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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Goodness of God - Women''s Mission Devotional    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   1 John 1: 5
Date
   2011-04-17



[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."


Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to have 2011 Women'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, since its opening, you Women's Mission members have been playing a very important role in the church.
You have been taking care of the souls and volunteering for church events. You have been faithful giving all your time, money, and lives with all your hearts, minds, and souls.
Above all, you have been running your race of faith longing for spirit.
But the fact is though many of you say you long for spirit, the speed of going into spirit is different from person to person.
Some people go into spirit quickly while others grow up to some extent but get stuck at the threshold of spirit and stay in the same place.
They pray and try hard to cultivate goodness, but they are not acknowledged by God to have goodness.
They listened to many messages so they know about goodness very well, and they mistakenly think that they have cultivated goodness.
Even though they have feelings that are not good, they cover it quickly and cheat themselves thinking, "I don't have such heart."
You must not just hear the Word of God and store it as knowledge.
You have to cultivate it in heart and practice it.
Just as God has no darkness in Him at all, you must not accept any kind of darkness in you either. You have to walk in the perfect light.
In this message, through the three questions I will give you, I would like you to check as to what extent you have cultivated goodness in you, to what extent you are walking in the light, and how much you resemble God.
The first aspect you have to check to cultivate God's goodness, is you have to see whether you are more accustomed to giving rather than receiving.
Acts 20:35, latter half says, "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
You know this verse very well, but in actual life, there are many more people who receive all the time, but don't give.
Here, 'giving' and 'receiving' include not just money but all the actions of truth like giving time and effort.
It is that you don't practice the truth, but you expect others to serve you and yield to you according to the truth.
For example, when I help others, I can see the attitudes of those who receive my help are all different.
When they receive help, some people show me their words and deeds of thankfulness without changing.
With a desire to pay back the grace, they lead a faithful Christian life, and they also begin to help others.
Some others think they are thankful that they received help, but they don't help others who are in need.
They just think they are not in a situation to help others.
Still others even think as follows:
"It's a big church, so it is rather natural that it has to help many people in need." Or, they think, "Senior pastor said he would help the needy so there wouldn't be anyone in need, so he has to keep his promise." Thinking like this, they take it all it for granted.
They know it is a work of goodness to help others, but they want others to do the good works. They don't want to do it themselves.
Or, when they get help, some people serve the church faithfully with their thanks for the moment but soon change their attitude.
If there is any conflict with some people in the church, they forget about their desire to pay back the grace.
They even hold grudges against me.
Very recently they confessed with tears saying, "Thank you for the word of life. Thank you for healing me with the power of God. On top of that, you provide me with financial help. I am so thankful!" But when something is not beneficial for them, they forget about the grace quickly.
Still, they think they have legitimate reason, and they don't realize their evil.
It's not just about financial matters but also about your service where you have to expend your time and effort.
For example, when there is a meeting, a certain person comes early and prepares the place so that the meeting goes well.
She always looks for the things to do and the ways to serve others.
If she comes a little later than others and thus cannot serve others, she feels very sorry.
She keeps in mind such an occasion will not happen again. She makes sure she serves others next time.
On the contrary, another person is late to the meetings habitually.
Even if she is not late, she comes only after everything is set up and everyone has gathered.
She thinks, "It must not have been ready by this time anyway. Even if I go on time, not everybody will be there yet. I don't have to go so early and then wait."
It means it is like a habit for her that others come first and serve her, and she receives it.
If you cannot serve others in these little things of your everyday life, how can you say you are longing for spiritual goodness?
There is still another case. A person helps others and takes delight in giving presents.
She does the things that she doesn't really have to do to serve others.
Even though she acts this way, she is not recognized by God to be good.
It's because she wants something in return.
Even though she doesn't want monetary reward, she wants to receive thanks from others for her service and she wants to be acknowledged by others as much as she serves others.
If she doesn't get it, she feels uncomfortable.
She might even become resentful or feel hurt.
She could even judge others thinking, "I gave them this good thing. I considered their situations and served them this way, and they should be thankful! They don't even say thank-you! They are very arrogant and rude!"
When the next time comes, she doesn't serve such people.
And yet, she thinks she is serving others and acting in goodness.
The spiritual heart is to give what others want and give comfort to others.
You do not care about what others want, but you just do what you want to do for them, and yet, you want to receive the recognition and tribute from them. It is not spiritual heart.
Also, spiritual heart would not say, "I have served them once, so I did what I had to do."
God is not like that. It's not that He gives you His grace and fullness of Spirit just once and never gives it to you again.
He gives us the best thing again and again.
Just like this heart of God the Father, I hope you will take delight in giving rather than receiving.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be able to give again and again without wanting anything in return.
What you have to check to cultivate God's goodness, secondly, is whether you seek your own benefit or you understand others and put yourself in their shoes.
Many people pray for things that are good in their prayers.
They pray like, "Father, if somebody slaps my right cheek, I want to give the left cheek without any hard feelings. If they ask for the undergarment, I want to give them the cloak with joy. If they force me to go 1 mile, I'd like to go 2 miles."
But in reality, they just stick to their own standpoint and seek their own benefits.
If actions of another person are not beneficial for them, they cannot understand or accept that person.
For example, suppose some workers do some voluntary work for half a day in the church.
One of them has some personal affairs, and she returns home two hours earlier than others.
In this situation, if those who were working with her have good heart, they won't have any uncomfortable feelings for they think she must have a reason.
They will just try to work harder and get the work done smoothly.
But those who are in flesh will have many thoughts.
They think like, "She is not the only one who is busy. I am also busy. This voluntary work was scheduled in advance, so why does she have to leave now?"
They even judge that person saying she is selfish and has no conscience.
They don't stop at having such thoughts, and they even speak piercing words.
Or, some people do some calculations about the situation.
"I worked two more hours because of her absence, so when we have another work next time, I will ask her to do that."
If you have this kind of attitude, you are doing a voluntary work, but it will be difficult for that work to be accepted as spiritual aroma before God.
Then, what is the reason that you could not cast off such things of the heart even though you have been praying to cultivate goodness?
It's because you don't cultivate the messages on goodness in your heart, but just store it as knowledge.
You do not apply the standards of goodness to yourself, but only to other people.
You think like, "The truth tells us to sacrifice ourselves for others, but being a leader, she seeks her own good. God's work must come before personal work, but for her, personal work comes before God's work." Because you are thinking in terms of the word of truth, you mistakenly think you are having thoughts of goodness and righteousness.
Furthermore, you think you are better than that person in doing good deeds, because you are sacrificing yourself to do the voluntary work unlike the other person, although you are busy.
But then, what if you were in the kind of situation where you have to leave?
Would you feel sorry that you had to leave early?
If others feel uncomfortable about you, would you feel sorry?
No. You would have your own reasons.
You might feel you are hurt thinking like, "I am already sorry that I have to leave early, and does she have to show her discomfort to me? I did my best although I am so busy, and if she knows the truth she would thank me for coming to do the work. She knows the truth and how can she act like that? If she works a little more, it will all be her reward, so why can't she just be thankful?"
You just keep on thinking you are right.
If you just think of your own standpoint and your own benefit, you cannot cultivate spiritual goodness.
One who is good will think from others viewpoint in every matter.
She doesn't choose the way that is easier and better for her, but what is more comfortable to others. That can give glory to God more.
I urge you to seek the benefit of others in every matter and think from others' viewpoint.
In order to cultivate God's goodness, thirdly, you have to check how well you are serving others in the hierarchy.
This can also be about arrogance.
For example, a person does not serve her superiors in the hierarchy with her heart. She doesn't obey within the order very well.
But if those under her do not serve her properly, she feels very uncomfortable thinking they are not keeping the order.
Suppose you are the assistant leader of a mission group.
If you have arrogance in you, you will feel uncomfortable when other workers lower in the hierarchy do not serve you.
You might think like, 'When the administrator makes reports to the leader, why does she not make any report to me? I have been doing this particular work, but why is it given to another person this year without even asking my opinion? When the workers have disregard for the assistant leader like this, why does the leader just keep quiet about it?'
Thinking like this, you have discomfort over every little thing.
And yet, you don't serve those who are higher in the order of the hierarchy.
If they give you some work that you don't really agree on, you have discomfort having many kinds of thoughts.
You don't really serve your superiors, but if your subordinates in the order do not serve you, you feel uncomfortable saying that they are breaking the order.
Of course, every organization has its hierarchy, and everyone has to do her job according to the order.
Also, if the subordinates break the order, it is not spiritual goodness to unconditionally understand and accept them.
Sometimes you have to understand and accept them while at other times you have to correct them with gentleness to maintain the order.
The standard to discern between whether you are insisting the order with your arrogance or you are trying to follow the order in spiritual goodness is, after all, your own heart.
You can choose the way with which God is delighted only when you do not have any pride to be served and recognized or desire to become the leader by suppressing others.
You will be able to discern with a peaceful mind whether you have to establish the order with the truth, or you have to understand and accept your subordinates even though they have shortcomings in a particular situation.
On the other hand, when you serve your superiors in the order, you can also discern wisely as to whether you have to obey the instructions of the leader as it is spoken or whether you should gather the opinions of other people and make a suggestion to your leader.


