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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   What Is Goodness? - Paul and Mary Mission''s Devotional    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   1 John 1:5
Date
   2010-04-25



[Passage]

1 John 1:5
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to have this 2010 Paul and Mary's Mission Devotional Service. I also give thanks to all the devotees who have prepared for this service with all your hearts, minds, and souls.
Dear devotees, goodness is one of the characters of God the Father.
Once we cultivate this goodness in our hearts, we can be recognized as God's children who resemble Him and receive utmost love from God.
To the extent that we cultivate goodness, we can enjoy great honor in Heaven and receive all of the complete rewards for everything we do here on earth.
Because you know this fact, you devotees and most of our members are always praying to cultivate goodness.
But in fact, there are few who have actually cultivated the goodness of God completely.
Of course, in comparison with the worldly people, you have more goodness. You also have more goodness than when you had not yet heard this gospel of holiness.
But what God wants is not just that you have more goodness than the worldly people or that you have more goodness than you previously had.
Today's reading passage says God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. As said, you have to cultivate goodness that is free of any evil.
In order to cultivate this goodness that is free of all evil, we must be able to reflect upon ourselves from the viewpoint of God and in the light of the Holy Spirit.
If you look at yourself just within your self-righteousness and your frameworks, you will not be able to find those things in you that are not of goodness.
I hope you devotees will check yourselves to see how much of this goodness you have cultivated that can be recognized by God.
I pray in the name of the Lord that if you do this you will accomplish complete goodness that has no evil at all.

[Main]

Dear deovtees, in order for you to be recognized by God to be 'good', first of all, you have to completely and thoroughly hate and despise evil.
This may sound like something so very obvious.
In order to cultivate goodness, you obviously have to hate evil since evil is the opposite of goodness.
People say that they long for goodness, but in reality they have lingering attachments to evil and they cherish it.

With their lips they pray that they want to become sanctified, but in their everyday lives they do not cast off evil. They just continue in their old habits.
For example, if somebody wants to be truthful, he has to hate the evil called falsehood.
He shouldn't just think, 'I won't lie anymore.' But he has to thoroughly hate the fleshly nature of telling a lie.
Otherwise, he may pray that he wants to be truthful, but when he goes back to living his life he will soon forget what he prayed for.
If he gets into a situation where he can gain some benefit from it, he will lie again.
Of course, after lying he may have some more pangs of conscience and pray again, but in time he will just compromise with the situation thinking that it will just be 'the last time'.
But if he really hates the nature of falsehood in him, he will never tell a lie even if he has to suffer a great loss.
Likewise, you first have to understand how dirty evil is. You have to know how harmful and shameful a thing it is for you.
Then you can hate evil and cast it away, and to that same extent, you can long for goodness and cultivate it.
When somebody goes through a trial due to his evil, he will engrave how harmful that evil is in his heart.
For example, when a little child sees a boiling kettle, he is naturally curious and to him it might look like something fun.
But once he gets burned by the kettle, his feelings will completely change.
A kettle will no longer appear to be something for him to play with, but instead it is something hot, scary, and painful.
Because he has experienced how harmful it is, it is something that he no longer has a liking or interest in, and he will keep away from it.
Likewise, in order for you to cultivate goodness, you first have to hate evil completely.
To hate evil, you have to realize how harmful evil is for you.
Let me give you an example. Suppose a person got angry about something and then he suffers from bad cold for several days.
Even though he has received prayer for the sick he still has a high fever. In the meantime, he remembered that he got angry and he repented.
When he received the prayer for the sick after that, suppose that the fever and cold went away.
After having such an experience, this lesson will be imprinted on his heart.
He will realize deeply that to get angry is very harmful and if he gives out evil, he will not be protected by God and thus Satan will bring troubles to him.
So, now he sincerely tries to cast away anger.
It's the same with other sinful natures.
Whether it is an adulterous mind, arrogance, hatred, envy, or jealousy, once we go through a great trial because of them, we will understand how much harm they bring upon us.
That is why Psalm 119:71 says, "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes."
But if we are wise enough, we can cast away those evil natures without having to undergo painful trials.
This is learning a lesson from the example of other people's situations, realizing our own evil, and then casting it away.
Furthermore, if we realize that a certain form of evil is bad after going through a trial, we can realize other forms of evil are very bad, too.
How foolish it is if we have to undergo afflictions of the heart and suffer every time before we learn to cast away a certain form of evil!
God hates evil so much and it is never beneficial to you.
It's not just of no benefit, but it also blocks your blessings and it causes you to suffer from tests and trials.
It blocks you from going into the better heavenly dwelling places, and it might even lead you to Hell.
Romans 12:9 says, "Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good." As written, we have to thoroughly hate evil.
I hope you will not accept even the slightest bit of evil but cast away all forms of evil.
Dear devotees, in order to be acknowledged by God as being 'good', secondly, we have to cast away fleshly thoughts.
For those who are good, not only their actions, but also all their thoughts and words are good.
We may know the word of God and teach it well and we may do many works for God, but, what God considers to be most important is our heart.
Even though we try to do something good, if our heart is not good, our work cannot be recognized by God as being good.
Thoughts that are not good and the thoughts that are not of the truth are all fleshly thoughts.
Romans 8:6-7 says, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, [7] because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so."
Of course, those of you who long for goodness must be trying to avoid any evil thoughts and have only thoughts of goodness.
Even though others do something evil to you, you do not harbor hard feelings but try to understand and forgive them.
You don't pass judgment just by seeing the outward appearances; you look at their good points rather than bad points and try to think from their point of view.
But some people lose the peace of their mind due to fleshly thoughts and yet do not realize they are having fleshly thoughts.
They say they are trying to act with goodness but they do not really please God because they act within their own fleshly thoughts.
Let me give you an example.
Suppose, with her zeal, a small group leader has set a goal to have revival in her group.
She urges her group members to gather together and participate in evangelism and caring for souls.
But there are some members who seem to be indifferent to the burning passion of the leader, and they don't really gather together with their hearts.
Even in this situation, if the leader has spiritual thoughts, she wouldn't be impatient or disappointed.
She will just think, "They must have a reason. I will pray for them with more love so they can be full of the Spirit."
Then, she will wait for them with faith until the end.
She tries her best for the revival of her group, but she leaves the result in the hands of God.
On the other hand, what would she think if she used only her own fleshly thoughts?
She might pass judgment on those members thinking, "They say they love God, and how can they not be faithful?"
She might even become impatient with some misunderstandings thinking, "Are the members intentionally not helping me because they have something against me?"
She might compare her group with other groups and develop resentment thinking, "The members of other groups eagerly help their leader, so why aren't my group members helping me? What is the use of being enthusiastic all by myself? It's so hard because the group members do not follow me."
She gets disheartened even before she reaps any fruit of revival.
All these thoughts are fleshly thoughts that hinder us from cultivating goodness.
