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   Invitation - Anniversary Sunday Evening Service    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   1 John 4:16


[1 John 4:16]
"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the 32nd anniversary Sunday of Manmin Central Church. Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has been guiding this church. I give thanks to all the honored guests who came from inside and outside South Korea. I also welcome all the families, relatives, and neighbors who came by the invitation of the church members. I give thanks to all the pastors, missionaries, full-time workers and members who have been in this ministry together.

This event is a special festivity that God gave to us on this special day. I believe God will give great joy and happiness to all of you who are here.

Brothers and sisters,

God gave us an invitation that is even more glorious. In Matthew chapter 22 is a parable. A certain king threw a wedding banquet for his son and invited the guests. Just how abundantly elegant that banquet would be, and what an honor it is to be invited by the king?

But those who were invited declined because of their businesses and family matters. They did not participate even though they were invited to such a great banquet. Here, the one who gave the party symbolizes God, and the banquet is a heavenly banquet that will be held in the future. The banquet refers to the wedding banquet of the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the saved believers.

God invited all peoples of the world. Even after hearing such good news, those who are filled with the lust of the world will not accept the invitation, but anyone who accepts this invitation with a poor heart can participate in the heavenly banquet.

But today, to this church, God has sent a more special invitation. The invitation is not just for a heavenly banquet, but a banquet that will be held in New Jerusalem, the most beautiful of the heavenly dwelling places. I hope all of you who are here and all those who are attending this service on the Internet and through satellite all over South Korea and all over the world will respond to this invitation! I pray in the name of the Lord that, in doing so, we will all be able to share our joy, remembering this particular day at the glorious banquet that will be given later.


Dear brothers and sisters, and guests,

Right now, in your hands is the invitation of God for a banquet in New Jerusalem. Now, what kind of message is written on it?

In this invitation, first of all, is the heart of God the Father who wants to be with the dear ones forever.

Some parents of this world say that the most emotional moment of their lives was the time when they held the newborn baby for the first time. In fact, if seen without love, it is suffering itself to give birth to a baby and raise him.

But parents wouldn't feel that way at all. They do not care about the inconvenience of being pregnant, the labor of childbirth, or the worries and hardships they have to take for their children. Sometimes, they just forget all the worries of the world by the pure laughter of the children. They feel the happiness of life sharing love with their children as they grow up. When they work hard to support their children, they do not grieve saying they are suffering because of their children.

But rather they say they have a reason to live because of their children. And God's love in creating human beings is incomparatively greater than this love of parents. God existed as the Light and voice throughout the entire universe in glory, and He Himself molded Adam and created Him. It was because He wanted to share love with him. Just as parents would want to give only the good things to their children, God made the best place, heavenly kingdom, and He wanted to give him eternal happiness.

But this eternal happiness could not just be given. From God's side, too, He had to go through the pains with endurance in the course of human cultivation. The children will not be happy just because parents give them one-sided love. Parents and children can both be happy when children understand their parents and love them back.

People cannot understand the value of Light unless they experience darkness. They can feel the preciousness of God's love only when they experience sorrow, death, and pains of human cultivation. In the course of human cultivation, it is not only the humans that are suffering. God also had to be patient and He had to sacrifice greatly. He had to be patient with those who stood against God, and He even gave His only begotten Son on to the cross.

However, because He looks forward to many souls who will be saved and come into the eternal heavenly kingdom, He still continues human cultivation with love. And it is not just for those children who will be merely saved that He is enduring so much. It is to gain true children. He wants to get true children who would understand His heart and share their love with Him, such as Abraham, Moses, the apostle Paul, other apostles and prophets.

And the city of New Jerusalem is the place that He prepared for such children. When we see such a big and brilliant mansion, we would be impressed very much. Some mansions are so beautiful that they are breathtaking and they make us feel we would just die to live there.

But Heaven, and New Jerusalem in particular, is the place that God, who created this Earth and all the universe, made with the best of His wisdom and abilities. It cannot be compared with any place of this earth. He is inviting us saying, "My dear children, let us be here together. Let's live here in New Jerusalem sharing love forever." This is the desire of the Father contained in the invitation. I hope you will remember this desire of His and accept the invitation.

Dear brothers and sisters, and guests,

Secondly, in this invitation is the earnest plea of the Father God who is urging us to change our hearts.

Namely, He wants us to have the qualifications to enter Heaven. We are forgiven of our sins when we accept the Lord, but that is not the end. If we really believe in the precious blood of the Lord, we will purify our hearts and turn away from sins.

Today, so many believers live just like unbelievers. They take the lust of the world and practice unrighteousness and lawlessness. They say they will accept the invitation of God, but in fact they are not preparing to participate.

The parable in Matthew chapter 22 that I mentioned also explains what will happen to such people. While the banquet was going on, the king was looking around the guests and found out who did not put on the wedding clothes. Matthew 22:12-13 says, "...and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."'

Here to put on the wedding clothes is to purify our heart. It is to cast away sins and evil as children of God who believe in the Lord. Our dwelling places in Heaven will be different according to the extent to which we change our hearts in our Christian lives. For us to enter into the best dwelling place in Heaven, New Jerusalem, we basically have to cast away all sins and become holy. Along with this, we have to be faithful in all God's household.

But being a Christian for a long time does not automatically remove sin and evil from our heart to prepare the clean wedding clothes. We have to struggle individually against sins. Of course, nobody can cast away sins and evil and become holy by his own strength.

We must receive God's grace and strength and the help of the Holy Spirit. But to receive such grace and strength, we have to exert our own strength, too. We have to pray fervently and sometimes pray all night or fast to cast away evil. Sometimes we might be disheartened because we keep on finding our own evil even though we try so hard.

But if we just keep going without giving up, eventually we will be able to cast away evil. It means we will prepare wedding clothes that are purer. Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." God also knows this struggle is hard. But He also knows the glory of New Jerusalem. Because He has prepared such great glory, with His love the Father God is waiting for us to achieve sanctification.


Dear brothers and sisters, and guests,

God of love established Manmin Central Church 32 years ago and has been accomplishing so many things since then. He revealed to us secrets of the spiritual realm and manifested so many signs and wonders that we cannot mention them all. He has been accomplishing world evangelism greatly, too. And after letting us achieve these things, He would not just receive the glory and stay quiet.

All those moments were a part of the plan that He made meticulously for a long time, to make true children who would accept the invitation to New Jerusalem and go in there. He let us know about New Jerusalem so vividly so that we had greater hope in casting away sins. He also let us know in detail how we could cast away sins and become sanctified. He gave us the strength to cast away sins by letting us experience His love in giving us answers to prayers, blessings, and divine healing.

Now, as 32 years have passed, the eyes of Manmin are fixed not on the world but on Heaven. We live not for perishable things of the flesh but only for the glory of God. It was the providence of God in establishing this church that He wanted to fill New Jerusalem with such children.

Through this church, He wanted to send out this heavenly invitation to the entire world. The glory of God that will be revealed in this church later will be incomparably greater than the former. Habakkuk 2:14 says, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." As said, so many workers of spirit and whole spirit will lead countless souls to the Lord. With this vision in mind, Manmin Central Church will keep on going with greater fervor and devotion.

Once again, I give thanks to all the guests who have been encouraging this church with love until we are what we have become today. I pray in the name of the Lord that we will all be in the banquet in New Jerusalem and remember this day with joy. Let us give all thanks and glory to the LORD God almighty, who has guided us until now, and who will be lifted high among all nations and the whole world.