April 15th, 2018
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
When you meet someone, you can get an impression of that person. You might feel that that person is talkative or quiet. Sometimes, you might be in a situation where you think, “What must I do to benefit from this situation?” Or sometimes, because of the atmosphere, the situation may have turned. You might also ask what you have to do to survive. With that gut feeling, you’ll make decisions. We speak and act upon those feelings. This is how we live.
1. In the world, the people that feel accurately and judge the situation quickly tend to succeed.
This is only short-term success; it is not the ultimate success. It’s not true success. Some people think, at this time, in this economy, what should I do? They will think and search for profits. Even if you’re not smart, you will know that the computers are getting more advanced. You will know and feel that factories will get a lot of money. You must know the situation to know this. It’s the same with the nations. People in Korea call the war June 25th, but Americans call it the Korean War. When the Korean War broke out, the neighboring country, Japan, made a lot of money from the war. As time passed, there was a Vietnam War, and at that time, Korea commissioned soldiers to that war; as a result, they made a lot of money. In the same sense, there are people who see the flow and make a lot of money. However, one thing that you have to keep in mind is that the gut feelings we have are not accurate. The feelings and the emotions that we possess are not 100% accurate because we are weak. That’s why mankind is not accurate. Even if you make that decision, it will not be a long-term thing. That’s why there are mistakes and holes. That’s why we need to refer to the Bible.
2. However, God definitely likes and blesses the people who have faith and receive guidance.
God uses those who possess faith. God blesses and utilizes those who have faith. I will give you several examples. If you look at Genesis 3, there’s the situation of Satan and the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. God said not to eat the fruit of knowledge. However, the first woman lost hold of God’s Word. Why did this happen? She was not born with the notion, “I will disobey God’s Word.” She knew that His Word was important, so why did she crumble? If you look at Genesis 3, it says that she saw the fruit of knowledge. When she saw it, she got a feeling that it was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable for knowledge. As soon as she got that feeling, she took the fruit. At that time, her feelings overrode the Words of God. She didn’t believe in God’s Word and made decisions with her feelings. That is why the failure of mankind began. The Bible does not say, “Live a good life.” It recorded why we have become separated from God.
Another case is Abraham in a famine. Abraham obeyed God to go to Canaan. God wanted Abraham to reside in the land of Canaan. He wanted Abraham to remain there so that Christ could be born. However, a famine struck the land. With this, Abraham forgot God’s Words that he would be made the receiver of all blessings. Immediately, Abraham left for Egypt. He didn’t even send a word of prayer to God. This means that he didn’t believe in the Word of God. According to his situation, he made the decision based on what he remembered. When he went to Egypt, Abraham almost lost his wife. If you make decisions with your emotions, you will fail. However, for people who do not know God, you will never know that you’re actually failing. The people who know God have become children of God; their life standards will be changed.
God called Moses to use him, but what did Moses do? Looking at his circumstances, he said that he wasn’t able to do what God wanted. Moses was old and had no followers. However, God said in Exodus 3:10, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” God promised that He would send Moses to the Pharaoh and demand that he let the people go. However, Moses still wouldn’t believe, and God was very furious. If it wasn’t for Moses’s wife, he would have died.
Another case is about the ten spies that went into the land of Canaan. Before the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, Moses sent 12 representatives from each tribe to spy the land. After 40 days, the 12 spies came back to report. 10 out of 12 spies only spoke of how they felt about the land—the land is filled with honey and milk and the people who live there are giants; compared to them, we are like grasshoppers and we would die if we enter that land. Hearing that report, the Israelites fell into disbelief and complained. However, Joshua and Caleb said that God will attach that land to the Israelites and that He has prepared the land for them. Hearing the complaints of the Israelites, God was furious. He was very upset. God said that He would get rid of everyone. God said that He would remove those who groaned and complained, to which Moses prayed to not do so because he worried about what the neighboring countries would think. God listened to Moses and said that He would not kill them, but then said that the children are the ones that will enter and own the land of Canaan. With this, the older generation wandered through the wilderness based on their own feelings and died. The Word of God is not about how you should live and how you should be good. God blesses and uses those who obey. People in the world live their lives based on their emotions and their feelings. However, God provides grace to those He has selected, and He has blessed them. That’s what the Bible is about. That’s the content that we have in this religion of Christianity. Personally, I don’t call this religion. I didn’t choose this religion over any of the others. I have been called by God to have this faith and this faith determines what is everlasting.
An example of this is King Saul. King Saul was very handsome and was proficient in wars. However, a problem came. Because Goliath was very tall, the Israelites couldn’t go up against him. The giant, looking at this, ridiculed the Israelites for 40 days. He mocked them, saying that someone should come up and fight him in the name of their God. That’s why King Saul came up with a method, “if you fight against Goliath, I will give you my daughter’s hand in marriage and all of my fortunes.” Yet no one came. In this situation, David—a mere shepherd—appeared. It was David who wrote songs to God. It was David who prayed to God five times in scheduled prayer. It was David who believed in God’s power. He finished him off in one shot and gained victory. David became the Israelites’ hero. They had multiple feasts and applauded him. During those parties, the women praised David, saying that David was much more popular than Saul. Feeling jealous, Saul planned to kill David from then on. He got a feeling that his throne was being threatened. In Saul’s head, he didn’t see the plan God had for David. At that time, Saul was depressed and had many mental problems. With this, he failed to win a battle and, in shame, took his own life. Because he lived with his feelings, he had a pitiful life.
