총 게시물 439건, 최근 0 건

'My Joy, My Crown'

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2018-01-30 (화) 21:56 조회 : 116
설교일 : 2018.01.28
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Philippians 4:1-5

January 28, 2018

 

‘My Joy, My Crown’

Philippians 4:1-5

 

Rev. Jang’s farewell sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

Writing today’s sermon has taken me so much more time and consideration than usual. Certainly I didn’t have as much as energy before, but knowing that this is going to be my last sermon for you, I tried to put my absolute best effort in today’s message, in my desire to bless you. After 4 years and 7 months of ministry here, this has been the toughest sermon for me to write. While meditating intensely, I was reminded of Apostle Paul and his most beloved church at Philippi, which had given him the most love.

 

Paul had spent his time with the Philippians on and off for 12 years during his 2ndand 3rd missionary journeys, and later while in prison in Rome, his relationship with them continued on for 2 years. These were the most precious and difficult years for Paul. During his 2nd missionary journey, his plan was suddenly changed to proclaim the gospel in Europe instead of Asia, and the church at Philippi was his first church in Europe. This Philippian church collected funds to help Paul’s later missionary journeys and helped him with provisions while he was in prison. So, this church was really special to Paul.

 

Paradoxically, this letter to the Philippians is called the ‘Epistle of Joy’, even though it was written by Paul in prison, who anticipated death any moment and was in despair of being forgotten by everyone outside. But this letter is not filled with any gloomy dying wishes, but filled with joy.

 

Many Bible scholars have searched for the reason for Paul’s rejoicing and found the answer in the Philippian church. There were other churches that Apostle Paul had founded or ministered, but his faith in the Philippian church and love for them were extraordinary. That is the reason why he could choose to be joyful, even though he was in a prison and suffering more because of the misunderstandings and criticisms of church leaders and fellow believers.

 

To Apostle Paul, the Philippians were unique and different from others in the world. So, he said to them, ‘My brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown’.

 

While meditating on today’s passage, I thought that Apostle Paul and the Philippians were very blessed to have such a steadfast relationship in Christ in a turbulent world and I have become envious of them. Do you have someone you call ‘my joy and my crown’ in your heart? Then, you are blessed to have such a precious heart. Or do you have someone who calls you ‘my joy and my crown’ in his or her heart? You are blessed to have had such a wonderful life.

 

This reminds us of the heart of Jesus toward His disciples.

 

John 13:1  It was just before Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the extent of His love.

 

‘He now showed them the full extent of His love’ … this tells us that unlike His heart, the hearts of His disciples were not with Jesus till the end. Just like the disciples of Jesus, everything is fine with us when things are going well, but when in a crisis, our true characters are shown.

 

This inconvenient truth makes me feel uncomfortable, as it reminds me of my shortcomings in my ministry. At times, because of different viewpoints, opinions, direction of spirituality, personalities, characters, or some association with hurtful past, I may not have loved some of you as much as I should have, and I was wrong. The differences in viewpoints and opinions and other minor conflicts, all pass by, but only love remains.  Now I ask for your forgiveness of my faults and narrow-mindedness.

 

 

2.

Then, how could Apostle Paul and the Philippian church have kept the mutual admiration of ‘my joy, my crown’ for such a long period of time? Do you think that both sides behaved so perfectly to keep the relationship going?

 

We know that they could not have done so, as they were human. We are sure they were as self-centered, selfish, self-serving and fickle as we are. We don’t know how to deal with the truth, with the others, and with ourselves.

 

Then, what made the loving relationship possible between Paul and the Philippian church? The answer is found in verse 4:5a; ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all’.

