2.25.2017

Matthew 17:1-13 (1)

ppt

The Kingdom of God
Reading: Matthew 17:1-13

About this time, for about 2 and a half years, Jesus taught his students and showed his power of faith.
Then Peter and other students understood Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

When they understood, Jesus started to tell them about his crucifixion.
Jesus started to tell them that the Christ should suffer and die and rise again as the Bible said.

Also Jesus said many times that the kingdom of God is at hand.
So at this time, Jesus told them that some of his students would see the kingdom of God in its power, before they die.
(2) Then six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain to show the kingdom of God in its power.

What is like to see the kingdom of God in its power?
What does Jesus want them to see?

(3) On that mountain, Jesus might have said:
“Let there be the kingdom of God in its power!”
Then what happened?

Jesus has changed:
His face shines like the sun.
His clothes is white as the light.
Jesus is shining in the kingdom of God!

Then in the kingdom of God, Moses and Elijah came to Jesus.
Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus.
Peter and other disciples could see them and hear them.

Moses and Elijah came to say to Jesus about his future suffering in Jerusalem.
Moses and Elijah already knew how important this was.
So they came to talk about the suffering of the Messiah.

But I guess in heaven there were many others who knew about the fact that the Christ should suffer.
So then why did God send Moses and Elijah?
Many prophets are in Heaven:
Enoch, Abraham, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah might want to come also to talk with Jesus.

When we read the Bible, David also knew about the suffering of the Messiah.
He knew that Jesus would go through sufferings.
The prophet Isaiah knew about the suffering of the Christ.
He knew how much Jesus would suffer at his cross.
The prophet Zechariah knew about the suffering of the Christ.
So they could come and inform Jesus about his crucifixion at Jerusalem.

But God allowed two persons: Moses and Elijah.
Were Moses and Elijah only available at that time?
Probably not.
Why did God send Moses and Elijah?

So let’s think about Moses and Elijah.
What do we know about them?
Today we have the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and so on.
But we do not know where the tombs of Moses and Elijah are.

(3) We know that God took Elijah to heaven.
God moved him to other location and let Elijah to live there.
So we do not know where his tomb is.
And his disciple, Elisha carried out his ministry of prophet.

Moses died in Mount Nebo and was buried in a land of Moab.
And we don't know where his tomb is: Deuteronomy 34:5-6, Jude 1:9
In the Bible we read Moses died in Moab and God buried him in Moab.
But no one knows where his grave is.
God didn’t allow people to know.

Moses and Elijah also had their successors.
Their successors represented the future Messiah.
Who were their successors?
Joshua and Elisha.
(3) Even their names have the element of the name of Jesus.
Jesus means “God Saves.” יֵשׁוּעַ
Joshua means “God saves.” יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ
Joshua is a longer form of the name Jesus.
Elisha means “my God is salvation.” (אֱלִישַׁע or אֱלִישׁוּעַ)

The ministry of Moses and Elijah were to hand down their ministry to those who represented the coming Messiah.
Joshua and Elisha were like shadows of the future Messiah.

So as you know, Moses led Joshua to the promised land.
And Joshua conquered and established the first Jewish state by God’s power.

Elijah guided Elisha to have the double portion of his anointing.
Then Elisha served as the prophet and healed people like Jesus and worked miracles like Jesus.

Maybe because Moses and Elijah taught Joshua and Elisha who represented the future Messiah, God the Father might have asked them to come and talk with His Son.
So they came to encourage him.
They encouraged Jesus to do the ministry of the Messiah as God said.

Then Jesus decided to obey God.
Jesus decided to obey and experience the suffering and the resurrection.
And Jesus informed his students about his coming suffering and his resurrection.

But there is one more thing to think about.
When Moses and Elijah came to Jesus, shouldn’t they bow down and worship Jesus?
How dare they talk with Jesus, the Son of God in the kingdom of God as if they were his friends?

Then again I see how much Jesus took a lower seat when he became the Son of Man.
As we know, the Son of God also became the Son of Man.
Then he wanted to talk with other prophets.
The Son of God is like that.
God is not authoritative.
God wants to have a conversation with humans whom he created.

In Genesis we read this:
God talked about his future plan with Abraham.
The LORD said: Genesis 18:17
"Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”
Then God informed Abraham about what God would do.
God discussed his plan with him, because God thought Abraham is his friend.
And our God is very good to his friends.

Then later the prophet Amos said: Amos 3:7
“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
God wants to discuss his plan with his people.

