October 2nd, 2016
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Gospel of Resolution (Acts 20:22-24)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “Gospel of Resolution”. I bless you in the name of the Lord. There are a few important resolutions that I made in my life. When I was working as a public official, I was wondering if I could study theology. With God’s grace, I was able to be guided. In 1995, I made a resolution to come to America. I started 3 years earlier in 1992, but the doors wouldn’t open. I thought that the doors would never open, but 3 years later, it opened. Afterwards, I was afraid. I took my 3 kids here to America. I had doubts because I wondered if I could live and provide for them here in America. I was able to survive thanks to God. In 2003, I was living in Dallas. Then, I had to move to Austin. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t prepared. I didn’t speak much about it, but my body was sensing that I was nervous. Because my body felt nervous, I worked out. I made a resolution that didn’t sound like a resolution. We all have serious resolutions. In the Jewish Talmud, there is a quote. “There are 3 things you must not waste: yeast, salt and hesitancy. You need the right amount of yeast in order to bake food. You need the appropriate amount of salt to add flavor. If you hesitate too much, then you won’t be able to make decisions. There is a reason behind this. There was a Native American custom. The daughters of the tribal leaders would get educated on life. They are brought into a field of corns. They can’t turn back. As they look left and right, they have to pick the biggest corn that they see. The majority of them pass through the field without discovering the best corn. It’s because they can’t tell if this is the best corn. They think that there might be a better one further down. These daughters have to get married. In order to be trained for that, this is a lesson. The daughters have the privilege of whom to marry. Choosing one person isn’t easy. The corns growing in 1 field are similar. They don’t have to hesitate. Everyone has a time when they have to make a big decision. Suppose that you have a friend of the opposite sex. You have to figure out if you want to be with them. You also have to figure out which should you want to go to. In marriage, you have to figure out if a person if good enough to live with you. Sometimes, people make the incorrect decisions. Having a wise resolution is vital.
1. There are benefits to those who make a resolution
(1) Discovery of your best
(2) Attitude of concentration
(3) Choice towards the goal
It’s discovering your best. You can make a decision once you find that this is the best for you. Without this, you will end up wandering in life. Having a decision is the greatest problem to solve. Once you have made a resolution, you will have an attitude of concentrating on it. Those who make the correct resolution have a lower chance of failure. In a Chinese proverb, there is a saying, “Once you make a resolution, all the demons will flee”. Things will take place well. Being able to concentrate means you have a goal. You will have results as a fruit. Even the Talmud says this. In order to have success, you need to pull or push. You need to tackle one thing. May you have the courage to make a resolution. I have been talking about the resolution of people seeing and of people who have seen. We are the people of God who must save the successful people. How does the Word of God talk about resolutions?
2. God uses those who make resolutions
(1) Ruth who made a resolution to take care of her mother-in-law Naomi until the end (Ruth 1:18)
(2) Solomon who made a resolution to build the temple, knowing its meaning (2Chr 2:1)
(3) Ezra who made a resolution, knowing how urgent the word movement was (Ez 7:10)
(4) Daniel whom made a resolution to not eat food served to an idol (Dan 1:8)
(5) Paul who made a resolution to share the Gospel, who is more precious than his life, until the end (Acts 20:24)
God uses those who make resolutions. In the Bible, there is a person named Ruth. She was able to go with her mother-in-law. Grave things happened prior to that. Ruth had her family-in-law and her own family. She left her home and moved far away. All the males within her family died. In her family, only the females were left. There were no males in the family, she couldn’t live. Then, her mother-in-law calls them for a conversation. She said to her two daughters-in-law to go back to their mother’s home. The other daughter-in-law obeyed that and left. Although, Ruth wanted to stay with her. “"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth was able to believe in the covenant. She made this resolution because of the covenant. This scene was rare. If you don’t pay attention, you will just think that Ruth is a person who is just respectful. Beyond that, she had the covenant to hold onto. She wasn’t just being respectful. She believed in the promise that God will restore everything through His covenant. I believe that you will follow this path as well. If you have a walk of faith based on your status, you won’t be rooted. You won’t grow. Because you cannot grow, you cannot bear fruit. May you be able to open your