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  • Aug 09 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The Willingness of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Willingness of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)

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The Willingness of Jesus

Matthew 8:1-4 (Pastor Brian)

The Man With Leprosy

1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

This is the first personal miracle that’s recorded in Matthew (also recorded in Mark and Luke). It shows how important this was to God that it was recorded in the three synoptic gospels.

Mark: “The man was covered in leprosy.” (There are different stages)

It was regarded as “living death” – losing nerve sensation, fingers falling off, toes falling off, stop blinking (become blind) – it’s a degenerative disease. Thankfully today, there are cures although many people still contract it. Now it is controllable – you can’t back up what’s already happened, but it can be controlled.

This disease is often a picture of sin in our lives. It starts small, but increases, increases, increases, and eventually brings death.

Luke knew that this person was in the last stages of leprosy (covered with leprosy).

Jesus had just taught the Sermon on the Mount (Beatitudes “Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, …”). He’d been teaching up there, coming down and the multitudes followed him. One of the gospel writers wrote, “Behold, a man with leprosy came to him and worshiped him saying, ‘If you are willing, make me clean.'”

This must have been surprising – this guy should have been socially distanced from the crowd. He was not supposed to have been in that environment, near other people. He should have been in isolation (quarantine), desperation, adoration (later).

This wasn’t the only person who came to Jesus who wasn’t supposed to. Remember the woman who was bleeding for 12 years? Ceremonially unclean, but she pressed into Jesus, and touched him garment. “Your faith has made you well.”

This is now the masculine version of that story. The man pressed in and said, “If you are willing, make me clean.”

It was forbidden to even touch lepers, it was like touching a dead person. Yet, he said, “I am willing.”

But this is not the only instance where he was “willing” – sometimes, he did miracles even from a distance. But to show compassion to the leper, he reached out and touched him. And “immediately” the leprosy left him.

This also is a kind of new birth – being born again. “I’m no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God.” (How do you know?)

Paul “We are also his offspring, his children” (God as Creator). We are all born and exist because God exists and gives life. But there’s a spiritual death that’s attached to that. There’s a need to be “born again” – “born from above.”

To do so, we need to recognize our sin nature, and receive a new birth.

That song, “I’m no longer a slave to fear” reminds me of John Wesley. He was brought up religiously, went to the US, taught people, tried to do good to lots of people, was on his way back from America and the ship was in trouble. He was very fearful.

He noticed Moravians – they were praying, they weren’t concerned with death / destruction. He was amazed that they were so calm. As he spoke to them, he realized he was lacking. He needed Christ and the new birth.

He changed, his heart was “strangely warmed” and was experiencing the “new birth.” It was changing him and would change his ministry. Have you experienced this new birth? Are you a child of God?

Jesus challenged the religious leader, Nicodemus, and said, “It is necessary to be born from above” (by the spirit of God).

The picture of the leper is the picture of us before we encounter Christ. John Wesley experienced that and changed history in England (during the French Revolution). It is said that due to the preaching of Charles and John Wesley to be “born again” that there was not so much destruction in England during that period as there was in France.

This leper now was in isolation, and therefore (on the point of death) in desperation. He came to Jesus and called him “Lord (Yhwh)” for the first time. He knew that Jesus had the power, but…was he willing?

“If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

For Jesus to touch the man, that would have made Jesus ceremonially unclean – but he wasn’t an ordinary man – and he wanted to show his willingness to cleanse him, so he touched him.

“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded.”

In Mark, he didn’t obey this command, but rather went around and told everyone of his healing.

He went and told when Jesus had told him not to. But WE do the opposite. Jesus says, “Go and tell” but we don’t.

So we should be ready to let our light shine and go and tell.

Leprosy was a terrible disease. In the OT, Naman was a great general, had great victories, had such wonderful things going for him, but “was a leper.” He sent to the Israeli king who said, “How can I do this thing?” So then he sent a servant to Elisha the prophet.

He expected Elisha to come out and pray and lay hands on him, but he didn’t. He said, “Go and bathe in the (dirty) river 7 times” (via messenger).

Naman was upset! What? But his servant said, “if he’d told you to do something hard, you’d have done it without question, so why question something so easy?” He “ate humble pie” and went and did it.

Now, in church, it’s not enough to just observe and show the outward signs of “religion.” Have you truly acknowledged your leprosy? Have you humbled yourself? Have you experienced the new birth?

Miram – sister of Moses – on the way out of Jesus, she (and her brother Aaron) spoke out against their brother (also upset about his marriage to an outsider). God came to them in the Tabernacle and honored him. “With Moses I speak face-to-face.” When the cloud went up, Miram had leprosy on her. Aaron cried out “Pray that this will be taken away!” Moses did and it was healed. It is said of Moses he was the most humble person on earth (generally).

The leper is on his way to see the priest and the problem was that the priest had to get out his manual to see what to do (he didn’t know offhand because cleansing from leprosy was so rare – maybe he checked Leviticus 14).

In Leviticus 14, we read about what happens when a person is cleansed from leprosy. It doesn’t say HOW he is cleansed, but if a person HAD leprosy, they were to be isolated outside the camp (so as not to be contagious). If, while outside, he saw that the leprosy had gone, he would have to tell the priest, who would have to go out to examine him. Now, the ordinances / rituals to consider him clean in the eyes of God / people involved some symbolism in the sacrifices:

  1. Two living birds were taken,
  2. one killed in a clay pot over running water (living water – taken from a stream – not from a well),
  3. this bird was sacrificed over the pot, the blood going into the water.
  4. The other bird was dipped into the blood of the dead bird,
  5. with cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop

Hyssop was a herb used to paint blood of the lamb on the posts in Egypt during the Exodus – remember the last plague was death of the first born – and this causes the Pharaoh to release the Israelites – this also is a picture of God’s judgment and mercy,

Hyssop was also used at the cross. He said 7 statements, one of which, “I thirst.” They put sour wine on a clump of hyssop and he drank of it

Also David – in his Psalm of Penitence after committing adultery and murder (he paid for it), acknowledging his sin. The prophet said his sin was forgiven, but that the sword would never pass from his house. He wrote, “Cleanse me with hyssop and I’ll be white as snow.”

  1. Cedar wood
  2. Scarlet yarn
  3. Live bird
  4. Hyssop

Dipped into the blood of the killed bird.

This is a picture of Jesus. He died, and shed his blood. The second bird, dipped, and released.

  • Dead bird = Jesus’ death
  • Live bird = Jesus’ resurrection

This is a good picture of the foreshadowing of the coming of Christ – that those who believe in him would be declared righteous before a holy God.

Leprosy: The priest would go out, inspect, declare him clean, perform the sacrifice, the person would come back but stay outside his tent for 7 days. On the 8th day, lamb sacrifice:

Guilt offering, to the Lord

Then, the priest (usually did the same when set apart for ministry), applied blood from the lamb to the earlobe (hear the word of God), the thumb (do the will of God), and the big toe (go, work for the will of God).

There was also a drop of oil, that would be smeared over the blood on the three locations. This is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

  • Cleansed by the blood,
  • Filled / led by the Spirit

These things are very symbolic of Jesus and his ministry. The disciples walked with Jesus, were cleansed by him, but also told to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit after he rose again.

Even after Jesus’ Resurrection, they didn’t quite have the whole picture. They thought that Israel would be restored as a great kingdom, but Jesus told them to wait for Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came, filled them, and they were emboldened to speak the Word – they had yet been slaves to fear, but the Holy Spirit gave them courage and power.

Peter, denied Christ 3 times in fear, yet after receiving the Holy Spirit, he preached in the public square and thousands came to Christ in one day.

Sometimes getting “born again” isn’t easy.

Philip Yancy became friends with Dr. Paul Brand who did tremendous things in finding healing for leprosy. He was able to recover parts of the body that had been destroyed. Yancy spent about 10 years with him and was amazed.

In India, the lowest of the low castes were those with leprosy. But these were the people that he ministered to. Yancy said once, “Pain is a gift” because lepers lose their sense of pain. Much of their trouble comes from doing dangerous things and not feeling it (fire, nails, knives, etc).

“Pain is a gift” – if you feel hurt, you know to avoid it or fix it. But a leper can’t feel the pain. This increases the problem, the hurt, etc.

In the spiritual realm too, there is an application. “When the HS comes, he’ll convict the world of sin, righteousness, judgment.”

CS Lewis also wrote that during the process of his coming to Christ, he was probably the most reluctant person in England. There was a wrestling “Will I really receive Christ? Am I really in need of forgiveness?” There can be pain in spiritual things and the new birth, it’s not easy, but it’s important to recognize our own leprosy “I need to get cleansed” and not let it back into our lives.

If you die in your sins, that’ll be a lot more pain that the pain you’re currently experiencing or the pain of acknowledging Christ as Savior. Receive that pain as a gift. Become a part of the family of God.

The priest, later, after the man was cleansed would speak of his healing, and the man would become a child of God.

Once we acknowledge that Jesus takes our sins away, this is a gift. Have you received this gift? Are you appreciating it?

Keep on keeping on – appreciate it, we need constant reminders.

Some Christian leaders are now abandoning their faith – why? There’s a need for continuance. “Make your calling sure; persevere.”

Remember the 10 lepers who were healed? They weren’t as daring as this one. They stood far off and cried out to him. Jesus said to show themselves to the priest – and on the way they were cured. ONE came back and praised and thanked him, “Where are the other nine?” (He was a Samaritan – despised). “Go, your faith has saved you.”

Remember to be thankful for what God has done for you.

“Once you were dead in your trespasses and sins, but now you are alive in the Lord.”

During Jesus’ ministry, lepers were looked down on. Even rabbis would throw stones at lepers and not even walk down the street where one was.

Yet, Jesus was willing to put his hand out and touch the leper and heal him. He’s willing to touch and heal us.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 24 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior (John 3:10-21)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior (John 3:10-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior

John 3:10-21 (Pastor Brian)

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Pauline and I were discussing the comparison Jesus makes with himself and the serpent in the desert (this is a symbol of evil – Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the shape of a serpent). Yet, Jesus says, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son of Man.”

This passage is very familiar – when Jesus meets with Nicodemus at night. Nicodemus said, “I believe you must be from God because no one can perform such miracles without help from God.” Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Unless born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Then, he brings up this comparison – like Moses in the wilderness.

If you go back to the OT and see the real events that happened there (Numbers 21) Because the Israelites disobeyed the Lord, they would not enter the Promised Land.

Numbers 21:4-9

Arad Destroyed

1 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made this vow to the LORD : “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities.” 3 The LORD listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.

The Bronze Snake

4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Manna = wafers with honey – God provided – but this was ALL they could eat day-by-day. So they complained.)

6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”

Bronze / brass = symbol of judgment. The people who complained were judged, but the Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent, raise it up, and the people who were bitten and looked UP – would live.

Ever get discouraged? It’s much better to complain TO God than complain AGAINST God. Check out the Psalms, Jeremiah, the prophets, Habakkuk.

Interview: Ever get overwhelmed by problems? Yes, I give them over to the Lord. I think about Psalm 44 and 88. David poured out his heart to the Lord and complained TO God. (In fact 88 ends “in darkness”).

This interviewee had parents who were alcoholics, his “father” he recently discovered was not actually his father. But his hope was in the Lord and he was trusting Him.

About this passage: “How often we / I take our blessings for granted – to think them worthless.” (Is this manna just so-so?) Sometimes we lose the import and impact of the Word, but we need to continue treasuring it in our hearts.

“The only remedy is for fiery serpents to awaken us to our need – and how our very sinfulness has been crucified and laid on Jesus.”

It can be difficult and painful to experience our own wilderness journeys. But the Israelites did not do this – so they suffered the consequences of the Lord in discipline. Sometimes we also suffer the discipline of the Lord – but not because he is mean, but so that he can make us HOLY.

Sometimes, we go through struggles and discipline, and at the other side, we are more like Christ.

Why “fiery serpents”? Probably because the sting was fiery hot.

Paul: “Yield the shield of faith to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy.”

Thankfully, the people realized their mistake and asked Moses to pray for them that the serpents would be driven away. They then trusted in the Lord to make them go away. And Moses interceded for them, prayed, made the brass serpent, raised it, and the people who were bitten looked upon it and were saved.

2 Cor 5:21 “He made him who had no sin to BECOME sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.” He was treated like a sinner, though he was holy and sinless. Yet he was making a substitutionary sacrifice for us – taking the death we deserved, and transferring us his own righteousness. Whoever believes in Christ receives this righteousness from Christ – who took our place in death in sin.

God in this way loved the world.

This harkens back to how Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert. Jesus, likewise was raised up on a tree (cross) and those who look to him will receive healing, forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life.

In the OT, we see the prophet Isaiah foretold of this sacrifice.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to our own way. And the Father has laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.”

Isaiah 45:22 “Look to me and be saved all you ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.”

So the serpent represents our sin, and the curse that sin brings with it – the curse of the Law – which was placed upon Jesus.

Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (cross).’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.” The Promise of God is now for ALL the nations – who accept Him.

We can be similarly blessed by having faith in Christ.

Deut 5:28? The blessings and curses that the Israelites pronounced on themselves: blessings for obedience, curses for disobedience.

It’s great to read about the blessings~! “You’ll be blessed in you life; the head, not the tail; blessed and fruitful in your work.” (The head decides, the tail gets dragged around).

IF they obeyed, they would be blessed.

But then, go read the curses – it’s pretty horrific. If they disobeyed, they’d be cursed: “The tail, not the head; families would not be blessed, etc.”

This all happened to them, because, as humans, they gave into temptation and sin; punished and disciplined. YET always with the Promise to return to him if they repented, forsook their sins, and returned to Him. This is the same for all humanity. Repent, forsake your sin, return to God.

The solution to the problem in the desert: LOOK upon the pole, and be healed. Jesus says the same, “Look upon me” – he bears the curse and our sins. When you look upon him, you also will receive forgiveness, and eternal life.

The Divine Exchange: Jesus became the curse of sin.

He was punished that we might be forgiven. He bore our shame and punishment. He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.

He was the Suffering Savior that we might be made whole and well. Spiritually, physically, emotionally – God WANTS us to be prosperous in these things in general. “He delights in the prosperity of his people.”

  • Jesus was wounded that we would be made whole.
  • He was made sin that we might be made righteous.
  • He died in our place that we might have life: abundant, eternal life.
  • He became poor that we might become blessed.
  • Poverty in that time was a “curse”.
  • He was buried in a borrowed tomb, that we might be enriched in life.
  • He was hung on a cross naked and shameful, bearing our shame that we might become partakers in his glory.
  • He bore rejection, the worst kind, betrayal, rejection of his own father. Jesus bore that rejection – he’d always had communion with his father, but as sin on the cross, the father turned his face away and Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”

It was bearable for the disciples, his closest friends to betray him and flee, but when his own father rejected him, it was unthinkable. Yet, Jesus bore this rejection so he is able to empathize with us.

He also bore the curse of sin so that we might receive his blessing.

Let me now share an extended testimony: Charles Spurgeon (prince of preachers) – in his autobiography, he shares how he was saved.

I think I might have been in darkness until now, if not for Christ sending a snowstorm one morning. I was going down the street, but turned elsewhere, and went to a Methodist church. There weren’t many people, but I wanted to know how I might be saved. The minister couldn’t make it, snowed in. At last, a small man, a shoemaker perhaps, went up to preach. It is well if preachers know how to preach – but this one was stupid. He was obliged to stick only to his text (this text) “Look to me and be saved all the ends of the earth.” He didn’t even pronounce the words correctly. He began, “The text says, ‘look’ – this ain’t hard. You needn’t go to college to look. You could be a big fool, a poor fool, or a child. Anyone can look.

Look unto ‘ME’ – many of you are looking to yourself, but you’ll find no comfort there. Some look to the father – yes, later. The text says, ‘Look to CHRIST.'”

After about 10 minutes, he was finished – unable to say much more. He then looked at me (15 years old) and noticed I was a stranger. He fixed his eyes on me: “Young man, you look miserable.” Mmm, that’s true, but strange. “And you’ll always be miserable in life and in death unless you obey my text; but if you obey now in this moment, you’ll be saved. Young man, LOOK LOOK LOOK to Jesus! You have nothing to do but LOOK and LIVE.”

I didn’t know what else to do. I’d been waiting to do 50 things. But when I heard that word, it seemed so charming, I LOOKED – the cloud was gone, and I could have risen that instant and sung with the most enthusiastic of them.

Oh, that somebody had told me that before! “Look to Christ and be saved.”

That happy day when I found the Savior was a day never to be forgotten by me. I listened to the word of God and that text led me to the cross of Christ.

He went home that day and his family could immediately see the change in him.

Spurgeon suffered much of his life with depression. In one of his first sermons, someone cried out “Fire!” as a joke. Everyone rushed out and a handful of people were killed – he carried that burden for years. He suffered depression for much of his life. But he never forgot that particular day when he was saved by grace and realized the Lord is his strength.

We all struggle, have trials and temptations because of our personal sins – OR just because we live in a fallen world. When these terrible things happen, sometimes we may be tempted to complain against God or authority.

But I hope this sermon is a reminder to cast your cares on him because he cares for you.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 04 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Accept Foot Soldiers (Jeremiah 12:1-6)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Accept Foot Soldiers (Jeremiah 12:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Accept Foot Soldiers

Jeremiah 12:1-6 (Missionary Symon Sarker)

Jeremiah’s Complaint

1 You are always righteous, O LORD ,

when I bring a case before you.

Yet I would speak with you about your justice:

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do all the faithless live at ease?

2 You have planted them, and they have taken root;

they grow and bear fruit.

You are always on their lips

but far from their hearts.

3 Yet you know me, O LORD ;

you see me and test my thoughts about you.

Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!

Set them apart for the day of slaughter!

4 How long will the land lie parched

and the grass in every field be withered?

Because those who live in it are wicked,

the animals and birds have perished.

Moreover, the people are saying,

“He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

5 “If you have raced with men on foot

and they have worn you out,

how can you compete with horses?

If you stumble in safe country,

how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

6 Your brothers, your own family-

even they have betrayed you;

they have raised a loud cry against you.

Do not trust them,

though they speak well of you.

Everybody has to deal with unexpected circumstances. We can see this also with Jeremiah. He was chosen before he was born. He was outreaching to the people – some were living freely, though they were in captivity. “Why do the wicked prosper?”

Do you have questions like this?

  • Why do people who worship other gods prosper? Why not me?
  • But as Christians, faithful believers, we are praying, fasting, suffering. Why do they live in peace, but we suffer?
  • Why someone is in leadership, but we are not? We never miss the QT, nor a single worship service. Why do we suffer? Why our family, country suffers?
  • Why my neighbors have it so well? I’m praying, fasting, worshiping. Why? I have so many questions.
  • Why so many unqualified people are in the ministry?
  • Sometimes is looks like saints are sad, but sinners celebrate.

This is the question Jeremiah is asking.

He also is blaming God. “You have planted them, and they have taken root. You are always on their lips, but far from their hearts.” – “They are not qualified to have those blessings!”

We also judge others and think they have no right to have such blessings. Jeremiah also feels like that.

v. 3 “Yet you see me…” How can I be struggling in such ways? Jeremiah also suggests to God, “Drag them off like sheep to be butchered…”

Can you imagine such a godly man, a famous prophet to pray like this? Selfishly? “Drag away my neighbors and kill them because I can’t stand to see them enjoying their blessings.”

House, property, car, job, we look around and see people with these – more / better than us – and we judge.

What God has for you, is only for you, and no one else can take it from you. Amen?

We are on the way to be blessed as well. Matthew “He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and rain to fall on all their fields.”

God created ALL men, Korean, Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc, and he wants all people to come to him.

When God blesses our neighbors, you will be next. Don’t be jealous, just prepare yourself.

1 Corinthians “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Jer 12:4

“4 How long will the land lie parched

and the grass in every field be withered?

Because those who live in it are wicked,

the animals and birds have perished.

Moreover, the people are saying,

“He will not see what happens to us.” “

When you judge others, remember, the same God created you both. God can bless you both. Because of sin, we are in judgment.

You know about Korea? The growth of Muslims and Christianity? There are huge churches in Korea now. Years ago, there were only 20-25 churches, and I said, “Someday, they will evangelize your children.” So, be an interceder.

2 Kings “If my people, will call my name and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and turn and heal their land.”

Jeremiah was considering his own ideas, not God’s will. You need to consider God’s will. He wants to use your hands, ears, hearts, eyes, everything.

v. 5-6

“If you have run with foot soldiers and they have worn you out, how can you run with horses?”

They are defense first – the front line – but not the best equipped. After foot soldiers, better troops come, they are the horses.

Most of the time, we complain about foot soldiers in our lives. We need to understand that nothing can compare with what is coming next. Stop complaining.

No promotion? No partner? No job? These are foot soldiers in your lives. They are not to break you down, but to prepare you for a better future.

Every day, accept the foot soldiers – this is a sign you are walking in the right direction.

But if you give up with these foot soldiers, you’ll never see greater blessing. God will take you to another level when you accept the foot soldiers in your lives.

My story

I accepted God in 1992, from Islam. No one showed me, I found the message of Christ in a magazine. I wrote the author, “Stop this! I will kill you.” The author replied, “Prove it’s false.” So, just to prove it, I studied it for 22 years. But through this study, one night, I prayed, “God, if you are alive – I don’t trust any god except the one who created me – anoint me, help me.” This was not easy – I’m from Bangladesh with 94% Muslims. I had to give up all my friends, people, etc.

We also face foot soldiers in Korea. Being lost, the language, etc. Don’t worry about your family, your friends, those are your foot soldiers. Foot soldiers are precursors to horses. The harder the trial, the bigger the blessing. If you cannot face the foot soldiers, how will you face the horses? Prove that you can face the foot soldiers so that you can run with the horses. Don’t complain.

I was living in a Bible college bathroom once, but I never complained. I shared the gospel and evangelized people, but once I came back and it was used, so I slept under the dark stairs. But I never complained. And one day, Jesus gave me the whole Bible college. The teacher there, I worked with her, and now she is my cook (my wife).

Don’t ever complain about your situation. This, what you are facing now, are only foot soldiers. Give thanks in every circumstance.

Can you run with the horses? Maybe with dogs, cats, cows. No one can run with the horses. But God is preparing us to run with the horses.

How can a man run with the horses and win? Only with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Until you receive the anointing, you will complain, ask many selfish questions, depend on our own strength and qualifications. But none of these prepare us to run with the horses except the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t content yourself with running with the foot soldiers. Horses will come into your lives, and God will allow us to overcome. Don’t worry what your enemy nor neighbor said. You will have better than that. You can see, correct?

This English is not my mother language, but you can understand.

I went to the Philippines one year, and in that time I had to leave the country within 12 hours. So I came to this country and did my MD here.

I said to God, “God, why? I left everyone and everything behind. Why can’t I get a Visa?” The HS helped me understand that something better was coming. So I came here, and better was waiting for me.

Remember, whenever you face foot soldiers, a better portion is coming.

I finally did my doctor’s degree in India. So I tell my wife. “Don’t worry, it will happen naturally. Trust God.”

v. 6

“6 Your brothers, your own family-

even they have betrayed you;

they have raised a loud cry against you.

Do not trust them,

though they speak well of you. “

God said, “Be like salt and light.” He doesn’t want us to ask him to kill them. Think once again when you hate foot soldiers. How are you doing? How can you go to the end of the world if you cannot handle foot soldiers?

God will enable you to overcome, to live in different, unexpected circumstances.

I was praying last night – someone had to leave this country suddenly – but I remember, pray always, give thanks in all circumstances.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ in the Old Testament
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Christ in the Old Testament

Luke 24:25-27 (Pastor Brian)

24:25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Context, two people were going to Emmaus and discussing the previous week’s events (quite depressing). Jesus met them along the way and spoke with them. They told him all about the events of the previous week – that Jesus had been crucified and they had expected the Messiah to be him and to save the people. They said that some women had gone to the tomb and seen he was not there.

Jesus then rebuked them with the words of Luke 24:25-27.

The disciples had only concentrated on the GLORY of the Messiah and not the suffering. But Jesus pointed out in the OT how the Messiah had to suffer FIRST before he could be glorified.

He went into the OT prophets, from Moses, and explained to them all these things. From redemption, to suffering, and so on.

“There’s no shadow you won’t light up” – from the music – there are many shadows and types in the OT, and Jesus, the Living Word was here revealing the Written Word. He was revealing that the Scriptures spoke of him.

Dr. Stephen Lawson says,

  • The OT says he’s coming,
  • The NT says he’s here,
  • The Acts proclaim him,
  • The Epistles explain him,
  • Revelation says He’s coming again.

Genesis “In the Beginning, God created…”

John 1:3 “Everything that was made was made by him. There is nothing that is made that was not made by him.”

Col 1:16 “All things are by him, and in him, and for him”

Rev 21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

The Bible is really a “Him” Book (hymn book) – it’s all about him.

We see the perfect unity in the OT here as affirmed by the Lord – there is only one Creation, only one entrance into original sin, only one design for the family, only one judgment, only one redemption, only one final eternal state.

  • In the OT, the books are written more precisely.
  • In the NT, the books provide greater clarity and light on the books.

There were many “types” scattered throughout the OT – but they were all flawed – only Jesus is the perfect “anti-type.”


Adam – the first man – fell – the head

Jesus = the last Adam – a new race, those who believe in him and become part of his body


Later, due to the wickedness in the world, God judged the world with the flood. Only Noah and 8 in the ark were spared. “Noah” means “rest” and they were spared the judgment.

Jesus is “rest” – “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I’ll give you rest.”

Jesus bore the judgment that was due us on the cross and gave us his own righteousness to be accepted in him.


Samson – a mighty judge – but in his death, he destroyed more of the enemies than in his lifetime. In his typology of his death and conquering the enemies of Israel, this is a picture of Jesus in crushing the serpant’s head – victorious over death and all the demons were brought under subjection to him.

Samson’s death mirrors Jesus’ death in the conquering of enemies.

Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the prophecy God had given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between your seed and hers… you will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.” That’s what happened on the cross – it looked like a defeat, but it was a great victory.


The shepherd and his victory over Goliath – David just used the sling and stones. He was a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

David suffered under persecution from King Saul for a while before finally ascending to be king of Israel.

In him, we can see a shadow of Jesus.


For most of his reign, it was a peaceful reign – until the end when he unfortunately succumbed to the lusts and idolatry that plagued the latter part of his life.

These men all seem to have lust / women troubles – so their typology only goes so far. Jesus was without sin.

These people are types / shadows of Jesus.


Son of Isaac, sold by his brothers, falsely accused, suffered much – before he was raised to rule in Egypt.

Jesus likewise was betrayed, sold, suffered, and eventually rose to glory on the third day.


An upright, wealthy man, but challenged by Satan – “God, Job only loves you because of what you’ve given him – but take it away and he will curse you.” God gave him access and Satan took it – Job suffered much – but in the end it was all restored doubly.

Jesus likewise was tempted by Satan and suffered greatly, but was more than wholly restored on the third day.


king / priest was a picture of the King / Priest Jesus would become.


a savior of his people into the Promised Land – leader into Canaan – name means “savior.”

There were also other types and shadows in sacrifices and feasts that showed Jesus.

The Passover Lamb

The Passover lamb, the scape goat, the Day of Atonement. One goat was sacrificed, another goat was laid upon with the sins of the people and sent out into the wilderness.

This symbolized how Jesus would also take on the sins of all humanity and go into the darkness, but emerge victorious.


  • destroys the body, but is also a picture of sin – how it destroys the soul.

Two birds for sacrifice

  • one dipped in blood (death), one released into heaven (his resurrection).

Guilt offering, sin offering, thankfulness offering

  • all are pictures of Jesus.

In the very places they were offered are also symbols and types of Jesus.

Tabernacle and temple

The tabernacle, the temple, he is our bread of life (they had show bread in the temple). “Man doesn’t live by bread alone but on every word proceeding from the mouth of God.”

The ark of the covenant

  • with the 10 commandments – was also a picture of Jesus bearing the wrath of God so that we don’t need to.

When Jesus had to die, it shows the terrible nature of sin – and how the holiness of God disallows him to look upon sin – so a sacrifice had to be made.

Dr. Lawson points out as well:

Emmaus was 7 miles NW of Jerusalem. The average person takes 17 min to walk one mile – so this walk should take 119 min (less than 2 hours). So Jesus couldn’t go into every detail in Scripture – so he probably just hit the “highlights” as we have here.

But in v 26 he asks them, “Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer?”

The disciples had only focused on his glory, not his suffering, but the 5 major prophets including Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc, clearly depicted this.

The Prophets

We read of Jesus’ birth in Isaiah and Micah. Isaiah (the 5th gospel some say) also shows so many aspects of Christ’s ministry, life, and suffering – including his birth. Isaiah 53 in particular depicts his crucifixion. “…by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Primarily, we are healed spiritually through his suffering.

The return of Christ in Ezekiel and Daniel.

Jeremiah also promises that God will not remember our sins. Jer 31:34 “And they shall teach no more – every man his neighbor – for they shall all know me. And I shall remember their sins no more.”

Isaiah “I am he who blots out your transgressions and remembers your sins…NO MORE.”

Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah show the return of Christ.

You can see that we’ve only covered a handful of Scriptures that would cover the suffering of Christ as depicted in the OT.

The disciples said, “our hearts burned within us” and they invited him in to eat with them – and in the breaking of bread, he was recognized. This is also symbolic – when we break bread, we recognize he is present.

They returned and told the others. He’d also appeared to Simon (Peter) who’d denied Christ 3 times. He had wept and probably thought “It’s all over for me.” But the fact that Jesus appeared personally to him must have been incredibly meaningful to Simon.

Jesus spoke to them, “It was necessary for all that was written in the Prophets, and the Psalms to be fulfilled.” And he opened their understanding. We also need to ask the Lord to open up our own understanding.

“Thus it is written and necessary for the Christ to suffer and die and be raised on the third day. And repentance and remission must be preached to all nations in his name.”

This is still necessary today.

You know, there’s been a teaching in the church these days call “hyper grace” saying “we don’t need to confess because Jesus died for our sins yesterday, today, and forever.” But this is not true. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Repentance is a life-long process – even in Revelation, Jesus rebukes some churches for not repenting. We also must confess to each other, but we need to keep a place of humility, and repent as Scriptures say.

This is just a short overview of some of the things Jesus would have highlighted as the necessity of his suffering.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

“Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)


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“Our Father in Heaven”

Matthew 6:9 (Missionary Kim)

6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…

The 3 languages I spoke in my greeting reflect my missionary journey for the last 27 years.

  • I lived in the Philippines,
  • then in the US,
  • then in Panama.

I was invited to serve a home ministry as the International Mission Director at Paul Mission International.

When I left Korea, I didn’t meet any single foreign resident on the street. Today, I see a BIG change. There’s been a rise in the number of foreign residents in Korea. In line with this, Paul Mission Intl, has been developing a ministry for the foreign residents: Thai, Vietnamese, English, African. We have different ministries – and there are 16 people involved with this. Pastor Heo and his wife are two of them.

I’m excited to be here this morning, but I feel sorry to be late in coming to you. However, you have been well spoken of around the city and so I wanted to see you very much.

This morning, I’m privileged to be with you. But since English is not my first language, I must struggle, but I’ll try my best to making myself understood.

“Our Father in Heaven”

This is based on what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Let me share 3 points.

#1 “Our Father”

The first phrase draws my attention. “Our father” – in both the traditional version, and the modern English version.

Every time I call, “My father” I feel confidence and inspiration about who I am and in my identity.

When we call “Our father in heaven”, I’m not a Korean, not an international mission director. I just stand in the presence of God as his child of God. This is Eph – this is enough.

Nothing else – but being a child of God – is a decoration of our outer parts. Being a child of God is “REAL” – it’s TRUE.

What is the MOST truthful thing in the world?

  • The son before the father is the most truthful.
  • Or creature before the Creator is the most truthful.
  • That which is added is not “truth” but just decoration.

When is your most truthful time?

  • When we face one another with no make-up on our faces. I’m a fake with make-up on my face.

The life relationship between father and son – and when Jesus was born – in Heb 1:1-3, “the Son was the radiance of his glory and the EXACT representation of his being.” The son expresses its father – the creature radiates the Creator.

So, let me bring you into his presence today as “children of God.” This is real.

What is the first question that God made in the Garden of Eden to the human race?

“Where are you?”

What had happened?

Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and they realized after having eaten that they were naked. So, they were embarrassed to be naked before the Lord. They wove thick leaves into clothes and made coverings for themselves and HID among the big trees.

This reflects human behavior to try to add something in order to cover up their nakedness before God – through double and triple coverings. This is human nature. They were afraid of being naked before God because of their sins and shame.

We often try to meet our own neighbors with make-up and not naked faces. This is my point. This is a tragedy.

People try to cover their shame, they try to cover nakedness with success, money, education, something big.

  • If you add money to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a rich man!”
  • If you add knowledge to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a doctor!”
  • If you add businesses to your nakedness, “Hello, Mr. President / CEO.”

This is who we are right now. There is no “being” – we try to show what we’re “made of.” But that’s NOT REAL.

What’s real is being a child of the Father. Nothing else matters.

[Quick story]

When my son was in graduate school, he met a girl who became his wife and my daughter-in-law. Her name is Sarah.

When they were dating, my son visited her parents’ house to introduce himself.

Her parents were Cambodian missionaries, and her grandparents were living in California. Her grandfather was in the nursing home due to a stroke. So, my son went to the nursing home to introduce himself, and he was bed-ridden and being cared for by nurses all day.

Sarah said, “Grandpa, I brought my BF to have him greet you.”

Grandpa had been sleeping, or thinking, anyway his eyes were closed. He heard the girl’s voice and turned and asked, “What do you do?”

My son, pridefully, “I’m getting my PhD, sir.”

Grandpa, “Huh. It’s all useless.” Then closed his eyes again. There was no more conversation after that.

These only words uttered from his mouth, “It’s all useless.”

My son told me this over dinner, and I told my son, “that’s exactly the summary of his life.” In fact, he was 82 years old, had immigrated to the US in the 1960s. At that time, it was not usual for Koreans to study in the US nor even receive a PhD. But he became a doctor and a prestigious professor, even at high ranking schools and the Police Academy. He wrote columns in the newspaper, he became famous, everyone knew him.

Now, when he became ill, he felt there was no meaning in life, that everything was useless.

What good is a doctorate, or fame, when he is bed-ridden and at the mercy of the nurses all day?

This reminds us of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, experienced ALL pleasures in life, and lived everything he could, and at the end, expressed, “Everything is vanity – utterly meaningless. What does man gain from all his labors at which he toils under the sun?”

So, what do we have in “being” except BEING his child.

  • “I am His child.”
  • “We are His children.”

This is real, this is true, this is ultimate. Everything else will be gone.

#2 “Our father in heaven”

Take a note of the plural form of “our father”. With this confirmation and understanding, what comes to mind as we call God, “our father” – not “my father”?

We are all the family of ONE father.

  • My question is: How are we related?
  • Look at the next person. Can you say, “You are my brother / sister”?

That’s true.

That’s the meaning of the truth.

That’s what it means by “congregation” = “our brothers and sisters.”

So, we are born into ONE family as brothers and sisters. And with this statement, I was reminded of the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. This church was multi-ethnic – Jews, Asians, Greek, Romans.

Paul emphasized two words: “remember” (chp 2)

  1. “Remember who you WERE”
  2. “Remember who you ARE”
  • You WERE – a Gentile by birth. You cannot erase or change your birth. You have no choice in your nationality.
  • You WERE “uncircumsized” by religious standards.
  • You WERE separated from Christ – excluded from citizenship in Israel – and foreigners to the promise and covenant of God to the Jews.
  • You WERE once so far away, and HAVE BEEN transferred into this family.
  • You ARE NOW ONE in Christ Jesus because he washed all your / our sins away.

Christ is our peace. Christ himself, our peace.

We have heard about the reconciliation of peace between North and South Korea on Friday – and the whole world rejoiced.

However, WE BRING unique news that JESUS CHRIST is our peace.

  • He is the ONE who has made two ONE.
  • He has broken the walls and hostility.

There has been war with Japan, discrimination of Jews in Germany, a wall between the US and Mexico. However, in THIS situation, we bring Christ – because he is PEACE.

You are no longer foreigners or aliens, you are members of God’s household.

Another verse: Galatians 3:10~ “You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Wherever this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew, Greek, American, Korean, African, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised.

Each race has its own religious tradition, and we respect that, but in Christ Jesus, we are ONE.

It doesn’t matter if you are civilized or not, educated or not, slave or free. What you have and what you don’t have – either you’re employee or employer – doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are ONE in Christ Jesus.

Mosaic Command

In line with this, I found wonderful verses from the Mosaic Command. Exodus 22 – following several chapters, there is the mention of 3 groups of people:

  1. Strangers (sojourners / pilgrims)
  2. Widows
  3. Orphans

These three groups were considered socially marginalized and underprivileged. God has a heart for them more than anyone else.

In the Mosaic Law, “Don’t mistreat the strangers, the aliens – because you were strangers in Egypt. Don’t take advantage of widows and orphans. If you do, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry, and I will arouse my anger against you. If you oppose strangers, foreigners, widows, orphans, I will kill you with my sword. Then your wife will be a widow, and your children will be fatherless.”

We must be warned in this way – against discrimination against the minor, or the weak.

Paul, then, after mentioning “no Greek, nor Jew” – after that, I found a wonderful verse in Galatians” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience.”

We must LOVE one another.

What is the SECOND question to man after the Garden of Eden?

“Cain, where is your brother.”

He replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Bible omitted the answer of God in this conversation. “Yes, you are.”

We ARE responsible for taking care of one another. Community in Latin is “come” and “munis” (gifts) – “My presence itself is a gift to someone else. I’m here because of you; because of you, I’m here.”

That’s the third point I want to share with you.

Where’s God?

  • Here.
  • Everywhere.

So, how can this be consistent?

#3 “In Heaven”

How can we make harmony with this knowledge and the first phrase of the Lord’s prayer: “in heaven”?

This is not a matter of space or location – rather it is a matter of His character, quality, personality, and our respect for Him.

  • A being in heaven is very different from a being on the ground.
  • There are many boundaries, and biases and prejudices on the ground.
  • But the higher you go in the sky, the less our boundaries become.

So, we must live where our father lives – in heaven – as Christians, as believers.