How can we understand this God who created heaven and earth and yet consider us as his friends?
How can we understand God who died for his friends to save them?
Can you understand this God?
Those who understand this God say God is love.
They say:
God is relational.
God is not tyrant.
God is our good friend.
God is our gentle friend who is yet almighty and sovereign.

When this God is less known, many people sacrificed animals and even humans thinking that God would bless them and forgive them.
But God’s prophets told them that was not what God wanted.
God might have allowed animal sacrifices temporarily so that people might understand the consequence of their sins and the danger of their sin.
But after a long time, when people didn’t understand God’s intention, God told them:
“I am tired of your animal sacrifice.
Do justice now and help the poor.”

Then God was like:
“I will forgive people in the name of My Messiah.”
Then later God sent his Messiah.
Then God’s Messiah came to show that he was the sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
So this Lamb of God, the Son of God Jesus says to people:
“God forgives you.
God loves you.
God also wants to be loved.
God is happy when you truly love each other.”

Let’s continually read today’s reading:
(3) Looking at Moses and Elijah, Peter said to Jesus:
“Lord, it is good for us to be here.
If you want, I can put up three tents: one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Peter wanted to build tents so that Moses and Elijah would not leave them.
Peter wanted to stay right here at the kingdom of God.
This was what he wanted.

But God had another plan.
So a bright cloud covered Peter and other students.
Then God the Father said concerning Jesus:
“This is my Son, whom I love.
I am so well pleased with him.
Listen to him!”

God was like:
“Peter, don’t try to do something yet.
First listen to Jesus and understand what he is saying.
Then you may know what to do for God.
And when you finish your works on earth, you will come here and live forever.”

Have you been there?
You want to do something for God.
But God was saying:
“Not yet.
Don’t seek to do what you want.
But first understand God and God’s intention.
Seek the kingdom of God where God rules and reigns.
Then you will know what to do.”

In the kingdom of God, God the Father, God the Son and his people talk with each other.
In the Kingdom of God, these disciples heard the voice of God the Father.

Anyway, when his three students heard God’s voice, they fell face down to the ground and terrified.
Jesus came and said:
“Get up.
Don’t be afraid.”

Jesus was like:
“When you enter into the kingdom of God, My Father teaches you like that.
But don’t be afraid.
God spoke because there is hope.
As long as God speaks, there is hope.
God will help us to learn and follow God.”

Then they only saw Jesus.
Then the kingdom of God disappeared.
But in Jesus there is always the kingdom of God for those who understand.

Have you tasted the kingdom of God?
When you enter there, you find that:
God is there.
God’s Son is there.
God’s prophets are there.
And you are there with them.

I heard about a story of someone who experienced the kingdom of God like this:
She was passing through a time of difficulty and unhappiness.
In her dream she was offered a personal interview with the Christ.
She thought:
“Ah, I will ask Him this.
I will ask Him that.
I will get an answer to my questions and the key to my problems.”

But in the glory of His presence she forgot to ask Him anything.
Her questions seemed utterly unnecessary and meaningless.
She also had an overwhelming feeling that even He would not be able to explain because her mental grasp was so tiny.

But still there came an overwhelming feeling of supreme joy.
Then those questions no longer needed to be answered.
It was sufficient to know there was an answer, even though she could understand yet.

Then she also knew that all was well.
Then she remember that Jesus says: John 16:23
“In that day you shall ask me nothing.”

(3) As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus was like:
“Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until I has been raised from the dead.
Wait until my crucifixion and my resurrection.”

Since they just saw Elijah, the disciples asked him about Elijah:
“Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
Jewish scholars might have thought that just like Elijah introduced Elisha, Elijah would come first to introduce the real Messiah.

Then Jesus was like:
“To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.
But Elijah has already come.
But they did not recognize him.
So they have done to him everything they wished.
In the same way I am going to suffer at their hands.”

Jesus was saying:
“John the Baptist was like Elijah who was supposed to come.
But some people treated him badly and killed him as they wished.
They destroyed God’s plan by killing John the Baptist.
Likewise, they will also kill me and reject God’s intention.”

This was the spiritual situation of some people in his days.
They were planning to destroy his life.
They would lie and cheat to kill him.
They would carry out their plan, rejecting God’s open arms.

In order to warn them, Jesus also talked about hell as if their lives were heading to hell, not to the kingdom of God.
Hell is not created for them.
It was created for Satan and his evil spirits.
Talking about hell, Jesus wanted to scare them not to go there.

Living without God is a life of hell.
They need to repent and return to God.
They need to understand and obey God and be happy, because God has a great plan for them.

But fortunately, some would come to God since they already experience a hell in their life.
So as they fear hell and curse, they come to God
They fear the consequence of their sins.
They fear God and yet come to God.
Then God will welcome them with his open heart and open arms.

Jesus wants us to come and experience God.
Jesus welcomes us and changes us to understand how good our God is.
When we really know this God, we really want to be with God in the kingdom of God forever.
Then we will praise God forever.

Jesus wants people to love God and live in the kingdom of God forever.
Jesus prepares our places in the kingdom of God.
May we experience the kingdom of God and enter there in the name of Jesus and live there forever.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for who you are.
Thank you for helping us to experience you and understand you.
Help us to choose the right path for our life so that we may live according to your will.
In Jesus name we pray.
Amen

2.18.2017

Matthew 5:33-48 (1)

Relationship (2)
Reading: Matthew 5:33-48

According to our text today, Jesus is teaching about how we should speak and relate to each other.
Let’s think about what Jesus said today one by one:

Jesus said 2000 years ago:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’”

Let’s stop here and think about two Bible verses in the Old Testament.
About 3400 years ago God said to Jewish people through Moses: Leviticus 19:12
“‘Do not swear falsely by my name and profane the name of your God.
I am the Lord.”
God was saying, through our words, we may profane the name of God.

God does not lie.
God speaks the truth.
When God makes his oath, God keeps it.
So when people swear falsely in his name, they profane the name of God.

God also said through Moses: Exodus 20:7
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

God wanted to be known as he is.
So God does not like people to misuse his name.
God was like:
“Leave my name alone.”

When people wanted to know the truth about some events, they might ask other people swear an oath to tell the truth.
They might ask people to swear on oath in God’s name.

But about 2700 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah said: Jeremiah 5:1-2
“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider,
search through her squares.
If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
I will forgive this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.”

God didn’t like when people invoked his name and swear, “As surely as the Lord lives” and then didn’t do what they said.
But, Jeremiah was saying that no one in Jerusalem at that time, were telling the truth.
They didn’t tell the truth even though God warned them to speak honestly to each other.
What a meaningless relationship it could be when people people didn’t speak the truth to each other.
They did not know the importance of their words.
So when they swore an oath in God’s name, they didn’t keep it.
They lied to people and lied to God as well.
So God could not take it anymore.
When people are not faithful to what they were saying, God didn’t like it.

So when Jesus came about 2000 years ago, Jesus was saying to people:
“Do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.”

What was Jesus saying?
“No more swearing so that you may sin less.
You do not have power to keep your words.”

Jesus was saying that people are too weak to swear:
They see what they want to see.
They say what they want to say.
They leave out some facts so that they may be appeared more righteous.
They may cut corner of the truth.
They may claim things that they didn't do.
Or simply because they don’t understand, they may say something wrong.
So even when they want to say the truth, sometimes, they missed the mark.
This is how weak humans are.
This is our spiritual situation as well.
So we should not swear.
The truth is not in us.
So we don’t believe in people but trust in God who speaks and acts in truth.

So we are trying to follow Jesus who is the truth.
Jesus is the true words.
We trust that through Christ Jesus, God may bring forth the truth in our life.
When God the Holy Spirit works through us, the Holy Spirit may enable us to say the truth.
Then we may explain what the truth is.

So Jesus said:
“Say simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Satan may motivate people to say more than this and sin against God.
Satan may make people claim to do what only God can do.
Then they may try to prove what they cannot prove.

So Jesus was saying:
“Instead of swearing, just say yes humbly what seems yes to you.
Just say no humbly what seems no to you.
Let others know that you could not say more than this, because you know how weak you are.”

Jesus knows how powerless we are without God.
We cannot pretend to speak the truth and swear about our truth telling.
Otherwise, even with our good intention, we may be sinning.
That is what humans are.
That is who we are.

So we pray that we may know about what we say.
We pray that our yes be yes and our no be no.
May we humbly say no to to what we think is no.
May we humbly say yes to what we think is yes.
In this way, we may say yes or no in God’s way.
May Jesus helps us to use our words in the right way.

Next Jesus said something like this:
“You have heard that ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”

I am not sure how many Christians believe in Jesus and practice these words in our society today.
Who practice no retaliation?
Who love those who try to sue them?
When someone wants to take ours, do we give more than what they ask?

Reading this remarkable words, what we should decide is to bless everyone, no matter who they are.
We choose to live very simply in Jesus.
We choose to do good to everyone.
We decide and determine to do only good to everyone.
We decide and determine to do good even to someone who wrongs us.
We decide and determine to give them what is good.

Next Jesus said:
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

In the days of Jesus, Roman soldiers could force Jewish people to carry their bags for 1 mile legally.
But they could not make them go 2 mile.
That was illegal.
Jesus was saying to Jewish people “go 2 mile.”
What does “Go 2 mile” mean?
Does it mean to make them illegal?

But anyway, I don’t want to carry one mile, letting alone 2 mile.
I don’t think I give to everyone who asks me, do you?
But Jesus is challenging us to practice giving.

Why does Jesus ask us that?
I don’t think Jesus was saying this, so that we may become poor and have no means to support our family.

I think Jesus was saying:
“Give! Share!
Trust me.
Give more to shock them.
Give more than what they asked for.
Give more than what they expected.
Practice this ridiculous generosity.
Because I can bless you.
Trust me.
I can bless you.”

I guess those who believe that Jesus can bless us can put these words to practice.
Those who experience God’s love and those who are captured by God’s Spirit may practice this giving.
Those who are full of the Holy Spirit, may carry out this mission.
Then God may pour out God’s abundant grace upon them.

Jesus gave his life for us.
Then Jesus says:
It is better to give than receive.
It is better to serve than to be served.

This was the life of Jesus.
Many human beings asked him to save them.
Jesus asks himself: How can I save people?
Then Jesus gave his life.
Then God the Father gave everything back to Jesus who loves.
So Jesus has all the authority in heaven and earth.
And those who are full of the Holy Spirit may use the power that Jesus gives to them.
Those who obey Jesus will see how much God can bless them.

Talking about giving, Jesus also asks us to give secretly.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:2-4:
“When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.
They have received their full reward.

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
Give in secret.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Jesus is saying when you give secretly, God will find you and bless you.
But who practice what Jesus says here?
Who give secretly?

God often give in secret.
God does something for us even when we don’t realize to thank God.
God has done many things that we could be very thankful for.
We should always give thanks to God.
Then our life will be filled with many more blessings.

Anyway, when people try to practice giving, God will reward them.
When the people of God try to give secretly and do what God wants them to do, God surely bless them.
Those who try to practice God’s mercy will receive God’s mercy.
Those who do more than what people ask them will see how much God can bless them.
Those who do good even when people do not treat them well will receive God’s blessings.
Those who give more than what they have to give will receive God’s blessings.
They will hear God as God will answer them.
They will see God who bless them greatly.

Next Jesus said what we heard so many times before:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

“God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

“If you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that?
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

God sends rain to both the good and the evil.
God is the giver.
God has endless resources to give.

We live among those who are holy; and among those who are not holy.
But Jesus is still asking us to bless the holy and the unholy.
Then we will experience more blessings and rewards from God.

Some of God’s children may act like children of Satan at the moment because they don’t know God.
But as we pray for them and bless them, they may find God and become the children of God.
When someone shows God’s love, no matter what others do, God may change people and cleanse them from their sins and make them enter into a life of blessing.

So Jesus says:
“No matter what they do, bless them.
They may look like a people of the devil at the moment.
But bless them.
Love them and help them.
Love your neighbors and enemies.
Show your reconciling gestures and maintain your gesture.
Show them how God’s people live.
Then you may receive many blessings and rewards from God.”

But who trust God enough to obey God?
Who follow Jesus like this?
Who believe in God enough and receive God’s rewards?
Who would preach this principle of giving and receiving?
God will bless them.

Jesus may release them from all the cures that people may have spoken against them.
Jesus may protect them from all wrong thoughts and wrong minds and wrong expectations from people so that they may truly serve God and do God’s works that God gives to them.

To them Jesus may also say: Isaiah 41:8-10
“You are my friends.
I have chosen you and will not cast you off.
Fear not, for I am with you.”

Today Jesus points us to see how we should live.
If we choose to live like this, if we choose to speak and act according to his will, if we choose to be a peacemaker as the Holy Spirit empowers us, then we may experience more of God’s actions.
God will show up.
God will approve that we are his children.
God will give us his peace.

All those who try to live like this should pray that the Holy Spirit may empower them to obey what Jesus says, today right?
So let’s come to God and pray together.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, you love us.
We are grateful for your love for us.
Help us to love you.
Thank you for all the things that you have done for us.
Let us understand you and have your attitude toward others.
Help us to serve others by giving more generously.
Empower us, Jesus, so that we may be able to follow you.
May we seek unity and love, thinking of you who died for us.
May we seek peace and find peace.
May we share your words with your world.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen


2.11.2017

Matthew 5:21-32 (1)

Relationship (1)
Reading: Matthew 5:21-32

Today Jesus is talking about the importance of human relationship.
Let’s think about what Jesus said one by one:

Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’”

In his days, Jesus was speaking to his Jewish people.
His Jewish people knew about the story of Cain and Abel: Genesis 4:1–16
Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve.
Cain and Abel wanted to worship God and offered gifts to God.
But then God received the offering of Abel because his heart was right.
And Abel sensed that God was with him and was saying to him:
“You did what was right.”

But when Cain worshiped God, God could not accept his worship.
God rejected the offering of Cain because he didn’t do what was right.
Cain did not worship God in the right way.
Cain did not offer what God want from him: his heart.

But then Cain felt jealousy and envy and anger at his brother.
Why was he angry at his brother?
Because his brother was an easy target, like a scapegoat to whom he could express his anger.
So he thought about killing him.
He felt about killing him.
He planned about killing him.
He didn’t resist those thoughts of anger.

Then Cain killed his brother who lived very well with God.
This story has been repeated as various people killed God’s prophets.
This story was repeated even in the story of Jesus as well as the Jewish religious leaders killed Jesus.

Anyway, when Cain killed his brother, his sin hurt God’s heart.
So God said to Cain something like this:
“The blood of Abel was crying out from the earth.
You have committed this sin.
And because of your sin, you are under a curse.”

Then about 2000 years later, God taught Jewish people through Moses saying: Exodus 20:13
“You shall not murder.
Otherwise, you will be judged and in a big trouble.”

Now Jesus was adding or explaining:
“If you are angry with a brother or sister, you are guilty of murder.”
If you are angry at someone, it is like as if you are killing him or her.
So if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged and in trouble.”

Killing and being angry is about the same thing in God’s heart.
Human angers produce sins which hurt God’s heart.
So when we are angry, we come to God in repentance in the name of Jesus.

Jesus explains more:
“If you say to a brother or sister, ‘worthless,’ then be ready to answer to the heavenly court and judgment.
If you say, ‘You stupid!’ you will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Jesus was asking people not to humiliate each other with words.
When we humiliate each other, we live a life of hell.

Jesus was the most smart person in the world.
He is wiser than us.
He is perfect.
He was also disappointed and displeased by human actions.
But he has never said to anyone:
“You are worthless garbage.”

Learning from Jesus, James said: James 1:20
“Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

Learning from Jesus, Paul said: Colossians 3:8
“You must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

This is what Jesus asks us.
Jesus may ask us to say each other:
“You are so precious.
You are jewels and treasures.
You made this day a special day, by just being you.
There is no person in the world like you.
God loves you, just the way you are.”
Our words we use matters to God.

Jesus wants to us to bless each other.
Jesus wants us to wait for each other to grow.
Our growing process is different.
So we may be disappointed in our relationship.
But Jesus asks us to get rid of anger.
Jesus asks us not to judge someone or condemn someone.
Jesus asks us to forgive and ask God to help them and us.

Because Jesus has come to forgive those who sin against God, Jesus can explain what sin is.
Jesus may be saying:
“I was crucified to save all people including those whom you don’t like.
Some people may call them garbage.
But I died for them.
So as my students, love those whom people may call garbage.
I died for them because God loves them so much.
So pray for them and bless them.
Bless even your enemies whom I died to save.”

Then Jesus says: (Matthew 5:23-24)
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar.
First, go and be reconciled to them.
Then come and offer your gift.”

Jesus may be also asking us to resolve our relationship with those who hurt us, like Jesus himself.
Jesus may be asking us to let them know that we have forgiven them.

Otherwise, no matter how much money we give to church, God may say:
“No, thanks.
First, go reconcile with your brother or sister.
Let them know that you have forgiven them.
Then bring your offerings, prayer and worship.”

We may want to say:
“Jesus, please don’t talk about my relationship with that person.
He hurt me so bad.
They have done wrong.
They have spoke against me.”

But Jesus may say:
“I know.
But go and have a good relationship with them.
Seek to reconcile with them.
Bless them.
Endure and do good.
Then you will have a good relationship with God.
Then when you pray, God will say:
‘Here I am!’”

But still some may say:
“Forget about my friends, God.
I just want to have a better relationship with you.
I want to experience you.
That is all.”

But God may say:
“Forgive them.
Have a good relationship with your friends.
Otherwise, your attitude toward your friends is hurting me.
Then how can you have a better relationship with me?
When you have a broken relationship, you may not experience me fully.
You may not walk with me with a good heart.
So please have a better relationship with them.
Then I can really bless you.”

That is why when we forgive someone from our hearts, you have a better relationship with God.

Jesus said:
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.
Do it while you are still together on the way.
Or your adversary may hand you over to the judge.
The judge may hand you over to the officer.
You may be thrown into prison.
You will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

What is Jesus saying here?
I guess Jesus was saying: we may have hurt someone.
We may unwillingly hurt others and destroy their peace.
We may hurt someone’s feeling and hinder someone’s prayer life.
We may have done something against them.
Then they may have gone to a wrong direction: bitterness or anger.
Then their prayer life was blocked, as they were angry with us.
Since they were disappointed with us, they may say “worthless or fool.”
Then since they don’t like us, they may not experience God fully.
The Holy Spirit may not be able to work fully among us.
So Satan may accuse us before God.
Satan may hand us over to God.
We may find ourselves in the court of heaven.
Then because of our sin, we may be handed over to a prison.
We cannot get out until we pay for our sins.

So we pray for our enemy and seek to reconcile with them.
We talk with them, while we are on earth.
We go and reconcile with them.
When we reconcile with our enemy, we may experience God’s forgiving grace.
We experience God who loves us.
Then God listens to our prayer.
And we may be able to listen to God again.

Since we are talking about relationship.
We may need to talk about racism, too
Racism is also sin.
Racists look up or look down on someone based on their skin colors.
Racists look down on people whom God loves.
Racists may think that some people are subhuman.
Then they feel better about themselves.
This is a sickness in thoughts.
People are racists because they do not know God.
This sinful thought may break our relationship with God.
But then racists may say:
“I didn’t discriminate against God”
But God says:
“Yes, you did.”

Because racism breaks our relationship with God, we also repent of our sins of racism.
God creates all people and loves them.
God loves everyone.
God wants to save them and helps them to live abundant life.

Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
But anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

We need to protect our thought.
We can sin just by thinking about certain things that is not good.
Our careless thought can be a sin that offends God.
Our thought matters to God.
Our feeling matters to God.

So through Jesus our God, we protect our heart to have good thoughts.
We try to think good thoughts in the name of Jesus.
We try to say good prayers for others, no matter who they are.
In this way we may become the person whom God can bless.

Paul asked us to think good thoughts: Philippians 4:8
“Think what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.”
When we think about these things, we know that we live with God.
The Holy Spirit helps us think good thoughts so that the world may experience God.

Some may say:
“I tried before.
I am not able to do this.
I have this judgmental thought and harmful thoughts going on in my head.
This looks impossible.”

But Jesus encourages us:
“Try one more.
Bless people to experience God’s blessings.
Bless people to be changed and experience God’s goodness.
Then you experience God.
You experience the love of God.
You understand how to live with God as God guides and blesses you.

Jesus said to Jewish men who had social and financial means in his days:
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ (Deut 24: 1-5)
But anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Jesus talks about those who does not know the importance of marriage.
Jesus is asking them to keep their marriage.
If there is a problem, they may constantly reconcile and seek to reconcile.
In this way, we may live purely and holy.
As they seek the betterment of their spouse, they may find joy and peace.
So they may need to pray for their marriage so that the Holy Spirit may help them and keep their marriage.

Like this Jesus is also explaining our relationship with God.
The prophet Hosea also said that our relationship with God is like a marriage relationship.
But God would not divorce us even when we are unfaithful.

The same God may ask any couple to learn to be faithful in their marriage.
God asks them to learn to practice what God is practicing with them:
Love like God, no matter what others do.
Then God may turn every situation into a blessing.
Then they may find more blessings hidden in their marriage.
Jesus wants to help us like this.
In this way, we may follow Jesus.

Today we heard what Jesus says about human relationship.
According to Jesus, any relationship is important.
We need to seek to live in peace with everyone.
Then we may learn more of Jesus.
We may understand the truth about us.
When we have a better relationship, we may find true happiness.

