총 게시물 404건, 최근 1 건

The Heart of God

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설교일 : 2017.07.16.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Matthew 20:1~16

July 16, 2017

 

‘The Heart of God’

Matthew 20:1-16

 

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

 

 

1.

What we have to do in our life of faith is to keep ‘the heart of God’ in our minds always. This was what Lord Jesus did as He wanted to know the will of God always, even though He Himself was the same as God and was incarnated as the Son of God into this world. During His ministry on earth, many times Jesus went alone to the wilderness, to the beach, to some secluded area in early mornings, and to the Gethsemane Garden, to learn the heart of God, and He talked to His disciples about the heart of God in parables.

 

The first words Jesus preached were “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”, and He must have meant that the ‘heaven’ is not a place to go after we die, but to be in the presence of God by ‘walking with God’ and ‘being under the reign of God’. Therefore, knowing the heart of God is the most important thing for us in our life of faith.

 

Now, please consider carefully. When do we misunderstand the heart of God? We misinterpret and misunderstand His will, when we notice that His will does not coincide with our thoughts and expectations. Many times we pray to God to make Him accomplish our will, instead of seeking to find out His will.

 

There is a celebrity, Sae Won Suh, whom many of you know from the entertainment world, but lately has been covered very negatively in the media. He also claimed to have become a pastor and appeared in many Christian programs on TV. Now his ex-wife, Jung-Hee, has written a memoir, ‘Jung-Hee’, about her own life.

 

In this book, she reflects upon her life. When she was 18 and working as a model for advertising, she went on location for shooting a commercial with Sae Won Suh and was violated by him. Afterwards she felt no choice but to live with him and suffered the physical and verbal abuse from her husband and her in-laws. She had to endure his abuse and his extra-marital affairs for the sake of her children. Later on, because of his film projects, he accumulated mountainous debts. Then, he wanted to become a pastor and she supported him as a pastor’s wife, but his domestic violence against her continued. Eventually, they got divorced, and the following is what she said to an interviewer, when she was promoting her book.

 

“I have cried so much that I am surprised there are still some tears left. In the midst of my most desperate moments, I couldn’t give up because there was someone cheering me up, and that was the Lord. He made me to look back at my life and to get to know more about myself. He encourages me to live my new life for myself with the name given by Him. I am in my mid-fifties and God reminds me of my right to pursue my own happiness. He said to me, “Jung-Hee, I would like to see you happy.”

 

The main point of Jung-Hee Suh’s confession is that she has begun to realize the heart of God cheering her up in the midst of her crazy and unhappy life. Now, she wants to be restored so as to live her life standing up for her rights.

 

 

2.

While keeping the heart of God in our minds, let us now go to today’s passage, the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. I remember sharing this same passage with you in February on the occasion of Women’ Dedication in Mission at Wednesday evening service. I hope and pray that all of you be bestowed with more grace to get to know the heart of God today.

 

Matthew 20:1  “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.”

 

‘The kingdom of heaven’ is not a place, but is like a landowner, in other words, we have to get to know the heart of this landowner. We have known a verse with the same message.

 

John 17:3  “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

 

The eternal life… and the kingdom of God… is knowing the heart of God through Jesus Christ and appreciating it.

 

Those who know the heart of God realize the love of God for them and live happily as if they are in heaven, whether in a cottage or in a fair mansion, because Jesus is there with them (Hymn #495). We can experience the future heaven while on earth, by knowing the love and grace of God, who is the landowner of this parable.

 

What does Jesus say about the landowner’s reason for going out early? Let us go back.

 

Matthew 20:1  “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.”

 

The landowner’s reason for going out early was to have the workers enter the vineyard (heaven). It is not easy for us to understand this situation, as generally we hire workers ‘to do work for us’.

 

In today’s passage, we get the feeling that the workers were not hired to work actively in the vineyard, but to cultivate a relationship with the landowner by being in the vineyard and knowing his heart and his will. So it is understood that the work part will come naturally after the relationship is established.

 

If the owner really wanted the work to be performed by the workers, he would certainly have picked enough workers to enter the vineyard early in the morning.

 

But in this parable, the owner does strange things; he went out to the marketplace five times to hire men, early in the morning (6 a.m. in our time), at 9 a.m., at noon, at 3 p.m., and at 5 p.m. Therefore, we can assume that the owner did not hire the workers for any economic or practical reasons, or in order to make any worldly profit.

 

We want to go over again why he wanted to hire those workers.

1) First, he wanted to have them enter the vineyard.

2) Second, he wanted to give each of them a denarius.

 

What does this vineyard represent? It represents ‘the kingdom of God’ and the workers are us, the children of God. And one denarius is the grace of the Lord that is given out to each of us impartially.

 

Another thing for us to meditate upon is the fact that the landowner went out early in the morning to hire men, which is not the usual way. Generally the men go around looking for work.

 

Matthew 20:1  “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.”

 

Matthew 20:3  “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.”

 

Matthew 20:5  “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.”

 

What do these verses remind you of? We are reminded of the good Shepherd who goes out to look for the lost sheep, or the lost people, to bring them back into the fold to save them. Lord Jesus was incarnated by ‘the zeal of God’, and it also shows the heart of God.

 

Now, another thing we have to consider is the fact that no one was using the workers. They were doing nothing at the marketplace.

 

Matthew 20:3  “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.”

 

The fact that ‘no one was using the workers’ is repeated as follows.

 

Matthew 20:7  “Because no one has hired us”, they answered. He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”

 

Even in today’s marketplace for day laborers, those with some skills or with extra strength are hired first, early in the morning. So, we can assume that those who were still not hired at 5 p.m. must have been inadequate to work.

