LORD’S DAY SERMON:
“The Church Blessed for a Thousand Generations”
OVERSEER Sung-Hyun Kim
God’s Word is the Way of Blessing
In our Christian faith, a foundational knowledge is that God blesses us for a thousand generations. Some think only those with great faith can be blessed. But blessing is promised to all who believe. If you are a Christian, you should desire to hand down your blessings to a thousand generations. This is the attitude all Christians should have. It is God’s way of leading us to eternal life.
God gave us His word. His word is the sole way to obtain God’s blessing. On the Lord’s day, we attend service and listen to the sermon. While listening, we hear God’s word and receive it by faith. Unfortunately, there are some who do not recognize the sermon as God’s word, but judge it with their subjective standards. The problem is if you listen to it but do not acknowledge it as God’s word, you cannot be blessed by Him.
The church is the structure where God gathers believers and feeds them with His word. It is the system God prepared to give them blessings. God has not abandoned those He purchased with His blood. God wants believers to dwell in the glory of His Son. The method God uses to preserve believers until Jesus Christ returns is the church.
The overseer proclaims God’s word in the church. The congregation believe and follow God’s word proclaimed by the overseer. When the overseer and congregation faithfully carry out their own duties, the church can stand firm. Nothing should hinder their duties. Yet those weak in faith get easily susceptible to negative ideas. Once a negative idea about the church or the overseer is sown in their hearts, they will see something happen in the church and view it negatively without realizing. Not only will this be a stumbling block to their spiritual lives, this will become a negative influence to those around them. We must be very careful about this.
One of the factors which negatively affect people’s thoughts is the recent Social Networking Services (SNS). It has a great effect on people. Through this service, many people freely share information. But increasing numbers of people are hurt due to false and critical information spread without filter. Even worse, this is used in the church to make reckless criticisms. If you want to keep your spirit clean, you should not listen to irresponsible information. Once a seed of negative ideas is sown in the field of your heart, it will never disappear. This will not just be a source of anguish, it will lead to more negative ideas.
Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts
and put wicked stumbling blocks
before their faces.
Should I let them inquire of me at all?
Cleansed by the Blood, but sanctified by Conduct
There are two factors to a sermon. First, there is the grace of Jesus Christ’s blood. The congregation listen to the sermon and repent. Once they come under the grace of His blood, their spirits are cleansed. The second factor is instruction for believers’ conduct. God gives His word to spirits cleansed by the blood. Saints are instructed regarding their conduct, and then they should sanctify their spirits by their decision and action. Those who hear the sermon should respond to God’s word and repent. Then they should follow God’s instruction by deciding to act on it.
Idolatry prevents this from happening. People think idols refer to images made of stone or wood. These are not the only idols. If the love and devotion meant for God is directed somewhere else, it is idolatry. Such idolatrous practice betrays God and seriously pollutes saints’ spirits.
If someone places an idol in their hearts, God will not take that idol away. Rather, He will work a deception on that person so he will never depart from that evil. If a person sets an idol in his heart to make him stumble, and later goes to inquire of a prophet, God will work a deception on the prophet to give the answer the inquirer wants. Both the prophet and inquirer will take responsibility for their evil (Ezekiel 14:3-11).
We should not get involved with matters that corrupt our spirits. As believers, we are spiritually responsible for blessing our children. Though the Patriarchs of Israel were old, they blessed their children with authority given by God. This is because God’s blessing are passed down to children through the spirit, not through the flesh. In order not to limit God’s power being handed down to our children, we must cleanse our spirits by repentance, and be approved by God through holy conduct.
We should be particularly careful not to irresponsibly criticize or slander the church. If we start doing it, though you do not desire it, a shadow will cover your heart. This is the best condition for demons to come and invade. On the other hand, if we choose words and thoughts filled with faith and hope, we can accomplish works pleasing to God more easily.
For a church to be built and grow, people must endure hardships to keep their spirits clean. Also, people must sacrifice and devote themselves to keep other people’s spirits clean. This is by no means easy. But many people did this to serve the church, and still do this. There should be no irresponsible criticisms or slander to hurt those who otherwise only sought God until now.
Even unbelievers treat the church with certain respect. Even criminals who oppress others have different attitudes when meeting with pastors. Even thieves regard stealing church offerings as taboo. Unfortunately, slander against the church is now occurring amongst believers, and people try to encourage distrust against the overseer. These actions not only destroy their spirits but leave irremovable scars on other people’s spirits.
Once a person’s faith has been hurt like this, it is hard for him to receive God’s word. When some people hear negative news about the church, they think they should carefully investigate and judge for themselves if it is true. They know this will influence them negatively, but continue any way. This is no different from seeking idols. And carefully investigating matters so you can dispute them is not helpful either. Foolish arguments and quarrels are unprofitable and useless (Titus 3:9).
Until the Lord leads us to His Kingdom, we must not defile our spirits. Those who sanctify their spirits fulfill God’s will effectively. God remembers them and will remember their descendants. Those who are holy prepare themselves for heaven, and pass down blessings to their descendants at the same time.
The overseer of the church is the speaker proclaiming God’s word. Though the overseer is just a man with flesh, God gave him authority to bless the church. When God appointed Aaron as the priest of Israel, He made him wear an attractive garment, made specially for the priest. This was to show people how glorious and wonderful the priestly office was. The purpose was so all would acknowledge his authority (Exodus 28:2). In the same way, God clothes an ordinary person with the office of overseer and proceeds to do His work. Saints should humbly be guided by the overseer. Sheep avoid the voice of strangers but listen to the voice of the shepherd. In the same way, saints should pay attention to the voice of the overseer.
Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron
to give him dignity and honor.
Let Us Enjoy Blessings for a Thousand Generations
God is the source of all blessings. He blessed us. Deuteronomy 28:2-6 talks about those who are blessed by Him. It says, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” Because blessings dwell with God, those who dwell with Him are blessed in whatever circumstance.
The blessings found in the Old Testament were imperfect. Now, we enjoy God’s perfect blessings through Jesus Christ. He completely removed curses, sin, destruction and death – which hindered our blessings. Furthermore, He commanded us to obey Him. Since He made our ways straight, we clearly see the way before us and walk on it.
We must raise households that will be blessed for a thousand generations. There are two things we must do to achieve this. Firstly, we must cleanse our spirits. Secondly, we must serve the church with holy deeds and devotion. Those who does this will bless their families and children. If we believe God created everything, atoned for our sins, and will raise us from the dead, we should also believe He will bless us on the earth.
We are the church God has blessed for a thousand generations. This church will not be blessed in the future. This church is already blessed. God promised to bless us, not just to the third or fourth generation, but for a thousand generations. God said this to emphasize how enduring His blessings are. So God’s promises can be fulfilled in us, let us preserve our spirits until the end. Our spirits were purchased by Jesus Christ’s blood. Let us come under the power of His blood. As members of the Lord, let us act uprightly. Let us use our faith – our spiritual inheritance – for the success and happiness of the church.