December 10th, 2017
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
<Intro> Creative destruction – “The phoenix needed to break its shell to reborn”
When you take a shower, you feel clean and refreshed. There is no one who takes a shower with their clothes on. The expensive clothes you’ve had on for the day must be taken off. In order to gain that cleanliness, you need to take off your clothes. For those who do not take their clothes off in the shower are kind of crazy. In order to maintain good health, you need to receive vaccinations. You roll up your sleeves to take the shot. It’s very brief, but there’s a sharp pain that you must endure in order to receive the shot. If you struggle and try to avoid the pain, the nurse will have a hard time. Something important, something you have to gain, you have to go through that process; you have to go through that discomfort before you gain something. “No pain no gain.”
Phoenix is an imaginary bird. In order for Phoenix or any other bird to be born, they must break out of their egg shell. The reason that I am sharing this during the pulpit message is for the remnants to remember. There is a similar term in economics. It is called “creative destruction” by Joseph Schumpeter. There are some places where creative destruction doesn’t take place. In 1900s, the sailing boats were replaced by steamboats. The existing boat industry was undercut of their jobs. Something new came against them, so they had no choice. That’s why they made bigger sailing boats. On average, they have three sails, but they thought to make one with seven sails. In 1902, they produced a sailing boat with seven sails (Thomas W. Lawson). However, because of the weight of the sails, it sank even before it had a chance to depart from the port. After that incident, sailing boats disappeared from history; they were overrun by the steam engines. A steam engine came out so that they were able to invest in something new, but because others were not able to do the same, they were destroyed. When they’re given the concept of “creative destruction,” this story comes out in lectures a lot.
Greg Raymond was a doctor who was very skilled, he was able to make a lot of money. He had a beautiful wife, luxurious house, and wonderful children, yet he was not satisfied. Without him knowing, he showed his temper and made his family sad. He thought to himself, “Do I have anything else to do? Let’s judge the Christians next door.”
With that goal, he was able to live. So with full concentration, he studied the Bible. He realized and discovered Luke who was a doctor and recorded in the Bible. He saw Jesus who was resurrected. It was strange to him, so he went to the historical places and gathered a lot of information to find that Jesus’ resurrection was the truth, and he began to sway. He also came to know that Paul used to persecute Jesus but stopped upon meeting Jesus. It proves that He is the Son of God. He came to come out of his shell. His experiences and knowledge all crumbled down. Before, this man thought that God didn’t exist. However, realizing this truth, he was not able to deny it, and he repented in front of God. He prayed, and at that time, God’s Spirit came upon him. He was able to find peace and gained strength inside of Him. This man confessed that Jesus is the Christ and became a new person. His wife confessed that he was like a new husband; even the kids said that their father was very different. Dr. Raymond confessed that he was very happy. All of the religions in the world are trying to seek God, but God gave the Gospel to us. Because of the Gospel, this man was able to break out of his shell. He was able to gain eternal blessings as a child of God.
Today’s title is God’s grind. It’s not destruction, it’s grind. Destruction is to break and get rid of it. Grind is crushing to make fine powder. While grind is not the word that perfectly describes what I want to say, it is the closest word. There is a time schedule when God grinds us. Today, we have the third healing message.
1. God gives new answers through breaking.
(2) Insects, living creature
(3) Individual, Family, Nation
Through God’s fragmentation, He will give us new answers. There is a seed that is tiny and can grow into a fruitful plant, but before it can do that, it must germinate through the thick protective layer of skin. A caterpillar must come out of a cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly. The king of birds, eagles, also have to break out from their egg shell. God made it that way. Why? It is to give us a lesson. It is the same for individuals, families, and nations. Dr. Raymond turned to God after breaking out from his individual shell. Numerous people of God went through God’s grind. People with Christ in their heart was able to break down their self-righteousness and become a child of God. They broke free from their own misconceptions and biases and went in front of God.
God also grinds families. The book of Ruth is in the Old Testament. Because the people faced famine, they moved to a different land. They moved to the land of Moab that God despised. With wives, two sons, and two daughters-in-law, they all moved, and they all died with the exception of the women. One daughter, looking upon the situation, could not take it, and went back to her hometown. The mother-in-law told her daughter to go home. This family was completely shattered, but the daughter, being a gentile, gave this confession: “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” This daughter-in-law, Ruth, took the walk of faith along with her mother-in-law. Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law even though she had nothing. When elderly have no money, their children and grandchildren look after them. Because they followed God’s will, they were able to be fruitful once again, and they became part of the lineage that birthed Jesus. If God did not shatter the family, they would not have received such blessing.
Look at the history of the Israelites and other powerful nations. You can see their rise and fall. Though God chose the Israelites, they Israelites fell into idolatry. You will see this happen again and again, for the Persians, for the Romans. For new creations and everything in life, you have to go through God’s process of fragmentation.
2. God’s people went through God’s breaking.
(1) Job, the wealthy man of the east (Job 23:10)
(2) Apostle Paul (Act. 9:1-9)
(3) Jesus Christ (Mt. 27:26-50)
One of the representative people in the Old Testament was Job, who was a wealthy person of the East. As you all know, because he was faced with curses, everyone has died. His wife resented him, and his close friends condemned him. “Do you think God allowed this for no reason?” People around him said that Job had a hidden sin and that he must repent. Job was frustrated; his family was broken, his faith was broken, and his relationship was broken. After he went through this breaking ad fragmenting, he realized that God made him go through that to become stronger. God blessed him in double portion. You have to go through this grinding as well.
