April 1st, 2018
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
1. All Are Connected
It’s good to see all of you. Today is Easter Sunday of 2018. The title of today’s message is, “Confess the Resurrected Christ.” All things are connected. When you look at certain events, you can see that everything is interconnected. Whether it’s a man-created product or a natural product of nature like the mountains, it’s all connected. For problems and issues, they are all connected, and that’s why they arise. All disasters happen because they are connected. Furthermore, the prosperity that you enjoy take place because they are connected as well. In our lives, the people that you meet are people that you make relationships with because they are all connected, too. But what does that mean? It means that there’s a start and a process that makes this all connected. There’s a start because there’s a cause. There is a cause and because there is a cause, there’s a progress that leads to an end result. Ecclesiastes says all of the things in the world have a purpose; there will be a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap your crops. While this means that there’s a time schedule for everything, it also means that there’s a start for everything. In other words, the start and end are connected.
At times, you might ask why you are the way you are. “Why am I this way, and why is my environment like this? Why is the world that I live in this way?” We ask these questions from time to time. All these things don’t appear out of nowhere; they don’t just happen haphazardly all of a sudden. It’s just unknown to us, but there’s actually a start to all of these problems. Right now, we are seated in our chairs. You come into the sanctuary and see the chairs put into rows. As you know, these chairs didn’t just fall from heaven; they are made within factories from raw materials and shipped to departments stores where they are then purchased. Your children are products of your love and marriage. How did you come to this place today? Is there anyone among you who came here because you are pen pals with me? You are introduced by someone, most likely, and that’s why you are here. You were probably introduced by our church and came here today. In this way, even the smallest of things are connected. Some people may ask, “Why am I so impoverished? Why am I constantly ill? Why is my family always like this and never change? Why can’t I stop playing games? Why do I use drugs?” Again, these things don’t just happen out of nowhere; these things are the end result of a start and process that has already happened. It’s invisible to us, but there is a very close interconnection between all of this. There’s no one who can come to the conclusion that a man is born into this world to be impoverished, and there’s no one who says, “I am born to become a criminal who is imprisoned.” Behind all of these, there is an invisible process that has already happened, and in order to see it, you must open your spiritual eyes. A lot of times you can’t control anything. You might want to control everything, but no matter how hard you try, it’s not working out. It’s not as easy as it seems. There’s this web and tie that is stronger than your own efforts.
2. Change Your Connection
Today, we need to change all of these important connections in our lives. There is a message that all people must hear at least once in their lives. There’s a message that all people must hear, whether they are young or old, whether they are rich or poor, and regardless of what their nationalities are. If you are considered a saint, this is a message that you must absolutely hear and relay to others. This message is what I want to share with you today. Again, we have confirmed that there is a start to everything, a progress that leads to an end result. That progress results in fruits of labor. Then what is this message that we must hear and share with others? The first man was Adam. This is the message that we must all listen to and share with others. God who created the entire world created mankind in His specials ways. Different from any other animal, it was only mankind that God created in His own image. The reason why we were created in God’s own image was so that we could always abide in God, conquer the world, and receive the power in order to look over the entire world. This way, we can enjoy this happiness. The start of mankind was tremendous and outstanding, in other words. Unfortunately, it was short-lived, for it was original man who was deceived by Satan. This separation from God is what we call original sin. Therefore, all of the prosperity that Adam once had was not passed to his descendants. Instead, the sins and curses were passed on for generations and generations. The mankind has been taken by Satan. The Bible calls us the children of the devil. It’s unfortunate, but it says that our process follows that of the devil’s offspring. Because of this start and the cause of original sin, it leads to the process of the devil. Despite the fact that we had worked so hard to gain happiness, it’s physically impossible. Satan consistently brings hardships. The final destination of this process of the devil’s offspring leads to death and hell, where Satan belongs.
There’s no one who is born to live this kind of life. There’s not a single person who wants to live this kind of life and fulfill this kind of mission. There’s no one who wishes to live a life full of failure and problems. People who are mature tries to tie this up with explanations of destiny, saying that we can’t fight against it, and it’s true; we cannot fight against it with our own power. However, it’s important to realize that it’s because of these connections that Christ was resurrected. Christ was crucified and resurrected to change these connections. That’s why today, we must change our connections.
How can we change the start of the original sin? Christ was born from a virgin; it means that He had nothing to do with the original sin. He was born into this world, and although He was born as a man, He was born with a different start from those of the devil’s offspring. He lived out His own life, and it was at that time that the voice of God was heard. God said that this Man was the Son that He so dearly loved. Jesus shared the Word of God, chased out devils, and healed those who were sick. Jesus didn’t live the life of a child of the devil but the life of a Man who does God’s work. He died not for His sins but for ours. As evidence of the fact that He paid all of mankind’s dues and He resurrected. You will see that Jesus Christ brought a different start and process to this earth. Towards the mankind who were tied in many invisible connections, He found a new “life line” of blessing. He experienced pain and hardships all for us to experience a new connection. Then how can we hold onto this new connection? What must we do to live a new life? How will it be possible for us to live this life?
3. Confess the Christ of Resurrection
How can you confess this? There’s the very first confession, and that first confession is called the confession of Christ. “Jesus is the Christ who has solved all the problems of our lives.” Ask Him to become your Lord and Master. This is called the confession of acceptance. At that time, the start of a new progress begins. The strong connection of original sin will be overturned by the connection of God. You might ask, “How can I do this so easily?” It’s because it’s promised by God. It means that you’ll be given the identity of God’s children. When does this happen? It happens when you accept Jesus as your Savior. Afterwards, you will live your life. Even though you’ve become a child of God, you will still face many problems. Usually, for us, when that happens, we forget that we are children of God. We start to fall into our own worries and stress. All of the things that we’ve been handed are forgotten and we try to seek other people and other methods to help ourselves. However, do not do this. With every issue and situation, confess that Jesus is Your Christ, the only One who can solve these issues and illnesses. If you have personal problems, then pray that God is the One who controls these problems in your life and pray that they will be resolved. Entrust your life to God so that He can handle it. With this, God will grant you His wisdom, and it’ll be within this that you realize the works of God. It’s this kind of life that we must live on until we die. He promised that though we may die physically, we will be resurrected spiritually and enjoy eternal life. You might say, “Pastor, you should have told me earlier. I’m just suffering too much.” However, the answer to this is the same; just confess that regardless of the problem, these all belong to God, and it is only God who can save us. Confess that God is your Lord and that you want to experience His strength. I think there might be some of those here who are filled with doubts.
Today’s passage is John 11. This is the scene where Jesus brings a dead person back to life before He is crucified. You’ll see that in the household of Mary and Martha; their eldest brother, Lazarus, has passed away. The two sisters were crying and saying words of resentment to Jesus: “Lord, if You had been here earlier, my brother wouldn’t have died.” If you read all of chapter 11, you can see that Jesus purposefully came late. He waited for Lazarus to die and for the body to rot. Jesus then said that Lazarus would live. This is when Jesus begins to work. What kind of word did He receive before He started working? Martha confessed, “I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” All Jesus needed was this confession. Even though those two sisters fell into deception, they gave this confession, and Jesus was able to do His works. It said that Jesus wept. It was not because of Lazarus’ death, but He was saddened that no one would believe that He is the life and resurrection. From there, Jesus calls out to Lazarus and tells him to come out of the tomb. And lo and behold, the body of Lazarus that was beginning to rot came out of the tomb healthy and alive. No matter how weak and fragile we are, if we make this confession of who Jesus Christ is, He will absolutely do His work. The tremendous miracles God brings into your life will start the moment you confess this. No matter how difficult your obstacles may be, if you confess with the sincerity of your heart, the works of Christ will take place. I pray that you will absolutely realize the importance of confessing who Christ is.
I will give three evidences. The Israelites had exodus out of Egypt. They were freed from Egypt, and it was a moment of victory for them. They were moved and overjoyed from this exodus, but when they left, they saw the Red Sea. They were put into despair on how to cross it. Some even saw that they were being chased by the Egyptian soldiers. They were so disbelieved. The entirety of the Israelites was under despair. And then the Red Sea was split because of the confession of Moses; a miracle had occurred. Once the Israelites have safely crossed the Red Sea, the parting came back to normal, drowning out the Egyptian soldiers. God will hold onto the confession of even a single person to do His works. There are times where you will be frustrated with your family. God is waiting to receive your confession of faith.
The second evidence is Matthew 16. This is when Jesus guides His disciples, and He asked them who the people said that He was. They said things like how He was like John the Baptist, Elijah, and various other prophets. However, Jesus didn’t react to any of these answers. When He asked His disciples, Peter answered, “Lord, you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” To which Jesus reacted, “You are blessed; you were made aware by God of Heaven.” You’ll see that with this blessing, Jesus gathered all of the blessings of Earth and Heaven and granted them to Peter. Do you think that Jesus knew how Peter would live his life afterwards? Do you think Jesus knew that Peter would betray and deny Jesus three times when Jesus was arrested? Jesus already knew because He is the Almighty God. Then why was it that Jesus did not abandon Peter? If you look at Peter, he wasn’t an outstanding person. Immediately after this confession, Peter said that he would build a house for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah and was rebuked by God. After Jesus was crucified, Peter and the other disciples should have been the ones who upheld followers and preached God’s Word, yet they scattered upon Jesus’ death. Instead, God continued to bless Peter. May you make your confession. You’ll see that more than you running around and making efforts on your own, making a single confession finishes everything. The reason why God has allowed you to see all of this is so that you can confess that God is the One who can configure all of your problems. Changing the world is not important; changing your heart and your connections are what’s important.
This is the third evidence. In John 20, there is one of Jesus’ disciples named Thomas. This is when Jesus is resurrected and reunites with His disciples. However, Thomas said that he couldn’t believe it. To which, Jesus said to Thomas, “Hold onto my hands and feel my palms.” Later, Jesus said to become a person with faith, not a person of faith. Jesus is actually rebuking him for having such little faith. However, Thomas made a confession of faith: “My Lord and my God!” We know that Thomas went to many places far away to do his ministry and that he was martyred. It was the connection of God that held onto Thomas until the very end. On top of all the prayer topics you hold onto, you must hold onto Christ. At this time, pray in the name of Jesus Christ who resurrected. On top of all your prayer topics, confess Christ.
Almighty Father God, we thank You. We wish to come before You with a new confession for Christ who is resurrected. Help us to hold onto the connection of Christ who is resurrected and to challenge all of our lives, not by the knowledge and power of the world but by the power and authority of God who rules over my life. May You grant us the faith of Christ that we can hold onto in all the meetings, events, and places. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.