May 6th, 2018
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
It’s good to see you. I’m delivering a series of messages where you choose from “A” or “B”. Today’s today is whether you’re a successor or a stranger. As we live our lives, we want success, so we run towards success. We want to do well in our studies and succeed in our work. You also want success in your marriage and you want to nurture your children well. When you reach your living and making, you want to follow after your dreams. People want to succeed, but what is the greatest success in the world? If you look in your life, there are some characteristics. When you gain something, you want to gain the next thing. Why do you want to study? It’s because you want to come out of a good school and get a good job. When you have a good job or business, then you have a lot of money. When you have a lot of money, you want to find your spouse and get married. When you have a good family, you want to prepare for your future generations. All of those accomplishments and dreams are fulfilled. When you gain all of those things, you would think that you are content. Things that you succeed in life are in preparation for the next thing coming up; essentially, everything is connected.
However, you must look at it with more detail. The Word of God is something that we can receive help from. If you look in the book of Psalms, it states three things that take place in our lives. It states that mankind lives three lives: the first life, the second life, and the third life. What’s the first? (Psalms 2) The first life is talking about the time when you were in your mother’s womb, the span of approximately 9-10 months. After that, it’s the second life, when you are born. You will live less than 100 years. The recordings that Moses wrote are in Psalms 90. Our days may come to 70 or 80 years, yet the best of them are put in sorrow and strife. On this earth, we live about 100 years or less. The third life talks of the eternal life (Psalms 133). We all know of these things. There’s no law that will only say that you will live less than these three lives. No one says that they will live in the mother’s womb and then end their life. They are all connected, and each life is preparing for the next life. When you are in the mother’s womb, you are preparing for the next life of living in the world. When you are in the world, you are preparing for the eternal life. These are not my words, but they are the words of the Bible.
In the first life, the mother is connected to the baby via the umbilical cord. When the water breaks, it means that the first life is over and the second life will begin. As you live your life, if you don’t have that connection with Jesus, then you will be in trouble. When you are not protected by the Holy Spirit, your life will crumble. As you live your life, if you’re protected by the Holy Spirit and know of Jesus Christ, then that is the true success. Just as a baby will die if it’s not connected to the umbilical cord of the mother, you will die if you are not connected to Jesus Christ. Just as you would be vulnerable in the absence of the amniotic fluid inside your mother’s womb, if you are not protected by the Holy Spirit, then you will fall into darkness. Only a child of God who is protected by Jesus and the Holy Spirit can go to Heaven. Multiple times, the Bible has stated these things and that if we do not have them, then you will go to Hell. Of course, I’m not trying to frighten you; I’m just sharing the word of God.
1. What is the greatest success in this world?
Just as I mentioned in the introduction, you must prepare yourself for the third life. On this earth, you have money, wealth, and fame. However, if you don’t have the true answer of eternal life, then you will go to Hell. The road to success is to prepare yourself to go to Heaven, which is eternal life. The greatest success of the world is to prepare yourself for meeting God. However, because we are sinners, we cannot do this through our own strength. That’s why God sent his One and Only Son Jesus. (John 14:6). These are the words of Jesus Christ. It’s the word of Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. Why did God provide it this way? It’s giving His heart (John 3:8). God sent His only son, Jesus Christ. We need to realize this.
What did Jesus come here to do? What was his motive? We need to realize the important things. He is God, yet He came in the form of man. Why did He do that? Because we cannot meet God on our own, He came to us in our form. He wanted to meet us, and that is why He came. What did Jesus fulfill? He could have seized the armies of Rome on His own, yet He decided to die on the cross. It was our loss; because we couldn’t qualify to solve our own sins, He came to solve it for us. However, that is not all; He died and resurrected. Why did he do these things? It’s because He had the power of overcoming death. That’s why we say He’s Jesus and the Christ who has overcome all the forces of the darkness and resurrected from the dead. Though there are thousands of religions in the world, there is only one being who has completed the fundamental problems of the world, and that being is Jesus Christ. When you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you will become a child of God, and you will gain the power to break the forces of the darkness. The moment you accept Jesus as your lord and Savior, you will receive tremendous success. When you want to accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you must confess that He is your lord. On this earth, as you accept Jesus Christ, may you be guided to the utmost success. God’s grace is not finished by just accepting Jesus Christ. As you live your life on this earth, He has given you the greatest gift to enjoy this life.
2. If you want to be the successful person that God forms?
There are many individuals in the Bible who have achieved great success. Let’s look at this in detail. Among the successful people in the Bible, there was one who came from an idolatrous clan yet became the father of faith, and that was Abraham. Within his own household, he had about 1000 soldiers, and with these soldiers, he succeeded in this battle. God gave him wealth, soldiers, and all of this power. While Joseph suffered through slavery, he eventually became the governor of Egypt. Moses, who was a murderer and a runaway, became the leader of the Israelites. Ruth was an abandoned widow that became the dominant wife of rejection. Esther lost her parents and became an orphan, yet she has become a queen of Babylon. David was a lowly shepherd from the countryside that became the king of Israel. Daniel lost his own country and was imprisoned, yet he became the prime minister of another country despite his immigrant status. Peter was an ignorant fisher who denied Jesus thrice, yet he was chosen to be the one to build the church and to use the keys of heaven to overcome the power of the grave. Paul was a depressed individual with no direction in his life, yet he led one of the most successful ministries during the era of the Early Church. Though Onesimus got caught stealing and went to jail, he later became a bishop and the director of the Early Church.
