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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Meaning of Devotion - Pastors & Workers Devotional Service    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   Revelation 2:10
Date
   2015-03-29



[Passage]

[Revelation 2:10]
"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."



[Introduction]

Dear brothers and sisters, let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father for blessing us to have the 2015 pastors & workers' devotional service.

Dear devotees,
The Father God has given you the message under the title 'The Meaning of Devotion'. You know very well the latter part of today's reading passage. It is, 'Be faithful until death'.

For pastors, Levites, elders, senior deaconesses, deacons and deaconesses and others who have duties in the church, they must be familiar with the word 'devotion' and 'faithfulness'. Pastors take care of the flock of God and feed them the Word of God; the Levites do the works in the church staying in the church every day; elders serve the church like pillars; senior deaconesses look after each corner of the church like their own houses; and all other deacons and deaconesses are also faithful to the church. The kingdom of God is being accomplished through such devotion and faithfulness of yours.

Some of you have been with the shepherd in this church for 10, 20, even 30 years. Some of you have offered all your youth, dedicating your body and heart. Some of you have been in the church, in your respective positions, even in trials and turmoil. Still others have been working hard with a great dream to become strength to the shepherd.

But in some cases, comparing your devotion and faithfulness, you were relatively slow in changing yourself and bearing spiritual fruits. In particular, pastors and Levites were supposed to come into spirit faster than others. But many of you had a long-term stagnation having lukewarm faith. Some of you even indulged yourselves again in the flesh and worldly things, going the opposite direction of the flow of spirit.

Eventually, the Father God had to give us the suspension period for three months in 2013. And as the person in charge, I even received the sword of punishment. But all those moments were a process to meet the justice for later blessings.

As your hardened frameworks of self-righteousness were melted away and the indestructible walls of sins were broken down, finally a love you could see, and a love you could feel was coming in. It was the love of the Father, love of the Lord, and the love of the shepherd. You had once said you knew of it, but you could not feel it. And finally, you began to realize that love.

The reason why God gave us the message with the title, 'The Meaning of Devotion' is because He wants to advise you to dedicate yourselves with love. The heart of spirit, which is the fourth level of faith, is the faith to love God to the utmost degree. If you have the heart of spirit, you can truly love God from the depth of your heart, even though you don't try to love God.

If you feel forced to love somebody, it cannot be considered love. The same goes for devotion and fulfilling your God-give duties. You should not do it with a sense of responsibility, as if you were carrying a heavy burden, thinking, 'This is what I have to do,' 'This is a job given to me,' or 'I should pay back the grace I received, at least a little bit.'

The faithfulness of Moses, Abraham's obedience, Paul's passion, and all the devotion of the patriarchs were possible because they had love for the Father and the Lord. Because they had love, they did not utilize their fleshly thoughts in any situation but only went on their way with joy and thanksgiving. They understood and forgave even those who could not be understood; they could overcome in any kind of hardship.

I hope you will check what kind of devotion you have, compared to such patriarchs. In acting in this way I pray in the name of the Lord that your devotion will be offered up as a beautiful aroma before the Father God.



[Main]

Dear devotees,

In order for you to offer devotion with your love for God, first of all, you should check if you have a changing mind, which changes according to your benefit or advantage.

'Changing-mind' is one of the fleshly attributes that we have to be most careful about. On the outside, it might not look like you are doing a great evil, but as the changing-mind grows, eventually it can even lead you to betray the grace of God.

It was the case with Judas Iscariot. He witnessed so many signs and wonders directly while staying near Jesus. Just with a word from Jesus, a dead person came back to life and a man born blind opened his eyes. But seeing this Jesus, Judas Iscariot just thought that he could one day also enjoy privilege and honor because of Jesus. He followed Jesus for his own benefit.

But the things did not go as he thought they would. People conspired against Jesus and persecuted Him. Especially, those in power tried to kill Him. They were the religious and political leaders of Israel.

Seeing that the situation was turning unfavorably for Jesus, the heart of Judas Iscariot began to change. Since he thought he wouldn't be able to get any benefit out of it, in the end, having been instigated by Satan, he made the extreme choice of selling out His own master.

Dear devotees,

When this church had great trials, those who used to say they wanted to be like pillars of the church and that they would keep the church and the shepherd with their lives, left the church one by one. It was a trial of blessing that was allowed for this church by God, and I've mentioned it many times. And yet, in the eyes of the fleshly people, it looked like the church was suffering great damage and it didn't seem beneficial for them, so they soon changed their minds.

There were even pastors who just forsook the flock entrusted to them. They used to say they were going to be faithful to the kingdom of God and help with the ministry of the shepherd with all their lives, but they eventually left. Even though they did not hinder the ministry of the church, they just forsook the church where they had received so much grace of God. It means they did not possess true faith. They lost all their love, faith, and hope that they had stored.

Therefore, we always have to check 'changing mind.' Especially, if you usually seek your own benefit, it is likely that you will change your mind more easily. When you do the work of God, you should not try to do what you like according to your preferences, but you have to go with the will of God.

Some situations won't be in accordance with your opinions, and some would be even non-beneficial for you. For example, for pastors, they are served and respected by the members, but more often they have to unconditionally sacrifice themselves and give of themselves for the members. Sometimes they have to give up their own freedom and rights. They should be willing to give up their time, what they want to enjoy, and even their everyday life.

Also, Levites are precious workers of God who belong to God, as said in the latter part of Numbers 3:12, "So the Levites shall be Mine." Therefore, rather than just thinking about the work that is allotted to you, you should first think about the benefit for the kingdom of God as a whole.

