August 27th, 2017
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
(Intro) The tear of Jesus (Jn. 11:35, Lk. 19:41, Heb. 5:7)
It’s nice to see you. This is when I was young. I visited Chung-cheong province. Since it’s in the countryside, there were many animals, especially chickens. I looked at this one hen embracing an egg. After about 20 days of embracing the egg, a chick was born. When the nearby dogs tried to bite the chick, the mother hen embraced the chick. Once the hen embraced the chick, it was safe. I also saw one chick that walked around without its mother around and bit by the dogs. Just like the mother hen protecting its chick, Jesus spoke, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” Of course, Jerusalem is the name of a city. But Jesus is also referring it to the children of Jerusalem, the Israelites. “How often I have longed to gather your children together… Look, your house is left to you desolate.” This is the expression of sadness and lamentation of Jesus. Why do you think Jesus said this? What kind of position were the Israelites in? Today, we looked at the end of Matthew 23. Before that passage, many times Jesus said, “Woe to you.” How could the loving Lord say something fearsome like this?
1. What sins enraged Jesus at that time?
(1) The sin of misleading the people because of dim spiritual eyes (Mt.23:13,15,16)
(2) The sin of being hypocritical and arrogant (Mt. 23:23-31)
(3) The sin of being evil and killing the prophets (Mt. 23:34-37)
Why did Jesus speak of such fierce word of curse? In summary, the religious leaders like the Pharisees and the Sadducees did not guide the people in the right way. They did not guide the people to the way of truth, the way of the Gospel, but they led them astray. Jesus was enraged because the leaders did not lead the people to the way of salvation and the way of blessings. He said, “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” And Jesus called them “blind men” because blind men cannot lead the way. Jesus rebuked them greatly. God showed them the way, but the leaders were not able to relay that correctly. The way means the truth. The leaders were not able to relay the truth.
At one point, Jesus said, “You hypocrites!” This refers to the people whose outside appearance and the inside are different. He is referring to the hypocrites who are arrogant and considering themselves better off than others. “You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.” “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Also, Jesus referred them snakes and whitewashed tombs. The Israelites consider corpses and tombs foul. In order for them to avoid tombs at night, they spread white powder. And Jesus said, “You are like whitewashed tombs.” This is same thing as saying, “You brood of vipers, you children of the devil.” Because their outside appearance and inside were different, they were arrogant. “I already gave you the way, but you failed to relay it. You are arrogant.” This is what Jesus is saying.
Also, Jesus said, “you kill the prophets and stone those sent to you.” That is why Jesus was enraged.
2. Even so, Jesus tried to embrace them. (Mt. 23:37)
(1) As a hen gathers her brood under her wings…
(2) And they would not,
(3) Their house is eventually left desolate, and they would never see the Lord again before His second coming.
Jesus continued to embrace the people who committed sins, but people rejected Him. Here, Jesus wept. You can find this in Luke 19. Jesus knew that the Israelites would perish by the Romans. In the Bible, Jesus wept three times. In John 11, Jesus wept when the brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus, died. And in Hebrews 5, Jesus wept during His last prayer. Finally, He wept in today’s passage. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings?” During His last ministry, Jesus entered into Jerusalem. He had to depart from His family, His disciples, and the crowds. Because He had to depart them, He probably had a heavy heart. What happened when He entered Jerusalem? He was crucified. The pain of crucifixion is extreme. Just thinking of the crucifixion to come would have been hard on him. However, that was not the reason He wept. He wept because He knew that the Israelites would perish and the temple of Herod would crumble down. King Herod constructed the temple for 80 years. He was not a traditional Jew, but a descendent of Esau, so he tried to win the hearts of the Israelites. Because the Israelites liked temples, Herod built a mighty temple. It was still under construction in 30 A.D. during the ministry of Jesus. The temple was completed in 63 A.D. However, the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by Roman soldiers. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” At that time, there were about a hundred thousand people in Jerusalem. However, about one million people died by the Roman soldiers. It was because people from other places were gathered in Jerusalem to give worship. There was a rumor that there is gold between the walls of the temple. Therefore, the Romans broke down the entirety of the temple to find the gold. As Jesus’s prophesy, the Israelites, their temple, and their descendants were completed perished. He knew this would happen, so He wept. He tried so hard to embrace them, but the people were not willing.
3. As sons of God, what is the covenant that we must embrace in this age?
(1) Stand in the path of the truth with only Gospel. (Ac. 1:1, Jn. 14:6, Eph. 4:21)
(2) Be humble to the power of God with only prayer. (Ac. 1:14, 2 Chr. 7:14, Dan.10:12)
(3) Handle the mission as a prophet with only evangelism. (Ac. 1:8, 1 Cor. 4:11, 1Pet. 2:9)
We might think that God is fearful and that is why we should live a righteous life. But we need to ask important questions: How can we apply today’s message in this age of grace? What kind of covenant do we have to grab hold of? All we need to do is the exact opposite of what the Israelites have done. That is today’s main message. What did the Israelites do? They didn’t enjoy the way God gave them and they failed to relay it to others. They were arrogant as they were called hypocrites. All we need to do is the opposite. They stoned and killed the prophets God sent. We need to do the opposite. We have to find God’s way and relay it to others. What is the truth? Where is the way? Jesus said, “I am the way, truth, and life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” I hope you would be able to see Jesus who is the way, truth, and life. You have to put your meaning of life in Jesus. Jesus also confirmed this through the Apostle Paul. Ephesians 4 records, “the truth that is in Jesus.” For us to receive answers and be utilized by God, the key is in Jesus. When we truly experience and enjoy this, we can relay it to others. However, the Pharisees couldn’t enjoy it nor could they relay it. I hope you and I may find this and enjoy it. Jesus is the truth and only He can save us. That is why we say, “Let’s do only Jesus Christ.” I hope that in your hearts and minds, may Jesus be your master. We make many important decisions. I hope that Jesus will be our standard. Sometimes, we become mad and cry. I hope the reason why we are mad or sad is for the sake of Jesus. I hope you stand in only Jesus. Then, God’s grace will come upon you. Believe that God’s grace is upon us, the saved children of God in Christ Jesus. Only the Gospel of Christ is the unique way of saving me and others.
The Pharisees continued to present themselves superior to others as they were called hypocrites. You have to do the opposite. Truly humble people kneel down before God. They sincerely pray. So we should have a humble heart and kneel down before God and pray. In Acts 1:14, Jesus’s disciples and the crowd prayed holding onto the promise. They joined together constantly in prayer. Also, 2 Chronicles 7:14 records, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” I hope you will be humble and seek His face. In Daniel 10, Daniel prayed before God. God answered, “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” I hope that you will humbly pray to God and receive answers. When you follow the Word of God, God will absolutely answer you.
They killed the prophets. You need to do the opposite. You need to pray, protect, and follow the message of the evangelists and witnesses of God’s Word. You should live the life of an evangelist for God’s will, world evangelization. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” These people gathered and formed a church. The Apostle Paul found the evangelists and prophets within the church. Ephesians 4:11 records, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.” Peter spoke more strongly. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” You should have the heart of the prophets who were beaten to death and share the Gospel. Don’t guess whether this person would receive the Gospel or not. It’s okay to get slapped on the face sharing the Gospel. Surely, there are prepared souls. And there are people who won’t receive the Gospel. But you still need to share. God will work. I hope that you will be in the line of evangelism. This is the main message. Do the opposite of what the Israelites had done. Then, you will receive God’s grace. The power that the Lord promised will come upon you and the doors will open. I hope you experience this and become witnesses.
(Conc.) Psalms 17:8-9, Num. 7:89
What must we do to receive answers? Like the chicks gather under the wings of the hen, we should also go under the wings of God. But does God have wings? The Bible used many expressions like “under His wings.” When we go under God’s wings, everything will be solved. We will be protected. Psalm 17:8-9 records, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.” Believe that when you go under the wings of God’s grace, you will be protected from the forces of darkness that try to destroy you. I hope you realize that only God can protect you. When you are young, you learn from the parents. As you grow older, you learn from school. When you become adults, you learn from the society. But there is one thing we must learn. We, the creations of God, cannot even live a second without God’s grace. Only God’s grace can give us victory. Where does the help come from? It comes from Jehovah who created this world. He watches over us without sleeping. As He watched over us until today, He will continue to watch over us in the future. We should gather under the wings of God.
One lady got in a car accident. The traffic was really bad and her car had to come to a complete stop. However, the truck behind her did not see the traffic and did not slow down. The lady knew the truck would run into her car so she held her handle tight. Soon afterwards, she entrusted everything to God and let the handle go. Then, the truck ran into her car and she lost her conscience. Later when she woke up, she was in a hospital. She didn’t get hurt anywhere. However, her car was crumbled up like a piece of paper. The police told her that if she had put her hands on the handle, she would have died. When she entrusted everything to God, she was able to live. Now the lady is carrying out her ministry abroad. When you stand inside God’s grace, God will protect you.
