November 6th, 2016
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Confirm Your Lifelong Covenant (Acts 1:1-8)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “Confirm your Lifelong Covenant”. There was an explorer named William Penn during the Age of Discovery. He actually was respectful towards Native Americans. Penn was nice to them, so the Natives made a joke. These Natives would say that he can take their land. However, they would only give a certain amount of land, the amount he could walk in one day. When the sun came up, he went walking. Then, he came back during the sunset. He held onto that promise. The Natives were surprised because they were joking. They were surprised at how he believed them. They were thankful for his efforts. They gave him the land and it was called Pennsylvania. The city of Philadelphia became a part of it. If you have a promise, then it can only be fulfilled with trust. If you keep the promise, then you can gain trust. Among our congregation, who do you think keeps their promise the best? It’s very difficult to point out one person. However, there is no one like God who can keep promises well. In this world, there are those who believe and follow God. Because He promise the Word, He fulfilled it. He fulfilled it with people. The Words that He gave towards nations were fulfilled. He even gave promises to nature and fulfilled it. He gave a promise to Adam regarding the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. He said that once you eat it, you will have to earn your living through labor. That was fulfilled. God gave the promise that women would have to suffer through the pain of child birth. Noah received the promise of the flood. Through the descendants, he would grow in numbers. He promised to Abraham and Sarah that they will have a child. It was fulfilled. God told Moses and Joshua that He would be with them. David would be anointed as king. A lot of prophets received the Word of God. They proclaimed the Word and it was fulfilled. All the Words were fulfilled. All the words were fulfilled. He said that the Israelites would perish. They would lose their country and scatter. It took place. God said that Babylon would fall and Persia will rise. Persia will fall and Greece will rise. Then the Roman empire would rise. All of it became true. All the promises came true. Even nature was fulfilled. During the age of Noah, we had a flood. They said that water would freeze and it became icebergs. There is a climate change right now and the icebergs are melting. Then, the ocean level will rise. If you happen to own a property on the beach, maybe you should get rid of that. With the profit, may you give offering. He said that we would have 4 seasons, and it took place. He said the offspring of woman will come and He would be the Messiah. If you hold onto the promise of God, then you can be victorious. God will utilize the people who will surely fulfill.
1. The field that we live in is surrounded by important problems
(1) Satan’s attack – Disaster and war
(2) World’s chaos – Crime and corruption
(3) People’s wandering – Idols and religion
Why are we doing this? This world is very sick and painful. Satan is bound to hell, so he keeps on attacking. The world is beyond chaos. If you look at the news, Syria’s situation is dreadful. Give thanks for your children being safe and able to study. Look at the terrorist attacks down by ISIS. This is a scary world. There are many natural disasters that come from climate change. There are many earthquakes. There are more people who commit crimes. Even in the political field, there are scandals. Even in this land, there is 0.1% of people who hold onto 90% of the wealth. The number of homosexuals and drug users are increasing. That’s why the people in the field are wandering. They fall into idols and religion. There are so many murders and robberies. This world has become a world in which you cannot trust yourself. Therefore, people fall into drugs. Because of this world, you have to hold onto the promise that doesn’t’ change. How?
2. Those who hold God’s important answer as the lifelong covenant have succeeded
(1) Be the source of blessings and save all people (Gen 12:2-3)
(2) Be the core member to do family and world evangelization (Gen 37:7,9)
(3) Take the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex 3:10)
In the Bible, there are people who held onto God’s important answer and succeeded. We will look at Abraham, Joseph and Moses. Within a family of idols, God called Abraham. He commanded him to leave his home and go to the land that God showed him. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." He held onto God’s promise. At first, he didn’t trust God. Because of Lot, he had problems. Later on, he became the ancestor of faith. He became an ancestor of believers. This is a surprising blessing. We all know that the family line of Abraham was blessed. Even though there are not a lot of people in the family line, they became a great group of people. The Jews dominate the economy and the awards for Nobel prizes. They have a vast influence in America. As a descendant of Abraham, Jesus came. Through Jesus, mankind gained the way of salvation. He said to save all people because you are the source of blessing. This lifelong covenant was fulfilled. Abraham held onto that. He made a lot of mistakes, but God still used him. Joseph is the appropriate example for this. When Joseph was young, he had 2 dreams. In Genesis 37, the stars, moons and crops were bowing down before him. They all respect him. The sun and moon are being respectful. The brothers were jealous of that. God fulfilled His hidden plan. He became a great individual who gave influence in Egypt. He was able to share the name of Jehovah God. He held onto that dream as a Covenant and enjoyed it. There is an evidence with that. Even though there are difficulties in his life, he was never discouraged. Everything took place in a dramatic way. He knew that God did everything. In Genesis 45, he confesses that God sent him ahead of time. God used him. That is how he confessed. Joseph’s brothers were living a good life, but their descendants ended up being slaves. Then, God called Moses. Moses responded. God told him not to come close because this place is Holy Ground. God said that He was the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face because he was afraid. God gave a promise. He said that He has seen the affliction of His people. He would free them from the hands of the Egyptians. As He was giving those words, He told him that He would send him to the Pharaoh to bring His people the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses said that he couldn’t do this because he is old. He was 80 years old. People are already retired by then. This is a great scene in the Bible. Moses refused it. God ends up persuading him and Moses follows through. A series of scary natural disasters happen. God splits the Red Sea and leads them to the wilderness. After all those difficulties, he led them to the land of Canaan. For 40 years, he fulfilled this with the lifelong covenant. This is a very emotional and great scene. There are other incidents in the Bible that are similar to this. They held onto this Word. Those people had a lifelong covenant. This is the message that God is giving. This is the content that God wants to share. God is the God of the covenant. The people who believe in him are the people of covenant. They were just following and keeping God’s promise. The Bible is divided into 2 parts, the Old and New Testament. The 66 books of the Bible are all about God gave the Covenant and how people have kept it. They have faith in that covenant and God fulfilled it. Through that Covenant, God worked and people were able to endure difficult events. What should we do?
