“They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
About 2,000 years ago, Jesus overcame death and 3 days after He had died by crucifixion, He rose again. After the resurrection, He appeared before His beloved ones. First, He appeared to Mary Magdalene and comforted her. He also went to the disciples who were in shock and fear and gave them peace and joy.
He showed the scars of nails in His hands and spear in His side to plant faith in doubtful Thomas. At Galilee, He met Peter and advised him once again to fulfill His duty. He appeared to people for 40 days and went up to heaven while many people were watching. After they had the joy of meeting the Lord who resurrected, the disciples witnessed the Lord ascending into heaven in glorious form.
Two angels spoke to those who were watching the sky. Today’s reading passage Acts 1:11 says, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” After they witnessed the ascension of the Lord, the disciples became witnesses of resurrection and spread the gospel of the Lord with all their lives. It’s because they had the hope that they could partake in resurrection and be with the Lord forever.
You and I also believe in the resurrection of the Lord. We also believe that we will be borne as the fruit of resurrection like the Lord and be in heavenly kingdom prepared by the Lord. Even today you’ve come to church and are enjoying the joy of resurrection. I’ll talk to you about what the believers, who believe in resurrection, have to do in 3 aspects, and I pray in the name of the Lord that you will live as true witnesses of resurrection.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Those believers who believe in resurrection, first of all, should check themselves with the Word of God.
In John 17:17, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” As Jesus prayed, God’s word is truth. When we reflect ourselves upon the Word, cast away the untruths in us and instead fill us with the truth, we can become holy and perfect children of God who can boldly partake in resurrection.
No matter how many messages you hear, you cannot change unless you experience self-realization reflecting on the Word. So, what kind of attitude do you have when you listen to messages? Above all, you should have earnest desire to realize your shortcomings and cast away flesh completely through the Word.
Suppose you listen to a message about ‘changing-mind’. You hear about the nature and the fundamental cause of changing mind and the way to cast it away. As you hear, you first have to realize the fleshly attributes in you such as cunningness, self-seeking, and betrayal. Also, you shouldn’t just hear the message, but you have to remember it in your daily life, too.
Let me tell you about an event right after I accepted the Lord. I attended a revival meeting for the first time. But I was shocked very much while listening to the message. Until then I had taken pride in the fact that I was a good person who had no need of the law. But listening to the word of God, I realized I was a sinner. From that moment, my heart was desperate. I wanted to pull out all the sinful natures.
I wanted to learn God’s heart and will. And because there was no one who guided me in faith, I attended many revival meetings. Also, I began to read the Bible thoroughly. Many times a day I meditated on the messages that I heard in Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday services. When I was reading the Bible, I didn’t neglect even one single letter but cherished all of them.
If I had pangs of conscience while reading the Bible, I made notes of them. When I remembered God’s word saying, “Give thanks in all things,” I offered a confession of thanksgiving to God saying, “I am satisfied with the grace of healing me,” even though I didn’t have anything to eat the next day. When I heard “love your enemies,” I tried to understand even those who were giving me a hard time, as to why they had to act the way they did. I also remembered the love of the Lord who unsparingly sacrificed His life for me. Then, my hatred turned into love and my broken heart turned into forgiveness.
Do you earnestly wish to change? I hope you will meditate on God’s Word every day and check your mind, heart, words, and actions more carefully.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Secondly, those believers who believe in the resurrection of the Lord should put the word of God into practice.
Some people feel blessed by the message and say to me, “Shepherd, I was arrogant.” “I had a lot of resentment, but I will try to change.” But they just keep their old self and do not change. They realize themselves and also pray about them, but they don’t put the word of God into practice. Some people mistakenly think they accomplished something because they heard the message so many times and they know it by heart. Sometimes, they pray daily to cast away hatred from their hearts and to become holy. So, they mistakenly think they are already practicing the Word.
What are the 9 major evil that we have to cast off to be on the rock of faith? They are: anger, hard-feelings, hatred/envy/jealousy, falsehood, judging, changing mind, lust, greed, and betrayal. Memorizing them doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve already cast them away. Romans 2:13 says, “for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.” As said, there have to the act of struggling against evil and sins and of cultivating goodness and love.
For example, if you noticed anger in you, you have to apply the word to your daily life. There could be a situation where you’d easily get angry. But now, you should remember the Word thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t get angry.” As you keep on trying to do so, the frequency of getting angry will be reduced little by little.
Then, you should pull out the sinful nature itself completely through fervent prayer. As you keep on changing through your actions, you’ll be able to enjoy the glory of resurrection shining like the sun. If you expend all your efforts to practice the word of God, God will not just stay quiet. He will let you cultivate the Word in you by His strength and by the help and fullness of the Holy Spirit.
God helped you in this way by giving you the baptism of fire in the past special Daniel prayer meetings. This was God’s love for to you to burn and pull out the sinful natures quickly. I believe many of you felt your sins were taken off. You also gained the confidence you could live by the Word, and you felt the love of the Father, the Lord, and the shepherd. Even though this was only to a minor extent, God will surely work according to your faith as you keep on doing your best within your measure of faith. I hope you will obey the truth because you believe in resurrection.
Third, those believers who believe in the Lord’s resurrection, they must produce fruits.
How was it with the disciples who witnessed the Lord’s resurrection? When Jesus died on the cross, they locked their doors and hid themselves fearing something bad might happen to them. But after meeting the Lord of the resurrection, they were changed completely. They dedicated all their lives for the Lord. They followed only the will of the Lord.
As for Peter as well, he always remembered the conversation he had with the Lord at Galilee. As the Lord said, “Tend My lambs” “Shepherd My sheep” “Tend My sheep”, he lived a life of saving the souls. The disciples of the Lord became the seed of the gospel and bore many fruits. They completely fulfilled the word of Jesus in John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
We should also produce fruits in our given areas until the Lord comes back. We have to bear the fruits of holiness, fruit of evangelism, and fruit of service to the church. In order to do this, we should check ourselves with the word of God every day and circumcise our hearts. We have to bear the fruits of the Love Chapter, nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the Beatitudes. Then, you can receive power, authority, and authoritative power so that you can bear great fruits of winning the souls in your given church duties.
If you bear abundant fruits, you will receive great praise and honor before the Lord at the time of resurrection in the future. To the extent that you are changed and you bear fruits, you can also take hold of a better heavenly dwelling place by force. Our Lord promised that He is preparing heavenly dwelling places for us, that He will come to take us there, and that He will let us be where He is. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all bear abundant fruits and give glory to God the Trinity forever in the kingdom of heaven prepared by the Lord.
Dear brothers and sisters,
In this evening we have the Holy Communion to commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The bread and wine of the Holy Communion also contain the Word that we have to practice. It is to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man. Today’s reading passage 6:53 says, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.'”
To eat the flesh of the Son of Man is to take the bread of 66 books of God’s Word. To drink the blood of the Son of Man is to practice the Word with faith and make it completely ours. When we do this, our hearts will be filled with the truth and the untruth will go out. Hatred will flow out to the extent to which love is filled. Arrogance will go away to the extent that humility is filled. Anger will be replaced by the extent that meekness is filled. We can say we have life only when we learn the Word of God and at the same time we have the following actions of practicing the Word.
When we share the bread and wine today, I hope you will keep this meaning in mind so that you will all become the fruit of the Lord that are able to partake in the resurrection at the end time. In so doing, may you dwell in New Jerusalem, the most glorious place in heaven, I pray this in the name of the Lord!