 

These are called losers or failures by the people of the world and usually they are not selected for work. But in today’s passage the landowner personally went to the marketplace and picked all these losers and brought them to enter the vineyard. And he also gave them the equal wage of one denarius afterwards.

 

This kind of experience can be described as ‘experiencing the heart of God, the love of God’.

 

 

3.

Now, quite unexpectedly, a problem arose. All those workers were happy to have been picked to enter vineyard at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m., and 5 p.m., but were not happy when they received their wages.

 

Matthew 20:8-9  “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour (about 5 p.m.) came and each received a denarius.”

 

Those workers who were hired earlier must have thought that they would receive more than one denarius when they saw those who were hired last being paid one denarius. But …

 

Matthew 20:10  “So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.”

 

Now, what is the problem? Because of their concept of being paid according to the amount of work, the workers became disappointed with the amount of their wages. At first, they had been all grateful to be called by the owner, but after comparing the amount of work they had done and the late comers’ work, they forgot the grace and began to complain.

 

Their complaint was, “I worked longer and harder than him, and why am I being paid the same amount?” The generous heart of the owner has become an uncomfortable truth to the workers who worked longer.

 

When we hear about ‘someone being tested’, it means that someone’s expectation about the church, the pastors, or acquaintances was not met with reality. If someone is ‘being tested about his or her faith’, it means that he or she is very upset about what God has done.

 

While I was on medical leave for three months, a young man in his thirties came to see me on Jeju Island. His mother has been a faithful and prayerful woman of Christ and he was born in U.S. and has worked in movie-related business in L.A. and now a branch manager of that company in Korea. After dinner, when I inquired him about his church, he didn’t answer, but managed to say that lately his friends for whom he had been fervently praying met serious misfortunes and illnesses, and that he was very upset with God and blamed Him. I was very disappointed to find out he was staying away from his church, but hoped that he would return to his church with his restored faith, and reminded him of his mother’s continuous prayers on his behalf.

 

Can this happen to us in our lives? Yes, it can happen if we look at things with our eyes only. This young man still has hope, but many others have left the church after being disappointed with the church or with the church members. Of course, leaving the church doesn’t mean they lost their faith also, but in many cases, their faith does not stay intact after the people leave their church.

 

We are not really immune from this situation. If we do not meditate upon the heart and will of God intensively, we would only notice the visible side of the church and of the people in the church. Our faith is dependent on our relationship with God. Therefore, the most important question to ask when meditating upon the Word of God should be, ‘What is God really like?’

 

 

4.

Now, let us go back to the conclusion of this parable and to the owner’s words to the workers.

 

Matthew 20:14-15  “Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I give you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

 

Those workers who entered the vineyard early were complaining and protesting, as they didn’t understand the heart of the owner and only knew their own way of thinking.

 

These are the lyrics of a popular praise song; “The world may sway and people may change, but I will serve the Lord/ The Lord’s love never changes and I have trust in the Lord.”

 

To know the heart of God means that we do not try to influence Him, but just get to know what God is really like.

 

Apostle Paul gave a warning about what would happen to us if we don’t know the heart and the will of God.

 

Philippians 3:18  “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”

 

There is a book written by Oswald Chambers, a man of God, and its title is ‘MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST’. I want to quote his words on the subject of ‘The point of spiritual honor’.

 

“Paul was overwhelmed with the sense of his indebtedness to Jesus Christ, and the great inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor (Paul knew the heart of God who saved him). The spiritual honor of his life was to fulfill his debt. He confessed he was not a superior person among men, but a bondslave (worker) of Lord Jesus. Paul sold himself to Jesus Christ. That is the characteristic of the life when once this point of spiritual honor is realized. Quit praying for yourself, but seek the will of God. And live for others as the bondslave of Jesus. That is the meaning of being made broken bread and poured-out wine in reality.”

 

To know the heart of God and to be filled with His heart, what did Jesus do? When things are too difficult for you, you have to hold onto the heart of God. Our God wants us to enter the vineyard and get to know Him and experience His grace and be happy.

 

Isaiah 55:8-9  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

May all of you be blessed with the time for intensive meditation upon the heart of God during the next week!

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “The world may sway and the people may change”


   

총 게시물 404건, 최근 1 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
404 2017.09.17.  'Blessed are the pure in heart' Matthew 5:8 Rev. Jang
403 2017.09.17.  행복하여라: 마음이 청결한 자여 마태복음 5:8 장찬영 목사
402 2017.09.10.  'Blessings to those who are merciful' Matthew 5:7 Rev. Jang
401 2017.09.10.  행복하여라: 긍휼이 여기는 자여 마태복음 5:7 장찬영 목사
400 2017.09.03.  'Blessings to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness' Matthew 5:6 Rev. Jang
399 2017.09.03.  행복하여라: 의에 주리고 목 마른자여 마태복음 5:6 장찬영 목사
398 2017.08.27.  'Blessings to those who are meek' Matthew 5:5 Rev. Jang
397 2017.08.27.  행복하여라: 온유한 자여 마태복음 5:5 장찬영 목사
396 2017.08.20.  'Blessings to those who mourn' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
395 2017.08.13.  행복하여라: 애통하는 자여 마태복음 5:3~4 장찬영 목사
394 2017.08.06.  'Blessings to all who are poor in spirit' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
393 2017.08.06.  행복하여라: 심령이 가난 한 자여 마태복음 5:1~12 장찬영 목사
392 2017.07.30.  'What causes my happiness?' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
391 2017.07.30.  나는 왜, 무엇 때문에 행복한가? 마태복음 5:1~12 장찬영 목사
390 2017.07.23.  'Despair Brings Hope' Psalm 42:1-11 Rev. Jang
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Blessed are the pure in heart'
설교일 : 2017.09.17.
본문말씀 : Matthew 5:8
설교자 : Rev. Jang

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