September 3rd, 2017
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
(Intro) Those who see the end is the wisest, and the winner at the end is the true winner.
It’s good to see you. Today, we will look at Matthew 24. The chapter deals with the end times. When you read it carefully, it is quite frightening. This is what Jesus spoke. Jesus, who came to the world as the Son of God, foresaw what is to come. As we discussed last week, Jesus foresaw the destruction of the Israelites. Today, Jesus foresaw the very end of the world. There are a couple of passages in the Bible that record the end times—Matthew 24, the Book of Daniel, and the Book of Revelation. When you read them, it is quite scary. However, those who are under the wings of God’s grace will be in peace. Why is that? It is because God protects us. Therefore, we must hold onto the covenant of Matthew 24.
Today’s title is “The Son of God Foresees the Future.” One time, I saw a video about a marathon competition. The 1st runner was almost near the finish line. Then, out of nowhere, a stranger came out and interrupted the runner. Even before the security could do anything, the stranger interrupted the competition. However, the marathon runner did not stop in the middle and shook hands with this interrupter. The runner kept on running until the finish line. It was because the runner knew the end. Likewise, if you look toward the finish line of your life, it doesn’t matter what comes in between. That person is a wise man. No matter what good things happen in the middle, if the end is perilous, then the person is not a victor. The ultimate victor has a final victory in the end. I sometimes tell my mother this. My mother and father have a 12-year age gap. How must it have been to my mother who was married at a young age? In the mean time, the elder Oh and I were born. My mother lived a hard life. When I was a student, there was a time when my mother couldn’t pack a lunch for me. I couldn’t understand why she was crying back then, but now I do. After I got married and had children, I talked to my mother. I told her, “Although you lived a hard life because of my father, now you are in America receiving Medicare and living with your children. You are a true victor.” As time goes on, I hope you receive more answers and enjoy greater blessings.
You and I look toward the end. In today’s world, God does not exist. People will ignore you when you talk about Jesus. The world evangelization seems far away. However, God’s Word says it will be fulfilled and the end will come. So we should look toward the end, the world evangelization. There will be problems and hardships on the way. No matter how serious and impossible they may seem, it is just a process. Notwithstanding, God will guide us and make us reach the finish line. God has always done that.
Satan and this world hinder us. Satan deceived Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of good and evil and separated them from God. However, God promised the Son of the virgin and restored a new beginning. Satan killed Abel through Cain. Who is Abel? He held onto the blood covenant and worshiped God. So Satan tried to break off the covenant by killing the worshipper. However, God continued on the line of covenant through another son named Seth. No one can stop God. Also, Satan caused the age of Nephilim so that the Son of the virgin cannot come. However, God began anew through the family of Noah who received grace. Satan disturbed Abraham whom God called and prepared many blessings. Satan caused a famine. Satan caused a quarrel between Lot and Abraham’s family. A war broke out that was nothing to do with him. Satan continued to plant unbelief and fear in Abraham. In the end, God gave Abraham a son named Isaac who was a tremendous blessing to him. Joseph received God’s vision. However, Satan tried to kill Joseph in a well. But there was no water in the well and God saved him. Satan aroused jealousy in Joseph’s brothers’ hearts and sold him as a slave. However, Joseph enjoyed God being with him as a slave. Satan falsely accused Joseph and sent him to prison. Yet, God overturned everything and made Joseph a summit of Egypt. God provided him with ways to avoid tribulations. Joseph became the governor of Egypt and preached about Jehovah to the entire world. No one can disrupt, block, or revoke what God has planned for the end.
