Archive for the ‘Being/Nonbeing’ Category

“If you are the Son of God…”

1) Satan: Jesus, “If you are the Son of God… throw yourself down…. [Angels] will lift you up.” (Matthew 4)
2) People: Jesus, “save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 27)

Jesus must be the Son of God. Then, why? Why did Jesus not show his power? People think that if God wants Jesus, God will rescue him. (Matthew 27:43). But, why not? Does this mean that God does not want? We need to think about God’s power in a different way: “the self-limiting God.” Christ crucified on the cross shows us this self-limiting God who might be not only “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23) but also unacceptable petty weakness to even many Christians. However, this message of the cross in the self-limiting God is not foolishness but “the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).


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1) When Jesus talked about his suffering, death, and resurrection, Peter showed his strong will “Never”: “This shall never happen to you.” (Matthew 16)
2) After serving the last supper, Jesus told a kind of his disciples’ betrayal. But Peter showed his strong will, “Never.” (Matthew 26)

We see Peter’s two “Never.” The first “Never” became “a stumbling block” to Jesus. Peter’s will interrupted Jesus’ will, not thinking the things of God.

The second “Never” lost its confidence, when he disowned Jesus three times. Exactly speaking, when he disowned Jesus first time, “Never” already disappeared. The other two times were just justification of his negation.

The true faith should never be expressed by “Never,” without denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus in our life.

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A woman and Judas

1) When Jesus was with Simon the Leper, a woman came to Jesus and poured on him very expensive perfume.
2) “Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”

We can meet two characters, a woman and Judas, from Matthew 26. Whereas the woman gave Jesus her own most valuable thing, Judas tried to hand Jesus over to the chief priests. A life that can voluntarily give everything to others is better than a life that stealthily tries to find out the weakness and faults of people. An anonymous woman is in any sense more august than one of Jesus’ disciples we know his name. While the one is positive and future-oriented, the other is negative and past-oriented.

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Hebrews 9:27-28

Word of God: Hebrews 9:27-28
Title: For Those Who are Waiting for Him

1) When is your birthday?
Sometimes there are people who do not know their birthday. Why? In such a case if their parents died earlier, they cannot know their birthday. However, most people usually know their birthday.

2) How about your death date?
Is there anyone who knows his/her own death date? If someone suicides, he or she can know their death date. However, they cannot remember their death date.

3) We can celebrate our own birthday in our life. So we sing a song, “Happy birthday to you.” But we cannot commemorate our own death. We cannot sing a song for our death.

4) Even if we do not remember our death date, can we say that there will be no death to me? No. Why?

5) Because everybody dies. Because our life consists of beginning/birth and end/death.
Ecclesiastes 3:2, “There is a time to be born and a time to die.”
a) Beginning/birth is in a sense a happy thing. For example, the birth of a baby is beginning, so not only his or her parents but also even those who do not know the baby can celebrate and can join the party.

b) However, the end or death is not a happy thing, but rather a sad thing. Why? Because if we die, we cannot see our family any more. Because if we die, we have to separate from this world. However, that’s life. So, life consists of both birth and death.

6) Then we have to ask, what will happen after death? When will Jesus come again? We need to recognize the signs.

1. Background:
1) Matthew 16:3, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

a) If you see the sky, you can guess the weather.
b) If the sky is clouded, you can guess it will be raining.
c) If the sky is fine, you can guess it will be fine.

We can guess the weather everyday, but cannot guess the signs of the times. What are the signs of the times? It means the signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ. We do not know the exact day of Jesus’ coming.

2) Then how can we recognize the signs of the times? We need to wake up and to pray to God and to try to listen to the Word of God.

Why? Everyone will die. And then we will go to either heaven or hell. Where do you want to go? Heaven or hell? No one wants to go to hell. Everyone wants to go to the heaven and have eternal life.

Then, we have to ask how?
Hebrewes 9:27-28,
“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

1) Everybody dies.
2) Everybody faces judgment by God.
3) However, Christ died for us to take away our sins.
4) Jesus will come again to save us.
5) Thus we must wait for Him. That is, we must believe in him.

In order to be saved, we must believe in Jesus Christ. There is no way to be saved without Jesus Christ. There is no way to have eternal life without Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only one way to have eternal life.

Many people complain when Jesus come. We do not know when He will come again. We have to just wait for him. Although we cannot see him in our life, we have to wait. Why?

Matthew 24: 35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
Mayple story? Wii? Computer game? Even You and I pass away.

This world will also pass away, but God’s words will never pass away, because it is truth.

This life is important. But the next life after death is more important.
So we have to believe in God in order to go to heaven.

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What do you think is the most perfect sentence in the Bible?

1) “God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
2) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
3) “[Jesus] is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
4) “In the beginning was the Word, and the World was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
5) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
6) “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
7) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
8) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

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Although we cannot see God…

Word of God: John 14:8-9
Title: Althoug we cannnot see God…
This was a telephone conversation between John and me.

I: John, what are you doing?
John: I am playing. Daddy, what are you doing there?
I: I am working at church.
John: Are you washing dishes?

Am I washing dishes at church? Is that my job at this church? I thought why John said like that. Because he saw me washing dishes almost everyday at home, I think, he said like that.

