June 4th, 2017
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
It is good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “God’s Son goes down his own path”. We call America, “The Land of Pioneering”. It is a renowned land. We go to unknown places and form our own place. We have the term, “pathfinder”. It means to find a way. The pathfinders are the people who guide others. Pioneers make a way. On the other way, a pathfinder is going on a path that was already there. The walk of faith of children of God are like that of the pathfinder. You are going the way that God has prepared. The Holy Spirit is guiding us. You want to walk the way you want. God has prepared that way for you. If people in the world walk the way that God has prepared, then it is paradise. However, the majority do not, so they face problems. In the world that we live in, unexpected events happen continuously. In today’s scripture reading, a terrible incident took place. John the Baptist was beheaded. He was acknowledged as the prophet who prepared the way for Christ. He proclaimed such a strong word; people said that he was a prophet. With a strong word, many followed him. One time, it was King Herod’s birthday. A female dancer danced well for him. He was attracted to her. This was his thought centered on physical things. Herod said that he would give whatever she wants. This was his word and action centered on myself. In order to stop the rumors about John, he beheads him. This was his desire centered on success. That is how John the Baptist died. This was undesired and unexpected incident in the POV of church. We have a lot of terrorism around the world. Threats of war and natural disaster take place. This should not happen, but there is a reason.
1. In the world that we live in, undesired and unexpected events happen continuously
(1) The trap of Genesis 3 – centered on yourself
(2) The scheme of Genesis 6 – centered on physical things
(3) The paradigm of Genesis 11 – centered on success
Genesis 3 explains selfishness. People fall into this trap. In Genesis 6, people are focused on physical things. Genesis 11 talks about how people are focused on success. Adam and Eve ate the fruit that they were not supposed to. They disobeyed God’s word, became sinners and separated from God. As a result, they became slaves of Satan. You cannot come out of this, so you are bound to live centered on yourself, physical things and success, while losing ahold of the spiritual fact. People say that this is their fate or destiny. People in the world are bound to follow those three things. That is why it is written in Is 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” God is the master. God has already prepared all the blessings for us. However, people do not know this. People live according to their self-centeredness. Psychologists say that when they use the words, “I” or “me”, you could see their state. In 1940, a linguist studied this. Hitler said “I” once every 53 words and Mussolini said it every 83 words. In Luke 12, there was a certain rich man. There are 6 verses about him and he mentions, “I” 6 times. Those who do not know God live according to themselves. However, Jesus was not selfish during His public ministry or His prayers. He put Himself down and lived for his neighbors. Of course, thinking about myself is vital. Thinking about your neighbors is what God desires. This is the attitude of the Sons of God. The Lord is the master of our soul and body. If you do not know Him, you have no choice but to live selfishly. You have no choice but to live in this secular world because you do not Him, who is the Spirit. You only live centered on success for the gratification of physical pleasure. There are many aspects of the spiritual world that people do not know of. All kinds of disasters, accidents and crimes arise because of the works of Satan. As Sons of God, what must we do? Within Jesus Christ, we need to find the solution.
2. However, Jesus Christ, God’s Son who belongs to heaven, went on His own path
(1) He showed the miracle of feeding the starving people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (Mt 14:13-21)
(2) He showed the miracle to the weak disciples of Him waking on water (Mt 14:22-33)
(3) He showed the miracle of the sick being healed (Mt 14:34-36)
It is in today’s scripture reading, Mt 14:13. “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.” Jesus heard the news and got on the boat. It seems like He acted inconsiderately. He did not any mention any condolences and withdrew Himself. He went His own path according to John the Baptist’s word in Jn 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” He already knew what happened to John the Baptist. The problem should come and go away. His main concern was the path to walk as the Son of God in this world. That is why He pressed on His way. In order to save the world that is formless, empty and dark, He just went His own path with His disciples to show the kingdom of God, system of church and disciples. Jesus Christ who performed miracle of the five loaves of bread and two fish is the one who feeds and provides us. Jesus Christ who walked on water allows us to realize Almighty God. He created the whole universe and is omnipotent. Jesus Christ, who healed people and showed His mercy, is the one who breaks all the curses and diseases. I pray that through this worship, you may confirm that Jesus Christ is the solution to all your problems and be rooted with faith. You have been called as disciples in Christ. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Jesus will provide. Christ will give you things to wear. Jesus knows all that you need. First, seek His kingdom and righteousness. Wait for God to help you. He walked on the lake. God was able to surpass and control all things in nature. Secondly, people may ask, ‘why he or she is like that?’ I do too. However, you should ask why God allowed that. It isn’t strange. It is bound to come. Then, you can have the correct answer. That is why it is written in Rom 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” You are lazy and you sleep all the time. Something is bound to happen. Depending on your actions, things are bound to happen. God is controlling everything. That is why everything will work according to His Word. Do not be swayed. Christ healed the sick. He provided mercy. He will fulfill our needs. If you are sick or poor, He will take care of that. We must seek and ask. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Alternatively, if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? Only if Jesus’ disciples had faith, would they have been able to establish the church, which was the unity of faith and covenant. Only if the church is established, does the movement of word, prayer and evangelism take place for the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God that can save all, the church that can break the forces of darkness and the disciple who can serve the church must be established soon. In order to raise disciples, He walked His own path. With this faith, you need to walk your own path. Following the path of Jesus is beneficial for us. No matter what the obstacle was for Jesus, He walked it. He fulfilled World Evangelism. Even now, He is fulfilling His will. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” It is recorded in Numbers 23. Jesus was not inconsiderate. God guided him perfectly during His public ministry. We must realize this.
