June 11th, 2017
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “God’s Son sees people’s hearts”. A Buddhist monk was going to China, about 1000 years ago. As he was going at night, he was tired. Then, he slept in a graveyard. He was thirsty, so he woke up. He found water. He drank the water. He fell back to sleep. In the morning, he got up. The water had been from a skull. The monk realized that material things aren’t good or bad. It is whatever they have in their heart that is good or bad. He realized Buddha’s teachings. Everything depends on the heart or mind. He realized that everything is decided by your mind. He didn’t need to go abroad to study. So, he came back to his home. Everything comes from the heart. It is delivered and shared from your heart. All the things that have happened are the results from the heart. If you have a good mind, you are happy. If you have a bad heart, bad things will happen. This is Buddha’s teaching. This teaching has dominated 1/3 of the world. It does make sense. There was a best-seller. It is called, “The Secret”. It explains the power of attraction. Whatever you anticipate, you attract. It explains how you can receive blessings and be happy. It is also recorded in the Bible in Proverbs 4:23. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” People in the world, as well as Christians, talk about the importance of the mind. We are looking at the minds of people. Jesus Christ thinks of the mind as vital.
1. Ask yourself before God, as His child
(1) Do I have the heart of entrusting everything to God? (Phil 4:6)
(2) Do I have the heart of showing God’s glory with a whole heart? (1 Cor 10:31)
(3) Do I have the heart of receiving more training for greater answers? (1 Tim 4:7-8)
First question, ask God what you have in your mind. Do you truly love Jesus? He came 2000 years ago. He revealed miracles and gave messages. However, He suddenly died on the cross all. Because of that, His system crumbled. Even His main followers abandoned Him. Most people do not like the Jews. However, Jesus was a Jew. People in the world do not like to talk about Jesus. At this time, we need to ask if you are truly happy and thankful because of Him? Are we truly satisfied by Him? Can you truly consider His followers as your spiritual family because you respect Him? Do you have the heart to cover the faults of believers for His honor? Do you have the heart to be joyful because the family of faith is well? Do you have the heart to agree with His visions? Are His priorities your priority? You believe in Him, but you may lament your misfortune. You may have worries. You may have habits that are detrimental. You need to present these questions to God. We could come to 3 conclusions. In the Bible in Phil 4:6, it says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” However, do you have a heart to entrust everything to God? We are human beings with limitations. However, God is the almighty God who rules over everything. The 2nd question from the Word of God is in 1 Co 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Also, it is written in Deut 6:5 and Mk 12:30. “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Do you give glory to God? Third question, 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.” The Bible reveals that training yourself spiritually is vital for all things. You need to ask yourself if you are inside of this kind of training. Are you enjoying the Gospel of Christ? Are you sure that you are established as a disciple of Christ? It is not matter of being good or bad. Just ponder on it with your heart. Only God can see and read our hearts and minds. At that time, all those answers and blessing will take place. If you try to hide your mind, God will not be pleased. Because He knows everything and sees through you, He will be upset.
2. Christ, God’s son, sees people’s heart
(1) The heart of the Pharisees and scribes (Mt 15:1-14)
(2) The heart of the lady who had a demon-possessed daughter (Mt 15:21-28)
(3) The heart of the crowds who followed Jesus for 3 days (Mt 15:32-39)
This is the content of today’s scripture, Matthew 15. It talks about the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They came from afar to meet Jesus. In verse 1, it talks about how they asked Him questions. Why did they come to Jesus? Last week, we looked at Matthew 14. You know the miracle of the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus also walked on water. He healed them. As a result, His reputation increased. On the other hand, they became more hostile towards Him. What was the reason why the Pharisees and the teachers of the law came to Jesus? They didn’t want to correct His message. They didn’t want to guide His followers. They did not ask about washing His hands before eating. They questioned why He broke the tradition of the elders. They had the mind and heart to say that you were sinners because you broke the tradition of the elders. They were filled with the heart and mind to criticize and judge Him for His faults. Finally, they killed Jesus. What does this mean? They had the mind and heart to say that He was merely the son of a carpenter even though He performed many miracles. They didn’t believe that Jesus was the Christ who solved their problems. They didn’t reveal what they had. They just were pointing out faults. They disguised their heart and mind. In verse 8, Jesus said that their hearts are far from Him. In verses 18, 20, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' " Their disguised heart was the heart of disbelief. That is why Jesus is rebuking them. Afterwards, a Canaanite woman made got His attention. Her daughter was demon-possessed. She begged for help. "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus didn’t react. The disciples told Him to attend to her. He said that he doesn’t fraternize with Gentiles. Despite that, she still came to Jesus. She called Him the Son of David. All of a sudden, Jesus belittles her. He said that the food the master makes is for his kids, not for his dogs. He was calling her a dog and not His child. How you would feel? You would probably leave the church. Most people do not accept the words of caution from their superiors or spiritual authorities. What do they have in their mind? In fact, they don’t acknowledge their authorities in their heart. They only rebuke them when they think it is vital. When they don’t accept that, they don’t have faith. There are many with a weak heart and mind. The mother wasn’t like that. She responded by saying that even the dogs eat the food on the floor. Then, Jesus responded by saying that her faith was great. He complimented her faith. At that time, her daughter was healed miraculously. She had a heart to feel sorry for her daughter’s suffering. She had a heart of longing. Even though Jesus rebuked her, she had the heart and mind to have faith that only Jesus could heal her daughter. She called Him the descendant of David. In Jewish society, they all have the Word from the Bible. They all knew that the Messiah would come through the descendant of David. When you say those words, you can confess your faith that Jesus is the Christ. She had a heart of believing that Jesus is the Christ. Even though Jesus rebuked her, she held onto Him to the end. This is the heart and mind that Jesus accepts. Once somebody belittles you, your heart and mind will be revealed. 