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The Acts (79) - "Those who truly love God"

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2016-11-30 (수) 20:56 조회 : 648
설교일 : 2016.11.13
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : 1 Samuel 12:19-25/ Acts 27:23-25

The Acts (79) / Special Early Morning Services (7) – “Those who truly love God”

1 Samuel 12:19-25/ Acts 27:23-25

 

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

 

 

1.

Even though a newer version has been made, most of you will remember the movie ‘Ben Hur’, the original one, and its the breath-taking chariot race scene. In the original movie, there was this conversation. Before his race at the Coliseum, Ben Hur was told by the horse-trainer that “Horses are to be manipulated to go fast by pulling up the reins, not by whipping. If whipped, they would refuse to run fast.” He followed this advice and won the race, while the other drivers just whipped the horses harder to force the horses run faster. But the horses got tangled together when turning corners very fast, and most of the charioteers ended up dying.

 

The principles of the world are very different from the principles of the people of God. For the people of the world, what they possess is all that matters to them and they also judge others by the visible possessions. But for the people of God, what God offers is a lot important than what they own, and the Christians strongly believe this.

 

At the end of one’s life, this faith in the Lord plays a big role. Our lives are compared to running races, as both will come to an end eventually, and no matter how we run well in the first half, what matters is how we end the race.

 

We continue to mediate upon the Acts of the Apostles, and today’s passage includes the chapter 12 of ‘1 Samuel’. The common denominator of both passages is these are the parting messages of two faithful men, Samuel from the Old Testament and Paul from the New Testament. The chapter 12 of ‘1 Samuel’ is the farewell speech of Samuel and chapter 27 of the Acts is the story of Paul’s stormy and perilous voyage to Rome when all those in the ship faced imminent death.

 

 

2.

Let us hear what Samuel says for his farewell speech and find out more about him.

 

1) First, Samuel was a man who knew the limit of his time. From early on he had been dedicated to God, and then he was called by God, and he was used by God all his life. On top of that, he was loved by God, and was also respected and loved by the people. We know it is rare to be loved by both God and people. Such a man would have a very difficult time to leave his position of power and influence.

 

But Samuel knew that it was ‘his time to let go of everything’.

 

1 Samuel 12:1-2b  Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you.”

 

How was it possible for him to do this? Because he knew that he had been assigned a mission which came with a mission statement and a valid time period.

 

Do you remember the ‘National Constitution for Education’ which you recited at school assembly every morning in Korea? The first part was, “We were born in this country for the historical mission of reviving our nation.” Therefore, we cannot die until we see the revival of our nation.

 

Samuel was called for his mission and obeyed the command of the one who called him to his mission. When God let him know that his mission was completed, he obeyed that command also.

 

2) Second, he was a man who finished stronger than when he started. There are many who start strong, but there aren’t many who finish strong, and there are few who finish stronger. A person’s life is measured not on one’s first birthday, but at one’s funeral. Blessed are those who can benefit others even when they are dead.

 

1 Samuel 12:2b-3  “I have been your leader from my youth until today. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right.”

 

After confessing that he had lived his life with honesty and clear conscience thanks to the grace of the LORD, he requested the people to go on with their lives as the people of God.

 

1 Samuel 12:6-7a  Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your forefathers up out of Egypt. Now then, stand here.”

 

Samuel was a man of God and a man of God’s words. He walked all his life on one path for God and for God’s words. In Marathon race, the last finisher is as important as the first finisher. Samuel finished the race for his mission successfully with gratitude and with zeal intact until the end.

 

Surprisingly, this confession is very similar to the confession by Paul, another man of God.

 

2 Timothy 4:6-7  “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, and I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

 

3) Third, he was the one who truly loved God.

 

Even though Samuel was old and ready to retire from the front line, his passion for God did not diminish, as shown in his last address to the people.

 

1 Samuel 12:14-15  “If you fear the LORD and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God – good! But if you do not obey the LORD, and if you rebel against His commands, His hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers.”

 

This exhortation could not have come from anyone who did not have enough experience of God. Just like any seasoned warrior, he had known the grace and experienced it countless times. So, with his love for God, he interceded to God for the sake of people.

 

1 Samuel 15:11  “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.  

 

Without love for God, he couldn’t pray all that night. This shows us that for Samuel, God was not an abstract being, but a practical, friendly and personal being. He didn’t consider God being far away over the mountains.

 

As you all know, we have had the ‘special early morning prayer’ services for the past week. I want to extend my sincere invitation to everyone again for the next week. This invitation is not personally from me, but from our church and from our Lord. God is inviting all of us to this early morning worship.

