Rev. Dr. Jaerock Lee 2007-05-06
1 Corinthians 13:3
“And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, members of over 5,800 branch churches in Korea and all over the world including the United States, Canada, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, India, Mongolia, Israel, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Swaziland, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, and local sanctuary members, those who are attending the service on the Internet all over the world, and television viewing audiences,
This is the 6th session in the message series titled “Spiritual Love.”
This week Koreans will celebrate Parents’ Day and commemorate the grace received and the indebtedness we owe our parents.
In many countries people pin flowers to their parents’ clothes on the Father’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Do you remember the first day when your children pinned carnations on your clothes? On that day it may have seemed to you that your children had grown up and you felt happy about it.
Even though your child made the flower out of colorful paper in a less-than-skillful manner, you may have worn it on your clothes all that day long.
Thus, parents feel overflowing joy not only when they gave birth to the child through childbearing pain but also when the child felt parental love and expressed their gratitude.
In the same way, our Father God is so pleased when souls accept our Lord and are born again as His children.
And God is more pleased when the children’s faith grows and their love increases. It is then that they can feel God’s love and express their gratitude.
The heart of a child of God who loves the Father God is counted more precious to Him than anything.
That’s why no matter how fluent your tongue may speak, and even if you speak the language of the angels; no matter great your faith, abilities and knowledge are, if you do not have love, it profits nothing in the sight of God.
Today I will speak about the following verse saying “. . .if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
Through this message, I wish that all of you will possess spiritual love that our Father God eagerly wants you to have.
When you see Him in heaven, may each of you give God overflowing joy that is incomparable to that of the carnations of this earth, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In the last session I told you that charity profits nothing if it is not given out of love. The charity without love is found when you perform charitable works to be praised by others and flaunt yourself.
When you perform charitable works in this way, even if you give everything you possess to the needy, if they do not praise you, you will regret it and complain.
With that false charity you fail not only to receive blessings on earth but also to receive rewards in heaven. That’s why it profits nothing.
When you give true charity, even if no one recognizes your charitable deeds, you continue your charity with joy and thanksgiving from the heart.
God rejoices in this true charity and promises to repay you with amazing blessing.
This applies to today’s topic of “Sacrifice” as well
Today’s scripture 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
To “surrender my body to be burned” here means “to sacrifice oneself completely.”
Is it possible that a person who surrenders his body to be burned does not have love?
Prior to explaining about true sacrifice that comes from love, let me speak about the sacrifice that is not accompanied by love even if you surrender your body to be burned.
Through this message, I want you to examine your heart and dedicate yourself to the Lord more completely.
Above all, the situation of sacrifice without love is found when you have resentment and complain and groan verbally after you have done the works of God.
When you have spent all your strength, time and money on works of God but no one recognizes and praises it, you feel sorry and complain.
You may say “I have toiled and endeavored for this, so how can they not give me a single word of praise?” or “Why do they just look to me without helping one another?”
Or when you see follow workers are not as zealous as you, you may say that they are very lazy even though they claim they love our God and our shepherd. In the end it is only to judge and condemn them.
This attitude secretly embeds the desires to have your merits revealed to others, to be praised by them and to boast in arrogance of your faithfulness.
This kind of sacrifice may break peace among people and cause heartbreak for our Father God. That is how this sacrifice without love profits nothing.
Secondly, the sacrifice without love leads to disheartenment.
You may not complain outwardly with words. But if no one recognizes your faithful works, you will be disheartened and think that you are nothing and your zeal for the Lord becomes cold.
If someone points out faults and weak points in the works you have accomplished with all your strength, that were done even to the point of sacrificing yourself, you may lose heart and blame those who criticized you.
When someone bears more fruit than you and is praised and favored by others, you become jealous and envious of him.
Then, no matter how faithful and fervent you have been, you could not gain true joy within you.
Even though you used to fervently serve the church as a choir member and as a group leader, you have come to abandon your God-given duties.
It proves that you have worked with a longing for something in return and with a desire to be praised and recognized by others.
If you have changed your mind or spit out words of complaint after hardworking service, our Father God does not accept your dedication joyfully.
Thirdly, if you sacrifice without love, you are zealous only when others look at you.
When you are not seen by them and no longer noticed you become lazy and do your works haphazardly or improperly.
You are unwilling to do works that are not observed outwardly, but instead only try to accomplish works that are highly visible to others. That is because you desire to reveal yourself to your seniors and many others and to be praised by them.
Some of you fast to reveal yourselves.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:16, “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”
And He added in the following verses 17-18, “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Why then do you sacrifice yourself without love even though you have the faith and knowledge of the word of God?
That’s because you fail to possess the spiritual love for our God and the souls.
Then, you lack the personal responsibility and fail to believe in your heart that God’s is yours and what is yours is His.
Let us compare a farmer’s working in his own field with a peasant’s working in another’s field for the wages paid.
When a farmer works in his field, he readily toils from morning until late night. He does not skip doing any of the farming tasks, but he does all the work without fail.
But when a hired peasant works in a field that belongs to another man, he does not expend all his energy on it, but instead he wishes that the sun would set as soon as possible so he could receive his wages and return to his home.
Even if this does not apply to everyone, most people cling to their own.
Similarly, as much as the children of God possess the gratitude for the grace of God and the love for Him, you will consider God’s works as yours and fulfill them with all your heart.
You will do your best as if the works were yours whether others recognize them or not.
But, if you don’t have the love for God in your heart, you will work for Him superficially like a hireling who just wants the wages.
Then, you will complain and groan when you fail to receive the wages you expected.
Such a person is found in the parable of the Lost Son of the 15th chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
One day the second son came back home a poor and wretched man after he lost all his possessions that he had inherited from the father. The father received him with joy and treated him with the best service and a feast.
At that time the first son who was on the way into the house was told everything about his brother’s return. In Luke 15:28, he became angry and was not willing to go in.
His father came out and began pleading with him.
In the following verses 29-30, he answered and said to his father, “Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.”
But the father said to him in Verses 31-32, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”
The father loved the first son as much and he was going to hand down all his possessions to him.
But the son failed to measure the father’s heart. He could not realize that all the possessions of the father were his, and instead thought that he had taken pains for his father.
Finally the son believed that his father did not recognize his efforts, and then complained.
Moreover, the son became jealous of his younger brother who had come back from almost death.
The first son said, “For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours.” On that very day when his father celebrated a feast for the young son, the first son was in the field and heard about it all on the way back home.
This confirms that the first son had faithfully followed the father’s commands and served him.
But when he complained, it proves that he had not worked with the love for his father.
I ask all of you to examine yourself whether or not you have lived the life of the first son.
Among the workers who have been faithful to the church on their own, some of them feel sorry and discouraged because they think that no one recognizes that they have sacrificed themselves for the church, that they kept the church, and tried to become strength to the shepherd during its trials.
They are disheartened because of the thought that others who came to the church after them are more loved and favored than they are.
And they think that they had better shrink back because there is nothing to be fulfilled by them.
If you have this attitude, you have to examine whether or not you have dedicated yourself and been faithful to the Lord in truth and love.
Now I am urging you to believe and hope that everything you have offered God will surely be rewarded.
If you are a church worker who has long years in faith and have a church title, you have to serve other church members with the service of the master. And moreover, if you learn what you have to learn with a humble mind, you can become a faithful worker who has virtue and love.
As a result, your sacrifice and faithfulness will bear more abundant fruits.
Colossians 3:232-4 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” I wish for you to remember this word and to do everything as for the Lord so that you can receive the reward of inheritance in heaven.
If you want to sacrifice with a true heart, you have to possess spiritual love in your heart.
If your heart is filled with true love, you can continue to dedicate your life to the Lord with all that you have, whether or not others acknowledge you or not .
Just as a candle is lit and shines in the darkness, you can surrender everything you possess. Candles are quiet when they set the whole body on fire. In the same way, you do not boast of yourself.
Our Lord Jesus was the perfect example of true sacrifice.
At many verses of the Old Testament are found the prophecies saying that Jesus our Savior would come as an atoning sacrifice, and He was likened to a lamb.
In Old Testament, when the priests killed an animal to offer it to God as the atoning sacrifice, they poured its blood and burned its fat on the fire of the altar.
Our Lord Jesus, like the animal offered as the propitiation for our sin, shed the last drop of His blood and water to redeem all men from their sins.
Why has His sacrifice been effective and have so many souls gained salvation?
That is because His sacrifice includes perfect love.
