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   True Goodness    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   1 John 1: 5


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."


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the first devotional service of 2009. It is the Pastors' Devotional service. Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father for guiding us to have this devotional service.
I also give thanks to all the devotees who have prepared for this service with all your hearts, minds, and souls.
God the Father has given you pastors a message with the title, 'True Goodness'.
It's the message to permit you to more deeply understand what true goodness is. Namely, it's about what the truly good things are in the sight of God.
Through this message, I hope you will clearly understand the original intent and meaning of God's concept of goodness.
If you are pastors and workers for the kingdom of God, you must not remain at a level of goodness that is considered to be good by a standard of this world.
You have to understand the true goodness that God desires of us, keep it in mind, and practice it. The heart of God the Father is moved when He sees people who have cultivated true goodness. These people can also touch other people's hearts and be a blessing to them.
Thus, you pastors have to cultivate true goodness in your hearts.
Pastors have the important duty of guiding souls to God.
God the Father will manifest His great love to a pastor who has cultivated true goodness of heart. He will also allow to the pastor His power and authority.
Those servants who have truly good hearts will receive love from the church members stemming from the depth of their hearts.
It's because those pastors influence the members in a very good and positive way with true goodness and love.
Therefore, I hope not only the pastors but also many church members will gain life and strength through this message. In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive more recognition and love from God as well as from other people!


