Synopsis: We want to connect to God. Abiding in God is the key to receive peace, wisdom, and power. Connecting to God properly can allow us to access the full range of blessings and functions available to us.
Sermon Date: January 15th, 2023
Selected Scripture: John 15:1-17
Pastor John Kim, Lakeridge Lutheran Church
May the peace and wisdom of God and his power always spring from your souls! Amen.
Peace, wisdom, and power that I mentioned to you just before, all these things come from our heavenly Father to us. We want to be attached to God. Because all grace and love are supplied to us from Him. The Holy Spirit wants us to receive and enjoy the heavenly Father’s power and blessings even more. The desire for our lives to be enriched is also our Heavenly Father’s will and plan for us. In Jeremiah 29:11, God said, “I plan for prosperity (peace) and not for harm, to give to you a future and a hope.” God makes no mistakes. God is not powerless. He is the one who will surely accomplish what he plans. God plans peace in our lives. God can make the blessings in our lives multiplied thirty times, sixty times, and even one hundred times. He will make us bear fruit.
The secret to a life where you can enjoy blessings is to abide in God. Jesus speaks through John 15, “Remain in me”. Just for fun, can you guess how many times the verb “to remain” show up in John 15? The right answer is eleven times. Yes, it comes out quite a lot. In this context of the conversation, it might be a little off-topic to ask this question, yet I will do it: “If you were to die today, what would you say to your beloved family and friends?
Wouldn’t you say something super important that they have to know? When you prepare a will, you may want to let them give a direction on how to divide your personal and real estate. And you could share significant wisdom with them for their happiness and successful lives on your last day. Maybe, when you are in the last moment of your life, you wouldn’t emphasize the schedule of your county garbage truck schedule. For example, you won’t say this, “My son, you should place the bins on the curb on Wednesday evening. Then, the next day, the garbage truck will empty your bins.” It is important to let them know but it is not necessary to remind your children while you are dying.
Going back to the Bible, John 15, which we read today, is like a will or request that Jesus wanted to leave to his disciples before he died. He will end his life on the cross, but his ministry will continue through his disciples. His disciples were the fruit of Jesus. He believed that his disciples would continue the ministry of God well. Along with that hope, Jesus urged them; “My beloved disciples! Remain in me even after I died”.
Jesus asked them to do so because ability and wisdom will be given to them through that connection between Jesus and His disciples. And, in a different sense, Jesus would always be with them, even though it might be in a different form, not a physical form. Jesus’ mission won’t end with his death. Instead, His death will be the beginning of a new ministry through His disciples. Jesus’ resurrection will not be a time of departure from this earth, but it will be a turning point, coming back again as the Holy Spirit.
In terms of connection, I have a story that I want to share with you. Our church has a printer, Samsung X-4300. Its size is quite large, too big. Yet, at a glance, you will recognize that this is an old machine. Frankly, I underestimated the printer machine like this: “It is too big yet doesn’t offer fascinating features. It is just old.” Well, somebody told me, “Pr. Scott did print out wirelessly.” It sounds like a legend. Who knows if it is a true story or not? Long story short, the printer has the ability to print wirelessly. The issue was my lack of knowledge of a skill how to connect my church laptop and the church printer. My church computer operating system is the latest version which is Windows 11. And this printer knows how to connect with Windows 7,8,9 and 10 automatically, but not with 11. If you want to connect the church printer to Windows 11, then you would need to do it manually. With the help of Pastor Paul at Seattle Covenant Community Church and our church member Allan, the miracle happened. Now, I can print it out wirelessly from my church office. Furthermore, on top of that, the printer has another fantastic function. I can print it out from home though it will request another advanced setting. In addition, if I want to enjoy more features of the church printer, I will need to know how to connect my laptop to the church printer in an advanced church network setting. Then, I can reactivate the idle functions of the printer. Likewise, God would expect us to connect with Jesus properly. God wants us to remain in Jesus. God expects us to remain in God’s love.
As a case in point, I would like to share with you one of the stories I heard from Jackie Whitlock. She lived in a retirement center. I visited there last Wednesday, and we had an enjoyable conversation. During the chat, she happened to have a chance to tell me about an accident at a place where she lived before. The place was also a retirement center. There, a resident’s daughter suddenly hugged Jackie, and the two of them lost balance and then fell. The daughter suffered from alcoholism, and she was drunk that day, too. At the accident, Jackie was very shocked, and she got a significant injury. Since then, she had to move into another retirement center. After she moved, she couldn’t still forgive the daughter. Yet one day, the Word of God moved Jackie’s heart to forgive the daughter. Jackie sincerely forgave the daughter and her family, too. Then the peace of God captured her heart. Since then, Jackie has been living a peaceful and grateful life.
In John 15:3, Jesus said to His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” Would it have been so easy for Jackie to forgive the daughter? Would the Spirit of God have helped Jackie easily to obey the commandments of Jesus? Was it really easy for her? I am not sure what kind of battle she had in her mind until she sincerely followed the word of God. It was hard to know because when she told me about her experience of forgiving, she was so relaxed and peaceful. I don’t know what kind of hardship she had as she wish to follow the path of Jesus, yet it is crystal clear that she has been remained in Jesus. And obviously, I see her fruit as a result of her obedience.
Absolutely, the Holy Spirit empowers us to follow God’s Word. When we overcome all temptation and adversity, the process may seem easy when we look back on the past. But sometimes when we are in the middle of a process to follow God’s Word, it just seems impossible to follow Jesus’ path. To live like a disciple of Jesus may not be easy but let us be constantly attached to Christ. Who knows what will happen? He is the vine, and we are the branches. Let us not underestimate ourselves who belong to God. Surprise~ More fascinating and greater than we expected God’s ability will appear through us.
Going back to the story of the church print, I truly enjoy using it. The printer makes me surprised. Almost every moment while I am using it, I learn new functions of the printer. Ok, how about us and our church? Let us continue to explore what kind of hidden functions we would have in God. Let us stay in God. He will reveal and reactivate our idle features.
Does your life feel boring? Do you feel like you are living day by day without meaning? Do you feel like you’re just old (or too young) and have no fantastic abilities or talents? Let me put it this way. You are connecting with God. He is still talking to you. Staying on the line. God doesn’t finish His words yet.
In the name of God, I bless that you may recognize and find your hidden incredible potential and new ability, talents, and skills in God.
Leave a Reply