총 게시물 417건, 최근 0 건

'What causes my happiness?'

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설교일 : 2017.07.30.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Matthew 5:1-12

July 30, 2017

 

‘What causes my happiness?’

Matthew 5:1-12

 

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

 

 

1.

Throughout my years of ministry, one of the biggest issues personally and for the congregation has been the topic of ‘happiness’. I still remember asking my friend when he was urging me to go to his church with him, “Are you happy at your church?” His answer was, “Yes, I am very happy.” That was how I stepped into his church hoping to find the happiness. Even though I was young, the idea of happiness had been on my mind a lot in those days.

 

After some time, when I was a freshman in Middle School, at my ‘happy church’ I met Lord Jesus, the embodiment of happiness for me. Later on in High School, I confessed to Him that I had made up my mind to dedicate my life to Him. After High School, I chose to enter the Seminary over the other college I was also very interested in. After the Seminary, I became an evangelist, then began to serve as a pastor. I would spend so much time in the church with the congregation and noticed that the members were pursuing happiness, but unsuccessfully.

 

Happiness was on my mind so much that even my collection of fragments had the title of ‘The Happy Messages from Pastor Chan Young Jang’ and my book on the discipleship had the title of ‘Happy Discipleship’. But in the course of time, I began to realize that the ‘happiness’ I was writing about was not the same as the ‘happiness’ that Lord Jesus wanted to teach us during His ministry on earth.

 

In today’s passage, Lord Jesus taught ‘The Eight Blessings’ which is called ‘The Beatitudes’ meaning supreme blessedness or happiness. We, the Koreans, are so eager for the blessings from heaven that we put the word ‘Blessings’everywhere including the names of children. We cannot deny that the rapid growth and expansion of the churches in Korea were partially due to the collective desire to secure the blessings from heaven while the whole country was suffering from poverty.

 

But Lord Jesus’ teachings about the Beatitudes are not taught or preached often by the pastors in today’s world, and I am also guilty of that. There are several reasons for ‘The Beatitudes’ not being popular among pastors for a sermon subject.

 

1)  The messages of ‘The Beatitudes’ are very difficult to accept and quite burdensome to most of us; ‘Blessed are the meek’ makes us question ourselves, “Am I meek enough?” and ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness’ makes us question, “Am I willing to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness?”  

 

2)  The messages are about people’s characters, and it is not an easy subject to preach to the congregation who have stopped improving their characters. Lord Jesus wants to help us change through the Holy Spirit.

 

3)  Most fundamentally, the blessings we have pursued and the blessings Lord Jesus teaches are completely opposites. Therefore, we have to reflect upon ourselves when faced with the message of the Beatitudes.

 

The recent hardships have urged me to question myself to see if I am still happy and to find out what makes me happyand to share the Sermon on the Mount with you. From this Sunday on, I want to explore the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount with you, hoping that all of us will find out more about the Lord’s blessings.

 

 

2.

As Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching and preaching the Gospel, large crowds followed Him. They were from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan River.

 

Lord Jesus went up on a mountain that overlooks the Jordan River and sat down. Please pay attention to the first verse of today’s passage.

 

Matthew 5:1  Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him.

 

This gives us the impression that there were only His disciples, and some interpret that the messages were meant for His disciples only and not for others.

 

But, we think that Lord Jesus meant His Sermon on the Mount for those who want to become disciples or have some desire to become His disciples. His disciples are those who follow the Lord, are dedicated to the Lord, and are trained to serve the Lord, or know the heart of the Lord. Therefore, only those who are His disciples or are eager to become His disciples can understand and obey Lord Jesus’ messages on the Beatitudes.

 

Oswald Chambers, a man of God, whom I have mentioned in my sermons for the past two weeks gave us a clear answer when he asked this question; “When you think of the Lord, do you think of Him more as a teacher than as the Savior?” In others words, for those who think of Lord Jesus as a great teacher, His messages are helpful instructions for a wonderful life and they don’t have to be obeyed. But if you think of Him as your Savior, you have to make a decision and obey His messages.

 

I am sure you have your own requirements for your happiness, just like I did. What are those requirements? Usually they are having the right attitude against misfortunes or hardships, the life-long desire to learn, mature inter-personal relationships, adequate wealth of leisure time and possessions, and a balanced physical and emotional health. I think you will agree that these conditions have to be met for us to be happy.

 

So, we are really more interested in our own conditions for happiness than the conditions to receive the blessings from the Lord.

 

Rev. Chambers asserts that ‘the Sermon on the Mount produces despair in the natural man, and that is the very thing Jesus meant it to do’. What did Jesus mean to do? He wanted to separate those who think of Him as the Savior from those who think of Him as a teacher by intentionally making people to reflect upon their own requirements for their happiness. Therefore, we are rightfully shocked by His messages here, as they are not what we have thought of the prerequisites for our happiness in this world.

 

 

3.

Another interesting description to meditate is that Jesus ‘went up on a mountainside’.

 

Matthew 5:1  Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him.

 

This shows that Jesus had the authority to command the attention of the crowds, according to the Jewish custom at that time. The chapters 5 to 7 of Matthew are called ‘the Sermon on the Mount’.

 

When we read today’s passage, we notice that on a mountainside Lord Jesus was very serious and authoritative, as He didn’t want people to take His Word lightly.

 

One of His disciples was aware of Jesus’ authority and His real identity, and that was John.

 

John 1:14  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.

 

What does Jesus want us to do after reading that He went up on a mountainside? We must follow Jesus up to the mountain and sit in front of Him while He preaches. No matter how busy we may be in our daily life, we have to go up and sit in front of Him.

 

Recently a book by Rev. Hyung-Gook Kim of Nadeulmok Church in Korea was published and its title is “You will not change until you meet Him”. The book gives us detailed accounts of five persons who had met Jesus personally over 2,000 years ago.

 

1)  The first: The widow in the town of Nain whose pain no one knew.

“Who knows my pain? Is there really a God? They say time heals everything, but the time goes too slow for me. I am about to give up. Did you say, ‘Don’t cry’? You say you feel my pain, what does it mean?”

 

2)  The second: The Samaritan woman who was alone and crying inside.

“Nobody loves me, nobody listens to me and nobody knows my pain. I cannot share my loneliness with family or friends. Can Lord Jesus come for me, such a worthless person?”

 

3)  The third: Zacchaeus, fallen apart from a life of endless competition and battles.

“Isn’t my life a success? Not everyone can attain my position and wealth. You say I should be ashamed of taking the bribes, but who doesn’t accept them? I am really exhausted from this kind of life and I want to start a new life.”

 

4)  The fourth: Nicodemus who lost his zeal in the traditional and hypocritical religion.

“I have a religion and it gives me comfort sometimes. I guess I am like all the others, just killing time with entertainments or strong drinks. Did you say I have to be reborn? I don’t understand you. I am not interested in the afterlife which I believe will come to nothing. I will just live my present life to the fullest.”

 

5)  The fifth: Peter who was exhausted and tired of his busy, but meaningless life.

“Who am I? What is the meaning of life? I am just tired of my present life. Do you want me to become a fisher of men? I don’t know if I can make it. People around here think of me as sincere, but being sincere is not enough.”

 

Now, which one among the five reminds you of yourself? The last chapter of the book says, “And today, the Lord will meet you!”

 

The reason why Lord Jesus went up on a mountainside was ‘to meet you today’. When was the last time you sat in front of Him? We all need the time to sit in front of Him. Lord Jesus praised Maria more than her sister Martha, because she chose the good part.

 

Luke 10:42  “But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

 

4.

The last thing we want to meditate from today’s passage is the word ‘Blessed’, which in Greek is ‘makarios’. ‘Makarios’ is not the usual requirement for happiness, but the blessing from God or God-given happiness.

 

John 13:14-15  “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

 

After these words, Jesus says further.

 

John 13:17  “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed (makarios) if you do them.”

 

Acts 20:35b  “Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed (makarios) to give than to receive.’”

 

1 Timothy 6:15b  “God, the blessed (makarios) and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

 

Consequently, we begin to realize that ‘the blessed’ does not mean our usual ‘being happy’ or ‘happiness’, which are originated from the word ‘happen’.

 

Therefore, the happiness for a Christian comes from the blessings of God, and the Beatitudes are accomplished by having the characteristics of Jesus Himself when we become reborn.

 

Jesus declared through the Beatitudes that the Christians should have these new and holy characteristics like His own within themselves, along with the ability to discern the difference between worldly blessings and the blessings from God.

 

Our Lord Jesus was not talking about any impossible happiness (makarios). When we meditate upon Lord Jesus and His messages seriously, our eyes will be open and His characteristics will become ours and we will experience the happiness that comes from God under all kinds of circumstances.

 

Let us take a deep breath and read today’s passage slowly and meditate upon them. Please go before the Lord with your question about what makes you happy. I hope and pray in the name of the Lord that you will go on a life-long journey seeking the happiness from the Lord.

 

The closing hymn will be, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

 

 


   

총 게시물 417건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
417 2017.11.05.  'Only for the Lord' Romans 14:6-9 Rev. Lee
416 2017.11.05.  오직 주를 위하여 로마서 14:6~9 이훈경 목사
415 2017.10.29.  A church as a faith community Acts 9:8~19A Rev. Jang
414 2017.10.29.  교회창립45주년기념 - ‘신앙 공동체로서의 교회’ 사도행전 9:8~19A 장찬영 목사
413 2017.10.22.  'Blessings to those who are persecuted because of righteousness' Matthew 5:10-12 Rev. Jang
412 2017.10.22.  행복하여라: 의를 위하여 핍박받는 자여 마태복음 5:10~12 장찬영 목사
411 2017.10.15.  The Story of a Father's Wasted Love Luke 15:11-24 Rev. Kwon
410 2017.10.15.  낭비된 아버지의 사랑 이야기 누가복음 15:11~24 권태홍 목사
409 2017.10.08.  Like Father, Like Son Ephesians 2:1-8 Rev. Joseph Kim
408 2017.10.01.  'Blessings to the Peacemakers' Matthew 5:9 Rev. Jang
407 2017.10.01.  행복하여라: 화평케 하는 자여 마태복음 5:9 장찬영 목사
406 2017.09.24.  The Unrighteous Steward Luke 16:1~9 Rev. Shin
405 2017.09.24.  불의한 청지기 누가복음 16:1~9 신태규 목사
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
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Only for the Lord'
설교일 : 2017.11.05.
본문말씀 : Romans 14:6-9
설교자 : Rev. Lee

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