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The Book of Romans

The Book of Romans

I.       Background of book of Romans:

A.     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.

B.     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.

C.     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.

D.     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.

E.     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.

F.      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).

G.     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.

II.    The unique character of the book of Romans:

A.     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.”

B.     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 of God.

III. The structure of the book of Romans.

Ch. 1:1-17

Ch. 1:18-3:20

Ch. 3:21-11:36

Ch. 12:1-15:13

Ch. 15:14-16:27

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 faith



IV.  Outline:

A.     Introduction (1:1-17)

1.        Salutation (1:7)

2.        Thanksgiving and hope (1:8-15)

3.        Theme: (1:16-17)

B.     Sin (1:19-3:20)

1.        Guilt of the Gentiles (1:18-32)

 a.      Ungodliness (1:18-25)

 b.      Homosexuality (1:26-27)

 c.      Unrighteousness (1:28-32)

2.        Guilt of the Jews (2:1-3:8)

 a.      According to divine standards, they were guilty.

(a)     God’s truthfulness (2:1-4)

(b)     God’s impartiality (2:5-11)

(c)     Jesus Christ (2:12-16)

 b.      According to their hypocrisy, and their trust in circumcision (2:17-29)

 c.      According to their unbelief (3:1-8)

3.        Proof of universal guilt (3:9-20)

 a.      All are under sin (3:9-18)

 b.      All are conscious of sin (3:19-20)

C.     Salvation: (3:21-11:36)

1.        Personal salvation (3:21-8:39)

 a.      Justification (3:21- 5:21)

(a)     God’s righteousness is revealed (-26)

(b)     Man can only be justified by faith (3: 27-31)

(c)     Abraham was counted as righteous through faith (4:1-12)

(d)     Abraham believed God’s promise (4:13-16)

(e)     The distinguishing feature of Abraham’s faith (4:17-25)

(f)      The effect of being justified by faith (5:1-21)

 b.      Sanctification (6:1-8:17)

(a)     Meaning, method, and effect of baptism (6:1-9)

(b)     We should live for God after receiving baptism (6:10-14)

(c)     Slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness (6:15-23)

(d)     How can we legally be freed from the Law? (7:1-3)

(e)     Why must we be freed from the Law? (7:4-6)

(f)      The Law cannot cause men to depart form sin (7:7-13)

(g)     What happens to a believer who tries to relate to God through the Law? The flesh cannot resist the law of sin (7:13-25)

(h)     What happens to a believer who relates to God through the Holy Spirit? There is freedom and life (8:1-8)

(i)       What is the source of our victorious experience? (8:9-17)

 c.      Glory (8:18-39)

(a)     The longing and sighing of the whole creation (8:18-27)

(b)     God’s predestination (8:28-30)

(c)     No one can bring a charge against us (8:31-34)

(d)     No one can separate us from God’s love (8:35-39)

2.        Salvation for the whole race (9:1-11:36)

 a.      God’s chosen: the Jews (9:1-29)

(a)     Paul’s love and concern for the salvation of the Jews (9:1-5)

(b)     The children of the promise are the true Israelites (9:6-13)

(c)     God will have mercy on whomever He will have mercy (9:14-18)

(d)     The absolute freedom of God’s sovereign choice (9:19-29)

 b.      Israel’s unbelief and salvation (9:30-11:12)

(a)     The Israelites have not attained righteousness (-33)

(b)     The requirement of being justified by faith (10:1-10)

(c)     Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (10:11-15)

(d)     The Bible prophesied about the unbelief of the Israelites (10:16-21)

(e)     God will elect the remnants of Israel (11:1-12)

 c.      The relationship between gentile’s salvation and Israel’s salvation (11:13-31)

(a)     Gentiles should not boast of their own salvation (11:13-24)

(b)     The Israelites are beloved by God (11:25-29)

(c)     All Israel will be saved (25-27; Zech 13:7-9)

 d.      The wisdom of God and salvation for all races

(a)     God will show mercy to all (11:30-32)

(b)     The unsearchable depth and judgment of the wisdom and knowledge of God (11: 33-36)

D.     Application of justification by faith (12-16)

1.        A Christian’s service (12:1-2)

2.        A Christian him/herself (12:3-8)

3.        A Christian and friends (12:9-16)

4.        A Christian and enemies (12:17-21)

5.        Christianity and government (13:1-7)

6.        Christians among Christians (14:1-15:6)

7.        Farewell (15:14-16:27)

V.     Topical Study: Justification by faith through the Gospel

A.     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.

B.     Main body:

1.        The gospel was a prophecy and a promise by the prophets (Rom 1:2)

 a.      From Moses to all the prophets in the Bible, there have been many prophecies and promises concerning Jesus Christ.

(a)     Gal 3:16: Through the seed of Abraham, all nations shall be blessed. The seed refers to Jesus Christ.

(b)     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)

(c)     Many prophets had promised the coming of the Messiah—that a savior would come to save the people. The prophets prophesied about His life.

(i)       Where was He born?

(ii)     Who would betray Him?

(iii)    Where was He to be buried?

(iv)   How was He to die?

(v)     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.)

 b.      The gospel was not a historical accident; rather, it was God’s master plan.

(a)     It came in the Roman Era, and it shared the same culture and language.

(b)     The road was constructed to reach Rome from all places, which paved the way for the gospel to be preached.

(c)     The location was at the center of the old world. This was also the reason why Abraham was led to this new land.

(d)     Crime punishment was one of the cruelest.

(e)     It is just like how it was in God’s plan for Israel to stay in Egypt.

(i)       Their language and culture were preserved because they lived in the same location.

(ii)     There were many wars in Canaan when they were slaves in Egypt.

(iii)    The evil of the people in the land of Canaan was not yet fulfilled.

 c.      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.

2.        The content of the gospel is Jesus and His cross (Rom 1:3-4)

 a.      Jesus was the seed of David according to the flesh

(a)     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 the ages.

(b)     Even in today’s generation, some proclaim to be the Christ for Israel.

 b.      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.

 c.      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.

 d.      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.

 e.      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).

 f.       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.

 g.      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.

