총 게시물 551건, 최근 0 건

'In the midst of our sufferings'

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2018-09-10 (월) 22:57 조회 : 204
설교일 : 2018.09.09
설교자 : Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
본문말씀 : John 9:1-7

September 9, 2018


‘In the midst of our sufferings’

John 9:1-7


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



How have we managed to live up to this point? All of us have had some happy moments and some difficult times in our lives. Personally, I am sometimes amazed at myself for still keeping my sanity after having gone through too many trials. Those of you who see me now cannot imagine what I have been through. During extremely difficult times, even when I wanted to cry, I couldn’t shed any tears, which was very surprising to me. Once when I was so exhausted, I even felt the urge to bump into a truck to get a moment’s break. When I look back upon my own life and realize that there were many pains, regrets and griefs in my life which I could not share with others, I have to admit that living in this world is not an easy task. I am fully aware that some of you suffered a lot more than I did and even now some are suffering a lot of pain and hardships. We may be all right today, but nobody can be sure of tomorrow. All the difficulties arrive in our lives without any warnings, so no one is guaranteed to have a permanent peace. We can live our lives ‘drug free’ or ‘pain free’, but no one has a ‘problem free’ life.


When we encounter problems in our lives, our immediate reaction is usually, “Why me?”  We ask; Why do I have to go through such a hardship? Why did I run into such a bad guy? Why am I notified of a terminal illness, after I paid so much attention to healthy living? Why do I have to face such a calamity, when I didn’t do anything wrong? Why do I have to work so hard for such a meager success, while others do much less for better results? I am sure all the families of those who were killed on 9/11/2001 at the World Trade Center must have asked similar questions.


As an answer to this problem, Leslie Weatherhead, a theologian, came up with a comparison to soccer games. In soccer, no matter how careful you are, you may get injured once in a while. But, being injured does not mean you are going to lose the game, and being uninjured does not mean you are going to win. Injured or uninjured, if your team wins, you are a winner, and if your team loses, you are a loser. Each of us belongs to a team without any exception and we go on living as a team. Consequently, because of someone’s mistake, we may get into an accident, and because of someone’s good work, we may get the benefit of his work. Therefore, it is not right for us to complain with “Why me?” when things don’t go well, while taking it for granted when things go well. In the community, sometimes we get lucky unexpectedly and other times we get into trouble unexpectedly.


While going through hardships and difficulties, we tend to ask such questions as ‘Why do we have to suffer? Why do we have to get old? Why do we have to die? What is life and what is death?’, etc. When people are peaceful and contented, they may have a dim consciousness and only thinking of more sleep, more food, and more rest. On the other hand, when people are lonely, regretful, in ill health, frustrated and despondent, they begin to think deep thoughts and ask fundamental questions.


Let us go to today’s passage. As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth. (John 9:1) A man blind from birth! How unfair! What a sad life, he couldn’t even see the faces of his parents! How unfortunate he was, when he didn’t do anything wrong! Still, he had to go on living his life.


What made his life more miserable was the attitude of people around him. Instead of paying any attention to his difficulty as a disabled man, they were mainly interested in whose sins were to be blamed for his blindness. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The Jews at that time had very different viewpoints about human sufferings and sicknesses.


Their first viewpoint was; All the problems we have are caused by our sins. They believed the righteous were bestowed with good luck and blessings from God. And because of this belief, instead of being merciful toward the disabled and the poor, they looked down on them, thinking they were sinners. With this point of view, they assumed that all the rich people were righteous and all the sick and suffering people were sinners. But the Bible does not go along with this view. In James 2:5, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith?” James is sharing the comforting words that God has intentionally chosen those who are poor and made them rich in faith. But, the majority of the Jews at that time thought that being poor or sick were the results of their sins.


Their second viewpoint was; All our sufferings are God’s disciplinary punishments in His efforts to teach us. In Hebrews 12:5-8, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son…… If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”His punishment is not meant to kill us, but to discipline us and teach us. Therefore, our attitudes toward God’s punishments should be; The first is not to make light of the Lord’s discipline and the second is not to lose heart. Even though we hate to do it, we have to discipline our own children sometimes for their own good. As the children of God, we should not get upset, or make light of the discipline, or get discouraged. In the Old Testament, Job, who had to suffer the most unfair misfortune in the history of the world, understood his hardships clearly; “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”(Job 23:10) I hope you will feel like Job did, if you are in the midst of unfair sufferings. Do not get upset, do not despair, do not be overwhelmed by sufferings, then you will come forth more mature and become more blessed.