Have you ever heard of the “overview effect”? This term was coined by astronauts. When they go HIGH up in space, they see things very differently. Their visibility is very different from ours. They are “in heaven.”

If we go (metaphorically) into heaven with our father, then we can SEE as he sees – that we are ONE, a global community.

I think this has a profound meaning. I’m so moved with this message with you this morning.

Key point: Everyone is ONE in the sight of God.


Lastly: you know how important and essential for survival water is. Weeks ago I went to South Africa. In Cape Town, this place is very developed – like a European country. However, on arriving there, there was no water even in public service areas – like the airport. There was only hand sanitizer.

My host’s house was large, a two-story building, looks good. But when I went to the toilet, it said, “Only flush for #2, not for #1.”

It “looks” good, but actually is difficult to live in.

“Water” symbolizes Jesus Christ. Without Christ, nothing can live (spiritually). Without water, how long can you survive? Not long. This was all due to drought.

Ezekiel 47

“The River From the Temple

1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. ”

7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.

12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

This was to be healing for all nations.

There must be fertile land – and God wants his people to divide the land and reside there.

21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. **23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.**

Wow! great~ How fun for the Israelites to inhabit this land.

But this was not the end. God said specifically that foreigners were also to get their own land. Considering the exclusivity of the Israelites, this is extraordinary. They were to allow the foreigners to settle down as native Israelites.

The healing, the land, the leaves, the fruit, is not ONLY for Israel. This is for ALL nations. This is the heart of God. This is God’s vision.

But we are human. “I’m Korean.” I’m one-sided and biased. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, I mistreat, oppress, take advantage of those who are socially disadvantaged. But through God’s eyes and with his strength, we can love everyone.

  • We are children of God.
  • We are the family of ONE father.
  • We live in heaven with him.
  • We see as he sees.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 10 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Cry Intercession and the Blessing of God (Jeremiah 33:1-3)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Cry Intercession and the Blessing of God (Jeremiah 33:1-3)

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Cry Intercession & the Blessing of God

Jeremiah 33:1-3 (Pastor Park)

33 1:While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it-the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Mark 10:52 – Prayer of Barthemeous (blind beggar)

When he heard Jesus passing by, he really cried out, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Today, I want to share how important cry intercession is. This is not to pray for yourself, but to pray for others.

Jesus died not for himself but for you and me. His intercessory ministry is not his problem, but other people’s problem.

We read Jeremiah 33:1-3

The blessing of God is the bonus of God.

Jeremiah 33:1

“While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time:”

Wherever you are, the most important thing is whether you receive the Word of God or not. Jeremiah was in prison – he didn’t know if he would be hanged tomorrow, or how long he would be there. But he received the Word of God which came to him a second time.

In any situation, the most important thing is to receive the Word of God.

Jeremiah 33:2

“2”This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it-the Lord is his name:”

God does everything in his time, and can do all things. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, nor even in 5 minutes. But we know who holds the future (Jesus!) – God holds our future and our tomorrows.

He is the one who formed and established and does everything according to his will.

Jeremiah 33:3

“3 ‘Call [cry] to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'”

Cry and call are totally different.

  • “Call” is like “hello!~~~~” like a phone call.
  • But “cry” is putting our whole being into the CRY out to God.

So, in the English, this translation is not very good. But the original version is very good.

Exodus 2:23

“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.”

You know this story – after 400 years, the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. Originally, with Joseph and Jacob and the brothers, they were happy, living with their brother. But after 400 years, the Pharaoh(s) died and they became slaves. So, they CRIED out for help. This is the same CRY.

Exodus 2:24-25

“God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”

God’s covenant was to take them into the Promised Land. But here they are NOT there. But at this time, God remembered his promise and plan for them.

Likewise, God has a plan for each one of us. Each person has a different speciality and different guidance from God. God has his plan for all of us, but when he starts to work for you is WHEN YOU CRY OUT TO THE LORD. God had a plan for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but he remembered it when they cried out to him.

Psalm 86:5

“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call [cry] to you.”

Psalm 86:6

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.”

Psalm 86:7

“In the day of my trouble I will call [cry] to you, for you will answer me.”

Unfortunately, these days many English translations reduce this powerful word “CRY” down to “call”. Even Korean people have forgotten loud voices in their prayers.

A few weeks ago, I went to Japan with my wife. After I retire, I plan to start a ministry in Nagoya, Japan.


Some people wonder why Japanese church is so slow to grow, but Korean church is so fast to grow.

My opinion (not theological) is that Japanese people don’t know how to pray. Japanese people are so quiet when they pray, but Korean pray so LOUDLY with one heart – CRYING out to Jesus.

The Bible says, “Cry out to me” not “whisper unto me.”

When our Uganda brothers pray so loudly, I love them so much. I think the Ugandan church will grow very quickly.

But Japanese people are so formal and quiet and don’t want to disturb other people. But the Bible says, “Cry out to God!”

Psalm 102:1

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to you.”

LOUD voice in your prayer. God wants to hear that.

Psalm 102:2

“Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call [cry], answer me quickly.”

  • CRY out to God = 10 points
  • “call” = 1 or 2 points

Luke 18:7 (Parable of the Unjust Judge – looked down on poor people)

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Even an unjust judge, who looks down on poor people – he will not overlook people who cry out to him day and night, forever. Even he says, “I guess I should answer.”

However, our loving God wants to listen to people who cry out to him day and night.

Luke 18:8

“I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Why does Jesus talk about a loud voice with prayer first and then, “will he find faith on the earth”? Why did Jesus compare / contrast these? The person who CRIES out to the Lord HAS FAITH.

Jeremiah 33:3

“Cry unto me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Here you can see this as one sentence. But it’s two sentences in one.

  • “Cry unto me and I will answer you.”
  • “I’ll tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

The AND is like a bridge.

There is a promise. The Bible always has a promise.

  • “If you believe in Jesus, you will become children of God.”
    • There is an optional step on your part, and THEN a result on God’s part.
  • “Come to me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden and you will have rest for your souls.”
    • IF you come, THEN you will have rest.
  • “Ask and knock, then I will answer you.”
    • God always answers us.
  • “Cry unto me!” THEN God will show great and mighty things which you do not know.
    • IF you cry out to God, THEN God will answer you.

Testimony from Mei Lin in Singapore

I conducted a Prayer Meeting with many different people. At one time, a lady attended the meeting and I asked, “What is your prayer item?” She wrote it, “Get married.” I thought, “Is this the first? Remarried?” She was a large lady, so I thought she must have already been married. So, I asked her (not her age) but I found out she was 40 at that time. (I also was 40). At that time, I was uneasy in my heart. Who else could propose to her? In my view, she didn’t look like a normal lady. So, I prayed for her, “Lord, sister Mei Lin wants to get married, so where is her husband now?” Suddenly I had some thought in my mind that this would be impossible. I had a negative mindset. The thought disturbed my prayer – and eventually I gave up the prayer.

After one week, I went back and she asked me, “Hi pastor! Have you prayed for me?” Uhhhh… I’m sorry. I could not. She told me, “If a Korean pastor intercedes for me, I WILL get married!~” But this was very difficult in my heart.

I tried to pray for her the following day – she checked every day.

I prayed, “Lord, if it’s your will, let her meet somebody.” I just prayed simply and quickly. At that time, I still had doubt in my mind. I thought, “Wow, who can propose to her? She seems not single. She’s big and looks already married.”

Around one month I prayed in that way, very simply.

One day when I prayed, the HS touched my heart. He said, “I don’t look outward – I look at the heart.” (1 Sam 17). I was really surprised. “God, you are God, so you always look at the heart. But I’m just a man, we always see the outside first.” God said, “Yes, but you are a SERVANT of God, you also must see as I see.”

“But God, in my heart, I have great doubt. How can I pray for her?”

“CRY unto me for her!”

Cry? Why I should cry for her? This is not my problem. This is her problem.

But God touched my heart. So I searched the Bible – where is this word “cry”?

I saw Moses, Jeremiah, David, Jesus CRY unto God.

They prayed for the people.

The people fell unto idols and worshiped idols.

  • Moses: “Lord, if you kill them all, people will say, ‘You have no power to lead the people into the Promised Land.’ Lord, PLEASE forgive them!”
  • God: “As you have prayed, so I will forgive them.”

This is intercessory prayer. The Israelites were forgiven.

So this word touched my heart very much. So, I tried to cry unto God for her. “Lord, even though she looks like she has no pair, let her find someone to marry!” I really cried out to God for her.

At that time, I realized new things from the Lord. When I cried out to God, in my thoughts, Mei Lin was big, heavy, not pretty. But when I cried out to God, that kind of negativity and human thinking just came out. One by one, everything just came out. Then after about one month, I realized there was no longer any doubt in my heart. “God WILL let her DEFINITELY see the RIGHT person that HE has prepared!” I had confidence in my heart.

Brothers and sisters, why does God ask you to cry unto him?

When you do so, all the negative things, the dark mind, comes out to him.

So, after one month, I now have confidence that God has someone for her. So I asked her. Later she came back from Canada and a few days later she brought me a love letter. (Well, not really.) It was just a greeting letter (from a man who had no hair) – 10 years age difference. The letter said, “Mei Lin, how are you? When you have time, come again.” (This is just a greeting letter, not a love letter.)

We prayed for another one.

Later one young man came to our prayer meeting and asked me to pray for his future wife (he looked 25, but was 35). Hmm, Mei Lin was 40. 5 years age difference.

So I asked him, “What kind of lady do you want? Tall, short, beautiful?”

He replied, “Pastor, I can’t see the outward appearance.” WOW! FAITH!

He said, “when the lady talks and shows her activity in church, we know whether she has faith or not.”

I also prayed for him.

Long story short, 8 months later, the two of them came to my office. Eric said, “Pastor, I decided to get married with Mei Lin.” At that time, I was SO happy! Wow Eric! You have real faith!

“Pastor, we are going to be married because of your prayer, so you should officiate.” They asked me to pray for 1 hour. (No, no, no, it should be only 10 minutes.) “No, we have 700 people coming, non-Christians – so you may share evangelistically! Reveal the demon possession of our relative that came out, the Lazarus story, etc.” They knew my preaching and my style, so they chose some, edited them, and brought them.

On that day, I preached 1 hour.

Then the wedding march. The people clapped.

I thought, “I CRIED unto God and God answered me!” I was very content because they were married.

The Bible says, “Cry unto me and I will answer you!”

But it doesn’t stop there, “And I will show you great and mighty things!”

So, I was so happy.

At that time, the senior pastor (60, I was 40), came to me and said, “Pastor Park, would you please come to our Revival Message as a guest speaker in 2 months?” I was so embarrassed because my message had been in broken (not very good) English.

Then the senior pastor said, “You must come to my church as an English speaking preacher.” I was so shocked. From that day, God used me as an English preacher. I NEVER thought this – I never asked God for this. This was a “great and mighty thing” which I didn’t know.

Later, after this couple’s one month honeymoon, they brought back a present and said, “Mei Lin’s sister could not sleep because of your preaching – she thought she would go to hell because of the rich man and Lazarus story. So, she asked you to bring the Bible to her house and teach her.” After 6 months, we baptized her.

A few days later, she sent me a letter with a $3000 check there. “Linda, how can you send this big check?” She said, “Pastor, I’m a business woman, after I was baptized, God touched my heart. The pastor is your spiritual father, and takes care of your spiritual life, so you must take care of his pocket money.” WOW! Hallelujah! I never asked God for this, but he took care of me nonetheless.

The Bible says,

“Cry unto me and I will answer you and will show you GREAT and MIGHTY things which you do not know!” This is the power of crying out to God.

Even though you didn’t ask, you didn’t pray specifically for this, God provides and knows better than you what you need.

During that time, for 20 years, I received $3000 every month. When I came to Antioch Church, I told her I didn’t need that any longer.

The story: God said in John 10:10 “Life with abundant blessings” (abundant life)

God promised us abundant life, but why do we always feel it’s “not enough”? Many people are here as foreigners (also, my wife and I are American citizens). The keys that Jesus spoke to us “will I find faith when I return”? FAITH is CRYING OUT to Jesus.

So, I’m going away after this month. This is a very important message. This is God’s promise if we cry unto him.

Photo of Mei Lin

God prepared Mei Lin’s husband according to his will.

  1. God is ABOVE.
  2. You are HERE.
  3. You need someone to INTERCEDE for.
  • When you intercede for someone else, God answers for them, and gives a bonus blessing to you.

God gives the blessing – the great and mighty things – the bonus when you intercede for others.

If you pray for your brother and sister as intercessory prayer – CRYING out – he will answer, and he will show you the blessing that you never prayed for.

Many Christians feel they have NOT ENOUGH of everything. This is because they do not pray for others. They do not intercede for others. My mother always carries a note to get prayer requests from others and intercedes for them.

Jeremiah 33:3 (BBE 1964)

“Let your cry (*clama* in Latin) come to me, and I will give you an answer, and let you see great things and secret things of which you had no knowledge.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (Latin Volgate 405)

“clama ad me et exaudiam te et adnuntiabo tibi grandia et firma quae nescis”

Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV 1611)

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and might things, which thou knowest not.”