3.        The gospel is to show the righteousness of God (Rom 1:17)

 a.      This verse, Rom 1:17, is the theme of the book of Romans, which is elaborated upon in the entire book.

 b.      In short, humans were born sinners.

(a)     Some say that humans are born with spiritual life and choose to sin later on. For example, The Chinese say that humans are born good.

(b)     Some think humans are born neutral—like white/blank pieces of paper. The environment can make it black or white; therefore, education is important.

(c)     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.

 c.      Man can only be righteous through faith in Jesus Christ and accept Jesus’ salvation.

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     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)

4.        We should not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom 1:16)

 a.      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).

 b.      Many people don’t like to be the center of attention and conflict. But Paul was not ashamed of the gospel.

 c.      Paul encouraged Timothy, who was timid as a young preacher, not to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8-9).

 d.      We should not be ashamed because of the way we pray in church. For example, some people are attracted by our prayer.

 e.      We should not be ashamed to offer a silent prayer in public. We should not be ashamed when we pray at the baptismal site.

 f.       Jesus said that if anyone does not acknowledge Him in public, then he won’t be acknowledged by Him in the heavenly kingdom (Mt 10:28-33).

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?

5.        Judgment in the last day is according to the gospel we preach (Rom 2:16)

 a.      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.

 b.      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).

6.        We should preach the gospel

 a.      Paul desired to preach in Rome, too (Rom 1:15).

 b.      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.

 c.      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.

 d.      No matter where, we should bring the truth to our surroundings.

 e.      “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”(Rom 10:14ff)

(a)     One of the most joyful moments in life is to see a newborn baby, and especially a spiritual one.

(b)     All you need to do is to share your life story and be aware of the difference.

C.     Epilogue:

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.

VI.  Topical Study: Judgment by deeds (Rom 2:6)

A.     Intro:

1.        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.

2.        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 God.

3.        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.

B.     Main Body:

1.        Gentiles are guilty (Only Jews worship the one true God)

 a.      Gentiles did not have the Law, but God gave them a conscience (Rom 2:14-15).

(a)     The Ten Commandments were written in their hearts. For example, everybody knows that it is right to honor their parents.

(b)     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.

 b.      God’s eternal power and the nature of God is seen from the creations of the world (Rom 1:19-20).

(a)     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).

(b)     God manifested His power in His creations.

(i)       Look at the trees we plant in our yards and the trees God plants in the national park.

(ii)     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.

(iii)    When some people reached the moon, they are recited Psalm 8.

 c.      Gentiles, instead of worshiping the creator, worshiped creation (Rom 1:21ff).

(a)     In India, it is a cow.

(b)     In Thailand, it is a snake.

(c)     In my country, it is earth, tree, people, and others.

(d)     Satan uses such idols to trick people. Satan can perform miracles to lure people to worship the wrong gods.

 d.      Why did Gentiles purposely worship many gods? (Rom 1:22)

(a)     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 disciples. 

(b)     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.

(c)     God gave them up. They become vain in their imagination and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom 1:21).

(i)       Those who do evil do not like light. They prefer darkness (Jn 3:19).

(ii)     Idols become the tools to lure others (Jer 10:14-15). 

 e.      Gentiles are morally guilty—including homosexuality (Rom 1:26-27).

(a)     What is San Francisco famous for? The first women’s homosexuality magazine was published over there.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

(d)     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.

(e)     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 liberal.

(f)      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.

(g)     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.

 f.       Other immoral acts are also found in gentiles (Rom 1:28-32).

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.

2.        Jews are also guilty in God’s eyes

 a.      They had the Law, they were chosen and had promises and covenant with God.

 b.      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 (Rom 3:3).

 c.      The Law itself may not be enough to resolve every situation in a human’s life.

(a)     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, "just because."

(b)     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).

 d.      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.

(a)     They were indeed like a ball kicked by man.

(b)     They underwent many persecutions in history.

(c)     They grab the treasure of other nations and are hated by them.

(d)     Even today, one can probably found more wars in their holy land than in other places.

 e.      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 baptism, is.

(a)     Outward circumcision:

(i)       Sign for the chosen (Gen7:9-14)

(ii)     Sign of separation (Acts 11:2-3)

(iii)    To get rid of filth (Deut10:16)

(b)     Inward circumcision—water baptism:

(i)       Sign for the chosen (Gal 2:11-12, 3:27, 29)

(ii)     Sign of separation (Rom 6:1-4)

(iii)    To get rid of filth (Acts  22:16)

 f.       It does not mean that Jews had no advantages.

(a)     Jews were given the Law, which reveals the heart of God.

(b)     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.

(c)     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 judgment.

 g.      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)

(a)     It does not have to be Judas to betray Jesus Christ.

(b)     If a sinner makes a judgment to show his wisdom, does it mean that the sinner deserve credit?

 h.      It is impossible that one can abide by the Law with his flesh (Rom 3:9-10, 20).

(a)     When Jews sin, they will receive the first judgment.

(b)     When Jews abide by the laws, they will be the first to receive rewards.

3.        All are guilty (Rom 3:11-16)

 a.      We feel guilty under the Law or under conscience.

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.”

 b.      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.

4.        What do we do then?

 a.      People simply deny guilty feelings to feel better.

(a)     The prostitute ate and wiped her mouth and said that she did not do it (Prov 30:20, 7:13).

(b)     It is the attitude of an ostrich, who buries its head in the sand when danger occurs.

(c)     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 it.

 b.      People find excuses and reasons with their guilt.

(a)     Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed snake. The snake blamed God

(b)     People masturbate, and their excuses include health benefits. People have affairs and find excuses for that, too.

 c.      People punish themselves for their guilt.

(a)     Judas hung himself.

(b)     Others get drunk or use drugs to deal with their guilt.

(c)     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.

 d.      We need to rely on Jesus for our guilt and for our sins.

(a)     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 away.

(b)     After all of our sins are forgiven by water baptism, we need to know the following facts.

(i)       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.

(ii)     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 death.

(iii)    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.

(iv)   We must always examine our deeds (Gal 6:4).

C.     Epilogue:

1.        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.

2.        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.

3.        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.

4.        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.

