October 8th, 2017
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
<Intro> The plant’s seed, the animal’s pairing, and the human’s marriage
There’s this Korean drama that I watched in the past. It was entitled, “The Way of Business.” That kind of drama is worth watching, and one of the saying was, “To do business is to not gain profit but to gain people.” It has a meaning behind this. However, whenever people do business, they lose people due to their greed for profit. What must we Christians leave behind? We must leave behind disciples. So what is today’s title? “The Son of God leaves his disciples.” The theme, the core message of today’s message is that as we live our walk of faith, we must leave behind disciples. So in today’s message, we will look at two things: the principle of the world, and the evidences of the Bible to proclaim the world.
Starting with the principle of the world, when you see a bouquet of flowers and smell their aroma, you feel nice. There is evidence that when you plant the flowers, you feel rejuvenated; it’s called flower therapy. It means that the flowers are giving a good influence to people. How is it possible that flowers, the small mere seed can give us great things? Suppose you plant one flower. How does it spread? It’s through the seeds. Then how are the seeds created from the flower? It’s from the pollen of the flower that connects with the stamen of the flower to fertilize. The flower cannot move on its own, so the bees and butterflies that take the flower’s nectar will move the flowers’ pollen. This cycle continues until the beautiful field of flowers are born. What about the animals? In our house, we have two puppies. Of course, not by my rule are they there, however, they are very cute. How were the puppies born? A male dog and a female dog mated and gave birth to the puppies. It is the same for the animals.
How about for the mankind? There is an expression that man is the creation of the world. The male and the female will love each other, get married, and have children. We know that this is natural the natural course of mankind. Animals will walk on the ground, birds that fly through the sky, through their mating, they will have children. Even in mankind, the man and woman will get together and have children. This is the rightful blessing from God. This is the principle of the world. And we have a spiritual reason behind this principle.
Besides the biological children, there are successors for the great minds and ideas. We call them mentors and teachers. Do you know who the mentor of Alexander the Great was? It was the philosopher Aristotle. The Indian hero, Mahatma Gandhi, had a mentor as well. It was Gokhale who influenced Gandhi. The genius investor Warren Buffett’s mentor was Benjamin Graham. Bill Gates’ mentor was Paul Allen. Steve Jobs’ mentor was Bill Campbell. Oprah Winfrey’s mentor was Maya Angelou, who was a famous actor, writer and activist. So the mentor will leave their ideology to their disciples. We know the spiritual world and the spiritual aspects of it. For us, we are the sons of God, so we must leave behind spiritual disciples. We saw through the principles of the world that plants, animals, humans, and even the ideologies are passed down through disciples and continued onto the next generation.
We can understand by observing the principles of the world. The successors loved and respected their mentors and that’s why they continued on the ideologies. Male and female animals mate and have children. Man and woman also marry and have children. Then, because we are also dwelling in the spiritual world, we should come to this conclusion that we must have spiritual disciples. Like men and women have children when they love each other, if the church (the bride) loves Christ (the groom) we are bound to bear spiritual children. That is a rightful blessing. Bearing seeds and babies is an inevitable answer. We become secure because of the future generation. They are the absolute evidence that will survive in the future.
1. The reason why we leave disciples as the sons of God
(1) Rightful blessing
(2) Inevitable answer
(3) Absolute evidence
That is why Jesus left behind 12 disciples, not buildings or programs. After resurrection, Jesus told His disciples to go and make more disciples. Looking at the principle of the world, we must come to that conclusion as sons of God. We have to look at the things of God. If you look at today’s Scripture, God will make disciples of all nations, to teach them and baptize them, to fulfill God’s Word through them. This may seem like a burden to you. Does it mean that we need to go to a seminary school in order to baptize others?
How can I make disciples of all nations? I don’t even know all of the languages past my own. How can I teach them everything when I myself don’t know all about the world? It seems impossible. However, we must keep hold of one thing.
Think of Peter in Bethlehem. Jesus told Peter, “Follow me, I will make you fishers of men.” So, hearing this, Peter left everything and followed Jesus. However, if you look in the Bible, Peter was quite shameful. Even though Peter was one of the great disciples of Jesus, he wandered and pondered. There’s a moment in the Bible where Jesus is walking on the water of a great storm. Peter, who wanted to do the same, wanted to walk on the water. Jesus allows that, and Peter also walks on the water. However, because of the storm, he became afraid. That fear made Peter sink under water. Jesus did not say, “Good job, you have that much faith. Keep growing in faith,” instead Jesus rebuked Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” What about me, should I rebuke people who don’t come to church next week? However, that is what Jesus did, and it must have been quite the shameful experience for Peter. In Matthew 16, something strange happens. Jesus takes his disciples to this region of Philippi. Then Jesus asked, “Who do you think I am?” People replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” However, Peter replied, “You are Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Upon hearing that, Jesus was very happy and blessed Peter by saying, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” And Jesus said one important thing. The pure gospel, Jesus relayed it to his disciples, that He will die on the Cross, that He will resurrect. However, Peter doubted and questioned again. He asked why Jesus must die, and that it should not happen. Which Jesus replied, “The child of the devil, you will make my ministry fail!” He said this in front of other people. Again, Peter must have been very embarrassed.