My missionary life was very content, with abundant blessings from the Lord.


Jeremiah 33:3 (BBE 1964)

“Let your CRY come to me, and I will give you an answer, and let you see great things and secret things of which you had no knowledge.”

You never knew, never thought, but you will receive great and mighty things from the Lord if you CRY out to God for others.

May God bless you richly.

Please stand up.

Romans 8:26

“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

What is our weakness?

  1. We don’t know how to pray to God.
  2. The Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  3. This is the cry unto the Lord. Then God listens and answers.
  4. Then the bonus of blessing, the great and mighty things will come to you.

Let’s try Abba Prayer (“Father Prayer”) maybe 10 seconds.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 29 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God Remembers and Rewards (Esther 6:1-14)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

God Remembers and Rewards (Esther 6:1-14)

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God Remembers and Rewards

Esther 6:1-14 (Pastor Cruz)

Mordecai Honored

1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked. “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered. 4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him. 5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.” “Bring him in,” the king ordered. 6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’ ” 10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” 11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” 12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Guest speaker today from the Philippines. Pastor Cruz.

We are here to celebrate our anniversary. Our story began when my wife entered the staff of Paul Mission – so we thought a good opportunity would be to meet Pastor Park again for our anniversary.

Title: “God Remembers and Rewards”

The story of Esther is very interesting – it tells of the situation of the Jews in Persia – they had been taken in 586BC by King Nebuchadnezzar. If you remember the story of Daniel, this was the taking of the Jews to Persia. Ezra was the story of the taking of the Jews BACK to Jerusalem (on the 70th year of captivity – as prophesied).

Not all the Jews decided to return to their land. Some had adapted to life in Persia. So this book of Esther gives us a good look at what became of THOSE particular Jews.

This story of Esther shows us some things we really need to learn in our walk as followers of Christ. Here are 3 important principles we must follow.

#1 People may forget, God does not

People forget promises – no matter how good their intention, there is a point in time they just forget. Maybe they are getting older, or their situation changes. Maybe they become unable to fulfill a promise they made.

  • Ex: After your graduation next year, you will get such and such gift. But, say some things in life happen, situations change, and you can’t get that gift.

This is part of the human limitation – when we put our trust in humans. Sometimes humans forget or become unable to fulfill their promise.

But God does NOT forget.

You know in Esther, the name “Yahweh” or “God” is never mentioned, but we can see him at work behind the scenes throughout the book.

Haman wanted to DESTROY the Jews. He even erected a pole (gallows) on which to hang Mordecai – and he was plotting to have the soldiers hunt down and kill all the Jews.

But… coincidentally… the King couldn’t sleep that night.

You know how kings entertained themselves? “Come to me and read to me ALL my accomplishments.” He was listening – self-satisfied – “I’m a cool dude~”

At one point, they came to an instance where some of his servants were plotting against him – and he found that Mordecai revealed this plot – and the king was saved.

Hmmm, coincidentally… this particular situation was read to the king that night. Only God can do that. Here’s God at work, reminding the king.

He asked, “What’s been done for this guy?” The servant said, “Nothing.” So the king said, “Hmm, who’s outside right now?” Haman! The favorite of the king!

“So, Haman, you’ve been giving me awesome advice…” (But earlier that week he’d made an edict he just needed signed by the king to annihilate all the Jews). He thought the king MUST want to honor him.

But the story doesn’t go that way.

God knows everything – and at some particular moment, he will complete his purpose in your life.

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

So, is that possible? For a mother to forget the baby at her breast? No way. Even more than this, God will never forget you. That’s the kind of God we serve.

Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

You know, if you give your heart to someone, it can be broken. (That’s why Korean novellas are so popular in the Philippines).

That hurts so bad when that happens. So, don’t give your heart to just anyone. Give your heart only to the Lord. Give it to Jesus and he will keep it safe and not break it. (But if he DOES break it, it’s only to give you a better heart.)

In whatever ways you’re serving God right now, – or if you’re not, make the decision to do so now. Your gestures of compassion for your brothers and sisters in Christ are recorded in heaven. He will NEVER forget those acts. And you will NEVER be disappointed when you choose to follow him.

Like in the story of Mordecai. Perhaps Mordecai was grumbling about this – Haman was honored afterward – not him (Esther 3, 4). Probably he was grumbling. “This is terrible – what’s happening to me?” God has a BETTER plan.

#2 God rewards at the RIGHT time

He has a particular point in time when he will act and give you your reward. Imagine if Mordecai had been rewarded at that immediate moment, it would be finished. Years later, with the situation with Haman, there would be nothing left to receive.

It’s as if God purposefully saved his reward for this particular moment – when their lives were at stake.

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

God is hovering and looking over each and every one of us. So, do not TIRE of doing the good deeds God has set apart for you to do. He will reward in the RIGHT time.

My story:

I started my ministry at age 18.

In the Philippines, Christians are called “Protestants” because we have a Catholic majority population. In the Philippines, pastors are looked down on (not exalted like in Korea).

Over time, I felt God calling me into full-time ministry and the elders affirmed it and appointed me youth pastor. My salary was quite small. I admitted to myself, “I’ll never be able to support a family – nor even have one.” My salary was only 2000 pesos (40,000 won?) per month.

My father died when I was 8. You can imagine how difficult it was for my mother to raise us.

I can remember walking 4km through the mountains to the church. But in the city, people thought it was strange that I didn’t take public transportation. When I reached the church, I was soaked with sweat, carrying a heavy guitar. I led worship and then preached. I told God I’d just be single forever.

I met my wife in the church. She’s a CPA (accountant). She gets to work and earns our money. And I get to preach. Isn’t God amazing? That’s how God works in our lives.

Whenever airplanes fly overhead, I never took notice. I never thought I would ever fly in one. But God had a better plan. By his grace and goodness, I’m able to travel, see different places, and share the gospel. God is so good.

You see, no matter what you are doing for him, so long as you do it with all your heart and you do it consistently, God is able to give you a reward, at the proper time. And people take notice.

  • You come to church early, clean up once, and no one notices. But do it EVERY Sunday, and people notice.
  • When you serve others, help the sick, show hospitality, consistently, people notice and God will reward in the proper time.

1 Corinthians 3:12 “12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

It’s not important to just keep doing, you have to do it with your whole heart as well. Put your heart into what you do and the result will show.

If you work in the office and you only work hard when the boss watches you…

One thing I really admired the first time we came here is the “Hurry, hurry” attitude. We even almost bumped someone who was walking and brushing her teeth at the same time.

The people work hard, and give their all for their work.

When we were in Paul Mission, we served missionaries (one was Pastor Park). We would normally hear, “Oh my! So slow! Hurry up!” but we thought we were doing OK… “Hmm, OK, we’ll hop to it! Hurry up! Do it fast! Do it well!” HOW MUCH MORE when you’re serving God?

People are dying, heading to hell, we MUST share the gospel. Where’s your sense of urgency? We must do it fast, and do it well.

Share the Word, share our hearts.

Jesus did that. He only lived 33 years, ministered for only 3 – boy, he was in a hurry. But he came to seek and save the lost – that we might spend eternity in heaven with him.

You see, we NEED to give our efforts to extend God’s kingdom and reach out to the lost. This will please God and he will reward it.

#3 Nothing is more fulfilling than the reward that is from the Lord

Back to our story, Esther 6.

  • Suppose the king said to Mordecai, “Let’s ask him what he wants to receive for his deeds.”
  • He probably will not even dare to say what Haman said. “Give me your robe, and your horse, and your ring, and proclaim throughout the city what I’ve done!” No way! This is probably the farthest thinking of Mordecai.
  • Probably he was only concerned with his own survival at that moment. “King, please, just spare the lives of my people…”

But look what happened. Totally unexpected! He was honored greatly by the King.

God has a way to honor each and every one of us. He has his own special way to do THAT to you. He knows your special circumstances, he knows what matters to you, and he knows how to respond to that. And he can do even more than that. Beyond your expectations, beyond what you ask. Sometimes, something you never even expected to happen – happens. He did it for Mordecai and he can do it for you too.

1 Corinthians 3:8 “8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.”

Each has a purpose and each will receive their reward.

Your faithfulness to the Lord will be rewarded – no matter how small it may seem.

Rev 22:12 “12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

But even before this, God rewarded us – when we were still sinners – with eternal life through Jesus Christ.

There is nothing we can do to receive this grace. While we were still sinners, he died for us.

He is returning at just the right time, and his reward is plenty.


Keep in mind that we are serving a faithful God. He does not overlook your labor nor sacrifices for him. He hears your prayers. The loudest, the quietest prayers in your heart, he hears them all equally. He has promised a reward and surely he will give it.

He remembers and he rewards.

That’s how generous our God is.

You will never be wrong when you choose to put your faith in Christ and serve him faithfully.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 22 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

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Hold on Mission!

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (Pastor Jack Tan)

A Final Charge to Timothy

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Nice to meet you. We are family in Christ. It’s the first time to meet you, but I’m happy to go home after meeting others.

I will share a Scripture from Paul. This is the last letter of Paul. And also it’s very important – what Paul said to others. It is Paul’s response to God’s calling to finish his mission.

The purpose of this letter: to ask Timothy whatever the situation is, you have to hold onto the mission.

Do not be affected by the situation. He hopes that Timothy will also experience God like Paul has experienced him.

This time, I will share what Paul writes.

Today’s topic is “Hold on Mission” – this is the mission that EVERY Christian should have.

I think this letter is not only sent to Timothy, but also to all Christians. I’m privileged to come here to see your church – it’s a missionary church. It’s really doing the “Mission” – Thank God.

The Mission must continue. There are many pastors who do God’s mission. They have the mission and testimony. This should be continued.

So, how to “Hold on Mission”?

1: Keep the Faith

Paul says, 4:7

“7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

This is Paul’s experience. He doesn’t only do it, but at first he was chosen by God and he will continue to the end until death. Why can he continue on this, God’s mission? Because it is God’s mission.

He said this when he was about to die, he already finished the mission. If we hold onto what we believe (about God) we can finish the mission.

To fight for God, God’s Word is the best weapon. Through it, we can stand firm during the test. We will not waver in uncertain circumstances.

Why it is important to keep God’s Word? Because we easily go the wrong way in a spiritual path if not. At first, Paul obeyed God’s Word, but then he didn’t listen to God’s Word – so it is very important to listen to God’s Word and take it seriously. We must hold onto God’s Word as a Mission and hold onto that Mission. Then we can finish God’s will in our lives and communities.

Only if we keep God’s Word can we continue God’s Will and not go the wrong way. If we go the wrong way, everything is in vain. The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches the city, the guardsmen guard it in vain.”

When you do everything, in the end, what is the price you will pay? Should you continue? Not on your own strength. So, we can see it is very important to hold onto God’s Word, and God’s Mission.

If we want to fight the good fight, we must obey God’s Word. So, let us learn from Paul.

2: Through the Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8 “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””

This word comes from after Jesus appeared to the disciples 3 times. At that time, Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples. They went back to fish – they had already given up their mission.

So Peter’s witness is a powerful witness. Before, he was a man who was frightened, scared of death, disowned Jesus 3 times. But after Peter was touched by the HS, he stood again, even to be killed for Christ. Where does that bravery, faith, strength come from? It’s from the HS.

So, today, we have no excuse.

With the HS, we can hold on to the Mission. Thank God.

We can see your church’s background is touched by the HS.

Depending on the HS, our lives can be changed.

I will give my testimony to you.

I became a Christian from 1978. At that time, I was caught and put in jail. At that time, I turned to God from 1979 to today. I thank God. The HS works in me. So I encourage those who have a similar background as me. My life was totally changed. This is because I have the will to repent. I had been addicted to drugs. But, from 1979 until now, I never used drugs again. God gave me the chance to experience the HS.

Because of the drugs I had been caught. So, thank God for this difference. Because I received Christ as my Savior and the power of the HS, today there are many testimonies like this.

There are many like this in Singapore and also Malaysia. It is very important to receive the HS.

Peter was afraid of being caught at first, but after he received the HS, he was afraid of nothing – even death for Christ.

This is because Jesus said, “You will receive power when the HS comes on you.” And then, they were to share the Mission with the Gentiles.

At that time, Peter responded to God’s mission again. And we can see how powerfully Peter was used by God. He overcame his weakness by the power of the HS.

We can see from his mission – 3,000 people believed in God, in Jerusalem, on a single day, from his testimony. They asked Peter what they should do to respond to God and Peter said, “You must repent and be baptized.” At that meeting, 3,000 people believed in Christ (in the same city that crucified him I believe.)

“You are no longer controlled by the sinful nature, but by the HS.”

We can see this in the early Antioch Church. Thank God your church’s name is ALSO Antioch Church. You are worthy to have this name. Give a hand to God. Your church is a missionary church.