That is why we should look at what God has planned for the end in Matthew 24. When we know about the end, there is no reason for us to be shaken. We will have leisure because we know that we will be victorious. We know that there is a way out. God gives us victory. Even now Satan kills and falsely accuses God’s people, the prophets from the Old Testament, and today’s evangelists as heretics. However, God made them martyrs. He fulfilled all His will. Jesus whom we believe and follow was accused as a heretic. Paul who wrote the half of the New Testament was considered the greatest heretic in his time. Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ that shared the Gospel in American colleges was considered heretical for 20 years. Our church is under the Presbyterian denomination. For thousands of years, the Roman Catholic Church accused the Presbyterian denomination as heretical. Is there anyone who has been to a Baptist church? For hundreds of years, the Presbyterian denomination accused the Baptist denomination heretical. Is the Baptist denomination heretical? No, it is not. The Baptist denomination saw many things that the Presbyterian denomination was not able to see. Because many people moved from the Presbyterian denomination to the Baptist denomination, the Presbyterian denomination falsely accused them as heretics. What does this mean? Every time God’s revelation was uncovered, many Christians were accused as heretics. There are true heretics and false heretics. Who are true heretics? The Jehovah’s witnesses, the Moonies cult, the JMS cult are true heretics. People don’t call these people heretics, but they call the evangelists heretics. Later on I realized that God is the One who is allowing this to happen. Do you know why? God is filtering out. There is an old story. A wealthy family wanted to marry their son to a maid. The groom’s father was wise and he told his son to walk as a crippled man on the way to the bride’s house. And the groom did. Seeing that, the bride’s family was in shock. They thought the groom was indeed a son of a wealthy family but he was a cripple. So they hastily called the daughter and the daughter’s servant girl. The bride’s father told the servant girl to pretend as the bride and marry the groom instead. However, the groom did not walk in a crippled way after the marriage. The bride’s family, who calculated in their heads, did not get the son of the wealthy family as their son-in-law. However, the servant girl who obeyed the word became the bride.
Jesus was a Son of a carpenter. He was not born in a palace. Do you know how Jesus looked? There are many people who have portraits of Jesus in their houses. 100 percent of the portraits depict Jesus as a Caucasian. His facial features are bold and appealing. However, those are a lie. Isaiah 53 describes Jesus’ facial features. Jesus is good looking in the movie, Passion of the Christ. However, that is a lie. The Bible says, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire Him.” Jesus wasn’t a good-looking person. However, He revealed Himself in that way. Do you know how Paul looked? Look at his portrait. He is bald, skinny, and his features are sharp. Nothing about him was gentle. God puts a filtering. Christ, who is God’s Gospel and God’s Person, came in humbleness. The truth lies behind the mask of a false heretic. Then, you can filter out the pure gem. Humanity’s history and church history have been like this. Satan tried to kill Jesus Christ who is the protagonist of Genesis 3:15. However, Jesus was born and He finished His ministry. He resurrected and now He is at the throne of heaven. When you are able to see the end, you will have a complete victory.
1. There will surely be the age of great chaos in this world.
(1) Social chaos – Terror, War (Mt. 24:7a)
(2) Natural chaos – Famine, Earthquake (Mt. 24:7b)
(3) Religious chaos – The appearance of fake Christs and fake prophets (Mt. 24:11, 23-24)
There will surely be the age of great chaos in this world. You might want me to say something comforting on the Lord’s Day, but Jesus didn’t speak of that in Matthew 24. Verses 6 and 7 say, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” According to America’s geological report, there were 1,700 earthquakes of five degrees intensity or higher during last year alone. The frequency of earthquakes has increased tremendously. It is reported that earthquakes result in a 60% of the annual mortality caused by natural disasters. Korea used to be the safe haven for earthquakes. However, there were 530 earthquakes in the last decade. This is showing that we are living in the end time. One third of food we eat today is thrown away as garbage. However, over one tenth of world’s population is suffering from malnutrition on the other side. Famine is a serious problem. Also, there are epidemics throughout the world. 75 million people died from the Pest in the 14th century Europe. That was one third of the entire European population back then. 15 million people died from the Asian cholera in the 19th century. 50 million people died from the Spanish influenza in the 20th century. Also, in the 21st century, there were epidemics like MERS, SARS, and Ebola. This is the time of natural chaos. Also, there is social chaos such as terror and war. Jesus said in verse 5, “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” There will surely be the age of great chaos in this world. But if we only look at this, it is frightful. How can we not be deceived or shaken by this? If we don’t have a standard, we have no choice but to be afraid. However, we have a standard. We have the time schedule.
