Christ and Saints

“who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

(Galatians 1:4-5)

This greeting, spoken by Paul after he had blessed the churches of Galatia, contains the entire Gospel. “Who gave Himself our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Within these words, lies the magnificent will of God.

“………our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Galatians 1:3 –

The term “Christ” signifies the Anointed One, originating from the word ‘anointing.’ Christ. In the Old Testament, individuals were appointed as God’s servants after being anointed, a practice employed when appointing Kings, priests, and prophets. God anointed Jesus Christ and established Him as the King. As a result, He came to us as our King, conveyed God’s message as a prophet, and served as our mediator with God as a priest. For these purposes, God sent Christ to us. In other words, all these things refer to servants. Whether a King, a priest or a prophet, they are all servants of God. Therefore, Christ means the servant of God, that is, the holy servant, Jesus Christ. As mentioned in Acts, Jesus is the One who is equal to God but chose to become a servant.

This implies that we are also in the same position as God’s sons. Once we have become God’s children, smart individuals will quickly understand what they should do. They will know how to receive God’s love and become a source of joy for Him. If God says, “You are my son,” it means that He will treat me as equal to Him. There were people who said, “I have become a son of God, and I have authority. People in the world drive Benz cars, so why can’t the children of God do the same? You can drive a Benz. You can live in a four-story house. Why can’t we, the children of God, do this? Even worldly people carry designer bags and live luxuriously, so why can’t we? We can do this. We should do it.” There have been many such people. Of course, it is much better not to do that. It is also much better not to know that we are children of God without any ability. However, if we are mature, we confess, “I am Your servant.” Jesus confessed, “I am Your servant,” when God says, “You are my Son, You are equal to me.” He did not consider Himself equal but lowered Himself, thereby submitting Himself before God. In the same way, we may be willing to obey the Word and become servants.

Therefore, those who are willing to exalt themselves will be brought low, and those who are willing to humble themselves will be lifted up. This is something that Jesus personally demonstrated to us. However, the servant, the angel, who should not have exalted himself, chose to do so and thus fell, becoming the devil. Even though Jesus is the Son of God and was exalted by God, He humbled Himself, and God exalted Him even more. When God judged the devil, He used His own method of judgment. The devil had done something wrong. When the angel fell, what was the method that God used to judge the devil? He elevated the devil completely, granting it authority. Despite its fall, the devil received this authority, a full exaltation. Why? To reveal its unrighteousness. God gave the devil the chance to act as he pleased. Therefore, if someone is in the wrong and has a problem, God does not dismiss them but elevates them. He elevated the angel so that he could exercise his authority like a king, allowing it to do as he pleased, thus exposing his true nature. At that moment, he fully revealed his actions. When God granted Jesus His authority, Jesus became a servant. Even when He was told, “You are the King, and you possess all authority, Jesus humbled Himself, laying down His power when He had the capability to do everything, and kneeled before God. However, when God made the devil do everything, he revealed his real intentions, even going so far as to kill the Son of God. This is what God is doing.

Therefore, what we must not make a mistake is that when we gain authority or attain a certain social or church position, it becomes easy for us to act according to our own desires. However, we must not misunderstand that God permitted this because He seems pleased with it. The path can potentially lead us down a dangerous road of self-destruction. When we find ourselves entrusted with full authority to do anything, during such times, our true nature can be revealed. Therefore, we must be careful at that time. When others exalt us, and we gain a power to do anything, we should remain watchful and thoroughly maintain a humble attitude. Acting recklessly in moments like these exposes our true intentions. When individuals receive authority, they may experience a surge in confidence and ambition, leading them to act upon their deepest desires. Whereas before, they may not have even considered such actions, the newfound ability to do so requires caution.

Therefore, because we have become the sons of God, what should we strive to become? We should strive to become anointed ones. So, who is the anointed one? It is Christ. However, we do not call ourselves Christ. Then, what do we call ourselves? We call ourselves saints, those who have received the Holy Spirit. The saint is referred to as the anointed one. Thus, when God says, “You are my son,” we confess “I am a saint,” by living a life as saints. We live in this manner. Enjoying equal authority with God means that we will experience it after entering heaven, and on earth, we live as individuals serving wholeheartedly.

But how do we serve when God cannot be seen? We serve Christ, who is visible. Then, how do we serve Christ since He ascended to heaven? Since, His body, the Church, remains on Earth, we serve the Church. Therefore, when we love and serve the church, God considers it as an expression of our love for Him. Later, all the glory and authority that God desires to give will vary depending on how much that person has love the church. That’s why there is such a strong emphasis on loving the church. It’s not about loving anything else but specifically about loving the church. In fact, when the scripture says ‘love one another,’ it means ‘love the church.’ The term ‘church’ does not mean a specific building but the parts who believe in Jesus. So, since they are the church, we are to love them in this way.

Offering is a way to express our love for God as well as for the church. However, there are individuals who do not hesitate to give to God but feel reluctant when it comes to offering to the church. We ought to treat the church with the same respect as we do God, but this is not always practiced. I recently spoke with someone of Korean ethnicity who attended a rural Chinese church. Initially, he felt discomfort with the local Han Chines, believing himself to live cleaner and better. However, when it was time to offer, he observed that almost of them offered 100 Yuan(the largest banknote in China), which is calculated 15dollars. Therefore, he felt shameful because he couldn’t do it every moment.

And when a pastor from China visited Korea in the past, I asked him “How much do Chinese typically offer?” He then replied that the usual offerings are 100 Yuan or 200 Yuan, noting that 100 Yuan is the largest banknote in China. Then, this means that some individuals offer even more than 100 Yuan, a common practice there. However, he was taken aback by the offering practices here in Korea, where we typically offer 1 dollar or 2 dollars. Just the day before yesterday, a Korean-Chinese individual also expressed surprise upon observing the offering amounts in Korea, having paid close attention due to their interest. And they noticed that many of them were giving offering 1 dollar or 2 dollars, whereas Chinese offerings amount to approximately 20 dollars or 30 dollars. So, they were really speechless. Because they thought Koreans were very faithful, it was shocking. They said, “We received so much grace from the Word, yet we were surprised by what people were doing.” So, when I heard this, I felt a bit embarrassed.

But on the last day, the senior overseer also gave a sermon, questioning if our offerings amounted to even the cost of a bowl of cold noodles. Considering how we often go home late on Lord’s days, tired, and sometimes stop to eat, which for a family can cost at least 20 dollars. However, when it comes to offering, are people really giving that much? That’s what people are thinking. So, really, even ten, twenty, or thirty years ago, people were giving one dollar or two dollars, and they’re still doing it that way. We should really wake up and not just do it out of habit. Now that even Chinese people are coming and getting shocked, we shouldn’t continue like this. No matter how much we say we love God, that’s how He sees it. We may shed tears and praise God, but when it comes to giving offering, if it’s just one dollar, it feels like it’s all fake.

“………….., according to the will of our God and Father,” – Galatians 1:4 –

So, who is God? Who is this God? He is our Father. The God who is greater than heaven has become our Father.  However, it is not just a matter of thinking, “Okay, let’s consider Him our Father.” Who is the Father, then? He is the one who has borne us. Father has several meanings, and in the Bible, it can be understood in two main ways. First, it means the one who has borne us, so He is the Father. It’s not that our mother bore us; she only preserved and nurtured us. We came from the Father. Therefore, in the Bible, we read, “Abraham became the father of Issac,” not that Sarah bore Issac and Rebekah bore Jacob. They came from a man; the Father bore the son. The other meaning of being a son is that of an heir, the one who inherits everything. So, when we call God our Father, it means the Father has borne us, and we will inherit all His glory. When God says He has borne us, it doesn’t mean He will merely recognize us as His children; He has genuinely borne us.

Now, we are born again and it is not just cleansing our sins and becoming clean within Jesus. It’s not at the level where old selves have already died and gone. The spirit of the past is gone. The spirit of the created Adam is already gone. It doesn’t matter; they have already passed away. Now, what we are living is being in union with Jesus Christ, and that is being in union with the last Adam. So, Jesus Christ, He is not a created spirit. He is the Spirit of God, not a created spirit but the Spirit that comes from God, from heaven. It is the Spirit of the Creator in which we are living right now. We have entered into that and are living in union with Him. We are not just children born of God; this is not what it is about. And because God has purposed to give us all the glory He has given to His Son, that’s why we confidently call God our Father and the Holy Spirit also testifies to it and gives us the confidence to call God our Father boldly.

Otherwise, our souls wouldn’t have the confidence to call Him that way. So, in the past, people might have felt awkward and couldn’t call God their Father. I used to attend church before receiving the Holy Spirit, and even then, I would do everything else, but calling God my Father was something I couldn’t do, even if I tried. So, in my prayers, I would address Jesus, or Lord, because I couldn’t bring myself to call Him Father. It’s because I hadn’t fully grasped Him as my Lord; sometimes I would use “Lord” when praying, and sometimes I would say “Truth” during my prayers. I would pray in the name of Jesus, and sometimes just in the name of Truth, because I couldn’t believe it. Even while praying, I couldn’t fully believe it. Then, when I received the Holy Spirit, do you know what the first word that came out of me was? “Father.” When I received the Holy Spirit, tears started flowing uncontrollably, and the word that came out without me realizing it was “Father.” I kept saying “Father” while crying, and it was so amazing. It just naturally came out, and it was so fascinating how it just burst out like that. So, this is the confidence we receive through the Holy Spirit.

“….that He might deliver us from this present evil age….” – Galatians 1:4 –

So, according to the will, He might deliver us from this present evil age. His rescue for us wasn’t the will of the Son but the will of the Father. Our God the Father is incredibly rich in mercy and doesn’t seek to destroy sinners but rather to save them, not to cast them away but to somehow rescue them and share His glory with them. The very nature of God, our Father’s nature, is such. So, in 2 Peter, it says that God has called us by His glory and virtue. He who is full of glory is also full of virtue. Therefore, when something good happens, He constantly seeks to share it with others. Because His virtue is overflowing, He tells us to also have faith and virtue. And what is the will of God? It is not to change this evil generation but to save it.

However, many people are trying to change this evil generation, especially Christians. So, some pastors keep talking about salvation, saying, “What is salvation?” and constantly emphasizing it. Some pastors even engage in social service activities professionally. I have a degree in social work, and one pastor sent me out with his sons and disciples to learn. Many people are doing this kind of work, thinking it’s God’s work. Some people cook and feed the homeless, believing it’s God’s work. They are trying to make society a little more beautiful in their own ways. But this society has already received judgment. This world has already had justice delivered to it. It’s the world that crucified Jesus, a place that has already received judgment. So, what Jesus did was to save their souls, not to change them. That’s why we do the same work.

So, if we are disciples of Jesus, we don’t do everything just because it’s a good thing. We are not people who do everything just because it’s good. Instead, disciples of Jesus do what Jesus did. It’s not about doing everything because it’s good. So, if you look around, you might think, “Oh, that’s a good thing.” However, our Sungrak church and Berea church are not about doing everything because it’s good. It’s about doing what God is doing. Every church has its own mission. Everything in the world has its use, and God uses all of it. Everything works together for good within God. That doesn’t mean that churches that provide food to people in need are not doing a good thing. It’s a good thing, and it’s not something that God dislikes or curses. Everything has its own value in its own way. But we don’t do everything just because it’s a good thing; we do what God has given us to do. We have seen more and deeper, so we have received more, and as a result, we have to bear more. We also have to endure persecution and other challenges. They may not understand it yet, but because we know, we have an obligation to help them understand and bear that responsibility. So, we are the ones who save, not the ones who change.

“who gave Himself for our sins,,,,” – Galatians 1:4 –

So, we are the ones who save, not the ones who change. Jesus gave Himself for our sins. To resolve the problems of our sins, He did not exert His own ability by saying “I forgive your sins,” but He sacrificed Himself for it. Because of that, God considered it highly and gave Him all authority, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

“to whom be glory forever and ever.” – Galatians 1:5 –

Therefore, be glory forever and ever to Him. We glorify Jesus, Christ. Why? Because God has made it so that in Jesus Christ, all things give glory to God. So, saying, “I don’t need Jesus; I’ll give glory to God” is like being a thief. Don’t do that. Giving glory to Jesus is giving glory to God because it all goes to God’s glory. God has entrusted everything to Jesus, so when I kneel before Jesus and give Him glory, it’s recognized as kneeling before God; this is God’s decision. Why? To make all those who love Him love the Son. So, now, we love the Son. Our faith is loving the Son. However, when the Son ascended to heaven and cannot be seen, how do we love Him? By loving the church. Loving the church is loving God. So, don’t question how you can benefit from the church or why the church lacks love. Instead, do your best to help and serve the church in any way you can, and do it in the name of Jesus. Let’s pray.

God our Father, we give glory to You through our Lord Jesus, and we pray that You enable us to love the church, which is the body of Jesus. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on July 26, 2013
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team