria, as a matter of fact, also submitted to
But Ahaz copied their image of altar to build in the temple of God.
He even moved, modify some of temple items. Why was that? He looked lowly on
his own position, on God. He compared his country situation with the other
country, and he felt that in reality, he was not as strong comparing with the
What is the difference of humble and
Humble is the opposite of pride. Humble is a
good virtue. Jesus was humble, but he, by no means had self-inferior feeling.
He knew that he was from God and he will come to God. Humble is like a man
climbing to the top of the mountain and beholds the wonderful creations of God.
He feels that he is so small compared with God’s creations, yet he’s thankful
to God for His creations, for His love and care.
Self-inferior feeling comes with cannot see his
own value very well. (Ref Is 57:9) He demotes his own value and despises his
own existence and later on give up on himself. It is like a taxi driver who
drove a 2nd hand car. He drove carelessly and recklessly. He did not
care if he had accident. He had a bad car anyway. He gave up on his own.
Comparison with other is one of the reasons to
have self-pity feeling.
When I was little kid, I remember I was invited
to a friend’s house. It was the first time I saw beautiful house. He had
carpet, and painting in the house. As a country boy, all I had was a dirt
floor. That was my first time to see a wonderful house. I suddenly learn that I
was poor. At 4th grade, I noticed that many students went to
tutoring class but I couldn’t afford it. On Sunday, we even needed to go to
market to help. Ex. Even my mom told us that we are county boys, how can we
compare with Taipei
boys. Now I am grown and I realize that many people have self-inferior feeling
because of who they are. Many of my friends become gangster because they did
not have self-esteem. They think themselves lowler than they are supposed to
Kids may have low esteem because they do not do well
in school. After comparing with others, we tend to have self-inferior feeling
if we cannot compete or reach proper standard.
Can you detect if you have self-inferior
Do you hate yourself? Do you hate who you are,
hate your birth place, hate your social status, hate your IQ, hate your height,
hate your appearance, hate your social skills?
Do you feel like giving up all the time?
Is your sky blue or gray? Have you lost meaning
in your life?
One puppet always got negative words of label from his puppet world. His
peers ridicule him that he was too ugly, too slow, and too short. Sadly he
returns to his creator with all the labels attached to his body. He asked his
master why is that? “But I still love you.” Said the
master while holding the puppet on his hand. One by one the label was removed
by the Master.
Look at our self according to the measurement of
faith given to us.
We acknowledge that we are made of dust and we
are somehow limited.
“LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes
lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for
me.” (Ps 131:1f) We need to admit that there are things in the world that is
too profound for us to know. I need to rely on God for those difficulty things.
We need to admit that the spiritual realm is
beyond our reach if God does not want us to know. We shall not intrude the
unknown territory. Someone did it and made people to worship angels.(Co2:18)
The secret things belong to our God. (Dt 29:29)
Things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever.
We are curious to know what is good and what is
evil. God is good, and devil is evil. Many things are known to us concerning
good and evil, yet many things concerning God and devil are still unknown to
us. We shall not try to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil out of
We acknowledge that God loves us and empower us
to have all kinds of gifts according to his mercy.
Every good gift and perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the father of lights. (Jas 1:17) All that we have is from
God. It is God who makes us different from others. (1Co4:7). If you are a
computer engineer, you know that a program can do many things. But a program
cannot boast to the programmer. Simply with one code of line, the program can
go to infinite loop and the program cannot function.
The gift given to us has to do with the faith.
Faith can be measure. It is either strong faith or small faith. (12:3) Faith
has its proportion. (Rm 12:6) So faith is not either 0 or 1.
Those who had great faith, he can
had great mercy. Ex. A sister’s testimony concerning the faith. She had
bleeding problem for 12 years. Without strong faith, she prayed and God healed
her. She told the newly baptized that the more faith you have, the more
blessing you have. I did see that the sister had great blessing in her life due
to her faith.
We are what we serve. This is how we shall
ourselves with sober judgment. (Ro 12:4-8)
The Bible says that we shall think of ourselves
soberly according to the faith measure to us. Then it continues to say in verse
4 of chapter 12 that for as we have many members in one body, and all members
have not the same functions. (Ro 12:3f). It tells us that the way we see
ourselves is to what we can serve in the house of God.
We shall know our gifts and serve God and man
according to our gifts.
Gift cannot be big or small. We cannot say that
preaching is a bigger gift than counseling, or prophecy is bigger than serving
in bathroom. Someone one simply have more gifts than others, just like Paul had
many gifts that he can be the apostle of gentile.
The more gifts we have comes with more
Dr. Sun Yet-Son said that the more gifts you
have the more responsibility you have. You need to serve more. The spider man
says that the more power you have the more responsibility you have.
The Bible teaches us the more is given, the more
is asked from God.
We judge ourselves soberly according to how much
we can serve in the kingdom
of God. Many people judge
us according to what we have. The Lord judges us according to how much we
If we truly know this kind of truth, we know
each one has our own race to run. We won’t walk out from our race even if we
are the last in the track. For we know that as long as we finish the race,
there is crown of glory waiting for us.
Topical Study: Love toward Friends and Enemies.
Love is the conclusion of commandment. We shall
own man nothing, but to love one another, we feel that we own man.
When we picture righteous man, we picture as
dull. It seems that all the righteousness, like the priest,
always wear in black dressing, while others wear bright and colorful. However,
at the end of book of Romans, we see the book talks about love. A righteous man
has warm personality. He had the power of Holy Spirit which will yield the
fruit of kindness and joy.
How do we show love to friends/brothers/sisters?
How do we show love to enemies? Are there any differences to apply them?
Love toward friends/brothers and sisters.
A true love: Love without deceit. (ro12:9)
The words of his mouth were smoother than
butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they
drawn swords.(Ps 55:21) Joab, the general of David,
kissed another general and killed him at the same time. Judah kissed Jesus and betrayed him
at the same time. This is not true love.
Love shall be from pure heart.(1Pe
1:22) It is like the love from Jonathan toward David. Jonathan can die for
David. It is like Jesus died for us. There was no guile in hearts.
In this civilized world, we are coded with
polite altitude, but we can careless and indifferent in our heart.
An affectionate love. (Ro 12:10a)
It is as if you love your family members.
Abraham demonstrated many affectionate loves in
his life. His love toward three strangers. Not only running to them and falling
down on his face, and having their feet washed, but Abraham prepared the best food
for the guests. If we look at his actions carefully, we can see his
Jesus made a parable of Lost Son. The father ran
to the lost son, hugged him and kissed him. He prepared a feast to celebrate
his lost son’s return.
If you go to the Hawaii church, you will see the affectionate
love our brother and sisters show to you.
A respectful love. (Ro 12:10)
We shall esteem others better than ourselves.
(Phi 2:3) Even as lowly as an animal, it can do something better than us. We
shall respect and accept other people as who they are.
“In honor, preferring one another.” (Ro 12:10b)
The way we shall respect is to let others to go before us. Ex. Abraham allowed Lot to choose the land first before them. Lot chose the best land in his eyes. However, God blessed
Abraham for his attitude.
A married brother let his unmarried biological
brothers to choose first better lands when it comes to divide properties. Later
on, we can also see how the Lord compensates his loving brother later on in his
For though we must prefer others, and put on
others, as more capable and deserving than ourselves, we must not make that an
excuse for our lying by and doing nothing, nor under a pretence of honouring
others, and their serviceableness and performances, indulge ourselves in ease
and slothfulness. Therefore he immediately adds (v. 11), Not slothful in
A generous love. (Ro12:13)
“Distributing to the necessity of saints” (Ro
12:13a) When the mighty power of Holy Spirit came down, the brothers shared
their properties together. So no one is in lack of anything. Later on, Paul
said that those who did not work cannot eat. I think maybe someone take
advantage of his system when on is not full of Holy Spirit. However, when the
church in Jerusalem was in famine, the churches
in gentile land helped financially to the saints in Jerusalem.
Abraham sat in front of his tent to look for
chances to love strangers. Lot sat at the city
gate to look for chances to love strangers. Today, we do not only take chances
to help saints, but look for chances to help the saints.
take people into your house.” Even when John Paul II died in Rome, Roman Catholic urged people to take the
strangers into their own houses. Even Roman Catholic can do it, can we do it
better for we are the members of TJC.
Ex. A church did not allow a beggar sister to
wander in the street after her believing in the Lord. A sister even leaves some
of her properties for her.
A sympathizing love. (Ro 12:15)
We are the same body of Christ, if one is
suffering, all are sufferings. When a finger is hurt, the whole body does not
Jesus had sympathizing love in his life.
The Lord has pleasure in our prosperity and
afflicted in all our afflictions. (Ps35:27)(Is 63:9)
He had mercy toward the leper and touched him.
