August 21st, 2016
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Gospel of Relationship (In Christ) (Rom 12:5)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “Gospel of relationship in Christ”. When I was in Elementary school, there was a guest in my house. It was an old man. He was short. This old man was giving greetings to my late father. He said, “Uncle, I’m here”. He looked like a farmer from the country side. It was the first time I saw him. His feet smelled. My father told me to greet him. So I greeted him. Why? He’s my father’s family member. Even though he gave me an unpleasant impression, he is still my family member. So I greeted him. I couldn’t be emotional nor show feelings. My father asked me if I was okay. He thought that since I was young, I couldn’t stand bad smell. It’s not that I had a nice personality. Once I realized that he was my uncle, my attitude changed. This was 50 years ago and my father felt proud of me because I was kind to my uncle. Last time, Isaac’s sister came. She was a flight attendant in Qatar. I asked about that place. In order to do business there, you need to have a relationship with a local person. In order to open like a bakery, you need a coworker to support you. If you don’t have a relationship with a local person, you cannot do anything. You need to make a relationship with the locals to do business. Recently, there is a culture that’s emerging in China called “Guan Xi”. It means relationship. If you don’t form relationships that acknowledge each other, you cannot be friends. If so, then you can solve difficult problems. Even the easiest problems will be unsolvable if you don’t have relationships. Sometimes, we are in difficult situations. These are examples of how relationships are vital in our lives. Younger people don’t know about this. May they open their eyes to see relationships. May you receive blessings from it. We have made a conclusion that the Gospel is everything. This Gospel is the blessings of relationships.
1. God’s Word (the Bible) is a recording of the blessings you receive through relationships
(1) Abraham and Lot (Gen 12:4, 13:9, 14:14-16, 18:22-23)
(2) David and Mephibosheth (2Sam 9:10-11)
(3) Paul and Onesimus (Phm 1:10)
Who is our ancestor of faith? It was Abraham. He had a nephew, Lot. God called Abraham to leave his homeland. He took Lot with him. Lot’s father passed away earlier. So, Abraham felt like he had to take care of him. In Genesis 12, it talks about how Abraham went with Lot. They also owned property. They decided to divide property. Abraham gave Lot a choice. He informed him that if you go left, I would go right and vice versa. If the uncle says this, what should the nephew say? He should respond by saying that the uncle should choose first. However, Lot said that he would go this way because he was immature. Honestly, he was a jerk. After time passes, there was a war in Lot’s land. The people in that land became slaves. The land was stolen. Abraham heard about it. If it was me, I would’ve thought that it serves him right. However, how did Abraham respond? He sends his personal soldiers to go into that land to rescue him and restore the land. In Genesis 14, they were able to restore Lot’s land. They were able to restore everything that the family had. They were doing this rescue mission. Abraham is a great individual. If I was Lot, I would ask for forgiveness, but he didn’t. There was a disaster in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asked what God would do if there was just 50 righteous people in that land, would you still destroy it? What about only 10 righteous people? God said He wouldn’t do it. Abraham was begging God to not destroy the land because Lot was living there. Lot had no manners and many faults. Why is Abraham blessings Lot and being nice to him? It may be because Abraham is a nice person. It’s actually because he is a part of his family. In 2 Peters, it talked about how Lot was righteous. Even if he lacked in personality, he did have faith and followed God. He was Abraham’s physical and spiritual family member. 1 family within 1 God and 1 father. So it’s the relationship where there is 1 father and 1 God. Lot was nearly abandoned. God only wanted Abraham to get out of his home. He shouldn’t have taken Lot but he took him. He saved Lot, who was about to suffer from disaster. It was because they had a relationship. I would give another example. Who is the greatest king of Israel? It was David. There was a person called Mephibosheth in the Bible. He was the grandson of King Saul. He was the son of Jonathan. He was close to David. They had a strong bond. Jonathan’s father was jealous of David, so he wanted to kill him, but Jonathan saved David. Jonathan and David had a vital friendship. After that, the family of King Saul perished. Through the war, they perished. Then, David became king and had to do a ceremony during a drought. They had to take all the family members of Saul, however, he only saved Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was handicap because he was injured. He wasn’t useful. David treats him as a prince and had a meal. He takes him as a prince. Why? It’s because he is the son of Jonathan, who saved David’s life. Jonathan passed away through war, but was in between their relationship. Because of the relationship between the 2, Mephibosheth was saved. I will give another example. Who is the greatest evangelists in the age of the New Testament? It was Paul. He had a relationship with Onesimus. Who is he? Amongst the disciples of Paul, there was one called Philemon. He worked with Titus. Onesimus was a servant. He actually stole property from his master and ran away. He was a thief. He ran away from his work. He was imprisoned. He meets Paul and he gives the Gospel. Onesimus repents and became a Christian. Paul writes a letter to Philemon that Onesimus received the Gospel. Even though he hurt you, I will send him back to you. How did Philemon answer? He received Paul’s words and accepted it. He raised him. Onesimus becomes the leader of faith. Because of relationships, people can be saved or die. I met my family in Korea. We had a family meeting regarding the tomb of my late father. I met my father’s family members. Every one of them were struggling. I felt sorry for them. I honestly wasn’t interested in them. I felt sorry for myself. I think that I was taking more care of my wife’s family. I even adopted the children of my sister in laws because they had to study here. I took care of them. Because of the relationship with my wife, I was able to do that. What if Philemon didn’t accept Paul’s request? From the viewpoint of Philemon, Onesimus was a bad person, but he was able to accept Onesimus due to the relationship with Paul. What if Jane and David didn’t study and made trouble nor had faith. What would happen? They wouldn’t be thinking the relationship between their mother and me and my wife. They would be showing their immaturity. This is an example. Why do I have to give extreme examples? This is the key to realizing the Gospel.
2. God’s salvation (the Gospel) comes from the relationship between Christ and you
(1) God’s choice (Eph 1:4)
(2) Christ’s redemption (Eph 1:7)
(3) Our perfection (Col 1:28)
We are all God’s children. We will go to heaven. How? It’s not because of your actions nor behavior. Raise your hand if you think so. Are you more rightful than Pharisees? Pharisees are great people. They protect the law of God. They are members of the Sanhedrin. They try hard to follow God’s word. They need to have a recommendation by more than 3 people. They give the most tithe. Raise your hand if you are strict on your tithe. However, they give even more, especially on festivals. If you calculate all those days, you are giving more than 20%. You need to give at least that much to be on the same levels. They fast twice a week. We go crazy after skipping 1 meal. They protect many laws. Can you follow this? I cannot. We shouldn’t go to heaven because of it. How can we be saved? We should go to hell. However, we can go to heaven. That is in the Bible. There are facts written in the Bible that we haven’t heard of him. God chose us from long ages past. It is in Ephesians 1:4. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” He chose us within Christ before the creation. What does it say in Ephesians 1:7? “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Sinners can go to heaven now because they are forgiven within Christ. We must grow. We must be complete. In Colossians 1:28, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Why is God doing all this? It is because of Christ. God gives judgment. Christ is between us and God. We were supposed to be judged, but now we are exempt. When we pray, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Why does God abandon some people who suffer? Why is God abandoning children who perish in war? If you refuse the Gospel by citing the examples, it may seem like God doesn’t love us. However, they don’t know. Because Adam fell into Genesis 3, his descendants fell into destruction. We are in a downfall. We have no choice but to fall down. It doesn’t matter if you’re nice. It doesn’t matter how nice we are, we have to go to hell. However, Christ took us out of that. People often complain because they don’t know. Through Jesus Christ, we are sons of God. Thanks to Him, our sins are forgiven. We have received the authority to have victory over Satan through Jesus. That’s why we teach the Sunday school children about the authority of Christ. That’s why we emphasize only Jesus Christ. We have a new relationship with God because of Jesus Christ. This Gospel is earned through Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus Christ, God is nice to us. May you truly enjoy the blessings of Jesus Christ. We are in a downfall. We were supposed to fall into Hell. However, thanks to Christ, God’s wrath had been quelled. We became righteous because of Jesus. We have a commission to save the world. This is great blessings. We should shout out and proclaim, “In Christ”. When we reside in Christ, that is when you are truly saved. When you reside in Him, then you have abundance. When we reside in Christ, that’s when we receive answers the quickest. May you have victory in your life because of Jesus.
