July 31st, 2016
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Absolute Goal for the Gospel Noble Family – Restoration of the Gospel (22)
The Covenant with God Makes Miracles (Jos 24:14-25)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “The Covenant with God Makes Miracles”. Tomorrow, I will be going to Korea to attend the World Remnant Conference in Korea. I will go to Incheon then go there. I will have to register for the conference. In order to receive my name tag, I need to verify my ID. That small name tag is all I need to enter. I need that to receive my meals as well. Then, I could listen to Pastor Ry’s messages. It is with that; I will have access to the conference. Our living walk of faith works the same way. If you possess one thing, you could access everything in your walk of faith. It is the fact of holding onto Jesus Christ correctly. With that one thing, everything will be given. “Only seek His kingdom and righteousness. Then, everything else will be given.” What does this mean? “Realize what is vital and hold onto it. Then God will grant everything else.” Today, we looked at Joshua 24. The same words appear in verse 13. “I gave you a land in which you did not toil and you eat of the plants that you did not plant”. Joshua understood the same principles of faith. He was heading towards his last days on earth. This was his last lecture. He was telling his disciples in Joshua 23. Then, he spoke to all people in Joshua 24. Joshua lived to the age of 110. He served Moses and watched his people have Exodus. He had realizations during that time. He is giving a vital message. When you look at the field of the world of arts, what is an eternal theme? It is love. Regardless of age, position or background, you will always see the theme of love. This is why people laugh or cry. Why? There is a revelation that God wants to share this with us. We should look at the expression of love. If you love one another, then you combine as one. You want to be together. If you love each other, you can do anything like create miracles. There are 3 vital effects. First, you want the other person to look to you only. If they don’t pay attention, then you become envious. You want everyone else to acknowledge that love and you hold ceremonies like weddings. If you don’t hold such ceremonies, then you will be disappointed. There ceremonies aren’t that vital. In Asian cultures like Korea, if you are living together without a ceremony, it is odd. It reflects a promise. The 3rd fact is that you prepare your future together. The husband will make a living and the wife will manage the finances. In order to live together for a while, you will prepare a house. As evidence of that, you will have kids. This is how people prepare. You want people to look to you. You want to express yourself through all others. 3rd, you prepare a future together. Don’t you think that God is the same way? If the other person is giving their attention to someone else, of course they will be envious. Going behind someone makes you disappointed and will scar you. If that love changes, then your disappointment will be great. Through a ceremony, that is how you will confirm. God presents you a gift, which are kids. Even if the passion and love dwindles, God will set up the device to maintain this love until the end. God loves us and is the exact same way. There is one thing that He desires from us. Joshua who was the national minister of Israel was aware of this. He knew that the love he had for God should be unchanged. God doesn’t want you to look at anything else. That’s why he wanted to make a covenant. In the same way, God desires disciples who are His spiritual children. Do you understand?