I have given you the successful people of the Bible, but there’s one thing that you must realize; none of these people tried to have success on their own. They were weak and lacking, yet God made them the most successful people of the world. Though they were weak and lacking, God promised them that they would succeed, and that promise was fulfilled. When you hold onto the covenant of God, He will guide us into success. All of these individuals had weak faith in the beginning. However, they were the ones who only sought out God. They were the ones who changed to glorify God. If you have that center in your heart, then God will change everything. Even though we lack in faith, it doesn’t matter. If you remember and hold onto God’s promise, He will give you the faith and the power. He will mobilize everything for us to triumph. Holding onto one thing, remembering one thing, will result in God turning over everything, and you will experience that in your life. When you do taste this in your life, you will have a type of leisure. Even though you don’t go on a vacation for a long time, you will feel refreshed. All of the stress that you have will be relieved. Without knowing it yourself, you will have an increase in endorphins. It’s very strange. The successful people of the Bible didn’t have any vacations; they did the works of God until the very end. Please do not misunderstand; I’m not condemning you for taking vacations; I do this, too. I’m not saying that going on vacations are strange things. I’m saying that if you experience what God wants, then you will experience something greater than a mere vacation.
It is not us who have found God. God came to us, and God has chosen us. That is the good work that began inside of us. He has made this perfect plan in our lives. So what does this mean? Not only have we confessed that Jesus is the Lord, but we have confessed that it is ONLY Jesus. If you have this in your heart, then God will mobilize you. When you accept Jesus as your lord, then you will know that you can do Only Jesus Christ. When you do only Jesus, then God will make you the most successful person. I hope that you have the grace to believe in this.
3. If you want to be the person who can save the self-made man?
Why do you think that God is trying to make us successful people in the world? There’s no plan of God without a reason. It is for us to save those who are suffering in the world without Jesus. The successful people of the world have received that strength only through their own strength. Those who had success in the world without Jesus suffered a pitiful ending. If you look at the religion of Buddhism, there are so many people who have been captured in this belief. The founder of Buddhism, Buddha, died from a bodily disease. In the end, he died. Caesar of Rome was stabbed multiple times and died. Genghis Khan was diseased and wasn’t able to cure himself and died. Alexander the Great also died from malaria. Napoleon died in a small cell from a skin disease. You all know of the wealthy person from Texas, Howard Hughes. He died in Houston. Because he has so much money, he couldn’t count them all. Later on, he had germ phobia and OCD, and he couldn’t even touch his own money. Though Marilyn Monroe was a beautiful woman, she said that she was not happy and died pitifully. The King of Rock, Elvis Presley, became a drug addict and alcoholic and died. All of these famous people who have received success but didn’t receive it through Jesus Christ have ended up with the same fate. Those are things that they cannot solve with their own strength, but they just write these misfortunes off as “destiny,” stating that they are cursed.
However, this is something that cannot be solved with knowledge and ideas, money and power, popularity and honor. That is a spiritual matter, which stems from the fact that we are separated from God. Because we are separated from God, we are riddled with sins and curses. Despite this, Jesus has completed solved our fundamental problems, and He is the answer to our misfortunes. With that answer, you have to heal and help the people of the world.
Then who can do these things? The greatest success in life is confessing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. Though I didn’t want to succeed, God made me successful. Though I never competed with the world, God allowed me to overcome the world. What about the people who have success without Jesus? How can we help them? Those who are sufficient with only Jesus in their life will be able to help others. That is why we are not envious of the things of the world. People in the world may have success, but they’re suffering inside. That’s why we must deliver the word of God to them.
The young Joseph answered the house of Potiphar and the king of Egypt. One female servant who believed in and served the Lord gave the answer to General Naaman. The captive young Daniel answered Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius. Esther delivered the truth to King Ahasueru. Peter answered the Cornelius officer. The doctor Luke delivered the answer to Sir Theobil. The Apostle Paul presented the answer to the world's successors. All of these were people who believed in the power of God. That is, those who have enjoyed the secrets of Christ deeply. With Christ alone, happy and contented people can help and save others. Those who enjoy the mystery of Christ save the world's successors.
Today, we had two scriptures for the message. The first scripture is the confession of King David. The second scripture is the confession of Peter. When did David give this confession? He was gathering all the offerings and then gave this confession. As we gather all of the rewards, then we will go to Heaven. This world is not where we’ll reside in forever, but we are preparing to go to Heaven.
This is the same for Peter. Peter was an apostle of Jesus who have been chosen by God. It’s telling the people of the saints; it’s talking to the people who are saved, yet Peter says that we are foreigners. Believe that we are strangers that are scattered throughout. Those who are holding the word of God, those who are chosen by God, have received the blessing to receive God’s grace. Because we are strangers of the world, we are not attached to the world. Even if you’ve lost everything in the world, as long as you hold onto one thing, then you will be saved. You will give answers to those who are suffering while you live in this world. You will save the world and then go to Heaven.
The greatest success in the world is preparing yourself for the third life. This is done by confessing Jesus Christ as your lord and savior. In order to become the successful person of God, what must we do? We must hold onto the mystery of Christ, God’s covenant. There’s no one else that we can trust but Jesus Christ. The family and friends are not people to trust but people to love. After we are saved, we must save the world before we go to Heaven. The world will be in its last days, but you will prepare yourself.
Let us pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, just as the air is filled in this room, I pray that your Holy Spirit is filled in this room. Please be inside of me until the very end. Help me to live a walk of faith to only enjoy your power. Help me to become the one who helps others in your authority. May you restore your power to those who have given worship today. Let me live as a stranger and go to eternal home and glorify God. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen