날짜: 2018년 8월 5일
제목: 이제는 너희가 믿느냐?
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20180805 Sunday Worship Sermon
"Do you now believe?"
John 16: 5-7, 28-33
Today, I would like to talk about our faith.
We often say, "Good faith" or “strong faith.”
Every Christian wants to have good and strong faith.
So what is good faith, and what is strong faith?
It is a very basic question, but it's a difficult question to answer.
I think we can find the answer from the Scripture that we read today.
Today's Scripture is the last part of the farewell message that Jesus gives to his disciples.
In this farewell message Jesus foretells of his death.
But Jesus’s attitude to that death is special.
We cannot feel any fear or regret from Jesus.
We feel no emotion at all from Jesus as he shares about his death.
In verse 5 Jesus says,
"I am now going to the one who sent me ..."
In verse 28 Jesus says,
“again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father."
Also, Jesus says that his death will be a blessing to his disciples.
In verse 7 he says, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away”
During this conversation, what were the disciples’ response?
How were they reacting?
They were afraid now once they found out that Jesus will leave.
“Now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?”
The fact that no one asked Jesus where he was going means they felt fear.
They wanted to avoid that reality.
They were in a sorrow, hoping that it would not happen.
There is a clear contrast between the calmness of Jesus who speaks before his death and the disciples who are afraid of Jesus’ death.
Following passage, Jesus mentions more about what will happen in the future, using clearer expressions to get rid of the disciples' fear.
Then, the disciples replied out of fear and sorrow.
Let’s look at verse 30,
“Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”
The disciples' expressions of these words would have been elation.
What does Jesus respond to these excited disciples?
Look at verse 31.
"Do you now believe?” he asked.
If you paraphrase this question in the light of Jesus' following words, it is this, "Do you really believe?"
The disciples said, "I believe now," but Jesus does not acknowledge the faith.
Listen to what Jesus says next.
“The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone..." (v. 32)
This is what Jesus wanted to say.
"Now you believe? But you do not know yourself. Still far from believing. Faith can only be seen if it is real or fake in crisis. Later in a moment of crisis, you will be scattered all over while leaving me alone. Cannot with that kind of belief.”
Then, in verse 33, Jesus adds “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
Here, "world" refers to "sin and temptation of the world."
Jesus overcame all temptation and sin, and went to the end of the road to the end with true faith.
So Jesus won the world.
Theologian C.S. Lewis said this.
"Until we stand at the crossroads of life and death, we do not know if our faith is real or fake ...”
Then he takes an example of a rope.
"Let's have a rope in my hand. I want to tie something with that rope. In this case, I judge the ropes roughly and tie things together. But let’s suppose I take the rope and come down from the ten story building. If so, I will take a closer look because I have to rely on that rope for life. I will not put on the rope unless I can be absolutely sure that the rope is strong enough”
The disciples were excited to be able to believe, but when Jesus saw it, the faith was poor and weak.
The faith was a faith that would disappear when it was built on the cross of life and death.
We should not have that belief.
Perhaps, most of us here will confess, "Lord, I believe in you."
If so, please ask yourself again this time.
"Do I really believe?"
You will probably guess the reason for this question.
Saying "Lord, Lord!" only with our lips is not enough.
What is really important is to live as you believe.
Many Christians are questioned.
"Do you have enough faith to be saved even if you die right now? Is there certainty of salvation?"
This is an important question.
It is a very important faith to believe that by the grace of Jesus Christ, I am now a child of God, and that even if I die right now, I will enter the kingdom of God.
But if the faith is not strong enough to overcome all the trials, sufferings and even deaths that will come upon your life, there is no use of crying out loudly, "Lord, Lord, I believe!"
It is important to believe that I am now accepted as a child of God but what is more important is that the faith that is enough to survive and pass through all the hardships and sufferings that we must be experienced in the journey of our lives.
When we confess, "Lord, I believe!” how many of us will be able to be recognized by the Lord? Be told, "Yes, you truly do believe me! Your faith is the faith to overcome any temptation and trials”.
I am not taking lightly on your faith.
I am telling the truth that it is so difficult to reach such a belief.
If we were questioned, “Do you really believe in defeating the world?", and someone who would answered "Yes, I really have that belief,” then he may be a person without a hope.