20 years ago, I graduated from seminary school in Oklahoma. I was excited and thankful. I put my 3 kids in my Oldsmobile and moved to Dallas. In June, I applied to a seminary school in Dallas in order to have a student’s status. A man named Robert helped me there. I applied to the school. He was empathetic towards my situation. He told me to live in the student dorms. As time passed, my visa status didn’t pass. I couldn’t attend the school. I had to come out of the student housing. Robert was trying to help me. I was in a dire situation, so I was upset at Robert. He was listening to my complaints and that he was sorry. Time passed. I lived in Dallas. I happened to stop by the school. I realized that I mistreated Robert. I needed to apologize. I found out that he no longer worked there. I was burdened. Whether I was accepted or not, it was God’s plan. I realized that the heart I had didn’t trust in God’s sovereignty. Because things didn’t work out my way, I was mad. Even though Robert tried to help me, I didn’t have true thankfulness. If I was truly thankful, then I wouldn’t have been mad at him. Your true mind and heart is revealed when you are disrespected and ignored. I will give an example from the Bible. David had many wives. He had a son named Amnon and a daughter named Tamar from separate wives. Amon loved her, who was his half-sister. So, he made her to come his bedroom on purpose. However, she rejected him. Since he was stronger than she, he raped her. After that, he hated her with intense hatred, he hated her more than he had loved her. His true heart and mind was revealed after he was rejected from her. What about us? God allowed this to happen. You need to report and confess to God. That is why it is written in 1 Jn 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We are weak. God allowed that to happen. As you confess your weakness, you can pray to receive the strength and faith to overcome. After the daughter was healed, great crowds came to Jesus and He performed miracles again. In Matthew 14, Jesus showed the miracle of the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. And, in Mt 15, He performed the miracle of the 7 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Why did Jesus do that? What kind of their heart did Jesus see? Great crowds may have had this kind of heart. They just followed Jesus because they were curious. They admired Him because of His sermon. They were tired and hungry. The crowd believed that He would answer their needs. So, they were able to stand for 3 days. In Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Jesus saw their heart and mind and performed miracles for them. The disciples saw the miracle again, but they had the heart of disbelief. The crowds had faith, but His disciples didn’t. God will fulfill your needs. He will listen to your prayers and perform His miracles for you. Faith is what pleases Jesus.
3. What must we pray for as Sons of God?
(1) We all have absolute limitations (Pharisees, scribes)
(2) We have the nature of not being able to do it even if we want to (Mt 26:41)
(3) God must give us faith and power (Lk 17:5, Acts 1:4-8)
We are His Sons and children. What must we pray for? You need to discard your unbelief and pray with faith. Look at the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They were well-learned of the Bible. They were Sadducees who highly regarded their experiences. However, they didn’t recognize Jesus. They criticized and killed Him with the heart of disbelief. No matter how long your live your walk of faith, it doesn’t matter. Also, we have the nature of not being able to do it even if we want to. It says in Matthew 26:41, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Even though we hear the Word, we may fall in front of problems. We eagerly want to pray, but we are not able to do. That’s why Jesus’ disciples left Him after they confessed that He was the Christ. The passion that you have is vital, but that is not all. It won’t work from yourself. Only the things of God will work. God will give you faith and power. If not, then you cannot do anything. We need to pray to receive the faith and power from God. Believe that things will work out when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. When you have the heart to become His disciples for the kingdom of God, then you will be His witness to the end. Your walk of faith will grow and mature if you start with the faith and power from God.
No one in the world can do it, but it will work when God gives the strength and power. We must hold onto this conclusion. It is not the prayer you talk about. You truly need to pray and receive answers. The prayer that you give before God is a reset button to renew your life. Have assurance. In Jeremiah 33, while Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time. "This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it--the LORD is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'’ Pray before God and He will answer. He will guide you when you pray. He will make our faith grow. He will use us with His power. There were 2 mothers who represented Roman Empower. One was Monica who was a mother of St. Augustine. The other mother was Agrippina who was a mother of King Nero, killed her husband so her son could be on the throne. However, the king killed her mother. Monica prayed for her son, St. Augustine. Her son was wandering and going astray. In that situation, she prayed for her son in tears. It was God’s time schedule. God changed Augustine’s heart. He stood before God. After Apostle Paul, he became a great theologian. There are great mothers behind great individuals. There are faith and prayer behind great mothers. With prayer, you can change the hearts and minds of a person. God allows them to hold onto the covenant with faith. God allows them to listen to His words. God allows them to admire and hold onto the Word. I hope you will have victory to listen the Word through worship. If so, people around you will see that because you are people of God. When parents stake their lives for worship, their kids will see that. If you are a pastor, but you don’t have the heart to give worship, your kids will see that. I have 5 kids. If my kids don’t come to church, you need to realize that they don’t have a heart to give worship. My own children only come to the main worship. That means I only have half faith. It means I don’t pray. If you have the heart and truly pray, God will change the heart of people. If you truly pray, then you will have the heart to devote yourself for the church and the kingdom of God. When you truly pray, the relationship between church members will change the relationship of disciples. If you truly pray, you will have a heart of becoming the protector or host for the minister or evangelist. There are people with their spiritual eyes open. You will have the heart to form teams to pray. When you pray, works will take place. We confess the fact that You are our Christ, Son of living God who reads and see people’s heart. As Sons of God, we need to pray to count on the hearts of people and to have the heart of faith.
Almighty Father God, I give all glory to you. Through prayer, help us to obtain your power and faith. Help us to gain realistic answers and fruits. With answers, help us to give true glory to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.