VII.           Topic: The faith of Abraham

A.     Prologue:

1.        God wanted us to look at Abraham. God called him, blessed him, and increased him (Isa 51:2).

2.        Abraham was in paradise according to Jesus’ parable (Lk 16).

3.        Abraham is the father of our faith. He is made famous for his faith.

B.     Main Body.

1.        Abraham was justified by faith (Rom 4:1-3)

 a.      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 15:5-6).

 b.      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.

 c.      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.

(a)     Circumcision is to shed one’s blood. Water baptism is to receive the blood of Jesus Christ.

(b)     Circumcision is part of the law. Water baptism is to receive the grace of God.

(c)     Circumcision is a work. Water baptism is to receive a work done by Jesus.

(d)     We need to believe to receive water baptism.

 d.      “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” (Jn 3:5).

 e.      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).

(a)     If we need to boast, we boast of the cross of Jesus (Gal 6:13-14).

(b)     If we need to boast, we boast of our own weaknesses.

(c)     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.

2.        The characters of Abraham’s faith

 a.      Abraham believed in God’s promise (Rom 4:16-13).

(a)     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).

(b)     By the same token, we should believe in the promises of God today.

(i)       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).

(ii)     God promised that He will guide us in our life if we acknowledge Him (Prov 3:5). This includes our marriage.

(iii)    One lost his dog and could not find it. Instead, he found peace in his heart. This is the same with God’s promise.

(c)     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.

 b.      Abraham believed that God’s power can raise the dead (Rom 11:17-19, 4:17).

(a)     Abraham told his servant that he and his son would go to worship and that they would return again (Gen 22:5).

(b)     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.

(c)     Even if God did not prepare a goat, even if God indeed allowed Abraham to kill his son, Abraham believed that he will resurrect from death.

(d)     According to the power that works in us, God can accomplish things beyond our asking or our thinking (Eph 3:20).

(e)     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.

(i)       A minister was calm during the SARS epidemic.

(ii)     A brother was calm as he rolled into the operation room.

 c.      Abraham believed that God can turn nothing into something (Rom 4:17).

(a)     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).

(b)     The creation of God came from nothing to something (Gen 1:1ff).

(c)     The creation of a new man is from being void to becoming a beautiful life.

(d)     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.

 d.      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 sight.

(a)     A boy is flying a kite. No one can see the kite, but he can feel the kite.

(b)     Faith is jumping into the dark knowing that your father will hold you.

(c)     Faith is sending out an email, and knowing that it will reach its destination.

(d)     Faith is eyes blindfolded, and we just need to follow the direction from God.

(e)     Faith is not seeing the wind or rain, but you continue dig the deep trench.

(f)      Faith is to walk into the river before you see the river open for you.

(g)     Jesus said to Thomas: “blessed are those who do not see it, yet believe it.”

(h)     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 better hometown).

3.        We should learn from Abraham’s faith (Rom 4:23-25)

 a.      We do not see Jesus, but we believe in His resurrection. How do we believe resurrection is possible?

(a)     In Jesus’ generation, it was easy to believe. For Jesus had shown Himself to more than 500 people.

(b)     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.

 b.      What does Jesus’ resurrection have to do with our justification? (Rom 4:25)

(a)     So we can be justified (1Cor 15:17-19, 12). Since Jesus resurrected, we will resurrect, too.

(b)     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 value.

(c)     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.

 c.      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.

 d.      Let us learn from Abraham’s faith.

C.     Epilogue:

1.        God wanted us to look at Abraham as an example—how he was blessed and grew in faith.

2.        Abraham did not have a faith exemplar to follow. God has given us a father of faith to learn from.

3.        Our journey of faith is not a lonely personal struggle. We simply follow the steps of our father and we will be alright.

VIII.        Topical Study: Obedience of Jesus and Disobedience of Adam

1.       Adam’s disobedience brought us death

2.       Jesus’ obedience brought us life

3.       We should be an obedient Christian

A.     Prologue:

1.        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.

2.        Both Adam and Jesus are sons of God, but they made very different choices, both of which greatly influenced our generations.

B.     Main Body:

1.        Death came from Adam’s disobedience

 a.      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).

 b.      Sin came to this world through Adam (Rom 5:12). How do we prove this?

(a)     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.

(b)     The thorns and thistles from the ground prove the sin of man. Man always had difficulty and troubles in life.

(c)     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.

(d)     The fact that women have more suffering than all other animals in bearing children proves the sin of mankind.

(e)     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.

 c.      The wages of sin is death (Rom 5:12).

(a)     Death from sin is seen in physical death (Rom 5:14).

(i)       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.

(ii)     If Adam did not sin, I personally think man would be like Enoch and Elijah, who did not need to go through physical death.

(b)     Death from sin is seen in spiritual death (Rom 6:23).

(i)       It is part of the stage of departing from the face of God.

(ii)     Man came into the logical world after departing from the spiritual world. From man’s logic, it is hard to find God.

(iii)    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 God.

(c)     Death brings tears and it is the end of hope.

(i)       There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom (Eccl 9:10).

(ii)     Their love, hatred, and envy all perish (Eccl 9:6a).

(iii)    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).

(d)     Their flesh returns to dust, their soul for judgment, and their spirit back to God.

 d.      Death is a king and it dominates our life prior to the coming of Jesus (Rom 5:14, 20).

(a)     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).

(b)     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.

(c)     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).

(d)     The Law lead to Jesus (Gal 3:24).

(i)       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.

(ii)     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 experience.

1.        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.

2.        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.

3.        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.

(iii)    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).

2.        Life came from Jesus’ obedience (Rom 5:19)

 a.      Jesus’ death reveals the love of God (Rom 5:7-10)

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     Jesus died for us at just the right time.

(i)       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).

(ii)     Jesus was known by God before creation and was manifested in the last day for us (1Pet 1:20).

(d)     Jesus died for the ungodly/sinner, not for the good.

Some might die for good people.

(i)       Japanese soldiers died for their king at the war.

(ii)     The extremist carried bombs with them as service to their god.