Jesus intended to rest, but he started to preach
when he saw many people came to him like sheep without shepherd. (Mk 6:31,34)
Jesus was angry to those who did not have
sympathy heart toward a man who had a shrinking hand. (Mk 3:1-6)
Even now, Jesus has sympathy for our weakness.
He was a man and he knew our feeling. (Heb 4:15)
It is hard for a stronger person to have
Jacob had a strong feet and he did not know to
walk with the weak until his feet is limb.
If we are strong in faith, sometimes we are like
Pharisee despising the weak one in faith.
A Condescending love. (Ro 12:16)
When one is standing above at a higher place, he
cannot truly show his love toward others. For Jesus to love us, he had to
depart from his most glorious high place to bring to man grace and truth. He
left his position as a teacher starting to wash the feet of his disciples. He
even willing went to taste death for human beings. This is how he low he went
to love human being.
An old saying states that all the roads lead to
Ramon. The brothers and sisters who live in Roman enjoy the highest
civilization in that generation. Paul says that one shall not mind the high
things when it comes to love, but to agree with the common people.
How do you talk to a two year old lad? You need
to squat down when you talk to him.
A peaceful love. (Ro 12:17f)
If it is possible, live peaceful
with all men. (Ro 12:18) Jesus is a king of peace.
He asked Peter to put away his sword when Peter
tried to protect Jesus from being captured.
As a king of kings, Jesus rode on a donkey, not
a horse, into his own cites.
Jesus had power to mobilize people for him to go
against his adversity. People even wanted to make Jesus king on earth. Jesus
did not want to mobilize people to do things for him on earth for political
purpose or for social purpose.
It make us to think
that shall we learn from other denomination to invite political figures to make
a speech for political issue in the church. Do you think it is proper to
mobilize church member to join pro-life assembly? It does not mean that as
member we do not show our concern toward the political and social issue. But we
shall keep the church a pure land in the complicated world.
Love toward enemies.
The greatness of Christian is not to love the
one who love you only. Even a sinner will love the one who love him. (mt5:45f).
The greatness of Christian is that they even show love to their enemies.
To do them no hurt. (Rm 12:17)
In OT, the rule is eye for an eye, and teeth for
teeth, and wound for wound. (Liv24:19) Even now a day, we can see this how the
country of Israel
treats his neighbor. There is no comprised with the neighbor countries. I think
the spirit of OT is not to get even, but try to find a way to stop violence.
However, we find out that wound for wound can only introduce hate from
generation to generation.
Why we shall not vengeance for ourselves.
When a person tries to vengeance for himself, it
means that he cannot forgive and always have anger in his mind. This will lead
foot step for Devil. We shall not let sun go down when we are in anger.
(Eph4:26) When a man try to vengeance, he will not likely to spare anything.
(Ref: Pr 6:34)
If we revenge and if the parties we are dealing
with are gangsters or very evil persons, we will run into more troubles. So
Jesus says that if someone smite your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
(Mt5:39) Jesus wanted us to prepare for another violent action. Personally, I
don’t think Jesus wanted us to voluntarily ask the other person to hit us. Ex.
a member heard a minister who shared Mt5:39. The member wanted to do an
experiment and smite the minister after he step down from the podium. The
minister was surprised, and his face turning red. Guess how did the minister
react after that? He picked up a broom and chased after the one who smite him.
If the member pointed a gun to the minister’s head and smite his right cheek,
what do you think he shall react?
God says: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” (Ro
12:19) When David did not revenge concerning the evil of Nabal, God smote Nabal
and he die after 10 days. (1Sa 25:38). God told to Edom
that because of their vengeance on the house of Judah,
I will stretch out my hand against Edom.
David did not take vengeance against Shimei who
bully David when David fled from his son Absalom. (2Sa 16:5ff). David wrote a
psalm: “But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that opens not
his mouth. Thus I was as a man that hears not, and in whose mouth are no
To do them all good that we can.
In words.(Ro ) “Bless them which persecute
you: bless, and curse not.
Elder Peter gave us similar teaching, and
commented that if we do so, we shall inherit blessing from God. (1Pe 3:9).
Jesus himself setup up a good example under cursing of cross. Jesus even prayed
for those who take away his clothing. (1Pe2:21)(Lk23:34)
Elder James also mentions that we cannot use the
same mouths which praise God to curse others. (Jas3:10)
Even David knew many evil that King Saul had
done in his life; David did not even mention a evil
thing of Saul in the song he wrote for Saul at his death.
“Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he
thirst, give him drink” (Ro 12:20)
In the OT, if your enemy lost his cows and you
found it, you shall return the cows to your enemies. (Ex23:4) If you see the ass of one who has hate for
you bent down to the earth under the weight which is put on it, you are to come
to its help, even against your desire.(Ex23:5)
If our enemies indeed had trouble in life, we
shall not think that they deserve it because of their evil. We shall try our
best to love them too.
Of course, we shall do love with wisdom. If our
enemies blackmailed us to feed them, we might have second thought. If our
enemies end up in Las Vegas
wasting all the money we help them, we might have second thought.
“…for in so doing you will put coals of fire on
his head.”(Ro 12:20)
If we treat good
for evil, we may be able to change the hearts of our enemies. Saul wept and
repented when David treat Saul with mercy and kindness.
Knowing the truth of love, we
shall exchange our old, mistaken concept of righteous person. We shall take
away the black suit and put on the bright clothing of love. We shall start to
reach out to others, to stretch out our hand to shack hands, and smile. No matter
who they are: friends, or even enemies.
Topical Study: Christian and Government.
Jesus does not ask believers to leave the world,
but to overcome the world. Christian shall go into the world to shine as light.
What is the relationship between Christian and
The role of government in Christian’s eyes.
Government is the servant of God. (Ro 13:4)
Paul emphasized this point twice in one verse.
The government, the authority of higher power, is ordained by God. (Ro13:1).
Even the bible describe that the gentile king Cyrus is the shepherd of God. (isa 44:28). Even God used gentile king as the rod of God’s
wrath, the instrument of God’s punishment. (Isa10:5)
As a servant of God, a king shall not boast of
himself. God told to Nebuchadnezzar that God is the ruler in the kingdom of men
and gave kingship to anyone at His please. (Da4:31). So a king shall humbly
submit himself to God like a true servant of God.
God exist for ever. Man’s kingdom cannot last
Government is an agent of God to punish evil.
God is a God of righteousness. He
punishes the evil and rewards the good. The sword in the hand of government is
not for nothing. The sword is to protect people’s life, property, and freedom.
In order to make a state peaceful, the government got to carry out God’s
Government is to reward the good. (Rm 12:3)
It is to promote good people. For example, we
had holiday to remember Martine Luther King for his contribution to civil
It is to promote good value. For example, the
country encourages charity work by reducing your income taxes.
It is to promote to have good environment. The
government does many things to maintain us a good environment. Ex. the
regulation of smug check.
Christian shall submit to government.
If anyone resist the power of government is to
resist the ordinance of God. (Ro13:2)
independence was influenced by the thought of John Locke. His book “Two
treatises of Government” influence not only the United
Kingdom, but also USA. His concept is that man was
created equally. No one was born to belong to someone else. Beside God, no one,
including oneself, can take away my life, and my freedom. I am only a steward
of my life.
So we can not exchange our freedom with the
protection of a king.
So we have the responsibility to care for the
entrusted right. We can bravely demand that our life and freedom cannot be
Government is to protect the God given right to
man. If a government failed to do his mission, abuse his power, or deprived God
given right, people is entitled to change or abolish the government.
This kind of concept can be found in the USA’s
“declaration of independence.”
Though John Locke hint that one can use even
violence to overthrow a government to change it. Bible does not support this
kind of view.
Even Christians were undergone prosecution, Paul stated that those who resist the power of
government resist the ordinance of God.
Even David was pursued by king
Saul, David did spare the life of King Saul twice in his life.
was lead by God to go out of Egypt,
God did not ask Israel to
fight with violent against Egypt.
God gave ten plagues to subdue the king of Egypt.
Even when Daniel’s three friends were under
persecution, they did not fight against the ruler. (Da 3:15-23; 6:10-18)
For wrath, we shall submit to government.(Rm
Knowing that the government does not
bear swords in vain. (Ro 13:4). All governments will not allow any religious party
to overthrown a government.
For conscience sake, we shall submit to
government. (Rm 13:5)
Conscience is the lamp of God telling God’s will
in our life. (ref: pr 20:27) The words of God shines the light of God’s will concerning government.