The missionary church is what God wants.

At that time, Antioch Church sought God.

Acts 13:1-2 “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.””

At that time, they had to do mission work. The HS told them to send Paul and Barnabas to evangelize. So, after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

We can see the power of Antioch Church – touched by the HS. Today, the power of the church is touched by the HS.

After Jesus finished his work and ascended into heaven, he sits (now) at the right hand of God the Father. At that time, he sent the disciples. And we know that the HS still works in our church today. He helps us finish the mission, and helps us to love Jesus and love God, and he prepares for the Last Day when Jesus will come. So, this Age is the Work of the HS.

Now, we believe in the same God as today.

  • The heavenly Father is the same God as the one who did Creation.
  • Jesus is Salvation.
  • And through 3 years, he trained the disciples to do God’s work – to continue his own work.

We ask God to work in our hearts and lives. We want to do God’s work – if we want to see God’s reward, we must ask for the power of the HS.

Mission work (and the power to do it) is given by the HS. So, it is very important to respond to the calling of the HS.

Many churches were given the HS – and Paul visited many churches and many believers who loved God. This is very important. Respond to the HS.

Now, we are in the spiritual world. This spiritual world cannot fight with the physical world.

Let us see 2 Corinthians 10:4 “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

At that time, many people became Christians. Peter and John were called by God. Because of P&J, many people trusted God. So, they were caught – later set free on the condition that they don’t share the gospel. But they went back to church and reported all that the Chief Priest and elders had done. At this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

Acts 4:22-30 They preached with great boldness. At first, they could not share the gospel at that time, but with the power of the HS, they were able to. So, we can see that the best weapon of spiritual warfare is the Word of God.

Acts 4:31 “31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We can see that spiritual warfare is a serious business. Continuing in chapter 4, we can see the heart of the early church:

4:32-37 “32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

So, we can see that we need the power of the HS to teach us the right way to behave, how to love one another.

In Malaysia, I opened one church, and one brother was a tutor there. Evil took control of him at one time, and he couldn’t teach any longer. He was originally a very handsome fellow, like Pastor Heo, but when evil took hold of him, when we had a service, we tried to cast out the evil, but could not. Afterward, we prayed “In Jesus Name” and when we did that, he fell prostate – laid down. This is spiritual war.

We can see, if we fight by the power of the HS, evil cannot resist – it will flee.

So, we must fight by the power of the HS.

Many things may threaten us, so let us ask for help from God. We need to hold on to the mission, and trust what we believe. And in the power of the HS, he will help us overcome our weakness, and fight.

If we do this, we can fight the good fight for God. At this, we can work hard for God. So, thank God.

I hope everyone can learn from this sermon.

At this time, we have many needs. I hope and pray that we will all hold to the mission and do missionary work from this generation to the next and next and next generation.

Thanks everyone for giving me the opportunity to preach this sermon.

  • Say to yourself, “I’m a missionary.”
  • Beat your heart and say it, “I’m a missionary.”

Today’s sermon title is very suitable. “Hold on Mission.” (Catch, possess, continually, without stop).

Actually, if you “Hold on Mission”, you are a missionary before God in this world. Missionary = “Mission holder” – so we are all missionaries in this world.

Let’s give a hand and praise to God.

Let’s pray.

  • May 14 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)

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The Power of Prayer

Matthew 7:7-8 (Dr. Merv Weerasekera)

7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

We have a special speaker from the US today: Dr. Merv Weerasekera on The Power of Prayer.

International church: Korea, Uganda, Indonesia, Ghana, US, etc…

I was born in Singapore – a merchant sailor. My dream was to see the world at 12, so at 17, I joined a ship and started sailing. When I became 21, I had circled the globe many times – been to almost every country represented by this church. At around that age, I became very disillusioned because my dream had already come true. I asked myself, “If you died tonight, where would your soul go?” I’d been in a war zone, shot at, almost got washed out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean, many terrible accidents as well. And I asked that question. I had to answer: “I don’t know.”

Youth with a Mission (Intl Mission Org) put tracts on that ship and I read one and heard the story of being born again. Every time I read that tract, I cried. On the third night, I read “4 Spiritual Laws” and it’s as though Jesus was standing right there in front of me. I asked him into my heart at 2:30am outside Singapore. There was fear and anger in my heart and at that exact moment, the fear and anger left and peace and joy entered my heart. I’ve been this way for 35 years. After that, I joined that same Mission Org (Youth with a Mission) – and ever since then I’ve worked on telling the next guy the story of Jesus.

Once I had a revelation about Jesus. I was mopping the floor, admiring my clean floor, and the Lord spoke to me and said, “You’ve always wanted to feed your fellow man – how about I use you to give them eternal life?” WOAH! I was totally transformed!

You know, if I could give every person I met $1 million, but after death, who knows where they would go? But, if God asked me to give that person eternal life, there is NO job higher than that.

That is the epitome of life. God using you to give others eternal life!

After that, I started preaching the gospel to the people on that merchant ship – and I met Pastor Jingu Park. Later, I married an American woman in Singapore – she was deported 6 months later – so I ended up in the US not knowing WHAT I would do. I didn’t even have a high school diploma at that time. I had a hard time reading Newsweek Magazine. I thought I would be mopping the floor for the Lord.

I was in the US, didn’t know how to drive – always walked or took the bus/subway – and I had to start absolutely from scratch. But I remember praying all night with Pastor Park – from 12am to 6am. That’s what I did in the US. I became a waiter in a Chinese restaurant and was washing dishes at night. I tried to save money to go “home” to Singapore. But God had different plans.

I joined a church and we started praying all night. God started opening doors and opening my eyes. “Son, you’re not going home. I have plans for you here.”

This Scripture here says, “If you’re in a bind and you don’t know where to go, get down on your knees and cry out to the Lord.”

Ask -> Seek -> Knock

Ask God in a place of prayer – make that place of prayer in your life.

You know, life is NOT in a straight line. You know the “Prosperity Gospel”? (Give to God, he’ll make you rich). But I don’t see that in the Scriptures. I see a loving, powerful, all-knowing God who has a PLAN of LOVE for each and every person. God wants to SHOW you himself. THIS is the gospel.

So, here I am in the US, trying to save to go home to Singapore, and praying on Friday nights and asking, “What am I doing here? YOU are out of your mind!” (Oh, no! Please, sorry, I must have made you angry! Please forgive me! Forgive even my temptations!)

God said, “I want you to go to school and start studying.” God opened the door and let me take my GED (High school diploma equivalent).

I prayed, prayed, prayed.

My life, suddenly, (no family in the US at all) is ONLY consisting of GOD.

God will PUT you in those kinds of places.

Don’t expect Christianity to be all flowers and roses and an easy life. Yes, in church, we worship the Lord, we dance and praise and sing and dance and love one another. When we come to church, we must come to KNOW him.

I’m trying to put my story together, but God won’t tell me. Type A personalities want to know the WHOLE plan right NOW. We all in a HURRY!

But the Scripture doesn’t say that. You aren’t in it to GET something from God. God isn’t your credit card, he’s not Santa Claus. You want to KNOW Him, really KNOW Him.

Before Youth with a Mission, I was also running 2 businesses – I wanted to be rich. But when I joined YWAM, I didn’t want that any more. I said, “God, just let me tell others about you.” God said, “No, I want you to walk with me – and I will provide for you.”

Jesus wants YOU to come to HIM and ask Him. Don’t ask for THINGS. NO!

Ask God that whatever you do, each step you take, you will get to know HIM. You want to know the character of God.

If I preach to you anything other than Christ and him crucified, I’m not preaching the gospel!

So, in the US, I’m working my butt off, got my GED, in church, praying, and started going to college. By the time it’s all over, I have 4 college degrees and 1 doctorate degree.

Merchant sailor -> Missionary -> washing dishes -> 4 college degrees -> Doctorate = WOW! That’s God.

When I studied Algebra, I thought, “What does this have to do with serving God?”

You know what he said to me?

“Obedience is better than sacrifice.”

So, now, here I stand. I have my wife (American – surgery nurse), 3 children (one with a Master’s, one with a Bachelor’s, and my son, 19, will be a second year in college). I’m taking my son with me – we are going to China and then Singapore.

This faith in my life is just a journey.

But let me share this Scripture about prayer.

You think, “Yeah, you tell us all these fantastic stories, and think Wow! But let me tell you, God puts me in places where He’s all I’ve got – I have to hold on to Him alone. I want to tell you that this Scripture is TRUE.”

I spent 3 years in Seminary – and one of my professors told me, “Anything you lean on outside of Christ is a bruised reed.”

Looking at this Scripture and seeing what he said, I remember sitting in that class, lecture after lecture, and he really touched me. Everything he lectured on, at the end of the lecture, he ALWAYS pointed you to Jesus Christ. I said, “Lord, I want to be like that man. When I teach, I want to point them to the Lord. Help me, in anything I say or do, that it will point them or move them to You.”

If you can bring someone to the knowledge of Christ and they can receive his power, what have you NOT done for them? This is the epitomy of life!

Remember, Jesus is GOD! – He can do anything he wants. He can take a Merchant Sailor from a ship to the US and change his life and change his mind. Is that not the God you want to worship, serve, learn from, KNOW?

But there’s something you must have that every Christian must have: a revelation of who he is.

When you go to God and pray, this Scripture is saying, “Ask, seek, knock.”

I want to leave this with you.

  1. GO TO GOD (empty) – Today –
  2. Empty your mind, your desires, (this takes a lot of thinking) – surrender your ambitions, dreams, everything.
  3. Say, “Lord, I want to come to you. I want to KNOW you.”

You know, many people see this Scripture as a license to ask for “things.” NO. Every Christian must do this – this is the message I must preach, I always preach.

Every Christian must go to God and SEEK him, and ASK him, and KNOCK and say, “Jesus, I want to KNOW YOU.” (The King of Kings, Maker of Heaven and Earth – He said “Let there be LIGHT!”)

You know how I have faith? When I go out into the sun, I say, “WOW! My God SPOKE that sun into existence!! Wooo!~” You cannot stand still!

That’s the God I pray to, the Jesus I worship~!

  1. Ask, seek, knock = “I want to KNOW You.”
  2. Then, when you know him, ask, “NOW, lead me.”
  3. And watch Him lead you.

My story:

  • “God, which college do you want me to go to?” I had no money.
  • “Go to that one.” (Lee University – Cleveland, TN)
  • I drove over there, to O’Cobey Street – and I drove my truck into a spiritual curtain – they gave me full scholarships – every semester. God provides! Ask Him to show you who he is!
  • So, in my church now in the US, I run a prayer ministry.

Let me tell you about the US. The church is very powerful in the world. It is very strong in the Word of God – I’ve studied much good literature from the West. The worship is also very good – good music. Lacking in Prayer.

  1. Word is good.
  2. Worship is good.
  3. Lacking in Prayer.

What I’m trying to do in my local church – I learned from Pastor Daniel Park (Koreans are a very strong praying culture) – we cut off the TV, go to work, go to church, fast on Tuesdays, pray from 7pm-10pm on Fridays.

I’m trying to cultivate the spirituality in my life that we don’t have.

You know, when you are in a comfortable place in your lives, you forget to pray to God. At first, when life is HARD, you pray A LOT. But as God starts to bless you, you forget to pray.

So, I’m trying to cultivate fasting and prayer. I want to do an altar call (come forward and pray for you). I want to leave the core of prayer to be IN YOUR LIFE.

When you are in a difficult situation (being from another culture is very difficult, very scary), just find a place where you can GO and PRAY and ASK God.

  • Don’t ask, “God, get me out of here!”
  • Rather, ask, “God, what are you doing? Speak to me!”

Before I became a Christian, I was living in Asia.

Buddhists pray to idols, Catholics pray to Mary.

A Christian brother once told me, “Merv, YOU can hear the voice of God!” What? God speaks? Wow! I did not KNOW that! I thought it was a one-sided conversation. No! It’s a relationship. He’s not an idol! He’s a person! He loves me, He loves YOU! He wants you to come to Him.

When I’m in prayer, God shows me a little bit of his holiness. I had to turn off the cable. (And God sent me $150 – the cable fee).

When God says, “I don’t want you to be there” listen! When you start to SEEK God, to KNOW God, you stand there, stay focused on Him, and depend on Him to lead you and get you out of there.

There was a time when I was so angry at church. Mad at a brother in church. My professor said, “Merv, take your eyes off the situation, and shift your focus to Jesus.” (Wow, after my 30 minute complaint).

Now, I tell everybody, ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, and FOCUS on Jesus. He knows the plan! Why do you worry?

When God wants to open a door, he can do it in a second. He can do anything for you. You don’t serve a lame duck God. No! He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth! If you say, “Merv, or James” the devil says, “Who cares?” But if you say, “Jesus”, the devil must go.

  • But do you KNOW the Jesus you talk about?
  • Do you KNOW his character? Do you KNOW Him (not just ABOUT Him)?
  • If you say, “Come, let me show you Jesus” that’s what you want.