(iii)    But no one will die for the sinner.

 b.      We are justified by faith through the blood of Jesus Christ, whose blood is in water baptism. (Rom 5:9)

(a)     Many 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.

(b)     In 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).

(c)     Testimony: There is blood in water baptism. There is also healing (For example, the little girl from CanogaParkChurch who had a skin problem).

 c.      Not only do we make peace with God, we have joy in Him (Rom 5:10-11).

(a)     It is a joy to believe in God; not a burden. For example, Paul said that we should rejoice all the time.

(b)     The joy comes from receiving much grace from God (Ro5:1-2).

For forty years, a church is never without testimonies. The grace of God abundantly dwells among us.

(c)     The joy comes from hoping for God’s glory (Rom 5:1-2).

(i)       Moses recalled the glory of God (Deut 5:5).

(ii)     Peter recalled the experience in the mount of transfiguration (2 Pet 1:17-18).

(iii)    King David’s satisfaction is to see the glory of God (Ps 17:14-15).

(iv)   God Himself is the best joy for us (Ex 33).

(d)     The joy comes even in times of difficulty (Rom 5:3).

(i)       We know in knowledge (Rom 5:3-4).

1.        Trouble gives us patience.

①.      Jesus had patience under judgment. He was like a lamb.

②.      We know that after training, we will be refined gold (Job).

③.      We know that after training in patience, we can encourage others (2 Cor 1:4ff).

2.        Patience yields experience.

①.      Joshua wanted his soldiers to have experience after fighting (Josh 10:24ff).

②.      After patiently shepherding the sheep, David had experience in killing lions and bears.

3.        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.

4.        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.

(ii)     We know from experience (Rom 5:5).

God pours out His love into our hearts by His spirit (Rom 5:5).

1.        Willie in BP got rejected from his job.

2.        Paul in BP was praying for a spouse.

 d.      The result of obedience is grace, which is greater than the result of disobedience, which is sin (Rom 5:15).

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     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).

(d)     Where sin increased grace increased all the more. Grace is more sufficient than sin (Rom 5:20-21).

3.        We should learn from Jesus to be an obedient person

 a.      Jesus learned His submission through suffering (Heb 5:8).

(a)     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.

(b)     We, the younger generation, should learn to submit to the older generation.

(c)     We should submit to the truth.

 b.      If we are disobedient, we would be like Adam—finding excuses to cover up our sin.

 c.      Submission does not mean that one loses his voice.

 d.      Submission does not mean that one loses his creativity.

 e.      Submission is the very fundamental training for a worker to learn.

C.     Epilogue:

1.        What is your choice: to submit or to not submit?

2.        The result will greatly influence the generations to come.

IX.  Topical Study: Live to God and Die to Sin (Rom 6:10)

A.     Prologue:

1.        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.

2.        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.”

3.        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 after baptism.

B.     Main Body:

1.        By Water Baptism, we die to sin, and live to God.

 a.      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)

 b.      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.

 c.      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.

2.        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.

 a.      What 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.

 b.      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.

(a)     Ex. Satan attacked Eve to make her sin. Ex. Satan went to the heart of Judas to make him betray Jesus.

(b)     Peter said that Satan is like a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. (1Pe5:8)

(c)     The right response to Satan’s attack is rejection. (1Pe5:9)

(d)     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 me.”

 c.      Just do 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.

(a)     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 desire. (2Ti2:22)

(b)     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.

(c)     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 evil thoughts.

(d)     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.

 d.      Crucify 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 to God.

(a)     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.

(b)     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)

(c)     Jesus says that if a wheat does not fall into the ground and die, it won’t bear much grain.

(d)     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.

 e.      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)

(a)     Christ was resurrected with the power of Holy Spirit.

(b)     If one has the power of Holy Spirit, he is released from the law of sin and law of death. (Ro 8:1f)

(c)     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.

(d)     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 of HS.

(e)     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.

(f)      Then we have power to see ourselves as dead to sin. (Ro 6:11)

(i)       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.

(ii)     So naturally, we will dislike Rock and Roll CDs. We are not forced not to smoke, but naturally we will dislike the smell of smoke.

(g)     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.

3.        How to live to God after receiving WB?

 a.      Having faith in God.  (Ro 6:8)

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

 b.      We can choose to be slaves for righteousness. (Ro 6:15-23)

(a)     “…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.

(i)       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.

(ii)     There are two masters on earth; that is God and Satan. We can not serve two masters at the same time. (Mt 6:24)

(b)     If one submits to sin, the result is death. If one submits to righteousness, the result is sanctification. (Ro 6:16)

(i)       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.

(ii)     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.

(iii)    No matter if one reaches death or reaches righteousness, he must go through a process.

(iv)   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.

(c)     Our zeal to serve righteousness shall be the same as when we served sin in the past. (Ro 6:19)

(i)       Our energy shall be the same, but our master simply has changed.

(ii)     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.

(iii)    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)

(iv)   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.

1.        Concerning merits. (Ga 5:22)(Eph 5:9)

2.        Concerning love.(Phi 4:17)

3.        Concerning worshiping. (Heb 13:15)

 c.      Let others see Jesus in you. Our lives are a book in front of people.

C.     Epilogue.

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.

X.     Topic: Law & Grace (Ro 6:14)

A.     Prologue:

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.

B.     Not under the Law.

1.        What is the Law?

 a.      The Lord describes the Law in a very solemn way. (Ex34:5f,10,27).

 b.      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. (Dt31:26)

 c.      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.

2.        From Moses to Jesus, it is proved that the law cannot cause men to depart from sin. (7:7-13)

 a.      Without the law, we do not know what sin is. (Ro 7:7)

 b.      With the law, however, there are two shortcomings.

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

 c.      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.

 d.      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)

3.        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.

4.        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 of death.

5.        How can we legally be freed from the Law? (7:1-3)

 a.      Two ways to make the law lose its force.

(a)     Modify the law.

(b)     The person dies.

 b.      Jesus comes to fulfill the law. The Mosaic Law was fulfilled through the cross.

 c.      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 up anymore.

 d.      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 Commandment. (Mk10:17ff)

C.     Under the Grace. (which means in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.)

1.        We have the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Ro 8:1-8)

 a.      The Law of spirit and life and release, the law of sin, and the law of death.(Ro 8:1f)

(a)     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.

(b)     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 the wilderness.

(c)     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.

 b.      Jesus came to fulfill the request of the Law. (Ro 8:3)

(a)     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.

(b)     Jesus used his blood to pay the price of sin to redeem those who belong to him.

(c)     The righteousness of the law requests holiness. After Baptism, we put on Christ, the righteous one. Then we are holy according to the law.

(d)     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.

(e)     Status (Religious ceremony);

(i)       Offering. (Liv1:3f): to kill cows and sheep to get rid of sin; for holiness.

(ii)     Circumcision (Dt10:16): get rid of filthiness of the heart. get holy

(iii)    Purification Law (Exd30:18-21; Ezk36:25): use water or blood. for holy to enter the temple

(f)      Hygienic Law.

(i)       food.(Liv11:45): For God is holy

(ii)     body(Liv15:31): For God is holy

(g)     Moral Law.(Mt22:34-40)

(h)     How to fortify the Law.

(i)       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.

(ii)     Obey the Holy Spirit. (Rm8:13; gal5:16-17)

(iii)    Keep Moral Law. (Mk10:17ff)

 c.      Jesus was a righteous man who could die for sinners.

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.

 d.      From now on, we need to mind the spirit, instead of minding the flesh. (Ro8:5)

(a)     What does it mean to mind the flesh?

It is to fulfill lust. (Ro13:14)(Eph 2:4)(Ro2:24ff)

(b)     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.

(c)     If you go in the way of the flesh, death will come upon you. Even if you have Holy Spirit. (Ro 8:13)

(d)     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 become carnal.

2.        We shall rely on the Holy Spirit (HS).

 a.      HS makes us belong to Christ. (Ro 8:9)

 b.      HS makes us not belong to the flesh. (Ro 8:9)

 c.      HS proves that we are a son of God. (Ro8:16)

 d.      HS is the guarantee for the heavenly inheritance. (Ro 8:16)

 e.      HS empowers us to modify the deeds of the body. (Ro8:17)(Eph 1:13f)

 f.       HS can resurrect us in the last day. (Ro 8:11)

 g.      HS fulfills the righteousness of the Law. (Ro 8:4)

3.        We shall pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

 a.      Many people had tried to abide by the law with their own energy. It won’t work without the help of the Holy Spirit.

 b.      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 the points.

 c.      So if we are under the grace, and we have the help of Holy Spirit, sin indeed can not be our master.

XI.  Topical Study: The Eternal Glory for Children of God.

A.     Prologue:

1.        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.

2.        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.

B.     Main Body.

1.        We shall be glorified together with Jesus. (Ro 8:17)

 a.      Pre-qualification: We suffer with Jesus. (Ro 8:17)

 b.      Christ needed to suffer, and then he entered into his glory. (Lk 24:26)

 c.      Christ was able to sustain his suffering by looking forward to the future joy of glory. (Heb12:2)

 d.      So we need to suffer with Christ in the following ways.

(a)     To resist temptation.

(b)     To buffet our body.

(c)     To receive training from God.

 e.      We can take suffering by comparing current sufferings with future glory.

(a)    It 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

(b)     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.

(c)     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)

 f.       The current suffering includes the following.

(a)     The creature was made subject to vanity. (Ro 8:20). After sin entered the world, everything is vanity according to the Wisdom of Solomon.

(b)     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.

 g.      The future glory is as follows:

(a)     We shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Ro 8:21)

(b)     Our body shall be redeemed and transferred into a spiritual body. (Ro 8:23)

 h.      We shall hope for the future glory. We are saved by hope. (Ro 8:24)

(a)     Hope is the extension power of faith.

(b)     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.

(c)     Hope deferred make heart sick, but when we get what we hope for is a tree of life. (Pr13:12)

 i.        We shall patiently wait for the hope of future glory. (Ro 8:25)

(a)     The patience of the saints shows the keeping of the commandments of God and the keeping of the faith of Jesus. (Rev14:12)

(b)     We shall have patience in trouble. (Ro12:12)

(c)     We shall continue doing good deeds. (Ro 2:7)

(d)     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.

(e)     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.

2.        Our help in hoping for future glory.

 a.      1.             Holy Spirit helps us. (Ro8:26f)

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

 b.      Truth helps us. Knowing of truth of  “All things working together for good to them who love God” (Ro 8:28)

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

 c.      God helps us. (Ro 8:31)

(a)     God foreknew us and predestined to save us. (Ro 8:29f)

(i)       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.

(ii)     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.

(iii)    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 anymore.

(iv)   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)

(b)     If God is for us, who can go against us?  (Ro8:31)

(i)       God sent his only son to die for us. God gives us more than his only son. (Ro8:32)

(ii)     God wiped away our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. (Ro8:33)

(iii)    Jesus continues to pray for the saints at the right hand side of God. (Ro8:34)

3.        Obtaining the future glory by relying on the love of Jesus. (Ro8:35-39)

 a.      All kinds of hardship cannot separate us from the love of God.

 b.      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.

 c.      If we are kept by the love of God, we are able to make it to the future glory.

C.     Conclusion:

1.        Our direction shall be right to live in this life. We are heading for future glory.

2.        We shall rely on Jesus, and use the help provided by God to make it.

3.        We hope to see one another not only in this life, but in the life to come.

XII.           Topical Study: The Salvation of Israel.

A.     Prolog:

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 of Abraham?

B.     Main Body:

1.        Paul’s love toward Israel’s salvation. (Ro 9:1-5)

 a.      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)

 b.      Israel has seven privileges in the plan of salvation. (Ro 9:4f)

(a)     The adoption. (Ex 4:22) God says that Israel is the first of his sons.

(b)     The divine glory (Ex16:10;24:17) God’s glory appears many times in the wilderness.

(c)     The covenants. It includes the covenant to Abraham, to David. (Ge15:18)(2Sa 7:12ff)

(d)     The lawgiving. (Dt 5:1ff)

(e)     The temple worship. Besides what is recorded in Mosaic law, David setup many creative ways to help caring the temple of God.