2. However, as sons of God, there is the time schedule where we will surely win.
(1) The time schedule of world evangelization (Mt. 24:14, Ac. 1:8)
(2) The time schedule of the 2nd coming of Christ (Mt. 24:29-30, Ac. 1:11)
(3) The time schedule of rapture of the saints (Mt. 24:31, Ac. 7:55, Jn. 14:3, 1Thess. 4:15-17)
As sons of God, there is the time schedule in which we will surely win. Many disasters and tribulations can occur, but God’s time schedule will absolutely come. The chaos is not the end. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” The end will come when the people that God destined to save receive salvation. Then, Jesus can come back to this land second time, which is the Day of Judgment. The judgment is directly toward the world and the unbelievers. Before Jesus’s second coming, the world evangelization has to take place. When you are inside of this covenant, you will be protected and receive blessings. Is there any evidence? Matthew 24:29-30 says, “Immediately after the distress of those day ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” At the time of Jesus’s second coming, there will be many amazing things happening throughout the world. The more important reason comes in verse 31, “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Jesus will gather God’s elected people. Before Jesus was crucified, He prophesied in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Also, 1 Thessalonians 4 will be fulfilled—“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” What does this mean? Although chaos is rampant, there will be the rapture at the second coming of Christ through God’s Almighty power. This means, God will protect and give the ultimate victory to His people. He will save us from the destruction and the judgment of this world. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” Because the time schedule for the final victory is bound to come, do not worry in the mean time. Believe in this and look toward the end. Is the rapture truly possible? How can we believe this? We can believe in this once we know how God is. Whatever God speaks, it is fulfilled. God is alive and He is working. He is working in individuals, organizations, and nations. God is the Master of individuals and nations’ time schedule. God is in charge of individuals’ life and death. God is in charge of nations’ rise and fall. God begins, proceeds, and ends the history.
God gave us a preview of the rapture for those who are still alive. In the Old Testament, Enoch is introduced in Genesis 5. “ Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” This is the preview of the rapture. Enoch didn’t do much. Genesis 5 records Enoch’s descendants. He did one thing. He walked with God. Then, he experienced the rapture. We can enjoy the blessing of Immanuel through Christ Jesus. Because of Him, we can walk with God. In 2 King 2, Elijah and Elisha were having a conversation. And suddenly, a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. This is another preview of the rapture. In Acts 1, Jesus Himself showed this. Verse 9 records, “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” In the midst of the age of great chaos, we should have hope in the rapture and endure our time schedule. God has confirmed of this in His Word.
3. Therefore, as sons of God, there is the lifestyle that we must have (Mt. 24:45)
(1) Live as a steward who takes charge of God’s people. (1Pet. 4:10)
(2) Live as a trainer who reigns and serves God’s people. (Ge. 14:14, 1Tim. 4:7-8)
(3) Life as a nurturer who shares meal to God’s people. (Ac. 13:1, 1Tim. 4:6)
We are looking toward the final victory in the end, and what must we do? The answer is in Matthew 24. Our Master, Jesus, is coming back. We are His servants. Then what must the servants do in order to receive blessings? It says in verse 46, “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” Jesus will come at an unexpected time, so what must we do? Verse 45 says, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” This verse is telling us that the servants who are in charge of God’s people and giving them food at the proper time will be victorious in the time of chaos. Today’s key passage is verses 45 and 46. Verse 45 in the King James Version says, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” These servants were made ruler over God’s household. They are stewards of God. We must be in charge of God’s household. When I ask someone to be a Sunday school teacher, 99 percent out of 100 say they don’t want to do it. When I say, “Deaconess, you should be an exhorter,” then no one wants to do it. They know that once they become an exhorter, they need to work closely with the pastor and they have to work more inside of church. 100% of all the churches on earth are flawed in a way. When you look close into the pastor who relays God’s Word, he is flawed. One may think, “Maybe he has more spiritual problems than I have.” And they leave. That is being deceived. God has allowed us to meet. You should know that when you come across the flaws and mistakes of the spiritual leader, it is an opportunity for you to receive blessings. However, people only judge between good and evil. In the Garden of Eden, they only eat the fruit of good and evil. “This pastor is wrong in this way, that elder has done this wrong, that deaconess doesn’t know how to do this…” You are losing hold of all the blessings of Eden. Noah who is also considered as the second Adam made a mistake. He became drunk by wine and he undressed himself. God had to decide of which three sons He should give the blessings of being fruitful and increase in number. So He tested them. Ham who spoke correctly about his father was eternally cursed. However, Shem and Japheth knew the fact but they covered their father’s flaw. They receive blessings not because they were good sons. Even though Noah made a mistake, Shem and Japheth covered up the flaw of God’s elect. Should you eat the fruit of good and evil? Or should you acknowledge the authority of God who gave the tree of life? I can understand why people don’t want to be Sunday school teachers. It’s not that they will receive a degree from it or get paid for it. It might seem as you are in a loss. But the mystery is hidden inside of this. This is what it is like to be under the wings of God and enjoying the time schedule of the final victory. Especially, when you are in charge of God’s household, God will take rejoice in you.
