Luke 4: 14-21 (1)


When the Holy Spirit is with us
Reading: Luke 4: 14-21
Additional reading: Luke 24: 45-49, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Hymns: 324, 322, 316
Blanks: Spirit, read, good, freedom, fulfilled

What brings you joy?
What brings smile on your face?
What are meaningful enough activities for you?
What does God want you to do?
Why does God place you here or on this world?
What is your mission?

These can produce the same answer.

Now let me ask these to Jesus, get to know him:

What brings Jesus joy?
What brings smile on his face?
What are meaningful enough activities for him?
What did God want him to do with his human life?
Why did God place him in Israel or in this world?
What is his mission?

These may produce the same answer.
Jesus knew what brought him joy.
Jesus knew what God asked him to do.
Jesus knew his meaningful enough activities.
Jesus knew saving the lost souls gave him a great joy and peace.
So Jesus knew what he should do.
As he was doing those things and was happy.

But Jesus didn’t do this ministry alone.
Jesus loved to work with the Holy Spirit and with God the Father.

He wanted to be with them all the time.
The Holy Spirit and God the Father are his best friends.

God the Father predicted that Jesus would work with the Holy Spirit on earth.
God the Father was like: Luke 4:18-19:
“The Holy Spirit will help Jesus to free the oppressed.
The Holy Spirit will help Jesus to heal the sick.
The Holy Spirit will help Jesus to help people to understand God.
The Holy Spirit will help Jesus to help the poor to find the right path to God.”

The Holy Spirit and Jesus watched how God the Father wanted them to work on earth.
Then Jesus cured people with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 4:23)
Jesus taught God’s way of living, with the Holy Spirit.
The the Holy Spirit and Jesus together showed God’s power.
They did together.
Then God the Trinity was happy.

His students watched how the Holy Spirit and Jesus worked together.
They saw how the Holy Spirit and Jesus used God’s power to help the poor.
Later, they summarized what powers has manifested: (1 Corinthians 12:7-10)
The power of Wisdom, Knowledge, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, and Faith.

Let’s see how each of these powers manifested in the life of Jesus.
Because Jesus is God, these power manifested perfectly.
Thinking about this, we may guess how these powers may manifest in our life.

First, wisdom:
Jesus chose his paths according to God’s wisdom.
Jesus lived effectively and served effectively according to God’s wisdom.
Jesus created stories to explain the love of God.

Jesus chose his disciples and apostles.
And he taught them, separately.
Jesus taught God’s words and how God works.
Jesus taught them because he loved them.
Jesus taught them how to discern God’s way of living.
So his students understood who God is and became wise.

Jesus got heavenly knowledge.
That is, he knew things that no human beings told him.
Jesus also knew things without asking questions.
Jesus knew where to go, whom to help, how to help, and what to teach.
So he did those according to God's will.

For example, Jesus knew names of people: e.g., Simon, Zacchaeus.
Jesus also knew God’s plan for Peter, Zacchaeus and others.
Jesus even knew that Peter would deny him three times and then hear that the rooster crows for the second time.
Jesus also knew that Judas Iscariot would betray him.

Jesus knew things.
Let me tell you another story to help you understand that: Matthew 17:24-27
Now at this time Jesus and his disciples came back to Capernaum, the hometown of Peter.
The collectors of temple tax came to Peter and asked:
“Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
In those days, Jewish people paid temple tax “two-drachma” to support their temple.

Peter said:
“Yes, he does.”
Then Peter came to the house where Jesus was.

Jesus knew the conversation that Peter had outside.
Jesus first asked:
“What do you think, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes?
Do they collect taxes from their own children or from others?”

Peter answered:
“From others.”

Jesus was like:
“Right, then the children are exempt.
We are God’s children as we listen to God and obey God.
So we don’t need to pay the temple tax.
But we do not cause offense.
So, go to the lake and throw out your line.
Take the first fish you catch.
Open its mouth.
You will find a four-drachma coin.
Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

Peter caught the fish, opened its mouth, found money to pay the temple tax.
Jesus knew things.

Next, Jesus healed many people with the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus felt compassion on people, he taught them and healed them.
Jesus healed them because he loved them.
When Jesus wanted to heal, all those who touched him were healed.

Next, Jesus and the Holy Spirit performed miracles.
So, Jesus walked on water, turned water into wine, and multiplied foods and fed thousands of people.

Next Jesus and the Holy Spirit prophesied.
Jesus knew what would happen to the Jewish temple in future.
Jesus told his students about his death and resurrection.
Jesus told his students about his second coming.

Jesus informed Peter and other people about their future, too.
Jesus knew how Peter and other disciples would glorify God.
Jesus spoke God’s plan for them.

Next Jesus and the Holy Spirit discerned:
Jesus discerned and understood the way of the cross.
As for me, this is the most amazing.
How could he figure out that he would die and rise again?

Jesus understood the way of God.
He understands how the kingdom of God works.

Jesus also understood when to heal:
For example, when Lazarus was ill, Jesus didn’t come to heal his friend.
Instead, he waited until he died.
Then he came to raise him from the death.
Because that was the will of God.

Next, Jesus and the Holy Spirit had faith:
In faith, Jesus started his ministry and believed what he could finish his ministry of salvation.
Because he had faith, Jesus didn’t worry about money and other things.

In faith, Jesus called his 12 and 70 students to do what he was doing.
In faith, Jesus sent them two by two to do what he did including healing.
Jesus believed they could do that.
So they did, as the faith of Jesus enabled them to preach and heal people.

In faith Jesus spoke to a fig tree to wither as the tree only had leaves and not fruits.
This is to warn his students that God would not use the temple anymore.
So the fig tree withered.

Jesus worked with the Holy Spirit.
So Jesus wanted his students to receive the Holy Spirit.
Jesus asked them to wait together for the Holy Spirit.
So they waited in Jerusalem.
They didn’t need to run around to experience the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit would come and find them and empowered them.

At the Pentecost, they received the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus.
So since they knew Jesus, they understood the Holy Spirit.
They could work together with the Holy Spirit and to serve God.
Then they were able to heal people again.

Jesus says that his students should stay with the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, as the Holy Spirit gives heavenly powers to each person according to God’s plan.
The Holy Spirit can help them to live the life of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit knows what kinds of ministry we would do in future.
So the Holy Spirit gives God’s wisdom to this person.
The Holy Spirit gives God’s knowledge to that person.
The Holy Spirit gives good ideas to this person
The Holy Spirit gives a gift of faith.
The Holy Spirit gives a gift of discernment.
The Holy Spirit helps us make good choices.
The Holy Spirit gives visions, hopes, imaginations and energy.
The Holy Spirit gives us God’s words.
The Holy Spirit speaks, so that we may know God’s vision and God’s dreams.
The Holy Spirit helps us, so that we may speak God’s words, and do God’s works together.
Then we may heal people and change communities.
We may work together wisely and serve God.

So Christians have to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we may live like Jesus.

But who is this Holy Spirit?
Just like Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God.
So we respect and worship the Holy Spirit.
We listen to the Holy Spirit and obey.