If you want to come up here and ask this one question to the Lord, “Lord, I want to know you, and I want the annointing and hunger to PRAY to you.” A praying person is a powerful person. A praying Christian is a powerful Christian. I want to cultivate that in my life.

Let’s have the musicians come up and I’ll pray. Let me ask the Lord to give you a personal touch for prayer in your life. Come up to the front.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 16 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Living in the Truth (John 8:31-32)
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Living in the Truth (John 8:31-32)



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Living in the Truth

John 8:31-32 (Missionary Chung Woo Chun)

The Children of Abraham

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Today’s message is presented by a Korean missionary to Cambodia – living with his daughter and wife: Chung Woo Chun

I regret accepting the offer of Pastor Heo to preach here in English – I’m nervous. I’m a Korean missionary to Cambodia – 11 years. Over there, I speak in Cambodian language except when I talk to my family in Korean. For the past 10 years, I didn’t even preach once in English. Years ago, I did ONE sermon in English during my missionary training in the Philippines. Yet, I respect Pastor Heo, so I accepted his offering. Also, I’m here to preach the Word of God, not show my proficiency in English. So, even if my English is not perfect, please be generous to me – take what you can from my preaching.

I want to have a special song through my daughter (she may be more trembling than me). The name of the song is “Father God on the Mountain” – by Linda (a black person) I was impressed by her singing so I had my daughter learn this. I lived in the countryside for 10 years, so I’ve never had a chance to send my daughter to an international nor English school (too far, too expensive) – so I sent her to public school and they taught her American pop songs – so I said, “You’d better sing gospel songs with the pop songs.”

She’s waiting for an “encore” but you didn’t say “encore…”

The title of my sermon is “Living in the Truth.”

On this planet, there are so many people living (7 billion) – I checked on my smartphone. If we divide them into two categories, there are “believers” and “non-believers.” But in the world – in the non-believers, there are also two groups “normal” and “below average”.

  1. Normal = normal attitude, citizenship, good manners, they don’t believe in Christ.
  2. Below average = the one next door in my apartment – from 9am he starts murmuring and shouting and talking loudly and shouting until 2-3am. Next door, we cannot sleep. Downstairs, there’s another one, talking to himself (I thought it was a phone call – but maybe he’s an alcoholic). Outside too, there was one drinking alot and singing Korean pop songs – until 3-4am. These people are mentally ill or disabled mentally or in their bodies.

You can also find this kind of two groups among politicians, businessmen, etc, in society. They are so WICKED. They make other people uncomfortable, unhappy, damaged, etc.

In Cambodia, 30 years ago, there was Polpot, a politician – an extreme communist. He made many people die – he killed many people – many people are still suffering from the traumas he made. (1 out of 4-5 people he killed – almost EVERY family has suffered from his policies – even now they suffer from traumas).

Even now, among our own businessmen and politicians, they make so many people unhappy – these are “below average.”

Yet, the “normal” people we often see at the park, or the foot of the mountain, wearing beautiful clothes, exercising, enjoying the group activities, folk songs, etc. Yet, they never know Jesus.

The third group is us. We are Christians. The Christians should live not by instinct or emotion or human thought and philosophy, but by the Word of God. That’s the kind of Christians we are.

When I go to the park, I can meet someone who is enjoying exercise. Among them, I can find “special” men – shut mouth, black glasses, square face and jaw, and exercising enthusiastically – “no one get in MY way! no room for others” – he’s just busy for himself. Outwardly, they look like they have no problems, yet, inside, they live by themselves, completely alone – not thinking about spiritual things, nor others, only “I’m busy.”

Yet, we are Christians. We must think first of : God, then of : others. 

The will to live – we must follow the Word of God. So, we must understand it thoroughly. Therefore I chose this passage.

Here in v. 31, the Bible says “to the Jews who had believed in him” – this also means “to the Christians who had believed in him” (us). Like us, they know Jesus is the Savior/Son of God. Jesus says to them, “if you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples.”

There are the two categories outside of Christ. Even inside the church there are two types of groups:

In the mission field:

  1. The crowd
  2. The disciples

When I go outside with simple medicine for parasites and colds. I go to give the gospel. I can meet the crowd easily (20, 30, 40 people). It’s so easy to meet them. But they are not disciples. They are the crowd.

  1. Crowd = they come to Jesus (or a missionary/Christian/etc) and take what they want for their physical demands and then they return to their sinful nature. They do not take responsibility nor take up their own cross for the glory of God. They just want to satisfy themselves and return to their “normal” lives.
  2. Disciples = they came to meet their physical demands in the beginning, yet as they listen to the Word of God, they become “Christians” more and more. Christians = followers of Christ/God. They have the mindset to take responsibility in their daily lives.

I baptized more than 300 people, but I think from them, my disciples only number 50 or less. 

So, actually, the work of a missionary is not easy. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can a missionary do his mission. As the time goes, I really feel like the time is so difficult and I want to go back to Korea. Yet, I know the truth, “You do not work by your own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I know the Word, so I can continue in my mission. This is why we all must cling to the Word of God. This Word of God must be saturated in our bodies. The only way we can overcome the world is through the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

When I observed my friends, pastors, who led their church successfully – the MOST successful pastors are those who TEACH the Word of God best. I taught as well, using instances from their daily lives to get them to understand more easily and then I teach and teach from the Word of God.

Everyone of us should be born again, but being born again is the work of the Holy Spirit. The role of the missionary/pastor/teacher is to TEACH the Bible – explain the Bible. So, we must be saturated by the Word of God and pray continuously and be indwelt by the power of the Holy Spirit.


In the church, 1 is a member of the crowd, 1 is a disciple. Why? What’s the reason to stay in the crowd? What’s the reason to transition to disciple?

Since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of Good and Evil, man was thrown out of the realm of God and into the realm of the world. We became accustomed to our own self-centered thoughts. Therefore, even though we may hear the truth of God, we do not want to give up our own self-centered thoughts.

Yet, someone overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit, he realized that he was a sinner, and he repented and got help from the power of the Holy Spirit, and he became a child of God.

I had the experience before coming to Korea, I made a trip to America (California) to see my cousin. She invited my family for 20 days and because I’m a pastor, I was interested in their lifestyles, their way of living. In 2 days in Disneyland, and CA, I found big differences (Cambodia vs. USA).

In only 2 days, I flew from Cambodia to USA from darkness to light. From death to life. Cambodian people may feel sorry for me, but that’s the truth.

  • Cambodian society = self-centered.
  • USA = more God-centered.

Yet, the USA is rapidly changing from believer to non-believer, yet from the beginning, the country was founded on the Word or God – the whole country/system was imbued with the Word of God.

  • In Cambodia, car first.
  • USA, human first.

I love Cambodia also, but in Cambodia, as we walk down the street, the driver almost kills us just walking down the street. There’s no respect for others.

In the USA, after 54 years, I finally saw, as I crossed the street, even from 5 meters away, the cars stopped… WOW. They respect the law of the nation AND respect others. Where are these good values from? From the Bible, I believe.

This is very interesting, and I learned a big lesson.

How about Korea? Sometimes cars, sometimes man (mostly cars…)

Why am I telling you this? Because one family, one country, one nation, ALL people, if they live by the Word of God, they live a God-centered life. That’s why their lives are different.

I’m a pastor and missionary and am pleased to be a Christian and am pleased to learn the truth (right from wrong) from the Word of God. That’s WHY I can lead not only myself, but also others to the light.

So the happiest time in my mission field is teaching the Bible, and then taking a shower, and then sitting down before the fan (시원해). It’s soooo hot over there….

The difference between Cambodia, Korea, and the USA I told you, but we also must live a God-centered life in our daily lives.

In order to be a disciple, we must DO one thing. ONE thing. Take up our cross that God gave us. 

Why be one member of the crowd? They listen to the Word of God a lot. They are a member of the crowd because they do not give up their selfishness in their daily lives.

My own mother, 86 years old, is getting weaker and weaker every year, I came back 1-2 times to check on her health. My 4 brothers should help take care of her in my place. My brothers and sisters say “Sorry, I cannot take care of our mother.” So I said, “Fine, let’s take her to Cambodia and take care of her there.”

One of my friends said, “Please, just entrust her to the silver hospital” but I refused because I love my mother.

Following Jesus Christ is the SAME. 

The one who loves Christ the most can take care of the cross Christ has given him. The one who loves Christ the most takes the cross before him.

The mission field is not stable. When the law of immigration is changed, when the politics change, you don’t know. When they want to drive us away, we do not know. But, I trust God, he will take care of us.

“God on the mountain is still God in the valley.”

Surely if God cares for us in our triumphs, he will care for us MORE in our tragedies.

Two weeks ago, I met a lady who wanted to be a missionary. I said, “Are you checking yourself, when you see a difficult thing, are you the kind of person who does it FASTEST? Faster than others?” The difficult thing, the complicated thing is NOT attractive, you don’t gain fame, you must lose your ego, you can be despised. Yet, can you do it? Are you the kind of person who sits in the living room while your mother washes dishes, or are you the kind of person who GETS UP and washes the dishes?

I’m not saying whether or not you’re qualified or not, but you need to check yourself. Many people romanticize “mission work” yet – you must become a BEGGAR. This is not a romantic thing. To help others live better lives, we must take on more difficulties. In the beginning, they do not know, yet it takes 7 years of teaching, giving, helping, planting, and then they eventually begin to realize the difference – what is right, what is wrong.

When I traveled to the USA, one of my disciples came to my house and gave me some money he prepared. I took it fast because I feared that he would take it back. I saw inside, $100 (this was 80% of his monthly salary). A normal missionary would give him it but, but I’m “evil” so I took it. I understood he invested in God, not in man (and actually, he took/borrowed a lot from me). I’m not the kind of person who believes in give-and-take. But I teach them offering, how to help them, how to live God-centered lives, how to live unselfish lives. Maybe when I return to Cambodia, I will repay him more, but you need to understand that through the Word of God, man can be changed.

I also used to be an alcoholic – I should be like the “below average” alcoholic singing pop songs from dawn til dusk. Yet, I learned from God, his Word changed me, and now I can lead not only myself, but also other people.

In the countryside, every morning, I used to teach for 2 hours because over there, monks also taught 2 hours (otherwise they would think it was less important than it is).


  1. Be free from all kinds of powers of darkness by believing in the Word of God. THEN, you can help to set others free.
  2. To help them be free, we must take up our cross. To listen and forget, listen and forget, doesn’t work. We must listen and DO – take up our cross daily and follow him.

Everyone of us is a missionary in our daily lives.

My mother is the first generation Christian. She suffered so much difficulty in her life. My uncle’s family used to worship the ancestors 12 times per year. Yet, now in the end of her life, by the plan of God, she is going to Cambodia with her son. This is a blessing I think. Go over there, and pray and be a successful missionary as well. That’s what she wants to do.

As my mother – also in our lives, like the waves of the ocean, constantly, difficulties come up. But we must overcome them.

1 John 5 “Who is he who overcomes the world? The one who believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God.”

In my living room, there is a maxim from the Word of God (Matthew 6:33 “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and then ALL these things will be added to you as well.”)

In my difficulties, I don’t always think of others, I concentrate on the will and kingdom of God – and God solves the problem.


Like to Word of God, let’s overcome the world by depending on and believing the Word of God.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 12 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Bear Good Fruit (John 15:1-8)
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Bear Good Fruit (John 15:1-8)



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Bear Good Fruit

Matthew 15:1-8 (Johannes K)

The Vine and the Branches

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


  • My first message here was based on John 3.
  • My second message was based on John 10 “We can have eternal life.”
  • Today, is from John 15 – so all are from the book of John.

On Jesus’ last night, when he finished the Last Supper, he taught to his disciples. This was his last opportunity to teach his disciples. Only about 6 hours from the time they finished dinner until his arrest – yet in this short time, he delivered a LONG message (John 13, 14, 15, 16).

So, this message is a very important last message from Christ. He gave many instructions.

He gave the commandment: Love one another; serve one another (he washed their feet). 

If you love me, keep my commandments.

In John 15, he expects us to bear good fruit. He wants us to bear good fruit.

What kind of fruit is your favorite? Delicious ones, right? Beautiful fruit. Our God expects this beautiful, tasty fruit out of us. Why should we bear fruit?

#1: God works hard to help us bear fruit

Because the farmer works hard so that he may bear fruit. The farmer loaded himself with two heavy pails of fertilizer and spreading it over the crops. Why do they work so hard?

Jesus said, “My Father is working hard until now, so I’m working.” Do you think our God is resting? No. He is working now from the Beginning, so I’m working. God is like a farmer who works hard to help us bear fruit.

#2: Jesus said, “I’m the true vine.” (agro ami – it is only I who are the vine)

If you are attached to this true vine, you can bear true fruit.

If the branches are connected to the tree, the branch automatically bears fruit. So, if you remain in me and I remain in you, you’ll bear fruit. Stay connected to Christ and bear fruit – he’s the True Vine.