spiritual eyes to see this. Ruth had a strong faith. She found a place to work, while living with her mother-in-law. She was gathering seeds. She gets a blessing of meeting. She gets married to a rich man, named Boas. As she was living with this marriage, she gets an answer of being the ancestor of Jesus Christ. She is the great-grandmother of David. She wasn’t considering her situation, she had the blessing of being a gospel noble family. I believe that God prepared all those blessings. There was another person, Solomon. He knew the meaning of the temple. He knew the meaning. What is a temple? It is a place where you worship God. Solomon knew that. All blessings coming from God. It’s not idolatry. We only have 1 true God. He even devoted more for the construction of the temple. God knew that and He didn’t abandon Solomon. He poured down great wisdom. A lot of people receive this blessing, but lack wisdom so they lose it. Solomon becomes one of the greatest kings of Israel. The area that he ruled over is the greatest among all kings. He received the greatest honor among the world. A lot of people would greet him. We know who Solomon used to be. His father was David. He had an inappropriate background. As he held onto the covenant and made a resolution, all things were resolved. He was successful. Your own background doesn’t matter with the covenant. It’s the resolution that overcomes all solutions. We have Ezra. He made a resolution inside of his heart. He knew how vital the Word was. The Israelites were conquered by neighboring nations because they lost ahold of the Gospel. Ezra makes a resolution before God. Because of that, he becomes a main figure to restore Israel and take the country back. Daniel made a resolution of not eating the food being served for Babylonian idols. The country failed because of idolatry. He made a resolution to be acknowledged by God, but not by people. Today’s scripture is about Paul’s confession of faith. He makes a resolution. This Gospel has a greater value than his life. He would share this Gospel until the end. Paul persecuted Christians before. However, this Gospel changed his life. The Gospel can save us, we had no choice but to fall into Satan. He realized that the Gospel is the desire of God. That is what he realized. It is the Gospel that can give freedom eternally. It can change mankind’s fate. The Gospel is something that breaks down the forces of Satan. May you receive new strength when you realize the Gospel. Because Paul made a resolution, he made a successful resolution. If you take out Paul in church history, there is no church history. That is how vital he was. Because of his resolution, we now have the Gospel. Those who make resolutions will receive God’s blessings. May you have a resolution just like Paul.
3. God wants you to make a resolution today
(1) The resolution of serving God, the Creator as your Father (Jn 1:12, Rom 8:15)
(2) The resolution of being a worshipper before God, the Creator (Jn 4:23-24)
(3) The resolution of sharing the Gospel of grace given by God, the creator (Rom 1:16, 1Tim 2:4, Acts 1:8, 2Tim 4:2, Acts 20:24-26, Ezek 3:18-21)
Let us receive this amazing blessing of the Gospel. Why? God wants you to. What kind of resolution must you make before God, the Creator? He is the Creator of the world. He knows all. God wants to call you Him a Father. You become His children. As the sons of God, you confess that God is your Father. Just like Ruth confessed to her mother-in-law, we must also confess. This is the salvation through Jesus Christ. Christ is the way to meet God. When Peter makes a confession, he gets blessings. Peter makes this confession of faith. He confesses that He is the Christ and the Son of the living God. The moment, you do so, the spiritual realm will be changed. Your belonging and status will change. Your ID will change. You have the eternal ID as a child of God. The Holy Spirit will be with you. Even though you are living in this world, you have the background of heaven. The Bible says that you have the citizenship of heaven. Once you realize and confess who Christ is, God will change everything. How can you do so? “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of being a child of God. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." God will no longer be irrelevant to you. God gives judgment to every single person. You make a resolution when you can confess God, the Father. You will receive Ruth’s blessing. Christ is the way to meet God so He will make you His child. He took all the forces of sin on the cross. He didn’t die miserably. He atoned for all sins and resurrected. If you believe that Christ resurrected, then you will have the great power of God. The Son of God came to destroy the works of the Devil. Jesus Christ came 2000 years ago and broke the forces of darkness. You often worry about finances and family. God gave you the power to break this force of darkness so that you may not have any worries. You might have troubles or worries. You are being influenced by the spirit of the devil that brings about confusion. You might sway back and forth. That is the work of the forces of darkness. Once you confess that the Lord brings success, then He will bring you success. We call that