(f)      The promises. Concerning the coming of Jesus was prophecies in the Old Testaments.

(g)     The fathers: Physically speaking, our forefathers were Israel.

 c.      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.

 d.      Paul’s love toward his own race was sincere. (Ro 9:1f;10:1)

(a)     He did not forget where he was from. He was an unbelief Jews who got converted by God.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

 e.      Paul wished to take on himself the curse for his brothers in flesh. (Ro9:3).

(a)     Paul mentioned that nothing can separate himself from the love of Jesus Christ. But he can lose his eternality for his own race.

(b)     Jesus’ new commandment is that we shall die for our brothers.

(c)     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.

 f.       We shall determine to preach to our own races.

(a)     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 of Kenya.

(b)     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!

2.        Not all Jews have salvation.

 a.      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. (Ro 9:6).

(a)     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.

(b)     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)

 b.      God have the absolute right to choose his own people. (Ro 9:14-18)

(a)     Is God fair to chose someone and left others alone? (Ro9:14)

(b)     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?

(c)     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.

(d)     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 purposes.

(e)     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.

3.        The salvation will come to the remnant of Israel. (Ro9:27f)(Ro11:1-10)

 a.      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.

 b.      However, the faithful God would still remember the old covenant with Jews. The remnant of Jews will for sure receive salvation.

 c.      (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 East.

 d.      The remaining will repent and be saved.

(a)     All the rest of Jews will become to believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that they will come to our church.

(b)     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.

(c)     It is not likely Jewish people will forsake Sabbath day. Not too many denominations observe Sabbath day.

(d)     Jews like to see miracles. (1co1:22) All the miracles which occurred in the Bible can be found in our church.

 e.      It is until the numbers of gentiles are fulfilled. (Ro 11:25ff)

(a)     In the last days, an angel will come from the east to start to seal the forehead of chosen people. (Rev 7:2ff)

(b)     As gentiles, we need to take the opportunity of chances to believe in Jesus. The door of salvation is not going to open everyday.

C.     Epilog:

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.

XIII.        Topical Study: O! The Depth Of The Riches of God’s Wisdom.

A.     Prolog:

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 Law.

B.     Main body:

1.        The Israel followed after the law of righteousness, yet could not obtain the righteousness. They stumbled at the stumbling stone.(Ro9:31-33)

 a.      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.

 b.      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 knowledge.

 c.      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.

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

2.        Christ is the end of Law of righteousness to anyone who believe. (Ro 10:4)

 a.      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)

 b.      Jesus is the Word. “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart…” (Ro10:8)(Dt30:14)

(a)     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)

(b)     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?

(i)       Angel told Cornilus to invite Peter to preach to them. Peter then baptized the gentile people with water. (Ac10:33,47)

(ii)     Philip told to the eunuch if you believe with all they heart, you may. What may the eunuch do? To receive water Baptism. (Ac8:37)

(iii)    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.

(c)     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.

 c.      How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of Christ. (Ro10:15)

(a)     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.

(b)     “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.

(i)       In season or not, we shall continue preaching. (2Ti4:2)

(ii)     To learn from the spirit of Isaiah, he continues preaching and cared not how many got converted. (Isa 6)

(iii)    To learn from the spirit of Noah who preached for around 10 decades, yet no one believed except his family members.

(iv)   To learn from Jesus who preached so hard and later on he got to ask his disciple: “Do you want to depart from me?”

3.        The stumble of Israel is not for them to fall. (Ro 11:11f)

 a.      It is for a better purpose. God can fulfill his will even man fail.

(a)     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.

(b)     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)

 b.      It is to warn that gentile shall not boast against Israel (Ro 11:20)

(a)     Israel 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 sanctified.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

C.     Epilog:

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.

XIV.         Topical Study: A living Sacrifice.

A.     Paul beseeches all to offer oneself. (Ro 12:1)

1.        Paul urged us according to the mercy of God.

 a.      Knowing the mercy of God can make one to offer himself to the Lord. The mercy of God is the salvation of God.

 b.      If we truly put our feet in Paul’s feet, we shall have the same feeling concerning God’ s mercy.

(a)     One die for all and all die.

(b)     To die for the righteous one, one may do it. To die for the bad guy, no one can do it.

(c)     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.

(d)     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

2.        Paul beseeches us; not command us. (Ro 12:1)

 a.      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 sheep.

 b.      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.

B.     A living sacrifice. (Ro 12:1)

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?

 a.      We shall glorify God with our body. (1Cor )

 b.      We shall yield our bodies for the righteous deeds. (Rm 6:13,18f)

 c.      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.

2.        A living sacrifice with three unique characters. (Ro 12:1)

 a.      A living sacrifice which is holy.

(a)     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.

(b)     A anointed one with shortcoming leaving a change for devil to blaspheme God ex. David’s case.

 b.      A living sacrifice which is pleasing to God.

(a)     Paul’s life, in death or in life, he will strive to please God. (2Cor 5:9)

(b)     To offer oneself to God and live for God and suffer for God, it is so easy to touch God. (SS 4:8f)

(c)     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 by God.

 c.      A living sacrifice which is a reasonable service.

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

C.     A complete change of lifestyle. (Ro 12:2)

1.        A living sacrifices which is not confirmed to the world.

 a.      What is the world pursuing after? (1Jn2:15f)

(a)     Sensational feeling. People pursue drug, win, sex, and Rock & Roll. They are all pursuing for flesh desire.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

(d)     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, like Judah’s 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 every day.

2.        A living sacrifice which is renew of mind.

 a.      Man is a vessel of mind. (Chinese saying). Jesus said that if you have good stay in heart, you will speak good things.

 b.      Our mind needs to remold by the words of God.

 c.      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.

 d.      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.

(a)     Holy Spirit wept prior to eating the food offered to idols.

(b)     Holy Spirit wept for the NYTS students.

(c)     Holy Spirit grief a person cannot fall asleep until he said sorry to his folks.

 e.      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.

 f.       We shall use God’s mind to serve God.

D.     Conclusion:

1.        Many people live and die for a personal goal.

2.        Many people live and die for a political goal.

3.        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.”