The Holy Spirit is gentle and humble.
When we worship the Holy Spirit, we become like the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit is our friend, we become like the Holy Spirit.
When we become like the Holy Spirit, we work with the Holy Spirit so well.
When we work with the Holy Spirit, we again become like the Holy Spirit.
That is, we become gentle and humble.
When we become the Holy Spirit, we have love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control: Galatians 5:22-23.

Those who work with the Holy Spirit become like the Holy Spirit.
Those who become like the Holy Spirit may truly use the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in God’s way.

The Holy Spirit is the person who has good character and personality.
The Holy Spirit is love, the person of love.
So when we know the Holy Spirit, we become patient.
We love together and work together.
So when the Holy Spirit helps the church, we have Koinonia, true friendship and true companionship among us.
Because the Holy Spirit loves us, we may also love the Holy Spirit and people.

Again when we understand the Holy Spirit, we may work with the Holy Spirit.
Otherwise, we may grieve the Holy Spirit.
We may ask the Holy Spirit to do what we want.
But we should ask the Holy Spirit for do what God wants.
If we don’t do that, the Holy Spirit may step back a bit or move away.
Them we may feel lost.

So Christians are happy when they understand the Holy Spirit and asks the Holy Spirit to do what God wants.
When we understand and know what the Holy Spirit likes and does not like, we may expect God’s power to manifest in the right way.
We understand how to use the power that the Holy Spirit gives us.

The Holy Spirit also helps us to work together with the Holy Spirit.
Then when the Holy Spirit considers this church to be his home, the Holy Spirit may bring God’s great wave here.
When the Holy Spirit works, we may notice and understand.
When the Holy Spirit works in our minds, we may understand our experience.
Then we may work better with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit always speaks to us like this:
“God loves you.
You are God's children.
I am here to help.
I can do all things.
But I am also the Person God.
So I want you to understand me, because then I can really help you.”

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus who teaches us about Jesus the Son of God.
So we welcome the Holy Spirit here.
We want the Holy Spirit to work freely and do God’s works here.
The Holy Spirit is God who can do all things.

When we know Jesus, we get to know the Holy Spirit.
When we know the Holy Spirit, we know Jesus.
When we are with Jesus, we are with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit work together with us.
When we work together with the Holy Spirit, we work together with Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit work here with us.
May the Holy Spirit help us understand him.
May we follow the Holy Spirit.
May the Holy Spirit walk with us comfortably.
May we serve God together with the Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.
May we understand and live with the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, help us to serve you, as your church.
Help us ride the waves of the Holy Spirit and travel with you.
In Jesus name, we pray.

Matthew 25:31-46 (4)


Our church for those in need
Reading: Matthew 25:31-46

Thank God for the last year.
And thank God for this new year.
May we experience God more this year.
May we experience the Holy Spirit more this year.
May we get to know Jesus more this year.

Today we read what Jesus said as he was finishing his ministry.
Based on today’s Scripture reading, Leo Tolstoy wrote a Christmas story.
You know this story.
Let me tell you this story with some adjustments:

There was an elderly shoemaker in Russia.
His neighbors loved and called him “Father Martin.”

One Christmas Eve, he sat alone in his little shop.
He was reading how the Wise Men visited the infant Jesus, and offered the gifts.

He thought to himself:
“If Jesus were to be born here tonight, I have something to give Him!”
Then he took from a shelf, tiny, soft leather shoes, with bright buckles.
“I would give him these!”

Then, he blew out his candle and went to sleep.
In his dream, Jesus spoke to him:
“Martin! Martin!”
You wished to see me.
So tomorrow I will pass by your window.
If you see me, and ask me come, then I will be your guest.”

Next morning, remembering his dream, he rose up.
Then he swept, and tidied up his little shop.
He spread fresh sand upon the floor.
He decorated his Christmas tree.
He covered his table with the spotless linen.
He placed a loaf of bread, a jar of honey, and a pitcher of milk.
Then he hung a pot of tea over the fire.
Then he was ready and waited looking at the window.

Soon, he saw an old street sweeper, shivering.
Martin thought:
“Look at him.
He must be half frozen.”

Opening the door he called out to him:
“Come in, and warm yourself.
Drink a cup of hot tea.”
After the the man warmed his body, he left.

Later, Martin saw a young and poor woman carrying a baby.
She paused at his doorway.
So Martin opened the door and said to her:
“Come in and warm yourself awhile.”
“Are you OK?
Is everything alright?”

She explained:
“I am ill. I am going to the hospital.
I hope they take me in, and my baby boy.
My husband is at sea.
I don’t know when he would be back.”

Martin said:
“O dear.
Let me offer you something to eat while you get warm.
And here is a cup of milk for your little one.
Oh wait!
Why does your little one have no shoes on him?”

The mother sighed sadly:
“I cannot buy shoes for him.”

Martin said:
“Then he have this lovely shoes for him.”
Martin took down from the shelf the soft little shoes that he wanted to give Jesus.
He slipped them on the child’s feet.
They fit perfectly.
Martin helped this young mother.
Then she left, thanking him.

Again Martin waited at the window.
Many people passed by.
Many hours went by.
He welcomed some needy souls to his shop.

But he was expecting Jesus.
Then he sighed and said:
“Oh Martin, it was only a dream.”

Then suddenly, a strange light flooded the room.
Then he saw a vision.
The poor street sweeper, the sick mother and her child, and all the people whom he helped during the day, one by one appeared before him.
They smiled at him and said:
“Have you not seen me?
I have eaten with you at your table.”
Then they disappeared.

Then, the gentle voice says: (Matthew 25:40)
“Whosoever receive such one in my name, receive me.
I was hungry. You gave me food.
I was thirsty. You gave me drink.
I was a stranger. You invited me in.
Whatever you did for my little brothers and sisters, you did for me.”

This is how Tolstoy understood our reading today.
What do you think?

Again let me remind you of our reading.
Here Jesus is asking us to help those who feel left alone.

Jesus said something like this:
“One day, I will come in my glory.
All the angels come with me.
I will sit on my glorious throne.

“All the nations will be gathered before me.
I will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
I will put the sheep on my right and the goats on my left.

“Then I the King will say to those on my right:
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
When I was hungry, you gave me food.
When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink.
When I was a stranger, you invited me in.
I needed clothes. You clothed me.
I was sick. You looked after me.
I was in prison. You cared for me and visited me.’

“Then the righteous will said to me:
‘Lord, when did we do that?’
Then I the King will reply:
‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Here Jesus identifies himself with God’s poor.
When I read this, I remember when I didn't help a stranger.
I remember when I lost my opportunity to be kind to a tough looking stranger.
And I pray that I would help Jesus next time.
I pray that I would have courage to help strangers.
May I discern better and have faith to be kind to strangers.
May I be filled with the Holy Spirit, and allow God to change me to be kind to those in need.

I know you are very generous.
You are kind to others.
And your generosity is contagious.
And because of you, I am learning to be generous, too.

