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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   God''s Grace - Thanksgiving Sunday    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   Malachi 3:10
Date
   2009-11-15



Passage

[Malachi 3:10]
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today is the Thanksgiving Sunday.
It is a day to give thanks to God for giving us abundant fruit in spirit and body around the time of harvest.
Thanksgiving Sunday has its roots in the Feast of Tabernacles.
After the Israelites finished their farming for a year, they made a tabernacle with palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and stayed there for 7 days.
They remembered the time when their fathers were staying in tents in the wilderness after the Exodus.
After they went into the Canaan Land, they began to farm the land flowing with milk and honey and reaped abundant harvests.
Around the Feast of Tabernacle, their storehouses were full of grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Their hearts must have been filled with happiness and thanks!
Likewise, before we became God's children, we lived in the wilderness of this world, wandering around in spirit.
But now we have taken the root in the truth as children of God and we live in God's blessings bearing abundant fruits physically and spiritually.
Just in this year alone, God the Father has given us so much grace.
He made us like full grain and let our souls prosper.
He filled us with the truth like a cabbage that has the inside packed tight and full.
He made us like fruits that give out beautiful colors, aroma, and taste to the people; He made us the light of the world.
He guarded us in spirit and body like the highest quality fruits that are without blemish.
Brothers and sisters, joy leads to more joy and thanksgiving leads to more thanks.
It's because God takes the aroma of our joy and thanksgiving and gives us more blessings to make us more joyful and thankful.
How joyful have you become when you sing the songs of Korean traditional style that are given by God!
Just like the farmers who dance and sing at the harvest, our God also expresses His joy.
I urge you to rejoice greatly like little children on this Thanksgiving Sunday for the abundant fruits that God has given to us.
Farmers get up before the morning dew is dry and sweat in their labor until evening to harvest beautiful fruits.
Let us offer up to God the Father the deep aroma of thanks for He has worked for us without a rest like those farmers.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will give to God deeper aroma of thanks year after year and bear more abundant fruits.