XV.Topical Study: Think yourself with sober judgment.

A.     Prolog:

1.        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.

2.        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.

3.        From the Bible, we shall neither over-estimate ourselves, nor under-estimate ourselves. How do we see ourselves with sober judgment?

B.     Do not over-estimate yourself (12:3)

1.        Paul encouraged us through the grace of God. The grace of God, to Paul, was wide.

 a.      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 Christ?

 b.      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)

2.        A gifted person may think of himself higher than he ought to, especially if he lives in a small environment.

 a.      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.

 b.      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 above all.

3.        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)

 a.      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)

 b.      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.

4.        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.

 a.      The symptoms, according to Romans 12, of those who think themselves higher than you ought to think are as following.

(a)     Rm 12:15: He cannot rejoice with those who had joy. Ex. Like king Saul treating David’s victory.

(b)     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)

(c)     Rm 12:16. He cannot have the same mind with one anther.

(d)     Rm 12:16: He always mind high things/He always had high opinion. (NIV)

(e)     Rm 12:16: He cannot agree with the lowly.

(f)      Rm 12:16: He is wise in his own eyes.

 b.      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)

 c.      Can you submit to others, even to the newcomer (1Pe 5:5)

 d.      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?

 e.      Do we look down on others/sinners. (Lk 18:11) ex. The Pharisees to the Tax collector.

 f.       Do we fight to be number one to sit by the side of Jesus. (Mt 18:1-4)

 g.      Do you seek your own glory? Keep counting your past achievement. (Pr 25:27) it is bad to eat too much honey.

 h.      Do you associate with the poor? Do you make friend with those who you think are despised by others? (Pr 16:19)

 i.        You cannot fall asleep because of the performance of others?

 j.        You feel uncomfortable when others receive praise and attention.

 k.      You try to kill/hate the one who is better than you. You cannot be friends with those who are better than you.

 l.        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?

 m.     Do you think that you need to be outstanding because of the attention?

C.     Do not under-estimate ourselves. (1Jn 3:1)

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.

2.        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 Syria. 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 neighbor countries.

3.        What is the difference of humble and self-inferior feeling?

 a.      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.

 b.      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.

4.        Comparison with other is one of the reasons to have self-pity feeling.

 a.      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 be.

 b.      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.

5.        Can you detect if you have self-inferior feeling.

 a.      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?

 b.      Do you feel like giving up all the time?

 c.      Is your sky blue or gray? Have you lost meaning in your life?

6.        Story:  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.

D.     Look at our self according to the measurement of faith given to us.

1.        We acknowledge that we are made of dust and we are somehow limited.

 a.      “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.

 b.      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)

 c.      The secret things belong to our God. (Dt 29:29) Things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever.

 d.      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 curiosity.

2.        We acknowledge that God loves us and empower us to have all kinds of gifts according to his mercy.

 a.      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.

 b.      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.

3.        We are what we serve. This is how we shall ourselves with sober judgment. (Ro 12:4-8)

 a.      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.

 b.      We shall know our gifts and serve God and man according to our gifts.

 c.      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.

 d.      The more gifts we have comes with more responsibility.

(a)     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.

(b)     The Bible teaches us the more is given, the more is asked from God.

E.     Conclusion:

1.        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 serve.

2.        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.

XVI.         Topical Study: Love toward Friends and Enemies.

A.     Prolog.

1.        Love is the conclusion of commandment. We shall own man nothing, but to love one another, we feel that we own man.

2.        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.

3.        How do we show love to friends/brothers/sisters? How do we show love to enemies? Are there any differences to apply them?

B.     Main Body:

1.        Love toward friends/brothers and sisters.

 a.      A true love: Love without deceit. (ro12:9)

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     In this civilized world, we are coded with polite altitude, but we can careless and indifferent in our heart.

 b.      An affectionate love. (Ro 12:10a)

(a)     It is as if you love your family members.

(b)     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 affectionate love.

(c)     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.

(d)     If you go to the Hawaii church, you will see the affectionate love our brother and sisters show to you.

 c.      A respectful love. (Ro 12:10)

(a)     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.

(b)     “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.

(c)     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 life.

(d)     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 business.

 d.      A generous love. (Ro12:13)

(a)     “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.

(b)     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.

(c)      “Ready to 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.

(d)     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.

 e.      A sympathizing love. (Ro 12:15)

(a)     We are the same body of Christ, if one is suffering, all are sufferings. When a finger is hurt, the whole body does not feel comfortable.

(b)     Jesus had sympathizing love in his life.

(i)       The Lord has pleasure in our prosperity and afflicted in all our afflictions. (Ps35:27)(Is 63:9)

(ii)     He had mercy toward the leper and touched him. (Mk 2:41)

(iii)    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)

(iv)   Jesus was angry to those who did not have sympathy heart toward a man who had a shrinking hand. (Mk 3:1-6)

(v)     Even now, Jesus has sympathy for our weakness. He was a man and he knew our feeling. (Heb 4:15)

(c)     It is hard for a stronger person to have sympathizing love.

(i)       Jacob had a strong feet and he did not know to walk with the weak until his feet is limb.

(ii)     If we are strong in faith, sometimes we are like Pharisee despising the weak one in faith.

 f.       A Condescending love. (Ro 12:16)

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     How do you talk to a two year old lad? You need to squat down when you talk to him.

 g.      A peaceful love. (Ro 12:17f)

If it is possible, live peaceful with all men. (Ro 12:18) Jesus is a king of peace.

(a)     He asked Peter to put away his sword when Peter tried to protect Jesus from being captured.

(b)     As a king of kings, Jesus rode on a donkey, not a horse, into his own cites.

(c)     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.

(d)     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.

2.        Love toward enemies.

 a.      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.

 b.      To do them no hurt. (Rm 12:17)

(a)     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.

(b)     Why we shall not vengeance for ourselves.

(i)       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)

(ii)     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?

(iii)    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.

(c)     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 reproofs.”(Ps38:13-15)

 c.      To do them all good that we can.

(a)     In words.(Ro ) “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

(i)       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)

(ii)     Elder James also mentions that we cannot use the same mouths which praise God to curse others. (Jas3:10)

(iii)    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.

