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God’s great works, accomplished in secret

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2014-07-07 (월) 21:38 조회 : 1316
Rev._Woo\'s_Sermon_on_July_6,_2014.pdf (159.7K), Down : 1, 2014-07-07 21:38:12
설교일 : 2014.07.06.
설교자 : Rev. Woo
본문말씀 : Genesis 20:1-7

July 6, 2014

 

“God’s great works, accomplished in secret”

Genesis 20:1-7

 

Rev. Yong-Choel Woo’s Sermon at KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

Our Senior Pastor Rev. Jang has gone into a spiritual retreat for a week. It has been already 1 year since he came to our church, and we are sure that he is now looking back at the past year spent here with us, and dreaming future projects for his ministry. We hope that he and Mrs. Jang will have some quiet time to pray, get some rest, and be re-energized during this retreat. We also pray for the family and their health.

 

As the Associate Pastor, my personal plea to God is; “Please do not let Rev. Jang dream too much! Yet not as I will, but as you will. He should be allowed to dream only the necessary dreams.” During the past year, I was running around constantly within his force field and my hair is thinning. Please let me keep the ones I still have.

 

This is my second sermon this year and half of the year is gone, and I am wondering how satisfied you are with my ministry. Do you find it lacking in some areas? We pastors also need to reflect and examine our ministries from time to time.

 

God has worked through us all the time, and to help His ministry we all need to learn how God works, and today we are going to study the case of Abraham.

 

We know a lot about Abraham, written in the Bible. He was called by God to leave his hometown Ur of the Chaldeans, his volatile relationship with his nephew Lot, and his heartbreaking offering of his only son Isaac as a sacrifice, and many other dramatic events in his life. But today’s Bible passage deals with one of the least talked about incidents about Abraham, and we rarely hear this passage mentioned in sermons. The reason may be because it is a confusing and embarrassing story at least, more likely an absurd and shockingly foolish story.

 

I want to share some Internet humor differentiating embarrassment and shocking foolishness.

 

● You are embarrassed when your eyes tear up while yawning. You are absurdly shocked when your jaws fall out of joint while yawning big and wide.

 

● You are embarrassed when you are picking your nose and the buggers keep going up instead of out. You are absurdly shocked when the long buggers keep coming out without stopping.

 

● You are embarrassed when you are answering the nature’s call behind a car and the car starts to reverse. You are absurdly shocked when you are answering the call behind a car and the car drives off.

 

 

When meditating on today’s Bible passage, we are seriously confused at the behavior of Abraham who was to become the blessing to all the people and the father of a great nation.

 

1. Our bewilderment at Abraham lying about his wife Sarah not only once, but twice (Genesis 12 & 20). How can we understand his lies and despicable actions?

 

2. Our bewilderment at God choosing Abraham to be the father of Israel people. Why didn’t God use a better, more responsible man for the job? Moreover, why didn’t God punish him for his bad behaviors? (We don’t find any proof of God’s punishment in the Bible)

 

3. Our bewilderment at the Bible and the Genesis writer. Why didn’t someone erase these incidents with negative image from the Bible? Don’t we all want to write down only the incidents with positive image?

 

I believe I am not the only one confused about this. Somehow this passage has been on my mind constantly while preparing for today’s sermon, and I begin to see that God is telling me something. After a lot of praying and meditating on this, I want to share with you what I have learned from this passage.

 

After Abraham and his extended family had set out for the land of Canaan, their community faced many problems and obstacles along the way and their faith was tested many times. And I hope our church community may feel empathy with them in their struggles and find wisdom in their solutions.

 

Today’s passage lets us see two things.

 

1) We are seeing ourselves reflected in the cowardly actions of Abraham.

2) We are seeing our loving God working in many different ways.

 

First let us meditate on the weaknesses of Abraham which unfortunately we all possess.

 

1. Abraham’s actions remind us that we all lack wisdom and thoughtfulness.

 

Abraham and his tribe were nomadic people. When Abraham’s nephew Lot was captured by the four kings during a war, 318 trained men of Abraham’s household went and successfully rescued him, so his tribe must have been large and strong, but not as powerful as the military strength of the kings in that area.

 

When Abraham and his tribe had to move into Gerar for a while, he feared the locals might attack them and knew he couldn’t fight against them. He was worried that they would start a quarrel over his beautiful wife to make a war, so he lied that his wife was his sister. He might have thought that would prevent any quarrels and skirmishes. 

 

But due to this strategy, now he had to face a new unexpected situation. King Abimelech of Gerar took Abraham’s supposed sister Sarah for his wife in the name of political maneuver for mutual peace.

 

The lesson we learn here is that no matter how much wisdom we might have, our own devices and solutions will never solve the problem, but only bring out foolish results.

 

Let us take a look at the problems we may have at our church. After more than 40 years our church has some issues to solve, like relationships, building expansion, education of the next generation, domestic and world missions, etc., but the most important thing we have to remember is that we should not depend on our own judgments only, but look up to God for his guidance.

 

2. Abraham is showing his misconception about his wife Sarah.

 

Let us take a look at this verse. “They will kill me because of my wife.” (Genesis 20:11)

 

Abraham is thinking that because his wife is beautiful, he may be killed. This is not solving the problem, but blaming the wrong party for the problem.

 

He thinks that “because of you, I may be killed”, and that is very dangerous way of thinking. So, he tells Sarah that if she lies about being the wife, then the problem will be solved.

 

What a childish and foolish idea for a husband and leader to have! We are so disappointed at him and his idea.

 

In psychology, this is a typical case of “objectification”, thinking of others as means for advancing one’s own selfish goals. Here Abraham may be thinking of Sarah only as a tool and means for his survival.

 

Sometimes we criticize others for the sake of our community, but we should be very careful not to objectify those people and blame them.

 

In our church, all of us are precious members of one body, but just because of their different point of views, we tend to objectify the others and try to eliminate them, but it is not right.

 

Recently I was reading a book with the title of “Conviction” by the Bible theologian Marcus Borg and was very touched by his convictions gained through his lifelong teaching of Bible classes. He said, our faith is more of ‘beloving’ than ‘believing’, and it touched my heart.

 

Believing vs Beloving.

 

We should not theorize our faith as believing in God’s existence, His power and His grace, but with our faith in God, we should live our lives sharing God’s love with others.

 

My beloved congregation, we should never objectify those near and dear to us, but always remember to serve them with love.

 

3. Abraham’s actions show his faithlessness, and that is his fatal weakness. When he had experienced a very similar situation in the past, he showed similar weakness. In Genesis Chapter 12, there was a famine in the land so they had to move to Egypt. Abraham lied about Sarah not being his wife but his sister.

 

At that time God inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household in Abraham’s behalf, so he was able to leave Egypt with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot with lots of possessions.

 

Now this time in this similar situation, Abraham should have relied on God’s help, but he didn’t. Instead of trusting God to give him guidance, Abraham is just depending on only his own judgment to solve the problem. I want to ask you, are you acting like Abraham when faced with a crisis?

 

Vampire Christian?

 

What an unpleasant way of describing some selfish Christians! These Christians accept the redemption by the blood of Jesus, but they live completely apart from God and no relationship with God exist in their lives, and these ugly Christians are called vampire Christians.

 

Even though we don’t want to admit, we sometimes exclude God from our lives and we act like we are our own masters, just like Abraham was doing in today’s passage.

 

 

Now we are going to examine the amazing fact about God and His works.

 

While we are accusing Abraham, what does God think about this situation?

 

We figure God must be really disappointed at Abraham’s faithlessness, and is ready to punish Abraham. But,

 

1. God does not try to find out about who is right or wrong. He does not scold Abraham, nor accuse him. Instead God comes to Abimelech secretly in his dream and works to correct the situation in Abraham’s behalf. It seems like God is following a child and cleaning up after a child makes a mess of the house.

 

2. God does not get upset or angry at Abraham. But He works to continue His plans and providence in secret.

 

3. God reverses the outcome of some situations. Abraham made the mistakes, so he should have suffered the consequences, but in this case God intervened to make the opposite results.

 

Abraham didn’t lose Sarah, and gained many sheep and cattle and slaves, and also received a lot of money from Abimelech.

 

 

My beloved congregation, this is the picture of you and me, and our God working on our behalf. God’s great works are accomplished in secret. When we act like Abraham, God overlooks our faults, and shows us the right way. We should never lose our steadfast faith in God when doing God’s works in our church.

 

We should stop criticizing and objectifying others in our ministry, and start looking at them with the confidence of our faith. Never forget the hand of God in our works. When we are weak and wobbly in some areas, God will hold us steady.

 

I wish each of you God’s blessings to have a generous and forgiving heart that serves others with love.

 

 

 

 

Please share the following topics at the cell group meetings.

 

1. Please discuss Abraham’s strategy for crisis management, and its weaknesses and limitations.

 

2. After examining God response toward Abraham, please share your thoughts on this.

 

3. Please share God’s guidance and secret works in the midst of our ministries at church. [이 게시물은 관리자님에 의해 2014-07-07 21:43:55 읽는말씀에서 이동 됨]

   

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처음  이전  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Divine Yes'
설교일 : 2019.10.13
본문말씀 : Genesis 13:1-13
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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