 

Even though Paul had to plead with Euodia and Syntyche, two women on opposing sides, to agree with each other in the Lord, even though there were misunderstandings and difficulties in the church, even though there were hardships for Paul in his missionary journeys and several imprisonments for Paul, their relationship continued because of the gentleness, which is the heart of Jesus and a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

 

This word ‘gentleness’ is originated from the Greek word ‘Epi-eikos’ which can be most accurately translated as ‘forbearance’, and some Bible scholars insist that this ‘gentleness’ is the most important fruit among the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

 

In the Bible, our God is shown as the ‘God of forbearance’. In Romans 9:22, if God didn’t bear with great patience, we would have faced the destruction of His wrath already. In James 3:17, being considerate is a gift of wisdom from heaven, and gentleness is having the sympathetic heart of Lord Jesus.

 

Lord Jesus showed us this ‘gentleness’ in the parable about the unmerciful servant.

 

Matthew 18:27-28  “The servant’s master took a pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.”

 

This servant obviously didn’t have the gentleness or merciful heart, so Jesus tells us how the master responded.

 

Matthew 18:33  “Shouldn’t you have had the mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”

 

My dear congregation, I want to urge you to have this mercy on others in your life and give them help and blessings, and treat them well. This is the secret for you to have a good life. God has promised to take care of you and your descendants and to be good to you.

 

Psalm 116:5-7  The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, He saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.

 

God is so good/All the time … All the time/God is good!

 

 

3.

Yes, God has been good to us. He has been tolerant of us and generous to us, even when we were stingy and calculating toward others.

 

As you know, I was born to a family of unbelievers, and it has been a special blessing for me to become a child of the Lord. That would have been enough for me, but the Lord called me to be His shepherd. It has been a great honor for me to serve the Lord for the last 30 years. I have to confess that my cup runs over by His grace. When I first made the decision to go into the clergy, my mother was against it. She didn’t believe her son, the son of a former idol-worshiper, could become a servant of the Lord and couldn’t accept the Lord’s grace and generosity.

 

The generosity of the Lord continued on for me. Along with my family, I was brought to this new land where I didn’t know anyone and was given an opportunity to continue my education further. Not only that, I was also given the opportunity to minister after my education was completed, and I began to learn and grow in my ministry. Eventually I was brought to this great church to be your Senior Pastor. What an incredible honor it has been to serve you!

 

On top of this, the Lord has brought into my ministry many of His people who have generous hearts. I have been blessed and helped by these people, like Elijah had been helped by the angel of the Lord many times. You have been so generous and tolerant toward me that I have been able to sustain this far and able to stand in front of you at this moment. How can I thank each of you enough for your generosity and hospitality!

 

My beloved brothers and sisters, what kind of church Lord Jesus wants to have? We know that He wants a church filled with the Holy Spirit, with the prayers, and with the mission activities, but I believe that a true church of the Lord should be also filled with compassion for the less fortunate and with the gentleness for everyone, like Lord Jesus showed us.

 

The following verse shows the heart of Jesus very clearly.

 

Luke 4:40  When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on each one, He healed them.

 

When the sun was setting, Lord Jesus must have been extremely exhausted, but He didn’t turn away those sick people. He laid His hand on each one, and healed all of them. How did He manage to do that? Because they were, and we are also, His joy and His crown. Consequently, a church that is a body of Christ should not a place of disputes or criticisms, but a place of tolerance and gentleness so as to be a place of healing for all.

 

How can this gentleness be acquired? I think one can have the gentleness when one feels like the father to others spiritually, and I regret that I did not have more of the gentleness and tolerance toward others during my ministry of 30 years. I feel sad and regretful when I witness any church member being cold and intolerant, and judgmental to others in the church.

 

In the early Christian churches, this gentleness was one of the requirements to be a leader.

 

1 Timothy 3:2-3  “Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”

 

This applies to all of us in the church, including the pastors, elders, exhorters, deacons, and any children of the Lord. Now, let us go back to the exhortations of Paul to the Philippians.

 

“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! I plead with you to agree to each other in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

 

 

4.

