2.24.2016

Luke 13:1-9 (2)

ppt

God's holy desire
Reading: Luke 13:1-9
K-hymn: 490

We have read a portion of Gospel reading that we read two weeks ago.
We saw how Jesus tried to help people to repent and understand.

But two weeks ago, we have not dealt with the actual story that Jesus told.
So today let’s explore a bit more about that story.

Jesus told this kind of story:
There was a farmer in the land of Israel.
He had a nice vineyard.
(2) But then he also wanted to more figs from his vineyard.
So he planted a fig tree.

Why did he planted a fig tree?
Right, because the farmer wanted to have figs:

In Israel, there are a lot of figs trees.
Some fig trees produce figs three times a year.
Some fig trees produce figs at least once a year.

So the farmer waited to see what this fig tree would bring.
But nothing happened.
No fruit.
No fig.

Then after three years the farmer gave up.
He told those who cared for this tree:
“What a waste.
No fruit for three years?
Cut it down.”

But the one who was tending the tree said
"Let's wait one more year.
Let’s give him one more chance.
I will dig around it and fertilize it.
I will provide wonderful nutrition for him.
Let’s give this tree one more try.
If it bears fruit next year, fine!
Otherwise, I will cut it down."

Then to the tree he was like:
"Hey, fig tree.
It is natural for you to produce figs.
Just spread your roots deeper into the soil.
They are very good for you.
Receive good nutrition.
And relax and allow it all to happen.”

Will this tree produce fruits in the fourth year?

Jesus was telling this kind of story to Jewish people at that time.
To those Jewish people, Jesus was saying:
“I am your last chance.
So repent and turn to God.
You can produce God's wonderful fruits.
It is your chance to produce God’s fruits.
So repent and follow my way of living.
I will help you.
I will wait for you.
You can produce God's beautiful fruits.”

As you know, telling this kind of story, Jesus is saying that God is our farmer.
We are God’s trees.
We are God’s children.
So the kingdom of God is supposed to happen through us.
We are supposed to produce God’s fruits.

That is why we receive God’s words and God’s blessing.
That is why receive the words of Jesus Christ.
We receive the Holy Spirit.
Then God asks us to relax and let it all happen.
Then we have God’s fruits.

I am sure that you have been producing God’s wonderful fruits in your life.
I am sure that God received many God’s wonderful fruits through you.
God has empowered you to bear God’s fruits.
God used you for his glorious purpose.
God made you wiser so that you might have many God’s wonderful fruits.

But then maybe just in case, maybe one of you think like this:
“I don’t know.
I don't think I have produced God’s fruits very much lately.
I think I am better than this.
What do I need to do?”

So let’s think about how Jesus produced God’s fruits in his life.
Maybe then we may learn something and produce better fruits.

Jesus was able to produce God's fruits because when he was a child, he learned to hear God.
He must have learned to say to God:
“Speak, Father, for Your Son is listening.” (1 Samuel 3)

And of course, God spoke to him through the Bible and during his prayer.
So Jesus understood God.
The more he heard, the more he understood God.
He understood what God is like.
He understood what God wants.
So God was able to produce those fruits through him.

Then those fruits also taught him more about who God is.
Those fruits explained how God is working in his world.

Then when God wanted to upgrade his ministry, God asked him to leave his hometown.
Then Jesus might have asked:
“God, then where should I go?”

Then God might have simply said.
“Just leave.
Just go.”

I don’t know about you.
But I want to know more detail if I have to leave my home.

But Jesus left his hometown.
Then God showed him where he must go.
Then God produced God’s fruits through his life.

It may be like that with us, as well.
One day, God may give us a few words.
No detail manual.
Then God asks us to obey as much as we understand, because that is enough.
If we obey, God trusts us and says more.
Then we see God's fruits.

Again Jesus was able to do his ministry because Jesus could hear from God more clearly than anyone in the world.
Then he shared God’s words with us.
Fortunately, we have a record of what Jesus said.

Now we need these words to produce God’s fruits.
These words explains what God wants from us.
These words helps us understand God.
When we understand, God will use us to produce God’s fruits.

Jesus also lived a very obedient life.
Jesus even said that he did everything according to what he saw his Father was doing in heaven.
That is why he cured people and performed miracles.
Then through Jesus, what could happen in heaven was happening on earth.
What was happening in heaven was happening on earth.
God was living through Jesus on earth.
In this way, Jesus produced God’s fruits.

Jesus even helped his students to live like this.
Jesus gave them power.
Then they were also able to preach and cure people.
Signs and wonders followed them.
His students also produce God’s fruits.

Jesus also obeyed God, even when it was not easy.
Even for Jesus, it was not easy sometimes.
But still Jesus obeyed God.
He even obeyed God on the cross.
Jesus obeyed God even when he suffered and terrified.
Then he died and rose again.

Then Jesus produced the greatest fruit in the world: the wonderful salvation of all people.
Jesus produced this through his obedient suffering.

Jesus produced the perfect fruits that God desired for all people.
Then this fruit shows how much God loves people.

Likewise, sometimes, God may ask us to do something we don’t want to do.
It is not like that all the time.
But sometimes.

