October 16th, 2016
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Praise the Lord with the Confession of Faith (Eph 1:3-6)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “Praise the lord with the Confession of Faith”. Whether you’re an American or Korean, all people have problems. Whether you are young or old, you will have problems. There are 3 different problems. People don’t possess interest nor knowledge for God when they are born. People are separated from God. There is no one on earth who, whether they have a doctorate, will learn about God. That is the greatest and sin. There isn’t anyone who feels guilty when they ignore God. That means they are sinners. They may know that they have sinned. When people get into accidents or crisis, they will be scared. When people have no money, they will be afraid. If you are on top of a cliff and someone pushes you a bit, you will be scared. There isn’t anyone who wants to commit suicide. Fearing death means that they are bound by Satan, according to the Bible. There is no one who is free from the problems of sin, separation and Satan. Wrapping up all those problems are the fundamental problems of mankind. People don’t know about this problem, so they have no happiness. No matter how they try, it doesn’t work. That’s why God, who is living, made a way. God tried to save mankind from separation and came as a man, who is Jesus Christ. If you just think about your own consciousness, you know that you sinned. The Lord is the master of all people. In God’s POV, they are all sinners, so they have no choice but to go through curses and disasters and face death and eternal judgment. That’s why Jesus was crucified on the cross. You may say that you have never seen Jesus crucified because you weren’t alive 2,000 years ago. I am telling you to pray for it. Once you believe that Christ atoned for your sin and curses, then, you will be saved. He died for us. When you are poor, you worry about food because you fear death. When there a lot of cars, you are afraid because you are afraid of death. You fear death when you go up high on a ladder because you might fall. The authority that holds death is Satan. The reason why mankind fears death is because they are controlled by Satan’s authority. Once you serve this Jesus Christ, who overcame death, then you will overcome the fear of death. You may still be afraid of death. Those are your feelings. That’s not a problem for God. If a person with salvation dies, God will save them and resurrect them. Through that, God completely saves mankind. Once you confess this fact, then God’s power will appear before you. Even though it’s not visible, the Holy Spirit is working. The heavenly armies will visit. It is amazing. Therefore, we have no choice but to praise what He has done for us. We give compliments to people below us. We may give a eulogy to people above us. Praising is something for people way above us. It is not just a simple song. Praise songs are within praises. We raise His name through confession and praise. “Praises can even make a whale dance.” There was an experiment regarding compliments. Suppose you have 2 plants. You compliment one plant, while you curse the other. The one that received compliments will thrive, but the other will die out. Even living things get it. What about people? There was another experiment. It was in Japan. There were 3 groups. They were given assignments. They were given a song chart. They would play it. The first group were complimented regardless of play. The 2nd group wasn’t told anything at all. The 3rd group was criticized. The next day, the 1st group had the highest efficiency rate. The 2nd group was average, but the 3rd group dropped their efficiency rate. Then, we had a conclusion. If you give compliments, then your efficiency will grow. Why did God make this principle? He gave this complimenting system so that we could praise God. Any living being or human will receive positive effects, so what if you praise God, what kind of fruit you will receive?
1. God, the Father, is the rightful one to receive our praise
(1) God is the one whom every tribe must praise (Ps 67:1-7)
(2) You must praise the blessing of salvation that God gave you (Eph 1:3-6)
(3) You must also praise God for what you will do in heaven (Rev 19:5)
If you look at Psalms 67, ”May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you”. The author of Psalms knew that God is great. He knew that because God is great, He is the rightful one to receive our praise. He gave the land for believers and non-believers to live in. He gave air to breath, water to drink and food to eat. Non-believers are unaware of it. I would think that I should move this book, then I would move it. I would use my muscles to transport it. In humans, we have an automatic nervous system. They move automatically. Do you tell your heart to rest? If it rests, you will die. If your digestive system stops, then you will get a disease and die. All systems do their own work and move automatically. Why do they move automatically? The answer is in Hebrews 1:3. “sustaining all things by his powerful word” The sun and moon rotate, as well as the earth. God is holding everything in place. Be thankful of that. Have you ever praised God when you wake up? Have you ever been thankful? We may be frustrated. Have you been thankful for your heart. Have you told your kids about the grace of God? You are chosen by God. Have you ever said those kind of things to your children? You must restore praise in God. Paul gave this confession. In today’s scripture, he is praising the blessings of salvation. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” Do you believe in this? We received the salvation by believing in Jesus. What’s the reason? Is it because we have to go to heaven? He wants to give us every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. We are going to heaven. God is trying to guide you to receive the blessing in heavenly realms. Our life is made so that we just praise God. Revelations 19:5, it says, “Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!”. What we do in heaven is to praise God. Do you believe? You need to be liberal with someone’s praise and God’s praise. Since all Christians don’t do it, what will God do when you do it? Most church goers don’t do it. A lot of people don’t do it, then God will be surprised. He will be impressed. He will drop blessings. May you receive those blessings. Confess the fact Jesus is the Christ and praise Lord at the beginning of the day. You will be able to have a higher ground in this spiritual world. If you have more blessings, then the scales will tip. You will conquer your spiritual realm and have victory. That is the kingdom of God. God is the rightful one to be praised.