When Jesus was with the crowd, he healed many diseases and exorcised demons from the people. At that time, the crowds of Israelites thought that Jesus was truly stupendous. They thought that if they served Jesus, then they would not starve; they thought that they would never become overtaken. With this, they screamed out “Hosanna!” However, they heard that Jesus was arrested limped up to his death while carrying a heavy Cross. They saw that he was crucified on the Cross. Seeing this situation, they thought that the Age of Jesus was over, and their hearts changed. The people had a change of heart saying that they should save the thief, Barnabas, and kill Jesus. What happened to them? For 1900 years, they lost all their possessions; they were executed and tortured. When you look at the history of their sufferings, you will be very shocked. When I was researching their past, I was truly shocked. At that time, looking and searching this information, I was shocked at how horrible people could be. I’m not making fun of the Israelites, but I’m saying that because they killed Jesus, because they didn’t acknowledge and embrace Jesus, they were left with centuries of suffering. Because the crowd changed their hearts and followed their mere feelings, the Israelites suffered for almost two millennia.
There are people who make their decisions with emotions, and then there are people who make their decisions with their faith. Last time, we saw Genesis 3. Because of his wife, Adam also committed the sin. With this, they had no choice but to live a life of disasters. However, God said something in Genesis 3:15. This is the promise of the offspring of a woman. This offspring will overcome the forces of the darkness and crush the skull of Satan. This is what Adam held onto, and seeing that his wife was a woman, he called her Eve. This means the “Mother of Life.” The Word that he held onto was applied to his life. With that small faith, God was able to cover up their shame.
In the beginning, Abraham didn’t have faith. But in Genesis 22, Abraham gained faith. He heard God’s command and without any hesitation, he went up the mountain to sacrifice his son. Because Abraham believed in God, he was able to sacrifice his son. Abraham believed that God would have been able to give Abraham a new son. That’s why God gave Abraham a sacrificial lamb, God gave him a promise and blessings. That’s the result of Abraham’s faith. If he reacted with his feelings, what would have happened? Abraham would have thought, “God gave me this son, but now He is taking my son away? Why is He so fickle?” However, Abraham held onto the covenant and went forward. He not only saved his son but also received a tremendous blessing.
Moses also had unbelief in the beginning. After experiencing God’s power, he led the Israelites out of Egypt. However, when the Israelites faced the Red Sea, they were afraid and complained to Moses, to which Moses said to the Israelites, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians who you see today, you shall never see again.” According to the confession of faith, all of the soldiers were submerged under the sea. God was able to save the Israelites. Because of one man’s faith, a miracle was arisen. Through Joshua and Caleb’s faith, they were able to enter the land of Canaan. They confessed that they would gain victory when God is pleased with them. God received their confession of faith. I bless you that you will become a person who will belong to the Word of God. That’s the reason why he called you.
The 7 billion people in the world live according to their own feelings, but you live with your faith. By God’s grace, we have been chosen. There are many people in this world who are born and will die. However, God will revive them all and will judge them. God is not only trying to send you to Heaven. He is trying to utilize you for His Word. This was the same for David. King Saul was his father-in-law, and his father-in-law was trying to kill him. That’s why David was running away all the time. There were times where David would have been able to kill King Saul. He had the skills and opportunities to kill Saul. King Saul wasn’t taking care of his people because of his personal problems. However, David didn’t take that opportunity. Because Jehovah selected and anointed him with oil, he was blessed. If God doesn’t need him, then God will take him away. With this faith, David merely ran away from King Saul and didn’t kill him. Seeing this faith, God compliments David, and after the passing of Saul, David became the greatest king.
Jesus had the same faith. In Luke 23 He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus knew that He came for the people who were ignorant, and with His faith, He prayed to God. Afterwards, He was able to see the glory of His resurrection. I believe that God has called you in this place.
3. Therefore, we are the people who believe and live in God’s Word and His time schedule.
What must we believe? We have faith that God is with all of us. God, who is alive, is guiding us. I hope that you will believe in this. God is alive, and God is with you. If you interpret this in another sense, it means that God is on your side. Because people believe, they might get arrogant, but God will rebuke you and forgive you once more. God is the Lord and Master of this world. He is the Lord who created this world. Because he loved the world so much, He sent His One and Only Begotten Son to us. God’s desire is world evangelization, and we believe in God who possess that desire. God, who is the Lord of the Law, who sent His Son to save us, loves us. That’s why we must go out and share the Gospel. You might say that that’s what missionaries and pastors do. However, if you read the Bible, you can see that church people are relaying the Gospel as well. I’m not saying that you need to do door-to-door evangelism starting tomorrow, but you need to realize that you have the opportunity to share the Good News to others, and that in itself is a tremendous blessing. By God’s grace, He has given me this answer. He is a good God. The way to meet this God is through Jesus Christ. Confessing this is the only thing that you have to do; that’s all God wants from you.
Believe in God’s Word. We have to believe in the Bible. There are voices that call us directly. The Word of God, not the word of people, will be fulfilled. That’s why the Word of God is recorded in the Bible. The Bible is the Book of the covenant, and you are the people of the covenant, and your life is a life of covenant. Hold onto this covenant and live your walk of faith, and God will bless you and give you evidences. Even if you’re deserted on an island, God will send a ship towards you and save you. God will make that happen in the future. If you experience those things, you will feel those things in your body. Then you will become very strong, and your thoughts and heart will be bright. Even though you are a sinner, you have confirmation that God is guiding you. That if God is with you, then nothing will block you.
If you look in today’s Scriptures, Paul confesses that he has faced his time, that he has come to his end, and that he has kept his faith. This makes you realize that walk of faith is fighting for faith. After Paul was kept by God, he fought for his faith, and with holding onto his faith, he was able to fight a good fight. Make decisions with faith. Confess with faith. I bless that you will live with faith.
God we thank You. Thank You for giving us the Word to fight the good fight. Help us to take the examples you have given through the Bible. Help us to fight the good fight so that we can receive the heavenly reward. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.