Main

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is the grace of God that we are breathing. Namely, our life itself is the grace of God.
Also, it is great grace of God that we are worshipping God on this Thanksgiving Sunday.
We were sinners who were living with the heavy burdens of life and were destined to fall into eternal punishment.
But we were justified by the sacrifice of the Lord. We have gained eternal life and the heavenly kingdom.
We've become children of the LORD God almighty.
Furthermore, I believe you Manmin members are even more thankful that you are leading a life in faith in such a good environment.
In this church we have the evidences of the living God and the deep spiritual messages.
You can pray whenever you want to pray; you can work for God as much as you want.
You know that it's difficult to find true faith nowadays, but you have true faith and are leading ardent lives in that faith.
You are storing up heavenly rewards and taking hold of Heaven by force.
Because you live by the word of God, even while on earth you are receiving the blessings that God promised.
For example, there are many of you who have not been to a hospital for many years.
Even though you have some health issues or any other problems, you can be thankful for you can receive the solution to the problem by listening to the word and practicing it.
If you have faith, there are just countless things for which you can give thanks to God.
We cannot count all the grace that God the Father has given to us.
But on this Thanksgiving Sunday, let us think about the three major points among the things that God gave to us in this year.
First, God the Father has given us the grace so our souls could prosper.
Of course, God has always given us His grace to allow our souls to prosper.
But this year we feel this grace is even more special.
It's because Heaven has come much closer to the heart of our church members.
Heaven is not some far away place any more, but it has become more of a clear reality. The heavenly kingdom is in the spiritual realm.
Therefore, we can feel the kingdom of heaven to the extent that we cultivate the spiritual heart and our soul prospers.
To this extent we can have even greater certainty in believing in heavenly kingdom and feel the beauty of it.
Then, we can gain more strength to march towards it.
This is somewhat like a marathoner. When he comes into the stadium after running the long race and sees the finish line, he can run faster.
Take a moment to remember the times that you had this year.
How earnestly did God the Father lead you to make your soul prosper?
He taught us the secret of blessings and made us prepare the vessel to receive blessings.
This spring He gave us two festivities and gave us the grace to realize even the sins that we didn't even remember we had committed.
He cleansed us of unforgivable sins and the sins that had been placed deep in our hearts.
Namely, He let us tear down the wall of sin standing between God and us, which is the fundamental problem.
The fundamental problem is the lack of love for God.
It is so natural for God's children to love Him, but we didn't love Him in many aspects.
Nevertheless, God did not rebuke us but forgave us and gave us the heart to love Him.
Many church members were moved by His enduring patience and endless love. We made up our minds to cast away untruth and flesh.
So, now, we came to have the assurance of salvation and that we can also go into the city of New Jerusalem, the most beautiful place in Heaven.
Also, God the Father has clearly shown us the kingdom of heaven.
For example, this year He began to give us the songs and dances from which we can feel the heavenly kingdom.
On the anniversary day of our church this year, we had the performances of songs and dances with the title 'Heaven'.
After watching the performances, people of various ages and backgrounds said the real Heaven must be so beautiful and they really want to go to New Jerusalem.
The guests from inside and outside the country couldn't hide their amazement saying they had never seen such a performance and they felt like Heaven came down on earth.
Many people were so moved by tasting the heavenly kingdom that they shed tears.
Furthermore, God also showed us many wonders through the spiritual space and let us feel the spiritual realm.
Especially in the summer retreat in this year, God showed us such clear works that even unbelievers had to admit and accept.
God gave us good weather conditions and sent dragonflies to catch harmful insects. He showed us various wonders with clouds and rainbows.
By personally seeing and experiencing such things yourselves you were enabled to cast away the sins that were difficult to cast away. You came to dedicate yourself more earnestly.
Now the fruits of the Holy Spirit are being borne in you. You feel New Jerusalem is not so far away.
You are filled with happiness and peace in your everyday life for you are filled with the hope of New Jerusalem.
I believe that during this year you have witnessed many testimonies evidencing the grace that God has given to us in this year.
And I pray in the name of the Lord that your soul will prosper and you will repay this grace of God by becoming the fruit of New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, second, the grace of God given to us is that He protects us in the space of the shepherd.
God the Father has kept us safe in this year so we wouldn't get any disease or get into any accident.
You church members are witnesses to how completely He has guarded us.
Nowadays, they say people will stare at you if you just cough.
They will think you might have the swine flu.
Because of swine flu, when people develop a minor cough, they go to big hospitals to be hospitalized.
Many people are living in fear seeing the number of patients and number of deaths increase.
It's not very difficult to find those who are wearing masks on the streets.
Many countries around the world are calling it a national emergency and trying to find a way to deal with it.
The Korean government also raised the epidemic disease level to the 'serious' to actively deal with it.
Many schools have closed down and they have cancelled many meetings and events where people would gather.
But what about our church members? So many people gather in the sanctuary every week.
At this time, we have a 2-term continuous special Daniel Prayer Meeting and you gather every day.
You don't have any fear because you are kept safe by God and because you surely believe He protects you.
Of course, some of the church members are not kept safe because they don't live in the word of God, for example because they do not keep Sunday holy.
But when they repent and receive prayer by faith, they are immediately cured.
They receive healing transcending space and time, by receiving prayer on the phone or through video.
In the case of Israel, God showed His work nationwide.
When we had the crusade in this past September, the local pastors asked me to pray for the swine flu outbreak.
I earnestly prayed to God believing in God who loves Israel.
Shortly after that, the local pastors informed us of the improving conditions and sent us many testimonies of healing.
Of course, because the whole world is tackling it, the swine flu will be on its downturn. But the problem will be the variety of mutated strains.
God has told us that there will be more of new diseases that will prevail in the world.
People will live under an increasing fear of diseases.
Some scientists even say that new pandemic diseases will be the cause of human extinction.
In the Bible, Jesus also said there would be many disasters as we move towards the end of the world.
Today, so many people are suffering from war, terrorism, earthquakes, and so many other calamities.
Even in this world, as Manmin members we are protected by God in amazing ways.
Even though cars have been so badly damaged, members haven't been injured at all.
We also hear many testimonies from our church members in different parts of the world that they were protected in very dangerous situations.
God will keep us in this way so that even the unbelievers will have to acknowledge the living God.
I hope you will be thankful that you are living in this space of love, and always dwell in the word of God.
Of course, you have to take caution physically, too. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will give glory to God greatly by being under His protection.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, third, the grace of God is given to us as material blessings.
This year, God the Father has received glory through the ministry of Manmin that has taken place in different places.
The kingdom of God was enlarged through the broadcasting of Manmin TV and GCN, publishing, the crusade in Israel, crusades with prayer handkerchiefs, our anniversary day, the International World Christian Medical Conference of WCDN, and charitable works.