1 Peter 4 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Not only you are in charge of God’s household, but also you are to “serve” others. This means that you should train others. In Genesis 14:14, Abraham trained 318 men born in his household and won a war. God will bless those who pray for the entrusted souls, train them in the Word, help them attend worship and give offerings, and train them to do 3 todays. When we carry out God’s work, God will do everything for us. Now, I am an American citizen, but I struggled to get the green card for 11 years. When I came to an American church in Dallas, I applied for green card. However, I had to move to Darakbang, Presbyterian Chruch, so I re-applied for green card. It was almost the time for my family to receive green card, but the 911 incident occurred. So I had to re-apply for the third time. Likewise, my family had to fill out the application three times and pay the fees three times. Back then, I had unbelief. I thought maybe America was not for me. But I listened to God’s Word. I began thinking, “America is in God’s hand. Let me ask His kingdom and His righteousness. Let me only do God’s work.” When I was resolved to do God’s work, I received the green card. When we do God’s work, God will mange our lives. God will manage your legal status, your children, financial problems, and academic degrees.
The nurturers “give them their food at the proper time.” God blesses those who share the Word and do forum in prayer. God guides those nurturers, who find prayer topics in forum and pray together, to the time schedule of final victory. There are about 10 students who are starting their undergraduate or graduate semester. I want each married couple to be in charge of one or two students and call them and ask them about their prayer topics and ask them whether they have eaten or not. I think we don’t have enough married couples, so I want to make some remnant deacons and deaconesses to be couples-in-practice. There is a reason why I say this during the sermon. I am not saying the couples-in-practice should go out on a date, but I am saying that they should have the heart of parents and take care of the entrusted souls.
(Conc) The one who foresees the future, serves the souls, and raises the disciples receive enormous blessing. (Mt. 24:46, Mt. 28:18-20)
Like God’s Son foresaw the future, we as sons of God must see the future. We should see the time schedule of the future. So we must grab hold of today’s covenant as our eternal covenant. God is looking for those who can raise the souls to become disciples. God has amazing blessings in store for them. Jesus promised in verse 47, “Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” He will give you the things of the heaven and earth. You should pray, “God, grant me knowledge and degree so that I can be in charge of God’s people. Grant me wisdom and fame in order to be in charge of many people.” I hope for those who are going to receive a Ph.D. and become a leader would hold onto this prayer topic. There are business people here. Pray, “Grant me the blessing of finance so I can be in charge of God’s household.” The lay leaders should pray, “Help me build the church where 237 nations in the world can gather and receive trainings.” The pre-ministers should pray, “Grant me the spirituality in which I can help and train God’s household.” God will surely answer those who hold onto these prayer topics in the time schedule of the final victory.
God, we shared Your Word. Help us to realize it. Help us to experience the covenant. Give us evidence so that we may glorify You. May You bless us with the true wisdom to foresee the future. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.