1. What God and the church pastor wants is only one thing.
(1) God values your current spiritual status (Jos 24:23a)
(2) God knows that you are unknowingly taking something else more precious than Him (Jos 24:23a)
(3) God wants you to love Him with all of your heart and will (Jos 24:14, 23b)
There is only one thing that God and the church pastor want to. God called us and created us. He wants us to love Him until the end. Joshua understood this, so he had a time to reflect on the past. God aided him. You will always see the same fact about God. It will show how God guided them. Abraham’s parents served a different God, but God called Abraham out of that. That is how they became the chosen people. They didn’t believe in God at first, but now they have faith in God. At one time, they served idols. Because people who understand the spiritual facts, they understand that the present is vital. In Luke 23, there is a scene when Jesus is crucified with 2 other criminals. One of the criminals is criticizing Jesus while the other condemns the other criminal. Jesus does not have any sin. The criminal tells Jesus to remember him in heaven. Jesus replied that he would be with Him in paradise. This is the place of judgment on the cross. In that moment, a criminal is asking Jesus to remember him and Jesus said that he would be with Him in paradise. Jesus responded with forgiveness. This is the fact that we are forgiven from all of our past. If you confess His name right now, He will save you. You don’t even remember what you did in your past, but Jesus has forgiven all. Therefore, what is vital is the current spiritual state. No matter what you did in the past, all that matters is your current spiritual state. We have a tendency to condemn others for their past. Other people have moved on, but you remain in your problems and scars. The way that God treats you is according to your current spiritual state. The Israelites received many answers and received their land. Joshua saw this. He saw that they were holding onto things that they deemed as greater than God. They experienced the Exodus and tasted the almightiness of God. They experienced God helping them. In the deep places of their hearts, they were holding onto other gods that they worshipped before. That’s why if you look at verse 23, it says, "Now then, throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." They serve and worship God, but they had hidden idols. Even today, believers know that they need to serve God correctly. There should be something you hold onto in your heart. You might wonder what I am talking about because you don’t do ancestral worship. In our hearts, we have habits of our old self. You might not consider them meaningful, but God knows everything, Joshua knew this. Joshua was convincing 200,000 people and gave them a confession. “He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you." The Israelites responded by saying that they would never do such a thing. Joshua understood that it was not easy. You might ask Joshua why he might have unbelief. This is the last chapter of Joshua, then we have Judges. After a while, the Israelites fall into unbelief and fall into idol worship. They see other foreigners worshipping foreign gods and they became well off. The Israelites are observing this. They look at the prosperity of other people and bring other foreign Gods. That is followed by disasters. There is so much suffering. They cry out in prayer. God, who is weak-minded, forgives them. It is this cycle that they repeat through the age of judges. Joshua already knew what was going to happen. As time passes, the cycle repeats due to the works of Satan. If we do not have our roots and natures of Gospel, then we have no choice but to do the same. it is difficult for us to do. The Israelites agreed to do so. They waver. So, what are we supposed to do?
2. Make a resolution and hold onto the covenant on your faith before God (Jos 24:16-18, 21, 24, 25-27)
(1) Your confession pleases God, and you receive His acknowledgement (Gen 15:6)
(2) Your resolution will touch God and you receive His help (Gen 22:1-13)
(3) Your covenantal pledge will draw out God’s work and presence forever (Gen 28:20-22, 31:13)
We need to confess our faith before God by creating a covenant. It is like a marriage ceremony. This is a reason why God wanted the Israelites to have a covenant. God asks the Israelites to serve the Lord only 4 times. In verse 14, 15, “fear the LORD, serve the LORD only!” In verse 16-18, they answered they would not serve any other God. Then, in verse 19, 20, Joshua said that if they do not do so, God will bring judgment. Then, in verse 21, the Israelites said that they would do so. Thirdly, again in verse 22, 23, Joshua is telling them that they must become witnesses. They replied that they would. Fourthly, Joshua said again in verse 23.” Now then, throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." The Israelites said that they would do so in verse 24. This should be it. You will see that they go through this 4 times. On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. Afterwards, Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD. After he questioned and had ceremonies 4 times, Joshua sends the Israelites away. Joshua is close to his death. What is he trying to get? It seems as if the Israelites are fooling around. Imagine a father on his deathbed, but the kids aren’t paying attention. Joshua knew how he needed to guide them to not lose the faith and to serve God correctly. Do you believe in this? You need to repeat “one heart, whole heart and continuation” You need to be imprinted and be rooted in this. You will make a nature. If not, you will fall. That is why people fall. Joshua was aware of the teachings of Moses. This is a recording of the confession of Moses in Deut. 6. This is what Moses recorded. He said to love the Lord with all your heart. Place them in your heart. Impress them onto your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you’re away. Look at all things with the Word of God. This is the reason why we give praise. We listen to the worship. Every Monday, we have service in Killeen, Tuesday: San Antonio, Wednesday: here and Temple, Thursday: here and Friday: here and Killeen. With all that worship, you should know what I am talking about. Why am I repeated this? We need imprints, roots and nature. We need to not waver. When 2 people are in love, they have a unity. This is a time, when you pay attention to the Lord, not the pastor. This is a time, when you confess the fact that Jesus is the Christ with your faith. If so, that is how you receive God’s acknowledgement. In Gen 15:6, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” That is how you can move the heart of the Lord. In Genesis 22, that is how Abraham came to His resolution. Without any hesitance, Abraham gives his only son to God. God’s heart is moved and He prepares a ram for sacrifice. What else can we do? We need to form a covenantal contract with God. God will be with you until the end. He will guide your every step. In Genesis 28, Jacob comes to a confession. “God will be with me and watch over me on this journey.” With that confession, God blesses him. It was God who was with Jacob. If we come to this contract with God, then He will fulfill His work. Today, may you confess this. Lord, you are the only Christ and living God. Come to resolution. Hold onto the command of making disciples in all nations. You will be used for evangelism. That is when it will be a part of your nature. The miracles will take place. Believe that your covenant will bear into miracles.