This is why we need the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is ready to empower us to have good relationship.
So we pray the Holy Spirit may work in our hearts so that we may have a wonderful relationship.
God wants to bless us like that.
When we fail, from time to time, we we repent and pray and try again and again in the name of Jesus.
We try because it will be possible in the name of Jesus.
We try because we love Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit persuade us and change us to seek good relationship. May the Holy Spirit inspires us to think good thoughts and be blessed.
May the Holy Spirit changes a thousand people around us to live in peace with us.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for sanctifying us.
May you help us to have a good relationship with others.
May we find God in our relationship.
May we understand God and live like God and think like God.
May the Holy Spirit who is in us helps us to realize the importance of our relationship with others.
In Jesus name we pray.
Amen

2.04.2017

1 Corinthians 14: 26-40

The gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit
Reading: 1 Corinthians 14: 26-40

When we read the Bible, we hear about people speaking in tongues.
Have you heard about people speaking in tongues?
Let’s learn about this gift.

This gift appeared 2000 years ago in Jerusalem for the first time:
At the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit made the disciples of Jesus to worship in other languages: Acts 2: 5-12.
The disciples were able to speak in Aramaic.
But suddenly they spoke new languages, like Arabic, Greek, Egyptian/Coptic, Syriac, Assyrian, Persian and so on: Acts 2: 9.
The Holy Spirit made them speak various languages.

At that time, many Jewish pilgrims were in Jerusalem, because it was Shavuot “the feast of Weeks.”
In this season, Jewish people came to Jerusalem to worship at the temple and celebrated that Moses received the Law from God at Mount Sinai.

But then they heard the disciples of Jesus spoke in their languages.
They were wondering looking at the disciples:
“Are they not Galileans?
How is it that we hear them speak our languages?
They declare the wonders of God in our tongues!”

Then Peter preached to them saying: Acts 2: 17.
“It has started:
God pours out his Spirit on all flesh.
As God says, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
Peter knew God opened the door of heaven for them the Jews.
Then Peter preached to them about Jesus the Christ.
Then about 3000 Jewish people believed and were baptized in the name of Jesus.

Then some years later, there were another incident at Cornelius’ House: Acts 10: 44-46.
Cornelius was a gentile who invited Peter to preach at his house.
As Peter preached, the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius and all who heard the message.
They spoke in tongues and praised God: Acts 10.

At first, Peter who was Jewish, was shocked as the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles and the Gentiles spoke in tongues and praised God.
This meant God opened the door of heaven for the Gentiles as well.
So Peter recognized that the gentiles can believe in Jesus the Christ and be saved; and that the Holy Spirit is also for the Gentiles.
So Peter baptized those Gentiles.
Since then Peter and the Jewish disciples understood that the Gospel is for everyone.
So the disciples of Jesus preached the gospel of Jesus to the world.

You see, the Holy Spirit uses this gift of speaking in new languages to convince Peter that the Gentiles can believe in Jesus, and receive forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus.
God convinced Peter to preach to the Gentiles who are ready to believe in Jesus the Christ and be saved.

But the manifestation of this gift did not stop there.
The early Christians continually spoke in tongues during their worship.
So Paul taught Christians how to use this gift: 1 Corinthians 14: 26-28.
“When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.
Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two people, or at the most three, should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak only to oneself and to God.”

What does Paul say?
There were times when this Corinthian church did not know how to use this gift in worship.
So, during the worship, people spoke in tongues and others did not understand what it meant.
So Paul was saying:
“During our time of worship, interpretation is needed.
We are here to worship God together.
So we need to understand what is said so that we together may give glory and honor to God.”

But does Paul ask them to stop using this gift in worship?
No.
Paul recognizes that the Holy Spirit may edify believers and build up the church through various gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Paul understood that the Holy Spirit may manifest like this.

What Paul asks was to interpret the tongue so that the church understand what the Holy Spirit is saying.
If they understand, they will be benefited by the words.
But if there is no one can interpret the tongue, those who speak in tongues should use it for their private devotions as a language of prayer.

Now let’s think about how one can speak in tongues.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ, and those who confess their sins as the Holy Spirit guides them, may ask Jesus to fill them with the Holy Spirit.
Then they can ask the Holy Spirit to help them speak in tongues.
Then they yield their mouths and tongues to the Holy Spirit as they speak in faith.

Then speaking in tongues may require a humility.
Because at first, we may feel like babbling like a child.
But the Father in heaven understands the babbling of his children.
God understands these babbling and our spiritual intentions.
So people may lay down their pride and use the languages that the Holy Spirit provides.
Then the Holy Spirit may help them pray using this gift.

As we use this gift, we may ask the Holy Spirit to interpret it for us, so that we may understand what it means.
We may ask in faith to receive its interpretation.
Then we may know what the Holy Spirit is saying.