We may try to do something good, but we have thoughts that are not good to the extent that we have fleshly thoughts.
You say that you will experience revival in your group, but in fact, you do not trust God. It's because you have put your zeal ahead of what God is doing.
You will show many fleshly attributes such as your own desire to have the outcome you want, your self-righteousness and frameworks that seek what seems to be good in your sight, passing judgment on people, and not being patient when things don't go as you want.
Many thoughts that are not of truth are derived from these fleshly attributes.
Nevertheless, you just think you love God and you are diligently working for God. You just think you are cultivating goodness.
I hope you will be on alert all the time and check whether you are really having spiritual thoughts or fleshly thoughts.
In doing so, I urge you to cast away all fleshly thoughts and just have thoughts of goodness.
Dear devotees, to be acknowledged by God as being good, thirdly, you have to cultivate spiritual love.
Romans 13:10 says, "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." As said, if we have love, we will not do evil but bear good fruit in all things.
Of course, the love here refers to spiritual love.
Fleshly love is after all self-seeking love, even though it seems very ardent.
If the things are not personally beneficial, a person may even do evil to another person.
In the parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15, we can understand very well that we can cultivate goodness only when we have spiritual love.
One son received the inheritance money from his father in advance. He lived a lavish and wasteful life and returned home looking like a beggar.
The father was just so pleased that his son came back with a repentant heart that he threw him a big party.
But the elder son, this prodigal son's brother, came back home after working all day outdoors. He was unhappy seeing this scene.
It's because his father never held any parties for him although he worked hard obeying every word of his father all the time.
To him his brother deserved a great rebuke, but his father gave this son a big party as if he were some hero instead. So, this elder son couldn't understand his father.
He tried to think in a good way, but the more he tried, the more he felt that he deserved to get angry over the situation. He felt victimized for he thought he deserved more than what was already given to him.
His thought may hve been, "I must be a fool for I worked hard for my father's house while my brother took the money from my father and enjoyed himself. I worked so hard but why does our father love my brother more than me? He already spent all his inheritance money and he will give my brother a portion of his wealth that I increased for him!"
If this brother wants to think about what is right or wrong, he cannot change his thoughts.
Only fleshly thoughts will come into his mind, and he won't be able to think anything in goodness.
Then, if you were in his shoes, how would you act?
Even though you are disappointed by your father and you want to severely rebuke your brother, would you just hide your feelings and just go in with a smile?
Or, although you can't really understand your father, would you try to understand in goodness thinking, "I will try not to complain because this is what my father is doing. What my brother did is wrong, but it's good that he came back home safely."?
Still even this is not goodness.
You try to act in goodness, but we can't say you are really good.
It means you don't understand the good heart of the father, and that action is merely suppressing your evil.
Suppose the elder brother is trying to handle his feelings this way, but the father's attitude doesn't change for several days.
He keeps on comforting the younger brother saying, "You are not in good health. Eat something good. Rest just a bit more. How do you feel?"
Then, wouldn't the elder brother get angrier and angrier?
But if he has love, he won't feel that way.
He won't think like, "This is goodness, and this is my duty as a son, so I will bear with it."
If this elder brother loves his younger brother like his father loves him, he won't have any judgment or disappointment.
He won't calculate anything thinking about the gains and losses for him that could be caused by his brother.
Just like the father's heart, he will be just so thankful that his brother came back home safely.
He must have pity on his brother who looks like a beggar, and just want to comfort him.
If he wants to think about what is right or wrong, or if he has uncomfortable feelings, it is because he doesn't have love.
Because he doesn't have love, he has to try to bear with it, and if he can't, then he will act out in evil.
Love does not envy. It seeks other's benefits.
If you love somebody, you want him to prosper. Even if he does something wrong, you still trust him. You give good things that you have and you sacrifice and serve.
If somebody whom you love asks you to go with him 1 mile, you are pleased to go with him for 2 miles.
If somebody you love asks for your shirt, you will not just give him the shirt but you may also ask him if he needs a coat.
Even though you suffer without a cause, you will just try to understand from the other's viewpoint and forgive that person.
You desire to act in goodness, but how much spiritual love do you have in your heart?
If at any moment you can't decide whether you are acting in evil or goodness, you can just think about which choice is really 'love'.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will only act in the goodness that pleases God.

[Conclusion]

Dear devotees, Matthew 5:48 says, "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Since you are listening to this holiness gospel, I hope you will accomplish perfection and resemble God so that you won't have anything that can be used to bring accusation against you.
When you cultivate goodness, you shouldn't just cultivate it to some extent and stop, but you have to cultivate complete goodness that is free of any evil.
In order to do this, first of all, you have to thoroughly hate evil.
Secondly, you have to cast away fleshly thoughts.
Thirdly, you have to cultivate spiritual love.
If you just cultivate such a heart, you can receive all the spiritual and material blessings that God promises in the Bible.
I hope that you will keep this message in your heart, put it into practice and accomplish it; and I hope also that you will be filled with the aroma of goodness like the apostle Paul and Mary Magdalene.
I pray in the name of the Lord that God the Father will be pleased with you and lead you nearer to the throne of God!

[Amen]

 
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