(b)     In deeds.

(i)       “Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink” (Ro 12:20)

1.        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)

2.        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.

3.        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.

(ii)     “…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.

C.     Epilog:

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.

XVII.      Topical Study: Christian and Government.

A.     Prolog

1.        Jesus does not ask believers to leave the world, but to overcome the world. Christian shall go into the world to shine as light.

2.        What is the relationship between Christian and Government?

B.     Main Body.

1.        The role of government in Christian’s eyes.

 a.      Government is the servant of God. (Ro 13:4)

(a)     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)

(b)     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.

(c)     God exist for ever. Man’s kingdom cannot last forever.

 b.      Government is an agent of God to punish evil. (Ro 13:4)

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 justice.

 c.      Government is to reward the good. (Rm 12:3)

(a)     It is to promote good people. For example, we had holiday to remember Martine Luther King for his contribution to civil right.

(b)     It is to promote good value. For example, the country encourages charity work by reducing your income taxes.

(c)     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.

2.        Christian shall submit to government.

 a.      If anyone resist the power of government is to resist the ordinance of God. (Ro13:2)

(a)     USA’s 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.

(i)       So we can not exchange our freedom with the protection of a king.

(ii)     So we have the responsibility to care for the entrusted right. We can bravely demand that our life and freedom cannot be deprived.

(iii)    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.

(iv)   This kind of concept can be found in the USA’s “declaration of independence.”

(b)     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.

(i)       Even Christians were undergone prosecution, Paul stated that those who resist the power of government resist the ordinance of God.

(ii)     Even David was pursued by king Saul, David did spare the life of King Saul twice in his life.

(iii)    When Israel 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.

(iv)   Even when Daniel’s three friends were under persecution, they did not fight against the ruler. (Da 3:15-23; 6:10-18)

 b.      For wrath, we shall submit to government.(Rm 13:5)

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.

 c.      For conscience sake, we shall submit to government. (Rm 13:5)

(a)     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.

(i)       A king needs to rely on God to care for his people. (Pr 8:15) By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

(ii)     Jesus told to Pilot that if God did not give him authority, he cannot exercise authority on Jesus. (Jn 19:11)

(iii)    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)

(iv)   Jeremiah reminds us to pray for those who rule over us, even they are gentile people. (Jer 29:7)

(b)     Beside the words of God reminding of our conscience, we know the fact that a bad government is better than no government sometimes.

3.        How to submit to government?

 a.      We shall pay taxes. (Ro 13:7)

(a)     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.

(b)     Jesus also paid Taxes. Jesus said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's (Mk12:7)

 b.      We shall fear and honor them. (Ro 13:7)

(a)     Peter encouraged us to fear God and honor king. (2Pe2:17)

(b)     Paul wanted us to pray for the rulers and kings. (1ti 2:2f)

C.     Epilog.

1.        Passively, as a church, we shall not resist the government, but submit to government.

2.        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.

XVIII.   Topical Study: Christian and Fellow Christian.

A.     Prolog.

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.

B.     Main Body.

1.        Do not judge.(Ro14:1-6)

 a.      It does not mean that we cannot comment on people or events. Paul commented on people positively and negatively.

(a)     Paul commented that Demas loved this present world and forsook Paul. (2Ti4:10)

(b)     Paul commented that Hymenaeus and Alexander had gone wrong in relations to faith. (1Ti1:19f)

(c)     Paul commented that Mark was useful in his missionary. (2Ti4:11)

 b.      It means that our motivation of comment shall not be from “despise”. (Rm14:10). We do not mean to condemn people with our comment. (Lk6:37).

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)

 c.      How do we not judge?

We shall accept those who are weak in faith and shall not debate what is in doubt. (Ro14:1)

(a)     Many things have nothing to do with “sin or sins”. They have to do with right or wrong in their own eyes.

(b)     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 meat either.

(c)     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.

(i)       People were requested to observe the Lord’s Day at the third century. The Book of Romans was written in about 57 AD.

(ii)     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)

 d.      Why we shall not judge?

(a)     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)

(b)     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 mistake.

(c)     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. (2Sa6:21)

2.        Do not be a stumbling block. (Ro 14:13)

 a.      Paul knew and persuaded by the Lord concerning the truth that there is nothing unclean of itself. (Ro14:14)

(a)     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.

(b)     This discussion of clean food and unclean food has nothing to do with blood. We shall not eat blood. (Ac15:28)

(c)     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.

(d)     We need to eat and drink without doubt. If anyone eats and drinks not by his faith, it is his sin. (Ro14:23)

 b.      Our knowledge and persuasion is good. But let not our good become evil. (Ro14:16)

(a)     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)

(b)      If we 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)

 c.      We shall do nothing to make our brothers stumble. (Ro14:21).

(a)     When we eat and drink, we shall consider the following.

(i)       Does it benefit me?

(ii)     Does it benefit others?

(iii)    Is God gloried by my eating and drinking?

(b)     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.

(c)     Not only eating and drinking, we shall not make our brothers fall in everything. (Ro 14:21)

(i)       In some newly baptized area, people may insist to cover woman’s head.

(ii)     In some churches, there is problem of outward adoring.

(iii)    In some churches, they take the baptized water as holy water for healing.

(iv)   In some churches, they do not allow woman to preach on Sabbath day.

(v)     In some churches, they only allow ordain ministers to preach on the podium.

(vi)   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 fellow believers.

 d.      We shall make peace with others and edify others in all those matters. (Rm14:19)

3.        Please our neighbors.(Ro 15:1-6)

 a.      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 too.

 b.      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.

 c.      In this society, we can find the spirit of please his neighbor for our learning.

(a)     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.

(b)     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.

(c)     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.

C.     Epilog.

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.

XIX.         Reference book:

1.       The Essential teaching of Book of Romans.—By Elder S T Hsieh.

2.       The Book of Romans – By C. H. Chou (1992 NYTS).

3.       The teacher’s commentary – Mr. Lawrence O. Richards.

4.       Matthew Henry’s commentary On the New Testament.

5.       The Bible Knowledge Commentary – John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck.