“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”
Last week, we had the New Life Invitational Sunday. 253 new members came to church and I preached the message, "Who is Jesus Christ?" Jesus Christ is the true God who has the power of creation and the light of life that came to this earth to save people who were sinners. A walk of faith is about becoming children of God and realistically enjoying the status and authority given to children of God at the moment we accept this Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives. Through today's Scripture, Apostle John, the author of the book of John, is clearly explaining what kind of life people who have realized Jesus Christ and been saved should live. In sum, just like the title of today's sermon, we should live with the spiritual identity that we are a witness to the light. Whoever realizes the fact that Jesus is the Christ who solved all problems of life and accepts Jesus Christ, the light of life, has been qualified to live a life as a witness of Jesus Christ, the light, regardless of whatever situation and circumstance he is in. Especially, the important thing in living the life of a witness is spiritual experience. Testifying as a witness presupposes that the witness already saw and experienced something. After clearly imprinting in your hearts who Jesus Christ is and what kind of being He is to you, you can have something to testify about. Children are very pure. They state what they see and experience without any modification. A walk of faith is same. It is not difficult to live a life of a witness, even for new believers. You only have to share just the grace you received. There is Pastor Lee, Byung-Moo of To The World Church in Gwang-joo. (I made a match for his second marriage with a physician). When his current wife started to believe in Jesus Christ for the first time at our church, she was so happy and wanted to evangelize. At that time she was a novice so she felt sorry that she was short of knowledge about the Word. So she just spoke about only Jesus Christ. Surprisingly, evangelism occurred through her. I remember this. Actually, when you look at the Bible, evangelism is not done by our speaking and ability. According to 1Cor 2:4, Apostle Paul reveals, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power." To live the life of a witness to the light is not hard or difficult. I bless you to realize through today's Scripture that living the life of a witness to the light, which is doing God's great things and surely triumphing, is easy and joyous.
1. A new life standard
Verse 6 states, "There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John."
The “John” in today's text is different from the person who wrote the book of John. In the Bible, John appears frequently as John was a common name at that time, like Chulsu and Young-hee in our country. The “John” in today's Scripture, is John the Baptist. We can see the Bible is especially mentioning John as the one who was sent from God. It means he belongs to God. Not only John the Baptist, but all the children of God are people who were sent from God. We should have that identity. Ephesians 1:3-4 is revealing that God chose us before creation in Christ to give us all the holy blessings of heaven. We are the beings who were chosen by God before all things. Likewise, your value is a noble being, a VVIP who cannot be compared with anything. When you live your life, you can hurt others’ feelings or be hurt by others. Sometimes, you are deeply wounded by others and it becomes a bitter root in your life. There are many people who are deeply wounded like this at church. You should eradicate this kind of bitter root immediately or otherwise it sprouts and becomes an obstacle in your life. That is why the healing of our thoughts is very important. You should change your thinking. 2Cor 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The first step of the healing of thoughts is having the mentality of existence as “a new creation.” At this time, I hope you would bury all your old selves and old thoughts under the cross of Jesus Christ. I wish you would discard every standard of your life that you have had so far and take the pulpit message as your new life standard. On the way to work, someone was late so he was speeding. When he saw a surveillance camera for speeding he slowed down but heard the clicking of the camera. The next day, he slowed down far away from the camera but this time he also heard the clicking. Refusing to yield, he was passing it again at a low speed the next day, but still heard the camera’s clicking. A few days later, three notices came to his house and he checked them. However, they were not about his speeding but about not wearing a seatbelt. Why am I saying this? If you have the wrong standard and viewpoint, you continue doing trials and errors repeatedly. In your spiritual life, you should have the Word of God as the standard of your life, not yourself. I hope you obey and apply the Word of God even though it is different from your thoughts. Then you can start your life anew. I bless all Yewon believers in the name of the Lord that you experience the taste of a new Biblical walk of faith day by day.
2. A witness to the light
Verses 7 to 8 state, “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” John the Baptist was a person sent from God, which means that he had his own commission. His commission was to testify the light and make all the people believe Jesus Christ through his testifying. John the Baptist was sent to live as an evangelist to testify Jesus Christ who is the light of life. There is a clear reason to live the life of an evangelist. Verse 5 states, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” All humankind came to fall into the fate in which they separated from God and lived in the midst of sin and curses and had no choice but to go into eternal destruction because of the sin of Adam in Genesis chapter 3. In sum, we were trapped by darkness, which cut off all hope. God who is full of love and compassion opened the way because humankind who sinned could not escape. He sent Jesus Christ who is the light in the midst of darkness. But regretfully, the world could not understand it. Their spiritual eyes were closed and they did not know the fact that Jesus Christ is the light. The ones who are outside the grace of Jesus are the spiritual blind. If you look at 1Cor 2:14, it states, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." You can realize spiritual things only when you have opened your spiritual eyes. That was why God had John the Baptist do ministry to open their spiritual eyes and take on the commission of introducing and preaching the light. Rom 10:13-15 states, "For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’" There has to be someone who preaches the news of the true Gospel in order for others to listen, and if they listen, they will believe, and if they believe, they will call on the Lord's name. It means someone has to go and preach the Gospel. This Tuesday, we have a joint worship service between the Evangelism General Assembly and the Reformed Churches of Korea. We are assuming the posture of entering into the Reformed Churches of Korea. Why is this? It is for the sake of only the Gospel. It is to become a witness to the light to help even one more person know and realize the truth of the Gospel that we have tasted as we get rid of the framing of being called a heresy. We have the service on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at KINTEX in Ilsan. Please come and see the field of a new beginning and answers and God’s great work and surely triumphing! We also have people from Yewon Church who will participate in the choir, offering, and ushering. I bless you that the spiritual standard of John the Baptist, which was to live a life for the good of the Gospel and to hide yourself and expose only Christ, would be your standard in order to do the great things of God and surely triumph.
There is a book called, ”Exercise Deficiency Disease, Scarier than Cancer,” written by a Japanese medical doctor, Yumi Ishihara. She says that in the past people got ill because they could not eat, but now people get sick because they eat too well. People eat well, but problems occur because they do not exercise. Dr. Yumi Ishihara says cancer is one disease, but exercise deficiency disease causes all kinds of illnesses so it is more severe than cancer. The author says that 70 percent of our muscles are located in the lower extremity of the body. She emphasized health of the lower extremity of the body, and the best way to make it strong is by walking. I personally do exercise centered on walking, and it is very effective. Why am I saying this? I am not saying that you should simply restore only a healthy body, but also spiritual health, too. If you look at it spiritually, many believers only receive and do not expend. Korean churches have the exercise deficiency disease spiritually. We need to restore the field. You are trained spiritual models. You need to receive other training. When you exercise without a professional trainer, it does not work very well. God opens doors for you to live a life of a witness to the light. John Wesley said that if change and devotion in your life does not follow your confession that Jesus is the Christ, you have ‘devil faith.’ Why? In Mark 8:29, Peter said that Jesus is the Christ, and then he said words to hinder Jesus' work. So, in Mark 8:33, Jesus said, "Get behind me, Satan." Believers, from now on let us live the life of a witness to the light.