In today’s passage, Lord Jesus introduces the third viewpoint about the man’s disability. His disciple asked Him whose sin was to be blamed for the man being born blind, and Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3) One thing we have to make sure is that Jesus didn’t mean that the blind man or his parents did not sin at all, but He meant that the man’s blindness was not due to anyone’s sins. Jesus wanted His disciples who only know the traditional viewpoints to open their minds and see the work of God. When we are only interested in the cause of our sufferings and the current situations, we are very likely to be disappointed and get upset at the unfairness and begin to blame God for our sufferings. But Lord Jesus’ message in today’s passage is that in the midst of our sufferings, we should not be overwhelmed by the sufferings but look up toward God so that He can use our sufferings to display His work. By doing so, we will not be bound to our past, nor become slaves to our present, but with our hope in the future, we will be used in the work of God who transforms our sufferings into blessings for us.


This blind man was born blind, so he was one of those unlucky people who were pitied and despised by others, but when he met Jesus, he was used for the glorious work of God.


You remember Joseph of the Genesis. His jealous brothers sold him as a slave to a foreign country of Egypt. By working hard, he was recognized by his master Potiphar and became in charge of all the household affairs. But after rejecting the advances of Potiphar’s wife, he was put into prison on false accusations and he fell into despair again. But despite of all the hardships, Joseph never let go of his dreams and hopes and God was with him always. Eventually he became the prime minister of Egypt, and during the famine his brothers came to Egypt to buy corn, and Joseph was able to help all the members of his family to survive and he was used as the instrument of God to save Israel.


No matter what kind of sufferings you have right now, please do not be discouraged, do not give up. Please believe that all your misfortunes can be used for the work of God, and that the most discouraging situations can become the opportunities for experiencing God’s miracles. When the man who had been born blind was able to see after meeting Jesus, how many more people began to believe in Jesus! As Christians, we should always have a mission perspective, even when we are suffering. For example, if you are sick in the hospital, then you are given the opportunity to reach out to other patients. If you feel lonesome, you can reach out and comfort other lonely people. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” I want you to remember that in all our troubles, there is the will of God for us to glorify Him. Our sufferings provide the opportunities to meet with God, to experience His grace, to preach the Gospel to others, or to accept the Gospel. Later on, we may realize that our sufferings and difficulties were precious opportunities for us to work for God.


Are you in trouble right now? I hope you will be used for the work of God. Are you in pain? I hope you will be the instrument to display the miraculous work of God. Apostle Paul emphasizes in Philippians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me was really served to advance the Gospel.” Paul wants others to know that his being imprisoned in Rome has served to spread the Gospel fast and wide.


My beloved congregation, I want you to have the kind of faith that believes your pain and your sufferings will serve to advance the Gospel and to save the souls of your family. And I want you to be willing to testify that the difficulty you are having in your business has served to advance the Gospel for the kingdom of God.


There are so many people suffering in this world, and whom will God use for His purpose? I am sure there were other blind men around, and we wonder why this particular man was chosen by Jesus. ‘He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” He told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam”. So, the man went and washed, and came home seeing.’ (John 9:6-7) I believe he was chosen and used because of his obedience. Even as a blind man, he could have felt it was absurd that Jesus was putting some mud on his eyes and asking him to go all the way to the pool of Siloam and wash his eyes in the pool. He could have protested, but he just obeyed. Even though he didn’t fully understand Jesus’ command, but he obeyed the Lord. Obedience brings on miracles. Obeying even if there are doubts is faith, and obedient faith will bring on miracles, like the miraculous work of God on the blind man.


When we are planning a project for our church, usually we ask many questions to see if the project is reasonable and feasible. But, even if any project seems unreasonable in your opinion, by obeying the command of God, following the command to please God and gladly doing your part for the glory of God, you can prove yourself worthy to be a child of God and a miracle-maker. By his obedience, the blind man in today’s passage began to see and became a witness in spreading the Gospel.


God does not use only well-educated, smart and eloquent leaders, but He uses obedient people even if they are blind, despondent, ignorant, or incompetent, and He stays with them. When God is with them, they will possess the power and wisdom of God. Consequently, the weak can topple the strong, the foolish can put the wise to shame.


Our Lord used a blind man who was suffering from his misfortune to display the work of God, and now He is focusing on you and inviting you. Let us go before the Lord. Whenever we have troubles, we should go nearer to Him to find the solutions and not hide from Him or from the church. No matter how difficult, how painful, how regretful, and how unfair they are, we should bring our troubles before God and let God do the work and obey His command. Then, we will be bestowed with the joy and happiness of heaven. This is the holy comfort and sincere promise of God contained in the Bible, so that we can live for God in this difficult age.


Now let us sing a praise as our response to the comfort and promise of God and as the confession of our hope and faith.


총 게시물 551건, 최근 0 건
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538 2019.03.03  갈대 상자 출애굽기 2:1-10 김응용 목사
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 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : Jesus comes to us, riding on a donkey
설교일 : 2019.04.14
본문말씀 : Matthew 21:1-11
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim



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