Monday, October 2, 2017
Am I God's people? by Pastor Kim Yong Doo
Ephesians (VOICE) 2:1-22 As for you, don’t you remember how you used to just exist? Corpses, dead in life, buried by transgressions, 2 wandering the course of this perverse world. You were the offspring of the prince of the power of air—oh, how he owned you, just as he still controls those living in disobedience. I’m not talking about the outsiders alone; 3 we were all guilty of falling headlong for the persuasive passions of this world; we all have had our fill of indulging the flesh and mind, obeying impulses to follow perverse thoughts motivated by dark powers. As a result, our natural inclinations led us to be children of wrath, just like the rest of humankind.
4 But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, 5 united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless souls with life—even though we were buried under mountains of sin—and saved us by His grace. 6 He raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly realms with our beloved Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King. 7 He did this for a reason: so that for all eternity we will stand as a living testimony to the incredible riches of His grace and kindness that He freely gives to us by uniting us with Jesus the Anointed. 8-9 For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. 10 For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. 11 So never forget how you used to be. Those of you born as outsiders to Israel were outcasts, branded “the uncircumcised” by those who bore the sign of the covenant in their flesh, a sign made with human hands. 12 You had absolutely no connection to the Anointed; you were strangers, separated from God’s people. You were aliens to the covenant they had with God; you were hopelessly stranded without God in a fractured world. 13 But now, because of Jesus the Anointed and His sacrifice, all of that has changed. God gathered you who were so far away and brought you near to Him by the royal blood of the Anointed, our Liberating King.
14 He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. 15 He offered His body on the sacrificial altar to bring an end to the law’s ordinances and dictations that separated Jews from the outside nations. His desire was to create in His body one new humanity from the two opposing groups, thus creating peace. 16 Effectively the cross becomes God’s means to kill off the hostility once and for all so that He is able to reconcile them both to God in this one new body.
17 The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away. 18 By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. 19 And so you are no longer called outcasts and wanderers but citizens with God’s people, members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household. 20 You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the voices of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone. 21 The building is joined together stone by stone—all of us chosen and sealed in Him, rising up to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In Him you are being built together, creating a sacred dwelling place among you where God can live in the Spirit.
There is one thing we must be assured. This is the matter of salvation. We must ask ourselves, “Am I God’s people?” If we are God’s people, we must possess a particular mark. What kind of mark? “Am I saved?” If we are saved, a saved people possesses a unique trait. What kind of trait? We must think about this. When you look at yourselves, there will be a time you may feel like you are saved. But there will be a time when you may feel like you are not saved. When you burst into anger or are exposed to some kind of sin, you may feel like you have been forsaken by God. At the same time, when you truly repent before God, you may feel like you are a saved person.
When it comes to living a true christian life, you cannot live without the core. You may think you have fervently believed and carried out His will. Therefore, you may feel satisfied and you may find consolation. You may be satisfied but the perspective of God may be different. We must know some things. Whenever we come to church, there are some things we must make sure, check and confirm. This is very important.
“Who created me?” God created you. “Who saved me?” The Lord saved me. “I am saved after believing in Jesus. Then, what must I do or act as a saved person? From now on and forward, where am I supposed to walk toward? How is my current condition?”
You must check and make sure your faith stands unshaky. Whenever you come to the temple of God, you must sort out things that are filthy and mixed within you. In the book of Galatians, Ephesians, and Romans, it stated that we have two types of fight. Especially in the book of Galatians chapter five, verse seventeen, stated that we have the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Holy Spirit. This is something we have never realized before we believed Jesus and before we are born again. Only after born again, we will truly realize it.
Galatians 5:17 For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do. If you are led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you are no longer under the Law. The Law is still alive in the midst of us. If you are not under the guidance by the Holy Spirit and be led by Him, you will always be stressed, worried, and shaky of your faith not knowing if you have received salvation or not. You will always be stressful with the matter of salvation.
I want you to substitute yourselves to what I am about to read.