I heard about a Christian lawyer in Korea.
He was asked to defend a Muslim man in Korea.
So he prayed about this difficult case.
Then God asked him to help this man saying:
“Even though this man may not be converted because you help, but he would also help Christians in return.”
He defended his case and also helped him financially in Korea.
Then this Muslim man thanked him and returned to his nation.
They continually corresponded with each other.
Then later, this Muslim man also wanted to help a Christian family who was struggling in his Islamic Nation.
So this Muslim man and this lawyer could help this Christian family.

Kindness can be contagious.
When someone is kind and generous, we want to become like them.
When you are kind to strangers, other people also invite them in their fellowship.
As you take care of others, people around you may also take care of others who might have been neglected in this world.
When you show God’s kindness to the hungry and give food, people watch and learn to live like Jesus.
If you give a drink to the thirsty, other people may also give a drink to someone else.
When we are kind to those who have emotional and physical needs, Jesus remembers.

God is kind to the poor and strangers.
When God makes us to be kind like that, we know that we are on the way to heaven to be with Jesus forever according to our text.
Because we become kind to Jesus, God remembers.

We know that Jesus laid down his life about 2000 years ago.
Since then about 43 million Christians have become martyrs.

Even today Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or neighbors because of they believe in Jesus the Christ.
About 200 million Christians face persecution.
60% of them are children
Each month about 322 Christians are killed for their faith.

For example, North Korean Christians are persecuted.
Jesus identifies himself with them.
Then Jesus asks people to help the hungry, those who are in prison, strangers and help those who need emotional supports.

God wants Christians to help the persecuted Christians.
God is looking for those who God could work with.
If God finds them, God would even save them to use them.
God uses them to help those in prison, and the sick.

We start to pray for Uzbekistan so that this nation may welcome the gospel of Jesus.
About 2.1% of population are Christians: Islam 82.8%, Non-religious 14.6%.
Through the state-controlled media, the government said that Christians are extremists.

The government designated some places for Christians to worship God.
If Christians read the Bibles and sing Christian songs together in other places, the police raid them and punish them by giving them fines, detention, and arrest for illegal religious activity.

Many Christians want to help this nation change and prosper.
This nation has been changing recently.
They now have a new president, after such a long dictatorship.
Recently they decided to encourage more tourists to come to nations.
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan simplified their border crossing for their citizens.
In Kazakhstan, over 21% of population are Christians.
May people of these nations overcome its spiritual poverty, financial poverty, emotional poverty, educational poverty, informational poverty, relational poverty, relationship poverty.
May Uzbekistan welcome Christians and most importantly Jesus.

Through our prayer, a nation can change.
So we want to pray as Jesus asks us to pray.
When we pray for others, we are praying for Jesus.

As the Holy Spirit guides us, we want to pray for the persecuted Christians.
As we pray for them, God may inform us so that we may pray.
As we pray, God may work and solve some problem.
God may use our prayer to ease someone else’s sufferings and pain.

We also pray for this city.
We pray for universities in this city.
We pray for churches in this city.
The Holy Spirit may change the city and become new people of God.

I also remember one of you said that you want to support poor villages to have clean water which is necessary to live a healthier life.
When we want that, we may need to start praying first.
With prayer, things can go move smoothly.
When God works, everything moves so smoothly and soundly.
And people can really be helped.

As we pray, we may also have God’s spiritual support.
Then we may discern better.
Then when we have enough faith, we may serve God in God’s way.
God may bless us and asks us to do what we need to do.
When we do God’s works in God’s way, we may sense the greater presence of the Holy Spirit and experience God’s blessing.

In this way, we may meet God.
As we serve those in need, we may meet God.
As we take care of others, God takes care of us,
All those who live like this go on to live eternal life, because they have done all these to Jesus.

May Jesus create a beautiful heart in us to share God’s love.
May God bless us even more financially, emotionally, spiritually so that we may be able to help those in need in the name of Jesus.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for your help in our life.
Thank you for making us the people that you want us to be.
May we also serve you by serving our brothers and sisters.
Help us to help you in this world.
In your name, we pray.


Luke 2:8-20 (1)

Heavenly peace and joy through Jesus Christ
Reading: Luke 2:8-20

Today we read about the birth story of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.
Many prophets prophesied that he would be born:
About 1400 years before the birth of Jesus the Messiah, Moses said:
The Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham: Genesis 22:18.
Moses said that he would be a descendant of Jacob: Numbers 24:17.
Moses said that he would come from the tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10.
Moses said that a star would announce his birth: Numbers 24:17.

About 800 years before the birth of Jesus the Messiah, Isaiah said that the Messiah would come from the family of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1.
Isaiah said that he would come from Jesse’s son, David’s family: Isaiah 9:7.
Isaiah said that he would be born of a virgin and called “Emmanuel,” meaning, “God with us”: Isaiah 7:14.
Isaiah said that he would be called Wonderful Counselor: Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah said that he would be called Mighty God: Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah said that he would be called Everlasting Father: Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah said that he would be called Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6.

About 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Micah said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2.

They prophesied about the Messiah to be born.
The Messiah is the most important person in the world.
The Messiah changed the future of each individual and each nation.
But when the Messiah was born, he was wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, in an animal cave.
Many people, on earth, didn’t know the Messiah was born and laid in a manger in an animal shelter.

But in heaven there was a great joy.
The Messiah, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace was born!
Heaven was shouting:
“The Christ is born!
What a Joy to the world!”
But on earth, people could not hear any of that.

God wanted to share this good news.
So God sent angels to some shepherds out in the fields, who were watching over their flocks at night.
God sent these angels to share God’s joy with the shepherds.

Among many people, God sent the angel to the lonely shepherds who was poor and humble.
Among many people who were rich and powerful and so on, God chose the poor shepherds.

So an angel appeared to them.
The glory of the Lord shone around them.
They were terrified.

But the angel said:
“Do not be afraid.
I have the good news that will bring great joy for all people.
Today in the town of David, the Savior was born.
He is the Messiah, the Lord.
This is how you can recognize him:
The baby is wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Then a great company of the heavenly choir appeared and praised God saying:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven.
On earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Maybe in order to show this heavenly choir, God chose the shepherds who lived outside in the field.
God wanted to show them this because God is their Father.

Anyway, after singing, the angels left them and gone into heaven.
The shepherds went to Bethlehem and to see the baby.
Feeling heavenly joy and peace, they went to Jesus.

They found the baby Jesus lying in the manger.
Then they said what the angel said: Luke 2:10-11
"This baby is the Savior, the Christ, the Lord.”
Then they glorified and praised God.
The shepherds could feel God's joy and peace.

Mary remembered what they said that they experienced.
Then she told people about this.
Then eventually someone wrote down to share this story with us.

