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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Our Fervor - Men''s Mission Devotional    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   2 Timothy 4:7
Date
   2013-04-07



Passage

[2 Timothy 4:7]
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;"


Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to have this 2013 Men's Mission Devotional Service.
I give thanks to the devotees who have prepared for this service with all your hearts.
Dear devotees, Men's Mission should play the role of the pillars of the church.
In your families, you are the heads who are responsible for the faith of your family members.
Many elders, who have been anointed, belong to Men's Mission and there are many Levites among you who serve the church, too.
Many of you have been believers for more than 10, 20, or even 30 years, being faithful to your duties in many aspects.
You professed so many times that you want to become spiritual warriors, give glory to the Father and the Lord only, and become strength to the shepherd and the church.
It seems you have been diligently trying hard in your faithful work, but what kind of fruit are you bearing?
Have you reached the spiritual level that you hoped to achieve and are you receiving blessings, too?
Of course there are some of you who have, but your spiritual level is lower than what you expected, and some of you are still in the middle of trials.
So, through this message, I hope you will check once again whether your fervor was the kind of fervor that pleased God.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that all the seeds of faith you sow will be borne as fruit of perfect blessings.


Main

Dear devotees,
The kind of fervor that is proper in the sight of God is, first of all, a fervor that comes from your love for the Father God.
If you love somebody, you will try hard to please that person.
In the spiritual sense, if you love God, you will find and diligently do the things that will please God.
You will attend the worship services and the prayer meetings, and you will work hard at your God-given duties.
But some people try hard, but not because they necessarily love God.
Some people are born with very active characters, while the nature of some others is to be faithful and responsible so they fervently participate in church activities.
Still there are others who show their fervor because they want to be recognized by others.
While doing that, if they do not really see what they are doing, they might deceive themselves into thinking, "I am doing the work of God because I love God."
Those who are fervent with their love for God, first of all, will seek the heart and will of God as to what God really wants.
They do not follow the way they consider good, and they do not try to achieve the goal they want.
They seek the goal and methods that God wants, and they try to obey God's heart and will.
For example, nowadays, I believe the greatest interest that you have is to increase your measure of faith.
However, when earnestly desiring to have a greater measure of faith, you should carefully check why you are earnest.
You should be desperate and earnest because you love God so much and you want to become a true child whom God wants to gain.
But some people long for greater measure of faith to achieve personal goals.
They are earnest because they think, "I have been as diligent as that person, and why is it that I am lower than he is?" Or, "I should have at least this much of measure of faith being in my position so I don't have to be embarrassed. I can confidently fulfill my duty only when I have at least this much measure of faith."
When you want to fulfill your own will before God's, you might learn the Word and pray diligently for some time, but you might get tired and lose momentum if you do not get the results that you want.
Also, when you come to know your measure of faith, you should think of ways to improve and make yourself more perfect. But, there are some of you who are busy comparing yourself with others.
You feel relieved if you are better than others, but you feel discouraged if you are not.
Of course, you might have a good-will sense of competition in the faith.
You can have that competition, but you should check the reason why you long to become sanctified: is it because you really love God and you want to fulfill His will, or is it to be acknowledged by others and you want to achieve your own goals?
When you do your church duties, you should check whether you are doing it because you want to earn the praise of other people or because you really love God.
If you are doing your duties with true love for God, you will pursue peace with everybody according to the will of God.
Also, you will do not only the works that are seen by others, but also the unseen works that are difficult and dirty and you will do them with a thankful heart.
Even if you might suffer inconvenience, you will find the ways to give comfort to others and serve them with a humble attitude.
Even if you are sometimes wrongfully blamed for something that you did with good intentions, you just quietly look up to God.
You can bear with all those things because you know that God the Father knows your heart.
As explained, I urge you to work more faithfully not to be seen by others or to serve your own purpose, but with true love for God that stems from your heart.

Dear devotees,
The kind of fervor that is proper in the sight of God is, secondly, truthful.
The fervor that comes from a truthful heart will never change.
Some people look very full of grace and appear fervent in their faith, but soon they are nowhere to be seen.
Their passion cools down if things are not in agreement with their thoughts or their personal benefit.
Or, in other cases, you begin to neglect your life of faith because your mind is taken away by money or fame of the world.
In still other cases, they are diligent in their faith because they want to receive an answer from God such as divine healing or financial blessings, but their fervor cools down very quickly if they do not receive the answer in a way they want.
Some people attend all the meetings and serve their groups with money and physical service, because they long for the titles of group or mission leaders.
But if they do not get the positions they wanted, they do not come to the meetings any more.
There are some people who actively participate when they are in charge, but they do not cooperate and they even just step aside and watch when other people are in charge.
If you belong to any of these categories, we cannot say your fervor was the kind of fervor that is proper in the sight God.
The Apostle Paul's fervor for the spreading of gospel never cooled down during his entire life.
Once, when he led a lame man to walk and leap, the people in that area wanted to serve him as a god.
Even though he manifested such powerful works, he did not gain any glory or substantial fruit right away.
But rather, those people who were incited by the Jews stoned him and threw him outside of the city wall because they thought he was dead.
He went to places where people gathered and he preached the gospel with a burning heart, but sometimes there seemed to be no outcome.
In one area, he drove out a demon, but because of that he was beaten and imprisoned.
So he could not spread the gospel any more, his people, the Jews, followed him everywhere in attempts to kill him. The gentiles persecuted him saying he was interfering with the idol-worshiping.
In the church that he established with so much toil, there was news of adultery and other sins and strife among the members, which made him grieve very much.
Some workers betrayed and left him, and some others rejected him saying he was not qualified to be an apostle.
He gathered offerings to help the believers and churches in need, and people misunderstood him thinking he was doing it for his personal gain.
But he did not care about any kind of hardship.
He was neither tired nor disheartened. He did not complain saying, "Why do I have to go through all this? Why wouldn't the Lord help me?"
He never thought like, "How much longer do I have to suffer?" or "I can't take this anymore"
Even after he was almost stoned to death, he left for the next destination of his mission trip right after he regained consciousness.
Even after he was beaten, covered with blood, and put in jail, he praised God with a loud voice so his voice was heard by all the inmates.
Even when he was in confinement and could not freely go about preaching, he sent letters to each church to reaffirm the faith of the leaders and believers.
I hope your fervor for the Lord will be acknowledged by God as being truthful and never-changing like the fervor of the Apostle Paul.