#3: If we don’t bear fruit, God will cut down (trim/prune) the branches that don’t bear fruit.

This is a warning. God will cut down and throw away what doesn’t bear fruit (v. 2). Therefore it is necessary for the children of God to bear fruit.

v. 6 “If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch that is withered and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Branches without fruit = rubbish – cast in the fire and burned.

God says he will send these “useless, worthless” people into the fire – no fruit? no use.

Matthew 3:10 “Even now, the axe is at the root of the tree and the trees that doesn’t bear fruit will be cut down.” (Matthew 7:19 also?)

#4: Only those who bear fruit in keeping with the Kingdom of God can ENTER into the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:43 “ Therefore, the KOG will be taken from you and given to the people who bear the fruit of the kingdom.”

Only those who produce fruit for the kingdom will enter the kingdom (be a PRODUCER, not a CONSUMER).

The parable of the Sower: 4 types of soil (this is like our heart)

Bad, Good, Rocky, Hard, Weedy soil

Some people’s hearts are soft, some hearts are hard, some hearts are full of thorns, some hearts are rocky. The first THREE types of soil failed to produce a crop.

  1. The hard path = eaten by birds – no buds even.
  2. The rocky soil = sprouted, but scorched by the heat – failed to grow.
  3. The thorny soil = sprouted, grew up with the weeds, but the weeds choked the good plant – it didn’t bear fruit.
  4. The GOOD soil = bore good fruit (callos = good outsides / appearance)

Matthew 13:23 “He who received the soil on the good ground is he who hears the Word and understands it and bears good fruit – he bears 100-fold, some 60-fold, some 30-fold.”

Matthew 8:13? “The good soil = a noble and good heart who hear the Word and retain it and by perseverance produce good fruit.”

Only these kinds of people are proper (qualified) for the Kingdom of God.

#5: Jesus Christ chose us (appointed us) so that we may go and bear much fruit.
John 15:10?

When we bear fruit, our God is glorified. We should bear fruit to glorify God.

Jesus wants us to bear good fruit. But he never really clarified (explained) what kind of fruit that is – not in detail – so I thought about it.

  1. Thanksgiving + Praise (Did you thank God this morning? Did you praise God? We should START our worship, prayer, etc with praise and thanksgiving. Did you do that? Everyday? So, sometimes, as I’m walking along, I think, ‘did I bear this fruit of thanksgiving today?’”)
  2. Submission, humility and love (There are many conflicts in the church – and in families, etc – we need submission! We live in the Age of Rebellion! Children rebel against parents; students rebel against teachers; citizens rebel against governments. We need submission, love, harmony.)
  3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23 “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.”) Do you have this kind of fruit?
  4. Fruit of Light (Eph 5:9 “The fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Good deeds, kindness, righteous things, right things, – don’t do wrong things – no immorality, no deceit.) “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not from God.” This is the right thing to do. The fruit of the light = truth (in the moral sense – you should be trustworthy, reliable, etc). Sometimes it’s difficult to meet these kinds of people – but Christians should be this kind of person. ____11:1 “When we bear the fruit of righteousness, God is glorified.” Col 1:10? “That you may be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God.” You see the tangible, concrete, grapes?  God also wants the tangible, concrete, visible results of our faith! If we do not have such fruit, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire.
  5. Fruit of Souls – preach the gospel, lead people to the Lord. There are many people in my mission field who do not know Christ (less than 0.1%). I passed by many villages and my pastor said, “There is not even ONE SINGLE believer in this village.” It’s very terrible. We should bear this fruit of salvation. Romans 1:13 “I do not want you to be unaware, my brothers, of my plan to come to Rome, that I might have some fruit among you, just as among the others.”

He wants the fruit of souls.

Romans 16:5 “Greet ___ who is the first fruit of ____ to Christ.”

He preached the gospel and got the person saved. This is the first fruit after he preached the gospel. God wants this kind of fruit.

  1. 1. Thanksgiving + Praise
  2. 2. Submission, humility, love
  3. 3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit
  4. 4. Fruit of Light
  5. 5. Fruit of Souls

Today’s verse shows the conditions needed to bear fruit:

1. To be clean

(God cleanses us to be clean and bear much fruit) We should be holy, clean, pure. Jesus said, “Our God is purifying us so that we may bear more fruit.” “You are ALREADY clean because of the Word I spoke to you.” (John 15:3)

If you have the Word of God, you become holy – it makes our behaviors, thoughts, actions holy, lives holy, souls holy. It makes us clean and holy – it removes dirtiness.

  • 7 deadly sins: Wrath, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, pride, sloth

We should remove, purge this kind of dirtiness and then we will be clean to bear fruit (God’s Word does this). Also “if anyone cleanses himself, he is a clean vessel, appropriate for the Master, and can bear good fruit.”

2. Jesus: “You must remain in me and you will bear much fruit.”

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, neither can you unless you abide in me. Without me, you can do nothing. If you do not abide in you, you are cast out into the fire and burned.”

What is the meaning of “remain in me”?

Totally depend on Christ – the branch cannot survive without the tree – so we must be attached to the vine which is Christ. We must totally depend on Christ. The grace of God flows freely from the Lord.

Sometimes this is blocked by rubbish – treasures of lust, immorality, sinfulness, wickedness, etc.

We should totally depend on Christ: Matthew 18:3 “Truly, truly, unless you are converted and become little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’m 55 years old, how can I be transformed into this little child? What is Jesus teaching by these Scriptures? We should be powerless, ignorant, weak, except by Jesus’ power. “Please, help me! I cannot do this without you!” You should be like a child. “Father, help me!”

I’m helpless, I have many problems. God help me. Be like a child, totally depend on our Lord. This is to “abide in Christ.”

If you want to get into Christ, leave all the earthly, secular things behind. You want to enter into a relationship with Christ and “remain with him”? You cannot do so with earthly, dirty things and thoughts. Leave them all behind to stay in Christ. You cannot get into a relationship with Christ with sinfulness, wickedness, etc.

Luke 14:33 “If you do not forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciples.”

Another condition for bearing fruit?

#3: If you abide in me and MY WORD abides in you, you will bear much fruit.

We should always, ever have the Words of God in our hearts – meditate on it everyday. And obey his Words.

We have learned much of the Bible, we know much of the Scriptures, but still, few people keep the words of God.

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

This is not my word, it comes from God above, it comes from heaven. How can you dare disobey the words from heaven? These words I speak to you are from my Father in heaven, so you should keep these words from heaven.

#4: Ask whatever in my name

Pray – God works through our prayer. We should ask through our faith to God and he will reply. We should pray. Whenever I have a big task, I ask my family of believers to pray for me. If they do not pray for me, it is very hard for me to work – but if they pray, GOD works – I feel it. He works through me.

So, we should pray to bear much fruit.

Conclusion: v. 8

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing youselves to be my disciples.” This proves that you are truly my disciples.

No fruit? No disciple.

The visible, tangible, beautiful fruit from us is what God really seeks. Yes, your activities and programs in church are good, but God wants to see FRUIT.

God is a powerful God and he will use us so that we may bear much fruit.

How many grapes does the vine bear? So many.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 14 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow (Joshua 7:6-15)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow (Joshua 7:6-15)



Sermon Notes

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Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow

Joshua 7:6-15 (Rev. Ahn Choongsik)

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.7 And Joshua said, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?” 10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymoreunless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it. 14 ” ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!’ “


This is the third week/day of Advent. This Scripture we read isn’t really related. So, why did I choose it? Here’s the reason:

One day the Lord said to Moses, “Go up the Abraham’s mountain and look over the land I’m giving to the Israelites. After you’ve seen it, you’ll die. Take Joshua and place your hand on his head – he will be your successor.”

Joshua was a great man in many ways.

  1. A field commander in the battle against the Ammonites
  2. Moses’ helper, they went to the Mt. to get the 10 Commandments
  3. Joshua stayed in a tent for leadership service all the time
  4. He was one of 4 spies sent to explore the land of Canaan
  5. He was one of 2 spies that said, “Don ‘t be afraid of the people over there. The Lord is with us and has defended us – so don’t be afraid.”

Joshua was the right person to lead the people to the Promised Land. He was a man of responsibility and faithful to obey God’s commands, and a faithful person to keep his own promises at the risk of his own life.

But he was in danger here by the battle with the Ammonites. He sent some men from Jericho to explore the land. They reported back to him, “There is no need for everyone to attack – send only about 2-3,000 people. It is not a large city.” So he did, but the outcome was totally unexpected. They were driven away and chased away by the people.

36 people were killed and the Israelites lost their courage.

Joshua and the Israelites tore their clothes in grief and laid before the ark of the covenant until evening, praying, “Lord, why did we even come across the Jordan? Are you handing us over to the enemies? Why did we not stay there? What can I say Lord, we’ve retreated and everyone else in the country will hear about this. They will surround us and kill us all. And what will you do to protect your honor?”

This is a prayer of extreme heartbreak and sadness. This is (he’s worried) the cause of God’s dishonor. He’s worried that the people might back down from God’s given Promised Land.

God said, “UP! Why are you lying down?”

Here’s the cause:

  • God didn ‘t leave them alone, rather the people broke the agreement with the Lord that God ordered them to keep. The cause of defeat = Israel has sin.
  • God told Joshua the sins in detail: thievery, lies, put the possessions in their own houses.

Why did God rebuke Israel with such strong language? Go back to the story of Jericho. On the 7th day, they marched around the city 7 times and the men shouted and the trumpets blasted and Joshua said, “EVERYTHING must be destroyed in the city as an offering to the Lord. Do not take anything from the city or you will bring destruction upon Israel. All bronze, silver, gold, and iron is the Lord’s to be put into his treasury.”

The Lord knew that the Israelites (who had nothing in the wilderness – houses, suits, silverware, etc – after 40 YEARS of this) would eye the decorations and keep them…

Jericho was a once great city and it means “City of Gardens”? It’s a very rich city.

According to Luke, there was a chief tax collector named Zaccheus – he stood up and said to the Lord, “Listen, I will give half of my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back 4x as much.”

He made so much money because this city he worked in was an important city on a trade route that joined east and west. Many merchants were passing through the route and he collected money from not only store owners, but also the foreign traders.

The Lord wanted his people to stay away from that kind of way of life – cheating and greed. If they were involved in that kind of life, they would be unable to live the kind of life that God had called them to. This is why the Lord spoke so strongly to the Israelites.

The next morning, Joshua called ALL of the Israelites out and found out Achan. He said, “Confess before the Lord – don’t hide what you’ve done.” Achan answered “It’s true, I’ve sinned. I took a beautiful coat, 2kg of silver, and 1/2kg of gold.” Joshua sent some men to the tent and found that stuff under the tent. The men of Israel seized Achan, the stuff, all his possessions, and his family and told him, “Why have you brought such trouble upon us? Now the Lord will bring trouble upon you.” The people then stoned and burned him and his whole family and all his possessions.

What’s the meaning today? Why so cruel to Achan and his family?

This is a relationship between the individual and the community in which that individual belongs. For example, Achan’s greed doesn’t just affect HIM, but also the ENTIRE community.

  • The Lord said to Joshua very clearly, “I will not stay with you any longer unless you destroy all the things you were ordered not to take.” The Lord chose the community as a whole and not just the individual.
  • The Lord said to the NATION, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and through you I’ll bless all nations.”

In the spring of this year, remember the Sewol sinking? The captain’s mistake became a national disaster – grief, anger, distrust, are a national wound. Individuals within the community cannot be separated from the community. The greed, sin of an individual affects the WHOLE community.

The Lord wanted to get the whole community of Israel ready and pure before him to meet him tomorrow. He said, “You have some things in your possession which I told you not to take. You cannot stand before your enemies before you deal with your sin.”

Remember the Beatitudes?

  1. Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.
  2. Blessed are the hungry and thirsty for righteousness, they will be filled.
  3. Blessed are the merciful, they’ll get mercy.
  4. Blessed are the pure in heart, they’ll see God.

That the Lord demanded purity is related to these things. The Lord said, “I won’t stay any longer unless you purify yourself from your sins.”

The way of purity for ourselves is cutting off our desire and self. Cut off the one who sees greed and is not truly a community member.

Zaccheus – after he spoke his promise and confession, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today for he is also a descendant of Abraham.” The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.

How does a hunter capture a monkey?

  1. Make an iron box
  2. Put many fruits into the box
  3. Monkeys see the fruit and stick their hands into the box to get the fruit
  4. The hole in the box is just the size of his fist
  5. Because of his character, the monkey cannot take out the fruit one by one – he uses the monkey’s character of greed to catch the monkey

(Same way they used to catch racoons in America)

Do you want Jesus to stay in our hearts and minds and remain in our families and work places and homes? Purify your hearts and your homes. Repent and confess like John the Baptist declares.

The shopping malls and music and decorations are out there waiting for shoppers, not for Jesus. Let us purify ourselves and wait for Jesus. Let’s cut off all our material greed and consumerism and prepare for his coming.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen