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The Acts (77) - The blessings of God for those who wait patiently

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설교일 : 2016.10.30.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Acts 25:1~12

October 30, 2016

 

The Acts (77) – “The blessings of God for those who wait patiently”

Acts 25:1-12

 

Rev. Chan Young Jang’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

When you travel on the South Seas Highway in Korea, you may encounter a small traditional house with tile-roof, which is the paternal home of Mr. Yahk-Yong Jung, also known by his pen name of ‘Dah-Sahn’, the most well-known scholar of Pragmatism in Korea. He gave his birthplace the special name of ‘A place to hang around’. Having received the Christianity at the age of 22 as a Roman Catholic and having been exposed to the modern science from the West, he began to dream about the new Korea in the new world. He was baptized with the name of John, and became a devout believer.

 

He began to work as a public official at the age of 27 and became a favorite of the King Jeong-Jo who initiated a reform of the society. But after the sudden death of the king, he was put on trial and exiled to Gang-Jin at the age of 39 in 1801 and remained there for 18 years. At that time the Roman Catholics were arrested and then beheaded, and he had been prosecuted for helping the Christians and sent to exile for punishment. Consequently, there was no one to help him at his exiled village.

 

As an exile, he had to first recover physically and mentally from the severe torture he had suffered and from the shock of separation from everyone, and barely managed to survive for a few years. The only person who helped him gain his strength back was the cook who was taking care of his lodging and food. Her suggestion to him to teach the local children gave him something to do, and her practical wisdom challenged him and eventually she earned his respect for her. All these were written in his letters to his older brother.

 

After recovering his health and his faith, he named his exiled home, “A place of four principles’. And the principles he observed during his exile of 18 years were; “clear thinking, clean appearance, careful speech, courteous conduct”. Later on, he named a small gazebo he frequently visited, ‘A place to experience the heaven’.

 

All through his exile, he relied on his faith to keep his sanity and acute minds, so that later in his life, he was able to contribute to the Korean traditional society with his pragmatic ideas. I want to share his wise advice to his son who had been obstructed in his career because of his father’s exile; “Do not be discouraged because you are a son of the condemned. Just strive to improve yourself and patiently wait for God’s time. You need to have read at least 5,000 books to have a clear concept of people and the world. Do not seek the approval of people, but seek only the will of God, and be prepared for His time.”

 

When he was freed from the exile, he was 57 years old, but at the beginning of his peak years. The reason for sharing Mr. Yahk-Yong Jung’s life story is that he was the first Christian, a Roman Catholic, among the upper class people and among the government officials in Korea at that time. His persecution and 18 years of exile remind us about the life of Apostle Paul in today’s passage who was similarly persecuted. I hope and wish that someday I may visit Mr. Jung’s birth home and his exiled place in Gang-Jin and meditate on his four principles at the gazebo with the name of ‘A place to experience heaven’.

 

 

2.

Last Sunday we shared the trial of Paul before Governor Felix, described in the chapter 24 of the Acts, and in today’s passage, the trial has been changed now to be held before the new Governor Festus. After the proceedings detailed in today’s passage, it was concluded that Paul should be tried in Rome before Caesar, the Emperor. Unfortunately for Governor Felix, even though he had the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ, he did not accept the Lord as his Savior. He allowed his successor Governor Festus to take care of the charges against Paul. But Governor Festus also did not know how to handle the situation between the Jewish leaders and Paul, a Roman citizen, and discussed Paul’s case with King Agrippa.

 

It should be noted that during his missionary journeys, Paul used to meet with the common people. But since his trials in Jerusalem, Paul had the opportunity to meet with the influential people of the world, namely the top 1 % of society. No matter what power or position, even as a commander, a governor, or a king, people are essentially the same and they all need to hear the gospel.

 

We have to pay attention to the two years of time that passed between chapter 24 and chapter 25 of the Acts. Paul had been in jail throughout these two years, but there was no verdict, no conclusion. Only the presiding judge was changed.

 

These two years in jail was very beneficial to Paul. First of all, his life was saved. If he were released, he would have been killed by those over forty men who had vowed not to eat or drink until they killed him. While he was safe in jail, he was able to meet with people with ease and to proclaim the gospel to them.

 

Previously, Paul never took time off and this period of time in jail helped him a lot. He was one of those ‘driven’ men who were mission-oriented or purpose-oriented, like a lot of people of today.

 

Most people would like to have purposes in life and be passionate about them and work extremely hard to attain them. These traits are usually admired, but there is one possible trap for them, and that is the burn-out. We may go through moments of meaninglessness or emptiness in our lives and face an era of chaos or season of confusion.

 

Take a look at Paul. Ever since he had met Jesus, he had fought hard for his missions. He successfully completed his first and second missionary journeys and his missions in Asia Minor and Europe were bearing fruits, thanks to Paul’s efforts.

 

But all of them were not good news. Along with the external fruits, there were internal conflicts. Inside of the many churches planted by him, the leaders were tired, while the false teachers flourished. So, Paul had to be the comforter of church members and the mediator of their conflicts by sending his pastoral epistles to them.

 

In the midst of these developments, Paul must have reflected a lot inwardly and upon his own faults and his previous disagreements with Barnabas.

 

God is good always. God knows all the strengths and weaknesses of Paul, so He allowed Paul the time for rest and reflections. The two years in jail was the blessing of God bestowed upon Paul as ‘the sabbatical time’.

 

 

3.

When we look back at our lives, we often realize that those times of sudden pause were really blessings for us. We have this obsession about working non-stop, but sometimes taking a pause can be very beneficial.

 

Therefore, when the storm rages, it is better for us to be still and patiently wait for the storm to pass by. It is never easy for us to just wait in the midst of darkness and fearful storm, but time of waiting can be also a time of blessing.

 

The times of our pause doesn’t mean any failure or lack of God’s blessing in our lives, but a time for recharging and getting restored physically and spiritually, so that we will be ready for a new leap in the future.

 

Rev. Kirk Byron Jones talks about our obsession for success in his book, Rest in the Storm. He says that a lot of successful people are suffering from the Delusion for Invincibility. He explains this syndrome as follows.

 

“We are obsessed with getting compliments from others; he does everything well/ he is perfect/ he never makes mistakes/ he is going to be very successful. For the pastors; he touches the heart of his congregation with his sermons/ he pays visits to the homes of all the members/ he is good at management/ he has passion for missions to enlarge the kingdom of God/ he is strong, physically and mentally with no weakness/ he is sincere and honest with no ethical flaw/ he is a great role model as the head of family, and so on. But we should remember that even Lord Jesus couldn’t satisfy all the expectations of people.

 

Therefore, we should get rid of this obsession to become a ‘Superman’ and not be sensitive to the opinions of others. It is healthier for us as the children of God to complain when things are difficult.”

 

He also says that the ‘lack of margin’ is not good for us, as we should be prepared for the blocked path and having a margin for error is beneficial for us.

 

The phrase of ‘He has no room’ means that he does not have any reserve or margin, with no flexibility, but is only self-centered. We all know that there was ‘no room at the inn’ when our Lord Jesus came down to earth as a baby, born to Mary and Joseph when they went to Bethlehem for the census count.

 

 

4.

Now in conclusion, do you think the time of reflection was a blessing for Apostle Paul?

 

Up to that time, Paul was running the ‘Ironman’ race alone, even though he had some helpers along the way. Now God told him, “Do not work alone from now on.”

 

Our lives are compared to running a ‘marathon’ and many believe that those who patiently reach the finish line are crowned with the laurel of victory. But others believe that our lives should be compared to a ‘relay race’, with four people sharing the race. Usually the fastest runs first, the second and third runners maintain the speed, and the last runner finishes the race. After the race, all four of them are awarded with medals.

 

But in my opinion, there is a better race to be compared to our lives; life is a ‘2 persons 3 legs’ race, which has two people with one of their legs bound together, so they run with only three legs.

 

Most Bible scholars agree that during the two years in jail, Paul must have realized the need for bringing up disciples to continue his ministry. Previously Paul thought he could do it all by himself, but his incarceration taught him he needed to have colleagues or co-workers to proclaim the gospel all over the world.

 

In his book, ‘Wind and Fire’, Bruce Larson writes that “for their intercontinental flight, sandhill cranes observe three distinct principles; First, they choose a strong leader that can withstand the storms at the front, so they know how to raise up their leaders. Second, they take turns being in the front, so they know how to cooperate with others. Finally, the other cranes follow the leader, while making their encouraging noise for the front leader, so they know how to live together with others.

 

This is a very insightful observation of the leadership in the animal world. Apostle Paul used to think that everything depended on his own leadership, but now in jail he began to realize that he also needed to understand and work with others, the ‘followership’, in addition to his leadership.

 

By keeping Paul in jail, God has enlarged Paul’s territory from being self-centered to opening himself to others and serving others by becoming humble.

 

My beloved congregation, please count on ‘the blessings of God for those who wait patiently’, and this blessing is going to be a huge one. When things are not going well, when your prayers do not seem to be answered, while going through unexpected sufferings and interminable waiting, please look up toward Lord Jesus and be confident of the blessings to come from the Lord.

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “Those who yearn for God’s love” 


   

총 게시물 610건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
340 2016.12.25.  The Acts (83) – I pray that you may become what I am Acts 28:16~31 Rev. Jang
339 2016.12.25.  사도행전(83) - 드디어 로마에 도착하다 사도행전 28:16~31 장찬영 목사
338 2016.12.18.  Christmas Cantata: “Adoration in search of a King” Matthew 2:1~12 Rev. Jang
337 2016.12.11.  The Acts (82) - Living meaningfully on our own island of life Acts 28:1~14 Rev. Jang
336 2016.12.11.  사도행전(82) - 인생의 섬에서 의미있게 사는 사람 사도행전 28:1~14 장찬영 목사
335 2016.12.04.  The Acts (81) – Finally, everyone reached land and was saved Acts 27:27~44 Rev. Jang
334 2016.12.04.  사도행전(81) - 마침내 사람들이 다 구원을 얻으니라 사도행전 27:27~44 장찬영 목사
333 2016.11.27.  The Acts (80) - Do not be afraid, Paul (1) Acts 27:14~25 Rev. Jang
332 2016.11.27.  사도행전(80) - 바울아 두려워하지 말아라 (1) 사도행전 27:14~25 장찬영 목사
331 2016.11.20  "Give thanks in all circumstances" Psalm 107:1-9 Thessalonica 5:16-18 Rev. Lee
330 2016.11.20.  범사에 감사하라 시편 107:1~9, 데살로니까 전서 5:16~18 이훈경 목사
329 2016.11.13  The Acts (79) - "Those who truly love God" 1 Samuel 12:19-25/ Acts 27:23-25 Rev. Jang
328 2016.11.06.  The Acts (78) – I pray that you may become what I am Acts 26:24~29 Rev. Jang
327 2016.11.06.  사도행전(78) - 나와 같이 되기를 원하나이다 사도행전 26:24~29 장찬영 목사
326 2016.10.30.  The Acts (77) - The blessings of God for those who wait patiently Acts 25:1~12 Rev. Jang
처음  이전  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  다음  맨끝

제목 : This is the Christianity
설교일 : 2019.11.17
본문말씀 : 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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