Galatians 5:19-21 (EXB) “The wrong things the sinful self does [works of the flesh/sinful nature] are clear [evident; obvious]: being sexually unfaithful [sexual immorality], not being pure [impurity], taking part in sexual sins [depravity; promiscuity], 20 worshiping gods [idolatry], doing witchcraft [sorcery], hating [hostility; antagonism], making trouble [discord; strife], being jealous, being angry [rage], being selfish [rivalries], making people angry with each other [dissensions], causing divisions among people [factions], 21 feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties [carousings; orgies], and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom.”
The scriptures have a list of people with conducts that will prevent them from entering into the Kingdom of God. Beside this list, scripture says, ‘and doing other things like these. It means, there must be countless more type of sin.
On the other hand, the scripture stated the person of the Holy Spirit. The person of the Holy Spirit has the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The person of the Holy Spirit possess the fruit which the Holy Spirit desires from us. But to bear fruit will take time. You cannot bear these fruits at once. You must be patient and endure for a long time. First, you must possess a lot of love. You cannot love only with your words. How can you just forgive only with your words. You must possess love and joy. If you are a person of the Holy Spirit, even if you are upset, hurt, disappointed, distressed, deplorable, mortified and feel unfairly treated, you will be able to still maintain your happiness and joy. You must be able to maintain the condition of loving others. Also, the person of the Holy Spirit possess the fruit of peace. It means, you will be able to maintain a very good relationship with all people. If you are a person of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to endure and be patient for a long time. If you are a person of the Holy Spirit, you possess mercy and goodness. You will be faithful and loyal without changing. If you are a person of the Holy Spirit, you will have a heart of gentleness.
People will feel, ‘When I talk to him/her, I feel comfortable.’ In every circumstance and affair, do not break your boundaries. You must possess the power of self control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves [the sinful nature; the flesh]. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do [ its passions and desires]-Galatians 24. If we say we are born again with the Spirit of God, and if we say we live by the Spirit of God, we will walk in step with the Holy Spirit. In verse 26, “We must not be proud [conceited] or make trouble with [provoke] each other or be jealous [envious] of each other.”
If we walk in flesh or act in flesh, we will be sowing accordingly. But if we walk or act in the Holy Spirit, we will sow accordingly. If you do what flesh desires and what your flesh likes, you will not become a person of the Spirit. When I say “sow” it means you are putting effort and toiling.
We consist of an outer person and inner person. We have flesh and a spirit condition. It is difficult for a person to fight and place in a position of superiority or inferiority. When we pray, we may feel like our spirituality suddenly opened up without blockage. But when our prayer become weaken, we sleep or rest more than we need for our flesh. Within a moment, we may feel like our spirit is dying. We are assured that we have received salvation but depending on our spiritual state, we may feel like we may or may not have received salvation. What kind of spiritual condition are we in? It is very important on the condition of our spiritual state. In order to maintain a spiritually pleasant condition, you must put much effort. Despite of the requirement of your effort, salvation is not earned just because you tried. It is all through the grace of God we are saved. Grace in Greek-Charis - God has wholly granted us His grace to save us although we do not deserve it at all. God has granted us mercy. No one can expect this without His grace and mercy. We were the people outside of Christ but when we are saved, we become a people of Christ. God had pity on us, therefore, He has granted us salvation. We cannot contribute anything to receive salvation, not even 0.000001% of effort of ours can be added. Our salvation is like a man having a car accident; crushed into a certain object and having his car all crumpled without any hope of getting out without receiving a help of firefighter and ambulance. If left alone, the man will die. A man needs to be taken out with the help of outsiders in order to live. Our salvation is something like this. Then what must we do? Only if we do not refuse to receive God’s power and work, we will be saved. What is faith? We have various ways of definition of faith. But the faith we speak about today in today’s scripture is faith that does not refuse. Faith means not refusing. Faith will not refuse Jesus. When God tries to grant some kind of grace, power, and words, you will not refuse if you have faith.
Jesus has saved us. As long as we do not refuse salvation, we will be saved. Increase your faith as high as possible. We have to be thankful because we have received salvation by faith. After we are saved by faith, in the next step, the Lord will prepare a new turning point. We have committed tremendous sin and therefore, we deserve hell but God through His grace. we received salvation. We have received a great, precious and incredible salvation.
But are you still not changed? Are you barely changed? Did God grant you some kind of power or gift of the Holy Spirit but you have barely changed? Are you still selfish, self centered, have many worries and do not want to take a loss for the sake of others? These are things which we all need to seriously be concerned. After God has broken us and after God has healed us, despite of this fact, how much have you changed? Some people almost die but even after God delivers them, they barely change and it is all because people easily forget. People forget about God’s salvation. People are naturally born as children of destruction and children of sinners. But God fixes us as He shatters us into pieces. God replaces us with new things within us.
Hallelujah! We become new people in Jesus. For example, a car may appear nice from the outside but it can be junk inside and under the hood. Then the mechanic must replace all things that are inside of the car such as engine, tires, mission, brakes, and much more with new parts. A mechanic will throw away the old things of the inside. You may have a nice outer appearance but it is possible that your inside is all rotten.
The bible has expressed it in this way. “God has made us what we are”-Ephesians 2:11. What we may still possess even after salvation are our faces, outer physical appearance, and our name. When we receive and are touched by God’s grace, even our facial expression will be changed. Our face will express an overflowing joy. Jesus replaced all the things inside of us with the best. We will not be the same person from the past. Despite of the Lord’s work of making people new, people still may have some things that are not changed. Some people are not able to adjust to the new things. After you believe in Jesus and after you are born again with the Holy Spirit and as time passess, you will have a new hope created within you. You will have a new thirst created within you. You may not really know what this new hope and thirst you are desiring, but one thing for sure, you are desiring to become a mature person.
We must ask, “Am I saved?” The most important thing is to know that if we are saved or not and if we are spiritually born again or not. How do you know this for sure? One of the method is to observe how you think and live. You will constantly think about God in whatever you do. You will ask yourself, “How will the Lord see me? How will the Lord think about me if I do this? Is this the will of the Lord?”
You will live spiritually and you will think spiritually in accordance to God’s will. We must ask, “Am I saved? Have I received the seal of God? Have I received the seal of the Holy Spirit? Am I born again with water and the Holy Spirit?” One way to confirm is to see if I am God centered with my ways, thinking, decision, and thinking spiritually or not. It must become natural for you to live spiritually. The proof of your being saved after believing in Jesus is to see if you are centered around God as you think spiritually. What do you have to do spiritually? You must continue to eat the word of God and pray and you will grow. You must continue to spiritually grow. Before you are saved and born again, you were always self centered. When we are young in faith, it is hard to find the will of God. As you reach the steps of growing, you will begin to think spiritually but you will have a difficult time knowing God’s plan and will toward you.
The characteristic of a person who is reborn of the Spirit is always thinking about the will of God and thinking spiritually. Before you are reborn with the Holy Spirit, you would have lived a life centered around your self benefit. But when you are spiritually born again, you will first think of the spiritual benefit. You will choose the things that manifest the will of God. You will always choose that choice which God is more pleased with. Even if your flesh and spirit fights within you, a person of the Holy Spirit will choose the spiritual side and move forward.
In verse 10, “ God made [created] us to do good works” In the end, God sent us to the world to do good works. We are created to do good works. Hallelujah! But what are good works? It does not mean you just go out and look for people in a difficult situation and sacrifice for those people to give help. This means, you will have to adjust your lives to the will of God. When an arrow flies, the arrow must hit the target which the archery intended. It is the same thing with the will of God. God has a specific will(target). We must hit the right target( His will). When the first problem you try to resolve does not work, you must find the second best option. If the second best option does not work, then you must go find the third best option. And if the third best option does not work, you must continue to find the next best option until you find or resolve it. You need to seek God’s will with endurance. You must keep on looking for it and hit the target(will) of God. Eventually, God will meet with your effort and you will find His perfect will. You must not separate your thinking from the will of God.
When our faith is young, we will seek the will of God centered around us. It is a kindergarten level of faith. Therefore, you may shoot the arrow, but it will not always fly towards right direction. This kind of faith will require a long time to find the will of God. But once you experience and encounter the will of God to have your problem resolved, you will realize many things. You will realize you have the heart and thought to find God’s will, but may still lack in willpower. You will realize that you have lack of endurance and patience. When it comes to finding the will of God, there are two directions. We can explain the two types of direction. First, you must grow. You must spiritually grow. You must experience some kind of spiritual growth. There is a difference when it comes to the spiritual growth for each person. What must you do to spiritually grow? You must eat a lot of God’s Word. You must pray a lot. You must find the element that will help you grow. Secondly, in order to find the will of God, some kind of power or some kind of spiritual fuel of God needs to be delivered unto us. When the power/fuel of God is delivered unto us, some type of strength will be granted to us. Then, our body parts, thinking, emotion, feeling, and willpower will be strengthened. The power of the Holy Spirit will be granted to us. This also requires reading the word of God and prayer. Through the Word of God and prayer, God’s power or fuel will be delivered to us.
When we eat the Word of God and pray, we will grow but at the same time, without even realizing, God’s power will be delivered to us. This power will continue to be accumulated. Within some time, some kind of timing will be created. When the timing is created and some kind of power and gift of God are combined. We will become a different person. You will be able to see the clear will of God. When these things happen, revival will happen within you.
“Wow, my heart is so passionate!” Your mind will be changed to a positive mind. You will have strength to do anything. In faith, “I can do all things!” will be created within you. You will not postpone things to a later time. You will carry out things every day without delaying or postponing. You will begin to see the core. Your passion will be revived. Your heart will become hot. God will lead you as a person who will no longer live commonly. Two people may do the same kind of work, but a changed person is a person with a creative positive mind to do the work of God. The person who is touched by God’s grace will have a joyful facial expression when he/she serves. Instead of complaining and grumbling, joyful and thankful words will come out of his/her mouth. This type of person will not say, “Who messed up here! Who did this!” But instead, this type of person will clean it up quietly.
When we receive the Holy Spirit, the power of God will come upon and fill us. Then, our cold heart will blaze with passion. No matter how much bible knowledge you may have, no matter how much doctrine and theology you may possess, if your heart is cold, you will not be able to do anything for God. When the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon you, your mind will be changed to a positive mind. When you are touched by the grace of God, you will do things that the other people are reluctant to do. Even if you go through difficulty and distress, you will only say words of gratitude and will say Hallelujah. You will tell the Lord how thankful you are for using you. God observes the words that comes out of our mouth. God will observe how we act and behave. Depending on our words and action, God will grant us His grace and things accordingly.
You must pray to receive the power and passion of the Holy Spirit. Even if we are granted the power and passion, it is important how we utilize it. This is one of the reasons why your changed personality and character will be very important.
Verse ten stated, “The good works God arranged long ago.” God has thought about it even before the creation of the world. God already planned it all. God already thought it all. People are different from robots. It will be very nice if you willingly permitted yourselves to be touched by grace of God. If you willingly seek the will of God and if you willingly obey God. You must utilize your own intelligence. You must pray according to will of God. You must think about the will of God. You must be determined, obey, serve the things that needs to be served, determined with faith, and move forward even if no one makes you to do this or force you to do that. It will be great if you do all these on your own, with your free will. God sees it all.
God will deeply think and say, “I will grant certain certain power to him/her”. There are fleshly desire and the desire of the Holy Spirit within you. The desires of flesh will pursue your own gain and then your faith is the level of a kindergartener. The desires of the Holy Spirit will drive you hungry to believe deeper. If you have ambition and greed of the flesh and if you know that these are not the will of the Lord, you must get rid of them with resolute.
You will constantly think, “I may go through difficulty right now and it feels very hard, I know one day, God will raise me and use me without fail!”
When your fleshly voice is strong, you will not be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. When you have stronger desires of the Holy Spirit, you will overcome the desires of the flesh more than enough without limit. Apostle Paul also talked about the two forces that are fighting within him. If your mental state is disordered and confused, and if you talk disorderly, and if your feeling and emotion frequently changes, you must come before God and pray. “God! Please fix me. God I am sorry for my sin! God, I have an unstable mental state. God, please help me!”
God disciplines us through hardship. Through such a heartfelt prayer and by His grace, God will correct it all. In the bible, there were two elderly people who were very old. Simeon and Anna. Because they never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer, God allow them to possess a sound mind and good health.
Let us continue to properly carry out God’s given mission and task to the end. Let us be the people who will please the Lord. Amen!
Pastor Kim Yong Doo