Christ. Who is this Christ? Is it Mohammed? Is it Buddha? Is it Confucius? Jesus is the Christ. Only He can be the Christ. He is the only one whom God sent as the solution of mankind. You must realize that Jesus Christ isn’t simple a leader of Christianity, the main figure of Christmas nor just a great person. He existed from the start. He is God. Jesus is the one who created the world. He is the one who mobilized all living beings. At the end of the age, He is the one who judge everything. You will realize the truth once you know the fact that Jesus is the start and the end. The 66 books of the Bible talk about this. Knowing the Gospel is knowing that He died and resurrected for us and coming back. You serve that creator God as your Father. You must make a resolution of being a worshipper before God, the creator. In John 4:23-24, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." In this world, there are many religions. There are so many selfish people or people who fall into humanism. You are not worshipping with your own humanistic thoughts, but you worship God following the will of God, which is the Word of God. It may look like you’re listening to the sermon of the pastor, but you are listening to God’s voice. Once you move towards God, God will work towards you. God will make accomplishments. The forces of darkness will crumble. That is why you can say that success in worship means success in life. Let us find evidence. Wanamaker and Rockefeller received God’s blessings. Rockefeller followed his mother 40 minutes before worship and prayed for success in worship. He became one of the wealthiest people of the age. He constructed churches and universities. You should look up John Wanamaker. He is the one who established the department stores of America. The president of America saw that he was working well. So he called him out to work for him. Wanamaker was thankful, but he declined because he had to worship on Sundays. So the president conceded and allowed him to worship on Sundays. Jimmy Carter was a former president of America. He said that working as a Sunday School teacher was happier for him than as a president. You should look up how former presidents live after their term. Jimmy was able to give great influence in American society. This proves that those who worship God can do anything. Once you hold onto something that is absolute, God will give inevitable answers. May you become witnesses of this. Once you have this covenant, God will give answers. When I was in college, I didn’t know how to receive this blessing. So I would study instead of worship. Even if I went to church, I would study instead. You need a personal time with God. God will give wisdom and knowledge. You must have experience in your lives. God will be able to do everything for you. Even if you hear one thing, you will realize 10 different things. You will have 1000 fruits. That’s why God called you as that kind of person. It’s not a level of having a correct or incorrect walk of faith. Believe in this so you will have faith. Paul said that he is not ashamed of the Gospel. Why? It is God’s desire for all people to receive salvation. Once you fulfill all desires, you can receive blessings. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” Because Paul had a resolution towards Timothy, he relayed that. In Ac 20:22-24, Paul made a resolution to preach this Gospel, so he was able to declare to everybody that he was innocent of the blood of all men in verse 26. In Ezekiel 3, God will hold you accountable for his blood. God doesn’t miss anything and rewards you for everything. Once you make this resolution, the power of the Holy Spirit that was with Paul will accompany you. Let us make a resolution and pray together. May you use this time to confess God, the Father, if you have never done so. Confess that you would like to serve His, as a Son. Hold your right hand over your heart and close your eyes. May you truly have a personal confess towards God. Confess that God is the true creator and my Father. Even if you have been a Christian or have not received any blessings of worship, but would like to, place your right hand over your heart. If you are a Christian from birth and have been going to church for years, but would like to save people, put your right hand over your heart. If you would like to be a man of the Gospel, do so as well. If you desire to become a man of worship, prayer and evangelism, do so. If you want to receive this answer of creation, do so as well.
Dear Father God, I confess that only you are the true God. Even though my parents have never taken care of me, I confess that God knows me. I confess that you know my issues. I confess that you are my eternal and realistic Father. May you take me as your son and child. I confess that even though I’ve been going to church for a while, I have never received the blessing of worship. I would like to experience the completeness of the Word that is living and working. I make a resolution to move on You as a true worshipper. May you give me the strength so I can save people who are going to hell. I resolve to fulfill your plan of evangelism. I believe that you are responsible for me as my Father. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.