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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Life in the Spirit

Sunday Sermon
Isaac Kim
Passage: The Spirit gives life; flesh counts for nothing. John 6:63 (Romans 8:11)

Bible passage to read: 1 Peter 3:8-22
The key Bible verse to remember and meditate: 3:18 Christ also suffered for sins...

Hymn song to sing: Sing to the Lord 242 Glory to his name

The Apostle Peter was speaking to the Christians undergoing sufferings under the Roman rule.
In the waves of persecutions some were scattered to remote places like Catacomb or Cappadocia.

Some were caught and were executed in the public arena being eaten live by wild animals. 

When placed in a marginalized situation like this one is tempted to not be like minded, quarrel each other or accuse the other of wrong doings, and that even among the believers. 

But Peter says "Be like minded, all of you, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.... And he reminds them that the Lord watches over the righteous, and his eyes are on the evil/unrighteous. 3:8-12

He continues to say: "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what  is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats, do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have - the hope of resurrected life - but do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. In his day Christians scattered in remote areas used to hold early morning prayer meetings evening Bible classes etc. and so forth. Yet some spies reported to the local authorities stating "Oh they appear to meet secretly to connive against the Roman Rule" or "They worship another King (than the Roman Emperor Caesar)." 

Those in political power in Jesus' day did the same thing on Jesus. They piled up charges against Jesus saying "This man breaks Roman Law; he teaches people not to pay taxes to Rome; He says he himself is the King". 

Referring to what Jesus went through Peter says, "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous once
to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." He further says, "After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits - to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days while the ark was being built." This statement affirms that after the fall of the body life continues. And Jesus spoke to the imprisoned spirits apparently to free them from the prison into God's freedom. We do not know how many if not all of them got saved. Yet Peter revealed Jesus' post resurrection ministry for the rebellious who lived during the Pre-Flood Era, that is, those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built, which must haven take closed to 100 years.

But we are not to be sidetracked, for Peter uses this episode to talk about the importance of his audience to keep the pledge of the conscience, that is, water baptism, to further strengthen the meaning of "Do this,,,keeping a clear conscience." Thus he continues to say, "[Of the many who used to live in Noah's day] only a few people, 8 in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God." 

Unlike many who describe Peter as "impulsive, emotional, a man of feelings, emotions, rather than, intellect", I would say "Peter is man of reason, intellect, governed by more of reason and sound mind, the cold head that reasons, searching for the truth, rather than  emotion and feelings." 1 Peter 1:23, 25; 2:2

Thus he states, "not the removal of the dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. [Unlike what some of the baptists say] it (not mere water ceremony) saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand - with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Right to Become Children of God


Sunday Worship
Word of the Lord: John 1:6-18
Pastor: Isaac H. Kim

Key Phrase: "The Right to become Children of God" (12)

* Existence of God:

God reveals himself through the people commonly known as the Jews. Not all people believe in the existence of God. A lot of scientists do not believe in God's existence. Not all Jews believe in God either. Charles Darwin is an example. Yet, in the history of the Israelites God revealed himself, even as Jesus himself said of God, "God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". In order to get rid of God, you need to get rid of the Jews as a race. Dictators tried to do that. Haman in the 5 century before Christ tried to destroy but failed. Adolph Hitler wanted to destroy the Jews but failed. God is living and he has spoken through his servants. 

* Words of promise from God to mankind:

V. 6 reads, "There was a man sent from God whose name was John." This John is not the Apostle John but John the Baptist. His father was Zechariah, mother Elizabeth. Luke describes the story on the birth of John the Baptist, for he was born six months ahead of the birth of Jesus, the Son of God. 

John's mission was to testify concerning the light, so that through Jesus, the Son of God, all might believe. John the Baptist was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world, testified John. 

What does 'everyone' mean? Everyone means everyone. 

As John testified, Jesus the true light indeed came. He was in the world (John 1:1-5), and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 

Jesus came to that which was his own, that is, the land of the Jews, as Jesus said to one of the Samaritan women, "Salvation comes from the Jews." John 4:22 But his own did not receive him.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. This morning before worship my wife took a look at herself in the mirror. I said to her, "Do not look at yourself too long. You are not in your teens!" Our bodies are weak. Yesterday since the weather report says it is going to rain tomorrow, I went out and did a yard work. I also split the roots of a few flower, and transplanted them. Then my finger grew numb. Flesh is indeed weak and fragile. 

Jesus, the Word who became flesh made his dwelling among us. Being in the flesh he also grew hungry. After a long journey through the Bible belt, he grew tired and thirsty, so he needed to take a break, sat down at the Jacob's well. On seeing a lady coming to draw water at the well, he asked the lady for a favor, "Will you give me a drink?" 