3. God gave an eternal guarantee through Christ
(1) God the Father accompanies you eternally (Jn 14:6)
(2) He gave you eternal freedom from all your sins (Rom 8:2)
(3) He granted you eternal victory from the authority of hell (1John 3:8)
Let us talk about ourselves. It is true that we are a people of the covenant. We just took a look at 3 people in the Bible. God promised to Abraham that he would be a blessing. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ and receive all the blessings from God. The key source of blessing is in Jesus Christ. The essence of blessing is in Christ. The blessing that Abraham received is the shadow of Christ. The essence of this blessing is Christ. Joseph was able to conquer and save a nation. Jesus Christ is the one who saves all people. Moses went into Egypt and was able to free his people. He led his people into the promised land. Christ is the one who destroyed the authority of Satan. Christ is the one who will lead us to heaven. All the promises in the Old Testament signify Christ. You have the know that all the promises in the Old Testament were the shadows of Christ and the promises in the New Testament are the core of Christ. God wanted to give us Christ. Therefore, He chose us before creation. Why? It is in order to guarantee the eternal blessings in Christ. He is Jesus Christ. What is the meaning of Christ? It means the anointed one. It means the oil of the Holy Spirit. The anointment of the Holy Spirit means the filling of the Holy Spirit. God works through the Holy Spirit. We are sinners before God. Christ is guiding us. So, we can be with God eternally. One of the biggest fear when you get older is loneliness. There is no other pain as great as this one. Last week, my mom called me often. So, I thought That I made her lonely. As people get old, they will fall into loneliness. Suppose you are isolated. That is painful. When God is with you, that is the end of it. Last month, my father-in-law passed away, so my mother-in-law was in pain. My wife would call my sister-in-law. They wanted to buy their mother a puppy. Puppies are obedient. The people who are struggling with depression, often recover with pets. I bless that you would get parents pets. However, if pets are the only way to solve your depression, then that is a problem. Suppose you have a message for your students. Then, the you have to go to a prayer meeting. Then you would have to evangelize someone. You also have prayer topics for your children. Then, you have events to manage at church. If you live like that, would you need pets? If you raise dogs, then you have to spend a lot of money on taking care of them. Then after the dog passes, you will cry. God said to grow in numbers. I am not talking about culture shock of eating dogs. You have to entrust everything to God. Jesus Christ atoned for our sin. Jesus received judgment for us. So, we are free from the judgment. What happens if a person did something wrong? Suppose Clay did something wrong. What happens? I would always be full of worries and concern for him. Mankind has their own consciousness. They will always feel guilty. If you have the assurance that God will take care of all your sins, then that is the end. Christ has ended all your concerns and resurrected. He is in charge of those problems and is with you. Is that correct? People fear death because of hell. We are supposed to go to hell and receive judgment, but He has saved us. As a bonus, He gave us the power to defeat hell. We can live with this power. Christ has become our way, freedom and victory. He solved our loneliness. He gave us a surprising number of blessings and changed our identity from a child of the devil to a child of God. We have freedom. He gave us strength. Is there any other god or religion that can give this blessing? They only talk about good works and principles. Can you follow your own principle every day? You will often face hardships, and you cannot keep that up. What other religion is there? In this world, the servants died for the king. However, God, the king of kings died. He sacrificed Himself for us. He is our Father whom we must praise. The story in the New Testament is that we must have this lifelong Covenant. It includes the answer that the Early Church received. May you receive this. God is watching you and me. God knows your heart. I bless that you will conclude your life with Christ. God’s Holy Spirit can take place.
When those who serve Christ seek the kingdom of God, the power of the Holy Spirit will be with you. To those who have interest in God, the Holy Spirit will take place. The Early Church experienced this. The Biblical figures in the New Testament experienced this. May you confirm your lifelong covenant in Christ.
I give you thanks, precious Lord. May we confirm our lifelong covenant in the name of Christ. May all disasters crumble. May all forces of darkness change. May you save all those people who are in despair. The Christ in us seeks your kingdom of God. Maywe follow the miracles of the kingdom of God. in Jesus Christ name, we pray, Amen.