The Bible even says: Psalm 126:5-6.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

What does it mean for us?
Sometimes, we go to sow, even though we don’t want to go.
Sometimes, we forgive, even though it is not easy.
Sometimes, we obey God’s words even though we don’t feel like it.

Let’s be honest, sometimes, we don’t feel like helping the poor.
Sometimes, we are selfish, to be honest, and don’t want to share.
Sometimes, we don’t want to share even the gospel, good news and wisdom that God has given us.
Sometimes, we don’t feel like to go out and look for the lost.

But then when we read the Bible that is what God wants us to do.
So we obey.
We give because Jesus in the Bible asks us to give.
We pray for others, because Jesus in the Bible asks us.
Then we see good results.
We have God’s fruits.

Here is another thing that we may need to think about:
Let’s say there are person A and person B.
Person A lived a very obedient life for God for many, many years.
But not today.
Not in these days.
Then God would not be pleased with him.

But then there is Person B.
Person B didn't obey God in the past.
She didn’t do what God asked her to do.
But then she repented and then started to obey God.
Then God was very happy with her.

As for God, today is important.
Yesterday, even Judas Iscariot was a good and faithful disciple.
Today is important.

God does not ask us about what we have done 10 years ago.
God is not interested in what we have done 20 years ago.
God is not interested in what we produced many, many years ago.
I am sorry.

God is interested in today and what we are right now.
God is interested in whose we are today.
What is happening right now with us and with our heart?

I am sure that you are doing well.
I am sure that you produce God's wonderful fruits today.
But just to encourage us even more we are thinking about these things.

Even if you don’t produce any fruits, God will love you.
No question about it.
God loves you no matter what.
God just loves us.

Then as the good lover, God wants us to understand God’s heart.
God wants us to stay with God’s heart.
Then here is a kicker.
When we get to know God, when we experience God, when we get closer to God and when we open our hearts and minds to God, then we will start to have a holy desire.
And this holy desire will guide our life.
Then we will have God's holy fruits.

God has a holy desire for each one of us.
God has a wonderful plan for each one of us.

So Jesus is helping us to meet this God and get to know God’s holy desire for us.
Jesus shows us what God is like.
Jesus shows us how much God loves us.
When we understand, it is impossible for us not to have God’s fruits.

Lastly, then what is God’s fruits?
What does it look like?
God’s fruit is a genuine repentance. (It is not about feeling guilty.) (Matt 5:4)
God’s fruit is gentleness.
God’s fruit is kindness.
God’s fruit is patience.
God’s fruit is compassion.
God’s fruit is forgiveness.
God’s fruit is reconciliation.
God’s fruit is a great peace and calmness in our hearts.
God’s fruit is the faith of Jesus Christ that is formed within us.

God’s fruit is that we become like God, full of goodness toward all people.
God’s fruit is love toward all people.
God’s fruit is a godly community, a good Christian fellowship.
God’s fruit is a merciful society.
God’s fruit is a holy city.
God’s fruit is a holy nation.

Because Jesus died for us, this is possible.
Because Jesus rose again for us, this is possible.
Because Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, this is possible.

I pray that we understand Jesus more and more.
Then surely we will have God’s fruits more and more.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving us your life.
Thank you for dying for us.
Thank you for having God’s wonderful fruits through our lives.
Continually help us to live your life on earth.
We pray this in your name.
Amen.


2.08.2016

Luke 13:1–9 (1)

ppt

How should we understand?
Reading: Luke 13:1–9.
Additional reading: Job 42:1-17
K-hymns: 489

Two thousand years ago in Israel, there were some bad things happening:
(2) It was when Pilate was the governor over Judea.
Pilate had done many bad things against the Jewish people.
We just read one example.

Plate also didn’t understand nor respect the Jewish religion.
So Pilate continually had done many things against their religion.
So, some Jewish people went to complain, risking their lives.
They requested Pilate to respect their religious tradition.

But then some Jewish people would not even go to Pilate and complain.
They feared that Pilate might kill them, too.

But then there were other people thought that God was punishing those Jewish victims through Pilate.
That was a situation in our gospel reading today.

They were thinking like the friends of Job, in the Old Testament.
Do you remember the story of Job and his friends?

(3) When some bad things happened to Job, his friends came.
But then they were saying to Job like this:
"Job, you must have done something really wrong.
You must have done something against God.
Think about what you have done.
Otherwise, God would 'punish' you like this.
Don’t you have any hidden sin that we don't know?
What did you do?
Tell us.”

These friends blamed Job for the bad things happened to him.
They were judging him.
They were trying to explain why Job was wrong.
They tried to explain why Job was suffering.
They tried to find faults in him.

But Job didn’t do anything wrong against God.
Bad things just happened to him.

In fact, God was praising Job for his love toward God.
God was bragging about Job.

So at the end of the story of Job, God again blessed Job abundantly and asked those friends of Job to repent.
God was like:
“Job is much more righteous than you guys.”

But some people may think like the friends of Job.
In our gospel reading, we learn that some people were thinking like the friends of Job.
They blamed the Jewish victims.

Have you met these kind of people?
Some people may be thinking like that against themselves.
I mean when some bad things happened to them, they were like:
“Why?
What have I done wrong?”

They may ask God:
“God, what have I done wrong?”

But then sometimes God may say:
“Nothing.
You are just living in the very sinful and imperfect world.
But continually be faithful to me.
I will turn it all around.”

(3) In our text that there was an accident in Jerusalem.
In those days, there were many towers like this in Jerusalem.
But one of them fell down.
So eighteen people got killed.

Then again some people were like:
“Wooo.
These people must have done something wrong in their lives.
There were a lot of people in Jerusalem.
But only they got killed.
How unfortunate!
God must have judged them.
They must have sinned against God.
These eighteen people must have done something really bad.
Otherwise, why would they die like that?
Why would God allow them to die like that?”

So they judged and blame the victims.

But here is what Jesus said to them.
(2) Jesus was like:
“You may think that you are better than them.
You may think that you are more righteous than them, because you are alive.
But you are not better.
You need to repent.
Otherwise, you will die like them.
I worry about you.
Repent.
Otherwise, you will die in sin.
That is a very dangerous thing.

So review your life.
Look back at your own life.
What is your fruits in life?
What have you produced so far?
Are they good?

“What kind of fruits are you producing through your life?
Does God like your fruits?
Otherwise, repent and return to God.
Decide to change.
Return to God and allow God to save you.
I am here to help you.
I and God the father can help you to reshape your lives and transform your lives.
Then you will live forever with God.”

To this particular people, Jesus was asking them to repent.
What does “Repent” means?
You know what “repent” means, right?
It means to “turn around.”
It means to change:
It means to turn to God and follow God and allow God to change us.
Then we will never be the same again.

It is not the first time that Jesus asked them to repent.
John the Baptist and Jesus has been asking them to repent and turn to God.
Jesus asked them to change and follow God.
But they have not yet believed in him.

But only when they want to change, when they want to repent, Jesus can truly help.
If they want to believe in Jesus, Jesus can change them.
Jesus could help them to come closer to God.
So Jesus asked them again and again to repent and think again.

Jesus wanted them to think in the right way.
Why does Jesus want them to think in the right way?
Because this was important.
(3) If they think in the right way, they may even understand why Jesus had to die.

Otherwise, they looked at the cross of Jesus and said again:
“There are a lot of people in Israel.
Among many. many people, Jesus got into trouble and suffered and killed.
He must have done something wrong.

“Otherwise, why would he suffer like that?
God might have known his secret sin.
I wish Jesus have confessed what he had done before he died."

In this way, they may misinterpret the greatest thing ever happened in the history of the world.
Then they might blame and judge Jesus.
They might condemn Jesus only because Jesus was the victim.

(3)They may think like that even when Jesus died for them.
They may think like this when Jesus died for their sins.
When Jesus died to obtain their salvation.
When Jesus died for them so that they could live forever.
When Jesus worked hard to help them.

Jesus had done all the things in the right way.
Jesus lived the perfect and obedient life with God.
But in order to live the perfect life, Jesus knew Jesus had to suffer and die.
This is something too much great for us to understand.

So today, there are a lot of people who don’t understand why Jesus had to suffer and die.
They don’t find any meaning in his suffering.

So they ask:
Why did Jesus have to suffer to save people?
Why did Jesus have to suffer to remove my sins and my mistakes?
Wait, didn’t you say that Jesus is the Son of God?
Why did Jesus who is God suffer when he was on earth?
Why did God have to suffer to remove my wrongdoings?
Why did Jesus become the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?

You understand this, right?
But for many people, it is very difficult to understand.

So some people even scholars may still ask:
What is the meaning of the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Why is his death and resurrection the most important part of his ministry?

We may never fully understand with our minds.
But we will understand more and more and more.
We will understand more and more why even the Son of God suffered when he was on earth.
In the meantime, we accept it by faith.

But then when we come closer to God, we realize that God is most happy when the story of Jesus is heard.
God is still saying the story of Jesus is the most important.
Because this story has God’s powerful wisdom and secret.

I wonder how much we understand each part of Jesus’ life.
I wonder how much we study to understand the story of Jesus.

If we understand this, we can not help but to love God.
If we understand, we will bow down and worship God.
If we understand, we waste our lives for the glory of our Savior.
We will give everything to Jesus.

And if we understand, we will also understand about our lives.
If we understand, we understand why some people suffer even though they are very close to God.
If we understand the sufferings of Jesus, we may understand their suffering, too.

Then we may be even able to see Jesus in our own suffering.
We may be able to see Jesus suffered with us in order to stay with us.

The main purpose of the Bible is to understand Jesus.
How much do we understand Jesus and his story?

If we truly understand, we can restart our journey of faith again and again.
If we understand the ministry of Jesus, we will be part of God’s mission to the world, again and again.
I pray we understand and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for coming to us.
Thank you for teaching us to think and understand God.
Help us to understand why you have suffered.

Help us to pray for those who suffer for you.
Help us to comfort them, because we know you really love them.

We ask for the peace of this world, so that your story be shared with the world.

Thank you for staying with us forever.
In your name, we pray.
Amen.