If one wants to be commended for the work that he's done personally or by his own department, he is likely to change his mind if what he wants is not received. He will be happy if he is commended by seniors, but otherwise his fervor will cool down. He will be disappointed and become tired if he doesn't get what he wants. You work hard in a duty that easily draws attention and commendation, but if another job seems to earn praises more easily, you want to do that job, neglecting your own duty.

Let me give you another example. Please remember what kinds of attitude of mind you had during the three months of the suspension period in 2013. Some repented thoroughly and made up their minds to change themselves, with a thankful heart for the opportunity that was once again given to them.

But were there not those who were disappointed because their positions were lowered? It was a chance for them to go into spirit, but they did not realize it, and they backslid. They even regretted that they chose to become pastors or Levites. They wanted to take worldly things that they had already forsaken, and they regretted the past years.

Just think about the devotion of the apostle Paul. He established many churches in many places, giving birth to many flocks of God. He did not do the ministry while eating well and wearing good clothes or with enough financial support from anybody. Rather than taking from the flock, he paid for his ministry by making tents. And how many persecutions and sufferings did he go through?

Acts 20:22-24 says, "And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God." Knowing that he would be beaten, put in jail, and even put to death at the end, he said only 'Yes' if it was the will of God. Even when he was in jail, he did not seek his own comfort but he worried about the church and the conditions of the flock.

Dear devotees,
When you decided to become a pastor or a Levite, or to receive a position and duty in the church, were there any among you who made that choice to seek your own benefit? Probably you only wanted to dedicate yourself for the Lord, for the church, for the members, and to become the strength to the shepherd. You had your visions and confessed, "I will lead many souls to Heaven being united with the shepherd," "I will become strength to the kingdom of God with the talent given to me"

But if you want to change your mind just because it is not beneficial for you any longer, or just because you feel it is too hard to go through your trials, wouldn't your previous faithfulness be in vain? I hope your confession that you offered before the Father and the shepherd will always remain the same. Do not change the decision that you made before the Father in any situation. Rather than seeking your own benefit, I hope you will first think of the kingdom of God and the souls.

Dear devotees,

In order to offer your devotion with your love for the Father, secondly, I urge you to check if you have not considered everything only according to your own situations, although you are saying you are dedicating yourself.

Sometimes you might be given a job that you don't really want to do, or one that is beyond the scope of your capabilities. In those situations, you should not say you lack the ability to the work given to you, and just try to do the job that you are good at and you are willing to do. Doing your God-given duty is not only done by knowledge of the world, talents, or money. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." If you ask for the wisdom and strength of God with all your heart, you can be a great worker of God.

Especially, in case of pastors, they have to focus more on the souls who are in despair, the weak souls, and those who have hardened hearts, rather than those who are doing fine in the church. What will happen if you just visit the members who welcome and serve you and stay with them all the time? And you do not even have peace with those souls who do not welcome you or respect you. Also, pastors should not just work considering your current situations and conditions only.

In the 90's, around when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was a request from Russia to establish a church. It was the right time to establish a church and spread gospel. But to my regret, even though I asked for pastors to volunteer for Russia, there was not a single one who responded.

In fact, it is not spiritually proper for me to ask you. Pastors are supposed to just obey unconditionally, even if they are sent to the remotest part. They are not supposed to worry about their living conditions or other circumstances and make a choice that is better for them.

The same goes for other workers too. Even if you are given a job that you don't really want to do, I urge you to first think about what the will of the Father God is for you. But I am not saying that the Father will indiscriminately give you any random job without considering your faith, circumstances, visions, and capabilities. I am just saying that rather than thinking about your own situations, you should be able to think about what the Father wants for you first, for He always wants to give you the best things.

Once, I asked the workers around me this one thing. I asked them to try to take on a duty in their respective mission groups and serve the members. I didn't ask them to do that just because I wanted them to have more duties and be faithful in all God's household. It was because, when they had the duty to take care of the souls, they could understand the heart of the shepherd and they would be able to love the church and the members more deeply.

Also, as they gained more experience in their mission groups, it could help them in their job and ministry in the church. If you do not broaden your heart and just stay within your own limitations, then it means you are being stubborn saying, "I will not do anything more for the kingdom of God."

Also, for some duties, they stand on the stage with splendid appearances while for other duties you have to serve without anybody recognizing you. In some cases, even after you did some hard work that nobody recognizes, sometimes the merit and commendation goes to another person.

I want you to check if you can dedicate yourself with the same attitude of mind in this kind of situation, too. You might be given a job that you didn't really want. You could be led in a direction that you never expected to be led. You might be put in a low position or you may have to hear criticism concerning a job that you did with dedication. Nevertheless, I hope all you devotees will still dedicate yourselves with the attitude of an unworthy servant.



[Conclusion]

Dear devotees and other members,

The Father God also dedicates Himself during all the days of human cultivation. After all, it also comes from love. Because God the Father knows the weakness of human beings, He knew He would be betrayed by them, too. He knew they would be stained by sins and He would be heart-broken because of it.

But He has endured for a long time with His love. He doesn't want to give up on any of the souls, so He gives them chances again and again. Even for those souls who stood against God directly, He did not punish them right away, but He tried to give them a way to live.

When disasters came on the souls according to justice, He did not say, "Well, they brought it on themselves," but He was rather heart-broken, feeling their pains together with them. Even though men commit sins repeatedly, He does not give up on them, but He takes all the responsibilities until they can come forth as true children.

Eventually, He gave His beloved Son as propitiation on the cross and confirmed His love once again. If we know this love of the Father God toward us, what kind of devotion should we offer before God? Offer your devotion with true love. Only then will you be able to think first of the kingdom of God. And your devotion will be in accordance with God's will and it will not change. Through this kind of true devotion, I pray in the name of the Lord that all of you will be used like pillars for the kingdom of God.

[Amen]

 
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