총 게시물 511건, 최근 2 건

Enlarge Our Territories!

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2018-08-27 (월) 06:07 조회 : 115
설교일 : 2018.08.26
설교자 : Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
본문말씀 : Luke 10:25-37

August 26, 2018

 

Enlarge Our Territories!

Luke 10:25-37

 

Rev. Kyung Lim Shin’s sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

In today’s passage, at least five different kinds of people are introduced as well as Lord Jesus, the robbers and the innkeeper.

 

An expert in the law:  He could have been a lawyer as there was no distinction between the religious law and secular law at that time. He was considered an expert and a professional in the law, the common sense and the ethics.

 

A priest:  The priests at that time enjoyed high status and financial rewards, as well as the red-carpet treatment everywhere.

 

A Levite:  He held the highest religious position and was regarded as highly religious.

 

A Samaritan:  A person to be looked down and avoided, as he was considered ‘unclean’ in the society at that time.

 

They were introduced when Jesus was answering a question from an expert in the law about “What must I ‘do’ to inherit the eternal life?” Now, let us find out what each ‘did’.

 

An expert in the law:  The Bible says he wanted to test Jesus. Even though he acted like he was seeking an answer, what he really wanted was testing Jesus. We commit the same sin of testing the church or the church members and then mislead them by saying to them, “I am just saying this for your own good”.

 

But Jesus did not fall into the trap and asked back, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He asked a law question to the expert in the law and demanded to hear his own interpretation. The expert was ready with his answer; “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”Jesus gave him A grade for his knowledge, but added, “Do this and you will live.” Jesus emphasized clearly that having the knowledge without doing the deeds was not enough to inherit the eternal life.

 

This expert asked the right question, but his answer to Jesus was only half right. After getting Jesus’ admonition, he should have left and started to do the deeds, but he stayed to ask Jesus another question. The Bible says that his intention was to justify himself. In other words, he wasn’t interested in doing the deeds, but only in justifying himself, and he already had his own prepared answer when he was asking questions. I don’t like this kind of conversation. When someone asks me a question about my opinion on something, while harboring a ready answer inside to test me, I can see through the heart very easily. Jesus of course saw through this law expert’s heart clearly, so He didn’t give any more time to him but started right away with His parable. I should follow Jesus’ example from now on. Now, let us meditate upon Jesus’ parable about being a good neighbor.

 

The priest in this parable ‘passed by on the other side’, when he saw the man who had been robbed and beaten half dead. As he was not staring down at his iPhone screen while walking, he saw this man clearly, but passed by on the other side. Why? Did he have more important things to do? For any reason, he avoided stopping and helping the man.

 

The Levite did the same thing and ‘passed by on the other side’. These two men who can be categorized as the conscience of the Jews and of the Law passed by on the other side to avoid helping the unknown man who had been robbed and bleeding profusely. Perhaps they didn’t want to ruin their clothes with the man’s blood, or they were afraid of being implicated in case the man died, or they were in a hurry to go somewhere. They knew their helping this man would not impress anyone as there was nobody else around at that time, so these two men of high position and strong faith passed by on the other side.

 

But this pattern of avoiding to help was broken by the third man. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. We can assume his clothes were ruined by his actions. He put the man on his own donkey and we are sure it wasn’t easy for him to put the wounded man on a donkey, especially after pouring oil on him. He must have tried many times before succeeding. Then he took the man to an inn and took care of him for the night. We may think he had done enough for the man already, but on the next day he took out money and gave it to the innkeeper, asking him to look after the man. He also promised to reimburse him for any extra expense in taking care of the man.

 

After telling this parable, Jesus asked the expert in the law, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Here is the main point of this parable that we should not miss. Whenever we talk about the new commandment of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’, often some of us will ask the question of ‘Who is our neighbor?’, because we want to make our own definition of ‘our neighbor’ and act upon it. But Jesus is asking, “Who was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” It means that we don’t get to decide who our neighbor is, but the person who had been helped gets to decide who his neighbor was. By this chain of reasoning, I think the main person of this parable is not the good Samaritan but the man who fell into the hands of robbers, and Jesus was telling us this parable from the viewpoint of this robbed and beaten man.

