Taking after one’s god
“Following God’s Word” Sermon Series 02
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
(2 Peter 1:2-4)
Our faith life is also called spiritual life. The word spirit means that it is an everlasting being. Everything in this world is fading away but there are beings which exist eternally. In most cases, those beings cannot be seen with our eyes and thus people think they do not exist. However, they do exist. Just as the air can’t be seen yet is essential to our existence, there are beings which are eternal and undeniable. They are called spirit.
And similarly, there is the word god, which refers to spirits that have a personality. Hence even though people may not attend church, when they do ancestral rites, they write on the ‘jibang’ (memorial paper) “學生府君神位” which means a god with a personality. In this world, there are many spiritual beings with a personality, namely gods. Though they are invisible to the eye, they are existential and influence humans very closely. Even if a person says he wants to have nothing to do with gods, that is actually not possible. When shamans (spiritists) become possessed, it is not because they wanted to be. Because they get sick and are afraid of dying, they have no choice but to accept being possessed. Those gods unilaterally approach a person to live with him or her. They come unilaterally and say, “I want to use you!” It’ll be great if the person can drive them out but since they can’t, they just surrender and live with those gods.
But even that depends on what god it is. There are various types of gods. They all have different personalities too. Therefore, it is important that you are close to a god that has a good nature, has many possessions, is happy and virtuous. And that is the god you can meet at church. Today is Christmas. But which of the many gods in this world sacrifices himself to bring good to humans? Yet the god I am trying to introduce you to is such a god who sacrificed himself in order to deliver man that was sunk in despair. And why did He do that? That is His nature. Every god has a different personality.
We start to take after whichever god we become closely acquainted with. We take after their personality and even walk in a path of life similar to theirs. If that god was cursed and ended up somewhere horrible, then the person who was close to that god may find himself in the same position. So which god we become close to is a very critical matter. Depending on which god we become familiar with, we could even develop a sickness. When a person drinks heavily, people might say, “What has gotten into you?” Why do you think unbelievers say that? They do sense something to some degree. The reason a person drinks alcohol heavily is because of the works of an alcoholic demon. The gods (spirits) enter a person that has similarities to themselves. And makes their conditions worse. So an alcoholic demon will go into a person who likes drinking and thus cause them to drink more. An adulterous demon goes into a person who is adulterous to make them even more adulterous.
However our God, the God whom we are meeting at church, what is He like? He can be described in many ways. In the Scripture we read today, it says, “Him (God) who called us by glory and virtue”. He is a God full of glory. Glory refers to all the great things that this God possesses. And that cannot be expressed in one word. Glory is the whole summation of all that which is wonderful and good.
Not only did He call us by His glory, it also says that He called us by His virtue. Virtue! Virtue is wanting to share if there is anything good. That is what our God is like. That which is good that He possesses, meaning life. This life is everlasting life. Everlasting life. Then there is joy, and blessings, happiness and an abundance of everything. He wishes to share all these things with us. His is full of virtue. He constantly wants to pour out what He has. On whom? Not only to those that know Him but more people, even to those that don’t know Him. He even wants to share them to the people that want to do evil to Him. This is the nature of our God. Whenever I have something good, the first to come to mind is my family. Do you think of your father first or your children? It rightly should be our fathers but since I became a parent myself, it’s actually my children that come to mind first. And then my father. And after that, the people around me. But that’s it. I don’t really have any desire to share it to people that hate me. But this God wants to share everything good which He has to those that don’t even like Him. He wants them to share in His happiness.
This is the nature of our God. Hence people like us came to church and met this God, received those good things from this God, and have come to love this God. Therefore, we do not worship this God out of fear. We have received so much from this God and love Him so much that we worship Him like so. For people that don’t know Him yet, it seems so difficult to come to every Lord’s Day and worship Him. However, once you start having fellowship with Him, you will realize that there is so much to receive from Him. Therefore, you will experience that fellowshipping with Him and worshipping Him is certainly not a difficulty but the greatest joy that this world can never give us.
While you are living in this world, don’t get acquainted with just any god but with that God who gave up His Son to save us the sinners. Many people die and others don’t know where their souls are scattered about. Yet we would all resurrect, in the likeness of Jesus who resurrected and went up to heaven.
As I said, our God can be expressed in various ways but we can also say, “God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead!” Two thousand years ago, Jesus died but someone brought Him to life. A certain invisible being raised Him to life and that is the God whom we believe now. If we have this faith, then when the time comes, He will also raise us from the dead and take us to be with Him where He is.
Not only is He the god of virtue; He is also the god of power. Although it has been thousands of years, He is still doing His work and keeping His promise. The gods of this world can’t keep their promises. They don’t have the power to do that. Yet our God is so different from them. He is full of mercy. I hope you will also meet this God, and take Him to be your companion who is always with you, your co-worker, and your protector who is always there to protect you.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center