Right before Jesus was arrested, He went off into the mountains and prayed sincerely. Jesus took his disciples with Him, saying that they needed to pray along with Him. However, Peter fell asleep, and Jesus rebuked him saying that he couldn’t even pray for a single hour, that his body was too weak. Jesus and Peter were not on the same page.
Ultimately, the romans came to arrest Jesus, and trying to block this, Peter unsheathed a sword and cut someone’s ear off. Jesus saw this and told him, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” As we saw last week, Jesus had to die. Although Peter tried to protect Jesus, he was rebuked. Eventually when Jesus was arrested, Peter followed Him from afar. Peter got caught, and people around him asked, “You are one of the disciples of Jesus?” However, Peter denied this three times, to which the rooster crowed. Knowing that Jesus has predicted this, Peter wept and repented. After Jesus died on the Cross, Peter went back to his hometown and to his past. What did this mean? For several times, Jesus proclaimed that He will resurrect, however Peter didn’t believe this and went back to his home. He was filled with disbelief and unfaithful thoughts. Other than the one confession of who Jesus was, Peter was not a great disciple.
However, Jesus found and sought out this below-average disciple after He resurrected. He helped Peter catch much fish. He went and ate food with Peter, and Jesus asked Peter if he loved Jesus three times, as if to take back what Peter had denied before.
Then Jesus commended Peter to feed His lambs. Now, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. What does this mean? The love and grace of Jesus are bigger than the mistakes of Peter. As you read in the Bible, Peter raised many disciples. The business people gathered in the Mark’s upper room listened to Peter. Later on, Peter went in front of the judge and boldly proclaimed, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Then, Peter raised three thousand disciples. God attached many disciples to Peter. Peter also relayed the Gospel to the General Cornelius. Peter was completely changed. Peter was lacking in many ways. He made mistakes and was unfaithful at times. However he was able to raise disciples due to the love of Jesus Christ. When men and women love each other they will have children. Similarly, through the love of Jesus, you can rise up again and raise disciples. Even though you’re lacking and weak and have many failures, if you know that Jesus loves you, you will bear many fruit. This is the covenant that we must find. This is the covenant that we have to find in the Bible. In order to raise disciples I gave the principles of the world: the plants, the animals, and mankind. All the physical things pass by. However, we know that there are spiritual children or disciples in the spiritual world. If you look in the Bible, it says that we must make disciples. Thinking that we must make disciples might be a burden. We start to think that we cannot do it. But when we look at Peter, we realize that he was not a great disciple yet was able to raise many disciples. Jesus does not ask us for many things other than for us to love Him. Then, God carries out the work for us. That is His power. That is the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the answer that God has graced us. For us, we have to seek God to work for us. We have to leave behind disciples. We must think, “even if I’m not married, I must leave behind spiritual disciples.” You saw that through the principles of the world and the Bible.
We are living in the world. We acknowledge the principles of the world, and we confirm with the Bible. What are the things that we seek? We are lacking and weak, however if you love Jesus, He will do the rest like how God guided and answered Peter. Two things you must remember. Jesus left behind disciples in the world, so we must also leave disciples. It is a rightful blessing, inevitable answer, and absolute evidence. Then can I actually do this? Jesus did all the work for Peter because Jesus is God and He has provided unlimited love to His disciples. God’s love is greater than anything you go through. Believe the fact that God will attach disciples to you. Confess that you love Jesus.
Peter went back to his past, however he confessed that he loved Jesus and Jesus worked through him. Jesus attached many disciples to Peter because they loved each other. Next week, we will look at what kind of disciples Jesus left behind. So let us organize the message. Looking at the principle of the world, plants, animals, and humans leave behind their next generation. In the Bible, God has commended you. You want to carry out God’s will, but you are too burdened. However, Peter only confessed that he loved Jesus. Sincerely, with all your heart, confess that you are lacking. Confess that you love the Lord. Ask God to pour His power over you, and He will work for you.
Almighty Lord our father, we give our thanks. As sons of God, we have confirmed that we have to leave disciples. From now on, help us to leave behind disciples. As Your covenant, I truly love You, and I need Jesus. I confess that my friends and family cannot help me. However, the Lord can help me and guide me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.