I am so thankful for the last 4 years and 7 months here! I don’t think I have deserved the wonderful grace bestowed upon me during that time. Like the Philippian church that Paul loved the most and confessed his love for, you have been my joy and my crown. You have been extremely generous and tolerant toward me, and I want to urge you not to lose the gentleness that you have shown me.

 

Perhaps, some of you may think that our church is now facing a season of winter. As God has created 4 seasons in the world, we face 4 seasons in our lives, and our church also goes through 4 seasons. But I want to remind you that our church has withstood many severe winters during the past 45 years, and those winters have brought us closer to our Lord.

 

Therefore, even if now is the winter of our church, as long as we don’t let go of our hopes, anticipations and our gentleness for others, a sunshine-filled spring will be bestowed upon our church by the Lord. Please pray for me and my family, so that we do not get defeated by the harshest winter we have ever faced. I believe this winter will turn out to be benevolent, as God is so good all the time.

 

I will never forget your generosity toward me and my family, and each smiling or sad face of yours has been clearly carved in my memory. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for the honor of delivering the Word of God to you on Sundays, Wednesdays, and early weekday mornings. I have been impressed by all of you who have stood up with the church for the past 45 years, and I hope that you will continue to be generous to each other and imitate Lord Jesus in your life. My special thanks to over 270 new families that have joined our church during my ministry here, and I want to urge you not to waver and take root in this church with the help of the Lord, who will lead you to the right path. My heartfelt thanks to my fellow pastors, the elders, exhorters, cell group leaders, and the Church Council chairman and officers! I will always remember serving you as your shepherd for the past 4 years and 7 months and doing my best to be the joy and crown of the Lord during that time.

 

As you may be wondering about my future, I want to share our prayer request. We are planning to move to Atlanta to join our son there, and I hope the move will be completed by the end of March. Starting on February 10th, Rev. Kyung Lim Shin, the Vice Chancellor of Wesley Theological Seminary, will be serving you as the temporary Senior Pastor of our church until the new Senior Pastor will be inaugurated in July by the Providence of God. I am really thankful to Rev. Shin for willing to serve our church during this difficult transition time.

 

I am thankful for each one of you, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ! May God’s abundant blessings be bestowed upon you! Even though I will be away physically, I will continue to pray for the church and for each member of this church!

 

The closing hymn will be; ‘Those who long for the love of God’


   

총 게시물 439건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
439 2018.02.18  Let us suffer the losses gladly! Luke 10:1-20 Rev. K.L. Shin
438 2018.02.18  손해봅시다! 눅 10:1~20 신경림목사
437 2018.02.11  'Plan B?' Mark 14:3-9 Rev. K.L. Shin
436 2018.02.11  Plan B? 마가복음 14:3-9 신경림 목사
435 2018.02.04  'Those who leave their marks on history' Ezra 3:8-13 Rev. Kwon
434 2018.02.04  역사에 한 획을 긋는 사람 에스라 3:8 -13 권태홍 목사
433 2018.01.28  'My Joy, My Crown' Philippians 4:1-5 Rev. Jang
432 2018.01.21  'Beautiful life in its time' Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 Rev. Shin
431 2018.01.21  때를 따라 아름다운 삶 전도서 3:1-11 신태규 목사
430 2018.01.07  A New Voyage Exodus 14:10-14 Rev. Bae
429 2018.01.07  새로운 항해 출 14:10~14절 배세진 목사
428 2017.12.31  "Serving others with humility" John 13:1-17 Rev. Kwon
427 2017.12.31  낮은 곳을 향하여 요한복음 13장 12~17절 권태홍 목사
426 2017.12.24  GRACE HAS COME! John 1:1-18 Dr. Charles S. G. Boayue
425 2017.12.17  주님이 이땅에 오심은 사실입니다 누가복음 2:1~14 배세진 목사
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : Let us suffer the losses gladly!
설교일 : 2018.02.18
본문말씀 : Luke 10:1-20
설교자 : Rev. K.L. Shin

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