 

Two weeks ago a young man wanted to have a private meeting with me, so I suggested 5:00 a.m. at church, and his enthusiastic response was, “I rush to see my boss at any time he calls, and when my pastor can see me, of course I am very happy to come at any hour.” If you are rushing to your boss at any time, and very eager to see your pastor at early hours, then how about responding to the invitation from the Lord? You cannot say no to this call.

 

 

3.

To compare with the life of Samuel, let us go back to Paul whom we have been following so far. After two years of incarceration in Caesarea, he is now being transferred as a prisoner on a ship to Rome for a trial before the Emperor. During the voyage, the ship was caught by a strong storm, called “northeaster”, and all those on board faced certain death. In this critical situation, we get to learn more about the genuine Paul.

 

1) First, Paul has been helped by people at every critical situation.

 

Acts 27:1-2  When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

 

We can tell this ship was transporting not only prisoners, but other merchants and commercial cargo. In the midst of all these, Paul was there in chains. There is one sentence I don’t want you to miss, and that is; ‘Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.”

 

Colossians 4:10  “My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas.”

 

Philemon 1:24  “And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.”

 

Even though we don’t know much about him as he was never the principal person, the name of Aristarchus was mentioned several times in the company of Paul. Having him must have helped Paul tremendously.

 

Acts 27:3  The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.

 

It must have been such a comfort for Paul to be allowed by the centurion, Julius, to go to his friends. We have seen that the names of Paul’s friends and helpers were always mentioned in his letters of thanks. What does it mean?

 

God was fully aware of Paul’s weakness of being self-sufficient, so He provided important and helpful friends and men of God to help him. We all need the help of others, and it is God’s principle for us. It is by the special grace that we sometimes get to meet someone like Boaz, the redeemer.

 

2) Second, Paul’s spirituality was having a faith that shines in the midst of crisis.

He listened for the voice of the Lord, now that they had lost a lot of precious time for sailing.

 

Acts 27:9-10  Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring a great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”

 

The situation became a lot more precarious.

 

Acts 27:14-15  Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster”, swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.

 

This is the absolute truth; our lives do not go the way we want them to go. Now things are getting more dangerous.

 

Acts 27:18-20  We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

 

Our lives are the continuation of throwing away the things we deeply care about. The storm continued and they now lost the hope of being saved.

 

During this crisis, Paul was steadfast in his faith. He stood up and gave an encouraging speech about what God had told him.

 

Acts 27:23-25  “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me.”

 

Later on, Paul wrote what he had learned through hardships and sufferings.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

 

Yes, he is right. We are helpless when faced with storms like ‘the northeaster’, so we have to surrender. But that is not the end, but the beginning of our journey ‘from the law to the grace’.

 

3) Third, Paul had a faith that gave thanks to God under all circumstances.

In general, we feel disheartened and shrunken when the situation is extremely difficult. For Paul and the rest of people, they barely managed to hold onto life but their circumstances were still very dangerous, after 14 days of drifting in the sea with no food nor sleep.

 

Acts 27:33-35  Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food – you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.

 

To demonstrate his will to live, Paul began to eat in front of all of them.

 

In the ‘1 Kings’ in the Old Testament, Prophet Elijah had been persecuted and pursued by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel so hard that he didn’t want to go on living and was ready to die under a broom (rothem) tree.

 

1 Kings 19:4  While he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

 

Then, what did God do for him? He sent an angel to make him eat.

 

1 Kings 19:5  Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

 

What Paul wanted to tell all of those on the ship and what God wanted to tell Elijah was, “You are not going to die.” And one more thing; “God will not let it happen. He has always helped you, so take heart!” Then, what comes to your mind first? You are feeling so ‘thankful’.

 

This is the mystery and that is why ‘giving thanks is the language of heaven’. Not everyone knows how to be thankful, but we, the children of God, can be thankful under any circumstances.

 

 

4.

Samuel and Paul, these two men lived in different times and under different circumstances, but they had one thing in common, and that was God. Both of them loved God and loved people. For them, God was never an abstract being far away, but someone very close in their lives. Therefore, we call these two ‘the men of God’ and ‘forefathers of faith’. The theme of our ‘special early morning prayer’ services is ‘those who are lifted up by God’. I hope and pray that you will be lifted up by God through today’s worship and through our Thanksgiving service next week, and through our dedication service of the new Education Center on next Sunday afternoon.

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “Though the world has changed and may come to an end”

 

 e He arehhard


   

총 게시물 610건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
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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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