Dear devotees,
The kind of fervor that is proper in the sight of God is, thirdly, a fervor with gratefulness for God's grace.
I already said that the fervor derived from the love for God is truthful and it never changes.
For your fervor to be unchanging, you must never forget the grace you received from God.
The apostle Paul was so passionate in fulfilling his duty because of the grace that saved such a person as him, for he considered himself to be the foremost of all sinners.
He lived his whole life with an attitude of thinking, "I am so grateful for the grace that saved me. I was persecuting the Lord; and now what great grace is it that the Lord gave me the duty of an apostle? How could I receive such a precious duty to spread the name of the Lord?"
When you work faithfully with your gratefulness for the grace received, you would not want any praise or reward for your job well-done.
Even though you sacrifice and dedicate yourself, it is that you did what you had to do, and the grace of God given to you is much greater than anything you can give to God.
Also, you would say that you could give because God gave you the grace and strength to do it.
As said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me," you give all the credit to God's grace alone.
That is what I did, too.
After spending seven years in sickness, in my hands there was nothing I had left.
I did not have the strength to support my family, and I did not even have the strength to carry my little daughter to the hospital when she was sick.
There was nobody to help me, and even those people who were trying to help me left me one by one since I did not have a chance of recovery.
I became a burden to my parents and my siblings, too.
Even my mother, who loved me the most among all her children, weeping so much in front of me said that it was better for everyone's sake that I die.
My hope for the future was gone, and I was just surviving each day, being completely incapable of anything.
That is when I met God.
God healed all my diseases and infirmities at once. Especially, He gave me Heaven.
He gave me the happiness of family and financial blessings, and He recovered my hope in life for me.
Since I met God, I was so thankful for His grace that I unsparingly gave everything to God.
I began to attend church immediately, and I fulfilled all my duties that were given to me.
Eventually I became a pastor, and I could give all my time, money, and even my wife and children before God.
For more than 40 years, I have been running this race of faith with the same attitude of heart.
I was thankful from my heart even in the face of the deaths of my daughters.
Even when I had to carry the heavy burden of church finances all by myself, and even when I had to take up so many things that I cannot explain to the church members, I only gave thanks to God.
This attitude of my heart remained the same in recent years, too.
Even when I was staggering because of lack of energy, and when I could not see or hear properly, or when I could not breathe well, I was only giving thanks to God.
I was so thankful that if one more believer could be forgiven, and if one more person could enter the Rock of Faith, and into Spirit and Whole Spirit.
Dear devotees and church members, what kind of grace is planted in your heart?
I believe you have many kinds of life-stories until you have come here sitting in this sanctuary.
Your serious diseases were healed, many kinds of difficulties were resolved by the power of God, and the problems of your dear children, wife, or parents were solved.
But the greatest grace of all the grace that you received is the grace of salvation.
It is the grace that you have become God's children by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Especially, the world today is so full of sins, and even if you have heard the gospel and accepted the Lord, it is very difficult for you to keep your faith.
You should be so thankful just for the fact that in this generation you heard the gospel and believed! And now how thankful you must be that you are marching towards New Jerusalem!
You are not leading a life in faith having an obscured understanding about faith. You understand the will of God so clearly and you experience countless works of God's power through the holiness gospel.
Furthermore, your measure of faith is checked precisely, so you can have a greater hope for New Jerusalem.
I urge you in the name of the Lord that you will engrave such grace one by one and more deeply so that you will become increasingly more fervent day after day.


Conclusion

Dear devotees and church members,
2 Timothy, which has today's reading passage, is the last letter among all the letters that the apostle Paul wrote.
From the time he met the Lord on his way to Damascus, Paul lived a life like a burning flame for the Lord.
He was now quite old, and put in a dark and cold prison before his martyrdom.
The clothes he had on were so thin they could not block the cold of the prison. His skin was rough and had many deep wrinkles.
His feet that had walked step-by-step, again-and-again for so many decades to spread the gospel were now at rest awaiting the day he would walk towards the beheading place.
His physical body was old and poor in appearance, but his spirit inside was so brightly full of grace, and he left his last will to his disciple Timothy.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 says, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. [7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8] in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."
It is a bold profession saying he lived a life without any regret, and what is ahead of him is only the crown of righteousness in eternal New Jerusalem.
I hope you will be able to make the same kind of profession as Paul did.
I also hope you will try your best in this march of faith with an unchanging heart, and with your gratefulness for the grace received.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will fight the good fight and eventually dwell in the glory of New Jerusalem on the day you finish your race.

 
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