Now why did God send his angels and heavenly choirs to the shepherds?
When we read the Bible, we are starting to understand God.
God knew that God worked differently not like people.
So God said through Isaiah: Isaiah 55: 8-9
“My thoughts are not your thoughts.
Your ways are not my ways.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.
My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

So we pray and study to understand God.
Who is God?
We know God is the One who sent his Son to us.
We know God is the One who loves everyone equally.
We know God is the One who comforts the poor and frees them.
God is the One who honors the humble and humbles the proud.
We see again and again, that God honors the humble and humble the proud.

So the humble Son chose to be humble.
Then God could lift him up so that people may understand God.
The Bible explained how the Son of God became humble to save the world: Philippians 2:6-11

“The Son of God who is God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.
Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.
So at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
Every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This is how God works.
This is how the Son of God lives.
So of course, God is very pleased with the Son.
God blesses Jesus who preached to the poor.
God loved his son who healed the poor.
Because the Son of God is humble, God does not hesitate to honor Jesus the Most Humble One.
The most powerful and humble God honors the Most Humble Savior.

Today God still works like this.
God is the One who honors the humble.
God is doing it.
And no one can stop it.

God also remembers and blesses those who are kind to the humble.
God remembers and blesses the church that is kind to the humble.
God remembers and blesses the nation that is kind to the humble.
God blesses those who live with the humble.

Today the angel talked about the heavenly joy and peace.
The angel said something like this:
“Joy to the world.
This good news will bring great joy for all people.
Glory to God in the highest heaven.
So on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

These angels were sharing these heavenly feeling of joy and peace with the shepherds.
Can I say that?
The shepherds felt this heavenly joy and peace a bit.

Jesus also talked about a special Joy for his students:
Jesus said that when we love one another, his joy will be in us and that our joy may be complete. John 15:11

Jesus said that he wanted that his students may have the full measure of his joy within them. John 17:13

When we experience the Christ, we may feel joy.
If we truly understand what Jesus did for us, we may feel heavenly joy.
Jesus reconciled God and human beings.
In his name, God shows God’s compassion.
In his name, we can understand God.
If we truly understand, we may dance.
Sometimes, we feel joy and want to dance.
This feeling of Joy may in turn approve that we are in Christ.

Also do you know that when God is rejoicing over us, we may feel it?
At first, we may not understand why we feel this joy.
But we may feel it.
Our spirits may feel it.
When we know that this joy is from God’s heart, we may let this joy guide us.
We may let this joy lead us.

We try to discern God’s will.
We try to do what Jesus wants.
As we try to do that, we may feel this joy.
As we obey God in the right way, we may sense this joy.
This joy may stay with us, as we walk in the right path.
Even though we may not fully yet understand God, we may feel this joy, when God approves our actions.

Some feelings are from God.
We may also feel peace that Jesus gives.
The world cannot have this peace.
But we have this special Peace in Jesus.
Jesus teaches us so that we may have this peace. (John 16:33)
This peace can lead us.
The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, can also guide your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

We feel God’s heavenly peace in Jesus the Christ.
We are learning to keep this peace in our hearts by learning to obey and follow Jesus.
Then we may have this peace continually.
Then we may understand Jesus better and stay with him more.

Some people continue serving Jesus, even when they were persecuted.
Because they have this joy and peace within them.
Because God is with them, so the peace and joy of Jesus the Christ is with them.

I hope you remember when you sense heavenly joy, and heavenly peace.
I hope that you remember when you feel joy, and peace.
It can be a heavenly sign from God.
Sometimes, through those feelings, God guides you and speaks to us.
So think about that:
When do you experience the presence of God?
Then you may understand God better because of those experiences.
As you study them, you may learn what God is doing in your life.
Then those heavenly feelings may guide us to remain into God’s presence.

So let’s try to remember.
I am going to ask some questions so that you may remember and aware of some heavenly sign or feeling that you had during the week.
You may close your eyes to think about these questions.
Let me begin:

Think about what happened this week.
Try to remember your experiences.
Take your time.
What happened?
Who was involved?
What are the subtle aspects of your day?
What feelings did you experience?
What insights did you have?
What sensations were you aware of?
What did you notice?
What did you enjoy?

What brings you joy and peace?
It can be a place, a person, a time of day, an activity, a view, a color, a word, a song, a Scriptural verse, a character of Christ.
When do you feel joy, peace, freedom, love, and happiness?

Ask Christ Jesus to help you remember one or two moments or experiences for which you are grateful.
Is there one or two ways that Christ was present to you?
What helps you to move into the presence of Christ?
Can you sense that in that moment, that Christ provides life and energy?
Is Jesus Christ calling you to new awareness or to an action?
Give thanks to Christ for the day or week.
Give thanks to God.

That is it.
Did you notice anything new?
Did you remember when you feel heavenly peace, and joy?
Did you realize what God is doing in your life?

Again Jesus the Christ may give you some heavenly feelings so that you may know when Christ is near you and where Christ is leading you to.
God may guide your feeling so that you may believe God more fully.

But when we move away from God, God may remove these heavenly feeling so that we may know that we are off course.
God may remove those heavenly feelings when we walk on sinful ways or are about to commit sins.
But if you constantly ignore these signs, you may sense less.
Then later, you may not understand how Jesus may lead you.

Sometimes, when I am about to say what I should not say, I feel that the Holy Spirit gives me a nudge: “stop.”
The Holy Spirit may help me sense right at that moment.
Then I know what God's will is.
Sometimes, I obey.
But sometimes, I found myself saying what I want to say still.
So I am still learning to obey God.

Now some people may feel blue or depressed from time to time.
But if you remember when you sense the heavenly joy and peace, if you know what activities helps you feel these feelings of heavenly joy and peace, you may do those things to come out of those feeling of depression.
If you know what activities get you out of those feelings of depression, you may do them more.
But of course, these activities should be not harming or bothering other people.

So I told you many times, when I read the gospels in Modern Hebrew and pray, I often feel heavenly feelings or learn or sense how God want to lead me.
So I read everyday because I know that God seems speaking to me and bless me in this.

God empowers us so that we may want to live according to God's will.
Then God is working and trying to letting us know his will.

May we notice when God shares God’s joy and peace so that we may know and understand God more and better.
May we learn to let joy and peace lead us in Jesus.
May we learn to follow this heavenly joy, and peace that Jesus gives.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for guiding us through joy, and peace.
Help us to follow your lead.
Help us to arrive where you want us to be.

We also understand you are interested in the humble.
Help us to be a good friend and learn to live with them.
Help us to discern well.
In your name we pray.


Pilgrim's Progress 2


Pilgrim's Progress 2
Reading: Psalm 23
Blanks: pastures, overflows, forever

Last week we heard that John Bunyan wrote this story book called the Pilgrim’s Progress.
This book contains a made up story based on teachings of Jesus and Apostles.

Last week we heard the first part of the story.
Today, we are going to hear the rest of the story with an interpretation.
Hope we sense how Jesus may guide our spiritual life.

Last week we heard that Mr. Christian climbed up the Mount Difficulty and came to the Beautiful Palace. (Ephesians 6:11-18)
As he was following the narrow path, Mr. Christian was given the Armor of God.

After three days, Mr. Christian climbed down the other side of the Mount Difficulty.
Then he walked through the Valley of Humiliation.
This was where Jesus walked before with his cross.
So at this place Mr. Christian understood a bit more about Jesus and his suffering and how Jesus humbled himself and carried the cross for the world.

As he passed through, he also had to fight spiritual battles with evil forces of Satan.
The armor of God helped him protect himself spiritually.
Being armed with the Armor of God, Mr. Christian could protect himself against the forces of Satan.
He fought the spiritual fight for God.

Next Mr. Christian enters into the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Evil spirits, terror and darkness filled this place.
At first, Mr. Christian was afraid.

Then he remembered these words in the Bible: Psalm 23:
“Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil:
Because God is with me, guarding me and guiding me all the way.”

Repeating these words, and trusting these words, he passed through the Valley of The Shadow of Death.

Then right before him, another man was repeating the same words as passing through.
“Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil:
Because God is with me, guarding me and guiding me all the way.”

Mr. Christian followed and met Mr. Faithful, who happened to be his old friend from the City of Destruction.
They happily talked about their spiritual experiences so far.
Then they traveled together.

Then they met Mr. Talkative.
He was a son of Mr. Say-well and Mrs. Talk-About-The-Right-Things.
He could talk about any things.
Mr. Talkative speaks so well and knew what to say.
So when he knew a bit about Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful, he talked about God.
He was like:
"God chose Abraham and blah blah blah.…...
God chose Moses and so on."

Mr. Talkative was talkative.
He thought that he knew everything.
But even though he could talk about God, he didn’t really know God.

Mr. Faithful thought that Mr. Talkative must know God.
Mr. Christian also could feel that this person didn’t really know God.
So Mr. Christian asked him these questions:
“So tell us, how has Jesus changed you and your life?
How have the Holy Spirit being working in your heart?
You know that God really loves you, right?”

He could not answer that.
Instead Mr. Talkative just wanted to talk about God.

Next Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful arrived at the town of Vanity Fair.
People of this town liked to buy beauty products in their marketplaces.
They liked to buy Fame, Degree, Title, and Honor.
They sought these things to show up and to be seen by people.

For Mr. Christian Mr. Faithful, quoted Ecclesiastes 1:2 which says:
“Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!”
Mr. Christian also told him about when God chose David as a king among his brothers.
God did not look at their appearance or height.
People may look at their outward appearance.
But God did not look at those things.
God looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Then Mr. Faithful prayed remembering Psalm 119:37:
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things.
Preserve my life according to your word.”

So Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful were not interested in buying their products in this vanity fair.
They didn’t want to buy into their meaninglessness.
Instead, they humbly themselves and believed in God’s promise.

As they refused to buy anything, many people of Vanity Fair got really mad at Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful.
But, Mr. Faithful said:
“We only want to buy the truth.”

Then they really hated Mr. Faithful.
But Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful continually prayed for these people and patiently returned good words for their bad ones, and blessings for their cursing.

But the people of Vanity brought them to their wicked Judge, Lord Hate Good.
This judge hated anything that is good.
This judge hated what is right.

And his jury and witnesses were the same.
They hate what is good.
They lied.
They cheated.
They were like sons of Satan.

Mr. Faithful knew that he could not trust these men to do what is right.
They were not interested in doing what God wants.
So Mr. Faithful spoke to them saying:
“Serve the living God with your hearts.
Live for God who is the truth.
Live in faith.
Then God can use your life.
Then you may be useful for God and for the world.”

But they hated to hear the truth.
So, they condemned Mr. Faithful to death and killed him.

Then a beautiful chariot appeared and carried the soul of Mr. Faithful straight to the Heavenly City where Jesus was.
There Mr. Faithful received the crown of martyrdom.

Then, they sent away Mr. Christian.
But there was a person in the town of Vanity Fair, who wanted to travel with Mr. Christian.
He was Mr. Hopeful.
He was so moved by the words and the life of Mr. Faithful.
He left the town of Vanity Fair and said to Mr. Christian:
“God helps me to understand that God can guide me and lead me in this journey of faith.
I can see now that his narrow path is the way of the King Jesus.
I know I need to follow this narrow path to go to the Heavenly City where Jesus is.”

Then Mr. Christian helped Mr. Hopeful to get the certificate of election.
Then they travel together.

Then on the way, they met Mr. Vain Confidence, also known as Mr. False Confidence.
Mr. Vain Confidence said confidently that he knew a n easy road to the Heavenly City.
So, they followed his advice instead of following the narrow path.

Following this wrong path, they met Mr. Giant Despair.
Mr. Giant Despair was the owner of Doubting Castle.

This giant captured them saying:
“You guys are trespassing on my land.”

Then he imprisoned them in the dungeon of despair and doubts.
The giant beat them violently with despairs and doubts and made them suffer.

In this Doubting Castle, Mr. Christian felt so discouraged and doubts.
He was like:
“I should have followed the narrow path.
I even misled Mr. Hopeful.”

But Mr. Hopeful continually encouraged him saying:
“God loves you Mr. Christian.
And there must be a way out.”

Then Mr. Christian remembered that he had the Key.
He was like:
“Oh! God has given me the key.
The key is God’s Words, God’s Promise.
God’s Promise can open all the doors of Doubting Castle.”

Using this key, they opened doors of the Doubting Castle and ran away from Mr. Giant Despair.

After this, they arrived at the Delightful Mountains.
From this mountain, they could see the Heavenly City.
Here they met four shepherds whose names were Mr. Knowledge, Mr. Experience, Mr. Watchful, and Mr. Honesty.

These shepherds shared what they understand honestly.
Their knowledge, experience, thoughts and information could help these travelers to safely arrive at the Heavenly City.

Mr. Christian and Mr. Hopeful thanked them and continued their journey.
Then on the way Mr. Christian and Mr. Hopeful met Mr. Atheist.
He didn’t believe in God.

Anyway, Mr. Christian and Mr. Hopeful explained that they saw the Heavenly City and they were going to there.
Mr. Atheist laughed at them saying:
“The Heavenly City?
That does not exist.”
Then he left for the pleasure of this world.

Then Mr. Christian read these portions of the Bible to Mr. Hopeful:
1 Corinthians 2:14.
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

He also read: 1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Then they met Mr. Ignorance.
As they talked, they discovered that Mr. Ignorance didn't have the certificate of the election.
So they told him:
“We can help you go to the cross of Jesus and receive the certificate of the election.
There Jesus will also show himself to you.”

But Mr. Ignorance was like:
“I don’t need that.
I just need to live a good life, giving alms, giving tithes, performing religious duty, and having a habit of prayer.
Then when I go to the Heavenly City, they will let me in.”

Mr. Christian was like:
“But the most important thing is to love Jesus.
Then God will also love you.” John 14:21

But, Mr. Ignorance ignored their advice.
So later he could not get in.

Then, Mr. Christian and Mr. Hopeful arrived at the Magical Ground:
They knew:
“If anyone goes to sleep here, he or she never wakes up.”
The four shepherds, Mr. Knowledge, Mr. Experience, Mr. Watchful, and Mr. Honesty at the Delightful Mountains told them about this place.