3. Prepare to have a strong conclusion in faith and life
(1) Joshua devoted himself until the end in order to fulfill God’s will through his life (Jos 24:15b)
(2) Joshua made his people completely serve God while he lived (Jos 24:31)
(3) Joshua received the resolution of the Israelites towards God and signed the covenant (Jos 24:25-27)
I pray that we will come to the correct conclusion of our life. If you have this imprint, root and nature, you will have blessings. Joshua used his life for God’s work. In verse 31, it says, “Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.” Joshua passes away at 110. Joshua had his predecessors and successors. They served the Lord. It is because during those days, he left a great impact on those people. This means that Joshua boldly and strongly left behind the covenant of Israel. We need to make our descendants not forget the covenant of God. This is the reason why we have concentrated training. Just like Joshua was able to conclude his life, we must do the same. God is the one who will answer. He will bring His work. He will grant us His miracles. When you look at the end of Joshua’s life, where did he end his ministry? It was Sechem. It is in verse 1 and 25. We are going to wrap up our service and look at the land that Joshua stayed. The place where Joshua passed away was Sechem. The Israelites dwelled there for 400 years. In Gen 33, Jacob left his home and arrived there. He camped there and bought this land. He changed the name of the land to “El Elohe Israel”, which means “Almighty Lord”. He changes the name of that region to the almighty name of the Lord. They arrive in this foreign land and glorify the Lord by changing the name of that land. Jacob came from Paddan Aram. Who stayed in this region? It was his uncle. Jacob was able to escape this land. This is where he struggles. He was barely able to escape. With a confused heart, he gives glory back to God. The Israelites dwelled in Egypt for a while because of Joseph. Joseph leaves his last words behind. "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place." Where did the people of Joshua take the remains of Joseph? In verse 32, they bury it in this place of Sachem. What else are they doing? Jacob struggled to get there, but gave glory to God. After 400 years, Joshua brings His people out of Egypt and this is where they return to give glory back to God. Sachem had a small beginning, but the end was great. Later on, they became prominent and famous people. The start was weak. They were able to return to this land. It is because they were able to hold onto this covenant. God will not give up. This is the reason why Sachem is a place of God’s confirmation of the Covenant. Our faith may be like Jacob’s, which had an unstable start. During our life of faith, we might have times when we move from place to place just like Joseph. Unbelievers might look at us as meaningless, but we have the great conclusion if we hold onto the covenant of God. In your life, you might feel like you have nowhere to go, but God’s miracles will take place in you if you hold onto His covenant.
The covenant connected with God will be completely fulfilled, and will be remained as an eternal evidence. (1 King 8:23, 2 Chor 7:18)
The covenant connected with God will be completely fulfilled, and will remain as an eternal evidence. Solomon makes this confession and answers with a blessing. In 1 Kings 8:23, he confessed, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below--you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.” God received his confession and blessed him. In 2 Chronicles 7:18, God says, “I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.” This means that the covenantal contracts we have with God will be fulfilled. You need to have this covenant. That is the model family of the Gospel.
Almighty Father God, thank you for giving us the covenant and calling us as your children. We give you our thanksgiving for you have called us as your children of salvation. We believe that you are our Fathers, so may we look to you. Help us to be connected to you through our covenant. May we enjoy the heavenly realms. We believe that you will give us answers through the covenant. We pray that this word will be imprinted in us and become our nature. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.