Although Jesus taught His own disciples, Paul’s letters unexpectedly take up a large portion of the New Testament. This means the Lord placed great importance on Paul’s ministry, and this is because his ministry accorded with the Lord’s will. Since the Lord’s disciples witnessed His resurrection and ascension, they could have gone out to the world in great passion. So the Lord said, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the Holy Spirit.” Yet it was Paul who went out and measured up to the Lord’s expectations.
If a farmer does not plant seeds in the field, his farming cannot succeed – even if he has the best seeds at hand. It is a delusion to expect the seeds to somehow go to the fields and take root. The sad reality was that countless people were dying without knowing the truth. So Paul thought the Gospel should be delivered to a wider area, to more people, and faster. But Paul faced a grave problem as he struggled to do this. He witnessed that the Gospel changed while it was being preached.
We must maintain the first taste of that Gospel which began in Jerusalem. Does the Gospel change according to the personal vessel who preaches it? If the Gospel changes, God’s kingdom becomes burdened to the same extent as when the Gospel is not preached. If you received something good, you have to introduce it to more people – just as it is – so they can enjoy it too. But if each messenger gradually adds his own color and transforms it, and this accumulates, can people decades or centuries from now enjoy the same good that we did? Paul knew he was not exempt from such concerns. He believed the Gospel he preached should not be different from what began at Jerusalem. This was because He could not make his own efforts to be in vain.
While the Gospel is preached to wider regions and more people – what must we do to prevent it from changing? This is why Paul went to Jerusalem and presented to the disciples the Gospel that he preached (Gal 2:1-2). After Paul completed his missionary journeys, he always returned to Jerusalem and gave a report of his ministry. If Paul conflicted with other evangelists on site concerning the understanding of God’s word, he reported it to the Jerusalem church and followed the decisions made there. Paul not only preached the Gospel in various places, but he taught those who accepted the Gospel to remember the Jerusalem church. And Paul delivered their devoted offerings to the Jerusalem church. Paul was sure that the Jerusalem church – the birthplace of the Gospel – needed to be strong so churches around the world could grow healthy.
After Jesus Christ ascended, the Christian Church went through the harsh storms of history and endured until today. About five hundred years after the Reformation, God planted the seed of ‘Berea’, and chose the person and church who could handle it. Now this seed is taking stronger root. Sungrak Church began and continued the Berea Movement, and has brought blessings to all people under God’s providence.
Berean churches throughout the world must continually receive the sap provided by Sungrak Church so they do not forget the original taste of the Berea Movement. This was the method God showed through Paul’s ministry. Not only should they learn the systematic message called “The Picture of God’s Will”, but they should also learn about the lives of the Sungrak people, who faithfully obeyed God and humbly served people’s souls. They must learn the secret of how Sungrak Church pursued the best spiritual life while not being alienated from the world and growing until the present. And now, while we firmly take root in the truth revealed through Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, we should closely consider and learn how to navigate the high waves of the 21st century.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center