3. God’s desire (the kingdom) is becoming one with the Church within Christ
(1) Before God’s throne (Heb 4:16)
(2) Amongst the church saints (Rom 12:5, Eph 4:32)
(3) To the souls in the field (1Cor 15:22)
What’s the desire of God? It is to form His kingdom. It is to become 1 in the church because of Jesus. Thanks to Christ, we are saved. Apply this to your life to have realistic answers. You will realize that the Gospel is a relationship. It is the true relationship with God. Once we have this relationship with God, everything will go well. May you not just look up to Christ. May you be bold to forward the throne of God’s grace. In Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Then you can rely and entrust on everything because of Jesus. You need a relationship with the church saints. Each saint needs a relationship with Christ. Elder Moon has received salvation. Christ is His Lord. If I have an uncomfortable relationship with Elder Moon, then that means I have an uncomfortable relationship with God. In Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Having uncomfortable relationships with your sibling means that you have uncomfortable relationship with God. It means you don’t have faith. It’s just that the person wouldn’t realize it. The bad relationship between saints means that there’s a bad relationship with God. This is the principle of body. We must have fellowship and go to worship. God called on Paul and asked why he persecuted Him in Acts 9. Jesus did not ask why he persecutes His family, but why he persecuted me. He was Jesus, whom he was persecuting. Has Saul met Jesus? He had never met Him. Jesus asked why he did so. Because people of the church do not have this relationship, nothing takes place. They don’t know. If they continue to not have works take place, it will become their nature. They will only have unbelief. People will complain. That cycle will continue. Saul was persecuting the church members and Jesus. May we realize what I say. The Christians don’t know about this. Buddhists are probably better. I have a sister who’s 11 years older than me. She’s a sincere Buddhist. I have an aunt as well. They were once enemies. It’s uncomfortable. I had to go to a family meeting. Maybe because she was influenced by my aunt, she speaks formally to me. She told me that they reconciled their relationship. My uncle passed away, so she’s alone. My older sister would cook dishes for her. I complimented them for reigniting their relationship. A person told me his prayer topic. His father and uncle were having trouble and were suing each other. The younger brother borrowed 2 billion won, he only paid half back. So, the other brother was angry and sued. Then, I shared the Gospel and they accepted Christ. The father came to where I was and I preached the Gospel. He was a new believer. His younger brother was an elder. The older brother couldn’t believe it and stopped going to church because of his younger brother. He said that the place that is most untrustworthy is the church and you can’t trust elders and deacons. It’s a big amount, and it hurt me. Buddhists can reconcile easily, but Christians can never do that. Jesus said that He would judge the church first. It’s not a relationship between men. It is a relationship with Jesus. May you truly realize this and be blessed. How do you look at souls in the field? It is in 1 Corinthians 15:22. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” In 1 Timothy 2:4, “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” It is a desire of God. This is what God wants from us.
May you think within Christ. May you act through Christ. Speak through Christ. Those people who receive the great blessings of God, may you hold onto Christ who restores the relationship with God. May you restore the blessing of relationships.
Dear Father Lord, I thank you for saving us. I confess that all things were solved because of Christ. May we enjoy the blessings of relationships. May we truly realize the importance of it. We can experience and enjoy the ancestors of faith. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen.