LORD’S DAY SERMON
OVERSEER Sung-Hyun Kim
Let us keep the commandment
God cannot be compelled to love someone. In other words, we cannot say He must love someone. We on the other hand absolutely must love. Even if it is difficult or unattractive, we must do it. Jesus said, “the Father loves me because I always obey His commands”. God the Father loves Jesus, not because He is the Son of God but because He always obeys the Father’s command.
In the same way the Lord loves us when we obey His commands. The command that Jesus had received from the Father was ‘Be a sacrifice and pass on my love to mankind’. It was not an easy or attractive proposition even to the Son of God to let Himself be killed. Nevertheless, Jesus obeyed the Father’s commandment. As a result He received the love of the Father and obtained the reward: the salvation of mankind, the judgment of the Devil and the inheritance of the heavenly throne.
The commandment we received from the Lord was to ‘love one another’. The object of love mentioned here is not the neighbor in a general sense, that is, local residents, but the members who comprise the body of Christ. The reason we must love the people who form one body in Christ is not because they are lovable, but because the Lord commanded us to. Jesus gave His life to obey the Father’s commandment. What then must we do who are a mere creation?
Why is the commandment important? It is because the remuneration to those who keep the commandment and those who do not is completely different. When Israelites were trained under the law, those who did not keep the commandments of God were immediately punished. In the New Testament dispensation, those who disobey the commandment of God do not immediately receive the penalty or suffer the curse of their disobedience. This is because in New Testament times a person’s soul must pay the penalty for sin when they violate the commandment whereas in the Old Testament times they suffered the penalty in the flesh.
At first glance it may seem that those who violate God’s commandment and live to satisfy their flesh prosper. However, they who violate God’s commandments will find themselves being dragged away from God and growing hostile towards God. It is an unchangeable principle that God punishes disobedience. (Deuteronomy 7:9~11) In the New Testament Times, the punishment is merely postponed a little while. Nevertheless, you must not be lulled into believing that the penalty for sin has ceased because there has not been an immediate recompense for disobedience. God will remember all that we have done and how we have violated His commandments and He will settle all accounts with us on the last day.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them,
he is the one who loves me.
He who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I too will love him and show myself to him.
Let us keep the new commandment
The commandments of God can be categorized into the ‘general commandments’ and the ‘new commandment’. Jesus said, “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you”, the general commandments are to be formally preached by the Lord’s servants. The pastor explains the scope of God’s word to the congregation and instructs them on how to keep God’s word. He explains the word in detail as if he is breaking bread and distributing it among them.
As for the general commandments, Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him”. (John 14:21) Among the words spoken by Jesus, “Love one another” has been specifically singled out as a new commandment (John 13:34~35). John the Apostle had also emphasized the new commandment several times in his letters (1 John 2:7, 4:21, 2 John 1:5). This new commandment should be our central focus that we must obey because the Lord gave it a special emphasis. This new commandment is preeminent among the words that Jesus spoke and the determinant of the blessing or curse we receive in the present.
Jesus gave us the new commandment in order to unite the church. It is quite natural that God the Father wants His children to be united. Jesus Himself prayed to the Father, “Make them one as we are one!”. Essentially, it is so difficult for men to love each other and become one, and they fight it. This is because we were once the children of the Devil. However, we must now put away the former way of thinking when we belonged to the Devil and carry out what Jesus wants us to do instead.
Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10). The commandment that the Lord received from the Father is to love mankind, and the one we received from the Lord is to love the church. If we obey the Lord’s commandment, He will love us, and we will be full of joy, because we are loved by Jesus (John 15:11). What lack or worry is there for those whom Jesus loves?
“Love one another” has been specifically
singled out as a new commandment
Church, let us become one
We must train ourselves to love and serve the church. It is difficult for the Lord to use untrained people even though they be sanctified. You must not harbor anger against the church or the overseer. For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:20). Isaiah 66:4 says, “so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight”.
Applying this to the New Testament Church, ‘I’ in this passage correlates to the church. The church is the body of Christ. If a person abandons the church, Jesus will also abandon him, and if he loves the church, Jesus will also love him make him fruitful. If you want to receive God’s help in times of trials, then you must love the church in the mundane and ordinary times. If you want God to aid your children, you must support the church in the humdrum of ordinary times. The blessing for the man who loves the church will continue even to a thousand generations.
We must love the church in the midst of trials, adversity, and in sorrow. If you entertain thoughts of leaving the church someday, you leave yourself open to potential future temptation. We are God’s representatives. Let us foster a kind and friendly church environment by obeying Jesus’ commandment to love one another. He is the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we may in turn comfort those in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted by God (2Corintians 1:3~4). We are the instruments of comfort and encouragement. If you see a brother who has fallen into temptation around you, comfort him and allow God to knock on the door of his heart.
Let us comfort and encourage our children, our wives and our husbands. The church is a place for devotion that God has ordained, and the overseer is a servant whom God has appointed to bless the congregation. Let us thank the Lord Jesus for giving us the church and let us bear one another’s burdens when the church is experiencing adversity. Support the overseer so that he may effectively carry out his God given function of conveying the blessings of God to the church. When the church becomes united as one, then God will accomplish His work through the church.