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3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families(위대한 가족들의 3가지 신성한 지침들)/ Deuteronomy 6:1-9(신6:1-9)/ 2012-03-25
3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families(위대한 가족들의 3가지 신성한 지침들) Deuteronomy 6:1-9(신6:1-9) 3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV) Remember last week I ask - have you ever prayer a prayer like this, “God, I just commit my child to your safe keeping”? The Pastor’s Cat… Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about the pastor of his church. He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his yard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. That’s what he did, all the while checking his progress in the car. He then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved the car a little further forward, the rope broke. The tree went ”boing!” and the kitten instantly sailed through the air-out of sight. The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they’d seen a little kitten. Nobody had seen it. So he prayed, ”Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping,” and went on about his business. A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. This woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, ”Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?” She replied, ”You won’t believe this,” and then told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her, ”Well, if God gives you a cat, I’ll let you keep it.” She said to the pastor, ”I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won’t believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her.” I read in the Union Democrat last week of a couple from Sonora...The Petersons - they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Cecil, 89, and Pansy, 85, got married five days before Valentine Day, on Saturday, February 9, 1935. Cecil says, “You know you’re getting old when your children are senior citizens.” When asked the secret to their 70-year marriage, Cecil said…“The view of marriage in the early 1900s was that it was a lifelong commitment.” Then Patsy said, ”It starts from the beginning, from how you look at marriage. It’s not something you take lightly.” Carl Zimmerman wrote a very important book called, “Family and Civilization” In it he studies 3000 years of family life. This Harvard Professor makes a powerful case for the tradition family structure. The summation of the book goes something like this…so goes the children so goes the culture, or so goes the family so goes society! The declining life of children translates into a declining culture of life! President Bush has said that, “America needs to choose a culture of life rather than death.” I agree! To think that America has 1.5 million abortions a year, this brings a serious charge to the values of this country! Carl Zimmerman gives 7 warning signs to a declining nation: · An Increased rate of divorce. Quick and easy no fault divorce. · The failure to understand the permanence of the marriage model. · A looser standard of family as a solution to social problems. · Lack of respect to parental authority. · A promotion of co-habitation over marriage. · The breakdown of most inhibitions against adultery. · Acceptance of all forms of sexuality. Dr. Zimmerman wrote, “As we watch the destruction of the family, so we simultaneously watch the collapse of society.” Maybe your thinking, “This is just another Christian’s conclusions.” Wrong, this man was a secular historian and he never confessed to be a Christian. By the way, this book was written in 1947! We have a popular show called “Home Makeover”, where a crew comes in and totally remodels someone’s house. In some cases, they tear down virtually everything from room to room and all that is left are the 2 by 4’s. May I say that what is true for a house is true for a family? We might do better tearing down some family’s foundation than to tear down some family’s house only to begin again! Key: The makeover for a house comes from Hollywood, but the makeover for a home comes from heaven! Have you noticed some of the family shows produced from Hollywood? · Desperate Housewives · Wife Swap · Who’s My Daddy? · Nanny · Raising Gotti · The Simpson’s · The Osborn Family As John Stossels says, “Give me a break!” Girls, in case you don’t know how to pick a husband just watch ABC’s “The Bachalorette”! I believe that the role of the family is God’s idea. Why fight it? Why not accept the fact that our heavenly father knows best? Genesis 2:18,24 From the very beginning of human life, God has created us to be relational beings and dependent on one another! God gives us the primary foundation for society – it’s the family, it’s the relationship between a man and woman, children and parents and child to child! For the love of our children - Government service can’t replace the love of a mother and the leadership of a father! Social services can’t replace a child’s devotion to parents! All the counseling services in the world can’t bring the healing words of a parent to a child! And Moses knew this! Moses had the massive job of getting a new nation to adopt God’s guidelines for a healthy family. Moses Gives 3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families: 1. A Home Is Where Righteous Lives Are Lived. Vs. 1,2 He’s talking directly to moms and dads! 2 things I’ve come to realize as a parent – Let me share them with you: · The parental path is never ending! There’s always a bend in the road, a valley to cross and a hill to climb! And how we travel that parental path makes all the difference in our children’s lives! · The parental patterns make a big impact on children. Like it or not, the moment our children were born, God intended for us to be the primary role model for them! To be the example setter! I admire a parent that wants to deal with their past so that their past doesn’t del with them! Most of us know Bill Padelford. His younger sister Susan is coming to terms with her father who had a very abusive pattern to his parenting. She is now finding healing so she can be a good role model to her children. Recently she wrote this about her life: “It’s so hollow and dark down here Lord, why must I go here again? Been here so many times before. Why have you opened this door? Past visits have been so painful; this one is no different...I’ve tried so hard to weaken the power of truth. Maybe that’s why I’m here. But what is the purpose of these reminders, when the pain is just a thought away? I wanted to keep my resentment and anger, a way of revenge for me. The abuser is gone, no way to “get back”. But he still lives within me. Resentment, anger and revenge don’t keep me on solid ground; they destroy my heart and spirit with a root of hurt. You’ve opened this door so I could see, all the hurt within me, that which I haven’t wanted to feel. But you know about hurt too, you are not a stranger to rejection. Your power is different, it’s done with love and healing, submission is productive. I resent having to look at the truth of what I need to do from here, all this was not my fault, nor am I the one responsible. My life could have been different, but the abuse made me numb. But it is now up to me to make the right choice. I will learn from this visit to the pit, a different way now. For your faithful hand is in my healing, you are trustworthy with my heart.” In my growing up, my mother was an alcoholic and my dad had a filthy mouth. I came to hate those patterns in their lives! I prayed countless times as a young adult that I would never let my daughter see those patterns in life! I’m thankful that this is true to this day! I’m thankful that God has given me the power to rise above my parent’s patterns! How about YOU? Because it’s not just for our sakes, but also for our children’s sakes! Deuteronomy 5:29 “That it may be well with you forever.” Moms and Dads – there’s no substitute for Godly character! And only you can set that pattern for your children! With everything in you model to your children that you are a god fearing man and woman! Key: Mold your heart as a God fearing parent and then you will model your heart as a God loving parent! The great basketball player Charles Barkley once said, “I don’t want to be a role model.” Sorry, we don’t have a choice in the matter! The only real question is - will we be a good role model for our children? LifePoint: A nation never rises above its homes and a nation never rises above its parents! 2. A Home Is Where The Lord Is Loved. Vs. 4,5 2 Principles To Teach Every Child: · The Reality of God. Most parents do pretty well with this! The fact that there is a God is fairly easy to do. · A Relationship With God. This is where we struggle! We must show our children how to love God before it’s too late! In reality, parents are teaching their children what God is like! Earthly fathers mirror a heavenly father! For that matter, marriage is designed to mirror the relationship between Jesus and the church! Watch, as parents love one another and forgive one another, that mirrors the faithfulness of Jesus! And we wonder why so many children have given up on Christianity! I guarantee you – we will be fighting a loosing battle if the foundation of family fails! Do you know why so many church going parents produce children that abandon their faith? Thinks about this – it’s because children don’t understand the difference between church going parents and Christ loving parents! Let me illustrate this: we take a flu shot to fight off the flu. The doctor injects us with a small amount of the flu virus so that our body will build immunity to the flu. I firmly believe that too many parents are giving their children a small dose of Christianity, which makes them immune to the real thing! They know the religious gig on Sunday but know nothing of a relationship with God Monday thru Saturday!! When most kids look at their parents do they see a passionate relationship with God or a pitiful response to God? We are living in a culture where parents provide their children with a $300,000 house to live in and about $3.00 worth of love in the home! Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my life, but just enough to develop my ego. Not enough to love my children with, but just enough to keep them in front of the T.V. Not enough love to transform their lives, but just enough to reform their thoughts. Not enough love to let heaven in their hearts, but just a pound of it in a paper sack. 3. A Home Is Where Right Lessons Are Learned. Vs. 6-9 I remind you from last week - the primary job of parents is to teach children the right lessons to function productively as an adult! Here me - this is not the job of a Sunday school teacher! Their roll is to enforce what you are already teaching your kids! Home is the child’s fist classroom! Where actions have consequences and where character counts! A place where love is expressed and learned and forgiveness is expressed often! It’s where they learn to submit to authority, to be kind to one another, to be obedient. Our homes are where our children learn the basic skills to survive – how to use the remote control! In order for kids to function successfully in society, parents must lead their children through 3 stages: a. Parental control - Teaching kids what to do. Like keeping little Johnny from shooting the Bebe gun at the cat! Or telling little Sally why she can’t be the barber for her brothers and sisters. b. Self Control - How to discipline one’s self c. God Control - Spiritual growth! Hopefully they will be born again before they leave the home! But above all that – it’s where truth is taught! Jesus did not say that relativity sets you free or subjectivity sets you free – he said the truth shall set you FREE! Listen to me carefully – when a parent says to their child, “I’m not going to impose my religious values on my kids”, that parent has just done two things: · Created a vacuum in the heart of their child, that the worlds will be more than happy to fill! · Created the thought that God is an option for their child’s life! Maybe you’re thing, where should I start? Why not with the 10 commandments! Deuteronomy 5:1 “Hear O Israel, the statues and judgments which I speak…learn them and be careful to observe them.” He’s talking about the 10 commandments! Teach them to your kids not as 10 suggestions or as 10 offenses but God’s 10 commandments! I love this verse, Acts 16:34 “The whole family was filled with joy when they believed in God.” NLT If a contractor can take a dilapidated house and raise it up again…don’t you think Christ can take a dysfunctional home and raise it up again?
3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families(위대한 가족들의 3가지 신성한 지침들)/ Deuteronomy 6:1-9(신6:1-9)/ 2012-03-25
3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families(위대한 가족들의 3가지 신성한 지침들) Deuteronomy 6:1-9(신6:1-9) 3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV) Remember last week I ask - have you ever prayer a prayer like this, “God, I just commit my child to your safe keeping”? The Pastor’s Cat… Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about the pastor of his church. He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his yard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. That’s what he did, all the while checking his progress in the car. He then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved the car a little further forward, the rope broke. The tree went ”boing!” and the kitten instantly sailed through the air-out of sight. The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they’d seen a little kitten. Nobody had seen it. So he prayed, ”Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping,” and went on about his business. A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. This woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, ”Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?” She replied, ”You won’t believe this,” and then told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her, ”Well, if God gives you a cat, I’ll let you keep it.” She said to the pastor, ”I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won’t believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her.” I read in the Union Democrat last week of a couple from Sonora...The Petersons - they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Cecil, 89, and Pansy, 85, got married five days before Valentine Day, on Saturday, February 9, 1935. Cecil says, “You know you’re getting old when your children are senior citizens.” When asked the secret to their 70-year marriage, Cecil said…“The view of marriage in the early 1900s was that it was a lifelong commitment.” Then Patsy said, ”It starts from the beginning, from how you look at marriage. It’s not something you take lightly.” Carl Zimmerman wrote a very important book called, “Family and Civilization” In it he studies 3000 years of family life. This Harvard Professor makes a powerful case for the tradition family structure. The summation of the book goes something like this…so goes the children so goes the culture, or so goes the family so goes society! The declining life of children translates into a declining culture of life! President Bush has said that, “America needs to choose a culture of life rather than death.” I agree! To think that America has 1.5 million abortions a year, this brings a serious charge to the values of this country! Carl Zimmerman gives 7 warning signs to a declining nation: · An Increased rate of divorce. Quick and easy no fault divorce. · The failure to understand the permanence of the marriage model. · A looser standard of family as a solution to social problems. · Lack of respect to parental authority. · A promotion of co-habitation over marriage. · The breakdown of most inhibitions against adultery. · Acceptance of all forms of sexuality. Dr. Zimmerman wrote, “As we watch the destruction of the family, so we simultaneously watch the collapse of society.” Maybe your thinking, “This is just another Christian’s conclusions.” Wrong, this man was a secular historian and he never confessed to be a Christian. By the way, this book was written in 1947! We have a popular show called “Home Makeover”, where a crew comes in and totally remodels someone’s house. In some cases, they tear down virtually everything from room to room and all that is left are the 2 by 4’s. May I say that what is true for a house is true for a family? We might do better tearing down some family’s foundation than to tear down some family’s house only to begin again! Key: The makeover for a house comes from Hollywood, but the makeover for a home comes from heaven! Have you noticed some of the family shows produced from Hollywood? · Desperate Housewives · Wife Swap · Who’s My Daddy? · Nanny · Raising Gotti · The Simpson’s · The Osborn Family As John Stossels says, “Give me a break!” Girls, in case you don’t know how to pick a husband just watch ABC’s “The Bachalorette”! I believe that the role of the family is God’s idea. Why fight it? Why not accept the fact that our heavenly father knows best? Genesis 2:18,24 From the very beginning of human life, God has created us to be relational beings and dependent on one another! God gives us the primary foundation for society – it’s the family, it’s the relationship between a man and woman, children and parents and child to child! For the love of our children - Government service can’t replace the love of a mother and the leadership of a father! Social services can’t replace a child’s devotion to parents! All the counseling services in the world can’t bring the healing words of a parent to a child! And Moses knew this! Moses had the massive job of getting a new nation to adopt God’s guidelines for a healthy family. Moses Gives 3 Godly Guidelines For Great Families: 1. A Home Is Where Righteous Lives Are Lived. Vs. 1,2 He’s talking directly to moms and dads! 2 things I’ve come to realize as a parent – Let me share them with you: · The parental path is never ending! There’s always a bend in the road, a valley to cross and a hill to climb! And how we travel that parental path makes all the difference in our children’s lives! · The parental patterns make a big impact on children. Like it or not, the moment our children were born, God intended for us to be the primary role model for them! To be the example setter! I admire a parent that wants to deal with their past so that their past doesn’t del with them! Most of us know Bill Padelford. His younger sister Susan is coming to terms with her father who had a very abusive pattern to his parenting. She is now finding healing so she can be a good role model to her children. Recently she wrote this about her life: “It’s so hollow and dark down here Lord, why must I go here again? Been here so many times before. Why have you opened this door? Past visits have been so painful; this one is no different...I’ve tried so hard to weaken the power of truth. Maybe that’s why I’m here. But what is the purpose of these reminders, when the pain is just a thought away? I wanted to keep my resentment and anger, a way of revenge for me. The abuser is gone, no way to “get back”. But he still lives within me. Resentment, anger and revenge don’t keep me on solid ground; they destroy my heart and spirit with a root of hurt. You’ve opened this door so I could see, all the hurt within me, that which I haven’t wanted to feel. But you know about hurt too, you are not a stranger to rejection. Your power is different, it’s done with love and healing, submission is productive. I resent having to look at the truth of what I need to do from here, all this was not my fault, nor am I the one responsible. My life could have been different, but the abuse made me numb. But it is now up to me to make the right choice. I will learn from this visit to the pit, a different way now. For your faithful hand is in my healing, you are trustworthy with my heart.” In my growing up, my mother was an alcoholic and my dad had a filthy mouth. I came to hate those patterns in their lives! I prayed countless times as a young adult that I would never let my daughter see those patterns in life! I’m thankful that this is true to this day! I’m thankful that God has given me the power to rise above my parent’s patterns! How about YOU? Because it’s not just for our sakes, but also for our children’s sakes! Deuteronomy 5:29 “That it may be well with you forever.” Moms and Dads – there’s no substitute for Godly character! And only you can set that pattern for your children! With everything in you model to your children that you are a god fearing man and woman! Key: Mold your heart as a God fearing parent and then you will model your heart as a God loving parent! The great basketball player Charles Barkley once said, “I don’t want to be a role model.” Sorry, we don’t have a choice in the matter! The only real question is - will we be a good role model for our children? LifePoint: A nation never rises above its homes and a nation never rises above its parents! 2. A Home Is Where The Lord Is Loved. Vs. 4,5 2 Principles To Teach Every Child: · The Reality of God. Most parents do pretty well with this! The fact that there is a God is fairly easy to do. · A Relationship With God. This is where we struggle! We must show our children how to love God before it’s too late! In reality, parents are teaching their children what God is like! Earthly fathers mirror a heavenly father! For that matter, marriage is designed to mirror the relationship between Jesus and the church! Watch, as parents love one another and forgive one another, that mirrors the faithfulness of Jesus! And we wonder why so many children have given up on Christianity! I guarantee you – we will be fighting a loosing battle if the foundation of family fails! Do you know why so many church going parents produce children that abandon their faith? Thinks about this – it’s because children don’t understand the difference between church going parents and Christ loving parents! Let me illustrate this: we take a flu shot to fight off the flu. The doctor injects us with a small amount of the flu virus so that our body will build immunity to the flu. I firmly believe that too many parents are giving their children a small dose of Christianity, which makes them immune to the real thing! They know the religious gig on Sunday but know nothing of a relationship with God Monday thru Saturday!! When most kids look at their parents do they see a passionate relationship with God or a pitiful response to God? We are living in a culture where parents provide their children with a $300,000 house to live in and about $3.00 worth of love in the home! Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my life, but just enough to develop my ego. Not enough to love my children with, but just enough to keep them in front of the T.V. Not enough love to transform their lives, but just enough to reform their thoughts. Not enough love to let heaven in their hearts, but just a pound of it in a paper sack. 3. A Home Is Where Right Lessons Are Learned. Vs. 6-9 I remind you from last week - the primary job of parents is to teach children the right lessons to function productively as an adult! Here me - this is not the job of a Sunday school teacher! Their roll is to enforce what you are already teaching your kids! Home is the child’s fist classroom! Where actions have consequences and where character counts! A place where love is expressed and learned and forgiveness is expressed often! It’s where they learn to submit to authority, to be kind to one another, to be obedient. Our homes are where our children learn the basic skills to survive – how to use the remote control! In order for kids to function successfully in society, parents must lead their children through 3 stages: a. Parental control - Teaching kids what to do. Like keeping little Johnny from shooting the Bebe gun at the cat! Or telling little Sally why she can’t be the barber for her brothers and sisters. b. Self Control - How to discipline one’s self c. God Control - Spiritual growth! Hopefully they will be born again before they leave the home! But above all that – it’s where truth is taught! Jesus did not say that relativity sets you free or subjectivity sets you free – he said the truth shall set you FREE! Listen to me carefully – when a parent says to their child, “I’m not going to impose my religious values on my kids”, that parent has just done two things: · Created a vacuum in the heart of their child, that the worlds will be more than happy to fill! · Created the thought that God is an option for their child’s life! Maybe you’re thing, where should I start? Why not with the 10 commandments! Deuteronomy 5:1 “Hear O Israel, the statues and judgments which I speak…learn them and be careful to observe them.” He’s talking about the 10 commandments! Teach them to your kids not as 10 suggestions or as 10 offenses but God’s 10 commandments! I love this verse, Acts 16:34 “The whole family was filled with joy when they believed in God.” NLT If a contractor can take a dilapidated house and raise it up again…don’t you think Christ can take a dysfunctional home and raise it up again?
5000명을 먹이는 사람(A Person Who Feeds the 5000)/ 막6:35-47(Mark 6:35-47), 요6:5-13(John 6:5-13)/ 한영대역설교/ 어린이주일학교설교/ 2007-02-27
5000명을 먹이는 사람(A Person Who Feeds the 5000) 막6:35-47(Mark 6:35-47), 요6:5-13(John 6:5-13) 한 기업인이 목사님을 찾아왔습니다. a businessman came to a pastor. “목사님 저는 성공하지 못한 사업가입니다.” He said “ I am a failed businessman.” “왜요? 요즘 불황이라 회사가 힘드신가 봐요?” “why? is there a depression in your company?” “직원들 봉급주고 나니까 남는 게 없어요.” “I don’t have anything left when I give the wages to my workers” “그럼 사장님 가족들의 생활비도 집으로 못 가져가십니까?” “So, can’t you take the money and use it for your family?” “그런 게 아니라 남들처럼 돈도 못 모으는 회사가 어디 있습니까?” “No, It that I can’t save any money like the other companies do.” “직원들이 몇 분이나 되세요?” “how many people work for you?” “20명입니다.” “20 people” “20명이나 먹여살려요? 사장님은 성공하신 기업인입니다!!” “20 people? your are a successful businessman.” “성공이라뇨?” “successful?” “20명분을 깔고 앉아서는 혼자 먹겠다고 20명 굶기는 실패한 사람이 아니라 20명을 먹여 살리는 성공한 사람입니다. “you are not a person who doesn’t give the wages to survive by yourself, but gives 20people money for them to survive. 앞으로 하나님께 기도하실 때 20명만 아니라 200명, 아니 2000명을 먹이는 기업가가 되게 해달라고 기도하싶시오.” Pray form now on and ask God to make a you successful person who feeds 200 no, 2000 more people.” 세계적인 기업 삼성의 이건희 회장이 말한 인재에 관한 철학입니다. This is the philosophy that the talented man, Lee Ken Hee President of world-wide enterprise Samsung talks about. ◎ 천재급 인재를 확보하라. Secure the natural genius-talented man. 창조적인 천재 한 명이 수십만 명을 먹여 살린다. One creatively talented person feeds ten thousand people. 여러분 오늘의 설교 제목이 무엇입니까? “What is today’s title?” “5000명을 먹이는 사람”입니다. “It is A Person Who Feeds the 5000” 함께 보실 성경은 요한복음 6장 1절 -13절의 말씀입니다. 마가복음 6장 35-47 35. 때가 저물어 가매 제자들이 예수께 나아와 여짜오되 이곳은 빈 들이요 때도 저물어가니 And when it was already quite late, His disciples came up to Him and [began] saying, “The place is desolate and it is already quite late; 36. 무리를 보내어 두루 촌과 마을로 가서 무엇을 사 먹게 하옵소서 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat. ” 37. 대답하여 가라사대 너희가 먹을 것을 주라 하시니 여짜오되 우리가 가서 이백 데나리온의 떡을 사다 먹이리이까 But He answered and said to them, “You give them [something] to eat!” And they *said to Him, “Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them [something] to eat?” 38. 이르시되 너희에게 떡 몇 개나 있느냐 가서 보라 하시니 알아보고 가로되 떡 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리가 있더이다 하거늘 And He *said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they *said, “Five and two fish.” 39. 제자들을 명하사 그 모든 사람으로 떼를 지어 푸른 잔디 위에 앉게 하시니 And He commanded them all to recline by groups on the green grass. 40. 떼로 혹 백씩, 혹 오십씩 앉은지라 And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties. 41. 예수께서 떡 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리를 가지사 하늘을 우러러 축사하시고 떡을 떼어 제자들에게 주어 사람들 앞에 놓게 하시고 또 물고기 두 마리도 모든 사람에게 나누어 주시매 And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed [the food] and broke the loaves and He kept giving [them] to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. 42. 다 배불리 먹고 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43. 남은 떡 조각과 물고기를 열 두 바구니에 차게 거두었으며 And they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. 44. 떡을 먹은 남자가 오천 명이었더라 And there were five thousand men who ate the loaves. 45. 예수께서 즉시 제자들을 재촉하사 자기가 무리를 보내는 동안에 배 타고 앞서 건너편 벳새다로 가게 하시고 And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of [Him] to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. 46. 무리를 작별하신 후에 기도하러 산으로 가시다 And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47. 저물매 배는 바다 가운데 있고 예수는 홀로 뭍에 계시다가 And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and He [was] alone on the land. John 6장 5-13 [NASB] 5. 예수께서 눈을 들어 큰 무리가 자기에게로 오는 것을 보시고 빌립에게 이르시되 우리가 어디서 떡을 사서 이 사람들로 먹게 하겠느냐 하시니 Jesus therefore lifting up His eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to Him, *said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” 6. 이렇게 말씀하심은 친히 어떻게 하실 것을 아시고 빌립을 시험코자 하심이라 And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7. 빌립이 대답하되 각 사람으로 조금씩 받게 할찌라도 이백 데나리온의 떡이 부족하리이다 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” 8. 제자 중 하나 곧 시몬 베드로의 형제 안드레가 예수께 여짜오되 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him, 9. 여기 한 아이가 있어 보리떡 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리를 가졌나이다. 그러나 그것이 이 많은 사람에게 얼마나 되겠삽나이까? “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10. 예수께서 가라사대 이 사람들로 앉게 하라 하신대 그 곳에 잔디가 많은지라 사람들이 앉으니 수효가 오천쯤 되더라 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11. 예수께서 떡을 가져 축사하신 후에 앉은 자들에게 나눠 주시고 고기도 그렇게 저희의 원대로 주시다 Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12. 저희가 배부른 후에 예수께서 제자들에게 이르시되 남은 조각을 거두고 버리는 것이 없게 하라 하시므로 And when they were filled, He *said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.” 13. 이에 거두니 보리떡 다섯 개로 먹고 남은 조각이 열 두 바구니에 찼더라 And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. Question 1. 이 사건은 언제 시작해서 언제 끝이 났습니까? when did this event happen and when did it finish? Question 2. 누가 예수님께 “각 사람으로 조금씩 받게 할찌라도 이백 데나리온의 떡이 부족하리이다” 라고 했나요? who said “200 denarius worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little. ” Who did answer Jesus, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little?” Question 3. 보리떡 5개와 물고기 두 마리를 가졌던 사람은 누구입니까? who was it that prepared the 5 barley loaves and 2fish? Question 4. 예수님이 보리떡 5개와 물고기 두 마리를 가지고 가정먼저 하신 일은? what did Jesus do first with the 5 loaves and 2fish? Question 5. 제자들이 “무리를 보내어 두루 촌과 마을로 가서 무엇을 사 먹게 하옵소서”라고 하자 예수께서 대답하신 내용은? What was Jesus’ answer when his disciples asked if “they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” Question 6. 예수께서 제자들을 명하사 그 모든 사람으로 떼를 지어 푸른 잔디 위에 앉게 하셨는데 사람들은 몇 명씩 앉았는가? How many people did He command them all to recline by groups on the green grass? 떼로 혹 백씩, 혹 오십씩 앉은지라 And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties. 오늘 이 본문의 말씀을 통해서 어떻게 5000명을 먹여 살리는 인물이 될 것인지를 알고 이런 인재가 되기를 그리스도의 이름으로 축원 드립니다. Today we’ll talk about how to be a person who feeds 5000 people. I hope that we’ll become these kind of people in Jesus Name” 지금도 예수님은 명하십니다. Jesus still demands. 너희가 먹을 것을 주라 “You give them [something] to eat!” 그리고 그 방법을 말씀해 주십니다. And he tells us how to do so. 먹이는 사람이 됩시다. Let’s become people who feed. 5000명을 먹이는 사람이 됩시다. People who feed 5000 people. 1. 내 것을 기꺼이 주는 손 1. A hand willingly giving mine to someone else. 은별이 어릴 때 보던 책이 있습니다. “수박을 맛있게 먹는 방법”이란 곰돌이가 주인공인 책입니다. There is a book that Grace liked to read when she was a baby. It was called “how to eat a watermelon more deliciously” with a baby bear being the main character. 음식을 맛있게 먹을 수 있는 방법 하나쯤은 여러분도 가지고 계시겠죠? everyone would have their own way of eating something deliciously. 곰돌이는 수박을 혼자서 먹기 위해 친구들 몰래 차가운 냇물 속에 수박을 담궈 둡니다. The baby cub put the watermelon in a water of steam to eat the watermelon by himself. 그러나 친구들이 곰돌이를 찾아와서 물속에 담궈 둔 수박을 보게 됩니다. But his friends come and see the watermelon in the stream water. 곰돌이는 수박을 혼자 먹기 위해 꾀를 냅니다. The baby cub plans a trick to eat it by himself. “수박을 어떻게 먹으면 맛있을까?” he asked to others “how should we eat it to make it more delicious?” “수박은 칼로 잘 잘라서 먹어야해!!” 그러고는 한 친구에게 칼을 가져오라고 집으로 보냅니다. “a watermelon has to be cut perfectly with a knife in order to have it nicely!” and so the baby cub send him to get the knife. “수박화채를 해서 먹으면 더 맛있을 거야!!” 다른 친구에게는 오목한 그릇을 가져오라고 집으로 보냅니다. “It will be more delicious if we make it into a watermelon salad!” so, he sent him to get a bowl for it. 설탕을 가져오라고 또 다른 친구를 보냅니다. And he sent the other friend to get some sugar. 친구들을 다 집으로 보낸 곰돌이는 그 수박을 꺼내 들고는 혼자 먹기 위해 언덕으로 도망갑니다. when he sent all of his friends to get something he ran away up the hill with the watermelon. 그러다가 개구리를 보고 얼마나 놀랐는지 그만 언덕에서 수박을 떨어트리고 맙니다. 수박은 굴러가다가 그만 깨어져 버립니다. But he got a fright by a frog and dropped the watermelon a d it rooled down the hill and smashed. 아무것도 모르고 돌아온 친구들은 울고 있는 곰돌이를 위로합니다. the friends who didn’t know anything come and cheer the crying cub. 그리고는 모두 함께 깨어진 수박을 맛있게 먹습니다. And they all deliciously, ate the smashed watermelon together. 한참을 먹다가 곰돌이가 말합니다. and then later the cub said. “아! 수박은 함께 먹어야 가장 맛있다.” “watermelon’s are most delicious when we all share.” 오늘 본문에 나타난 소년은 그가 먹을 변변치 않은 도시락인 보리빵 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리를 내어놓습니다. In today’s scripture, the young boy ,without hesitation gave his only 5 barley bread and 2 fish. 그러나 기적은 여기에서 출발되었습니다. But that was the miracle started. 혼자 먹으려고 감춰 두지 않고 내놓게 되었을 때, when he didn’t hide it to eat it by himself. 자기뿐 만 아니라 5000명을 먹이는 사람이 되었습니다. He , not only fed himself but another 5000 people. 사랑하는 여러분 everyone. 5000명을 먹이는 인재가 되기 위해 to be a person who feeds 5000 people, 첫째: 곰돌이가 발견한 수박을 맛있게 먹는 방법을 잊지 마시기 바랍니다. 1st: always remember how the baby cub found how to eat the watermelon most deliciously. 2. 예수님께 드리는 손 빌립이라는 제자는 200데나리온으로도 부족하다고 말합니다. Phillip said “200 denarius worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little. 지금 돈으로 환산하면 1데나리온이 노동자 하루 품삯이니까 80 x 200 = $16,000NZD라도 부족하다는 말을 합니다. If we exchange 200 denarius into NZD, it will be. 1 denarius is one person’s wage for a day. So $80 x 200 would be $16,000 and that would be not enough to feed 5000 people. 즉 한 끼 겨우 $3.20 NZD, 맥도널드에서 치즈버거 겨우 사면 5000명 먹긴 하겠지만 5000명분 주문하려면 뉴질랜드 전역에 있는 맥도널드에 가서 사온다 해도 반나절은 족히 걸릴걸요? 라며 부정적으로 말합니다. We can only eat 1 meal at the cost of only $3.20 NZD, which is only enough to buy 2 cheese burgers at Mcdonald’s. It will feed them. but it will take half a day to go to all the Mcdonald’s in the country to get it. 그러나 안드레는 소년의 떡을 예수님께 가져왔습니다. But Andrew gave Jesus the bread and fish the little boy had given him. 모두 것은 예수님의 손에 들려져야 합니다. 거기에서 기적이 일어납니다. Everything must go into the hands of Jesus. because that is where miracles happen. 삶이 너무 어려워 예수님께 기도드리려고 손을 모으려면 When you pray because you are holding a heavy burden, 내가 쥐고 있던 것을 다 내려놓습니다. You out down all the things that you had in your hands. 그러나 But... 기도 후에 내려놓은 것을 다시 가져간다면 If you take back the things you had after you had prayed 내 손은 나는 다시 무거워질 수밖에 없습니다. your hand will have to be heavy again. 예수님의 손에 올려드리세요. Put your hand on Jesus’ 나는 가벼워지고 예수님은 많은 사람을 이롭게 하실 것입니다. you will become lighter and Jesus will make many people beneficial. 예수님께 드리세요. Give it to Jesus 이것은 예수님께 받기만 해온 일반적인 기독교인들의 모습과는 많은 차이가 있고 도전적이 말입니다. This is a challenging word which is different to what general Christians do. Only receive from Jesus. 예수님께 드리면 무언가를 이루시리란 믿음은 창조적인 믿음입니다. A Creative faith is when you have a faith which believes that if you give something to Jesus, he will make something out of it. 받기 위해 드리는 이기적인 것이 아닙니다. It is not giving just to receive in a selfish way. 예수님 이것을 드립니다. Jesus I give this you. 당신의 필요를 위해 써주세요!! Use it for what you need!! 다시 한번 더 강조하여 말씀드립니다. I’ll emphasize it more. 계산하지 마시고 여러분이 가진 것 그것을 예수님이 예수님 자신을 위해서 쓰시라고 내어 놓으십시오!! Don’t calculate, and give everything you have to Jesus and give it to Him for only He to use. 이 창조적인 믿음이 5000명을 먹이는 위대한 사람을 만들 것입니다. This creative faith will make a person who feeds 5000 people. 3. 감사드리는 손 3. A hand that gives thanks. 우리는 지난 4주간 감사에 관한 여러 가지 이야기를 나누었습니다. 그중 감사는 결과가 아니라 시작이라는 말씀을 기억 하실 것입니다. For the last 4weeks we have been talking about thanks giving and you would remember that thanks giving is not a result but a start. 5000명을 먹인 기적은 예수님의 손에서 이루어졌습니다. The miracle that feed the 5000 started in Jesus’ hand. 예수님은 어떤 절차에 의해서 5000명을 먹이시는 기적을 일으키셨습니다. Jesus used an order to make the miracle of feeding the 5000 to happen. 예수님이 5000명을 먹이시기 먼저 하신 일이 무엇일까요? What did Jesus first do to feed the 5000? 그것은 감사를 드리는 것이었습니다. That was to give thanks. 떡덩이는 다섯 개, 물고기는 겨우 두 마리인데 어떻게 5000명이나 먹는단 말입니까? He had only 5 barley bread and 2 fish but how did he feed the 5000? 어떤 손이기에 나누기만 하면 생겨난단 말입니까? What kind of hand does he have to make bread when he halves it? 그건 바로 감사의 마음으로 나누는 손입니다. It was a hand sharing with a thanking heart. 한번 그때의 상황을 상상해 봅시다. Let’s imagine that situation. 예수님이 일인분의 떡과 물고기를 나누어 만드시려면 짧게 잡아서 10초의 시간이 필요하다고 가정해 봅시다. Let’s say that Jesus took about 10 seconds to make the amount of food for 1 person. 그러면 5000번째 사람이 그것을 먹으려면 50000초 즉 13시간을 기다려야 합니다. Then the 5,000th person would have to wait 50,000seconds which is 13 hours to get his meal. 뿐만 아니라 13시간의 예수님의 손노동도 문제가 됩니다. Not only that, 13 hours of labour would be problem for Jesus. 성경은 그 시간을 이렇게 설명합니다. This is how the bible say that time. 마가 6장 35절 때가 저물어가매 제자들이 예수께 나아와 여짜오되 이곳은 빈 들이요 때도 저물어가니 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 마가 6장 44-47의 말씀 떡을 먹은 남자가 오천 명이었더라 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. 예수께서 즉시 제자들을 재촉하사 자기가 무리를 보내는 동안에 배 타고 앞서 건너편 벳새다로 가게 하시고 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 무리를 작별하신 후에 기도하러 산으로 가시다 저물매 배는 바다 가운데 있고 예수는 홀로 뭍에 계시다가 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 이 말씀으로 미루어보면 “저물어갈 때부터 저녁때 까지니까” 길어야 2시간입니다. 거기에다 나누는 시간, 거두는 시간, 무리들을 보낸 시간이 거기에 포함되니까 정말 길게 잡아야 1시간 30분입니다. If we think about it, from late in the day to evening it would take less than 2hours and if we take out the time in which they distributed and gathered the food and sending everyone home, it would’ve taken less thank 1hour and a half. 그럼 어떻게 1시간 30분 만에 5000명을 먹일 수 있을까요? then how did Jesus feed 5000 people in 1and a half hours? 예수님은 먼저 first, Jesus 이렇게 미리 명하셨습니다. had already demanded. 5000명을 50명 100명씩 나누어 앉히라고 하셨습니다. He told the 5000 people to sit in groups of 50’s and 100’s 마가 6장 39-40 제자들을 명하사 그 모든 사람으로 떼를 지어 푸른 잔디 위에 앉게 하시니 떼로 혹 백씩, 혹 오십씩 앉은지라 And He commanded them all to recline by groups on the green grass. And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties. 그러면 대충 계산해보겠습니다. If we estimate. 50명 무리=> 50팀, 50groups => 50 people 100명 무리=> 25팀 25 groups => 100 people 이렇게 가정해 봐도 최소 팀만 75개 팀이 됩니다. if we guess it like this there will be at least 75 groups. 즉 50명 혹은 100명이 들어가는 식당 75개 업소가 동시에 1시간 30분 동안 식사를 다 마칠 수 있는 방법은 무엇일까요? So, how do 75 restaurants which contain 50 or a hundred people, finish eating in 1 and a half hours? 개개의 식당에서 미리 준비한 식사를 10명 내지는 20명의 직원이 빠르게 나눠줘야 가능할 수 있습니다. It will be possible if each restaurant serves with 10~20 people, the food they had already prepared. 그러므로 5000명을 한시간 30분만에 먹이려면 50명 식당의 직원 500명과, 100명 식당의 직원 500명 총 1000명이 동시에 서비스해야 가능 하다는 이야기입니다. 이제 답이 나왔습니다. so in order to feed 5000 people in 1 and a half hours you will need 500 people in the restaurant of 50 and 500 in the restaurant of 100, So, 1000 people have to serve at the same time. 예수님으로 비롯되어 나누어진 떡과 물고기는 12제자들에게 나누어졌고 제자들은 적어도 75개 무리들에게 또 나눕니다. The food that was shared from Jesus was distributed to the 12 disciples. And the disciples distributed it to the 75 groups 그리고 거기에 앉은 사람들도 서로 나눕니다. And the people in the groups also distributed among themselves. 이제 이해가 되십니까? do you understand now? 감사함으로 나누는 손을 가진 사람이면 누구에게나 동일한 기적이 일어났다는 것 이외에는 이 기적을 설명할 방법이 없습니다. everyone that has the hands that give thanks will make the same miracle that happens. And there is no way to explain it 왜냐하면 성경에서는 떡과 물고기가 하늘에서 각사람 앞으로 떨어진 것이 아니라 나눔으로서만이 이런 일이 일어났다고 말씀했기 때문입니다. Because the bible doesn’t tell that the food fell from the sky but feed them through sharing. 여러분 감사의 손 everyone’s thanking hands. 나눔의 손은 5000명을 먹이는 기적을 일으킴을 잊지 마십시오. Don’t forget that sharing hands can feed 5000 people. 과연 감사는 아무리 나누어도 부족함 없이 생겨나는 신비한 것입니다. Thanks giving is a mysterious way that never runs out even if you share. 떡을 가지사 He took the loaves; 감사하신 후 having given thanks, 나누셨습니다. He distributed 세상에서 기적을 만드는 손은 따로 없습니다. 바로 감사드리는 손입니다. 감사드릴 때 나눌 수 있습니다. There is no other hand that produces a miracle than a thanking hand. When you give thanks you will share. 결론 입니다. this is the conclusion. 5000명을 먹이는 인재가 되려면 “남을 잘되게 하리라”는 철학을 가져야 합니다. If you want to become a person who feeds 5000 people we need to have a philosophy to make others succeed. 다른 말로는 “나먹고 나 잘 살겠다”는 철학으로는 안 된다는 것입니다. another words, it does not possible philosophy that is I’ll eat to survive will not work 여러분 모두 부자 되시기 바랍니다. I hope everyone will become rich. 그러나 부자 돼서 남 주시기 바랍니다 But become rich and give to others. 5000명뿐만 아니라 5만명 먹이시는 사장님이 나오시길 주의이름으로 축원합니다. I hope that there will become a person who feeds not only 5000 but 50,000 people. 기도드리겠습니다. let’s pray 오천명을 보시고 너희가 먹을 것을 주라고 하신 하나님. Go who told us to give others something to eat 오늘도 그 말씀 여전히 저희에게 명하시면서 그 어떻게 하면 되는지를 말씀해주신 하나님 감사합니다. Thank you for still telling us to do so and teaching us the way. 내 것을 기꺼이 주는 손 예수님께 드리는 손 감사로 나누는 손이 되게 하옵소서 Let us share with a hand that gives, that give to Jesus and that shares. 예수님 이름으로 기도드립니다. 아멘. We prayed in Jesus’s name. Amen. 박성열 목사(뉴질랜드 예수찬양교회)
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:13), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1:13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1) Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(1) Matthew 12:28, Matthew 13:40-43, Acts 1:3, Acts 28:31, Col. 1:13, Rev. 1:6 In this 500th anniversary year of the birth of John Calvin, we remember the work of the Genevan Reformer who permanently impacted the Protestant Reformation and Reformed theology. This can be seen especially in his teachings of the covenant. Calvin’s approach to the covenant makes a difference in the way one interprets the Scriptures and describes their unity in Christ’s saving work. In Calvin’s understanding of the covenant, we also discover a structure for developing the saving benefits of Christ as well as the Christian life and sacraments. Our study will engage Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic as well as his covenant theology. Let us consider Calvin and the covenant with the specific backdrop of Dispensationalism, one of the important evangelical theologies of our day. Although dispensationalism was a system unknown to Calvin since it had not yet been formulated in his day, Calvin’s covenantal thought stands in distinction to dispensationalism and offers a ready critique to its leading ideas. Lecture One: A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic. In this first lecture, we will consider the following eight points: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Let us begin, then, by addressing the first of these eight points. I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. What makes dispensationalism to be Dispensationalism and what makes covenant theology to be covenant theology? When one reads his Bible, does the difference between these two approaches to interpreting the Bible matter? After all, people who read the Bible with a dispensational perspective believe in Jesus Christ. And people who hold to the covenant theological tradition do so as well. So this is not a debate about who is a Christian and who is not. It is a debate about the proper way to understand the Bible. So what makes Dispensationalism, dispensationalism? Dr. Charles Ryrie stated in Dispensationalism Today that the sine qua non of Dispensationalism is the distinction between the Church and Israel. Thus without the distinction between the Church and Israel, there is no Dispensationalism. Accordingly, the central idea of Dispensationalism is that there are two peoples of God: the Old Testament people of God called Israel, and the New Testament people of God called the Church. These two are entirely different. Dispensationalism declares that when Jesus came, He brought His kingdom to His Old Testament people but they rejected Him. Because they rejected Him they were set aside and God initiated an entirely different dispensation, the Church age. This age is a “great parenthesis”. The dispensation of the church is the age of grace after the Old Testament dispensation of Israel and the law. Then at the end of the church age, the church will be raptured out of the world before seven years of tribulation. God will return to His Old Testament plan for Israel. That plan is to bring the lapsed kingdom to a restored Israel. Thus the church is in the middle of God’s work with OT Israel and His work with the restored Israel after the rapture of the church. The kingdom in Dispensationalism therefore is futurethe premillennial kingdom. For dispensational theology, the kingdom has not come. It was rejected by Israel, and instead, Jesus planted His church. When the church is taken up, then the kingdom for Israel will come. Thus for Dispensationalism, the kingdom is future to be fulfilled in a literal thousand year kingdom as referenced in Revelation 20. Three foundational ideas of Dispensationalism, then, are: (1) there are two peoples of God, (2) the Church and Israel are to be kept distinct, and (3) the kingdom is for Israel and is primarily future. Covenant Theology takes a very different view of these three issues. How then does one define covenant theology? To begin, covenant theology teaches that there is only one people of God. This one people of God can be internally distinguished as the people who were looking forward to the Messiah to come from the people who are looking back at the fact that He’s come and is coming again. Nevertheless, these are one and same people of the Messiah. They are the true Israel of God. So whether we are speaking of the church, or of the Old Testament saint, they are part of the one people of God. Thus for Covenant Theology, the kingdom is not just totally future. The kingdom is already here even though there is much more yet to come. It is “already and not yet.” Covenant Theology declares that there is a kingdom that is already at work, and yet it is to come in far greater glory. This present and future kingdom has been brought to the one people of God, those who were looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah and those that are looking back at His having come and who is yet to come again a second time. Thus Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology are two different systems and two different ways of reading the Bible. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. Next, let us summarize the history of each. Dispensationalism is a recent development in the history of the church. It began in the late 1800s in Plymouth, England under the teaching of John Nelson Darby, who developed the leading ideas of the Dispensational system. Dispensationalism has been popularized through Bible colleges and Bible publications. It is now a theology known around the world. Covenant Theology, on the other hand, goes back to the ancient church. St. Augustine put it this way, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” This simple theological dictum well summarizes the heart of Covenant Theology. Augustine is saying that the whole Bible is about Jesus. Augustine’s point is that the whole Bible is about Jesus whether one reads the Old or the New Testament. Both Testaments are interrelated in the coming of Christ. Augustine’s and other early Christian biblical scholars’ recognition of the unity of the Bible in Christ came to its own in the Reformation. In 1534 only 17 years after Luther’s 95 Theses, Henry Bullinger wrote the first treatise on the covenant, entitled, “Of The One And Eternal Testament or Covenant of God.” Bullinger was a Swiss Reformer working at the beginning of the Reformation. Because the Reformed theologians went back to a direct exegetical study of the Bible, following the principle of as sola scriptura, they rediscovered the centrality of the covenant for understanding the Bible. Bullinger and Zwingli before him concluded that the covenant was the key idea to understanding the Bible. Covenant theology, then, is an idea that goes back to the ancient church with Augustine, and is one of the important insights of the theology of the Reformed tradition. If one identifies with the Presbyterian tradition, another name for the Reformed tradition, one will quickly recognize that covenantal teaching is foundational in the Westminster Standards. Following Zwingli and Bullinger, Calvin emphasized the covenant and joined them in teaching that the covenant is a key idea to understand the Bible’s theology and to show its great unity in Christ. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. What are some of the distinctives of covenant theology? First, let us speak of the formula of the covenant. A baker or a cook knows if one leaves something out of the recipe or formula, a disaster results. Leave out the baking powder and one might not have a good desert. A chemist has a formula that creates a certain chemical reaction. Similarly, there is a formula that describes the covenant. According to Calvin, it is, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” This phrase is encountered repeatedly in the Bible. A few examples include Genesis 17, Leviticus 26, Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 36, 2 Corinthians 6, Hebrews 8 and Revelation 21. The formula of the covenant begins in the Old Testament, moves to the New Testament and carries forward into heaven in Biblical revelation. Notice that the formula of the covenant does not say, “I will be your God and you will be My peoples” in the plural. It says “I will be your God and you will be My people” in the singular. As it proceeds from the Old Testament to the New Testament to heaven, it manifests one people of God in relationship with God. It also reveals that the covenant is a relationship that God Himself initiates with man. This is seen in the divine “I”. The formula of the covenant does not say, “Let’s make a deal” or “Let’s make a bargain.” It begins with “I will be your God.” God takes the initiative. We call this monergism, mono-lateral salvation, sovereign grace, or Calvinism.. God takes the first step. He seeks us out. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk. 17:10). In the covenant, God takes the initiative and by His initiation we become His people. Consider three texts: Jeremiah 31:31, Genesis 15 and Genesis 17. Jerome of Bethlehem translated the Hebrew and Greek Bible into Latin creating what was been called the Vulgate translation which is still the official translation for the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome wanted to differentiate the books of Israel before the coming of Christ (Genesis to Malachi) from the books after the coming of Christ (Matthew to Revelation). He called the first the Old Testament and the second, the New Testament. To do so, he utilized Jeremiah 31 where it says, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. Jerome translated the Hebrew word berith, by the Latin word, testamentum which can mean either a covenant or a testament, as in a last will and testament. Berith literally means “to cut” something and thus by implication a covenant because a covenant was made by sacrifice. And so after Jerome, we have spoken of the Old Testament and the New Testament as the two great sections of the canon of Scripture. But the Hebrew word that used in Jeremiah 31 suggests that we should rather speak of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant rather the Old Testament and the New Testament. This would help us to realize how important the idea of covenant is. The point here is that the idea of the covenant helps to organize the entire Bible because the Bible is God’s covenant with His people. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. Now let’s take this a step further. Let’s consider how to read the Bible in a way that ties the Bible, Old and New Testament, into one book, that sees the Bible as a whole book for one people of God. How then do we make the Old Testament and the New Testament come together? Along with Calvin’s emphasis on the formula of the covenant, we find a basic interpretive principle that he presents to understand the history of salvation in the Bible. This says, “The covenant is always the same in substance but distinct in administration.” Substance means what something really is. Administration has the idea of how one governs something. For example, there’s an administration of a president that is followed by a different president who governs or administers in another way. This also holds in the administration of a family. For example, I have had a mother now for many years. When I was about two or three years old and learning to walk across the street my mother used to hold my hand and say, “Peter, you can’t run across the street now. You can only go when I let you go, and when you walk, you hold on to my hand. I don’t want you to get hurt in the traffic.” When I go home and see my Mom today, and when we cross the street I take hold of her arm and say, “Mom hold on to me. I don’t want you to fall down in traffic while we’re walking across the street.” We administer our love and concern for safety for each other differently now then when I was a child. Nevertheless, the love of our family is unchanged. The substance of family love is unchanged. The administration of family safety is quite different. In the same sort of way, the covenant is always the same in substance Christ’s saving love for His people while it is administered differently, as by sacrifice in the OT and by worship of the incarnate Christ in the NT. Calvin’s views of the continuity of the covenant can be presented as follows: A Summary of Calvin’s Arguments for the Spiritual Continuity of the Old and New Covenants They are the Same in Substance 1. Same Law and same Doctrine since Beginning of World 2. Christ is Mediator of the Covenants 3. Both have the Grace of Justification 4. Sacraments have Equal Significance in both 5. Both have the Word of God, which is to have Eternal Life 6. The Formula of the Covenant Common to both includes Eternal Life As we look at the Bible from Calvin’s perspective, the substance of the Bible is always Jesus the Messiah and His saving work. But the way that God explains what the Messiah was to do changed from the Old Testament to the New. In the Old Testament there were bloody sacrifices and there was a high priest and there was a tabernacle or temple. In the New Testament we don’t have those things. Things are administered differently now. Another helpful example is a building with its scaffolding. When a building is being built there are scaffolds set up around it. But when the building is complete, the scaffolds are taken down and removed since they are no longer needed. Thus the Old Testament administration of the covenant of grace was administered by animal sacrifices, rituals, dietary laws and high priests. All those things were the scaffolds used to bring the Messiah into the world. Now that He’s come, God administers His saving work differently and the Old Testament administration of the covenant has ended. Thus its visible signs and practices, its scaffolds, have been removed. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. Another way to speak of the substance of the covenant is to see it summarized in the formula of the covenant, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” That has always been the heart of the Bible even though God’s administration of His covenant changes through time. Another phrase to describe this dual emphasis of unchanging substance with differing administrations is to emphasize the continuity and discontinuity of the Old and New Testaments. Thus from a Presbyterian perspective, we baptize the children of believers in the New Testament because the children of believers in the Old Testament were circumcised. Circumcision and baptism are very different in administration, but they are the same in substance. They both declare that God is in covenant with His people. The way the sacrament was administered before Christ came was different than after Christ because the shedding of human or animal blood was pointing to Christ’s saving sacrifice that alone could truly take away the sin of the world. But now that Christ has come and shed His blood, we no longer have need to shed sacrificial blood. Similarly, the Passover became the Lord’s Supper. The change was needed because there is no longer any shedding of blood. Thus Christians do not slay the Passover lamb. Jesus has fulfilled that picture. The Passover was always pointing to Him, the substance of the covenant. The diversity of the covenant is in its form. The continuity of the Covenant is in Christ, the Passover Lamb. We continue to have the bread and the cup of Passover pointing us to the fact that God takes His wrath away from His people because His Son has shed His blood for us and that blood has been placed upon the lentil of our hearts so that we might be saved. Calvin enumerates five differences between the covenants. They relate only to the externals and not to the substance of the covenant. Calvin’s View of the Differences In Administration Between the Old and New Covenants Old Covenant Before Christ New Covenant After Christ 1. Material and Temporal Blessings represent spiritual blessings 1. Direct Meditation upon spiritual blessings 2. Images & Ceremonies as types of Christ 2. Full Revelation of Christ in His Incarnation 3. The OT Law is letter that kills 3. The NT Gospel is spirit that makes alive a. The OT Law in the narrow sense condemns because it is the demand of Law without the Holy Spirit’s Aid a. In the New Covenant the Law is written upon the heart by the Spirit in the Gospel and is accompanied by the forgiveness of sins b. The OT Law in the broad sense includes the Gospel by borrowing from it the Promises of Christ b. The Gospel of the New Covenant has been the experience of God’s Children since the beginning of the World 4. The Old Covenant was characterized by bondage and fear 4. The New Covenant is characterized by freedom and trust 5. The Old Covenant was limited to Israel 5. The New Covenant is extended to all nations So as we learn to think covenantally, we discover the interconnectedness of the formula of the covenant, the substance and administration of the covenant, and the continuity and discontinuity of the covenant. The substance of the covenant unites the whole Bible emphasizing the continuity of the covenant even though the administration of the covenant differs through history emphasizing the discontinuity of the covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. How do we understand the stories in the Bible and how do we understand our Christian lives? We must read the Bible as a history of salvation and not as a logically arranged systematic theology. God didn’t inspire a systematic theology of Jesus. He did not provide us with a Biblical book entitled, “The Doctrine of God” or “The Doctrine of the Church.” The Bible is a history of salvation. They Bible reveals the dramatic stories of what God did through redemptive history. The unfolding character of God’s story is a mystery until the whole story is done. Mysteries, surprises, twists and turns keep on coming as God’s organic plan is progressively unfolded. One of the great covenant teachers of the early twentieth century was Geerhardus Vos who taught at Princeton and impacted our professors at Westminster. He developed and emphasized the historic, organic unfolding of salvation in Scripture. What does “organic” mean? If someone plants a garden of flowers, he needs some seeds. When one looks at a seed, the seed already contains its blossom. But if one has never seen that seed before he would not be able to guess what it is. But because of the seed’s organic development, everything that the mature tree is to become is already present in its seed. And that’s the way the Bible is, right from its beginning. The whole story of the Bible is already present when God said, “He will crush his head and he will bruise his heel,” in Genesis 3:15. That is the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can go back and read it in light of the Gospel and realize that the Gospel was there all along. Initially, men did not understand that. It took the unfolding of the history of salvation until finally the wonderful resurrection and victory of Christ was clear. But it was always there because the whole Bible is about Christ. Consider Luke 24 where Jesus gives His first Bible study after His resurrection. Jesus speaks to two men on the road to Emmaus who were discussing the story of the crucifixion and the rumors that the tomb was empty. Luke 24:36ff says, While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. Now when Jesus refers “to everything that was written about Him in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,” He was identifying the three main divisions of the Canon of the Old Testament. That was the way the Jews divided the books of the Old Testament. In essence He was saying, “It matters not which Old Testament book you read, if your mind has been opened by My Spirit, you will discover that it all speaks of me.” That is the way Jesus wants His people to read the Bible; to see that it is all about Him. The Bible is the dramatic story of the history of redemption that organically unfolds Jesus’ saving work. Thus covenant theology rejects the Dispensational notion that the OT is for the Jewish people of God and the NT is for the Gentile people of God. Instead, covenant theology teaches that the whole Bible is about Christ who came to save all of God’s people who by faith become the true Israel whether they are Jews or Gentiles. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. It’s at this point where one of the greatest differences arises between Dispensationalism and covenant theology. Dispensationalists say the many land promises that God gave to Israel are yet to be fulfilled. This they claim will occur when the church is raptured, and when after the seven year tribulation, the kingdom finally comes, then all the land promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled. Covenant Theology believes Dispensationalists are misreading the Bible when they interpret the Bible in that way. Consider here 2 Corinthians 1:18-20. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about the truthfulness of his ministry. He says in 1:18, But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No” but in him it has always been “Yes.” The key verse is verse 20: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. What Paul is saying is that if one finds any promise in the Bible and if he interprets it without Christ, he’s misreading it. Every promise is “yes” and “amen” in Christ. If one does not read the Bible this way, it is as though Jesus becomes irrelevant to that promise. For Paul, then, every land promise and every other redemptive promise always finds its meaning in Christ. The point is that there is continuity and discontinuity in the covenant. The land promises are to be understood as though God had said, “I have redeemed you out of the world to be my people. Thus I’ve given you a heavenly land which is my true and ultimate promised land.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” And at the conclusion of Revelation, when we are in Heaven, we have God dwelling with us. Then God says, “I will be your God and you will be My people, in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” That is why the writer of the Hebrews teaches in Hebrews 11 that Abraham was not looking for real estate in Palestine when he left early Ur. Instead, he was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. A covenant theologian can say “yes and amen” to that in Christ. Paul declares that that is how we are to read the Bible. If we don’t read the Bible in this way, we are misreading it. But Dispensationalism teaches that the Bible is to be read without seeing all of it promises fulfilled in the ultimate culmination of all things in Jesus Christ. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. The formula of the covenant reflects the substance of the covenant, while the administration of the covenant was different before Christ came than its administration after Christ came and ascended to heaven. Having ascended to the right Hand of the Father, He poured out His Holy Spirit on His people inaugurating His kingdom. God’s Kingdom began at Pentecost. The kingdom is now here even though it is still not yet here fully. The Kingdom is already but not yet. Chuck Colson illustrated this by the D-Day invasion. When the Marines hit Omaha beach and took the cliffs they did the impossible. Having accomplished this, they were confident that one day they would conquer the Third Reich. They already had won but they had not yet won. There was still a long battle yet ahead even though they had secured that victory by doing the impossible. The incarnation of Jesus Christ and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and its birth of the New Testament era of covenant life are the beginning of the kingdom. One day Satan’s “Third Reich” is going to fall and the whole kingdom will be come even though it has already begun and we as believers are part of it. Jesus Kingdom is already here. (See Matthew 12:28; 13:40-43; Acts 1:3; 28:31; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:6.) Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1:13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(2) Lecture II. A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenant Theology As we saw in the first lecture, Calvin interprets the Bible in a covenantal and Christocentric manner. He is firmly committed to the organic unity of the history of redemption that is explained in its continuity and discontinuity by God’s covenantal revelation. The eight points that we addressed in our first lecture are: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Having seen Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic and how its implications stand in contrast to the hermeneutics of Dispensationalism, let us now consider Calvin’s covenant theology that flows from his covenantal hermeneutic and see how it stands in critique of Dispensational theology. We will address the following six points in this second lecture: I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Let us then look at the first of these six points. I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. Before Calvin began to write his theology, Heinrich Bullinger had already emphasized in his 1534 Of The One And Eternal Testament Or Covenant Of God that Christ Himself is the covenant due to His incarnation. Bullinger explains in his tenth section entitled, “Christ, the Seal and Living Confirmation of the Covenant”: What I am about to say of Christ the Lord is not the entire doctrine. Rather, it is that very point worthy of admiration due to His incarnation, namely, the eternal covenant of God with the race of men that covenant which He set forth and confirmed in an astonishing and living way. Indeed, when the true God assumed true humanity, immediately it [i.e., the covenant] was not treated with more words and arguments, rather, by this thing itself, that greatest mystery is attested to the whole world--that God admitted man into covenant and partnership. Further, He bound man to Himself by an indissoluble connection by the highest miracle of love, to be our God. Thus undoubtedly with Isaiah we too believe the name given to Christ (Isaiah 7:14). He is called Immanuel, just as if someone might say, “God with us.” Thus the Gospels review these innumerable miracles and great benefits of Christ with so many examples. By these indeed, Isaiah declared God to be kind, and therefore the Horn of Plenty, the Father, and Shaddai to the human race. To this name also the very death and resurrection of Christ are referred. They [i.e. the words that compose the name Immanuel] are indeed most certain testimonies of the divine mercy, justice, and restitution of life. By Christ, God Himself established and expounded for us all of Himself, before our eyes; blessing us and accepting us as cleansed by Christ, into partnership and the eternal kingdom. All of which John’s Gospel says embraced by the few but heavenly words, “In the beginning was the word, and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory; glory, I say, which was proper for the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Indeed of His fullness, we have received grace for grace. Because the law was given by Moses, grace and truth have appeared by Jesus Christ” (John 1:1, 14, 16, 17). You hear this highest truth, that mystery that God has become a man, that is, He has become entirely of us, He Himself dwells among us. You hear that He has begun to shine His power and glory to the world, not for any other plan than that He may draw us to Himself by most beautiful benefits in His love, who is the fullness of our God Shaddai. For Paul also says, “In Christ dwells all the fullness of God bodily, and you are in Him complete and perfect” (Colossians 2:9, 10). In this way, therefore, the Lord Jesus Himself confirmed and displayed the first part of the covenant. The very incarnation shows that God is God--Shaddai, the blessing and eternal happiness of the seed of Abraham. (My translation.) To get at what Bullinger is saying, let us suppose that God said, “I so want you to know that I am your God and that you are My people, that I will give you a proof that you cannot possibly forget or overlook it.” God’s proof of His covenantal commitment is seen in His becoming a man. By Jesus’ incarnation, the God-Man becomes the union of God and man, thus mirroring the very covenant itself. The formula of the covenant says, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation God declared, “Because I am your God and because you are My people, I your God am becoming a human person like you, to be with you.” Isaiah 7:14 says, “The virgin will conceive and have a Son and you will name Him Immanuel”. Immanuel means, “With us is God” or “God with us”. The name Immanuel is the covenant name, meaning that “God is with us”. Jesus as the incarnate Covenant Savior and Lord permanently unites God to His people by taking on unfallen human nature and becoming a man. Thus Jesus’ incarnation physically manifests the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation, God in Christ declares, I am with you and you are with Me. Calvin’s emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God is seen in his extensive Christ-centered development of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits. Consider the following: Let us then set forth the covenant that he once established as eternal and never perishing. Its fulfillment, by which it is finally confirmed and ratified, is Christ. Who, then, dares to separate the Jews from Christ, since with them we hear, was made the covenant of the gospel, the sole foundation of which is Christ? ...the apostle contends that it ought to be terminated and abrogated, to give place to Christ, the Sponsor and Mediator of a better covenant;... This is the new covenant that God in Christ has made with us, that he will remember our sins no more. The intimate relationship of Christ and the covenant for Calvin can be seen by their repeated juxtaposition. The covenant not only contains Christ, but He is its foundation. The promise of both of the Old and New Covenants have Christ as their foundation. Since the New Covenant is from the beginning, the Old Covenant is Christian. Thus the Old Testament fathers had Christ. The law includes Christ. The Old Covenant’s end was Christ and eternal life. In fact, the Old Covenant was an empty show unless Christ’s death and resurrection are part of it. Thus the ark of the Covenant, the Old Testament ceremonies, and the progressive revelation of the Old Covenant all point to Christ. Christ’s advent ushers in the New Covenant that stands in continuity with the Old. The Redeemer’s coming does not invalidate the Old Covenant. Instead, He renews and continues it. He causes it to be new and eternal. By fulfilling and confirming the Old Covenant, Christ brought an eternal and never perishing covenant. Christ’s redemptive work is fully integrated with the covenant. Accordingly, Christ is the Mediator, the Sponsor, the Redeemer, and testator of the covenant. The blood of the covenant in Christ’s atonement or redemptive death for sin is what ratifies the covenant. Thus the covenant is ratified with Christ and His members. Christ’s resurrection, intercession, priesthood, and Kingdom, are associated with the covenant. Indeed, Christ is the one who confirms, seals and sanctions the covenant. Calvin also sees a relationship of Christ and the covenant in the application of redemption in such areas as faith, sonship, union with God and Christ, good works, and the Sacraments. Clearly, Christ and covenant is a major strand in Calvin’s golden chain of salvation. The commentaries also relate Christ and the covenant on numerous points. Calvin further develops his emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God when he explains the inseparability of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits in the very same manner in which he explains the inseparability of these same saving benefits in Christ Himself. We will consider this below in section IV of this lecture. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. As we have seen, the word for covenant in Hebrew is berith, meaning to cut. In this context, consider Genesis 15. Childless Abram wanted a son. So the Lord brought Abram out to view a clear starry night’ sky. The Lord promised Abram that his children would be as numerous as the stars. We read in Genesis 15:6, Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We call this justification by faith. In fact, Paul uses this same text in his Epistle to the Romans to show that believers are justified by faith alone. Here God brings righteousness to Abram through faith by means of a covenant, a berith. To make this covenant sacrifice, Abram takes different kinds of animals and cuts them from the top of the head, through the nose, through the torso, all the way through the tail, and then the pieces are laid on the ground. This is indeed a berith, a cutting, a bloody sacrifice. This powerful image was an ancient custom by which one made a covenant. In making a covenant, one slew an animal and then walked between its parts and in essence promised, “If I don’t keep my promise, I will be just like the animals that we’ve just walked between.” To make a mortgage that way with your bank would be to sign it in blood! Here we see a promise joined with a sanction or punishment for disobedience. If the covenanter did not keep his word, he would be like the animal that was just slain. But the story doesn’t stop there. Next Abram watches the sun setting, he gets ready to enter into the covenant but instead he falls into a deep sleep. He is in effect paralyzed and he hears God speak. He sees a theophany, a manifestation of God. It is a smoking pot and a burning oven that alone passes through the middle of the animal parts, while Abram has no part in this covenant. The Lord in effect was saying, “Abram I alone establish the covenant. I alone can bring you righteousness. I alone can fulfill this promise. You cannot do it. But you will benefit by this covenant since you have been justified by faith.” Moreover, the Lord was also making a great promise. In effect He said, “If I don’t keep My promise, I will cease to exist.” But the Lord in essence was also saying even more: “So that you might be righteous, I will have to assume flesh and become the Lamb of God who is slain as a sacrifice for sinners to take away the sin of the world.” In this dramatic story of ancient covenant making by sacrifice, God alone guarantees the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” When one is justified by faith in Christ, he does absolutely nothing but receive Christ’s gift of His perfect righteousness before God. This righteousness is imputed to him by faith alone that he receives with a beggar’s hands of faith. Christians are in this covenant by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as seen in the Scriptures alone so that God alone receives the glory in our salvation. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. But this is not where Abram’s story stops. We next turn to Genesis 17 where we find that the Lord makes a covenant with Abram by changing his name and giving him a new name. So Abram becomes Abraham. As this new name is given, another covenant is made that begins with the words, “Walk before me and be blameless.” In essence God says, “Remember you did not walk between the animal parts before, but were righteous by faith. But now you must walk before me and be blameless. In fact, you are going to have the covenant, the berith, cut in your own flesh. You are going to be the living sacrifice. Your very body is to be cut in the covenant of circumcision.” Thus it is no longer an animal, but Abram who is the covenant sacrifice. By extension, circumcision leads to the circumcision of the heart, the removing of the old nature. This is what Abraham is supposed to become as one who has been justified by faith. He is now to walk with God. This theologians have called sanctification. Those that are justified by faith are also those who are to learn to walk in holiness before God and become living sacrifices, as Paul called them in Romans 12:1-2. In covenant sacrifice, Abram was to give his body onto the Lord as a living sacrifice. Consider again Jeremiah 31. There God said He was going to make a new covenant with Israel, a new berith. It would not be like the covenant that He made with Israel where the law of God was written on tablets of stone and were broken because the people rebelled and worshiped the golden calf. This time God would write the law on Israel’s hearts, forgiving their sins. But notice that the new covenant presents a second great benefit. The first benefit of the covenant is forgiveness of sins which is called justification by faith. The second benefit of the covenant is sanctification in which the law of God is written on the hearts of God’s people so that they will live for Him. Thus the new covenant has two great blessings: justification and sanctification. Reflect again on the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” One can hear both the truths of justification and of sanctification in the formula of the covenant. Listen to the two emphases that the covenant formula can be given. The first emphasis says, I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear that wonderful promise? God says, “You are righteous through faith in Me. I’m giving you this.” This is the indicative or factual expression of the Covenant of Grace. Now let me read these same words again but accent them in a different way: I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear a different nuance in the same words? By emphasizing the words in this way, we move from the indicative to the imperative. In other words, what God has promised, He also demands. And what God demands, He also promises. God’s enabling us to keep His covenant is seen in the fact that He writes His law on our hearts. He has not only forgiven us, but now He also gives us the ability to become His people. This gracious gift is underscored by God’s revealed name in Genesis 17El Shaddai, the Almighty and All-Sufficient God. So justification and sanctification are the two great benefits of the covenant that come to us in God’s covenant of grace. And remember this formula of the covenant goes from Genesis all the way to Revelation and it’s the one people of God that participate in it. All too often Dispensational and evangelical theology separates sanctification from God’s saving grace. It is an expression of growth and maturity but not part of God’s redemptive plan. Covenant theology following Calvin’s emphasis on what he called the “duplex gratiae” or double graces declares that God saves His people by justifying and sanctifying them. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. These truths of the covenant must be taught to God’s people of all ages. Accordingly, we need an illustration that is useful for children and grown ups too. So allow me to offer such an illustration by asking you to look carefully at your hands. You have a right hand and a left hand. Your two hands will now stand for the two blessings of the New Covenant: sanctification, I will write my law on your hearts; justification, I will forgive your sins. Let your dominant hand be your justification hand. So if you are right handed, think of your right hand as your justification hand and your left hand as your sanctification hand. If you are left handed, let your left hand be your justification hand and your right hand be your sanctification hand. I want you to learn four important principles of the relationship of justification and sanctification from your two hands. These principles are: 1. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be distinguished. 2. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are inseparable. 4. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be logically ordered. Notice first that a person’s two hands are distinct. That is important to remember. If someone says, “Turn right,” and one turns left he will get into trouble or get lost. Early on, people learn to distinguish their right hands from their left. The point is this: justification and sanctification, the two benefits of the covenant, are distinct. We must distinguish them. The great mistake of Roman Catholicism is to say the way one is justified is by becoming sanctified. Catholicism teaches that if one does good works, God will declare such a one to be righteous. But that destroys justification by faith alone. In this illustration, that is to confuse one’s left hand with his right hand, or to identify his justification with his sanctification. But some evangelicals think of this in an opposite way from Roman Catholics. But still, they confuse their right and left hands, or confuse justification and sanctification. In this view, sometimes called, “easy-believism” one declares, “If I believe in Jesus that is how I become forgiven and holy. It doesn’t matter if I do anything else as long as I believe, because that’s all one needs before God.” This view teaches that one becomes sanctified by being justified. But that is to confuse one’s right hand with his left hand, or to identify one’s sanctification with his justification. This is the reverse of Catholicism, but like Catholicism, it confuses justification and sanctification. Calvin taught and the Reformed faith teaches that there are two great saving benefits of the covenant of grace, and we must never confuse them. We have two hands which are distinct and we must never confuse them. Notice secondly, that the two hands we have, were given to us simultaneously. Humans are born with a right and left hand that come simultaneously. So when God brings us the blessings of the New Covenant, He not only forgives our sins as a completed act and declares us to be righteous by clothing us in the righteousness of Christ, He also gives us the Holy Spirit to begin to make us holy. With this gift of the Holy Spirit, God starts the process of teaching us to become holy, to die to sin and to live to Christ. While the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit is a process that goes on and on, it starts at the same time as our forgiveness or justification in Christ. These two benefits of the covenant are simultaneous. Nevertheless, we must distinguish them for they are different. The third thing we need to realize about these two New Covenant blessings is that they are inseparable. No one decides to take off his left hand when in a hurry and says, “I don’t have time to mess with my left hand today”. If one’s left hand gets separated he uses his other hand to dial a doctor and pleads, “Could you reattach this hand? I don’t want them separated!” Nevertheless, there are people that spiritually speaking want to separate justification from sanctification. A libertine says, “I just want to be forgiven. I want a Jesus credit card so I can just do what I want and know I’m forgiven.” But one cannot do that. The puritans in essence used to say, “When you receive Jesus, you receive Him in all of His offices as prophet, priest, and king. Not just as a priest who gives you forgiveness and a sacrifice. But also as a king who rules over you and a prophet who teaches you His word. You cannot separate his offices.” The opposite of this is the legalist who says, “I don’t need to be forgiven, I will be good enough by my own moral reformation to please God.” This we would call a Pharisee. But the Pharisee is like the Libertine. The only difference is that they seek to cut off the opposite hand! But, the two hands of the covenant of grace are inseparable. Accordingly, Calvin assails those who claim only one benefit of the covenant at the expense of the other. Also, with the same effort these rascals, by canceling one section of it, tear apart God’s covenant, in which we see our salvation contained, and topple it from its foundation. Not only are they guilty of sacrilege in separating things till now joined.... Because Christ and the covenant are so intertwined, there are those who not only try to “tear apart God’s covenant” but who also attempt to “tear Christ in pieces”. Thirdly, he calls him our sanctification, by which he means, that we who are otherwise unholy by nature, are by his Spirit renewed unto holiness, that we may serve God. From this, also, we infer, that we cannot be justified freely through faith alone without at the same time living holily. For these fruits of grace are connected together, as it were, by an indissoluble tie, so that he who attempts to sever them does in a manner tear Christ in pieces. Let therefore the man who seeks to be justified through Christ, by God’s unmerited goodness, consider that this cannot be attained without his taking him at the same time for sanctification, or, in other words, being renewed to innocence and purity of life. Calvin repeatedly uses the image of tearing Christ in pieces to underscore the inseparableness of justification and sanctification. It is indeed true, that we are justified in Christ through the mercy of God alone; but it is equally true and certain, that all who are justified are called by the Lord, that they may live worthy of their vocation. Let then the faithful learn to embrace him, not only for justification, but also for sanctification, as he has been given to us for both these purposes, lest they rend him asunder by their mutilated faith. ...as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable--namely, righteousness and sanctification. Whomever, therefore, God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the spirit of adoption, by whose power he remakes them to his own image. But since the question concerns only righteousness and sanctification, let us dwell upon these. Although we may distinguish them, Christ contains both of them inseparably in himself. Do you wish, then to attain righteousness in Christ? You must first possess Christ; but you cannot possess him without being made partaker in his sanctification, because he cannot be divided into pieces [I Corinthians 1:13]. Since, therefore, it is solely by expending himself that the Lord gives us these benefits to enjoy, he bestows both of them at the same time, the one never without the other. Thus it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness. The covenant therefore helps to organize the benefits of salvation. The two covenantal benefits of justification and sanctification are distinct, yet they are inseparably related and simultaneously received in Christ. Thus Christ and the covenant are essentially identified since both are the source of these great redemptive benefits. This doctrine gives Calvin a two edged sword to wield against his theological opponents. The Romanist, who thought his works merited salvation, was confronted with the fact that good works without Christ’s righteousness were still impure. The Libertine, who thought that Christ’s death made him spiritually pure regardless of his personal life, was confronted with the inseparability of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration and Christ’s righteousness. The three ideas from Calvin we have considered so far concerning the relationship of the two benefits of the covenant are: 1. Justification and Sanctification must be distinguished. 2. Justification and Sanctification are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and Sanctification are inseparable. Now let us consider the fourth idea of the relationship of justification and sanctification in Calvin: 4. Justification and Sanctification must be logically ordered. Or to put it in Calvin’s terms, what is subordinate is not contrary. The fourth point, then, that Calvin makes is that the two benefits of the covenant of grace are to be logically ordered. Or to put it another way, one benefit of the covenant is dominant and the other is subordinate. This too is like our two hands. If one is right handed, the right hand is the dominant hand over the left hand. The point that we must see here is that justification is always dominant over sanctification and sanctification is always dependent upon and subordinate to justification. So if one is right handed, it means his right hand, his justification hand, is the primary hand and the left hand, his sanctification hand, is dependent upon and subordinate to the right hand. Theologically speaking, this means that one can never say, “I know I’m forgiven because I’m doing so many good things.” This is to confuse the gospel. Instead, one must say, “Because I am forgiven and righteous in Christ, I can and will live for Him by the Holy Spirit.” Calvin compared justification to the foundation of a house, and he likened sanctification to the superstructure built upon that foundation. Thus the house of sanctification is always dependent upon the foundation of justification. Calvin actually uses an important dictum that comes from the medieval tradition, namely, “What is subordinate is not contrary.” What he meant in this context is that the righteousness of the believer’s obedience, which is real righteousness before God, does not present an alternate or contrary way of salvation. This is because sanctification is under or subordinate to the greater righteousness of Christ’s obedience in justification. Sanctification righteousness although graciously produced by the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the believer is nevertheless subordinate to Christ’s righteousness bestowed in justification. So sanctification is not a competing way of salvation for the believer since it is always inferior to the righteousness of Christ. Indeed, sanctification righteousness honors justification righteousness and by its very existence manifests the superior righteousness of Christ in justification. Accordingly, sanctification does not produce justification or have any role in justification’s work of forgiveness or of imputing the perfect righteousness of Christ. One must never depend on his own new obedience or sanctification. Instead, he must always depend upon Christ. To return to our analogy, the dependent hand of sanctification must always rely on the superior hand of justification that lays hold of Christ by faith. Thus Calvin’s covenant doctrine does not permit the law to be in opposition to the gospel after the blessings of the covenant are bestowed upon a believer. Justification and sanctification are necessary components of the divine benefits of salvation. They are bestowed “at the same time”. Yet a logical order exists between them which must not be overlooked. Since the “spirit” is added to the “letter” of the law, the believer has a true righteousness of obedience. But, It is a subordinate righteousness to the righteousness of Christ. Yet it is not a contrary righteousness. Calvin affirms this principle in his Antidote to the Council of Trent. We, indeed, willingly acknowledge, that believers ought to make daily increase in good works, and that the good works wherewith they are adorned by God, are sometimes distinguished by the name of righteousness. But since the whole value of works is derived from no other foundation than that of gratuitous acceptance, how absurd were it to make the former overthrow the latter! Why do they not remember what they learned when boys at school, that what is subordinate is not contrary? (Emphasis mine.) I say that it is owing to free imputation that we are considered righteous before God; I say that from this also another benefit proceeds, viz., that our works have the name of righteousness, though they are far from having the reality of righteousness. In short, I affirm, that not by our own merit but by faith alone, are both our persons and works justified; and the justification of works depends on the justification of the person, as the effect on the cause. Therefore, it is necessary that the righteousness of faith alone so precede in order, and be so preeminent in degree, that nothing can go before it or obscure it. In his The True Method of Giving Peace and Reforming the Church, Calvin again explains the subordination of the Christian’s works righteousness to the righteousness of faith. In order that ambiguities may be removed, it is necessary that the Righteousness which we obtain by faith, and which is freely bestowed upon us, should be placed in the highest rank, so that, as often as the conscience is brought before the tribunal of God, it alone may shine forth. In this way the righteousness of works, to whatever extent it may exist in us, being reduced to its own place, will never come, as it were, into conflict with the other; and certainly it is just, that as righteousness of works depends on righteousness of faith, it should be made subordinate to it, (Emphasis mine.) so as to leave the latter in full possession of the salvation of man. Thus for Calvin, the covenant is a powerful concept because it establishes that we are justified by faith alone, yet by a faith that is never alone, but is always accompanied by all of God’s saving graces. Thus the Gospel teaches us that Jesus is both Savior and Lord.” The indicative of our union with Christ is in justification (we are righteous) and the imperative of our union with Christ is in sanctification (we are to be righteous). As we have seen, both of these emphases are implied in the formula of the covenant. The following chart helps us to capture Calvin’s covenantal thought in terms of the two savings benefits of the covenant of grace. The Relationship of the Two Parts of the Covenant of Grace in Calvin’s Thought Justification Sanctification 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 2. Simultaneous with Sanctification 2. Simultaneous with justification 3. Inseparable from Sanctification 3. Inseparable from Justification 4. Distinguishable from Sanctification 4. Distinguishable from Justification 5. By Faith Alone in Christ 5. By Faith and Obedience to the Law through Enablement of the Holy Spirit 6. A Superior righteousness that is not contrary to Sanctification Righteousness 6. An Inferior Righteousness not contrary to Justification Righteousness 7. Faith Alone Justifies and is the Superior Cause of Salvation 7. But Faith is Never Alone in the Justified Person, so sanctification’s works are Inferior Causes of Salvation 8. Imputed Righteousness 8. Inherent Righteousness V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. What difference does the covenantal rather than the dispensational reading of the Bible really make in the Christian life? First, we should see that covenant theology declares that the kingdom of Christ has already begun and is not completely future. If one believes that the kingdom is yet to come but is not yet here, it is possible for the church to see itself as a group of people that should retreat from the world, to care mainly about themselves. The Church’s primary task then is to invite others to join them in their retreat from culture. This approach often asserts that the world is going to get worse and worse and there is nothing anyone can do about it. All one can hope for is for Jesus to come and rapture the Church out of this fallen world and only then everything will be right. Allow me here to give a personal experience. When I left Dallas Seminary in 1978 to go to Westminster Seminary, it was at the time of the first great oil crisis caused by the oil embargoes. I vividly remember being in those long lines of cars at the gas station. In Philadelphia I received word from friends in Dallas that the Seminary had decided to take out an ad in the local newspaper declaring that this was the last call for the rapture. It is clear that there have been a several more opportunities for Dispensational interpreters to call for the rapture! The best-selling Left Behind series hadn’t yet been written. This was when I realized I could no longer be a Dispensationalistnot if Dispensationalism focused on reading newspapers to figure out when Jesus would come. I began to understand that the question we should have been asking was, “How does one live for Christ if there’s no gasoline?” There is a different ethic created by Dispensationalism and by Covenant Theology. Dispensationalism asks one to live in light of the raptureno gasoline means the rapture is coming. Covenant Theology, however, asks one to reflect on what it means to be a Christian when one can no longer pump gas. Jesus taught in Matthew 5, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” He was not talking only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He was talking to Christians. In essence, He was saying: “You are to make a difference. You are to be salty salt that purifies a fallen world and you are to be radiant light that dispels the darkness of unbelief that surrounds the believer. You are to touch the world with what you believe and in what you do.” Covenant Theology declares that believers are to influence their cultures for Christ’s sake. Light shines and dispels darkness. Light makes its presence known. So the Christian is to be the light of the world wherever he goes, whether into a family, into a school, into a political party, into a university or into a business. He is to shine the light of the kingdom of Christ everywhere and make a difference. An adherent of covenant theology must understand that he is to demonstrate that the kingdom of Christ is present. The Christian should be able to say, “I will make a difference for His name wherever I ameverywhere I go, in everything I do, in everything I say.” That is the vision of the ethics of covenant theology, rather than looking to the future trying to ascertain the dates and times of Christ’s return. Covenant Theology accepts Jesus’ agnosticism about the time of His return. Our Lord taught us that, “No man knows the day or the hour or the time or the season that’s appointed by the Father.” Instead of figuring out the time of Christ’s return, one is to be occupied in service to Christ until He comes. We are to be busy in the world, seeking to reach the world for Christ’s sake. Christ’s Kingdom has irrupted or broken into the space and time of human existence. Thus Jesus taught that His gospel of the kingdom had to be preached in the entire world and only then would the end come. Thus believers are called to be missionaries and evangelists engaging our changing world with God’s unchanging Word so that his kingdom will make progress. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Finally, I will offer a few observations about the sacraments as they are differently viewed from the Dispensational perspective and from the vantage point of Covenant Theology. This vast topic could encompass the nature, meaning and practice of the sacraments in terms of the Eucharist, Baptism and Infant Baptism. But to state the matter simply, let us note that Dispensationalism tends to see the sacraments in a more individualistic sense, whereas Covenant Theology insists that the sacraments are to impact the entire community of God’s people. Dispensationalism’s individualistic tendency parallels its belief that the world will grow worse and worse. But as long as one believes in Christ as Savior, everything will ultimately be all right since the individual believer will go to heaven. In contrast, without diminishing the joyful hope of the individual’s salvation, covenant theology affirms with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Covenant Theology recognizes the corporate nature of God’s covenant promise, as seen in the intergenerational expression of the formula of the covenant from the Old Testament, “I will be your God and the God of your children after you” and “To a thousand generations of those that love me and keep my commandments.” On the basis of these Old Testament promises that are held to be still valid in the New Testament era, Calvin and covenant theology have affirmed the corporate character of the covenant as expressed especially in infant baptism. Calvin is so adamant that the covenant with the Jews continues into the New Covenant era that he asserts that to deny this is nothing less than blasphemy! For Calvin, such denial implies that Christ’s coming actually narrowed God’s grace rather than expanding it: Yet Scripture opens to us a still surer knowledge of the truth. Indeed, it is most evident that the covenant which the Lord once made with Abraham is no less in force today for Christians than it was of old for the Jewish people, and that this work relates no less to Christians than it then related to the Jews. Unless perhaps we think that Christ by his coming lessened or curtailed the grace of the Father--but this is nothing but execrable blasphemy! Accordingly, the children of the Jews also, because they had been made heirs of his covenant and distinguished from the children of the impious, were called a holy seed. For this same reason the children of Christians are considered holy; and even though born with only one believing parent, by the apostle’s testimony they differ from the unclean seed of idolaters. Now seeing that the Lord immediately after making the covenant with Abraham commanded it to be sealed in infants by an outward sacrament what excuse will Christians give for not testifying and sealing it in their children today? Children in the Old Testament and in the New are a holy seed by virtue of the same covenantal promise made by God with Abraham. Accordingly, infant baptism bears the same force of command as circumcision. Nor does Calvin accept the evasion that Abraham’s children in the Old Testament Covenant simply foreshadow believers in the New Covenant era. This cannot be, because God’s covenant established with Abraham includes the Christian believer and their children too. In the use of the term “children” they find this difference: those who had their origin from his seed were called children of Abraham under the Old Testament; now, those who imitate his faith are called by this name. They therefore say that that physical infancy which was engrafted into the fellowship of the covenant through circumcision foreshadowed the spiritual infants of the New Testament, who were regenerated to immortal life by God’s Word. In these words, indeed, we see a feeble spark of truth. But those fickle spirits gravely sin in seizing upon whatever first comes to hand where they ought to proceed further, and in stubbornly clinging to one word where they ought to compare many things together....We should, accordingly, aim at a better target, to which we are directed by the very sure guidance of Scripture. Therefore, the Lord promises Abraham that he will have offspring in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and at the same time assures him that he will be his God and the God of his descendants. All those who by faith receive Christ as author of the blessing are heirs of this promise, and are therefore called children of Abraham. Calvin’s point is that while there is an element of truth in the objection, it does not fully explain all of the salient Scriptural data. It is true that the offspring of Abraham’s flesh foreshadowed the future offspring of Abraham by faith. Yet this fact does not remove the promise that God made to Abraham’s physical offspring. God assured Abraham “that he will be his God and the God of his descendants.” Calvin’s response is not an either/or, but a both/and. The implication for the practice of baptism is that the offspring of Abraham are heirs of the promise, even those who became his offspring by faith. Thus the children of Abraham’s offspring by faith are also made full partakers of the promise, since they are now part of his family. The covenant with Abraham continues to operate in the New Covenant era. A criticism of Calvin’s argument for paedobaptism is that the only sign of the covenant was circumcision, and it has ceased. Therefore, the covenant of circumcision is of no value because its sign is abolished. Calvin’s retort is that the changing of the sign does not change the covenant. And let no one object against me that the Lord did not command that his covenant be confirmed by any other symbol than circumcision, which has long since been abolished. There is a ready answer that for the time of the Old Testament he instituted circumcision, to confirm his covenant, but that after circumcision was abolished, the same reason for confirming his covenant (which we have in common with the Jews) still holds good. Consequently, we must always diligently consider what is common to both, and what they have apart from us. The covenant is common, and the reason for confirming it is common. Only the manner of confirmation is different--what was circumcision for them was replaced for us by baptism. If it is true that there is no replacement for circumcision, then in Calvin’s mind, Christ’s coming actually obscured God’s grace rather than increasing it: Otherwise, if the testimony by which the Jews were assured of the salvation of their posterity is taken away from us, Christ’s coming would have the effect of making God’s grace more obscure and less attested for us than it had previously been for the Jews. Now, this cannot be said without grievously slandering Christ, through whom the Father’s infinite goodness was more clearly and liberally poured out upon the earth and declared to men than ever before. As covenantal theologians in the New Testament era, following in the covenantal hermeneutic of Calvin, we are to be concerned in our sacramental lives with the corporate character of the covenant community just as the people of the Old Testament era understood the corporate character of God’s covenantal promises to them. These covenantal promises are not merely individual, but they encompass the importance of the whole family and the coming generations as we personally and collectively grow in Christ. Conclusion: There are several other areas of covenantal thought in Calvin that could be pursued. But we shall conclude having seen that for Calvin, biblical interpretation, the saving benefits of Christ, Christian ethics and the Church’s sacramental life are all important expressions of God’s one and eternal saving covenant of grace revealed throughout the history of redemption from Old Testament to New Testament. Although Calvin never encountered Dispensationalism per se, his understanding of the covenant was directly opposed to the foundational premises of Dispensationalism. So with pun intended, in this New Testament dispensation of God’s one covenant of grace in Christ, which includes the 500th anniversary of Calvin, let us maintain the covenant as a central element in our biblical and theological labors. For as Calvin himself declared as he commented on Psalm 25:10, “We have no reason to be afraid that God will deceive us if we persevere in His covenant.” Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A day without fear(두려움 없는 날)/ Mark 13:1-8(막13:1-8)/ 2007-02-10
A day without fear(두려움 없는 날) Mark 13:1-8(막13:1-8) SERMON: A DAY WITHOUT FEAR O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds and the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in the meditations of our hearts. Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen. Amen. I don’t know about you - but I get scared at times. At times I feel afraid. The fear I am talking about is the kind of fear that arises when a person walks into a crowded room and suddenly it goes silent, - the fear that can overwhelm you when you see two people look at you and then begin to whisper to each other, - the fear that arises when someone you love and need is angry at you, - the fear that happens when your father criticizes you - the fear that clutches at you when you have been told for weeks how your company has to cut staff and suddenly your boss calls you and says he wants to talk to you about your annual performance evaluation. I don’t feel this fear as often as I used to, but every now and then it reaches out and tries to grab me, every now and then I am overwhelmed by self-doubt, every now and then - I wonder if I am good enough, and fear that I am not. At such times I stop for a minute and remember that God thinks that I am good enough. And that if God thinks I am good enough - it matters not what I think of myself, or what my fear is trying to make me think of myself. And the moment passes. The reason I mention this today - is because both the Gospel reading and the Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews speak about having confidence - about not being alarmed by the signs of the end of our world - nor being fearful when it appears that we are about to meet God. As I thought about these texts during this past week - as I thought about how Jesus encourages his disciples in the gospel to not be alarmed when the temple is destroyed and nations rise against nations, and earthquakes and famines overwhelm various parts of the world, - and about how Paul tells us that because of Christ’s sacrifice we can enter the Holy of Holies with confidence and hope and there meet the living God - the God that, at one time, no mortal could look upon and live, I wondered why it was so important for Jesus and for Paul to say these things. I wondered why so much stress is laid upon holding fast to our hope without wavering and upon encouraging one another when we see the Day of the Lord approaching. You see, to a large extent I have lost track of my fear. When I was younger I lived in a house of fear, a house of physical and emotional violence I knew what it was to cower and cringe and what it was to hide my fear so that I would not be picked on again. But I moved from that house and I discovered the healing love of God in people around me. I knew too one time the fear of failure, the fear of criticism, the fear of not being good enough. That fear was a constant companion for many years, but - except for the occasional time it reaches out to grab me, those times I mentioned at the very beginning the sermon, I have left that fear behind, I know that God loves me - I have experienced his acceptance from the hands of others, and in the depths of my prayer and my meditations. Nor do I worry about the end of the world, nor about earthquake, famine or flood or war. I pray for the coming of a better world- for the coming of the kingdom, and on the simplest level of total and undeserved grace I know that the trailer is on solid ground, that forest grows abundantly not a 1000 yards from my door, that the creek has not flooded over its banks for many years, and that wars are something that happen when people fail to obey God. My duty is to share and to work for peace. My only fear is that I will forget to do all that I can do and forget to love as well as I can love. As for meeting God face to face - while I have a certain desire to avoid the moment coming soon, I also have an eagerness for it - a longing for it - that is based on a long standing assurance that God will treat me mercifully and justly and a long standing set of experiences that tell me that God has not yet once judged me as harshly as I judge myself or as others judge me. I have lost track of almost all that I once feared. And so I suspect have most of you. So when Jesus tells his disciples to not be alarmed when they seethe temple thrown down so that not one stone is left standing upon another - and Paul speaks about how we can enter the inner sanctuary of God with confidence and hope - the full impact of those words can easily be lost. While they are good words, encouraging words, they are not words that normally startle us or strike us with any sense of urgency. especially those of us who have been in the faith for a long time, - those of us who have tested and trusted in the claims of Jesus for many years, - and those of us who have, like me, achieved a certain number of years upon the face of this earth and have in those years been touched by genuine love - by Christ-like love. But - my friends - if not for ourselves, then for the sake of others we need to relate strongly to the words of today’s readings from the New Testament. Fear for the most part may have passed us by, we may have outgrown it, or we may have become so familiar and so comfortable with the good news of God’s love and care that fear rarely reaches out to grab us, but for many people fear is a all- pervasive presence: - it shapes their behaviour during the daytime and moulds the dreams that they have at night. - It leads ever greater numbers of teenagers to commit suicide, - and it cripples the emotional and social lives of millions upon millions of adults. For some there is no such thing as a day without fear, and I don’t mean the physical fear that overwhelms us with Adrenalin when a car swerves towards us on the highway. nor do I mean the fear that rises in us when we hear that a loved one has cancer - the fear that we will be left alone - though that is getting closer to what I mean. NO, I mean the fear that life is pointless, - the fear that no one will ever love us, - the fear that every hand is either set against us – or totally ignorant of our existence. - the fear that our children, our friends, and our lovers will never reach the goals we dream of for them, - the fear that God does not exist and that if he exists -we are going straight to hell, - the fear that when all is said and done - we will perish utterly from the face of this earth and that not one thing that we have done or will ever do will make a difference to anyone or anything, and I mean the fear that the World really is ending, - that war and earthquake, and flood and famine will destroy everything and that in its place there will come nothing - nothing for the universe and nothing for me - that there will be no new heaven and no new earth for myself or my children - that all that is good now will cease to be and no good will arise in its place. For the sake of those who feel these fears as a present reality -as a daily reality, we need to get in touch with the fears we have overcome and the confidence we have been given. And we have to share that confidence, that faith, with those around us. We have to share our confidence and our faith with those teenagers who believe that when Kurt Cobain died the light went out of the world - and with the likes of the lonely old woman in the nursing home who, despite her relatively good health, keeps on saying that there is nothing to live for. We have to bring out the treasure that we carry hidden in our hearts and hold it up before our workaholic brothers or sisters- and tell them of the peace that comes from working less and playing with and loving our neighbours more. We have to reveal the light that has placed in our lives by God to those whose whole world is the darkness of fear and inadequacy- sharing with them the fact that God truly does love us as we are - and that there are no conditions - no demands – no qualifications put on that love. We have to reveal and live out the vision we have received of anew heaven and a new earth - of a kingdom of justice and truth, of joy and love, and of peace and plenty to those who fear that the end of this world is coming……. At one time my friends I could not imagine a day without fear. Now, because of what God has given me, because of how I have discovered God’s love for me, I find it hard to imagine a day that has fear in it. But for the sake of others -both you and I are called to imagine the fear that dwells in the hearts of so many around us, and to meet together and encourage one another with the encouragement that we have received. We have to speak forth our faith and live out our belief so that all can hear and see. Our help is in the name of The One who made heaven and earth, and in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. He will not suffer your foot to be moved -He is your keeper, your defence at your right hand, from every evil he shall keep your soul, goodness and mercy will follow you all your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.
A Father’s Wisdom(아버지의 지혜)/ Psalms 34:(시34:)/ 2012-02-12
A Father’s Wisdom(아버지의 지혜) Psalms 34:(시34:) I encourage you to turn to Psalm 34. Keep it open as we look together at this sacred text. It was written at a time when David was afraid that he would be killed by King Saul. As a result, he fled into Philistia—the land of the old arch-enemies of his people. While there, he was recognized as the one who had killed Goliath. So in the attempt to escape from the horns of the dilemma, David resorted to feigning or pretending to be a madman. He had saliva dripping down his beard. Such that the King of Philistia, Abimelech, said, “Don’t I have enough madmen in Philistia that I should have this other one?” and basically excommunicated David from the presence of the Philistines. It is tragic that some of life’s lessons cannot be learned any other way but through experience. I wish there were other ways of learning. David had learned an immense lesson in the midst of his failure. There is no more miserable picture than that of David pretending to be mad in the courts of the King of Philistia. David wants to instruct us in this Psalm 34. It is an incredible Psalm that portrays a father’s wisdom for his children. This is the young man’s story—told when David was older and presumably wiser as he penned these words. Many times in our worship, we will be greeted with the words, “God is good!” to which you respond, “All of the time!” There is a sense in which we derive that statement from Psalm 34. David is very eager to tell us that God is really good. That he is wonderful beyond measure. That he’s a great God. Immediately from the very outset of the Psalm, he is able to transfer your gaze from your own navel to God himself. “I will extol the Lord at all times,” he begins. When the Apostle Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica, he says in the first epistle, the fifth chapter and the 18th verse, “give thanks in all circumstances” whatever happens, in every situation of life, before and after and in every trial of life. In the bright days of joy that you experience and the dark days of fear, my praise, he writes, will continually be on my lips. Is it possible that this is more than bravado on the part of David? Is this something that we should aspire to? Is it in fact feasible and embraceable? Is this pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by or can this part and parcel of the Christian life be able to say with heartfelt conviction, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Obviously, David knew difficult days. This Psalm was written in the context of one of the most heinous difficult dark days in David’s life. He is writing from the depths of hurt and experience when he says that he will praise God all the time and in every circumstance of life. He refers in verse 4 to the fact that there were fears that he was trying to avoid—horrendous experiences, the dread of the unknown, running for his life—seeing others massacred because of him. Yet as he looked around, there were others that he gazed upon who were followers of the Lord Jehovah. They were somehow able to rise above the circumstances and David longed for that in his own experiences. So we read in verse 5, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” In other words, these believers portrayed a degree of confidence and joy that seemed to bid farewell to fear, terror and shame and enabled all of those things to give way to radiance. I want to attempt to explain what it means to be a radiant follower of Jesus Christ. I want to outline the steps that one must take if one is to live the victorious Christian life. What then does it mean to be radiant? Why is it that so many believers and followers of Jesus Christ seem to be anything but radiant? There seems at times to be a blatant disconnect between possessing the joy of Jesus and being befuddled with the circumstances that surround us in life. The word radiant is found in Isaiah 60:5. “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy…” There it describes the mother’s face lighting up at the sight of her children that she thought were long lost. They were coming home. She became radiant with joy. I remember my first major trip away from home when I was a boy; I had come to America to begin my studies in theological education. Ireland was a long way off and I was desperately homesick. I had been gone a mere 3 months and longed to get back. I took a little job in order to earn $212.00, which was the price of a round trip airfare from New York to Dublin. I knew if I got as far as Dublin, I could make it home. I decided to surprise my mother. She wasn’t expecting me for 3 years. I remember the great joy of opening the door and saying, “Hello Mom!” She turned around. She had been washing the dishes and dropped some of her best china, but it didn’t seem to matter because I saw the radiance on my mother’s face. Isaiah captures that when he talks about what it means to be radiant. The word is used again to depict the face of Moses in Exodus 34. You remember the story when he was up on Mt. Sinai and he eventually came down after having spent time with our Lord. Everyone looked at the face of Moses when he came down the mountain. Scripture says, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai… he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord,” (Exodus 34:29). Or when Paul writes to the Church at Corinth is his second Epistle, 3rd chapter, verse 18. There we read these words: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” The word there also that is used is with ever-increasing radiance, which comes from the Lord. It indicates the Christian’s growing likeness to our Lord Jesus. Whereby, the more we spend time in his company and his presence, the more we take time to gaze upon his lovely face; then that loveliness shines out in our lives. The transformation is there for everyone. That’s what radiance is. That’s what you as a follower of Jesus Christ need to embrace. I want you to note first of all David’s understanding of worship in this Psalm. Right from the very beginning, he says, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord.” David sees it is the essence of boasting in the Lord. Boasting is one of those things that we tend to hopefully shy away from. It’s all too easy to boast of one’s own accomplishments. We desire to impress one another or to be accepted by someone else. The Psalmist is saying something entirely different here. He’s saying, instead of boasting about yourself, join me and boast of the Lord. Let us say how wonderful, how amazing, how incredible God is. Fill your hearts with his presence, and with his attributes, and with his person, with his faithfulness, and with his works, and with his promises. You will find them unparalleled, matchless, and incomparable. Fill your life so that you live radiantly with the worship of God. Let me say this carefully, diligently and yet emphatically; the purpose of praise and the purpose of worship is not to make God’s people feel good. It amazes me that after all these years in ministry that so many followers of God do not seem to get that. Worship is not about making you feel good. Worship is not about you. Worship is solely and completely acknowledging the greatness of God!! (And by the way, that makes you feel good.) We gather for worship in order to magnify the name of God alone. There are so many believers today who are missing out on that. Believers will tell me that they are in a Bible study, but they don’t go to worship. Or they attend a Sunday school class, but they don’t go to worship. It seems rather strange when I ask the question, “What is the point of learning about him if it doesn’t propel you to worship him?” Bible study is no substitute for gathering together to praise his holy name—the more you get to know him, the more you are driven to worship him. If that is not the case, then one would need to question the quality of the learning experience itself. To be a radiant Christian is to understand worship as David understood worship. Secondly, I want to suggest to you David’s understanding of prayer. He writes, “This poor man called…” (v.6). He’s got the essence of what prayer is all about. This poor wretch’s prayer is the cry of a poor wretch, but it is nonetheless powerful with Heaven, because it goes on to tell us that, “the Lord heard him.” Listen. David passionately believed that God hears and answers prayer. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your station might be in life. It is the personal testimony of David when he was at his most wretched condition that he suggested to be heard of God is to be delivered by God. Prayer can deliver us from trouble. Indeed, it can move the very heart of God to become involved in our lives, to intervene and affect the outcome of our situation. When God intervenes in a human life, that intervention is massive, miraculous, and irresistible. David reiterates that whole idea throughout these verses. God is a God that answers prayer (“…He answered me” (v.4)), a God who hears prayer (“the Lord heard him…” (v.6)), a God who saves through prayer, (“He saved [the poor man] out of all his troubles,” (verse 6)), a God who delivers through prayer, (“[the Lord] delivers them” (verse 7)). Confidence oozes out of the pain of the Psalmist in verse 7; David says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” David was absolutely convinced that God plants an army around you. You are ultimately, finally and fully protected because on every side there are warriors of sleepless eyes keeping watch over you by day and night. What an incredible encouragement for those who find themselves resourceless in the enterprise that we call life. David is saying that if you feel resourceless, then you’re not going to be radiant. To be radiant you need to know that all the resources of Heaven are at your command. You are a child of the King! The experience of the Psalmist can be the experience of everyone. So David is compelled as he goes on in one of the loveliest verses, to invite others to share the adventure. In verse 8 he says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” No wonder we sing that lovely hymn by Joseph Scriven: What a Friend We Have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer. Do you want to be a radiant follower of Jesus Christ? Transform your thinking to the power intrinsic to you in prayer, the power intrinsic to you in worship. I would have you notice thirdly David’s understanding of wisdom. Throughout the entire Psalm you may have noticed, the reiteration of the phrase—“the fear of the Lord.” The fear of the Lord is expressed in submission to the will of the Lord. So the fear of the Lord and submission to his will means to walk in his ways: to respect his will, to tremble to offend him, to hasten to serve him. David seems to indicate that we should fear the Lord and fear nothing else. I believe the grave absence in the church today is the fear of the Lord. It is absent from so many in the church. Because if we fear the Lord, we would be more concerned about what we do, say, and how we act. If we desire happiness in life, happiness is contrived in terms of the fear of the Lord: to enjoy life to the fullest. “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days…” David speaks as a father to everyone—who desires life and many good days—that’s all of us. If you would really find joy and happiness in life, David now wants to give you the secret of what it means to live happily, joyfully and radiantly. This is not a level of mediocrity to which he refers, to which so many attain—which in the last analysis is not life at all. The art of truly joyful living is not given to everyone to know. But here it is given, true wisdom and how to live and how to die. He sums it up by saying, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (v.13, 14). Specifically, what the Psalmist is saying and David is telling us—base your life upon integrity as opposed to deception, “practice good instead of evil” (v. 13), “seek peace and pursue it” (v. 14). These are simple and profound lessons. But the reality is that so many believers are sour and grumpy all the time. They go about like they have just lost a liver. There is a sense in which they are always angry, always critical, always negative, always seeing the bad; seeing the cup half empty instead of seeing it half full. So many believers and there is a radical disconnect between the experience of the Psalmist and saying to live radiantly in Christ and those who feel they have just lost their kidney. They betray the Christ that they purport to serve. I understand that the theology of “think positively” has fallen into disrepute. I agree with some of those concerns, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. What David is telling us here is that he is challenging us to be honest people, to be decent people, to be good people, to be peaceable with one another, to be positive in your attitude, to be grateful in your heart, to be loving and to be kind. That’s not just an Old Testament measure of holiness—it’s also the New Testament measure of holiness! Does that not strike a bell with many of you? Like Paul wrote to the Church at Galatia, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-3). These are the attributes of a follower of Jesus Christ. God forgive us when we live other ways. Let me tell you a little story of coming back from Malta. It was a Friday night. I lined up for my ticket. I had a reserved seat on British Airways. When I got to the counter, they said, “I’m sorry, your seat has been taken.” I said, “No, I don’t think so. I have reserved them.” “No, she said, we’re full. However, we will give you $1,000.00 if you will go tomorrow and we will put you up and feed you.” I said, “If this were a Thursday night I would jump at that. But it was a Friday night and there are lots of people waiting for me on Sunday and I need to get back.” She said, “We don’t have any seats.” I said, “Well you have a problem then, don’t you?” My daughter was with us. She was heading back to Edinburgh. She said, “Dad, demand your rights here.” My daughter is quite aggressive. She takes after her mother. (That’s not true by the way!) “You tell them that you are a Pastor!” (A great deal of good that would do, I am sure.) “You can’t let them treat you this way.” I said, “Calm down and let me try to handle this.” I went over as nice as I could be. “I’ve really got to get to Los Angeles…” Well, to cut a long story short, when eventually they were in the last few minutes, they called my name along with Vicky. They had upgraded me to those marvelous seats that fold down flat into a bed. God is good! As the man was giving me the ticket, he said, and my daughter was standing within earshot, “We’re upgrading you because you’ve been so nice!” My daughter said afterwards, “I may start being nice now!” Here’s the fourth thing: David’s understanding of life. It is an intensely realistic portrayal of life in verses 15 to the end. There is no guarantee that the righteous will escape problems. In fact we read, “a righteous person may have many troubles” (v. 19). At times you may be “brokenhearted… and crushed in spirit” (v. 18). But God’s presence is always to be experienced in the crisis of life, because “he hears your cry” (v.17). He hears your cry whenever you are hurting. He hears your cry. Isn’t that lovely? Just the way a mother hears the cry of her sick child. Or a father responds to the terrorized plea of his child, so God hears you. In fact, he can’t take his eyes off you (v. 15). You’re so precious to him that he observes you with tenderness. The world is full of broken, hurting people with shattered hopes, dashed dreams—what a wonderful thing to read that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. It was Dr. Joseph Parker who was speaking to a graduating class of theological students and advised them, “Always preach to broken hearts and you will never lack an audience.” It’s true! So in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have the privilege of bringing a broken-hearted savior to a broken-hearted world. That’s good news! It is the essence of our faith that enables us to live, no matter what the circumstance in life—to live joyfully and radiantly. So I hope you will say to one another as you leave today, or over the course of days to come, especially if you see a grumpy believer, “Smile! God loves you.” If you want to add, “I love you too”, you can add that. But if we understand worship, wisdom, prayer, and life as David did, then you will be able to say; “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice!” (Psalm 34:1–2). Pastor Alan J. Meenan
A Feast in Abundance(풍성한 축제)/ Psalms 23:(시23:)/ 2012-02-12
A Feast in Abundance(풍성한 축제) Psalms 23:(시23:) In 1872, Lord Wolseley, an English Lord, wrote in the Soldier’s Pocketbook these words, “In all siege operations, it is most important that all possible advantage be reaped of every hour of darkness.” This idea of taking “advantage of every hour of darkness” struck me. Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, also spoke about treasures of the darkness. So what I want to say right from the outset, while I should be speaking on Psalm 27 today, I just couldn’t let go of Psalm 23. It’s such a beautiful Psalm. I would like to review the last two verses of this Psalm with you this morning. Psalm 23 was not written at a time of idyllic ease. It was written when life was difficult, complicated, and burdensome. Otherwise, David would not have penned the words, “Thou hast prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” This was probably not written when he was a young boy tending sheep in the Judean hills. There probably was a great catastrophe in his life. The reality is that we would long for life to be trouble-free. If life were trouble-free, then we wouldn’t need something like Psalm 23. When we long for a trouble-free life, where you can simply soak in the sun and do nothing but relax and enjoy yourself, we forget the old Arabian proverb: “all sunshine makes a desert.” It is probably not in our best interest to have a life that is truly trouble-free. (It’s all academic anyway, because no one experiences such a life.) Life is full of all kinds of trouble. Some of you, while you are listening to me, are going through difficult, dark moments. You’re here this morning hiding a lacerated heart. Some great travesty, injustice, disappointment or something else you’re trying to overcome here. God bless you in that process. So those of us who are not going through dark times, rest assured, guaranteed, you will. Even if you have, it does not preclude the fact that you will again. That’s why Psalm 23 is so pertinent to any Christian living and breathing at all. Jesus Christ never suggested that we escape life. The Christian is never encouraged to try to escape life. People today, all around us, are trying to escape life. That’s what drugs are. They are simply an attempt to escape the realities of life, to move to a different, higher and supposedly better plane. One’s fascination or involvement with some kinds of music, books, or movies, or whatever the case might be, often is an escape from reality, because reality is so difficult to cope with. Jesus never suggested that we try to escape from life. He taught us how to live life, how to cope with life—even when it is incredibly difficult! When worse comes to worst, and the uphill climb becomes a struggle, Isaiah’s words are very significant. He talks about the treasures of the darkness. Can it possibly be that even in the darkness, there are treasures? The apostle Peter talks about it in I Peter verse 1, “It is God’s power that guards us through faith for salvation.” So we are guarded. Those of us who follow Christ are guarded through faith. Psalm 23 is a reminder that God cares for us even in our darkness. So we come to verse 5: “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” God’s blessing is so sure that even though your enemies may gather around and watch, there is nothing they can do to stop the blessing of God from reaching the one that He loves and wants to bless. The tragedy today is that so many Christian people, young and old, tend to think that when the storms beat upon their lives, they are no better off than people who don’t believe. They look at their situation and ask, “What advantage is there to being a follower of Christ?” The apostle James, the brother of Jesus, writes on one occasion, “the reason why so many Christians don’t have is because they have never asked.” If we are reluctant to ask God for miracles in our lives, we shouldn’t be surprised when we never receive one. But if we dare to ask, dare to believe, dare to lay hold on the promises of God, and say “Lord, this is what I need for your glory,” then he will rise to meet whatever needs we might have. This God that we deal with is a God who rains bread from Heaven. He’s a God who sent ravens to feed a prophet. He’s a God who takes a few morsels of food and multiplies them so they can feed a multitude. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself reminded his own disciples, as he would remind you today, “don’t be like the non-believers.” The difference between a non-believer and those who follow Christ is your heavenly Father knows everything that you need. He has promised to supply your needs according to the riches of his glory. His timing may be different from yours, and that’s always a frustration! For example, a couple of days ago this week I was trying to sync my Palm Pilot with my computer. It wouldn’t work. I got boggled and upset. Sometimes God’s timetable and our timetable don’t quite “sync.” That can be frustrating. But believe me, He will never come a moment too soon and He will never come a moment too late. The lovely book of the Bible, The Song of Solomon, is a beautiful love poem between lovers. The people say to the bride in front of the groom, “he brought you into his banqueting hall. He prepared a table before you. He placed a banner over you. The banner said, ‘This is my love.’” “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The Lord promises, there will never be a time in your life while you are a follower of Christ that your needs will go unmet. There will never be a time when the table will be bare. He is going to take care of you. No matter what the enemy may threaten to do, you are safe and secure. That’s the great confidence that exudes from these verses in Psalm 23. What glorious words are these! David goes on to say in the second part of verse 25 that not only will “He prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies,” but “He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows!” What David is telling us is that not only is God willing to provide for us and take care of us, he gives us the confidence and the hope that as a follower of Jesus Christ, you will always be in the palm of his hand! We will never have to worry that every need will be supplied. That’s His promise; He will do it in abundance! “You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows!” You see, one of the things that I love about the Scriptures is the superlative language. For example, in the wonderful story of the Prodigal Son, it’s not just the calf they kill. No, it’s the fatted calf! It’s not that he will just give us peace, but it will be a peace that will pass all understanding! It isn’t just joy, but it is joy unspeakable and full of glory! It is grace abounding! You see, almost in every way David alludes to the fact that when God supplies our needs, he will do it in abundance. There is always that note of bounty in the provision of God. Jesus came not to give life, but to give more abundantly. Jesus spoke, not that he might give us joy, but that our joy might be full! When you conceive of God and his provision for you, it’s a picture of the great divine shylock in the sky measuring out the pound of flesh drop by drop and pound by pound. No! No! No! He anoints your head with oil and your cup overflows. In the overflowing cup, what David is saying is that He gives you more than you need. He not only meets your needs, he gives you more than you need. Then, what overflows from your cup might fall into the cups of other people. So it behooves us to be like Christ: to be equally generous, to commit that cup to overflow into the cups of others. There is something about traveling in Africa and coming back from Nigeria that helps me to realize that we in America are blessed beyond what we deserve. We are the most blessed nation in the entire world. Coming back from Africa, one realizes afresh the immense affluence and wealth that is here. As Oprah Winfrey said in her interview with Diane Sawyer this week, that when people say to her that the need is here in America as well, her response was, “You have no idea.” That is not to say that there are no needs in America, but you have no idea how people are living in other parts of the world. They are living on garbage dumps. Their homes are made of cardboard. They are giving birth nowhere near hospitals or doctors. They are dying of AIDS. I love what God is doing with Oprah Winfrey and also with Bono of U2 in trying to raise the awareness of the western world to the plight of the orphans, in particular in Africa, whose parents have died of AIDS and many of who are dying of AIDS themselves. As Americans, we must learn to give in a measure that we have been given. We must be generous if we would seek to be like the Christ whom we follow. We are instructed Biblically as followers of Christ to give one-tenth of all our income to the work of God. I hope that you are endeavoring to do that. When I look at the immense need of the world, even a tenth is a paltry amount compared to the amazing need that is all around us. Even though I am thankful for Oprah and Bono in raising awareness, I am very cognizant of the fact that in many ways what they are saying and doing is trying to meet the need of Africa at its surface level. In other words, we are applying band-aids to the folk in Africa. But it is only by investing in the Church in Africa that we will begin to solve the root problem, the source of the problem dealt with. As the Church seeks both to educate the people of Africa and also by preaching a higher standard of morality so that the problem that is AIDS today in Africa can be addressed. My cup overflows. Verse 6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” David is saying is that there will never be a day throughout the rest of your life when you will not have two heavenly escorts. Every moment of every day following close behind there will be these two escorts: Tove and Hesed. Tove is the glorious goodness of God and Hesed is the loving kindness of God. The old versions of Psalm 23 interpret Hesed as mercy. The new versions translate it as love, mercy, grace, goodness, kindness and all those things. They are all wrapped up because there is no English word that describes this Hesed of God. Still, they are right there by your shoulder following you all the time. I have a little dog at home. Everywhere I go she is by my feet. I change direction and she’s there. I sit down she sits at my feet. She’s always getting in the way. She is always there. That’s what David is saying. Every now and again you want to take a look over your shoulder, because right there will be goodness on the one hand and kindness on the other. It’s always following you. It was Francis Thompson that was inspired by this verse to write his poem The Hound of Heaven. Dale Evans, Roy Rogers’ wife, is brought back to God through that poem. This is what she writes: I saw that it [Psalm 23] told my own story of running and hiding from God for over 18 years, of sunshine and shadow, toil and treasure, success and defeat—trying hard to get out of my life the sound of those steady strong haunting feet that followed me everywhere. David adds the very first word of the verse there: surely. This isn’t just that goodness and mercy will follow me, but surely it will follow me. I ask David, why are you so sure that it’s going to follow you every moment of every day. You will never be able to escape it, no matter what! Looking over your shoulder is the loving kindness of God. How can you be sure that there will never be an instant when he’s not there when the presence of God is not with you? He responds, “Because God is God! God is everlasting. God is unchanging. God has pledged himself and promises goodness and kindness to me. God has set his love upon me and will not forget me in eternity. Even though there will be days when you may be downhearted, days when you are sad, days when you feel lonely, days when life will seem dreary and sunless. This is not about your feelings—it stands a sentinel to the soul. This is the reality. This is the walk of God beneath our feet. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me every moment of every day of every year of my life—this persistent unending love of God! It’s not just that you are loved. I’m embarrassed just how much you are loved. God lavishes his love upon you and he never gives up—never. Even when others have given up on you or when you have given up on yourself. Even then, God, the Hound of Heaven, has not given up. Did you ever see the movie Mutiny on the Bounty? Christian Fletcher was the gentleman on the Bounty that led the mutiny against Captain Bly. Captain had set out from England with his crew to find rare fruit trees. He finished up in Tahiti. The women in Tahiti were very accommodating to the men. The men wanted to stay in Tahiti. But eventually Captain Bly got pried away from Tahiti, and a short distance out, Christian Fletcher led the mutiny. Captain Bly and a few loyal sailors were given a little boat. It’s an incredible miracle that enabled them to sail across 4,000 miles of Pacific Ocean to the East Indies to safety. In the meantime, the mutineers had turned back to Tahiti and persuaded 12 Tahitian girls to be with them. Obviously they couldn’t stay in Tahiti because the wrath of the British Empire would have been down on their heads. (That’s when the British Empire was an empire!) So they sailed away to the first place they could find. They found an uninhabited island and decided to live there. But one of the sailors got into making whiskey. He got everybody drunk. Some of the men went out of their minds. At least one committed suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. The rest went over to bestiality. The women and the children born of the unions moved to another part of the island. This, by the way, is where the movie ends. But I’m going to tell you the rest of the story. They moved to another part of the island and had nothing to do with the men. One by one, the men died until there were only two left; Alexander Smith and Edward Young. Edward Young was older. He knew he was going to die. So he decided to teach Alexander Smith to read. As he rummaged through the possessions of the bounty, which had since been scuttled, burned, and sunk in the bay, he found the bounty’s Bible. He started with Genesis. He taught Alexander Smith to read word by word. As they read word by word, the revelation of the goodness and kindness of God dawned upon their souls. They began to pray as they had never prayed before. Unfortunately, Edward Young died before they ever got to the New Testament. But Alexander Smith went on to read even the New Testament. He got the full revelation of God’s forgiveness, love, and pardon. When an American ship first set sight on the island, the women by this time had recognized the change in Alexander Smith and moved back. The Captain of that American ship brought news back to the United States saying there was one mutineer who survived 19 years after the mutiny itself. He added these words: “Never in all my life have I seen such a perfect Christian society as the one I encountered there.” That’s the persistent goodness and kindness of a God who never gives up. As if that isn’t good enough, even great enough to be able to say surely goodness and infinite loving kindness will accompany me, will watch and guide my steps every moment of every day of my life. Wow! David even adds that he’s going to enjoy a nice forever. The last part of verse 8, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord gives abundant life in the present and a glorious inheritance in the future. Now here he writes, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord not only all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord, but I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever to behold the beauty of the Lord. One thing that I’m beginning to notice with the passing of the years is the recognition that our nature is not keyed toward the temporal. It’s really keyed towards the eternal. There is within the human heart this longing for a sense of permanency and a sense of home, because life at times seems, at best, transient. It’s hard to hold in your hand, it’s like a vapor, like water running through your fingers. The days pass so quickly. You wonder if there is anything more permanent than this. David is telling us that there is goodness, mercy, love, and kindness will attend to us every day of our lives. As if that isn’t good enough, when he dies, he says, it gets even better: we will enjoy the company and the presence of God for all time—for we will be home with God, a place that death cannot invade, where our friendships will not be impaired by time—a place of permanent abode. It’s with this that the minstrel closes his song. I will dwell in the house of the Lord. I will be at home forever more. What is it about home that is so compelling to us? It was a few years ago when I found myself back in my hometown in Ireland, in the city of Belfast. I was passing through the city and stayed the night in a hotel right in the heart of the city. I remember I went out for walks on familiar streets. Even many of the stores I had passed daily were still familiar after decades of being away. I remember standing by the spot where my brother was killed in a road accident when he was a young man of 20. I remember going to see the street on which I was raised, past the Church that I used to attend—a place where I discovered Jesus Christ as the Savior of my life. Yet as I walked those familiar streets and felt that beautiful Irish soft morning where the rain almost hung in the air and the sun was hidden by the clouds, I listened to the accents that were strange accents that I recognized but couldn’t understand. But I realized as I stood there, that it was no longer home. My parents were no longer there. My brother was dead. Many of my friends have died. My sister had moved away from the city. It was the strangest feeling to be in a familiar place and not feel at home, because home is not a familiar place. The appeal of home is not in bricks and mortar. It’s in being with people you love. That’s why Heaven is ultimately and finally the home of all who believe. Where the entire family of God will one day be gathered and we will never know separation again. Surely goodness and loving kindness will dog my every step. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This is the confidence that I encourage you to hold fast. This is a God who is going to take care of you no matter what. This is a God who will protect you. This is a God who would bless your going out and your coming in. Even when we come to leave this world, what he has prepared for us will be beyond our imagination. Let me finish with a little story that I always found amusing. You will understand when I start that you are not to take this story literally. It’s a once upon a time story of twin boys conceived in the same womb. As the weeks passed, and as their awareness grew, the boys laughed with joy. “Isn’t it great to be conceived? Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?” Together the boys explored their world. When they found the mother’s cord that gave them life, they sang for joy. “How great is our mother’s love,” they said, “that she shares her own life with us?” The weeks stretched into months. The twins noticed how much the other was changing. “What does it mean?” asked one. “It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end,” said the other. “I don’t want to go, said the first. I want to stay here always.” “We have no choice,” said the other. “But maybe there is life after birth.” “But how can there be,” asked the first. “We will shed our life cord and how is life possible without it? Besides, there is the evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth. No, this is the end.” So the one fell into deep despair, saying, “if conception ends at birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It’s meaningless. Maybe there is no mother after all.” “But there has to be!” protested the other. “How else did we get here? How did we remain alive?” “Have you seen our mother?” asked the first. “Maybe she lives only in our mind. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good.” So the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fears. Finally the moment of birth arrived. When the twins had passed from their world, they opened their eyes and they cried, for what they saw exceeded their wildest dreams. The author of the story adds these lovely words: “Eyes have not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has it so much as dawned upon humanity what God has prepared for those who love him.” My beloved, He has set a table before you. He has brought you into his banqueting hall and he has set a banner over you and the banner says, “This is my love.” He has anointed your head with oil, has blessed you far more than you can even contain. And will continue to do so. As a result, it is certain that his infinite mercy and glorious loving kindness will dog your every step for the rest of your life. When life comes to an end, it will even be better. This is not pie in the sky by and by, this is God’s word to his people today—to bring this confidence and hope as you live out the Christ life—as you live it out generously, as you live it out lavishly! Pastor Alan J. Meenan
A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들)/ Revelation 2:12-17(계2:12-17)/ 2015-03-15
A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들) Revelation 2:12-17(계2:12-17) A Few Things Against You Revelation 2:12-17 12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live? Here Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city ?here Satan lives. 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Main Verse Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Revelation 2:14 REFLECTION I stood in a video rental store the other day surveying the latest movies and wondering, “Is this a place I should be?” With all the sometimes subtle and often blatant messages of my culture which are diametrically opposed to God’s word in full view in my current surroundings, was this place for me? Was my presence an accommodation in and of itself? Would the angel of my church have warned of this place? Was I being legalistic in my thoughts or sensitive to God’s conviction? The word to the church in Peramum cut two ways. The believers were commended for remaining true to their faith in a very difficult environment. These were anything but easy days to be a believer. One of their brothers had been martyred, and Satan was having a field day in their city. Their faithfulness to the name of Jesus in these circumstances was noteworthy. Yet God called His own to a higher standard. He wanted more out of His church than willingness to not bail. He expected lifestyles above reproach. He desired His own to resist accommodation to a bent culture. Though they lived in a place where Satan had his throne, God must reign supreme in their lives. Avoiding blatant betrayal of faith was not enough. These believers were being called out by God to stand strong. They were to be separate and holy in the middle of an ungodly culture. If the kingdom to come were to be theirs, they needed to live as members of that kingdom now. There are few messages to our culture that are as relevant and profound as this one. The siren call of our culture is not to abandon Christ in name, but rather to accommodate our Christian convictions to the mores of our culture and thus to abandon Him in lifestyle. How else can we explain the lifestyles of the average person who calls him/herself as Christian, but lives anything but holy? The great danger of our day is precisely the one faced by the church in Pergamum. It is the danger that compromise and holiness are like oil and water. They do not mix no matter how much we try to shake them together. For the believer, they are mutually exclusive terms and lifestyles. So let us who have ears hear the Spirit. In view of the coming kingdom for which we eagerly wait, let us give His Spirit free reign to convict us of any compromise, to rid our lives of any accommodation to sin, and to let holiness reign. DAILY PRAYER Lord, You know my weaknesses like no other. You know my blind spots to this culture You have me in. Free me to live a holy life. Create in me tenderness to the call of Your Spirit when temptations to compromise knock at my door. Keep working in me to refine and purify my life. Amen. APPLICATION It is often difficult to recognize our accommodations to the culture we live in. Like smoke, it seeps into the fabric of our lives. Though we can get used to the smell, it stinks. Others around us notice. Most importantly, the compromised lifestyle stinks to the nostrils of God. So how do you get rid of it? Begin with honest, naked prayer. With the psalmist, pray “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Invite a peer whose walk with Christ you admire to examine your life, to keep you accountable to holiness and talk to you honestly about your decisions and patterns of living. Ask an elder or leader of your church to help you examine your life and to pray with you. If you are serious about holiness, it will cost you. It will cost you potential relationships, friendships, financial opportunities and it will cost you a big hunk of your selfishness. The reward will far outweigh all these costs, but don’t forget that compromise is always the easiest road. It is seldom the road that leads to godliness.
A Frightening Warning(무서운 경고)/ James 5:1-6(약5:1-6)/ 2015-03-15
A Frightening Warning(무서운 경고) James 5:1-6(약5:1-6) A Frightening Warning James 5:1-6 James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. Main Verse Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. James 5:3 REFLECTION This passage is probably not a very appealing one to read. No one enjoys being chastised, especially by God! But this passage gives us a very important word on how we are to be living our lives each day, and what our priorities are to be. This passage in James speaks directly to the issue of stewardship. How are we living our lives with the resources that God has blessed us with? It is important to see that James is not condemning the rich, but rather, he is proclaiming the worthlessness of riches. He is trying to point out that money is not the root of evil, but the LOVE of money is the root of evil (I Timothy). This is why he gives the warning not to hoard our wealth. The money that we have today will not be worth anything when Christ returns and establishes His kingdom, so we need to spend our time concerned about what will last eternally, not what is of value in this world. If we truly consider ourselves aliens to this world, and we are simply ”passing through’, then we need to put stock in our permanent home, not our temporary home. Money is not the problem, but developing a love for it and what it buys becomes the problem. Money is necessary to pay for the things that we need, it is essential to operate and to support our families, however, as believers, we do need to keep a correct perspective. Oftentimes, as we see here in this passage, money changes us and makes us into people that may be selfish, who may oppress others who do not have as much, whether it is intentional or not. Finland, the country that has wintery weather nearly year round, opens an ice castle each year that has a chapel, a playground, an art gallery and a theater-all made out of ice! It is a popular resort in the wintertime, and for occasions such as weddings, social parties, and concerts. It takes three months to build the castle each year, with a cost of $1.1 million to construct and maintain it. Yet all of this splendor and beauty melts away each April. The melting ice castle is like our riches-all of the material things in this world will someday melt away. We need to build our treasure where it will last. This passage in James is a good warning for all Christians, not just to the rich, to be cautious not to take on what the world thinks is important, but what God sees as important. We need to live our lives according to God’s standards, not ours. DAILY PRAYER Almighty God, thank you for all the wonderful things you have given to me in this life. I know that they have all come from you. Help me, God, not to value material things too much where they will cover what is really important-my relationship with You and with others around me. I ask that you would always give me a grateful heart that knows how to appreciate and accept things humbly. Help me not to hoard what I have, but to share it with others and to help build Your kingdom. Amen. APPLICATION Take stock for a minute of all the things you hold dear to your heart. Are they things that will last? We all struggle with materialism to a certain extent-we are human and we need certain things to live in this world. But we need to make sure that our priorities are in the right place. What is more important to you-your things or the people around you? Are you hoarding the money that God has given you for yourself? Take a moment to re- evaluate what you think is important and what you know God wants us to hold important. Where can you put your money where it will count and make a difference?
A Letter From The Heaven(하늘나라에서 온 편지)/ Romans 8:38-39(롬8:38-39)/ 2015-02-12
A Letter From The Heaven(하늘나라에서 온 편지) Romans 8:38-39(롬8:38-39) A Letter From The Heaven Romans 8:38-39 If God were to send a letter to our church, what message would be contained in that letter? Over the past week, I prayed while wrestling with this question. Of course, I am not God—but I think that His letter will contain the following message for us. Reminding ourselves that over two-thirds of the New Testament is in fact letters sent to and from disciples, I would appreciate it if all of us take this letter, delivered to our church from the Heaven, as a ‘sermon’ for today. To my loving children of St. Luke, I hope you enjoyed the much-needed rain I sent to Killeen last week. I wanted to give you a break from constant 100-plus degree weather and perhaps start some crisp autumn weather down there. Give my regards to all the family members of St. Luke UMC. My heart fills with great pleasure in Heaven whenever I think of the St. Luke church. There are so many churches established in My name; yet, I reserve a special place in my heart for the St. Luke’s. It is because all of you work so hard for Me, with the purest and most enthusiastic of hearts. Among the countless great things you do for Me, I wanted to praise you on some very special things you do. I pay particular attention to your Friendly Dinner, where you provide dinner to your needy neighbors every Friday. I am enthralled whenever I see My daughters—despite being busy and fatigued with their daily work and families—work hard all day to prepare and serve the food that you give to your neighbors. As you well know, most of the people you serve on Friday evenings are homeless and jobless people, in much need of your help. You know that some of those people sleep under freeway overpasses? By helping them and extending a loving hand of support to them, you are doing truly precious work. As I have said in Matthew 25: 40, things you do for the smallest and the neediest of people are precisely the things that you do for Me. Remember that when you feed my needy, destitute children, you are indeed feeding Me. Also remember that your kindness will be repaid tenfold in Heaven. I also watch you as you conduct many great programs for the senior citizens every Tuesday. As one gets old, he or she increasingly feels lonely and sad. None of my creatures have the capacity to maintain their youth and health indefinitely. As years pass, one ages—more wrinkles and white hairs, while having less strength. I made humans that way. So for you young people, serve your elders well. As I told you in Ephesians, 6: 2-3, if you take good care of your father and mother, I will give you great blessings and long lasting lives. I want to thank my many sons and daughters who toil in anonymity, without much fanfare, recognition, self-praise or klieg lights. I get a great sense of reassurance and pleasure as I watch those who work in your kitchen, choir room, classrooms, and other places throughout your church. Those hidden workers will become the cornerstones of My church and prevent any and all outside forces from collapsing and destroying the House that I built (See Matthew 16: 18). The sight of all of you worshipping, praying, and sharing fellowship is truly a great sight for Me to see. I am happiest when I see your bright faces as you enter into My sanctuary, giving and treating each other with great love. I don’t know if you remember the song that I had David sing in Psalms 133: 1. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” I always want to see you love one another and treat each other with great respect. Bickering and arguing, to climb over one another, is not a good sight to see. Do you remember what I said in John 15: 12? “that you love one another as I have loved you.” Always keep in mind that when you love and serve one another, your church becomes a small heaven on earth. The spectacle that upsets Me the most when I look at Korean-American societies in the United States is the deep rifts within the community as people hate and fight one another. I know there are a lot of stresses and hardships living as an immigrant, and those factors probably contribute to the rifts and conflicts. But when those who claim to believe in Me use My name in vain to fight and bite one another, My heart gets deeply bruised and scarred. St. Luke’s has done a good job thus far, but make sure you stay as a united church, where all of you take good care of one another in harmony. Always remember my words in Matthew 5: 9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Never forget the fact that peacemakers, the conciliators, are My true sons and daughters. The one thing that pains Me when I think of St. Luke’s is the loss some of you recently suffered, as some of you lost a parent or a loved one. I know it must be hard and difficult to lose a parent or a beloved one. But do not grieve too much, for they are here with Me. As I created man out of earth, is it not a natural phenomenon for man to return to earth? The only differentiating factor is when a man returns to soil—and in the end, all of you will conclude your temporary stay down there and return to your genuine homeland up here. For those who sent your loved ones up here, receive My solemn condolences and comforts from Heaven. September 11th marked the one-year anniversary of the terror attacks in New York, and I remember this related story. There was a man—a good, faithful man—who worked in one of New York’s police precincts. His name was Mark, and he was on duty on the day that the Twin Towers collapsed. Weathering the falling debris from the towers, Mark was leading and guiding spectators to safety. That’s when a big object fell from the sky. When Mark looked up, he saw that the falling object was a person. He was soon shocked to find out that more people, determined not to be trapped in a burning, collapsing building, were jumping from the towers. Oblivious of the burning debris that were falling from the sky, Mark ran to the base of the Twin Towers. Do you know why? He wanted to tell something to the people who were plummeting to their deaths from the tower. To the falling people that had but a few seconds to live—before they hit the ground—Mark yelled the following phrases so that they could hear. “God loves you! Jesus loves you!” When I saw this from up here, you cannot imagine how much happy I was. That’s right! Even when good, innocent people were dying, I loved My sons and daughters. Terror, hate, violence, and death—none of these things could separate My heart from My loving children! I know that amongst you, the members of the St. Luke’s family, there are many that are sick. I know that one of My daughters have been afflicted with an incurable disease for past several decades. I also know that she toils on with great courage. What pains! But be strong and persevere. Do you know the pain that My Son felt when I crucified Him on the Cross? Your pains are nothing compared to what He had to suffer through. Remember that My Son Jesus suffers with you when you are afflicted with sickness, and when you feel pain. Have courage. Be strong. With my right hand, I will hold you tight. Adopting a slogan of “The Year of Saving Another Soul” for this year was truly a great idea. You picked my favorite thing. I am very content when many of you try to lead a lost soul to Me. When you come up here to be by My side in heaven, you will not be able to do two things. One is sinning, and the other is evangelizing. Between these two things, what would you rather be doing when you are called up to Me? Is it sinning? Or is it letting someone know that I exist so that you can save him or her from eternal death? When I look down from here, there are too many lost souls in Killeen. Too many people live like a squirrel on a spinning wheel, leading aimless, meaningless lives. My loving children of St. Luke’s, please help even one of them know My name so that they can lead a righteous life! I want to see you leading others to Me, so that they too can gain a path to salvation through Me. I heard that you will soon be selecting some new people for various positions within the church. Always remember that these positions are not for personal honor. It is an act of bearing the cross for Me. Please select those who are willing to make the time and material sacrifice and tireless efforts for Me. Do not bicker over the selection, lest some may fall into temptation. Becoming an elder or a deacon is not for personal glory, but a path to the Cross. One of my precious servants in India was named Sundar Singh (1889-1929). He was a Hindu by birth, but converted to have faith in Me. As a result, he was severely persecuted; when he became a Christian, his family, saying that he betrayed the family religion, tried to poison him. Because he believed in My Son Jesus, he was stoned countless number of times and imprisoned. He was even tied to a tree, to become a feast for the wild beasts of the plains. His persecutors once tried to kill him by pressure, wrapping his body in a wet sheet of animal skins and laying him out in the sun, where the pressure from drying and shrinking leather would produce enough pressure to kill him. I cannot explain through words the pains and sufferings he endured. I recall, with great pleasure, the words that My loving servant Singh left for Me. “From my many years of experience I can unhesitatingly say that the cross bears those who bear the cross.” Sundar Singh was right. If you willingly bear the cross that My Son carried, then I will support and buttress you. As your responsibilities within the church become greater, always keep in mind that you are bearing a heavier cross for Me! I wish to conclude my letter by telling you one more inspirational tale that I observed from Heaven. After a Confirmation ceremony at a church in the United States, one teacher gathered the students and families and asked one of the students a question. “George, what can separate you from the love of God?” George answered by reciting, with great conviction and confidence, the verses we read today in Romans 8: 38-39. “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When George brightly smiled after answering, his parents and family warmly smiled back at him. The teacher then asked Mary, Peter, Andrew, and Grace the same question, in turn. Each one of them answered smartly and clearly. It was obvious that each one of them completed the Confirmation education very successfully. Lastly, Rachel was left to answer the same question. She was a mentally retarded child, who suffered from Down’s Syndrome. She was less intelligent than the other children. When it came to be Rachel’s turn to answer, the teachers, parents, and other friends started being nervous and murmuring amongst themselves, concerned whether as to Rachel can recite back the two verses from Romans 8 like the other children. The teacher asked Rachel, “Rachel, what can separate you from God’s love?” Rachel, beaming calmly, answered, “Nothing!” In her mind, nothing could separate her from My love, the love of God. Do you know how elated and happy I felt when I heard her answer? “Nothing!” What can be a more precise, succinct and accurate answer? Like Rachel said, nothing could separate all of you from My love—nothing could keep Me from loving you! To my loving children of St. Luke’s, I implore you not to forget this one fact! As for the remaining days of the year 2002, may your great work and efforts bring forth beautiful, abundant fruits! Take care. From your loving Father
A Letter to Bill William D. Hyatt from Ray Stedman(William D. Hyatt에게 보낸 Ray Stedman의 편지)/ Acts 6:2-4(행6:2-4)/ 1990-12-29
A Letter to Bill William D. Hyatt from Ray Stedman(William D. Hyatt에게 보낸 Ray Stedman의 편지) Acts 6:2-4(행6:2-4) A Letter to William D. Hyatt from Ray Stedman December 29, 1990 Dear Bill, First, congratulations to you and Yvonne for 25 years together. It is always great to see couples demonstrating marriage fidelity in these days of quickie marriages and even quicker divorces! As you know, Hawaii is very important to Elaine and me as we began our marriage there 45 years ago last October! We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time there. I apologize for some delay in getting this letter back to you, but I was given a heavy assignment in writing by Intervarsity Press and was asked to get a manuscript back to them by Christmas. That meant writing-for 6-7 hours a day in the intervening time, hence my delay. It was encouraging to me, however, to note your concern for the [PBC] South eldership. You are quite right that some remedial action needs to be taken immediately to get the elders back on the track of biblical eldering. You ask: How do elders actually come to understand where the Lord of the church is leading it? The answer is basically threefold: 1. By accepting the fact that this is their primary role! This is the way they are to use their time. They cannot use the excuse that they have no time for the methods that make this possible, for this is their major responsibility, given by the Lord himself. Jesus is present at PBC South and is active in doing exactly what he said he would do: to open doors for ministering by the people, and close other doors (Cf. Rev 3:7-6). He has revealed to his apostles how he plans to make those open doors known---by speaking to and through elders (Titus 15, Acts 20:26-29). 2. Further, his instrument for making known his mind is the Word of God taught by the Spirit of God. Elders must be constantly studying the Word and discussing it together: It Is not enough to assume the knowledge they have gained in the past is sufficient. Light must spring forth from the Word continually. This studying is to be done individually, by twos and threes, and corporately at meetings of the elders together When various issues come before them they are to ask: what principles from Scripture bear upon this problem? If they haven’t time for this then they haven’t time to be elders at all, and ought to resign! To have the time for this they are to deliberately refuse to get involved in solving what you call “practical” problems, the nuts & bolts of running a church. This is clearly the point of Acts 6:2-4: decisions about maintenance problems, building expansions, painting, carpentering, organizing an office, etc., etc., must be passed along to deacons (both male and female) who are qualified by knowledge to deal with such matters If elders allow themselves to get tangled up with such they are being unfaithful to the task for which the Lord called them! Furthermore, what they learn in their studying, they are to teach to others---this is what Acts 6:4 calls “the ministry of the word” which elders are to give their attention to. This teaching is directed toward preparing others to be elders, or preparing them to teach in Sunday School or home Bible classes, or to minister from the pulpit, or in evangelistic outreaches. The elders are obviously to the local church what the apostles were to the church at large. They have the ministry of apostleship, carried on at a local level. 3. With this goes the ministry of prayer (Acts. 6:4 again). This, too, is an individual ministry and a collective one. Together they are to pray for wisdom in making decisions, for clarity in understanding Scripture, for harmony in their meetings and in the church, for healing for those who are sick, for vitality in worship, for courage to discipline biblically for power to be manifested in the ministry of the saints. Again, if they haven’t time for this then they haven’t time to be elders at all. They must not allow anyone to take this ministry of the word and prayer away from them for it is given to them by their Lord and it is to him they must give on account of their stewardship (Heb. 13:17). So I urge you to share this letter with the brothers there and take the steps which the Lord will indicate by bringing about unanimous agreement to remedy this faulty situation. The church will never be stronger than its leadership, but if the leadership is faithful the Lord will do great things among them. Give my loving greetings to all. Most Cordially. Pastor Ray C. Stedman
A New Attitude for a New Year(새해를 향한 새로운 태도)/ Romans 5:1-5(롬5:1-5)/ 신년축복주일설교/ 2007-01-03
A New Attitude for a New Year(새해를 향한 새로운 태도) Romans 5:1-5(롬5:1-5) A New Attitude for a New Year Romans 5:1-5 Charles Swindoll says, the longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important: than facts, than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do, than appearances, than giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes. Swindoll is right. It is not what happens to us that is important, it is how we respond to what happens to us. It is not what life brings, but what we bring to life that matters. I have known many people who have come from good homes, and had many advantages in life, who never rose above mediocrity. On the other hand, I have known many people who have come from poverty and abuse who accomplished great things. I have known people who were exceedingly intelligent and gifted, who rarely contributed anything to the world. And I have known people who were very average in intelligence and ability who were great successes. Some were willing to believe and work hard in spite of great disadvantages, while others gave up before they started. They never really tried. Some rested on their laurels, while others had a dream. Some complained about what was wrong, and others put forth the effort to make things right. Some had faith in God, and others had faith in nothing. Some lived in cynicism and despair, while others in lesser circumstances lived in faith and hope. I think there are some key areas of our attitude in life that are important. The first is this: Be authentic. In other words, be real. Be yourself. Authenticity is an attitude of honesty and humility. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Don’t wear a mask around others. Be the same person in public and private. One of the disappointing things about some of our national religious leaders this past year was that they were living two different lives. They were not authentic. Their public persona was vastly different from their personal life. It would have been far better for them to talk openly about their struggles, and admit their weaknesses, rather than to pretend everything was great. Far better for us to know of their struggles, so they could get help and we could pray for them, than have them pretend they had it all together, when they were actually falling apart. We would have had much more respect for them. It is so hard to hide secret parts of your life, and the bigger the secret is the harder it is to hide. The harder it is to hide, the more dysfunctional your life becomes. It takes courage to be authentic. It doesn’t take any courage to wear a mask. One of the scriptures I love is about what it will be like when the kingdom of heaven arrives in its fullness. Paul says, how we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known?(1 Corinthians 13:12). I love that. It gives us such great freedom to be ourselves. And Paul writes that in his wonderful discourse on love in 1 Corinthians 13. So what we see is that in God’s kingdom we are fully known by God and others, and fully loved by God and others. This is the model for what it means to live in Christian community ?to be the church. When someone opens up to us about a struggle in their lives, we don’t react with shock and shame. We are honored that someone has trusted us at a very deep level, and we seek to be an encourager and a listener. As we begin to know them at a deeper level, we grow to love them at a deeper level. A kind of relationship develops that was not possible before. One of the things that has been a great blessing for me is that when new people come into our church and become a part of small group, they remark at how real the people of our church are. People are actually open and honest about their struggles and failures, their doubts and fears. They don’t pretend they have it all together. That is why we come together, to encourage and strengthen each other ?to let people know that they are not alone. We are a family and we support each other. A second key attitude that helps us to be more healthy is to: Be of good cheer. You can’t be of good cheer if you are constantly thinking about how bad and terrible the world is. If you are focused on the end of the world, you cannot enjoy the present moment. How can we ever convince the world that we have good news if all we talk about is bad news? And we don’t just have good news, we have the best news the world has ever heard ?news that the world is desperately in need of. If you are angry at the world, you cannot be at peace in the world. If you are afraid of the world, you cannot minister to the world. You have to love the world as God loves the world. It was Jesus who said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world(John 16:33). Just this week I saw a book written by a very popular Christian author entitled The Last Christian Generation. In the book he says, if trends continue, the next generation of the Church will not even be rightfully called Christian. Did I miss something? When did this generation become Christian? He is discouraged about the lack of knowledge in people about Christian ideas and world view. I understand that, but since when did the kingdom of God depend on what we were doing? Have we forgotten about the power of the Holy Spirit? We have always.
Running Away From True Love(진실한 사랑으로부터의 도피)/ Genesis 3:8(창3:8)/ Rev. W. N. B. Appiah/ 영한대역설교/ 2012-04-09
Running Away From True Love(진실한 사랑으로부터의 도피) Genesis 3:8(창3:8) Sermon Theme: Running Away From True Love Scripture Reading: Genesis 3: 8 Preacher: Rev. W. N. B. Appiah 1. Introduction One would wonder why I have chosen such a theme for my sermon today. One may ask is it possible that someone can run away from true love, knowing what love actually stands for? Yes it may sound ridiculous yet it is a reality not only in the Biblical times but also in today’s world. In the Biblical times we read in Gen.3: 8 about Adam and Eve running away from the love of God and in Luke 15 also we read about the prodigal son running away from his parental home. Similarly many people are running away from God’s love. 2. Causes Why then can it happen like that? Let us now examine some of the causes, which lead to people running away from true love i.e. the Love of God. But let us consider first what is meant by the love of God since Adam and his wife run away from God’s love because they presumably did not understand it. They saw God’s love negatively as being harsh and deceitful laws that prevented them from knowing the truth. Today people continue to accuse God of the same thing. But God’s love is rather protecting and caring hence the commandment to Adam and Eve. a. Lustful Desires Living in the love of God, Adam was given the commandment ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’ (Gen.2: 16-17). But the Bible says again that ‘when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.’(Gen.3:6) These words ‘good for food’, ‘pleasing to the eye’, and ‘desirable for gaining wisdom’ are phrases that suggest the causes for man’s running away from God’s love. i) Good for Food. This is one of the reasons why the woman accepted to eat the fruit. ‘Good for Food’, does this suggest they were facing hunger that is why it seemed good for food in spite of God’s warning? There was no hunger because there were thousands of trees with fruits they could eat from. It rather suggests greediness in man. They were just greedy so instead of saying we have enough they rather sought for more. Greediness continues to keep many people away from the love of God. They are greedy for more money and therefore have no time for God. They are greedy for the things of this world that they will want to steal, cheat or kill to get more. ii) Pleasing to the eye. Another reason that made them to run away from the love of God, which is the true Love, is the lust of the eye. They were misled by the outward appearance of the fruit, the beauty of it. Many are deceived by seemingly smart adverts on T.V., Radio and on the internet. For example adverts sometimes show one is smart if one smokes cigarette. Therefore you see adverts with handsome ‘winners’ smoking to portray smoking leads to success. It rather leads us from true love, the love of God. It causes serious health problems, which in the final analysis leads the sick to question the love of God. iii) Desirable for Gaining Wisdom. Adam and his wife desired to gain wisdom without passing through the process of maturity. It is the same problem with us today as many people talk about seeking deeper knowledge and wisdom outside of the limits God has given to us. Many seek deeper wisdom from Theosophical learning, some also from scientific studies and other esoteric studies. But God’s way of showing His true love to man does not lie in worldly wisdom. It lay in the ‘foolishness’ of God dying on the cross. The apostle Paul says For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor.1:18). Let us approach the Cross of Christ that we may taste the true love of God, the Self sacrificing love. b. Impatience Adam and his wife could not patiently go through the process of maturation before desiring to eat the forbidden fruit. If they had been patient in obedience to God’s command, they would have become wise without having to run away from God’s love. It is also an indication of insubordination. Their disobedience to God’s command is a sign of refusal to submit to His authority. In the same way many people are rebelling to the authority of God. Many people want to control their own life. They often say this is my life let me lead it as I choose. Some times we rebel without knowing that we are rebelling. Whenever we rebel against any authority in society i.e. against our parents, teachers or the elderly we are rebelling against God because God’s command is that we respect the commands of our parents and people in authority. The prodigal son similarly, could not wait for the right time of his inheritance to come. He could not wait to go through the process of maturity through submission. So he rebelled against his father and took his inheritance away and spend it in an unwise manner. Sometimes running away from love does not mean running away from home. In certain cases one could be living with parents in the same home and failure to submit (obey) to them. This cuts one from enjoying the parents’ true love though they continue to stay in the same house. This is the reason why in these days, many young ones often say their parents hate them. They have rather run away from the true love of the parents because of impatience and insubordination. 3. The outcome of running from true love What is the result of running away from true love? In the two materials under consideration (i.e. Gen.3 & Lk.15: 11 ff.) we can see that the consequences are disastrous. There is wretchedness, poverty and hatred. The blissful life that Adam and his wife desired rather remained elusive and the earlier bliss they were enjoying in the garden turned into one of wretchedness, poverty and hatred when God threw them out of the garden. They became wretched because wickedness and hatred had taken the place of true love. The same thing happened to the prodigal son. Having spent his wealth, his life became wretched because he became poor and had no food to eat and no clothing to wear. God loves you and wants to show His love to you in the most affectionate manner you have ever wanted, if only you will turn and come to Him you have this love to enjoy. 4. Turning point There needs to be a turning point in your attitude towards your parents, teachers, and other elderly people, those in authority and for that matter, towards God. The turning point of the prodigal son was when he came to his senses and said I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. (Lk.15:17-18) This decision brought him back into the loving arms of his father. If only we can follow this example and give up our lustful desires of greediness, and selfishness and come back to God, He will accept us back and show us His true love. The apostle Paul says Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Ro.12:2) You only need to change your mind and respond to God’s love. There is no true love outside of the house of God i.e. the Church. The Psalmist saw this and responded appropriately I was glad when they said to me let us go to the House of God (Ps.122: 1; KJV). For it is there that one finds true love. ====================================================================================== 진실한 사랑으로부터의 도피 창3:8 1. 들어가며 어떤 이는 오늘의 설교 주제로 왜 이런 주제를 택했는지 궁금할 겁니다. 또 어떤 이는 사랑이 실제 무엇을 의미하는지 알면서 ‘진정한 사랑으로부터 도망갈 수 있는 것이 가능한가?’라고 물을지도 모르겠습니다. 예, 우습게 들릴 수도 있지만 이것은 성경 시대뿐 아니라 오늘날의 세계에서도 현실입니다. 성경에서 보면 창세기 3: 8에서 하나님의 사랑으로부터 도망치는 아담과 이브가 있고 누가복음 15장에서는 부모의 고향으로부터 도망치는 탕아의 이야기를 읽을 수 있습니다. 마찬가지로 많은 사람들이 하나님의 사랑으로부터 도망칩니다. 2. 이유 왜 이 같은 일이 일어날까요? 진실한 사랑 -하나님의 사랑으로부터 도망치는 몇 가지 이유를 알아봅시다. 아담과 그의 부인은 하나님의 사랑이 무엇인지를 이해하지 못했기에 도망쳤으므로 하나님의 사랑이 무엇을 의미하는지부터 생각해봅시다. 그들은 하나님의 사랑을 모질고 거짓의 규칙이라고 부정적으로 보아 진실을 알지 못했습니다. 오늘날도 사람들이 같은 이유로 하나님을 단죄합니다. 그러나 하나님의 사랑은 아담과 이브에게 내린 계명이래로 사람들을 보호하고 돌봐주는 사랑입니다. a. 음탕한 욕망 하나님의 사랑 안에 살 때 아담에게는 계명이 주어졌습니다 ― ‘동산 각종 나무의 실과는 네가 임의로 먹되 선악을 알게 하는 나무의 실과는 먹지 말라 네가 먹는 날에는 정녕 죽으리라 하시니라’ (창세기 2: 16-17). 그러나 성경에는 이런 구절도 있습니다. ‘여자가 그 나무를 본즉 먹음직도 하고 보암직도 하고 지혜롭게 할 만큼 탐스럽기도 한 나무인지라 여자가 그 실과를 따먹고’ (창세기 3: 6). ‘먹음직도 하고’, ‘보암직도 하고’, ‘지혜롭게 할 만큼 탐스럽기도 하다.’라는 이 말들은 하나님의 사랑으로부터 인간들이 도망친 원인들을 제시해주는 어휘들입니다. i) 먹음직도 하고 여자가 과일을 먹은 이유 중의 하나입니다. ‘먹음직하다’라는 것이 배가 고파서 하나님의 경고에도 불구하고 먹음직스러워 보였다는 것일까요? 남자와 여자가 먹을 수 있는 수천 가지의 나무가 있었으므로 배고픔이란 없었습니다. 이것은 오히려 인간이 갖는 탐욕을 나타내주는 것입니다. 단지 ‘탐욕이 많아서 충분하다.’라고 하는 대신에 더 많은 것을 찾았던 것입니다. 탐욕은 끊임없이 인간으로 하여금 하나님의 사랑으로부터 멀어지게 합니다. 더 많은 돈에 대한 탐욕으로 하나님을 생각할 시간이 없습니다. 세상 것에 대한 탐욕으로 더 가지기 위해 훔치고 속이고 죽이고 합니다. ii) 보암직도 하고 진실하신 하나님의 사랑으로부터 도망치게 만든 또 다른 이유는 눈의 욕망입니다. 겉모양인 과일의 아름다움에 의해 현혹되었습니다. 많은 사람들이 TV, 라디오, 인터넷에서 겉에서 보기에 멋있는 광고에 속고 있습니다. 예를 들면 광고는 때때로 담배 피면 멋있다고 보여줍니다. 잘생긴 ‘승자’가 담배 피우는 것을 광고함으로써 흡연이 성공을 이끌어준다고 광고합니다. 오히려 진실 된 하나님의 사랑으로부터 멀어질게 할 뿐입니다. 심각한 건강 문제를 일으켜서 종단에는 하나님의 사랑을 의심하게 만드니까요. iii) 지혜롭게 할 만큼 탐스럽기도 한 아담과 이브는 성숙의 단계를 거치지 않고 지혜를 얻기를 열망했습니다. 이것은 하나님이 우리에게 주신 경계선 밖에서 깊은 지식과 지혜를 찾고자 하는 사람들에게서 보듯이 오늘날도 같은 문제를 안고 있습니다. 많은 이들이 견신(見神)론적인 학문으로 깊은 지혜를 찾고, 어떤 이는 과학적 학문적으로 어떤 이들은 비교적(秘敎的) 학문으로 지혜를 찾습니다. 그러나 하나님의 진실하신 사랑을 보여주는 하나님의 방법은 세상의 지혜안에 있지 않습니다. 이것은 십자가에서 돌아가신 하나님의 ‘어리석음’에 있었습니다. 사도 바울이 말하기를 “십자가의 도가 멸망하는 자들에게는 미련한 것이요 구원을 얻는 우리에게는 하나님의 능력이라” (고린도전서 1: 18). 그리스도의 십자가에 다가가서 하나님의 진실하신 사랑 - 자기를 희생하는 사랑-의 맛을 느껴보세요. b. 조급함 아담과 이브는 금단의 열매를 희망하기에 앞서 성숙이라는 단계를 참을성 있게 견뎌내지 못했습니다. 그들이 하나님의 명령에 복종하는 참을성을 가졌다면 그들은 하나님의 사랑으로부터 도망칠 필요 없이 지혜로워졌을 것입니다. 하나님의 명령에 대한 불복종은 하나님의 권위에 따르기를 거부하는 한 표시입니다. 마찬가지 방법으로 많은 사람들이 하나님의 권위에 반항하고 있습니다. 많은 사람들이 자기 자신의 삶을 통제하고 싶어 합니다. ‘이것은 나의 삶이니 내가 선택한 대로 끌고 가게 해 주세요.’라고 말합니다. 그들이 반항하고 있다는 것도 모르고 반항할 때도 있습니다. 우리의 사회의 어떤 권위 - 부모님, 선생님, 어른들-에 반항하는 것은 하나님께 반항하는 것입니다. 왜냐하면 부모님과 권위를 지닌 자들을 존경하라는 하나님의 명령이 계셨기 때문입니다. 탕아도 마찬가지로 다가올 적정한 때를 기다릴 수 없었습니다. 복종을 또한 성숙의 과정을 기다릴 수 없었습니다. 그래서 아버지에게 반항하고 그의 상속을 훔쳐 지혜롭지 못한 방법으로 탕진했습니다. 사랑으로부터 도망친다는 것이 가출한다는 것만을 의미하는 게 아닙니다. 어떤 경우에는 부모님과 같은 집에서 살면서 부모님께 순종하지 않는 경우가 있으니까요. 이것은 같은 집에 살지만 부모님의 진실한 사랑을 누리지 못하게 하죠. 많은 청소년들이 부모님들은 나를 미워한다고 말하는 이유이기도 합니다. 오히려 그들이 조급함과 불복종으로 부모님의 진실한 사랑으로부터 도망쳤으면서도 말입니다. 3. 진실한 사랑으로부터 도망한 결과 진실한 사랑으로부터의 도피의 결과는 무엇일까요? 두 가지 경우 (창세기 3장, 누가복음 15: 11)에서 그 결과는 참담했음을 볼 수 있습니다. 초라함과 가난과 증오입니다. 아담과 그의 부인이 갈망하던 기쁨에 찬 생활은 기약할 수 없었고 하나님이 동산에서 그들을 쫓아냈을 때 예전에 누렸던 행복은 비참함과 가난, 증오로 바뀌었습니다. 사악과 증오가 진실한 사랑을 대신해버렸기에 그들은 비참해졌습니다. 똑같은 일이 탕아에게도 일어났습니다. 그가 가진 재산을 다 써버린 후 그는 가난하여 먹을 음식과 입을 옷이 없어 비참해졌습니다. 하나님은 여러분을 사랑하십니다. 그리고 하나님은 하나님의 사랑을 여러분이 원하던 가장 애정이 넘치는 방법으로 여러분에게 보여주시길 원하십니다. 여러분만 고개를 돌려 하나님께 나오면 여러분은 이러한 사랑을 누릴 수 있습니다. 4. 전환점 부모님, 선생님, 어른들에 대하여, 하나님에 대하여 그들의 권위에 대한 여러분의 태도에 전환점이 있을 필요가 있습니다. 탕아의 전환점은 “이에 스스로 돌이켜” 말하기를 “ 내가 일어나 아버지께 가서 이르기를 아버지여 내가 하늘과 아버지께 죄를 얻었사오니” (누가복음 15: 17-18)입니다. 이러한 결정은 아버지의 사랑하는 팔로 돌아오게 했습니다. 만약 우리가 이러한 예를 따라 음탕한 욕망과 이기심을 버리고 하나님께 다시 돌아온다면 하나님은 우리를 다시 받아주실 것이며 그의 진실하신 사랑을 보여주실 것입니다. 사도 바울이 말씀하십니다. “너희는 이 세대를 본받지 말고 오직 마음을 새롭게 함으로 변화를 받아....” (로마서 12: 2). 여러분은 마음을 바꿔 하나님의 사랑에 응답해야 합니다. 하나님의 집 - 교회- 밖에서는 진실한 사랑이 없습니다. 시편의 작가들은 이것을 알았고 그래서 다음과 같이 적절하게 응답하였습니다. “사람이 내게 말하기를 여호와의 집에 올라가자 할 때에 내가 기뻐하였도다.” (시편 122: 1). 왜냐하면 진실한 사랑을 찾을 수 있는 곳은 그 곳이기 때문입니다.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way(내 눈을 돌이켜 허탄한 것을 보지 말게 하시고 주의 길에서 나를 살아나게 하소서)/ Psalm 119:37(시119:37)/ Pastor Charles Spurgeon(찰스 스펄전 목사)/ 새벽기도회설교/ 1850-01-20
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way(내 눈을 돌이켜 허탄한 것을 보지 말게 하시고 주의 길에서 나를 살아나게 하소서) Psalm 119:37(시119:37) DAILY READINGS by Charles Spurgeon sunset Psalm 119:37 EVENING: January 20 There are divers kinds of vanity. The cap and bells of the fool, the mirth of the world, the dance, the lyre, and the cup of the dissolute, all these men know to be vanities; they wear upon their forefront their proper name and title. Far more treacherous are those equally vain things, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. A man may follow vanity as truly in the counting-house as in the theatre. If he be spending his life in amassing wealth, he passes his days in a vain show. Unless we follow Christ, and make our God the great object of life, we only differ in appearance from the most frivolous. It is clear that there is much need of the first prayer of our text. “Quicken thou me in thy way.” The Psalmist confesses that he is dull, heavy, lumpy, all but dead. Perhaps, dear reader, you feel the same. We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord himself. What! will not hell quicken me? Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened? Will not heaven quicken me? Can I think of the reward that awaiteth the righteous, and yet be cold? Will not death quicken me? Can I think of dying, and standing before my God, and yet be slothful in my Master’s service? Will not Christ’s love constrain me? Can I think of his dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of his cross, and not be stirred with fervency and zeal? It seems so! No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal, but God himself must do it, hence the cry, “Quicken thou me.” The Psalmist breathes out his whole soul in vehement pleadings: his body and his soul unite in prayer. “Turn away mine eyes,” says the body: “Quicken thou me,” cries the soul. This is a fit prayer for every day. O Lord, hear it in my case this night.