There is hope for those who answer,
"No. Lord, this faith cannot overcome the temptation of sin. / With this faith I cannot stand firm in the trials and hardships that I will face in the world. / I cannot live holy with this faith. / So please have mercy on me. Lord, give me a greater faith."
This humble recognition of our own weaknesses and seeking God's help is the way to unwavering faith.
Because true faith is not what we strive for by ourselves, but what God gives us as gifts.
God wants to give this gift of true faith to everyone.
The problem is that we are on the back of God and are avoiding His hands.
God wants to give a gift of faith to all of us, but we keep avoiding the gift.
Why do people avoid the gift of good faith?
That's because it does not look good.
It is because we think that it may become very uncomfortable when we accept the gift.
We think we may have to give up what we own and enjoy currently because of that gift.
The way of success taught in this world seems to be better than the way of faith shown through by Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we are avoiding it.
Faith is a spiritual journey that lasts a lifetime, but some Christians think the faith is like buying a paradise ticket.
So they become satisfied with some extent belief and set their own standards as "moderate" and end at that.
Why are people stopping at a certain level even though they say they believe?
It is because they want to gain the power of faith and to walk the path of success with that power.
It is because they want to win the competition with that power, while they are acting just like people who do not believe and even more selfish.
Such people like to read verse 33, “I have conquered the world!”
They will be excited with this verse.
Because it sounds like "if you believe in Jesus, you can do anything through that faith"
But please do not misunderstand.
The statement, "I have conquered the world" does not mean that you succeeded in the world, but means "it has not been shaken in following God's will despite all temptations and persecutions."
Faith that overcome the world is not defeating all diseases, but faith in God is not shaken despite the suffering of the disease.
Faith that overcame the world is not the ability to succeed even through the wrong way, but the ability to keep honest, despite the desire for success.
Faith that overcome the world is not the ability to work to get more benefit than others, but the ability to make concessions for the benefit of others.
Faith that overcome the world is not the ability to earn a lot of money, but the ability to do good things.
Do you think this faith looks really good?
A truly strong faith is to change our way of thinking and acting in this way.
So, many people have faith and want to stop at a certain level.
By attending church once a week, by registering a name in the church, by getting peace of mind when it is needed occasionally, by getting help when you are in a difficult situation, and just in case you suddenly die, thinking this might be the safest way to go to heaven and stop at that.
Brothers and sisters, we need to think about how amazing the gift of faith God has prepared for us.
That faith makes us realize true love.
That faith corrects our distorted minds.
The faith makes us know where and how this world is wrong and leads us to live true in the world.
That faith allows us to see the eternal kingdom of God beyond this world.
Brothers and sisters, the gift of faith that God has prepared for us through Jesus is such a great thing.
The true success of life depends on this.
Our eternity is in there.
So Jesus teaches us to prepare to sacrifice everything to get this faith.
We know the two parables Jesus taught.
A farmer who worked in another man's field finds a treasure that someone hid a long time ago in the field, and sells all his property to buy the field.
In another parable, a jeweler found a very expensive pearl and sold all of his property to buy it.
The point that these two parables are saying is that faith is so important.
This belief is as important as all things.
The problem is that in this faith there are all kinds of hardships to endure in this world.
Even with faith, we still have to endure the disease and failure.
There is a loss that we have to bear because we believe, and there is loneliness we have to suffer because we believe.
It must be a faith that will survive through all of it and not change.
That's not all.
In fact, faith shakes more easily when it is going well than when it is difficult.
When everything is going well, becoming rich, famous, and empowered, faith is in crisis.
It must be a faith that can withstand all the temptations.
Brothers and sisters,
I hope you do not be a shrewd believer in the face of a small crisis.
I hope you do not be exposed to the bottom of humanity in front of a small affliction.
I hope you do not act shamefully in front of small profits.
And I hope you do not become arrogant if you are in good condition.
In this sense, we will always have to ask ourselves.
"Am I a true believer?"
"Can my faith overcome any difficulty?"
"Is my faith so that it cannot be shaken before any threat?"
"Is my faith so that it can withstand the temptations of material and power?"
"Will I still be able to maintain a constant belief after experiencing all the difficulties in life?"
We should keep asking ourselves these questions.
There is only the Lord who will lead us to this faith.
With the help of the Lord, and with the mercy of the Lord, I pray in the name of the Lord that we will come unto the faith that cannot be changed by any temptation, unshaken by any suffering. Amen