Jesus loved the Father God t the utmost degree, and while He was staying on this earth, He did His best to fulfill the will of God.
In John 19:30 Jesus said, “It is finished!” at the last moment of His crucifixion and then He drew His last. Thus, He completed the will of our Father God to the point of sacrificing His life.
He offered an intercessory prayer for the souls even at the last moment of the crucifixion.
Even up to the very last moment and in the falling of His last drops of blood, He lived the life in which He could save mankind.
He neither boasted off Himself nor tried to be exalted and receive glory.
He gave glory ONLY to God who is enthroned in heaven.
So, Philippians 2:9-10 say, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” God Himself exalted Jesus and let Him sit on the glorious position.
If you throw away any kind of greed and impure desires and sacrifice yourself with a pure heart, God will exalt you and lead you into higher positions.
Our Lord promises in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” So, you can see our God with your eyes.
Therefore, I urge you to accomplish the heart of Jesus within you and offer true sacrifice to God so that you can see our God for sure!
Many members of Manmin are told that they live a religious life that is separate and distinct.
They not only keep the Lord’s Day holy but also offer God the All-night service every Friday and attend the Daniel Prayer Meetings every night.
They have various worship services including Wednesday Service, Tuesday Praise Service, Cell service and many prayer meetings.
And many workers continue to take care of the souls and visit their homes.
Many others work in their places of work during the daytime and in their extra time they are faithful to the Lord’s works as well.
On holidays they do not want to take a rest but spread church newsletters and evangelize as many people.
They spend all their hearts, sincerity, time and money in serving the kingdom of God, so that it is no exaggeration to say that they surrender their body to be burned.
Whom do you think we of the Manmin Church take after? You have imitated the Early Churches. They tried their best to gather, break the bread of the word of God and prayed unceasingly. They lived only for the gospel.
They not only lived such a sacrificial life but also may of them died the deaths of martyrs.
How faithful and truthful their sacrificial lives were that they never complained nor groaned when they were crucified and thrown in front of hungry lions!
Instead, they praised the Lord with joy and offered the last moment of their lives to the Lord.
They rejoiced at one fact that they received the citizenship of heaven, and loved our Lord fervently.
I believe you have dedicated your lives to the Lord with all your hearts and strengths to this day. Now if your lips are full of praises and thanksgiving, how much more the rewards and glory will be given to you in heaven?
Are there any of you who want to take a rest because of the previous hardworking service you have provided or feels disheartened because of this message saying that all your sacrifices are nothing if you don’t have love?
But, you have to remember that you are living in the end time of the world where sins and evils are rampant, and you have targeted the best place of heaven, New Jerusalem.
I ask you to fill your heart with the hope for heaven more and to do everything with true sacrifice because of your fervent love for the Lord and souls.
Even if you have not sacrificed with perfect love, our God counts as valuable the life you have tried your best to sacrifice and dedicate your life to Him.
If you have a desire to be recognized and praised by others for your service and sacrifice, now please thrown off such a desire and accomplish our Lord’s sacrifice and love who melted down like a candle.
May each of you receive great rewards from our Lord when you enter New Jerusalem and become honor and joy to our Father God, in the name of our Lord I pray!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
A son of the fifth richest man of the world was flying over the sands. All of a sudden, the plane fell down to the ground.
The father sent emergency rescue teams into the desert and had them search the area and investigate every facet in detail. The result was to let the father know of the son’s survival.
The father prayed for the way to rescue his son and planned to scatter millions of flyers on the sands until the son was rescued.
But he could not decide what to write on the small paper.
At first he thought that he should write down what to eat, how to escape form beasts and how to survive on the desert, but finally he wrote shortly “Son, I love you!”
A few days later the son who had been exhausted in the midst of hunger and thirst and was dying because of frustrations picked up one of the flyers.
The son read it and realized that his father loved him and believed that the father would rescue him. The son was encouraged and was able to overcome the trial. Thus, later he could be rescued.
The very strength to survive for the son was not the key to survival, but the true love of his father.
You have been assigned to spread the flyers of love to as many souls as are wandering in this fearful world and dying alone.
Until now I have explained to you about the significance of love. I wish you will keep in your mind that love is the greatest of all things and nothing is profited without love.
May each of you become the letter of Christ’ love and spread the love of our Father God to as many dying souls, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray~! [Amen]