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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Beautiful Heart    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   John20:15-18
Date
   2008-04-20



Passage

John 20: 15-18

"Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." [16] Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). [17] Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" [18] Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her."

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to have 2008 Women's Mission Devotional Service.
I give thanks to the devotees who have prepared for this service with all your heart and mind.

Dear devotees, the title of today's message given to you is 'Beautiful Heart'.

In the reading passage, you can realize that the beautiful heart I am going to talk about is the heart of Mary Magdalene.

The person whom the resurrected Lord met first was Mary Magdalene.

How special grace this was that she could meet the resurrected Lord first, while there were so many other disciples?

Just by seeing this one incident, we can see how greatly she was loved by the Lord.

Then, what kind of woman was she that she could receive such love and grace?

Of course, you have heard about Mary Magdalene's love and goodness many times.

Before she met Jesus, she used to live a very wretched life. She couldn't keep her sick body well, and she was persecuted and mocked by her own family members, too.

Nobody loved her or consolidated her heart.

Her life was a pitiful and hopeless life just like a flower that is trampled on the ground.

But by meeting Jesus, Mary received answer to all her physical and spiritual problems.

She recovered health and the meaning of life, too. She also received the love that the world could not know.

Mary Magdalene did not forget this grace that she received. She followed and served Jesus to pay back that love.

She loved the Lord with all her life and mind, and soul, strength and energy. She gave her everything until the last moment for Jesus.

Her love and service was so beautiful that she received the blessing of meeting the resurrected Lord first.

You also confess like this woman that you gained a new life because of the Lord.

You also confess, "I will also become like Mary Magdalene. I will love the Lord with that kind of heart, with all my life and serve the church and the shepherd."

But even among those who confess like this, there are many who have misunderstandings about the heart of Mary Magdalene.

They see, think, and follow in flesh, but they think that they have the longing of Mary Magdalene. Also, they think they are close to spirit without realizing themselves, and so, their spiritual growth is slow.

Through today's message, I hope you will realize the heart of Mary Magdalene once again.

By doing so, I urge you, the Women's Mission members as a whole will have beautiful heart like jewels, that is filled with goodness and perfect in spirit.

Body

Dear devotees, and members, the first beautiful heart of Mary Magdalene is to have no misunderstandings.

Most people, when they love somebody, they want something in return.

If they love and dedicate themselves for others, they want others to love them back.

If they don't seem to love them, they have misunderstandings and even get disappointed.

But if they love others and want something in return in a way they want, it means their love is not spiritual love.

Mary Magdalene wanted to pay back the grace with all her possessions and life. She gave her love focusing on Jesus only.

But Jesus did not just love Mary alone.

There were always poor and sick people crowding in and also many disciples around Jesus.

Jesus always taught them and looked after them with warm heart.

On the contrary, He sometimes even seemed to treat Mary Magdalene rather coldly or unimportantly.

Was Mary at discomfort at those occasions? Did she lose heart with disappointment thinking, 'He tells many things to Peter like that! He expresses His love to John that way! He smiles at that woman warmly, and why doesn't He do it to me?'
Did she lose joy thinking, 'I follow Him with all my life, and I have been giving to the Lord and the disciples by saving even a penny that I earn by sowing, and why am I not loved as much as they are? Then, why should I give all my life and my everything?'

Of course she didn't. She only wanted Jesus not to worry about her but just concentrate on His ministry with comfort. She always cared for Jesus and the disciples.

Of course, her longing heart was more earnest than anybody.

But she did not have resentment against Jesus only because she couldn't meet Him or talk with Him as much as she wanted.

She did not have any misunderstanding against Jesus even though He did not even look at her. It's because she had already received life-giving love of Jesus and trusted Him. Whether He looked at her or not, her trust never changed.

So, she could understand Jesus no matter what He said or how He acted.

She could share the heart in spirit, not using any fleshly thoughts.

Even the worldly people say if they love each other and are so intimate, their hearts will communicate.

When one person does something, the other person will understand what his eyes or facial expressions mean even without explaining.

It is even more so in spirit.

If we truly love and serve from the heart, and if we do not want anything in return, we will never misunderstand or have resentment.

Even when we see something different from our opinion, we can understand the other person with goodness. Furthermore, we can also feel why the other person is acting that way; his intentions and even his deep heart.

Then, did Mary serve only Jesus this way? No she didn't.

She showed the same service and devotion to the disciples and other people, too. She did not insist on herself or break peace saying, "I am the one who is serving Jesus, and I am the one who is close to Him."

It's because she didn't have any boasting mind to lift herself up.

Even though she dedicated herself so much, she just thought it was something what she was supposed to do. She never expected any praise in return.

And when she saw somebody else being loved and praised, she rejoiced because the Lord also rejoiced.

Do you have the same kind of heart? Since the opening of church, I have seen many people who made emotion-filled confessions when they received grace.

When they are full of the Spirit, they say, "I love you with all my life. I trust you whatever you say."

But when they faced some limits, I saw many of them lost their love and trust.

For example, they served with all their love. But when they did not receive the love back in a way they wanted, they lost heart.

In some cases, they had discomfort when they did not receive as much as others received.

They think, "I devoted myself and loved more than that person, and the shepherd is staying more closely with her. Because he is doing it to her, shouldn't he do the same to me?"

They lose heart thinking, "I try so hard, but I am not either recognized or loved." Sometimes, they have misunderstandings because of sermons.

If I say, "We have to cast off this kind of untruth," in the sermon, they think that it's meant for them.

"Who talked about my fault to him? My intention was not that, but he misunderstands me just by hearing from somebody." And they have trouble in heart.

Sometimes, they hear from somebody that I pointed out their mistakes, which didn't take place actually, and get offended. They think, "Oh, the shepherd is thinking of me badly."

They may also feel their pride is hurt and lose their strength thinking, "He embarrassed me in front of many people." But true love has no misunderstandings.

Even though they receive rebukes in front of many people, if they have true love in their heart, they will not be offended by anything like that.

Even though other people are recognized and loved even more, they rejoice. To Mary, the joy of Jesus was her own joy, and the desire of Jesus was her own desire.

Let me give you one more example. Suppose Mary Magdalene gave the most precious thing to Jesus.

If Jesus gave it to somebody else, what would have she felt? Would she think, "I prepared it with so much effort, and why does He do this to me? Is He looking down on me?"

No. She would only be thankful that she could give the most precious thing to the precious One.

Since Jesus used it for His purpose, she would only be thankful for it, too.

I hope you will also love the Lord and serve the church and the shepherd with this kind of pure heart.


Dear devotees and members, the beautiful heart of Mary Magdalene, secondly, is the heart without any desire. If we have any intention to fulfill our own desires, we cannot pay back the grace truly.

Here, desire is not only desire for money. It includes all the selfish motives and desires to enjoy our own thing, family, fame, authority, and pride.

If we have this kind of selfish desires, even though we are sacrificing and devoting ourselves, we will want something without realizing it.

We will insist on what we want and seek it saying, "Please give me this, and I will do that."

But Mary did not have any desire to enjoy anything through Jesus or receive love from people and Jesus.

She followed Jesus like shadow, but she completely humbled herself and only served.

She did not ask, "The Twelve disciples are appointed as apostles and do God's works greatly manifesting His power. They are recognized by Jesus more. Please make me an apostle, too. Please give me the glory of the best of the disciples like Peter."

At that time, among those who were following Jesus, some of them did it with their own intentions.

Because Jesus was performing great works and are loved by many people, they also wanted to receive something through Jesus.

Some people thought Jesus would build a kingdom on this earth.

That's why they followed Him to enjoy the wealth and glory in the kingdom of Jesus.

Also, some of them wanted to show others that they were close to Jesus.

That way, they wanted to be seen by others as important and loved people. But it was not so with Mary. She did not want any reward, praise, or glory.

She only tried her best to give joy to Jesus. She only wanted to give peace to Jesus.
That's why she sacrificed herself and served Jesus' disciples and people around Him.

She did not sacrifice only for Jesus but also for disciples, even though she could not eat well.

It's because she believed that was the way Jesus wanted and the way to give comfort to Jesus.

Among you are many people who dedicate yourselves and serve others not wanting anything in return like Mary Magdalene.

But some of you feel offended or hurt in your emotions when your desires to do or enjoy something are not fulfilled.

