Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Obedience, then Desert?

Why do trials and hardships come to those who obey God? After all, aren't we taught that if we obey God then everything will be OK?. However, if you study many of the characters in the bible, you'll see that those that obey God are often driven to hardships. We will look at four characters and see how God has placed them in impossible hardships even after their great obedience.
  1. Jesus (God will lead you to trials after you received a great calling) - This was especially true for our Lord, Jesus. In Matthew 3:16 we see Jesus being baptized as the heavens themselves parting to shine their glory upon Jesus. Jesus received a great calling and then in chapter 4 we see Jesus being immediately led to the desert where he would spend 40 days being tempted by Satan.
  2. Job (God will lead you to trials after great Godliness) - Job was the picture of a man walking in Godliness. In Job 1:1 he is described as a man who "was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." Yet in verse 8 we begin to see Satan systematicallyy pick apart Job's life. In an instant he loses his wealth, his family and ultimately his health.
  3. Elijah (God will lead you to great trials after a great victory) - In 1Kings 18 we see Elijah having a contest between him and the prophets of Baal. They begin a contest to see who can get their god to bring down fire from the heavens. After days of dancing and praying, the prophets of Baal failed to call down fire. Then Elijah begins to pray and suddenly "the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" Yet immediately after this great victory we see Elijah running away to Beersheba fearing for his life.
  4. Paul the Apostle - In 2 Cor 12:1, Paul talks about how he received the greatest revelation a man can ever receive. Yet God struck with him a physical aliment to keep him from boasting about it. This aliment was so great that three times Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away from him.

So then why does God do this to us? The answer can be summed up in two words. To purify and to perfect.

  1. God wants to purify and perfect our vision because it can not be achieved with your own strength.
  2. God wants to purify and perfect our faith. Even a great man like Job was eventually shaken in his faith. God wanted to purify his faith beyond what we think is righteous.
  3. God wants to purify and perfect our spiritual maturity. People often mistake great spiritual moments with great emotion. Which is why after great religious experiences people are often proned to bouts of depression. However it's when we're at our lowest where it's the prefect moment to have communion with God. Use it to hear the voice of God.
  4. God wants to purify and perfect your strength. Worshipping God has nothing to with your abilities or strength. Everything we achieve in our lifetime is by the Lords Grace, and it is through him our strength is perfected.

Paul sums it up the best in 2Cor 4:16-18. We should not lose heart in our day to day struggles. Even though our bodies will wither away in time, (16)" inwardly we are being renewed day by day." Because what might appear unfair or horribly unbearable is all (17a)"light and momentary troubles" in the light of an eternal perspective. No matter what your troubles may be, there is an (17b)"eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (18)"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

--from Nakwon EM September 25th 2007 Sunday Worship Service
*To listen to this sermon in its entirety, please contact James Kim

Did anyone get past page 30?


little jane said...

page 30 of what?? o_O

(or is that for the "working" small group?)

Anonymous said...

Jenny did...