Conclusion

In Matthew chapter 20 is the parable of the landowner of the vineyard and the laborers.
The landowner of the vineyard went out early in the morning to hire the laborers.
He went out around noon, and there were others standing idle in the market place.
They didn't get a job for the day, and they had to worry about making ends meet.
The landowner got them to go to work.
He also went out at three and also five, and he let those who were standing idle work in his vineyard.
Soon, the evening came, and the laborers who came at five first began to receive their wages.
They worked only for one hour, but the landowner gave them a day's wage, one denarius.
Those who came earlier than this thought they were going to receive more, but the landowner gave them all one denarius.
If you were in this situation, what would you have said?
The laborers in Matthew 20:12 said, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.'
Is what they said correct?
If you understand the goodness only as knowledge, you might think they are right.
You would want to discern between the right and wrong saying, "It is not right for the landowner to do that. Those who worked more must receive more wages. It's a loss for those who worked more."
But if you have cultivated God's goodness in heart, you would have said the following:
"Sir, thank you for giving me work today and the promised wage. Especially, those people who came later wouldn't have earned their living for the day without you, and yet you gave them a full day's wage though they worked little. You are really good and generous. I'm really impressed and I am thankful for that. May God bless you considering your goodness!"
You would go back home with a wonderful feeling giving thanks to the landowner.
If you understand God's heart and if you have cultivated God's goodness in you, you could make such professions.
I urge you to keep in mind today's message again and again and cultivate it fully in your heart.
I wish you could give rather than receive and seek the benefit of others thinking from their standpoints.
Serve within the order and humble yourself.
If you go into a garden full of flowers at full bloom, you will be intoxicated with the fragrance.
I hope you will fill this church with the aroma of goodness and aroma of the Father that is much stronger than that of the flowers.
Then, this place will be Heaven itself.
Wherever you are, that place will be Heaven.
People around you will also give glory to God because of you.
Just think of how delighted God would be!
I pray in the name of the Lord that, starting from today, your aroma of goodness will fill the whole world and also the city of New Jerusalem later.

 
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