Paul was the same in the New Testament. His was of royal blood and he was well-educated. He was a disciple of Gomella, and he was in the group of Pharisees, giving him honor. He was diligent in his faith. He was also diligent in persecuting those who believed in Jesus. In all aspects, he was very renown, but he was not saved, and Jesus had no choice but to come down and ask him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Through that meeting, however, his life was completely changed. It was to the point that he became an evangelist that proclaimed the Gospel for the rest of his life. After that, Paul was able to change the spiritual realm of the world. Next to Jesus, he was the man who was the most influential across the world. He became a great apostle, and he enjoyed being able to serve Jesus. People of God went through God’s grinding. Accept this, acknowledge this, and agree with this.
Our Jesus Christ went through God’s grinding as well. He went through that in order to do God’s salvation. You will see in Matthew 27 that His entire body was completely shattered, His heart was crushed, and He lost His relationship with God. He was spat on, He was slapped, and He had to wear the thorn crown. He was nailed onto the Cross, and He was speared. He shed blood and water from His body for the sake of the salvation that God wanted to give us. His physical and spiritual body was broken. He was betrayed by His own disciple, and He was separated from His mother; He was in a state of despair, and no one prayed for Jesus. No one was protecting Jesus. No one was helping Jesus, and He fell into despair.
For God’s Will, He had to go through this pain, this grind. From the day He was born, God’s power was with Him. Every sermon He’s given was given through God’s Word. Everything He did was done in God’s power, and that God had abandoned Jesus. Realistically, Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is unimaginable that He had to go through this to the point where everything was shattered. For us, we go through this fragmentation from God. At that time, some people reacted that God was not there, that God didn’t answer their prayers while others praised God and gave thanks to God. Where do we stand? That is our responsibility. Are we going to move God or give that nonbelief to others? When Paul was in prison, despite being beaten and broken, he was able to praise God. This excited God, and the doors of the prison shook, miracles taking place. We must not be discouraged within our time of fragmentation.
We have to root our lives in the Word and live through prayer. God will allow us to go through the process of fragmentation and guide us with a sure vision. God doesn’t play dice. He will lead us and guide us with a sure claim. We have to look at this as sons of God. Short or long, little or big, we will go through this grinding. You should not be resented and have non-beliefs. Those who give those confessions are able to succeed. Children use complaints against their parents as a weapon. It is sad. God prepared something important, but people say that God is not answering them. They’re disobedient. Don’t be like this; open your spiritual eyes.
3. God fulfills His plan through His grind (breaking).
(1) In order to make a big vessel of blessing (Gen. 12:1-3, Act. 9:15)
(2) In order to give clean heart and right spirit (Ps. 51:10)
(3) In order to reveal the mystery of only Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20)
Through the process of grinding, God will fulfill His goal. If you see this, you will be blessed. First, make yourself a big vessel of blessing. As you know, God called Abraham. He told him to discard his past. All the benefits Abraham was able to gain was through God. God told him to discard the blessings he’s received up to that point so that he can become a bigger vessel for all the blessings of God, become a vessel to share the Gospel to all people.
Slowly, God persuaded me and allowed me to experience challenges for new relationship, overcome my surroundings, and gain faith. When I broke quickly, answers came quickly. When I broke slowly, answers came slowly. A vessel to proclaim God’s Name to the Gentiles, a vessel to go all through the land to save the Remnants through God’s Name. He has called us to fulfill His calling by being a vessel. You need to make this confession; you need to give thanks to this calling. For this calling, give Him praise. When you are able to see and open your spiritual eyes, you will not be shaken when something bad happens because you know that His calling will be fulfilled. When you have faith, you will not grumble or complain. If you have this realization, nothing will taint you. When you are able to make that confession, you will become bold. I bless you in the Name of Jesus Christ that you will give thanks during your process of grinding.
It is to give us a pure heart. When you have that, you will discard your unnecessary thoughts. You will let go of your stubbornness, your resentment, your inferiority, and your misconceptions. When I was in first grade, I went to the public bath with my father. My father went into the hot tub, and while I wanted to be with my father, the water was much too hot for me. I thought I would get burned. But when my father went into the water, he called out, “Ahh, how refreshing!” So I went in, thinking that it would be okay. However, like I expected before, the water was hot, and I thought I was getting scalded. However, my father was pushing me down and telling me to count to 100. At this point, I couldn’t oppose my father and ask why he lied to me. I couldn’t complain to him about my suffering in front of other people. In my mind, I was only focusing on counting to 100. My father asked if I felt good, but I dismissively said “yes” and kept trying to count to 100 as fast as I could. You will pray that God will give you a pure heart, to be a correct soul, and to only seek the Lord. God allows me to discard unnecessary things in my heart.
God wants to reveal Jesus Christ in us. Galatians 2:10 records, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The master of my life is Jesus Christ. Everyday, we must live by the faith in Jesus Christ. As we break more and more, Christ in us is revealed. We all know our innate personalities are somethings we cannot get rid of, so how can we do this?
<Conc.> Learn from the lesson of the clean flour Ephah and the pressed oil Hin. (Ex. 29:40)
If God kneads us, we can become the person that He wants. Ephah and hin are the units of measurement. Ephah is the measurement of crops. One basketful is an ephah, and the measurement for liquid is hin. God will crush us, smash us, and grind us into fine powder. You will give that pressed oil that God will be happy with. Both characters had to come out of themselves. God desired us to go through the process of breaking and grinding, and that is what we will go through. You must remember while going through this process that there is something for you in the future. God will entrust you with something that only you can fulfill. I hope that you can give that faith and confession. Even though a tree is broken down, it will give out a scent. I pray that you’ll become the person who brings out the scent of Christ.
God, thank You for giving us the realization of grinding. We are in the process of grinding, let us give true thanks. Because we are doing this for the future, let us give true thanks. Help us to become a great vessel of your blessings. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.