So, they encouraged each other not to fall asleep.
Mr. Hopeful read the portion of the Bible where Jesus told his disciples at the garden of Gethsemane:
“Stay awake and pray.”
Mr. Christian also read the portion of the Bible where Jesus talked about his return to his disciples:
“Be watchful and stay awake because you do not know when I may return.”

Then in order to stay awake, they talked about their spiritual experiences and how God encouraged them and guided them.
Then they passed through the Magical Ground.

Then Mr. Christian read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
Mr. Christian was thankful that God sent him a compassion for this journey.

Then they arrived at the River of Death.
Only those who trusted in Jesus could cross this river.
But if their faith was weak, this river became deeper.

Mr. Christian had a rough time here because he remembered his sins and felt guilt all over again.
So, Mr. Hopeful continually said:
“Your sins were washed away by the blood of Jesus!
You are forgiven through Jesus the Christ!
Remember what Jesus has done for you.
Trust in Jesus and remember his grace.”

Then together they were able to cross the lake.
Then they arrived at the Heavenly City where Jesus was.

At the gate, they were asked to show their certificate of election.
As they showed theirs, they were allowed to enter.

Then they met Jesus and Mr. Faithful who came there first.
Then they lived happily after.
The end.

Following Jesus, we are growing and learning.
God also sends good teachers into our paths so that we may learn enough to walk and live with Jesus.
So we want to remember what we learn, so that we may not repeat the same lesson.
God is our teacher.
God is still teaching us.

May we learn the way of Jesus the Christ.
May we learn trust in Jesus.
May we remember to walk on the narrow path, as God guiding us so that we may arrive safely where Jesus is.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for guiding us and helping us to live faithfully according to your words.
May your people understand you and believe in you and arrive where you are.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Pilgrim's Progress 1


Pilgrim's Progress 1
Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
Blanks: authorities, evil, stand, peace, faith, praying

Have you heard about the book called the Pilgrim’s Progress?
John Bunyan has written this book in 1678, in England and in prison.

Why was he in prison?
In those days, only the Church of England could hold religious meetings in England.
There was no religious freedom.
No other Christian group could hold their religious meetings of five or more people.

John Bunyan was a Baptist preacher.
So the nation of England considered him as an illegal preacher
However, John Bunyan refused to give up preaching.
He understood that God called him to preach.
So he was in jail and stayed there for about 12 years.
In these years, he started to write books in prison maybe because he wanted to help his family financially.

So he wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress.
This was a story book.
It was a made up story book based on teachings of Jesus and Apostles.
Through this book, he explained how Jesus may guide our spiritual life.

Through this story we may see our own spiritual life, too.
So I will try to retell this story with my interpretation.
But I am not going to tell the whole story today.
I am going to tell only the first half of the story.
Next week, we are going to hear the rest of the story.
So the story goes something like this:

There was a man who realized that he was living in the City of Destruction.
The more he read the Bible, the more he realized that the city will be destroyed.

This man also carried a big burden of sins on his back.
He carried this burden because he felt guilt of his sin and mistakes in life.
He wanted to be free from his sins and guilt.

Then he met Mr. Evangelist.
Mr. Evangelist told him:
“Yes, the city will be destroyed.
So, move to the Heavenly City where Jesus the Christ is.
There, you will be eternally safe and happy.”

Then this man became Mr. Pilgrim and started to travel to the Heavenly City.
Then from his town, Mr. Easily Bent came and join him.

But soon, they both felt into the swamp of discouragement.
Mr. Easily Bent was so discouraged and stopped his journey right here and went home instead of going on to the Heavenly City.
Mr. Pilgrim was also discouraged because he remembered his sins and felt guilt all over again.
But Mr. Help came and help him out so that he could continue his journey.

Next on his journey, he met Mr. Worldly Wiseman.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman asked where he was going.
Mr. Pilgrim explained why he was going to the Heavenly City.

Mr. Worldly Wiseman was like:
“If you want to be saved from the burden of sins and guilt, you should go see Mr. Lawfulness who lives at the City of Rules and Laws.
Mr. Lawfulness could tell you what kinds of rules and laws you should keep to be saved.
I assure you that keeping those rules and laws you will be saved.”

It was a wrong advice, because no one could keep all those rules and be saved.
It was impossible.
But Mr. Pilgrim was deceived and tried to visit Mr. Lawfulness.

Then Mr. Evangelist appeared again and said to him:
“Where are you going?
You already have a plenty of burdens on your back.
Mr. Lawfulness will give you more burdens to carry.
Then you could not arrive at the Heavenly City.

“Be careful.
You must live by faith, not by rules and laws.
Don’t follow wrong advice of Mr. Worldly Wiseman.
Just come to the Narrow Gate ahead of you and enter in it.
Then you will be able to follow the narrow path which leads to the Heavenly City.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Then Mr. Pilgrim turned around and followed the right path and arrived at the Narrow Gate.
When he knocked, Mr. Goodwill opened the gate for him and ushered him as Satan started to shoot his arrows at them.

God has a good plan for Mr. Pilgrim.
And Mr. Goodwill showed him the narrow path that leads to the Heavenly City.

Following this narrow path, Mr. Pilgrim read: Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Then Mr. Pilgrim arrived at the House of Mr. Interpreter.
Mr. Interpreter welcomed Mr. Pilgrim to the house.
Then Mr. Interpreter commands his servant to light the Candle.
It was like God’s light shine in darkness. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Then Mr. Pilgrim could see various rooms of the house.
Each room has each lesson.
Various spiritual lessons were prepared for him.
As Mr. Interpreter explains spiritual truths, Mr. Pilgrim could understand what was really going on spiritually.
God’s light also shines in his heart and guides him.

For example, they went to a place where a fire was burning against a wall.
Though a person busily pour water on it, the fire increased in heat and brightness.
When they went around the wall, they saw another person pouring oil on the flames.

Then Mr. Interpreter explains:
“This fire represents the work of God’s grace in human hearts.
Satan pours water to put it out.
But Jesus the Redeemer constantly pours the oil of his grace and love and maintains the work that God already begun in the soul.

Then Mr. Pilgrim was guided to another room.
There were two children whose names were Passion and Patience.
Passion didn’t want to wait when he was asked.
Passion devour whatever was given immediately and then starved.
Passion only sought what was before him and what was on earth.

Patience waited when he was asked.
Patience sought what he could have in heaven.
Then Patience continually enjoyed the heavenly blessings of God.

Through various lessons, Mr. Pilgrim understands how Jesus Christ guides his heart and how God’s grace work in him:
He learned to discern spiritual matters and understood God’s truth in Jesus Christ.

Then Mr. Interpreter said:
“Now continually follow this narrow path.
Then, you will arrive at the place of salvation where the Cross of Jesus is.
There you will experience what God has done for you.”

Following the narrow path, he arrived at the cross of Jesus.
Here Jesus suffered and offered his life as a guilt offering for our sins.
And because of Jesus’ wounds, we are healed.