3. Therefore, as we are Sons of God in Christ as well, we follow His path
(1) Entrust al things like meetings, incidents, places to God who is in charge of all beings (Phil 4:6)
(2) Go towards the glory of God, the virtue of church and the doors of evangelism (1 Cor 10:31)
(3) Go on the journey of raising and preparing yourself to be utilized (1 Tim 4:7-8)
Entrust all things onto God. The Dead Sea is in Israel. You cannot drown because there is so much sodium. However, you should not swim alone. If you struggling, you will drown. The salt will enter your eyes and you cannot see. You might cause others to drown if you struggle. You are supposed to let go and be calm. Then, you will float. Just like the Dead Sea, entrust everything to God. There was a pastor in Korea. He requested many donations from other churches. One time, he did not receive a payment so he went to them. They told him to wait. He waited for over 6 hours. He got the money and came back home. He thought that if I had just prayed for 6 hours, then God would give more money. Therefore, he stopped looking for donations from people and only looked to God. After that, he has the biggest church in that region. Solomon said in Prov. 16:3, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” As we believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Christ, just rely on Him and entrust every problem in our field. Also, go towards the glory of God, the virtue of church and the doors of evangelism. In 1 Co 10:31, it says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” There was a special neurosurgeon in America, whose name was Ben Carson. The conjoined twins were separated after 22 hours of surgery. Many praised him and tried to have interviews. He was African-American. He wrote a book called, “The Hands of God”. He wrote, “Today, I was able to do that because God is with me. These hands were given by God.” He was a doctor who correctly realized. He gave glory to God. In 1 Peter 4:11, it says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” There was a prestigious high school in America, called “Phillips Exeter Academy”. The school was built 200 years ago. They have a motto, “It is not for myself”. They put a scripture from 1 Corinthians 10:31. Samuel and John Phillips held onto that scripture and built the school. Everything belongs to God. Rightfully give back to God. Give all glory to Him. Go on the journey of raising, preparing and making yourself to be utilized. In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, it says, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” I hope that you will prepare yourself and have training. The squirrel is the busiest in the fall. In order to survive the winter, he gathers foods. They put it in a hole. Squirrels dig about 2,000 holds. They will do that to survive the winter. Those who have prepared their lives will not have worries. We need to prepare ourselves. This story was one of Moody’s sermon. There were immigrants on ship. The ship wrecked and they landed on an island. They looked at their surroundings. They had some food, so they did not have to work. They brought seeds to plant. They landed on an island so they searched the island. They found gold. They tried to look for more and gathered it. They were too busy to gather gold, so they did not plant seeds. They had so much gold but no food, they all died in the winter. Our walk of faith is to prepare for the future. We are preparing ourselves for the eternity. A long time ago, we had rattraps. You would add rat poison in the meat. The dogs would find it and eat it. So, they would die. The owner was training the dog. Therefore, he put meat out and whenever the dog would try to eat the meat, the owner would beat the dog. After a while, the dog does not even look at it. All the dogs in that neighborhood died, but the dog that was beaten by the owner survived. Likewise, God trains us in a difficult way. You may face hardships. You would wonder why God is doing this. It is the training of blessing. It allows us to only look up to God. What is the essence of our walk of faith? It is looking up to God. Christians can be born again with faith to believe in Jesus, but the worker of God can be qualified by training. God trains His people just like an eagle. It says in Deut. 32:11-12, “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. The LORD alone led him; no foreign god was with him.” I hope that you will receive answers like that of the eagles and conquer the skies.
Here is confession of the son, the solder and the evangelist. In Jn 4:34, "My food," said Jesus "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. In 2 Tim2:4, “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer.” In Ac 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” Do not be deceived by the words of the world. If you think that someone is strange, ask why God allowed him or her to become like that. Those who continuously walk the path of God confess that their food is from God and they must fulfill His way. I hope that this confession will become yours. True courage is being able to walk your own way in silence. A master of martial arts prefers to avoid fights. Remember to not become discouraged or crumble because of your surroundings. If so, others will influence you. Courage does not come from your physical capacity, it comes from endurance. Do not be controlled by your own emotions or by others. Then, you can be a man of faith. I hope that you will walk the path of God who has walked the path to prepare you. I pray that you will become a son of God, an ambassador of Christ and missionary of flight and campus who will walk the path of God in silence.
Father God, we give thanks. I want to receive blessings. Help us to have victory so that non-believers will know.