A king needs to rely on God to care for his
people. (Pr 8:15) By me kings reign, and princes
Jesus told to Pilot that if God did not give him
authority, he cannot exercise authority on Jesus. (Jn 19:11)
Peter told us that we shall submit to every
ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake. (1Pe2:13) Peter could have still remember
what Jesus told him to put up his sword into his place, for all they that take
the sword shall perish with the sword. (Ref Mt26:52)
Jeremiah reminds us to pray for those who rule
over us, even they are gentile people. (Jer 29:7)
Beside the words of God reminding of our
conscience, we know the fact that a bad government is better than no government
How to submit to government?
We shall pay taxes. (Ro 13:7)
For government workers are God's ministers,
attending continually upon this very thing.(Ro 13:6)
Like the ministers in the church need to be supported, the government employees
shall be supported by Taxes.
Jesus also paid Taxes. Jesus said unto them,
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's (Mk12:7)
We shall fear and honor them. (Ro 13:7)
Peter encouraged us to fear God and honor king.
Paul wanted us to pray for the rulers and kings.
Passively, as a church, we shall not resist the
government, but submit to government.
Aggressively, as a citizen of a country,
especially in the western world, we can promote Christian spirits by voting and
select the right persons to be the rulers for our country.
Topical Study: Christian and Fellow Christian.
One of the reasons for us to lose
members is that Christians cannot get along with other fellow Christians. Paul
gave us some insights concerning this issue.
Do not judge.(Ro14:1-6)
It does not mean that we cannot comment on
people or events. Paul commented on people positively and negatively.
Paul commented that Demas loved this present
world and forsook Paul. (2Ti4:10)
Paul commented that Hymenaeus and Alexander had
gone wrong in relations to faith. (1Ti1:19f)
Paul commented that Mark was useful in his
It means that our motivation of comment shall
not be from “despise”. (Rm14:10). We do not mean to condemn people with our
When a Pharisee prayed that he was
much better than a tax collector, his prayer was out of despise. In his
praying, indirectly, we can see he was condemning the tax collector. (Lk18:9ff)
How do we not judge?
We shall accept those who are weak
in faith and shall not debate what is in doubt. (Ro14:1)
Many things have nothing to do with “sin or
sins”. They have to do with right or wrong in their own eyes.
Someone thought that he can only eat vegetables.
(Ro14:2) In the Garden of Eden, people only ate fruits and herbs. After coming
out of Eden,
people started to eat grains. After the flooding, due to the change of weather,
God allowed people to eat meats. Nowadays, a healthy eater won’t eat too much
After believing in Jesus, some people still
believed in observing the feasts in the Old Testaments. However, Jesus had
fulfilled the Law. We are not required to observe all those holidays. (Ro
14:5). Someone took verse five as an issue talking about the Lord’s Day and the
Sabbath day. It is not true for the following reasons.
People were requested to observe the Lord’s Day
at the third century. The Book of Romans was written in about 57 AD.
Paul was persecuted greatly to affirm that
circumcision is not necessary for Gentile believers. Paul was never persecuted
by changing the Sabbath’s day to the Lord’s Day. Paul himself, as was his usual
custom, kept the Sabbath day. (Ac 17:2)
Why we shall not judge?
God is the judge. (Ro14:10-12) The father said
that he gave the authority of judgment to the Son, Jesus. Jesus said that he
won’t judge, but the truth he preached will judge people. (Jn 8:15; 12:47f)
Everyone shall give account of himself to God in the last day.(Ro14:12) God will exercise his hard judgment on those
who are not straight.(Ps 18:26)
For in judging another you are judging yourself
(Ro2:1-4) David judged that the bad guy needs to pay four times after listening
to the story of Nathan, David indeed pay four lives of his sons for his own
If we judge others, others will judge us. (mt 7:2). When Michal ridiculed David concerning his dancing
in front of the ark of God, David also answer Michal with harsh words.
Do not be a stumbling block. (Ro 14:13)
Paul knew and persuaded by the Lord concerning
the truth that there is nothing unclean of itself.
The Law recorded that some food are unclean. But
the Law is only a shadow. (Heb10:1). Jesus came to fulfill this kind of law.
This discussion of clean food and unclean food
has nothing to do with blood. We shall not eat blood. (Ac15:28)
For the kingdom of Godis not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Ro 14:17). Food is for stomach and stomach for
food. God makes both corrupt. Man does not live by brad alone. The issue of
drinking and eating has nothing to do with salvation. The most important thing
is what is inside in the New Testament.
