|설교 한 주일||December 4, 2011|
“To the Ends of the Earth”
(Reading of Acts 1:1-8 – NIV)
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
As Dr. Luke, a medical doctor, wrote his first book which is the Gospel of Luke, and then this is the second book – Acts of the Apostles. His first verse in the Book of Acts is he described about Jesus’ resurrection.
Every Christian, every believers, the first thing we have to know and believe and we have to put into our practice to be the foundation of your belief is that of Jesus’ resurrection; which means, Jesus is alive. Some says that Jesus is alive from the dead maybe, some says, “I don’t believe.” But today I want to give you one very important point to be a real Christian – He is alive, which means that He is a living God and then He is working in us; He is working with us; He is working today, doing His work through us. Remember, Jesus is not somebody who is roaming around. I want to say today that Jesus is real and that Jesus is the person who has a character, who has feelings and emotions. Jesus is working in us and all the time walks with us. He walks everywhere we go but why? Why Jesus is working in us, among the Christians? What is His agenda? To help you? Good point. Why he would like to help you? You deserve to have His assistance or His blessings? Well, salvation is grace. Grace means free of charge. But my question is what is the reason that Jesus is always with you? You just ask Jesus, “Jesus, why you come with me all the time? Jesus, why you help me all the time?” If you don’t like somebody, you don’t like to see him; even you don’t like to greet him or her. What is Jesus’ agenda?
There are two things: First, realize your real agenda. You may not say anything but I know because I know what most of people, even Christians, is thinking about and expect about from the Lord. Verse 6 says when they met together (for they miss the disciples) and they meet Jesus Christ, but one thing Luke wants to describe in the Bible was this one question (that question is also ours’ in many cases), it says, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” ‘This time’ is the time that we are thinking, the time that we are expecting. All the disciples are asking, “Is it now or this is the time?” because they knew of course that Jesus died on the cross. They saw it and touched. And now, they met Jesus Christ again in reality so they believed Jesus Christ more deeply, more clearly, more strongly. That is the point when Jesus and the disciples met; that is the spiritual environment. The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, now we know you are Almighty. Now we know you can do all things. Now, we believe that you are really the Son of God. I am so proud of myself being your disciple...” So the disciples asked the first question in verse 6. This is what we ask many times in our prayers. “This is the time, Lord...This is the time, the right time...I want to do something right now, this time!” you pray. “Lord, do something today, I am dying!” Real Christians, many cases our prayers and requests and our point of view are out of focus. You are wrong because you are always in your ego-centered life and you don’t know what God is doing. Even the disciples never understand why Jesus died and why Jesus is still alive.
What is the reason why God came to us in flesh? Why He suffered? Why He gave us love? Why He gave us new life when we are still sinners? And then the disciples asked Jesus Christ; that is the very moment that Jesus was trying to say goodbye. “My sons, my disciples, this is the time that I have to go, I’m leaving but you have to be here; you have to do something for me. You have your own agenda here...” And the first question of the disciples to Jesus Christ was ‘at this time’. It’s very funny, very fancy, and it’s really good to see. You ask something just like you rub the lamp and the genie came out with a smoke and then, “Okay, do this, do that!” God will not do that way.
So, first we have to change our question in our lives this time. This time means my time. This time means my schedule. This time means my desire. This time means things for yourself. “I want to be rich so I will have a luxury life.” Once somebody is very much rich. Madam GMA has everything when she was on her throne. Now, (this is not my point to criticize her, I just quote because this morning, I just read the newspaper) she was in Veterans Memorial Hospital. The newspaper said that she will never have all privileges she had before. Even cell phone is not allowed for her because she was in the hospital as prisoner. Of course the court will decide that according to the newspaper. She had everything before; today, she has nothing even cell phone. I can buy five hundred pesos (cell phone), fake and made in the Philippines but it’s good.
When you pray, “This time for me, this time for our church...” Brothers and sisters, when you serve the Lord serve Him for Him. Find out the way; think all things in the position of Him.
The second agenda is “...going to restore the kingdom...” How beautiful! The kingdom is to be established or to be restored into Israel, “The kingdom that Jesus Christ is the king and then I am somebody in that kingdom; so, please restore so I will be somebody in that kingdom; I will have all authority; I will have all privilege so I can reign all the people under my feet...” That is the position of disciples; that was the thinking of disciples. “...Because I serve you for three years, Jesus, please restore the kingdom to Jerusalem and Israel so just rule all the people and the Roman Empire, I want you to kick them out!” Looks good, beautiful! Find out what is the real core value of the disciples and then let’s find out when you serve the Lord, what is your core value? What are the most important things for you to serve the Lord? Is it for yourself or him? In your life as a Christian, are you the center or you have a God-centered life?
I know you are the Christians, you serve the Lord and of course you have privilege to enjoy all kinds of blessings from the Lord. Why? Is there any reason that God should bless you? If not, no complain. You have something; let’s say something very important or good but when your children ask to give them, you will decide – is it the right time or not? I’m a father, even Hanna asks me or if she asks me something, very extraordinary amount of money or things, I will say “No way! Get away!” Remember two things: one thing, when we pray, ‘this is the right time...this time when I am here, when I am doing this...’ so what God says? Sometimes God is waiting, God has something for you but you concentrate with another thing all the time. Jesus said to disciples in verse 7, “It is not for you to know, this time...” Many Jesus in Korea, many Jesus in the Philippines even one in Cawag, many Jesus says, “This is the time...” You have Bible verse today – Acts 1:7 – “It is not for me...” Some other fake Jesus or some funny Jesus came, “This is the time!” And then you will say, “What do you have?” “I don’t know, that’s not my business...” But I have one word, Jesus said, “This is not my business to know the date and the time...” Jesus said to His disciples just like Jesus said His agenda, “It is not for you to know the time or date because it belongs to God, His own authority...”
We are very much time-oriented. Brothers and sisters, if you are so much time-oriented person or you used to be, let’s change our attitude. I would say future-oriented. We have hope in our future. Future means the time of God. Present means the time of self. If you think about future, today is with all the trials, hardships and pains and all kinds of entanglement, its okay. It is well with my soul. Sometimes, we don’t have; sometimes up; sometimes down. We have some question, “It’s the time because I don’t like this kingdom! I don’t like the Roman Empire! I don’t like this bitterness! So, Lord, this is the time I want you to start your kingdom in my time here...” But Jesus would say to you even today, “It’s not your agenda, brothers and sisters. Father has set by His own authority.” Let’s do all service waiting for His time, the time of God, the time which we cannot measure with our chronological time method.
I would like to share one person who lived hoping and waiting for his future. His name is George Yang. I never met him personally. I’ll just read it from the newspaper: “Welcome to Manila Mc Donald’s! Philippines Chairman: George Yang, son: Kenneth Yang, President and CEO of Mc Donald. Just thirty years ago in 1980, father and son worked together as crew members at Mc Donald’s in Hong Kong, Kowloon’s District, mopping floors, wiping kitchen, and flipping burgers.” That’s what they did. I believe this is not only a story (I don’t know). I don’t think that Mr. Yang, when he was wiping all the floors, never thinks, “Lord, this is the time for me to be CEO. This is the time to be the President of Mc Donald’s...” I believe he was living in the future.
We have very bright future. We have future in reality. God is working in His kingdom. We will be somebody in His kingdom. So, brothers and sisters, endure in faith. That is why God s with you today in His Spirit to sustain you, to wait, able to wait until the time of God is coming. Keep yourself in Spiritual health. Knowing God is your power. May God bless us.
Rev. David Bang