 

Who was this man who had fallen into the hands of robbers? Strangely, there was no mention of his race or his class, and we don’t think this omission was a mistake of Jesus. It is very likely the man was a regular Jew, but Jesus intentionally didn’t put any label on the man, so we don’t know if he was a Jew or a Samaritan or a foreigner. And the fact that he had been stripped of his clothes by the robbers means that nobody could figure out the class he belonged to. Jesus wanted to emphasize that it didn’t matter what kind of race, religion, education or wealth this man had. He wanted us to notice only the important fact that this man needed our help due to the dire situation. He means that when we are helping others, we have to concentrate only on the fact that they need our help because of their unfortunate situation, not on the information about who they are.

 

By this parable, Jesus broke down the boundaries of the Jews at that time. For the Jews, it was the most important concern to find out if any man was a Jew, a foreigner or a Samaritan, but Jesus enlarged their territories by breaking down their boundaries. We like the prayer of Jabez so much that we often see it hanging at homes and businesses with his words, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” But to enlarge one’s territory, one’s boundary has to be broken down. How are our boundaries? How are our church’s boundaries?

 

Every home and every family have their own special habits and customs, but they are not really aware of it, until someone outside tells them. For example, Rev. Bae often says he speaks the standard Korean and I used to think that he was joking until I found out that he really believes it, as all the members of his family speak the same way. All of us have our standards on a lot of things and I am wondering what standards our church has. To find out if our standards are valid, we have to meet and listen to those outside of our church.

 

Therefore, I believe that we need to invite outside speakers more often, but there are some in the church opposing to this idea, due to the budgetary constraint. I am not blaming you, Elder Yoon, our finance committee chairman. But, in the past my ignorance made me brave when I invited an outside speaker to our church and had to pay personally for his airplane tickets. We should take advantage of the fact that I know more excellent speakers than anyone else does, and I hope to invite some of them to our church to enlarge our territories.

 

Most importantly, I pray that the blessing of enlarging our territories of wealth be bestowed upon all of you and upon our church, so that we will not have any boundaries which are dependent on our own possessions, our church budget, building expenses and bank accounts.

 

I believe the boundary of our budget has to be broken down in order to enlarge our territories. Of course, budgeting is vitally important for any church, but the church’s ministries should not be constrained by their budget, as a church is not an administrative community controlled by the budget but a faith community whose budget is controlled by the faithfulness of the members. The kind of church God wants to see is not a church being content with spending within the budget and without any deficit, but a church doing more than they anticipated and budgeted.

 

I have worked for Wesley Theological Seminary for 27 years, and as you know, Americans in general adhere to their budget more strictly than Koreans do and will not start any project without securing the necessary funds. But as the school buildings were quite old and worn out, those at Wesley made the courageous decision to build an extension, and after many meetings, they signed on the contract with a construction company. Afterwards, I went on a business trip and heard that the stock market crashed due to the subprime mortgage crisis which brought on a financial crisis to the whole country. Wesley Seminary does not have a large endowment and mostly depends on the donations from the supporters. During any financial crisis, the donations usually decrease a lot, so I began to worry not only about the building extension, but also about the regular operational costs of the Seminary. These worries came up while I was praying, so I sent an email to the President of the Seminary, saying that “Let us not worry! Wesley will be all right, God needs a good seminary. As long as we fulfill our missions well, He will keep this school well.”