While in a body, a few disciples followed Jesus closely. John was one of them, not John the Baptist but the Apostle John. The Apostle John the author of the John's gospel used to follow John the Baptist as his mentor. But on hearing his mentor speaking of Jesus, the Son of God, "Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" John left him and followed Jesus. 

Along with John there were a few others such as Peter, James, Andrew, etc. 

Following Jesus they have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John the Baptist testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, "This  is the one I spoke about when I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"

Out of Jesus' fullness we all received grace upon grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, as the Apostle Paul later explained, "The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, e\neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:24-29

The Apostle John's testimony continues: Out of Jesus' 
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in close relationship with the Father, has made him known. 

Later, two followers, Thomas and Philip asked Jesus about the Father, whereupon Jesus stated, "Those who have seen me have seen the Father." John 14:9

Hymn: This is my Father's world (by Maltbie Babcock 1901) based on Psalm 24:1

  1. This is my Father’s world,
    And to my list’ning ears
    All nature sings, and round me rings
    The music of the spheres.
    This is my Father’s world:
    I rest me in the thought
    Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
    His hand the wonders wrought.
  2. This is my Father’s world:
    The birds their carols raise,
    The morning light, the lily white,
    Declare their Maker’s praise.
    This is my Father’s world:
    He shines in all that’s fair;
    In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
    He speaks to me everywhere.
  3. This is my Father’s world:
    Oh, let me ne’er forget
    That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
    God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father’s world,
    The battle is not done:
    Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
    And earth and Heav’n be one.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

Group Photo
CIS Coworkers (January 2018 - Tbilisi, Georgia)

71 members from 25 UBF Chapters from 8 Nations attended the conference.


Native Shepherds

Native Speakers/Coworkers in CIS Area 2018

Conference Theme Song

(True-hearted, Wholehearted)

  1. Truehearted, wholehearted, faithful and loyal,
    King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be;
    Under the standard exalted and royal,
    Strong in Thy strength we will battle for Thee.
    • Refrain:
      Peal out the watchword! Silence it never!
      Song of our spirits, rejoicing and free;
      Peal out the watchword! Loyal forever!
      King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be.
  2. Truehearted, wholehearted, fullest allegiance
    Yielding henceforth to our glorious King!
    Valiant endeavor and loving obedience
    Freely and joyously now would we bring.
  3. Truehearted, wholehearted, Savior all-glorious,
    Take Thy great power and reign Thou alone,
    Over our wills and affections victorious—
    Freely surrendered and wholly Thine own.
  4. CIS Directors' New Year Conference 2018 Program

Date: 1/2-1/4, 2018
Location: Tbilisi
Participants: 71 people from 25 chapters of 8 nations

Theme Title: Seek the Lord and Live (Amos 5:6)

Politically the USSR was divided (from 1940 to 1991) into 15 constituent or union republics—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia (see Belarus), Estonia, Georgia,Kazakhstan, Kirghizia (see Kyrgyzstan), Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia (see Moldova), Russia, Tadzhikistan (see Tajikistan),Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Of these nations Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are called Caucus Three Nations. We pray to send Bible Teachers to these nations. 

Caucus Three Nations
Georgia as a nation: 360 days No Visa for the U.S. citizens; they prefer the U.S. to Russia; there is an English learning boom, so English speaking people from the U.S. have an edge to go and open an English clinic self-support, and serve the gospel to students coming to the clinic. Rent is about one third of the rental level in LA area.

Prayer topics: 1. Send missionaries preferably from the U.S. UBF chapters to the Caucus Three nations. 2. Build House Churches from among the second gens. 

Dr. David Kim (left) and his son Samuel (right)
Samuel: Dentist (27; Single)

  1. Bible Studies: Acts 1:8 and Amos (four lectures)
  2. Speakers: Amos (Introduction) by Isaac Kim; Acts 1:8 by Dr. Abraham Kim; Amos Introduction in Korean language by Shepherd Shangwoon Kim of Kwanak UBF; Amos lectures by Native shepherds
  3. Remark:
[I greeted the New Year at the tbs (Istanbul Int'l airport) on my way to CIS director's new year conf. Where they plan to study the book of Amos.]

LORD'S blessings on you this new year as you seek Him and line a blessed life.
Seek the Lord and Live
Amos 1:1-9:15
Key Verse 5:6
“Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire; it will devour, and Bethel will have no one to quench it.”
One of the cardinal principles in interpreting the Scriptures correctly for all of their strenuous purposes is to understand the ultimate purpose the author of the Bible (that is, God himself) has in mind. The sixty-six books of the Bible came from God. The whole Bible has one single message, not two or three. Although there are 66 books in the Bible the message that runs through them is one (1) and the same. One of the reasons why there are different books is because the audiences, the generations, and their environments are different.
Tonight we are going to cover Amos, the third book of the 12 Minor Prophets. In giving prophecy  through Amos, the Lord conveys the same message - the message which is not different from the message other books are conveying. But the people and their environments are different.
The single message all the books are conveying is the call for all fallen men to be saved into God himself by listening to the message of salvation and thereby forming the unity of love, becoming one with Him. The expression of this message varies, such as the message on the kingdom of God, the call to join the family of God, or the hope to come to the home of righteousness. But the point remains the same. God wants people to become like him.
Like other books of the Bible then Amos cries out to the people of his generation to repent and turn to God. The title of the message reflects the same message: "Seek the Lord and Live."
Now the questions we are going to consider tonight are: 1) Why did the people of Amos's day fall from their secure position? In other words what was the cause of their down-fall? Simply speaking, what was their problem? 2) How did their problem(s) become manifested in their lives? And, 3) Finally, what is the Lord's remedy to their problem(s)?
I. Two years before the earthquake (1:1-2)
A question that arises in examining Amos is, "What gave rise to the prophecy of Amos?" In other words, why did the Lord find it necessary to send the Prophet Amos in addition to his contemporaries such as Isaiah, Micah, or Hosea? We can find an answer to this question in verses 1 and 2. Look at 1:1-2. “The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa--what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. He said: ‘The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.’ ” In many places of the Bible earthquakes hit people not just because of some earth movements; behind it there is always the hand of God. For this reason, even in a business world, such as insurance, they call disasters caused by earthquake or brush fires as “Acts of God.” Indeed, in many instances the Lord employs earthquakes as a means to carry out his judgment on the wicked. Examples include the earthquake that caused the wall of Jericho to come down, so that God's judgment fell upon the people inside [except Rahab and those who belonged to her]. When Korah rebelled against Moses, the Lord let the earth open its mouth to swallow up Korah and those who belonged to him. In the case of Uzziah, God's judgment fell on him when he burned incense in violation of the law of Moses. (2Ch 26:16) It was not unlikely that the earthquake mentioned in v. 1 coincided with the sin of Uzziah. Apparently, its magnitude was so big and extensive that it drew the Prophet Zechariah’s attention that he refers to it to describe the kind of earthquake that will hit Jerusalem at the time of the Lord's [second] coming. (Zec 14:5)
God is an all knowing God. In his eyes all the events that are to occur in the days to come are known as if they have already taken place. It is not inconceivable that the Lord was in apprehension of the sin Uzziah would commit. So it can be said that in anticipation of the wicked violation of the Lord's holiness two years in advance, the Lord established Amos and gave his words to the people of his days.
Describing the cause of the disasters that were decreed to hit the people of Amos' day, 2 Chronicles 26:16 states: "But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense." As we saw in covering the book of Hosea, the Lord struck Uzziah with leprosy on the spot. In his pride he violated the Lord's holiness and the outcome was leprosy.
Let us stop for a moment and think about the nature of Uzziah's sin. In his pride he burned unauthorized incense. 2 Chronicles 26:18 reads, “They confronted him and said, ‘It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.’ ”
The priests' rebuke indicates that sinners cannot approach God without an intermediary. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..." These passages tell us that all are sinners and that no one can approach God without going through Jesus, the only mediator. Jesus died for our sins. He rose for our justification. So when we humble ourselves, confess our sins to the Lord, believe in the grace of sin-forgiveness, we then can approach God with confidence.
The point of pride then is to reject Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. Speaking of this truth, Jesus says in John 3:18, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." In the case of the people of Amos's day, the priestly system given to Israel through Moses is a type of the reality to come, that is, Jesus Christ. But in his pride Uzziah rejected the necessity for a mediator. The Lord then struck him with leprosy.
From Uzziah's example we learn that a proud person is not someone who brags about his own abilities or his possessions. Rather a proud person is the one who does not admit that he is a sinner and is therefore in need of a mediator, who is Jesus Christ.
II. For three sins, even for four (1:3-9:10)
Amos can be divided into three parts: the first part (1:1-2) points out the cause (that is man's pride) of their downfall; the second part (1:3-9:10) describes God's judgment on the unbelieving nations; and the third part (9:11-15) concerns the vision of the work the Messiah is to fulfill.  
The second part can further be subdivided into two sections, that is, God's judgment on the unbelieving nations (1:3-2:3) and God's impending judgment on the house of Jacob, and the Lord’s call to seek the Lord and live (2:4-9:10). The phrase, "for three sins and even for four," refers to the Lord's long patience. Yet despite the Lord's long patience, when people keep rebelling, the Lord ensures that no sins will go unpunished. God is the God of mercy and the God of justice.
The unbelieving nations remain condemned. Using the law of the conscience the Lord revealed the right way to life, but when they violated the voice of their consciences, God was ready to mete out his judgment upon the unbelieving nations, such as Philistine or Edom.
Unlike the Gentile nations, the house of Jacob had the privilege to receive the way to have their sins forgiven and approach God. But in their pride they rejected the way of God's salvation. King Uzziah's sinful pride was the last straw to the Lord's forbearance. Would someone stand and read Amos 6:8?
Still, however, in his long patience, the Lord urged them to seek the Lord and live through the prophet Amos. Look at 5:4, “This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: ‘Seek me and live...’ ” Again, Amos 5:14 reads, "Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is." Notice that the Lord exhorted them to seek him first, and then they can seek good. This is consistent with the truth that when one makes a tree good, one naturally sees the tree bearing good fruit, for a good tree cannot bear bad fruit; it is only a good tree that bears good fruit.
In regard to the judgment on all peoples on earth, the Lord distinguishes the house of Jacob from the Gentile nations, for as the Bible continually maintains, although a majority of the people in the house of Jacob were unbelieving, the Lord still left some remnants, such as Amos, so Amos 9:8 reads, “ ‘Surely the eyes of the Sovereign LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth--yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,’ declares the LORD.”
Let us then think about the call to seek the Lord and live. This exhortation teaches us that seeking the Lord is the key to securing life. Most people in the day of Amos sought to make a living by indulging themselves in buying, selling, planting, or building. They made super-human efforts to make a living by chasing after the things of this world, such as real estate; as a result, some were so successful that they built a winter house here and a summer house there. (Amos 3:15) But the Lord says that the efforts to make a living must be directed upward.
“Seek the Lord and live.” The word “seek” suggests that the presence of Lord is not obvious to carnal minds. So one must make efforts to find the Lord. This however does not mean that the Lord plays hide and seek. Rather the opposite is true. In order to help his children to look for him, the Lord intentionally sends troubles, such as locusts, so they would repent and turn to God. Let us read 4:6-13. It is interesting to note that the Lord gave them empty stomachs so that they could seek the Lord. The empty stomach is symbolic of an economy going bad, with people losing jobs. The Lord's approach in helping people to seek the Lord is very much revealing of what is going on in the U.S. for the last couple of years. When one's stomach is full one must be careful for he is in danger of being complacent and thus not seeking the Lord. No wonder that missionaries in less developed countries (such as Mexico) than the U.S. are all in good spirit; with great fervor they all seek the Lord. Each time they pray they all kneel down and offer prayers. In Guadalajara, the average annual income is $10,700. But for new college graduates the average monthly salary is below $500. Yet according to Msn. Hanna Rhee, in an effort to seek the Lord, the student-leaders attended the Purdue Int’l Bible Conference by paying not only for the round trip tickets but also the conference fees.  
III. I will restore David's tent (9:11-15)
Let us rise and read 9:11-15. This passage further elaborates on the prophecy Jeremiah proclaimed. The Lord established Jeremiah to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, and to build and to plant. Indeed, as Jeremiah prophesied the Lord uprooted the house of Jacob and sent them to a foreign land. Then about 8 centuries after Amos’s prophecy, the Lord God sent Jesus Christ, who in turn restored David’s fallen tent. Legally, Jesus is the son of David, for after being born of a Virgin Mary, he was registered into the family of Joseph, a descendant of David. When Jesus was about thirty years old he began his public ministry. The focus of his ministry was to build the kingdom builders. For this purpose, Jesus called the Twelve. Through his disciple making ministry the Lord restored David's fallen tent. Here "tent" is symbolic of a house where family members live together. In the day of Amos the Lord had to declare that the twelve tribes of Israel (collectively called “the house of Jacob”) had to go into exile. But when Jesus came the Lord established the Twelve disciples (who later were called the Apostles), who in turn worked to restore God's kingdom by preaching the gospel to all nations.
Thanks and praise be to God for sending Jesus as a kingdom builder.
One word: Seek the Lord and live
Class Exercise:
1.     In Amos 3:3 the Lord asks the whole family (who came out of Egyptian slavery), “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” What is it like for the two to ‘walk together’?
2.    Read 2:13-16. What do the following categories of people have in common?
1) The swift; 2) The strong; 3) The warrior; 4) The archer; 5) The fleet-footed; 6) The horseman; and 7) The bravest
3.    According to Amos, “a burning stick” refers to: _____________________________
4.    What is wrong with the way in which the following exhortations are arranged?
1) Hate evil, love good
2) Seek good, not evil
3) Seek the Lord and live
4) Seek me and live
5.    Fill the blanks: “He who made the _________ and _________, who turns ________ into _______ and darkens ______ into _______, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land --- the ______ is his name.”
6.    Amos 6:8 reads, “I abhor the pride of Jacob…” What does “abhor” mean?
7.    In Hebrew the name “Amos” means “a burden carrier”. What does the meaning of the name Amos and Jesus Christ have in common?