Children like you think and say whatever they see as it is and whatever they hear as it is.

However, if we only think and say what we see, we cannot even say about the existence of the air. Can you see the air? We cannot see the air, even though it is right here. Then, do we have to say that the air is not here, because we cannot see it? No. Although we cannot see the air, we believe that the air is right here. Why? Because, without the air, we cannot live anymore.

1. Today’s bible story is like this.
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Who was Philip? Philip was one of Jesus 12 disciples. It means that he lived with Jesus for three years. During that time, Jesus taught about God and the kingdom of God. However, Philip did not really believe in God.

We also sometimes hope and say, “I want to see God. If I see God, I’ll really believe in him.”
Philip saw and lived with Jesus Christ, but he wanted to see God.
How about us? We did not even see Jesus.
Do you believe in God? If you believe in God, your faith is really big and awesome.

This conversation between Jesus and Philip was preceded by one important Jesus’ teaching which is very familiar to you.

Jesus said: “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Then Philip said, “Show us the Father.”
Philip did not understand what Jesus said. Jesus said, if you knew me, you knew God. What does it mean? Jesus Christ is God and the Son of God.

Who is blind man? They cannot see anything. However, although they cannot see what we see, they believe that it is what we see. Why? They also can touch it and feel it and smell it.

So, seeing is not the only one criterion to determine everything. This is just only one sense among many senses.

Even though we have eyes to see, we cannot see galaxies. The stars we see are just really little bit among many stars.

After resurrection, Jesus showed up many disciples but Thomas did not see Jesus. When many disciples told him, “we have seen the Lord,” he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my had into his side, I will not believe it.”

A week later, Jesus came to disciples including Thomas and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Then Thomas said “My Lord and My God.’
Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

No one here sees Jesus Christ, but we believe in God.
Belief has nothing to do with seeing but with accepting the one who is really our Father.
God wants you to believe in God in your whole life, although you cannot see him.

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Word of God: Luke 13:18-21
Title: The Kingdom of God achieving Here and Now

I did not see foreigners like American people until entering university, because I had lived in a very small city, Andong, in Korea.
I did not even go to Seoul until entering university. It took just four or five hours by a car or a train from Andong to Seoul. Nowadays it takes at the most three hours.

It is the similar distance from LA to San Diego. Do you know how long it takes from here to San Francisco? 7 hours. I did not go even such a short distance at that time.

But now I live in America, so many friends of mine in Korea envy me, saying that I want to also go there. I have been living in America since 2003. But I do not know why America is the first country in the world in some ways. For example, in Korea, if we apply internet, we can use it on the same day. But in America, it takes three or four weeks. In this sense, I think, America is not the perfect country we really desire to live.

Everybody wants to live in a wonderful land.
What would be a wonderful land? Disney Land, Lego Land, Wonder Land, Kid’s Place?
How many of you have gone there? Did you have good times? Do you want to live forever there?

However they are good places to have fun, we cannot live there forever. Although you think you can live there forever, if you are in my age, you cannot have fun anymore there.

Then where can we live forever without any boring or trouble? Although someone does not assure the right place, we must be certain that it is not this world.

Let me introduce the Kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God like?
What kinds of image of the kingdom of God do you have?

1. Background:
1) Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?”

Jesus said, ‘It is like a mustard seed.’ What does it mean? It means that it is very small. But when it grows, it becomes a tree, and the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.

Is a tree a tree from the beginning? No. It starts from a seed and grows like a tree.

2) Jesus asked again, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?”
It is like yeast in the dough. What is yeast? It makes the dough swollen.
When I was a child, my mom sometimes made bread for us. It was made of flour and 막걸리. After preparing of it, my mom put it into a worm place in the room. A couple of hours later, the dough became swollen and became bread.

A seed and yeast are like the kingdom of God.

We need to be a seed or yeast. We need to live like a seed or yeast wherever we are. If we live like a seed or yeast, the place where we are will grow like a tree and have fruits and become bread. It is the kingdom of God. This is revival.

Here, one important thing is this one. We need to make a distinction between plants and weeds.

If you read Matthew 13:36-43, you can find that distinction.
1) On the one hand,
The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man
The field is the world.
The good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom.

2) On the other hand,
The weeds are the sons of the evil one.
The enemy who sows them is the devil.

You can see difference here.

3) Harvest
The harvest is the end of the age.
The harvesters are angels.

At the end of the age and at the harvest, the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire.

Likewise, the Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will take everything that causes sin and all who do evil out of his kingdom.
Then they will throw them into the fiery furnace.

The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

It is not easy to make a distinction between plants and weeds, because they are very similar. Why do they seem to be similar?
We have to recognize that plants do not want to be like weeds, but the weeds look like plants.

Many bugs are in carpets in your home, my home and even here. A carpet does not look like a bug, but the bug looks like a carpet. If you catch a bug, its color is similar to the carpet’s color.

We need to remember that weeds are the sons of evil, and plants are the sons of God. Thus, the sons of evil and the sons of God live together. The sons of evil always bother the sons of God. This is the exact image of the world we live.

Are we the sons of evil or the sons of God?
Then how can we overcome or defeat the sons of evil?
We have to be awake not to be bothered from the sons of evil.

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