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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Demolish Self-righteousness and Frameworks(1) - Demolish Self-righteousness and Frameworks (1)    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   Isaiah 55:8-9
Date
   2010-02-14



Passage

Isaiah 55:8-9
[8] "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. [9] "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The first month of the New Year has already passed, and this is the first Sunday of February.
Are you reaping a lot in this year of harvest?
I am very thankful that we already have several members who are receiving blessings.
But are there any of you who think, "This year is the year of harvest, and why don't I reap hardly anything even though I sow?"
If this is the case, I hope you will realize your self-righteousness and frameworks and break them.
If we sow after going into spirit and whole spirit, we will reap 30, 60, or 100 times more fruit.
Because many of you know this very well, you have been trying hard to go into spirit for many years, or even for decades.
But there are some who have become stuck for a long time right before passing the door of going into spirit.
There could be many reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is self-righteousness and frameworks.
If you do not receive the blessings at the time of blessing, you will feel sorry for yourself, but imagine how pitiful God will feel towards you!
For this reason, on this Lunar New Year, God gives us special grace so we can realize this self-righteousness and these frameworks and destroy them.
The dimension of answers and blessings that God is giving to us in this church has become different each year.
As I explained in the last Sunday morning service, we can receive more abundant blessings in body and spirit to the extent to which we demolish self-righteousness and frameworks.
First, our heart will become more of the true heart and we will receive more abundant blessings in body also.
For example, when you sowed something with faith before, you could reap pressed down, shaken together, and running over, which is about double.
Of course this is a great blessing.
But now you can reap five times or even ten times more. You can reap in much greater quantity than before.
Also, the answers that would have taken a couple of months to receive can now be given in a couple of days or within a week.
Healing can also come more quickly and more completely.
In order for you to receive all these blessings, I am going to explain to you about self-righteousness and frameworks in this Sunday morning and evening service.
This Lunar New Year is just the beginning point of the harvest.
It is difficult to imagine the blessings that this church and you will reap.
Therefore, I urge you to keep this message in mind and come into spirit within this year, or even better, within the first half of the year.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become true children who understand the heart of God and share your heart with Him.

[Main]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what are this self-righteousness and these frameworks?
In this hour let me explain some general ideas about the terms.
First, self-righteousness is to be convinced of one's moral superiority.
Actually, an ordinary meaning of 'righteousness' is doing the right things that men are supposed to do.
Also, in the truth, righteousness is to act in honesty and justly following the will of God.
Psalm 11:7 says, "For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face." As written, God loves the righteous.
But self-righteousness is not righteousness in God's sight.
It is something that we ourselves insist are right with our own standard of judgment.
Today's reading passage Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. [9] "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Even though men think something is right, it is not always right in the sight of God.
If we insist that we are right and hold fast to our opinions, it is self-righteousness.
If we have this self-righteousness, we cannot completely follow the will of God. We will follow what seems to be right in our sight.
One part of this self-righteousness is the worldly righteousness, which is the righteousness that is certainly against the will of God.
For example, in some historical novels or martial arts novels, the hero lives his life only to take revenge for his parents.
He thinks it is his duty to take vengeance for his parents.
If he absolutely believes it and acts that way, it is in men's righteousness.
But what is the will of God? It is to love even our enemies.
If somebody strikes one of our cheeks, we have to turn the other also.
Therefore, vengeance is worldly righteousness and it is contrary to the will of God.
Next, another aspect of self-righteousness is the righteousness formed on the foundation of the truth.
This is the hindrance and obstacle that stops you from going into spirit.
This righteousness is masked with the truth, so you cannot really differentiate it from the righteousness of God.

This righteousness formed within the truth is shown more often in the third level of faith than the first or the second levels of faith.
Namely, it is shown more often before one goes into the fourth level of faith. Why is it so?
The third level of faith is the level where you can keep and practice the word of God.
You haven't cast away even the sins committed in thoughts, namely things of the flesh, but you don't commit any sins in action.
Also, in this level, you have extensive knowledge of the truth, practice the truth to some extent, and fulfill your duties well, too.
You can even bear fruit in your duties. So, you are apt to overestimate your level of faith.
Without noticing it, you think that your ideas are right and your actions are right.
In Luke 18:10-13, Jesus gave a parable to make some people, who think they were righteous, understand.
He said, "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'"
Here, the tax-collector couldn't dare to even think he was righteous.
When one has little faith, he doesn't have much self-righteousness, like this tax-collector.
Because he does not live according to the word, he cannot say he is righteous.
Of course, he might still have worldly righteousness.
But this is clearly against the truth, so it is easy to find it and break it.
But in the third level of faith, one keeps the word of God to some extent, so he may think he is righteous, like in the case of the Pharisee in the above passage.
We can follow the will of God in all things and receive abundant blessings only when we demolish this self-righteousness.
Now, listening to this message, is there any of you who think, "This message is for that deaconess!"?
If so, then this message actually applies to you, and if you deny this fact, how disquieting this is to God!
Therefore, I urge you to accept all these messages as though they were intended for you.
Of course, it is not easy to find righteousness that is formed within the truth by yourself.
If you pass 60 percentile of the third level of faith, and get close to the fourth level, it is even more difficult to find it.
For this reason God sometimes allowed such harsh trials for some men of faith to let them realize their self-righteousness and break it.
Job is one of the best examples of a case like this. Job was perfect in his deeds before God.
In deeds he has no blemish, and he was praised for being blameless.
But when the trials began, Job's self-righteousness was revealed very vividly.
He even said God is not righteous, but he was.
Job 30:21 says, "You have become cruel to me; with the might of Your hand You persecute me."
Job 30:25 says, "Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?" Job was meaning to say that he lived such a righteous life.
Because God struck such a man as himself, he said it was natural for him to be resentful before God and he justified himself for complaining.
When his friends advised him, he didn't accept their words at all but only spoke sarcastically saying like, "Oh, only you are right and I am wrong!"
Of course, his friends also spoke some words of untruth, but had Job been truly righteous, he would have had to humbly accept any words spoken.
In this way Job was perfect in deed, but in the depth of his heart, he was not righteous.
But after undergoing such a harsh trial God let him realize his self-righteousness and he began to break it down.
Job 42:3 says, "Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
He admitted his ignorance and that he was wrong, and he completely humbled himself before God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now what are frameworks?
A framework is a hardened way of thinking that a certain thing is right.
People form their framework of thoughts based on what they see, hear, and learn.
Based on their knowledge or experience, they harden their opinions on as to what is morally right, what is an educated act, and what is really right.
It is so hardened that it cannot be easily changed; this is a "framework of thoughts."
These frameworks are different from person to person.
It's because their personalities and the environments in which they were raised, and the knowledge and education they received are all different.
But this framework is often not right according to facts or the truth of God.
But most people discern between the right and wrong based on this framework.
Self-righteousness starts from this framework.
Based on their frameworks, they persist in the belief that they are right. This is self-righteousness.
To make it easier to understand, frameworks can be compared with a city wall that is built very high and strong.
It is as if you were building a wall by piling up each brick, you harden each thought about something and build up a wall of thoughts. This is what is known as a "framework."
But usually people don't just stop after building this wall. Based on that wall, they attack others.
Namely, the arrows that they shoot from inside the city are likened to the self-righteousness.
Those who have strong frameworks are likely to force their own thoughts on others or they judge and criticize others saying they are wrong.
It's like shooting arrows at enemies.
So, if you approach a person who has strong self-righteousness, you are likely to be hit by those arrows of judging and criticism.
Thus, self-righteousness and frameworks are very closely related. But you have to check yourself very carefully.
There are cases where a person's self-righteousness and frameworks are not revealed very clearly depending upon their personalities.