The chicks gathered under the wings of a hen enjoy peace. The sheep with their shepherd are in peace. Likewise, when we go under the wings of God, we will enjoy peace. Psalm 131 records, “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” Being calm and peaceful means you don’t have any worries or concerns. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” May God’s rest and peace be restored in you. There are many students who are struggling with studies. You might have concerns regarding your finance. If you continue to worry, you will eventually burn out. So don’t worry. Think that God has sent you to your field and He has given you the unique opportunity. He has prepared you the answer of 10%, 1%, and uniqueness. Study with that assurance. If you worry constantly, you won’t have strength. Pray, “At this time as I study, embrace me under Your wings.” Then, God will give you many fruits.
As I was preparing the sermon, I found a pastor named William Cushing. He composed many hymns we like to sing. One of the hymns is called “Under His wings.” This hymn is his testimony. He had a problem with his vocal chord. Even though he was a pastor, he could not give sermon because he couldn’t speak any longer. As he was praying, he came to a realization that if he can talk, he will sing God’s glory, if he cannot talk, he will write down hymns, praising God. Casting away all his worries, he started to compose hymns. He wrote over 300 songs. One of the hymns being “Under His wings.” There is God’s peace under His wings. You will experience His amazing grace. Did you hear the 1st message? The pastor said he is constantly in the flow of the Word. And one day, he experienced an amazing power. Peace became his. That is what being under the wings of God means. No one can mimic this peace, but only God can provide it. He gives you protection and peace.
Numbers 7:89 records, “When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the Ark of the Covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.” You know the Ark of the Covenant. There are 4 cherubim on the corners of the Ark of the Covenant. So the Ark of the Covenant is covered by the wings. And God’s voice was heard between the wings. Those wings are the wings of God. Where are God’s wings? They are upon the covenant. When you hold onto the covenant and study, you will experience true peace and protection.
As a new semester is beginning, you have to study while holding onto the covenant. You have a family. You don’t become happy when the husband earns a lot of money. You have children. You have to imprint them with the covenant. Tell them, “Our family has started with this covenant…” When you think that you are studying because of the covenant, you will enter into God’s grace. Then you will be protected from the forces of darkness that give you many problems. It may seem that it won’t work, but it does work. Because God protects you, you will have peace. God makes it work. And you will have leisure. God’s grace is within the covenant. That is why Exodus 25:20 records, “The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover.” The wings cover the seat of mercy. God’s wings, God’s grace, and God’s wisdom lie upon the covenant. You are not here to judge the pastor’s sermon. You have to grab hold of the voice of God within the sermon. With that, you should go to your fields. You should find the reason God sent you to the States. You should find the covenant within your work and studies. If you do the work without God’s covenant, you will just pass it down to the younger remnants. I hope the couples here would also hold onto the covenant. The Bible has 66 books and 1,189 chapters. You cannot read all of them nor can you memorize all of them. You have to discover the Word. There is a specific message for you in the sermon. You must find the covenant within your family. Then, God’s grace will come upon your family and things will work out. I grab hold of this one covenant. It is written in the last chapter of the first book of the New Testament. Jesus spoke, “make disciples of all nations.” God has answered me and blessed me until now. Here are my family members. They know that I have no power and that I am shy. But God blessed me. And I know God will bless me more. God’s grace is inside of the covenant. I bless you that God will protect you and give you peace the rest of your life. That is why God’s Son, Jesus Christ, embraced all our sins. This is His grace and blessing. Everything comes out from this. Salvation comes out from this. The power to crumble down the forces of darkness, the blessing of answers to prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit come out from this. You can enjoy this background forever. There will be blessing of meetings. Co-workers will arise and you will build a system. Jesus lamented over the Israelites who lost hold of these blessings. I hope that you could hear the voice of God and remain under His wings. The key is the covenant. Today, we had the department prayer meeting for pre-ministers. You have to make it specific and make it your covenantal prayer.
Dear Almighty Father God, we give you thanks and praise. Thank You for embracing us in Your grace. Regardless of how we are, thank You for allowing us the mystery of Christ through Your grace. Help us not to follow the path of the Israelites, but remain inside of Your grace. Help us to run toward Your throne. May You protect us and give us peace. May You work upon us to conquer the world until the second coming of Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.