But there is other gifts of the Holy Spirit, too.
We have talked about this before.
But let me summarize again about other gifts:
There can be the gift of wisdom which is used to make decisions and give guidance according to God's will.
There is the gift of knowledge which is used to understand of a spiritual situation.
The gift of faith which is used to trust God and encourage others to trust God.
The gift of healing is used to heal people.
The gift of miracles is used to perform signs and wonders as through signs and wonders God approves God's message.
The gift of prophecy is used to to proclaim God’s messages.
The gift of discerning spirits is used to determine what message, person, or event is from God.
The gift of administration is to organize things according to God's will.
The gift of helps is to help others, and to do God’s works.

These gifts are manifesting because the door of heaven is open and as the Holy Spirit tries to build up the church so that one day, all nations may worship God in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But we also know that Satan may counterfeit the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So we need to be careful.
We need to discern.
But how can we discern?
We need to know the fruits to discern.
We need to examine our hearts to discern.

For example, when the Holy Spirit manifest, we notice the fruit of the Spirit.
What are they again? Galatians 5:22-23
They are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
When we use God’s gifts, we have these fruits in our hearts.
Then we know we are in line with God.
Even when we repent, we may feel this as the Holy Spirit speaks and convinces us that we are God’s.
So when we use the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we have peace and joy.

Let's say some people use the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But as they serve, you don't feel the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting.
You don't feel love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If we don’t notice this fruit of the Spirit, we may say that there's something wrong in that manifestation of gifts.
We know that there's something wrong there when they do not value the fruits of the Spirit which shows the character of God.
Then we may get away from them or need to stop them because it seems that they may not use the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to God’s will.

We can apply this to ourselves.
Let's say I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But the more I use that gift, the more I am not loving.
I don't feel joy, peace.
I am not kinder than before.
I don’t have patience.
I am not good to others.
I am not faithful.
I am not gentle.
My self-control becomes weaker.
Then there's something wrong.
I may not use the gifts of the Holy Spirit as God wants.
Then I need to stop.

But when I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in God’s way, I have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I am more loving.
I feel joy and peace.
I am very kind.
I am patient.
I am very good to other people.
I am faithful.
I am gentle.
I am very good at self control.
Then I know that I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in God’s way.

Now there are other spiritual meaning of the gift of speaking in tongue.
The Holy Spirit has another reason to speak the wonders of God in new languages through the disciples of Jesus.
So let's think about that.
Why does the Holy Spirit let us use this gift in our worship?
Why does the Holy Spirit enables believers to speak in tongues and interpret?
What is the relationship between glorifying God and using various languages in worship?
What does it mean?

Worshiping in various languages points to the fulfillment of God’s prophecy.
Daniel prophesied like this: Daniel 7:14
“Jesus would be given authority, glory and sovereign power.
All nations and peoples of every language will worship him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

David also prophesied: Psalm 86: 9-10
“All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.”

John also prophesied: Revelation 7: 9-10, Revelation 15: 3-4:
“I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:
‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

Peoples of every language will come to worship God.
So when we see other ethnic groups worshiping God, we see that God is fulfilling his words.
The more we see every tongue and every race praise God the Lord, the more we know that the Holy Spirit is working to make peoples of all languages to worship God.
Then when Jesus returns, God’s elects will be united to worship God together.

There is another meaning of this gift of the tongue.
What is that?
The Holy Spirit was trying to say something.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 11:6-9
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb.
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together.
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall eat grass in a field.
Their young shall lie down together.
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra.
The weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

It talks about the wolf and the lamb dwelling together: Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:25.
It talks about cow and bear living together.
What does it mean?
The strong and the weak live together.
There is no enemy.
There is no fear.
The strong nation and the weak nation dwell together.
Those who speak different languages live together in peace.
Culturally different people live totally well together.
One day, we will enter into this kind of world.
The Holy Spirit is preparing us to live like that.

As we see the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, we know God opens the door of heaven to more people.
Because the door of heaven is opened, in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we use God’s gifts and abilities so that more people may hear the gospel of Jesus the Christ.
And as people worship God together and live together, we know God is fulfilling his words which was spoken through his prophets.
Then people may understand the grace of God.

I pray all of us may use the gifts of the Holy Spirit and have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit may manifest among us.
May the Holy Spirit is building up his church through preaching the gospel of Jesus to all people.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.
Help us to be full of the Holy Spirit so that we may be able to build up your church in the name of Jesus.
Holy Spirit, thank you for giving us your gifts and fruits.
May we serve you according to your will.
We pray in the name of Jesus.
Amen