 

When I came back to school a few days later, the President called for a Joint Planning Meeting with all the core staff members as well as the Board members. There had been rumors floating around of lay-offs, so everyone there watched the lips of the President. He said, “During voyages, when the storm hits, most ships lighten their cargos to survive, but we choose a different way of survival. Instead of lightening our load, we are going forward with our full speed with no lay-offs, no cutting down of our scholarship money nor any programs. We are going to survive this crisis by fulfilling our mission as a Seminary and God will help us!” In reality, Wesley was able to accomplish all the things that we had planned and some programs collected more than enough donations. After surviving the crisis more successfully than any other schools, the professors and staff of Wesley Seminary have their faith strengthened. At important meetings we often reminisce with “As long as we fulfill our missions well, God will keep this school well.” God broke down the boundaries of our school budget and our fears.

 

The final answer of Jesus to the expert in the law who wanted to inherit the eternal life was, “Go and do likewise.”What Jesus meant was to break down the boundaries of race, gender, possessions, education, profession and religion. Why? Because we are the children of God who had created us. We should not make decisions about whom to help and whom not to help according to our own arbitrary yardstick. Instead, we should help whoever needs our help no matter what their race or what class they belong to and become their neighbors. And let those we help decide if we are their neighbors or not. Is our church the neighbor for those in need? Do those outside of our church think we are their good neighbors? What Jesus wants us to do is to go and do good deeds to others so that they will think we are their good neighbors.

 

Sometime ago, when an unbeliever passed away, the family requested to have his funeral at church. I was really willing to agree to the request, as I know that a church is not the community for the believers only and that God has created all, wants to save all and is waiting for all and that He will welcome anyone to the church either living or dead. If all the unbelievers want to come to our church for their funerals, I will be thrilled to have our church known as ‘the church to host the funerals for any unbelievers’, even though there will be some budgetary concerns. By hosting the funerals for the unbelievers as their neighbors, their unbelieving relatives will also come to our church and in the matter of evangelism, it will be more efficient than distributing thousands of Gospel tracts. While I was excited about the prospect, the family changed their mind, so we missed the chance to host his funeral at our church.

 

I do not want any more dispute about “Who is our neighbor?” at our church. I want our church to go out and be the good neighbor to all the people outside of the church. I want our church to break down all the manmade boundaries for a church and even the boundary of our location in Detroit. I want our church members to be regarded as good neighbors even by those who are the lowest paid and the least of their workplaces, and I want our members who are the employers and the CEOs to be regarded as good neighbors by their employees and the staff. Let us distribute our scholarship money to the school for the poorest children in the city, as well as to the children of our church members. Let us enlarge our territories. Let us pray and ask God to enlarge our territories!


   

총 게시물 511건, 최근 2 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
511 2018.11.18  Where do you find your happiness? Matthew 13:44 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
510 2018.11.18  행복은 어디에 마태 복음 13:44 신경림 목사
509 2018.11.11  The Forgotten Identity John 1:14 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
508 2018.11.11  잊혀진 정체성 요한 복음 1:14 신경림 목사
507 2018.11.04  'After reaching the mature age of 40' 2 Kings 2:1-14 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
506 2018.11.04  마흔 즈음에 왕하 2:1-14 신경림 목사
505 2018.10.28  Reformation Sunday Matthew 11:29-30, Ephesians 2:8 Rev. Dr. McAllister-Wilson
504 10.21.2018  The testimonies of our lay people James 1:12 3 Lay people
503 10.21.2018  평신도주일 간증 야고보서 1:12 평신도 3인
502 2018.10.14  Plan G!! Matthew 16:21-27 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
501 2018.10.14  Plan G!! 마태복음 16:21-27 신경림 목사
500 2018.10.07  'Must be born again to enter the kingdom of God' John 3:1-8 Rev. Se Jin Bae
499 2018.10.07  거듭남과 하나님 나라 요한 복음 3:1-8 배세진 목사
498 2018.09.30  'The Actively Working Faith' Luke 24:13-27 Rev. Sun Hyung Jo
497 2018.09.30  '작동하는 믿음' 누가 복음 24:13-27 조선형 목사
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : Where do you find your happiness?
설교일 : 2018.11.18
본문말씀 : Matthew 13:44
설교자 : Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
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