So here Mr. Pilgrim believes in Jesus and prays:
“Lord Jesus, I need You.
Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.
I open my heart and receive You as my Savior and Lord.
Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.
Take control of my heart.
Make me the person You want me to be.”

Then he was free from all his burden.
All his burden of sins and guilt was rolled away into the open tomb of Jesus.
And he was saved.
When he received his salvation, his name was changed to Mr. Christian.
Then the angels appeared to him and gave him the certificate of the election which he would need in order to enter the Heavenly City.

Then as he continually followed the narrow path, he saw Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy climbing the wall illegally.
Instead of entering through the Narrow Gate, they jumped over the wall in order to follow the narrow path.

Mr. Christian explained to them:
“You need to go back and enter through the Narrow Gate.
Then you can receive your salvation at the cross of Jesus.
You can meet Jesus there.
Then the angels will give you the certificate of the election.
Then with it, you can enter the Heavenly City!”

But Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy ignored his advice and said:
“Don’t worry about us.
When we get there, we will find a way to get in it.

Then Mr. Christian said:
“No, you can believe in Jesus right now, and be saved.” John 3:36

But Mr. Formalist likes to follow his traditions and methods.
He liked to observe his various Christian traditions.
As for him, these traditions was more important than obeying God.

Mr. Hypocrisy also didn’t want to do what God asked him to do.
He was good at pretending to be a Christian.
He acted like a good Christian.
He dressed like Christians.
He talked like Christians.
But his heart was far away from God.
And God was not deceived by his shows.

So Mr. Christian told him what Jesus said: Luke 12:2
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed.
There is nothing hidden that will not be made known.”

Anyway, they simply wanted to travel with Mr. Christian.
And they arrived together at the Mount Difficulty.
Following the narrow path, Mr. Christian started to climb the Mount Difficulty.

But Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy tried to find an easy road again.
They didn’t want to climb the Mount Difficulty.
So they chose to follow the roads that were called, Danger and Destruction.
Following those paths, they faced Danger and Destruction.

Mr. Christian climbed and came at the top of the Mount Difficulty.
But Mr. Mistrust and Mr. Timid were running down saying:
“Lions! Lions!
Two great lions were on the road.”
And they ran away.

Mr. Christian continued climbing up and saw two lions.
And he didn’t know what to do.
But he had to pass through so that he could arrive at the Beautiful Palace ahead of him.

Then from the Beautiful Palace, Mr. Watchful said to him:
“Don't worry.
Just follow the narrow path.
These lions are chained.
They could not even touch you if you follow the narrow path.
These lions are there to test the faith of those who come here.”

Mr. Christian continued following the narrow path and arrive at the Beautiful Palace.
God built this palace so that people like Mr. Christian can rest for a while.
Mr. Christian stayed there for three days.

Here he was given the Armor of God.
He got the belt of truth, the breastplate of right living, and the shoes to share the gospel of peace.
He got the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
He took the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

So Mr. Christian was armed with Salvation, Righteousness, Truth, Word of God, Faith and the Gospel of Peace.
Now he can be strong in Jesus and in his mighty power.
He could win spiritual warfare against the forces of Satan.
He could stand firm against all strategies and tricks of Satan.

As Mr. Christian climbed down from the Mount Difficulty to the other side, with his armor he could stand against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

His struggle is not against people.
It is a spiritual battles.
So he needs to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
He needs to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Following the narrow path, he came this far.
Next week, we will see what happens next.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for guiding us to find the narrow path.
Help us to understand and live in your faith.
Help us to follow you and then one day arrive where you are.
May we speak your words that is given.
May we fearlessly make known the mystery of your gospel.
May we may declare your gospel fearlessly. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Protect us Jesus.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Matthew 3: 1-12 (1)


For God's Good Fruits
Reading: Matthew 3: 1-12
Additional readings: Romans 15:4-13, Acts 19:1-7
Hymns: 333, 339, 391, (341, 440)
Words in blank: kingdom, heaven, produce, good, fruit, Holy Spirit, fire

In December we celebrate the fact that Jesus became a human child.
Jesus left heaven to be born as a human child for us.
Many prophets in the Old Testament prophesied about this.
So when Jesus was born, they were rejoicing in heaven.

When Jesus was born, Jesus had to follow a human growing process.
Jesus was gaining wisdom.
He learned to be his new self.
He also learned of God, as the Son of Human.
Jesus learned the wisdom that leads to God.
He learned to pray like anybody else.
He learned to follow the character of God.
He learned to trust God without worrying about what to eat or what to wear.

He learned that he is the Son of God and the Son of Human.
Then he learned how God wanted him to live his life.
When Jesus understood who he is, Jesus understood that God chose him and gave power.
So he learned to use his power and wisdom in God’s way.
Then he learned to wait until God started to use him.

Then when God asked him, Jesus started his ministry.
Jesus healed people; walked on water; calmed the storm.
Jesus preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus lived, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus chose the will of God.
Jesus knew things without asking a question.
Jesus raised the death.
Jesus predicted his future.

His students could feel that Jesus was speaking God’s truth.
When they heard Jesus, they sensed the Holy Spirit working in their hearts.
They felt peaceful, and joyful.
That is, the Holy Spirit kept encouraging them to come and listen to Jesus again.

But when the time came, he talked about the fact that he needed to die on the cross.
Then God would bring him back to life.
Jesus the Son of God understood that this was his spiritual process for our salvation.

But his students didn’t even want to imagine what Jesus was saying.
So they could not even asked:
“Why does God want you to die and rise again?”

They didn’t want to believe this.
They didn’t want to understand this.
His family, or his friends couldn’t understand him.
His words sounded strange.

The wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God are very different.
So people of heaven and people of earth tend to think differently and dance in a different tune.

There was another thing that we might not understand.
God chose John the Baptist to introduce Jesus to the world.
But strangely the Holy Spirit sent John to the desert.
(3) There John ate wild locusts and wild honey for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Then he found a dead camel.
So with its hair, he made his clothing.
With its skin, he made his belt.
As he was living like this, he didn’t need to use any supermarkets.
He could live in the wilderness all alone.
There the Holy Spirit spoke to him and educated him.
The Holy Spirit prepared him to prepare the way of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit guided him to learn of God’s wisdom.

Then the Holy Spirit asked him to get people ready for Jesus and introduce Jesus to them.
So he preached the truth:
“Repent, because the days of the Christ is near.
Turn away from your sinful ways.
Then live a good life of giving and sharing.”
John was also saying that if they were ready like this, they might be ready to meet their Messiah.

Then strangely, many people came to listen to John, even though he appeared to be a strange man.
Many sinners came and wanted to turn away from their sins.
So they came to him and confessed their wrongdoings.
Then, John baptized them and encouraged them to start a new life of giving and sharing.