2. The people in the Bible made accurate confession of faith to God
(1) Job’s confession of faith (Job 1:19-22, 19:25-26, 23:10-14)
(2) David’s confession of faith (Ps 23:1-6)
(3) Paul’s confession of faith (Phil 4:13)
They made an accurate confession of faith to God. There are 3 people in the Bible. Job, David and Paul. God acknowledged that Job was rightful men. There are 3 types of confession that Job made in Job 1. Job confessed, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In verse 22, in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. He confessed that all things belong to God. You know the blessings that he received. In Job 19, he confessed again, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;” He made a correct confession of faith regarding afterlife. He will see God after death, which is the assurance of salvation. In chapter 23, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” He has the assurance of guiding by God. If you look at the last stories of Job, he receives blessings. Once you have faith regarding salvation, possession and walk of faith, you will receive the blessing of finance, health and next generation. Health, finances and children are the fundamental blessings. If you waste your life, you will lose all blessings from God. Being affluent is true success. Suppose there is an event at church. Helping the church is success. If you give offering towards church construction, then that is success. If you have kids who are people of faith like their parents, then you are successful. May you enjoy blessings through the accurate confession of faith. It is the confession of David. In Psalms 23, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Suppose you have victory in front of your rivals, that is a great victory. Isaac received 100 answers of victory in front of his rival, Abimelech. That confession of faith didn’t happen in the palace. He did this as a runaway. In order to receive correct guidance, he made a confession of faith. He had complete victory in all his battles. Do not be deceived by situations nor people! God has given that to you. You are just overturning it. You awaken yourself. You will receive blessings from above. Prove that you have the blessings from God. In Philippians 4, Paul confessed, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”. The Book of Philippians was written in the prison. Even though he was in prison, God was with him so that he was able to confess and praise God. God blessed him to be a great evangelist. Are you truly giving a confession of faith to God? We tend to only rely on relationships with other people. All the problems and crises are the opportunities to give thanks and praise God. Give thanks to God in all circumstances. Even though there are problems, all was ended on the cross. Once you have this spiritual content, respond spiritually, then things will pour down from heaven. You have to open your eyes. You have no experience with this, so you are worse off than non-believers or church-goers. They have no direction. They will go from church to church and complain. They might only give worship online. They live a barren life. I bless that all blessings will be yours.
3. The people in church history also received great answer after their confession
(1) Augustine’s repentance
(2) John Wesley’s rebirth
(3) Bill Bright’s devotion
First, you have Augustine. He wrote many great writings in church history. He repented his past. God is using him. He is trying to praise God above his life. He got a girl pregnant when he was 16. He was a bad kid and committed crimes. His mom tried to change him. He had no peace in mind. When he turned 30, he realized that the soul cannot be destroyed. He was desperate. He realized that he had no strength to overcome something lust. He was wandering. He wrote down his shameful past. It requires a great amount of courage to confess your shameful past. God blessed Augustine to the point where you learn about him in theology school. John Wesley graduated from Oxford. He would have Bible study every morning and attend communion once a week. On Fridays, he would fast. He would share the Gospel with those who are poor. He had an intense schedule. In order to live a Holy life, he would make himself holy. People would call him a Methodist. He went to America. He was on a boat, crossing the Atlantic. They met a storm. He questions his faith because there were those who were peace and praising God in the midst of storm. One day, he hears a sermon. The content of the sermon was that only through faith to believe Jesus Christ, God will work. He heard that. He had a burning passion in his heart. He confessed that he wasn’t faithful. He was living a religious life with ethics. John Wesley makes a confession. He experiences miracles. So we have Methodist churches now. Lastly, we need to know about Bill Bright. He established CCC which was college ministry. He imprinted the Bible verse Mt. 28:18-20, “Go to all nations and make disciples.” So, he was able to make the correct confession of faith before God. With his wife, they made a contract with God. Bill Bright was the son of an affluent man. He said that he would yield all possessions to Christ. He made a contract. Together, with his wife, he made a contract. From UCLA, he started a college ministry. There are over 196 nations who have his ministry. There are 25,000 works. There are 500,000 volunteers. He offers a lot of his money to the ministry. He likes to share the Gospel during his time. He has his statements of faith, 77 things. “He will serve Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ is a special person who moves the universe. I serve anything to Jesus Christ. Etc.” Bill Bright was the greatest. I felt a challenge when I read those sentences. When people don’t’ greet me, I feel upset and angered. That means I am old. It’s the heart that makes me want to be greeted. I think that I am special because I am a pastor. If it just simple think myself as dust, I wouldn’t have any of those thoughts.
Those who raise God, will be raised by God. Moses raised God in front of the Red Sea. He didn’t fear the Egyptians. He confessed to look towards God. In that situation, he raised God who performed the work of salvation and the Red Sea split. He was able to cross the Red Sea. Then, it collapsed as soon as everyone was safe while the Egyptians were killed off. Moses was raised by God. David was standing in front of Goliath. Everyone was scared. David was never shaken. David said that he was hear in the name of the Lord whom you are cursing. With one shot, he destroyed Goliath. Paul was jailed for evangelizing. At that time, he was praising God. He wasn’t lamenting his pains, but he was praising God. God moved the land and opened the jail. Paul said to believe in Jesus Christ so that you and your family may be saved. The families were all saved. Just because of that confession, God raised him. May you confess the name of our Lord. Then you will have the working of the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God will be upon you. You will be raised.
Dear God, we give thanks. May you fulfil your Word. In Jesus Christ name we pray, Amen.