Dear devotees and church members, what is the true goodness of heart that God desires of us?
First, it's truthfulness. Truthfulness is the quality of conforming to truth.
The latter half of today's passage 1 John 1:5 says, "God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."
As God the Father is light without any darkness, then truthfulness is being free from any kind of falsehood.
God says a person who is true is good. He who is true can find even little bit of darkness in him easily.
However, a person who is not truthful is stained with darkness and he cannot see himself clearly.
And so, sometimes he may misunderstand that he is living in the Light.
The kind of truthfulness that God really wants is not just to pretend to have no darkness, but to actually have no darkness and become the light itself.
This kind of a person will have goodness that permeates his heart completely. Thus, no matter what the situation, only good words and deeds will come from such a person.
In Genesis 18, God appeared to Abraham when he was 99 years old and told him that he was going to father a son.
When Abraham's wife, Sarah, heard these words of God spoken in the tent, she was 89 years old.
Genesis 18:12 records what she said after that. "Sarah laughed to herself, saying, 'After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'"
She just laughed to herself, and nobody heard what she said.
But God knew everything. Genesis 18:13 says, "And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?'"
At this moment, because of her fear, Sarah told a lie saying she didn't laugh.
But God said, "Yes, you did laugh."
Had Sarah been a truthful person, she would have said, "I couldn't believe the word of God, so I laughed a little."
But Sarah was not that truthful. He who is truthful can find himself, and it means he has the potential to improve himself.
But he who is not truthful is just quick to cover his faults and wrongdoings, and thus, he cannot even hold on to the chance to change himself.
I hope you will check yourself at this point: even though you may not tell a blatant lie like Sarah did, you may still have some kind of untruthfulness in you.
For example, some people's faces turn red and they raise their voices when they talk to their subordinates.
But they say they only had righteous indignation like Jesus.
Jesus sternly drove away the merchants who were defiling the Temple.
He drove out the animals they were selling with a whip made of cord and He overturned the tables for exchanging money.
Jesus had no darkness, but He was very strict about defiling the Temple of God.
But some people quote this part at their own discretion.
Actually, when their faces turned red and when they raised their voices, it was their evil, which belongs to darkness.
But if they say it was not evil, it is not truthful.
God will also say, as He spoke to Sarah, "It is not righteous indignation. Evil is contained in your words." What God sees and speaks is the truth.
To the extent that a person is truthful, he can see with the eyes of God, and he can think with the heart of God.
It is easy for a truthful person to cast away his evil because he can find it easily.
But if you just cover your evilness thinking it wasn't really evil, how can you find yourself and cast off evil?
I hope you will also be truthful in relation with your fruit, since this is the pastors' devotional service.
If the numerical value of your growth rate was high, then the actual number of your fruit has to be truthful, too.
For example, if you recovered a sheep that you lost, you shouldn't say you had revival.
Also, you have to be truthful about the reason why you do not have revival in the area that's your responsibility.
Does anyone think, "We're not experiencing revival now because there isn't enough space in the church and God said that He is blocking revival?"
You can say this only if you have done your very best in your duties.
Such a person wouldn't have lost any of the sheep in the area of your charge.
When David was a shepherd, if a lion or bear came and took an animal from the flock, he fought to get it back, even at the risk of his own life.
When Jacob was tending the flock he bore the heat of the day and the cold of the night. He couldn't even get enough sleep.
If you try your best like this then you will never lose a believer entrusted to your care.
There are times when it is your fault that you lose a church member. But you say it was because of some other reason.
Also, we have to realize why God has allowed us this kind of time during which He has stopped the revival of the church.
This is not only to let the pastors train themselves spiritually, but also for all of the church members.
God is giving us the time to prepare ourselves to develop the capability to take care of the vast number of souls that will be coming in the near future.
We have to develop the ability to be able to accept many different peoples and also the ability to lead them with goodness and love to the way of life.
We should not hurt their feelings or give hard times to them with our individual righteousness and our spiritual frameworks.
If we give solid food to babies, it will only harm them. For some children, we have to make the food soft and digestible enough before we give it to them.
Now is the time for the pastors, workers, and all the church members to prepare for this.
First, your faith has to grow up and reach at least the fourth level of faith, which is the faith belonging to spirit.
Also, by breaking down your own righteousness and frameworks completely, as with food you should be able to feed the gospel of holiness in a way that is appropriate for each of the different peoples.
This way, I hope you will prepare yourself physically and spiritually so that you will be recognized by God as being true and truthful.
Dear devotees and church members, the truly good heart that God desires of us is secondly, the heart of sacrifice.
Sacrifice is to give your wealth, fame, benefit, or life for other people or for some noble purpose. One cannot be self-sacrificing without love.
God the Father and our Lord made a sacrifice on our behalf.
God made the great sacrifice of giving the life of His only beloved Son for us who were sinners and who were destined to receive the punishment of death.
Since we have received this great love of God, we should also be able to sacrifice ourselves for others.
Especially, if you are pastors who are walking the way of a servant of God, sacrifice is a basic attribute.
Our Lord Jesus gave up all the glory of the heavenly kingdom.
He sacrificed everything, and He even sacrificed His own life.
Therefore, if you are servants of this Lord, you must not seek to be served, or gain fame or pursue personal benefit.
Like our Lord, you have to be able to give up everything for the flock as a good shepherd.
To save just one more soul, you must be able to give up all you have, even if you have nothing to eat or even starve.
Even if you have done something well and have received blessings, you shouldn't consider it as your personal accomplishment.
You should even be able to give that blessing up for the kingdom of God and other souls.
If you surrender to other souls only what is left after you provide for your needs, it is not true sacrifice.
The true heart of sacrifice is to give to others even when you have to give up what you need for yourself.
This is not only about material things. You should be able to sacrifice your fame, too for other souls.
Jesus is God Himself in origin but He humbled Himself completely.
He humbled Himself to the position of a sinner and finally He was killed in a most cruel form of execution.
Being a servant of this Lord, you should also be able to humble yourself and even kneel down before others for the flock.
As your shepherd, I also want to resemble the heart and deeds of the Lord.
So, even when believers commit sins and go the way of death I still can't judge or condemn them.
The first thing I think about is how to save just one more soul.
Then, I humble myself before God the Father to the lowest extent possible and pray in repentance with tears.
I repent of not taking care of the flock well enough as their shepherd and I also pray in repentance on their behalf for their sins.
I ask for the mercy and compassion of God to be upon them.
To save more souls, it's not difficult to kneel down before God the Father.
Many of you are the heads of some kind of an organization or group, whether big or small.
Parish pastors are the heads of the parishes, and the guidance pastors are the pastors of mission groups.
And how much have you sacrificed yourself for the flock entrusted to you?
For example, suppose a member in the area of your charge did something disgraceful.
Then, how much responsibility did you accept for that incident and how much did you sacrifice yourself?
Didn't you think, "I taught him the truth. I clearly taught him the will of God, but he still disobeyed and did that. What can I do?"
If you have a heart of true goodness, you will not think like that and try to keep the responsibility from falling on you.
Those who have sacrificial and good hearts will feel the deep sense of responsibility as the head of the group and they will also be willing to accept rebuke for the incident.
Also, to save the person who has committed sin, they can humble themselves and even kneel down and repent.
They can cling to God earnestly on behalf of him praying in a manner like this, "It happened because I didn't guide him to the truth properly.
It's because I didn't pray enough. It's because I didn't teach him well enough. I have done wrong, please forgive him."
I hope you will realize God considers a pastor who is truly self-sacrificing to be truly good.

Dear devotees and church members, the kind of truly good heartedness that God desires of us is thirdly, the heart that is obedient.
If you can stand before God, the Lord, and your shepherd and say only 'Yes' and 'Amen', you can cultivate a truly good heart.
You should not give any reasons or excuses saying, "I cannot do this because of this reason and I cannot do that because of that reason."
Also, you should not say you couldn't help but do that, giving many kinds of excuses after disobeying.
I hope you will remember that a truly good heart is the heart to say only "Yes" and "Amen" in all kinds of situations.
For example, when God commanded Abraham to give his son Isaac as a burnt offering, Abraham just obeyed.
If Abraham had not wanted to obey, he could have given many reasons for being disobedient.
He could have said, "Isaac is the seed of God's promise, and why do You ask me now to sacrifice him?"
But because Abraham had a truly good heart, he only obeyed without having any doubt.
But it doesn't mean he gave up Isaac who was the seed of promise.
He still believed the promise of God through Isaac, and he still obeyed completely.
This situation cannot be understood by reason, theory and understanding of men.
But because Abraham wanted to both trust the promise of God and obey God, he now had gained a new dimension of faith.
It was the faith of resurrection. Hebrews 11:19 says, "He(Abraham) considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type."
Abraham never heard about Jesus' death and resurrection. But he wanted to obey through the heart of goodness and he gained the complete faith of resurrection.
God the Father considers obedient people as good-hearted.
It's because obedience is the act of acknowledging that all commands of God are goodness.
Even if those commands do not agree with our own thoughts and theories, God will take the responsibility if we just obey.
Because I believed in God this way until this day, I have just obeyed no matter what kind of command was given.
Also, I never gave any excuses in an attempt to disobey the command of God.
The heart of God the Father was touched by this goodness of obedience and He worked for the good of everything in all things. We pastors all have to act this way.
If you lay members also trust the good will of God and always obey, you will surely receive blessings and answers from God.
A truly good heart is the heart with which you can willingly obey without having any doubt by knowing that it is the will of God the Father.
Let me introduce to you a little part of my prayer that I offer up to God as your shepherd.
As you hear this prayer, I would like you to think about the attitudes you should have as pastors.
I hope you will not say you have already achieved a lot, but humble yourself again and again to cultivate the truly good heart that God desires of us.
"Father, oh Father, I have no will of my own.
Only You Father and only you Lord are in me.
I pray and ask again and again only in the name of the Father and the Lord according to the desires of the Father and the Lord.
I always pray and contemplate on where the will of the Father is and where the will of the Lord is.
My heart is totally filled with the Father, the Lord, the kingdom of the Lord, and the souls.
Father, You always listen to the prayer of this son, and You know that all the will I have in my heart are for You Father.
It's not for me that I want to accomplish, do, and bear fruit in many things. I have just been praying before You Father until this day with endurance.
I have overcome each day thinking of the love of the Father, the love of the Lord, and the will of the Father towards the souls.
I do not have any desire of my own. I do not claim that I have born any fruit myself. I do not want to receive any glory.
I am happy and joyful if the name of the Father and the name of the Lord are lifted high and glorified.
I am satisfied to the full extent only if many souls love You Father, dwell in Your love, and give thanks to You.
My dear Father, I do not have my own will. My heart is filled with only the things about the Father, the Lord, and Your kingdom, and the souls.
Father, think of my will that I have deep in my heart, and receive all the glory according to Your desire and will.
I believe You heard the prayer of this son, and I would like You to receive all the glory.
Father God, You have always loved this church. You have always loved this son. And You have always loved everyone who has tried to live by Your will and put their trust in You.
You have let me bear all these fruits, and now accomplish everything in Your will and receive all the glory in Your will."


Dear devotees, and church members, I talked to you about what a truly good heart is that God desires of us.
First, it is truthfulness; second sacrifice, and third obedience. If your heart is truthful, and if you always sacrifice yourself and only obey with Yes and Amen, you will definitely receive the power.
God the Father who has been touched by such goodness will give you power and authority and also manifest to you His great love.
As you are walking the way of the servant of the Lord, wouldn't you like to walk the way within love and blessings of Father?
I hope all your dedication and efforts will be stored as heavenly rewards completely.
I pray in the name of the Lord that, when you get to New Jerusalem later, you will give thanks and glory to God the Father remembering the things of this earth.