Some people are very introversive and they don't express themselves much, so it seems that they don't insist on their personal thoughts and desires.
But even these people might have very strong righteousness.
For example, they don't actively show their righteousness, but if you talk with them, you cannot really have a meaningful conversation.
Even though all others give them the same kind of advice, they don't accept it. It is also self-righteousness.
Namely, it is self-righteousness to express one's-self by "shooting arrows" at one another, but to close the city gate firmly and not to open it, is also self-righteousness.
On the other hand, some people have outgoing characters and they seem to strongly insist on themselves. But they might not have such a strong self-righteousness.
They may accept other people's opinions and accept different kinds of people.
In this case, you should not pass judgment or have prejudice thinking such a person has strong self-righteousness.
As is the case with self-righteousness, the frameworks can also be categorized into worldly frameworks and frameworks in the truth.
Worldly frameworks, simply speaking, are the frameworks that you make with the worldly knowledge, education, and social etiquette.
Among the new comers, some people do not accept the word of God because of such frameworks.
For example, if we say men were not evolved from apes but created by God, they can't believe it.
Because of the frameworks of knowledge thinking that only scientific knowledge is the best, they cannot accept the word.
But of course you Manmin members break these frameworks very quickly and have faith.
It's because you see and hear the powerful works of God that are beyond human knowledge and theories, and your frameworks of knowledge are easily destroyed.
But is there any of you who still do not believe in God due to such frameworks of the world?
Through this Lunar New Year, I hope you will demolish such frameworks and have true faith.
Next, the frameworks of the truth are the frameworks made in faith based on the truth, the word of God, unlike the frameworks of the world.
This framework of truth is the major obstacle that hinders you from going into spirit.
At the time of Jesus, one of the reasons why the religious leaders persecuted Him was because of this framework of truth.
For example, the Pharisees kept the Law very strictly.
They strictly kept not only the commandments given by God but also the traditions of the elders.
For instance, we have one of the Ten Commandments saying, "Keep the Sabbath holy."
The Jews keep the Sabbath so strictly that they didn't even walk more than a certain distance on the Sabbath.
So, when Jesus healed the sick on the Sabbath, they criticized Him for violating the Sabbath.
They said He worked on the Sabbath.
Of course it is the will of God to keep the Sabbath holy.
But the Pharisees judged and criticized Jesus, who is the truth itself, due to wrong frameworks about the Sabbath.
This is an example of frameworks that are wrong but are formed based on the truth.
To be more precise, it is a framework that is wrong because it is formed by distorting the truth.
Other than the above, the Pharisees ceaselessly tried to accuse Jesus in all matters.
For example, they tried to criticize Him mentioning His disciples not washing their hands before eating according to the traditions of the elders.
The traditions of the elders were not commandments of God. They were detailed regulations made by men.
Something similar takes place even today. For example, in Christian churches, there are many denominations and they might have different rules.
Some churches condemn other churches and their members as heretical or wrong, only if they have a little bit of difference in these rules.
There are even some churches that prohibit crying out or speaking in tongue in prayers.
These are very biblical ways of praying, but because of their wrong frameworks, they reject such ideas.
Some members who came to our church after having had attended another church for a long time suffer due to such traditions of the elders.
But the bigger problem than these is to make a new framework of truth with the truth that you learn in your life in faith.
You think something is the will of God and the truth, but in so many cases it is not.
I will explain to you about the details and examples of such cases in the evening service.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is difficult to realize the self-righteousness and frameworks formed in the knowledge of truth.
That is why some people suffer trials for a long time because they cannot break their self-righteousness and frameworks.
They do not have any spiritual growth or any fruit of blessings in their Christian lives.
Some of them get a disease due to accusations of Satan like in the case of Job, or they have problems in their families, workplaces, or business fields.
If they can realize their self-righteousness and frameworks when these tests come, it is blessing for them.
But God the Father wants you to destroy your self-righteousness and frameworks even without trials, by feeling the love of god.
The Father God always gives us great love that we don't deserve.
If we thoroughly feel this love of God, we cannot help but humble ourselves.
Also, if we realize how good God is, we can surely realize our righteousness and frameworks.
I challenge you to realize your self-righteousness and frameworks by feeling the great love and deep aroma of goodness of God in all things.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will destroy them diligently so you will become lovelier day by day.

[Amen]

 
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