This means God has given you material blessings at personal level as well as church-wide.
We couldn't do all those things just because we were very rich.
Since we began this church with just 7,000 won, we have been marching only with faith.
From the time that we had a sanctuary of just 33 m², we helped other churches while conducting our ministry.
We believed that God would certainly give us back 30, 60, and 100 times more.
Even in that small church, we had the vision of the world outreach and construction of the Grand Sanctuary.
The Manmin church today, which is accomplishing the will of God throughout the world, is a result of such faith.
Of course, God is giving us increasingly more blessings. As the kingdom of God is enlarged more greatly, our financial blessing will also be greater.
Sometimes, we couldn't see an end when we were spending to expand God's kingdom.
But you church members and I have been giving to God only with faith.
Our energy and life in it revived many lives and accomplished the kingdom of God.
Even when it seemed that we couldn't give any more in reality, God filled us and enabled us to give again.
He always worked going beyond our limitations.
When we kept on giving to God again and again, did He just watch us?
No, He fulfilled our needs. He blessed your businesses and workplaces.
This year, we had such a great downturn in the world economy that there was concern about the 'double dip recession'.
There were many company employees who lost their jobs and others had salary cuts. But what happened to our church members?
Many of us were promoted and had increased paychecks. Your sales increased.
Your tithe is increasing. Of course, some of you are still waiting for the blessing of God.
But you are always joyful and thankful in any situation.
Many unbelievers complain about their lives when the economic situation is not good.
Their happiness depends on material gain to such a great extent that it appears they are slaves to money.
But we are always thankful in any situation as Paul said in Philippians 4:11, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."
It's because you have gained the kingdom of heaven, the most precious treasure of all.
Also, you desire to give to God more and to spend for saving more souls.
You sow the seeds of blessings preparing the vessel to receive it. Who has given you this kind of faith?
It is God the Father. And He will certainly give us back for our giving.
Through that process, He makes our soul prosper and finally gives us the full-scale blessings.
I urge you to give thanks to God all day long for giving us the things to give to God and the desire to give to Him, and for giving us so much more in return for what we have sown.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, recently, we heard the news that Israel had been suffering from a long standing period of drought, but had sweet rains.
Some parts of Israel had six times more rainfall than usual from August through November 2 this year.

They didn't have any rain in August for it is dry season, and this rainfall began this past September 8, the day following the last day of the Israel crusade.
Since then, there were several unexpected rainfalls.
How could such a miraculous thing take place? We all know it very well.
This last September, on our twelfth visit to Israel, the mission team and I preached Jesus Christ in Israel.
At that time, we prayed to God to give rain on the land of Israel that was suffering from drought.
After that, I earnestly prayed a couple of times more for more rain there.
I believe that this deed of faith and earnest prayer moved the heart of God who does not forget the people of Israel.
Deuteronomy 11:14 says, "that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil."
On this Thanksgiving Sunday, I hope all of you will move the heart of God with your aroma of joy and aroma of thanks.
God will surely give you early rain and late rain of blessing in your life and let you bear abundant fruits.
Above all, He will give you beautiful fruits in your heart.
The greatest blessing is to cultivate a beautiful heart to acknowledge that all things we have are the grace of God and to pay back this grace.
If we keep marching on with this kind of heart until the Lord comes back, we will be able to go into New Jerusalem.
Not only on this Thanksgiving Sunday, but I urge you to give God the aroma of joy and thanks everyday.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will also be able to offer up to God the praise of thanks forever before the throne of God.

[Amen]

 
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