스트레스여, 안녕!(A farewell to stress!)/ 딤후3:1-5,10-11,16-17(2 Timothy 3:1-5,10-11,16-17)/ 한영대역설교/ 2006-09-19
스트레스여, 안녕!(A farewell to stress!) 딤후3:1-5,10-11,16-17(2 Timothy 3:1-5,10-11,16-17) 어떤 목사님이 출산 직전에 있는 산모 심방을 했습니다. 기도를 끝냈을 때쯤 되어서 진통이 오기 시작하자 산모는 고통스러워서 눈물을 흘렸습니다. 이 때 산모의 모습을 안타깝게 여긴 목사님이 찬송가 343장 「울어도 못하네!」를 힘차게 부르기 시작했습니다. “울어도 못하네. 눈물 많이 흘려도 겁을 없게 못하고 죄를 씻지 못하니 울어도 못하네.” 이 찬송을 듣고 산모는 겁이 잔뜩 났습니다. “큰일 났구나. 아무래도 목사님께서 내 죄를 아시고 이 찬송을 부르시는 것 같아.” 순간 “애가 나오려고 할 땐 힘을 써 봐.” 하는 친정어머니의 말이 생각나 얼른 온 몸에 힘을 써 보았습니다. 그래도 아이는 나올 생각을 하지 않고 산모의 고통은 더 커지기만 했습니다. 목사님은 산모의 고통에 아랑곳하지 않고 계속 찬송을 힘차게 불렀습니다. “힘써도 못하네. 말과 뜻과 행실이 깨끗하고 착해도 다시 나게 못하니 힘써도 못하네.” 찬송 그대로 정말 힘써도 애는 나올 생각을 하지 않습니다. 그래도 산모는 참는 데까지 고통을 참아 보려고 안간힘을 다했습니다. 그런데도 목사님의 찬송은 산모를 더욱 불안하게 만들었습니다. “참아도 못하네. 할 수 없는 죄인이 흉한 죄에 빠져서 어찌 아니 죽을까 참아도 못하네.” 울어도 안 되고, 힘을 써 봐도 안 되고, 아무리 고통을 참아 보려 해도 애는 나올 생각을 하지 않고 산모의 고통은 견딜 수 없는 단계에까지 이르게 되었습니다. 견디다 못한 산모는 마침내 죽을 각오를 했습니다. 목사님이 조금 전에 부르신 “어찌 아니 죽을까?” 하는 가사 소리가 마음에 걸렸기 때문입니다. “출산하다가 죽는 사람도 많다는데 혹시 나도 죽는 것이 아닐까?” 죽음을 서서히 준비할 때 목사님의 노래 소리도 드디어 바뀌었습니다. “믿으면 하겠네.” 울어도 못하고, 힘써도 못하고, 참아도 못한다더니, 믿으면 한다고? 산모는 마지막으로 “믿습니다!” 하고 외쳤습니다. 그 순간 아이가 “으아앙∼” 하고 태어났습니다. 스트레스 중에 단연 최고의 스트레스는 산모가 아이를 낳는 일일 것입니다. 그러나 그 출산의 스트레스가 아무리 커도 예쁜 아이를 낳은 뒤 눈 녹듯 사라집니다. 마찬가지로 오늘날 우리를 괴롭히는 스트레스가 제아무리 기승을 부려도 믿음으로 잘 무장하면 스트레스는 사라질 것입니다. 단순히 사라질 뿐 아니라 창조적인 힘으로 승화될 것입니다. 인터넷에 들어가서 '스트레스'라는 단어를 검색해보면 적어도 영어권에서만 900개 이상의 웹사이트가 떠 있는 것을 발견할 수 있습니다. 매년 스트레스 때문에 지출되는 돈이 94억불 정도가 되며, 약 3억 2천 9백만 불이 스트레스를 고치기 위한 약품비로 쓰인다고 합니다. 아마 오늘 여러분 중에서도 90% 이상이 다 이런저런 스트레스가 있을 것입니다. '스트레스'라는 말은 본래 기계가 잘 돌아가다 무엇이 끼어 정지하는 상태를 말하는 것이었습니다. 그러나 인간을 괴롭히는 스트레스는 외부의 압력 때문에 내부에 긴장과 갈등을 느끼는 상태를 말하는 것으로 정의할 수 있습니다.― “Stress can be defined as pressure from the outside that makes us tense on the inside.” 스트레스를 적시적소에서 풀어주지 않으면 불안이나 우울증으로 확대되어서 큰 문제가 될 수 있습니다. 그래서 “스트레스야말로 만병의 근원이다.” 하는 말은 조금도 틀린 말이 아닙니다. 스트레스는 흔히 우리가 처한 환경이나 대인관계로 인해 발생합니다. 9―11 테러 사건 이후 수많은 미국인들이 탄저병과 같은 생화학 테러와 또 다른 종류의 추가 테러 공포로 극도의 노이로제와 우울증에 시달리고 있습니다. 어떤 여론 조사에 따르면 현재 미국인의 71%가 우울증에 빠져 있고, 특히 절반 이상이 한 가지 일에 몰두하지 못하는 주의력 결핍 현상을 보이고 있으며, 약 3분의 1은 수면장애에 시달리고 있다고 합니다. 9―11 테러 사건이 만들어 낸 환경이 분명히 스트레스의 중요한 요인이 되고 있습니다. 또한 직장 상사나 동료, 혹은 친구들과의 관계에 있어서 우리는 스트레스를 받기도 하고 주기도 합니다. 스트레스가 우리의 영혼과 육신의 건강을 좀먹는 무서운 병균이라는 데에는 조금도 이의가 없습니다. 스트레스는 꼭 해소되어야만 합니다. 그러나 다른 사람보다 더 뛰어나고 발전하기 위하여 꼭 거쳐야만 하는 유익하고 생산적인 스트레스도 있습니다. 우리는 스트레스를 잘 관리해서 창조적인 힘으로 바꿀 수 있는 지혜가 있어야 하겠습니다. 그러면 우리 그리스도인들은 어떻게 스트레스를 극복해야 할까요? 오늘 본문 말씀에 주목하시기 바랍니다. 디모데서는 바울이 젊은 목회자―아마 그 당시 35세가량 되었을―디모데에게 준 목회서신입니다. 디모데의 중요한 사명은 에베소 주변의 여러 교회들을 감독하고 돌보는 일이었습니다. 그러나 아직 목회적 경험이 일천했던 디모데는 겁이 많고 자신이 없었습니다. 특히 여러 거짓 교사들이 일어나서 교회를 위협하고 있었기 때문에 더 큰 스트레스를 받았습니다. 에베소라는 척박한 목회적 환경과 교회의 존재 자체를 크게 위협하던 거짓 교사들이 난무하던 시대에 디모데의 스트레스는 이만저만이 아니었을 것입니다. 본문 말씀은 바로 이와 같이 큰 스트레스에 빠진 디모데에게 준 바울 선생의 처방전이라고 할 수 있습니다. 1. 스트레스를 받지 않기 위해서 피해야 할 것을 잘 분별해야만 합니다. 스트레스는 대부분 우리가 피해야 할 것을 피하지 못하기 때문에 생깁니다. 그러면 우리가 피해야만 하는 악은 어떤 것이 있을까요? 수없이 많이 있겠지만 바울은 본문 1―5에서 대표적인 예를 들고 있습니다. 먼저 1절에 “네가 이것을 알라 말세에 고통 하는 때가 이르리니” 했는데, 영어 성경 RSV는 “In the last days there will come times of stress,” 즉 “스트레스를 받는 때”가 온다고 번역했습니다. 그러면 도대체 어떤 종류의 스트레스를 받게 됩니까? 2―4을 깊이 묵상해 보면 스트레스는 주로 피해야 할 죄악들을 피하지 못하는데서 오는데, 개인적인 것에서부터 시작하여 가족관계로, 그리고 공동체 전체와의 관계로까지 점차 확대되는 것을 발견할 수 있습니다. 먼저 2절 전반부를 보면 개인적인 5대 죄악이 있습니다. “자기를 사랑하며―lovers of themselves―,” “돈을 사랑하며―lovers of money―,” “자긍하며―boasters―,” “교만하며―arrogant―,” “훼방하게―abusive―된다”는 것입니다. 그 다음에 2절 후반부를 보면 가족과의 관계에 있어서 피해야 할 3 가지 죄악들을 말합니다. “부모를 거역하며―disobedient to their parents―,” “감사치 않으며―ungrateful to them―,” “거룩하지 않은―thoroughly bad―,” 짐승 같은 사람이 된다는 것입니다. 그리고 3―5은 공동체 전체의 다른 이웃들과의 관계에 있어서 피해야 할 11가지의 죄악들을 열거하고 있습니다. “무정하며―inhuman―,” “원통함을 풀지 아니하며―implacable―,” “참소하며―slanders―,” “절제하지 못하며―profligates―,” “사나우며―brutes―,” “선한 것을 좋아 아니하며―haters of good―,” “배반하여 팔며―treacherous―,” “조급하며―reckless―,” “자고하며―swollen with conceit―,” “쾌락을 사랑하기를 하나님 사랑하는 것보다 더하며―lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God―,” “경건의 모양은 있으나 경건의 능력은 부인하는 자―holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power―,”라고 했습니다. 바울이 열거한 19가지의 죄악들은 모두 가치관의 문제와 관련되어 있습니다. 하나님 중심의 가치관이 아니라 세상 중심, 물질 중심, 쾌락 중심의 가치관들입니다. 우리의 인생은 어떤 가치를 추구하며 어떤 주인을 섬기는 가에 따라 달라집니다. 추구하는 가치와 섬기는 주인이 고귀하면 고귀할수록 우리 자신도 고귀한 사람이 됩니다. 사람들이 스트레스에 시달리는 이유는 참 평안과 자유를 주시는 하나님을 주인으로 섬기지 못하고 불안과 죽음을 가져다주는 헛된 우상을 붙잡기 때문입니다. 그러므로 우리는 바울이 열거한 그릇된 가치관을 피하고 하나님 중심의 가치관을 붙잡을 때 스트레스로부터 자유롭게 될 것입니다. 2. 스트레스가 생길 때 누가 우리를 도와줄 것인가를 생각해 봐야 합니다. 아직도 목회적 연륜이 부족해서 숱하게 산적한 문제 앞에서 스트레스를 느끼는 디모데에게 바울이라는 좋은 멘토가 있었습니다. '멘토'(mentor)는 본래 사람 이름입니다. 주전 1200년 그리스의 이타이카 왕국의 임금 오딧세이가 트로이 전쟁을 떠나면서 자기 아들 텔레마쿠스를 가장 믿을만한 친구에게 맡겼는데 그 친구의 이름이 멘토였습니다. 오딧세이가 전쟁을 마치고 10년 후에 돌아와 보니 아들이 몰라보게 성장하고 성숙해 있었습니다. 바로 멘토가 때로 아버지처럼 엄격하고, 때로 친구처럼 자애롭게 이끌어 주고 격려해주었기 때문이었습니다. 그러므로 멘토란 영혼의 스승, 혹은 영혼의 아버지가 되어서 우리를 격려하고, 훈련하고, 지도하는 사람을 말합니다. 디모데가 엄청난 스트레스를 뚫고 나갈 수 있는 비결이 좋은 멘토 바울이 있었기 때문이라는 사실을 기억하십시오. 본문 10―11을 보십시오. “나의 교훈과 행실과 의향과 믿음과 오래 참음과 사랑과 인내와 핍박과 고난과 또한 안디옥과 이고니온과 루스드라에서 당한 일과 어떠한 핍박받은 것을 네가 과연 보고 알았거니와 주께서 이 모든 것 가운데서 나를 건지셨느니라.” 바울 자신이 과거에 엄청난 스트레스와 싸워서 이긴 생생한 경험을 들려주고 있습니다. 디모데가 겪고 있는 스트레스는 바울에 비하면 새 발의 피밖에 안됩니다. 실로 바울은 복음 전하기 위하여 산전, 수전, 공중전, 마침내 세균전 까지 다 거친 백전노장입니다. 그러나 그 극심한 스트레스 한가운데에서도 주님은 바울을 버리지 않고 지켜 주셨습니다. 이제 주 예수님께서 상상하기 어려운 스트레스와 고난 중에서도 바울을 건져내셨던 것처럼 디모데 역시 도와주실 것이라며 용기를 주고 있는 것입니다. 디모데에게는 바울이라는 좋은 멘토가 있었습니다. 그의 헌신적 생애가 모범이 되고 길잡이가 되어서 엄청난 스트레스 앞에 위축되어 있는 디모데에게 큰 위로와 힘이 되고 있는 것입니다. 여러분이 스트레스와 싸워 이기려면 좋은 멘토가 필요합니다. 머리가 좋고 인격적으로 완전해야지만 멘토가 되는 것은 아닙니다. 여러분의 속마음을 아무 숨김없이 털어놓을 수 있는 분은 누구나 다 여러분의 멘토가 될 수 있습니다. 스트레스 받는 일이 생길 때 그 문제를 함께 나눌 수 있는 멘토가 있는 사람들은 쉽게 스트레스를 이길 수 있습니다. 그러므로 좋은 멘토를 한 분 이상 꼭 두십시오. 무엇보다도 멘토 중에 멘토는 우리 주 예수님이라는 사실을 한시도 잊지 마십시오. 예수님은 그 어떠한 스트레스라도 우리와 함께 나눌 준비가 되어 있으시며, 언제나 우리를 격려하고 희망을 주시는 참 좋은 멘토이십니다. 그래서 예수님은 오늘도 “수고하고 무거운 짐 진 자들아 다 내게로 오라 내가 너희를 쉬게 하리라”(마 11: 28) 하시면서 우리를 부르십니다. 멘토 되신 예수님께 나아가는 사람마다 마음에 쉼을 얻고 스트레스가 사라질 것입니다. 3. 스트레스를 이기기 위하여 하나님의 말씀으로 돌아가야만 합니다. 스트레스 받지 않기 위하여 우리는 위에서 열거한 여러 죄악들을 피해야만 합니다. 그리고 우리가 스트레스 받을 때 우리를 도와줄 멘토들이 필요합니다. 그러나 그 둘만으로는 충분하지 않습니다. 생명의 말씀인 성경으로 돌아갈 때 우리는 스트레스를 창조적인 힘으로 바꿀 수 있습니다. 미국 가정의 약 91%가 적어도 한 권 이상의 성경책을 가정에 가지고 있다고 합니다. 그러나 성경책을 매일 생활 속에서 읽는 사람은 22%에 불과합니다. 거의 80%정도의 사람들이 성경책을 가정에 그저 형식적으로 비치만 해둘 뿐 심각하게 읽지 않는다는 것입니다. 성경은 읽으라고 주어진 하나님의 말씀입니다. 아니 더 정확하게 말해서, 성경은 읽는 것으로 그칠 것이 아니라 삶 속에 그렇게 살라고 주신 실천교범입니다. 본문 16―17에 말씀합니다. “모든 성경은 하나님의 감동으로 된 것으로 교훈과 책망과 바르게 함과 의로 교육하기에 유익하니 이는 하나님의 사람으로 온전케 하며 모든 선한 일을 행하기에 온전케 하려 함이니라.”― “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” 하나님의 말씀이 우리 생활 속에 살아 움직여 우리의 가치관에 영향을 준다면 우리는 스트레스를 이길 수 있습니다. 그러므로 여러분에게 성경책이 하나의 나침반이 되길 바랍니다. 여러 가지 혼란스런 가치관 싸움으로 방향을 잃게 될 때 하나님의 말씀이 바른 길을 지시해 줄 것입니다. 성경책이 망치나 톱이나 렌치와 같은 연장이 되기를 바랍니다. 그래서 스트레스로 인해 여러분의 영혼이 고장 날 때마다, 망치로 깨뜨리시고 톱으로 잘라 내시고 렌치로 뽑아 내 말끔히 고치시기 바랍니다. 또한 성경책이 여러분에게 영혼의 보약이 되길 바랍니다. 스트레스 받아 심신이 지칠 때마다 여러분의 원기를 돋우는 보약 말입니다. 하나님의 말씀과 더불어 찬양할 때 스트레스가 창조적인 힘으로 바뀌어 집니다. 시편 42: 5에 말씀합니다. “내 영혼아 네가 어찌하여 낙망하며 어찌하여 내 속에서 불안하여 하는고? 너는 하나님을 바라라 그 얼굴의 도우심을 인하여 내가 오히려 찬송하리로다.” 스트레스가 쌓일 때마다 하나님을 바라며 찬양하십시오. 하나님께서 여러분의 마음을 시원케 하시며 새 힘을 주실 것입니다. 마지막으로 제가 읽은 한 이야기를 여러분과 나눔으로서 저의 설교를 마치고자 합니다. 어떤 자신만만한 산악인이 험한 산을 올라가게 되었습니다. 밤이 찾아 왔지만 캠프를 만들지 않고 계속 산을 올라갔습니다. 달도 없고 모든 별들은 먹구름에 가려 있었습니다. 그가 산 정상을 100미터 정도 앞두고 열심히 산마루를 올라가다가 그만 발을 잘못 디뎌 아래로 떨어졌습니다. 아찔해서 몸을 흔들었지만 그가 볼 수 있는 것은 칠흑 같은 어두움뿐이었으며 땅 밑으로 곤두박질치는 몸무게만 느껴졌습니다. 그 순간 그는 자기가 곧 죽게 될 것이라고 생각했습니다. 그러나 어는 순간 그는 갑자기 자기 몸을 둘로 갈라놓을 듯 한 충격을 느꼈습니다. 암벽에 부딪힌 것입니다. 그 때 그는 능숙한 등산가답게 긴 로프를 허리에 칭칭 감기 시작했습니다. 그렇게 자신만만했던 이 사람은 식은땀을 흘리며 자기가 이 위기의 순간에 할 수 있는 일이라곤 공중에다 대고 “하나님, 제발 저를 살려주세요!” 하고 부르짖는 길밖에 없다는 것을 알게 되었습니다. 하나님께 구원을 요청했을 때 하늘에서 음성이 들려 왔습니다. “내가 무엇을 해주기를 원하느냐?” “저를 구해주십시오!” “내가 너를 구원할 수 있다고 정말 믿느냐?” “예, 하나님 믿고말고요.” “그렇다면 너의 허리를 칭칭 감고 있는 로프를 당장 풀어버려라!” 하나님께서 주신 최후의 응답이었습니다. 순간 침묵과 정적이 흘렀습니다. 이 사나이는 하나님의 말씀을 듣고서도 오히려 로프를 더 강하게 허리에 동여매기 시작했습니다. 그 이튿날 구조대가 도착해서 보니 이 남자는 로프를 온 몸에 칭칭 감은 채 얼어 죽어 있었습니다. 이 사람이 공중에 매달려 있는 위치는 땅에서 겨우 3 피트, 즉 90센티미터밖에 되지 않았습니다. 오늘 여러분을 옭아매는 로프가 무엇입니까? 스트레스입니까? 그 스트레스의 밧줄을 풀어 버립시오. 그 밧줄을 풀 때 여러분은 살 수 있습니다. 그리고 “스트레스여, 안녕!” 하고 외치십시오. 하나님께서 여러분의 스트레스를 공중에 날리실 것입니다! 아멘. - A FAREWELL TO STRESS! - 2 Timothy 3: 1-5; 10-11; 16-17 A pastor visited a pregnant woman at home. As the pastor finished his prayer, contractions started for the woman; in great pain, she started shedding tears. Anxious to alleviate this woman’s pain, the pastor started singing Hymn 343, “Weeping Will Not Save Me!” Listening to the verses “Weeping will not save me! Tho’ my face were bathed in tears, That could not allay my fears, Could not wash the sin of years! Weeping will not save me,” a great feeling of trepidation overcame the woman. “Oh, no,” the woman thought, “the pastor knows my sins—that is why he is singing this song!” At that moment, the woman remembered an advice from her mother—“when the baby is about to come out, give a strong push”—and tensed up her body to give a good push. However, the baby had no intentions of coming out just yet, and the pain worsened. Paying no attention to the pain-stricken spectacle of the woman, the pastor sang on with the hymn. “Working will not save me! Purest deeds that I can do, Holiest thoughts and feelings too, Cannot form my soul anew! Working will not save me.” Just as the hymn stated, working had no impact on the baby coming out. Yet, the pregnant woman tried her best to withstand the excruciating pain. However, the pastor’s hymn only brought greater anxiety and a feeling of insecurity for the woman. “Waiting will not save me! Helpless guilty, lost I lie, In my ear is Mercy’s cry; If I wait I can but die: Waiting will not save me.” Weeping did not help her, working did not help her, and waiting—by withstanding pain—did not help her; her pain reached a level that became more and more unbearable by the minute. Out of strength to carry on, the pregnant woman gave in and prepared herself for death. The verse of the hymn that the pastor just sang, “if I wait I can but die,” kept ringing and resonating inside her head. She thought, “Many women die giving birth; am I to be one of them?” As she slowly prepared herself for death, the tone of the hymn changed. “Faith in Christ will save me!” Weeping, working, and waiting did not work; but having faith? With the desperation of a drowning man, the woman screamed out, “I believe!” At that moment, her baby entered into this world with a loud, thunderous cry. Perhaps the greatest of stress in this world is giving birth. Yet, no matter how great the stress during labor may be, it all melts away after the baby is born. Likewise, no matter how great a stress may be that might afflict us, arming ourselves with good faith will make that stress innocuous and inconsequential. Not only will the stress disappear; it will be sublimated into creative energy. Searching for the word “stress” in the Internet yields some 900 hits in English Web sites alone. About $9.4 billion is spent on account of stress every year; of that amount, about $3.29 billion is spent on medicines to treat and cure stress. Among all of us, I would venture to guess that over 90% of us have some sort or source of stress in our lives. Originally, stress describes a condition in which a well-running machine stops working due to some strain caused by external factors, such as debris, or internal factors, such as mechanical failure. Stress is also defined as some force that causes strain or deformity. The stress that afflict humans can be defined as pressure from the outside that makes us tense up on the inside. If stress is not addressed or relieved in a timely manner, it can lead to anxiety or depression, becoming a catalyst for serious problems down the road. The phrase “stress is the cause of all disease and sickness” is absolutely true. Stress is often caused by our inter-personal relations and our surrounding environment or situation. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, many Americans suffer from depression and paranoia associated with biochemical terror attacks—such as the Anthrax scare—and the fear of additional terrorist attacks in the future. According to one poll, 71% of Americans suffer from some sort of depression as a result of the terrorist attacks and among those depressed, over half of them have problems concentrating at work or task at hand. Furthermore, of the depressed, over one third have problems with insomnia. The situation—or the environment—resulting from September 11 terrorist attacks surely became a major source of stress for most Americans. In our everyday lives, we exchange stress—by exchange, I mean giving and receiving—with our colleagues at work, our bosses, and our friends. That stress is a formidable disease, a pathogen, that erode and blight our spiritual and physical health is not an overstatement. Stress must be relieved. However, there are productive, or beneficial, stress that allow us to excel at what we do, develop ourselves better than others and enable us to perform at a higher level. We must possess the intellect and the knowledge to manage our stress, to turn our stress into creative energy that allows us to excel. Then how must we, as Christians, overcome stress? Let’s pay close attention to today’s scripture. The Epistles of Timothy are pastoral letters given by Paul to a young pastor, Timothy, who was in his mid-thirties at the time. Timothy’s overarching mission was to supervise and look after numerous churches of Ephesus. However, Timothy, an inexperienced and fledgling pastor at the time, lacked experience and confidence and, most of all, exhibited fears and trepidation in care taking the church. The fact that many false preachers threatened the church exacerbated the level of stress that Timothy felt. The harsh, unforgiving ministerial environment of Ephesus and the false preachers that threatened the very existence of the Church probably contributed greatly to the amount of stress that Timothy was under during those times. Today’s scripture can be viewed as a prescription for treatment given by Paul to assuage the amount of stress that was burdening Timothy. First, we must be able to discern the things we need to avoid in order to beat, or defeat, stress. We suffer from stress when we fail to avoid those things that we must avoid. Then what are the evils that we must avoid? There is probably countless number of evils that we must avoid, but Paul lists the representative evils that we must avoid in verses 1 through 5 of today’s scripture. Verse 1 in the New King James Version states, “But know this, that in the last days perilous days will come;” in the English RSV version, it is stated, “In the last days there will come times of stress”—meaning that certain stress will afflict us in the last days. Then what types of stress will afflict us? When contemplating about verses 2 through 4, we can see that stress comes from our failure to avoid sins. We can see that those sins start within ourselves, on a personal level, that lead to family level; eventually, these sins spread and permeate to the entire social or communal level. The first part of verse 2 lists personal sins that we must avoid― “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud or arrogant, and abusive or blasphemous. The latter portion of verse 2 lists three family-level sins, or sins committed within the realm of our relations with our families, that we must avoid. “Disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy or thoroughly bad,” meaning that should we not avoid these sins, we will end up living like animals. Verses 3 though 5 list the eleven sins that we must avoid in our relations with those around us—our neighbors and those in our communities. “Inhuman or unloving, unforgiving or implacable, slanders, profligates or without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, headstrong or reckless, haughty or swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power.” The above 19 sins that Paul listed are all related to our personal and collective values. These values are not centered on God; rather, the fulcrum of these values rest on secular, materialistic, and hedonistic tendencies. Our lives change with the values that we adopt and the master we choose to serve. The holier our values and our master are, the holier we become. The reason for stress is that people fail to serve God, the One who gives us peace and freedom, as the Master and pursue vain icons and secular symbols that bring us only insecurity, anxiety, and death. When we avoid the evil values that Paul listed and grasp God as the focal point of our values, we will be freed from stress. Second, we need to think about whom will help us when we are afflicted with stress. For Timothy, who felt a lot of stress from his lack of pastoral experience and the mountainous problems that faced his church, Paul proved to be a very good mentor. The word ‘mentor’ was originally a person’s name. In 1200 B.C., King Odessey of Ithacan Kingdom in Greece left his son, Telemarcus, under the care of his trusted friend before going to the battlefield against the kingdom of Troy—and the name of the friend was Mentor. When Odessey returned after 10 years of hard fought battles, his son Telemarcus had unrecognizably grown and matured into a man. In caring for Telemarcus, Mentor was stern like a strict father at times and encouraging and caring like a close friend at times. Therefore, the word ‘mentor’ denotes a spiritual teacher or spiritual father—the one who encourages us, teaches us, and leads us down the right path. Remember the fact that the secret to Timothy’s success in overcoming daunting stress lay with his good mentor, Paul. Take a look at verses 10 and 11 of today’s scripture. “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” Paul is telling Timothy of his past experiences with stress—the fact that Paul himself overcame a great amount of stress in the past. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ led Paul out of the cauldron of overbearing stress and tribulations, Paul is telling Timothy that Christ will help him overcome his tribulations. Timothy had a good mentor in Paul. Paul’s lifelong selfless service has become the example and the guide light for Timothy to follow, allowing Timothy, whose confidence and courage had been atrophied by unbearable stress, to overcome and beat stress. In order for us to overcome stress, we need good mentors. Intellect and integrity are not prerequisites for becoming a good mentor. Anyone you can empty your heart out to, anyone you can completely bare your soul to can become your mentor. Ones who have a mentor to share their stress are often very successful in overcoming stress. So get a good mentor in your life. But keep in mind that our Lord Jesus Christ is the mentor among mentors. Jesus is prepared to share any type of stress we may be under, and He truly is a good mentor who can give us encouragement and hope in times of need. Third, in order to beat stress, we need to revert back to the word of God. In order to avoid stress, we need to avoid all the sins that were mentioned before. And we need mentors to help us overcome stress. But these are not enough. When we revert back to the Word of Life, as given in the Bible, we can turn stress into creative energy within ourselves. It is said that about 91% of all American households have at least one volume of Bible in the house. Yet, only 22% of those households have a family member who read the Bible daily. About 80% of the people keep a Bible in the house yet do not read it; rather, they keep it as a token decoration or display for their bookshelves. God gave us the Bible to have us read God’s words. In fact, the Bible was given to us not merely to read, but to have us live according to the words contained therein—the Bible is a book of life. Verses 16 and 17 of today’s scripture states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for corrections, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good works.” If God’s word live within our lives and have an influence over our values, we can overcome and beat stress. I hope that the Bible becomes a valuable tool in your lives—like a hammer, a saw, or a wrench. When you discover one of the sins that bring you stress, shatter it with the hammer, eviscerate it with the saw, and rip it out with the wrench. Let the Bible become the healing medicine for your souls. Let the Bible become the nourishing and curing medicine for your spirit, to revitalize your spirit in its fight with stress. I would like to share with you a story that I read in concluding today’s sermon. A mountain climber, proud and self-reliant, set out on a hard climb. As night fell, he refused to make camp; instead, he continued with his trek. There was no moon, and the stars were covered by clouds overhead. As he was climbing a ridge about 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell. Careening rapidly he could see only blotches of darkness as he felt the terrible sensation of gravity sucking him to the earth. He was certain he was going to die. But then, he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. Like any good mountain climber, he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist. In those moments of stillness, in the blackness of the dark night, suspended in the air, this self-reliant, self-made man had no choice but shout into the air, “God, please help me!” Suddenly, he heard a deep voice from heaven: “What do you want me to do?” “Save me!” said the climber. “Do you really think that I can save you?” God asked. “Yes!” the climber replied. “Then cut the rope that is holding you up.” God directed. Then there was silence and stillness. The man held tighter and tighter to his rope. The rescue team said that the next day they found a frozen mountain climber holding tightly to a rope, three feet off the ground. What is the rope that binds you up? Is it stress? Then cut that rope called stress. And yell, “good bye, stress!” God will kick your stress into the air, getting rid of it. Amen. 김선중 목사(미국 텍사스주 Killeen 성누가연합감리교회(St. Luke United Methodist Church))