Then some religious scholars and religious teachers came for baptism.
Then John challenged them saying:
“Don't think that this baptism is going to give you a ticket to heaven.
You need to stop living like sons and cousins of Satan.
You need to be a good tree.
You need to produce good fruits.
You need to live a good life of loving and sharing.
You need to learn God’s truth and live accordingly.
You need to be the true workers of God.
Otherwise, the Christ will come and cut you down, because the Christ will keep only what is true.
The Christ will come and cut down every tree that does not bear good fruits.
The Christ will only keep the good trees that produce good fruits.”

To these religious leaders, John was saying that they could not brag about their seminary degree, their knowledge of the Bible or their Bible teaching skills.
They could not brag about their membership of a church.
They could not brag about how long they attended the church.
They could not brag about how much they were respected and given power at local synagogue or church.
They could not brag about their religious family heritage.
They could not brag about their ordination as pastor, elder, or deacon.
They could not brag about the fact that they were presidents of seminary.

They could only boast about what they produced through God.
They could only brag about what God produce through them.

Did God produce anything good through their life?
How did God love others through them?
These fruits will tell whether God uses them, loves them, and will help them to be part of the movement of the Messiah.

Jesus recognized that God asked John to baptize and preach like this: Mark 11:27-33
Then he left his carpentry job and decided to live for God believing that God would provide and help him to do God’s ministry.
Then Jesus learned how to serve God as the Holy Spirit helped Jesus to live for God.
Jesus followed God as God showed him what to do.

Then Jesus also talked about producing good fruits: (Matthew 7:15-20)
Jesus preached something like this, like John:
"Be careful of false preachers or teachers.
They may come to you in a nice smile with various gifts.
They may impress you with their charisma.
They may have a miraculous power.
They may be able to manipulate your emotions.
But, if you follow them, you will have troubles.
They will misuse you and misguide you.

“I am going to cut down those trees that do not bear good fruit.
I will throw them into the fire.
I only keep those trees that produce good fruits.

“Then you may ask how could you know that they were false preachers, false teachers, false pastors, or false elders?
Bad tree bears bad fruit.
Good tree bears good fruit.
If they are bad trees, they could not help you produce good fruits.
Only God’s people help you live according to God’s will.

“So also look at your life and see when you produce God’s fruits.
What kind of thoughts you have at that time?
What kind of habits you have at that time?
Then stay with it.

“Look for those who produce good fruits.
Who produces good fruits?
When did they produce good fruits?
Look what kind of personality or character they have.
Their appearance may not be very impressive.
They may not have a charisma.
They may be humble and soft spoken.
But if their fruits are from God, they are of God.

“They produce good fruits because they learn to pray.
They produce good fruits because they learn to have good habits.
They produce good fruits because they understand God and the Bible.
Because their mind is pure, they can live honestly and peacefully.
Because they understand what is true, they can guide you to live well.
So study with them.
Because in order to produce good fruits, you may need to understand God they serve.”

When John the Baptist introduced the Christ, he also said this:
“I baptize you with water.
But the Christ is more powerful than I.
So, when he comes, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Now let’s think about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.
First, what is this baptism of fire?
It means that we may undergo some purifying process.

It is like this.
(3) You know, we use fire to purify gold.
(3) When they are refined, they became 99.9% gold, right?
They become beautiful.

Likewise, through the baptism of fire, we may become God’s person.
The Holy Spirit may purify us so that we may have God’s inner beauty.
Then God can use us to do the will of God.

Meaning, going through those fires, we may become like God.
Under the baptism of fire, we may become humble.
We may become more loving, more joyful, and peaceful.
We may have more patience.
We may be more kind.
We may become faithful, and gentle. (Galatians 5:22)
We may have more healthy thought patterns.
We may be healed.
We may be trained.
We may learn to choose God’s thoughts instead of our own thoughts when our thoughts and God’s thoughts conflict with each other.
Then we may bear good fruits.
God may guide people through us in the name of Jesus the Messiah.
God may use us to introduce the character of Jesus to the world.

Secondly, we may also experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus wanted to baptize his students with the Holy Spirit.
But before baptizing them with the Holy Spirit, Jesus taught them.
Through his words, he purified his students so that they might be ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
Slowly his students were getting ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
Then right before ascending to heaven, Jesus was like:
“Since you were with me long enough.
Now wait for the Holy Spirit to come.
In few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)

Then about 10 days later, they were baptized by the Holy Spirit.
They were able to speaking various languages to explain the life of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit worked miracles through them.
The Holy Spirit helped them to heal people.
The Holy Spirit gave them wise words to say.
They became bold, knowing that they would rise again.
They boldly preached to the religious leaders.
The Holy Spirit used them to guide people to Jesus.

When they were baptized by the Holy Spirit, they became one with the Holy Spirit.
Then the Holy Spirit was able to lead them.
The Holy Spirit guided them understand Jesus.
They had wisdom to deal with various situations.
They knew about their future events.
They knew what was going to happen.
They realized many things as the Holy Spirit informed them.
They could live a good life in the name of Jesus.
They were able to discern well.
They could teach people how to live well.
They were also able to interpret various languages. (1 Corinthians 12:8-13)

The Holy Spirit guided them to think better, understand better, plan better, remember better, study better.
But it didn’t mean that they didn’t have any spiritual questions anymore.
They didn’t know everything.
But they could serve God and introduce Jesus to others with the Holy Spirit.

So when the Holy Spirit is working in you, you notice that you are changing.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to change us, the Holy Spirit changes us.
But if the Holy Spirit does not change you, you may be not yet God's.
You may come to church for all your life.
But if the Holy Spirit does change you, you are not yet God's.

When you experience the Holy Spirit, you know that you are God's.
When the Holy Spirit convinces us that we are God’s, we have joy and peace and so on.

When we undergo this baptism of the Holy Spirit, we experience the unconditional love of God, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love.
When we experience the unconditional love of God, when God’s love overwhelms us, then we also love others like God.
More importantly, we may love God.
Only when we love Jesus who is God, we produce good fruits.

When we undergo this baptism of fire, we are convinced that God chose us.
We realize that God chooses us and trains us because God loves us.

Still today, Jesus wants us to produce good fruits through the Holy Spirit.
So Jesus is helping us to receive the Holy Spirit.
Because then, God can produce good fruits in us and through us.

Then one day, we will be grateful looking at those fruits.
Because those fruits will tell us that God has been using us.
Those fruits tell us that God is using us to help people experience God.
Those fruits tell that the Holy Spirit is working in us.
So we celebrate that fact that we learn of God enough to be used by God.

Our fruits confirm that we go to heaven.
Our fruits informs us that we go where God is.

Then one day Jesus will send his angels to harvest those fruits.
Those who produce good fruits will be gathered before Jesus.
They will shout for joy as Jesus will say:
“You have proved your love for me by producing fruits that will stay with me.
So you will be in charge of nations and reign with me.”

I pray that we may have good fruits in Christ Jesus.
May we pray to see God’s fruits.
May we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to produce God’s fruits.
May we learn enough to produce God’s fruits in God’s way.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for producing wonderful fruits throughout us.
May you use us continually so that we may have your fruits in our life.
We pray this in your name.