You think, "I have this passion, faith, and even ability, and how could I not get this duty that I wanted? I can do really well, and other people just don't understand." And you have disappointments.

If you truly have that kind of ability and faith, you can just do your best in your present position.

If you feel disappointed or if your feelings are hurt because other people do not recognize you and you are not given a position, this in itself proves that you have selfish desires.

Sometimes, there are people who reveal themselves like spirit and try to plant themselves in others.

They suggestively say, "Because the shepherd acknowledges me, I am a person of spirit. I am close to spirit, so you should listen to me."

This kind of thing also comes out from the desire for one's own honor and fame.

If you really want to pay back the grace, I hope you will love and serve the Lord without any selfish desires. I urge you to please the Lord with beautiful heart, not wanting any honor or reward in return.

Dear devotees, the beautiful heart of Mary Magdalene, thirdly, is the unchanging heart. Even in this world, they say a friend in need is a friend indeed.

When a person gets into a difficult situation, even close friends distance themselves from him.

If that difficulty is big and continues for a long period of time, even the people who used to love him very much also change.

But for Mary Magdalene, situations or conditions did not matter at all.

Even when Jesus was manifesting many works before the crowd of people and received glory, she did not reveal herself but only served.

Even when Jesus was tired after the hard work in His ministry, she just stayed with Him to give strength to Him. Even when He was being flogged and was hung on the cross, her following did not change at all.

She could not get very close to Him because of the soldiers, but she did not leave the area.

If she was caught by the angry crowd, she could have also gone through the same suffering as Jesus.

But Mary rather wanted it to happen.

She did not change just because of fear of sufferings. Because she loved Jesus so much, she rather wanted to receive that suffering herself.

She wanted to pay back the grace that way, if it were possible.

It was the case with Ruth in the Old Testament, too. She did not want to leave her hopeless mother-in-law to find a way to survive.

Even though she had to face many difficulties, she remained with her mother-in-law until the end with love for her. When a person has truthfulness in heart, the situations cannot change it. Even though there is pain or suffering in reality, that love cannot change because of that.

1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."

No matter what kind of difficulties he faces, his true love can never shake.

How about you? You confessed many times saying, "I will devote myself with all my life. I will pay back the grace."

Since then, have you loved the Lord without any change of attitude but with all your passion?
Of course, many of you have. But in some cases, as you face this and that kind of trials, your heart changes.

You speak out complaints and negative words like, "I cannot do it any more. I am not confident any more. Should I take up even these things?"

Or you may say, "I want to take a rest without having any position or duty in the church. I want to leave to a distant place." You say you are not forsaking the Lord, but this is also a change of mind and far from truthfulness.

You used to say you would take even the cross of Jesus, but now you feel difficult to handle even a small trial of yourself.

Sometimes, not because of trials but with the desire for the world, your passion for the Lord cools down.

If you have this kind of attitude, now that you have realized yourself, you can cultivate true love in your heart.

The kind of heart that the Lord really wants is true and unchanging heart that is like pure gold that never changes even after a thousand years. God is cultivating us even today to let us accomplish such a heart.

Conclusion

Dear devotees, members, New Jerusalem is really a beautiful place.

The golden road, pearl gates, and the jewels that decorate the houses are so bright and clean without any blemish that it is difficult for you even to imagine them.

The beauty of just one petal of flower and one plant cannot even be compared with any beauty of this world.

But the most beautiful thing in New Jerusalem is the souls who will go in there. If you truly long for that place, wouldn't you have to change into the most beautiful hearts in the world?

You have to cast off self-seeking, selfish desires, and all fleshly natures that change even to the last bit. To do this, it is very important for you to realize yourself.

I hope you will reflect yourself on today's message. Not only the laymen members but also especially if you are leaders of mission groups or higher, you have to think about yourself more seriously.

You should not just try to cover yourself only because you have a position and you are a leader.

You should not just think, "I love and follow the Lord and the shepherded, and I am an important worker who has been doing important things for a long time."

When you do something, you have to deeply think about what true love for the Lord is and what it is to seek the church, shepherd, and the souls.

Before the Lord our bridegroom comes back again, we have to find out even the minutest things and change them.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all come forth as brides of the Lord who are beautiful like jewels without any blemish or spot.

 
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