Sunday Sermon 5/21/2023

Pastor: Dong Hun Shin

05/21/2023         Mission of the Church      (Acts 1:1-11)

Today,I would like us to reflect on the mission that the Lord has given to all churches. Passion and vision for missions are the commands that the Lord has given us. He wants us to fulfill His mission.                                                                                            As in the prayer of the prophet Habakkuk (3:2, ESV), “O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it.” I hope that we can follow the journey of faith given to us, dreaming of the revival.

Someone once said, “The gift given to someone without humility is a curse, and the growth of a church without a mission is a disaster.” In the Book of Revelation, there are stories about the seven churches of Asia: The churches that heard words of praise, the churches that received words of praise and judgment, and the churches that heard words of judgment. So why did the church, the body of Christ, have to hear words of judgment? Because the church could not fulfill His mission as the body of Christ.

What kind of church does God rejoice in? It’s the church that receives the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, what kind of church do you dream of? In the first part of Acts 1, the disciples met the risen Lord. And for 40 days, they believed in all the words of the Lord as they walked with Him. Then the disciples asked this question (1:6-7), “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” In other words, they were asking if the world was going to become livable to them. Jesus then replied, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

We must understand the words that help us realize how to live as His people before waiting for that time. If the disciples needed to know when that time was going to be, wouldn't Jesus have told them first? What we should be concerned about more than that time is how we should live as His disciples given the mission to be witnesses to the world. As Christians, we need to know that it’s not the time. What's more important is how we should live with what faith and mission for God’s Kingdom. So, how can we fulfill that mission? Only when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we can handle it. Even if we don't have everything or are insufficient, we can do it with the Holy Spirit.

So, how can the Holy Spirit come upon us? In verse 13, the disciples gathered together. What’s the reason for gathering? Jesus said in Acts 1:4-5, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” They believed in this word promised by the ascended Lord and gathered to wait for the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:14 then says, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” The Holy Spirit came upon them during prayer.                  We must believe in His words that the Lord has promised and pray faithfully with all our heart towards Him. At that time, there will be the most space for the Holy Spirit to happen. Today, I hope the Holy Spirit will come among us. Please start our lives with prayer so that the Holy Spirit can dwell in us.

 I have seen on TV scenes where a mountain of rock is blown up with dynamite planted through a hole in the rock. However, no matter how powerful the dynamite is, the rock won't break if it bursts on the surface of the rock. It just makes a loud noise. Our faith is the same. The power of the Holy Spirit come upon us during prayer. Prayer is a time to make a hole in the rock-solid heart of our inner selves. Therefore, we must pray for the Lord to deeply plant Himself within us. I hope that the Holy Spirit will come among us at this time today.

Lastly, we receive His power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. That power is not my strength and ability. It’s the power given in the name of Jesus Christ. In Acts 3, there is a story about a beggar who was sitting at the temple gate called Beautiful. When Peter and John were entering the temple, a beggar asked them for money. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” At that moment, the beggar was healed, and he stood up, jumping and praising God. This miracle happened because of the name of Jesus Christ.

It’s not easy to help people who are in painful situations like the beggar, but in the name of Jesus Christ, we can do something that we cannot do by ourselves. This power is revealed when we testify in the name of Jesus Christ. The power of the church comes from Jesus Christ, and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can establish a church that pleases God.

What is the greatest blessing among blessings? It is to expect and believe in what God will do for us. We are here because someone delivered the gospel to us.                                                                                                                                                There is a term called “glocal” which is a combination of "global" and "local". The church vision and mission should be global, but the testimony and service of the gospel must begin locally. Our mission is to preach the gospel to the world. But before we testify to the gospel, we must first become people who have been born again in the gospel. The beginning of change is to draw closer to God and to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We should also shed tears together while looking at the vision of the church.      If your heart burns with something, it is the vision that God has given you. Our mission is to testify the name of Jesus Christ and to have an influence on this local community. When we unite our strengths, we can handle even greater tasks than what we can accomplish alone. This is what a church that establishes the kingdom of God looks like.

Some may say, "I can't even keep my own faith, so how can I testify to others or serve them? We are struggling ourselves, so who can we help?" But we can do it. It's not because we're perfect, but because we can do it together in the name of Jesus. That's why we have a community of faith to work together. When we work together, the Lord gives us the ability to handle it and blesses us. Do you know that Jesus was not only raised from the dead, but He refused to walk into His resurrection alone? Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I hope that you can broaden the scope of your mission and prayers. When we go beyond the fence within ourselves, we can become powerful Christians. The size of our mission and vision can renew us, because the Holy Spirit is with us and gives us power. Let us become His faith community that follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit and becomes one that pleases God. Let us testify to the name of Jesus Christ and become an influential church in our community and in our world. Amen

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