We need to eat and drink without doubt. If
anyone eats and drinks not by his faith, it is his sin. (Ro14:23)
Our knowledge and persuasion is good. But let
not our good become evil. (Ro14:16)
We have strong faith and know that nothing is
unclean. This is good. If our good weaken the faith of brothers and sisters,
the good become evil. So we do not let our food become a trouble and
destruction to our brothers and sisters. (Ro 14:15). Chinese people ate dog in
the past. If one eats dog, you will be disgusted people in USA. Someone Christian’s
faith will be even weakened to see this kind of things. So Paul says that he
won’t eat meat, if it made his brothers stumble. (1Co8:13)
make our brothers and sisters stumble, it is our sin. (Ro14:20) Jesus said that
if anyone cause a little one to stumble, it were better for him that a
millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth
of the sea. (Mt18:6)
We shall do nothing to make our brothers
When we eat and drink, we shall consider the
Does it benefit me?
Does it benefit others?
Is God gloried by my eating and drinking?
Even though we do not want to stumble
our brothers, we can say that smoking is OK. Smoking cigarette does not benefit
a person, other persons, or God. We shall use our tender heart to encourage our
brother, but not to make him fall by judging him or her.
Not only eating and drinking, we shall not make
our brothers fall in everything. (Ro 14:21)
In some newly baptized area, people may insist
to cover woman’s head.
In some churches, there is problem of outward
In some churches, they take the baptized water
as holy water for healing.
In some churches, they do not allow woman to
preach on Sabbath day.
In some churches, they only allow ordain ministers
to preach on the podium.
If all the things have nothing to do with
salvation, we shall allow rooms for people to come to understand the truth in
the future. Paul knew and was persuaded by the truth, yet Paul insist that our standing of truth shall not stumble other
We shall make peace with others and edify others
in all those matters. (Rm14:19)
Please our neighbors.(Ro 15:1-6)
More positively, we shall seek to please our
brothers and sisters. An old Chinese saying: “clean your own snow in front of
your house, mind not the snow of other people’s roof.” It is a concept of
selfish. As a Christian, we shall mind the welfare of our brothers and sisters
Jesus did not seek for his own pleasure.
(Ro15:3) and need to learn from Jesus. (Ro15:5). If Jesus sought for his own
pleasure, he would not have come to this world. If Jesus sought for his own
pleasure, he would not have washed disciples’ feet. If Jesus sought for his own
pleasure, he would not have been nailed on the cross. We shall seek to please
our brothers and sisters too.
In this society, we can find the spirit of
please his neighbor for our learning.
Mr. John Rockefeller was a devout Christian.
After earning rich by oil business, the family found the University
of Chicago and Museum
of Ark in New York. Three of his family member became
governors to serve his generation.
Benjamin Franklin retired at 40 after he became
the richest person in the Quaker state. He founded University of Pennsylvania,
library, and fire department. He became the first Ambassador to French beside finding the lighting and electric. At age of 83, he
still joined the constitutional convention.
Bill Gates – Giving it away in Style. You don’t
have to call Bill Gates Sir. On March 2, the Queen of England made Gates a
knight, specifically a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, but the honorific Sir is reserved for
British citizens. Yet at 49 Gates has been earning respect in new ways: the
chairman of Microsoft and the world’s richest man – his fortune is estimated at
46.5 billion – has become the greatest philanthropist in history. Microsoft is in a bit of a lull right now.
The next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, won’t ship until 2006 at the
earliest; the company’s next big release will be the new version of Xbox
video-game console. But Gates’ other billion-dollar baby, the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, is working overtime, giving away its 27 billion
endowment on an unprecedented scale, focusing primarily on issues related to
health and education. The Gates Foundation has put 750 million toward global
vaccination efforts, with plans to double that. The World Health Organization
says the foundation’s efforts have already saved the lives of 670,000 children.
It has also given almost 1.2 billion to education causes. The philanthropic
work softens the image of a man often portrayed as an effectless, iron-willed
businessman, who in the past has run afoul of antitrust regulations in his
efforts to maintain market share of Windows and other Microsoft software. But
the guy who made all that money is the one giving it away: focused, immensely
ambitious, scarily determined often amazingly prescient.
When Holy Spirit first came down
in history, all believers share things together. Even though we do not do it
anymore, the spirit is good. We shall care for our brothers. At least, we shall
not judge them or make them stumble.
Essential teaching of Book of Romans.—By Elder S T Hsieh.
The Book of Romans – By C. H. Chou (1992 NYTS).
The teacher’s commentary – Mr. Lawrence O.
Matthew Henry’s commentary On the New Testament.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary – John F.
Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck.