<John 11:17- 44>
In the bible, there are a lot stories about Jesus, every time we approach the word “Jesus heals the lame, heals the blind.” Is it true? This could really happen! We think this was especially in John 11. Lazarus had been dead four days and he was rotten and stank but Jesus says “Lazarus come out” and he got out and started coming forward. In the bible that could happen, but in our time I have never seen anyone dead come forth. As I lived in the Lord until now, Jesus can do things we can do and He can also do what we can’t do; we see it in the bible and have experienced it too. What I see is that he is leading my life and I am so thankful. I said this several times before but, when I was in Apgokdong, I was in very much difficulty. But it gave me much strength in my spiritual life.
In 1968, after I discharged from the army and preaching the gospel in Gimcheon, there was no one that was helping me and I was only relying on God. And even now when I think about that time, there is no way I can’t believe in the works of God. In Gimcheon, there is town called Hwanggeum and I rented a place. But the owner was gambling and he made so much debt that the house went over to the bank, and he run away. He lived across the street from us and the town people were mumbling, saying that he ran away. Few days later, the Gimcheon branch bank director came to me and asked me about that person and he said this house belongs to the bank, you must leave it. It was the first time that I’ve met such problem that I didn’t know what to do about it. “Lord, how can you make us go through something like this?” I couldn’t understand it. I had to leave but I had nowhere to go. I had tried to look for that man that had taken the deposit too. I felt pressured by the bank director and I was getting on the bus, and was about to leave and then the director had come, and I said “How are you? I am sorry but I don’t have much to say to you, bank director.” I said I was going to Daegu, and then he came with me, and he got on the bus with me to Daegu. He was telling me how it was difficult at the bank. While I was listening, the thought the Lord had given me was, “Hey, this problem, can you solve it by yourself?” “No lord, I can’t.” “Then who do you have to ask?” “The Lord must do it.” “Did you talk about me?” “I didn’t, I didn’t even show that I believed in God.”
My faith was wrong and I listened to my heart, “Branch director, I am sorry but am not ready to leave the house. Can you wait until my owner replaces me?” “Where is he? Is he in Seoul?” “No, He is not there, but He is in heaven.” “What are you talking about?” “I believe in Jesus, and He is my owner, He is my master. I pray to Him and He lives in heaven. Please wait a little until He solves this problem.” And the branch director says, “Mr. Park, I don’t believe in Jesus. But when I listen to you, I think you are very sincere. Can you pray a little harder so that this problem can be solved a little quicker?” And then he said he will get off, and got off the bus. So in the name of the Lord, I did talk about this. Now all I had to do is to put it in the hand of God and I was in so much peace.
As I was praying to God, I thought, “Don’t just pray, go out and look for a place.” So I ate breakfast and went outside. There was a second story building and it was so nice. “The building is so nice.” At that time, rent was for 200$, and it was so expensive to us at that time. Because of that problem, as well as a lot of events going on in that summer, whenever I had time I prayed early in the morning. We had a deck. It was not tall enough for us to stand, so I would get on my knees and pray. And the heart that I heard was, “What about the house you saw last time?” “Of course it’s great, it’s really nice. That’s probably was cheap and the place location was nice. But it’s probably gone by now.” After breakfast, I saw that the house was not sold yet. “Hey, I think it’s the Lord trying to get this place to us. I went inside and there were only children so I asked them, “Hey, where are the adults?” They said they were out so I asked, “Can you tell them that I came to look at the second floor house?”
I didn’t have special faith, but I had the heart that God was leading me in faith. I am not a person of faith but God causes problems and I rely on Him. When this happened, I didn’t have any sense but I had a heart that God will give us a place on the second floor and I said to the landlord, “I am a servant of God. I came to this town to preach the gospel but a citizen of this place has caused me trouble at the place I am renting now. The person has taken my money and left and I need to move. And I prayed for this place because it’s nice. I have a heart that you will give me this place. I don’t have any money, but please give me this place.” I think now I wouldn’t be able to do that, but then, I had this heart that God will give it to me even though I didn’t have money. The owner couldn’t open his eyes for a while and he closed his eyes and was thinking. Later he opened his eyes and said he was elder Kang Shin-min. In my life time, there are people I am very thankful to in my heart, after Jesus. But for a long time, I have been so thankful to this person. When he was sure he started to speak. “What is he trying to say?” I was very nervous. He said, “I am an elder of Jijwa church” Those were his first words. What he said next was, “God had given me this building by the highway and the servant of God wants to use it. How can I block him? Please use it.” I felt like I was dreaming since then and nothing like that had happened before. I saw how God is leading us one by one. I had the assurance that God will give that place to us.
In 1962, after receiving salvation, I was in Jangpali and when I was difficult there, I relied on God. Until now I didn’t open my hands to anyone and ask people for what I needed. Whenever I needed something, God always helped me and protected me. So I didn’t prepare anything for myself. One time I was driving a car but I didn’t have any money. A brother next to me said, “How can you drive this car without any money?” “Hey! All you need is gas, what money do you need.” “Hey what if you happen to get into an accident.” “Brothers because you don’t know. Hey if you drive a car without any money you’re going to an experience that you will never forget. Rather than my father of my flesh, there is my father God. I leave with the lord for fifty five years. Because I was foolish I leave thinking differently with the lord and I thought that was okay and also members of church could come and go when I said there is ministers at church and I said somehow we want to have a vacation bible school and we need a place, we need venue, and he was so happy to let us use her place. And we prepared everything and was for three days before. He said to me I was suddenly when did I say that I will give to you and I don’t know what to do minister. Hey, you said you said you will let to use the place. Yeah I did, I had the will to do it but I never said that you use the place and elder came up. And I saw the elder but other ministers didn’t see him. And the other elder said “minister” he has more power than minister. Why are you talking back? He says, is it possible not to use the place? And he says “It’s possible it’s possible.” I was about to cry, he felt like he is like brother.
As husband and wife live together, there many things that they have to talk about. “Do you to going to fridge first or to washing machine first? Do you want to go to husband mother house first or to your mom house first?” When there is difference in thoughts, even if you have everything, if your hearts is not matching, even your loving wife or loving husband you will feel uncomfortable with each other. Jesus, like us, at the time in bible Jesus had body but here now we can’t touch him but we can meet his heart through Holy Spirit. The important thing is when we meet the heart of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, 10 of 10 and 100 of 100, God’s thoughts is different from our thoughts. And if I trust myself, I will follow my thoughts and if I believe Jesus, I will follow Jesus. But the ways of Jesus doesn’t fit with us. That’s the biggest problem. And the Lord says my thoughts are different from my thoughts and my ways are different from your ways. Our thoughts are different from the ways of God. If you want to buy washing machine first or fridge first is not really a matter, but if you have different opinion and you are going to be fighting. Our thoughts are different from the Lord. The funny thing about the bible is, regardless of who you are who is here, there is no one has the same thought as the Lord. But God does the work of pulling your heart towards his heart and through the bible. For example, the important words in the Bible is it starts in Genesis. Humans fall into sins and God chooses will to save His people. And according to the promise, Jesus dies on the cross and saves us from our sins. Before Jesus takes his last breath, he says “It is finished.” It means he came to save us from our sins, so he took our sins and our sins have all been washed away. He came to save us and that was finished. The bible says this, but our hearts think that they have committed sin they will always commit sin. A lot of people have something that bothers their conscience for a long time.
There was one lady who came to me whom I didn’t know and she was almost sixty. She was crying and telling me, “Pastor, I am a mid-wife and I have killed many babies even up to a nine month old baby.” And what she was saying was, “I have committed so much sin. Maybe if my sins were small it could have been washed away…” eventually she was saying her sins were so great, “my sins can’t be washed away, my sins are so great!” But I couldn’t say that. When I was young, I saw in the newspaper about Jewish people being killed and as they died they would say “Jesus! Jesus!” as their last words. As our hearts conflict with the Lord, God does the work of leading our hearts towards Him.
This morning as we read in John 11 about Lazarus, after he died, Jesus came to Bethany. At first, he met Martha and he met Mary. If you look at the conversation between Jesus and Martha, although Lazarus is dead inside the heart of Jesus he is sleeping and is going to wake him up. He is going to save him and Jesus can save him. Although Lazarus is the tomb for four days and he stinks, in the heart of Jesus Lazarus is alive. “He is going to live. Your brother will live. Right now he is sleeping and he will get up.” But the important thing is, in the heart of Martha, “My brother is dead and he is stinking and he is stinks. He cannot live.” That is her heart, so there is relationship that is always conflicting. Until now, regardless of what problem you have, whether it is illness, family problems or debt — whatever problem it is, how we look at the problem and how Jesus looks at it is different. But it’s not a problem if you believe that Jesus is almighty.
Before, when I went to the Presbyterian church, the pastor would always say that Almighty God knows everything and He has the power to do anything. Wherever we are, He is always there and He is our father God. We are powerless, we can’t do it, but God can do whatever it is. That’s what almighty means. “Our Almighty God who is everywhere!” That was how he always started his prayer. If the God that we believe in is truly almighty and able to solve all of our problems then He is almighty. When I see it, I cannot solve that problem, but the Lord can solve that problem and believing in that. Let’s look at the real situation.
Abraham was old, 99 years old but one day, God said to Abraham, “Don’t call your wife Sarai but Sarah and I will bless her and give her a son.” But Abraham was 99 and Sarah was 89 years old and she could not have children anymore. Although Abraham knew she cannot have a child because her time is over, if the Lord does it, then he can have a child when the Lord says, “Sarah your wife will have a child.” Abraham should have replied saying, “Oh, is that so? Thank you!” But instead, he thought right now at human level. “My wife is too old. How can she have a child?” The words that came out of Abraham were about how a man who is 100 years old can get a child. He couldn’t receive those word in faith and he says that couldn’t happen. The fun thing is, that how the story goes on. In the perspective of Abraham, what he says is right. But the more he gets closer to God, his thought says it would be impossible for him to have a son changes. “Oh, if God says so, I will have a son.” His heart moves to that and opens.
What I want to say to you this morning is, loving brothers and sisters in Gangnam church, all of us are human. But the work God wants to do inside of you is what we see as impossible. He wants us to do those things which seem impossible. Just like if I get a new car, I would like to take people in my car and try out the car. Just like I want to give you a ride, God want us to use His power inside of us, regardless of who you are. These occur through faith. Sarah is old, she can’t have a child, and it seems impossible in our eyes but if the Lord is with us and working, whether she is a grandma or whatever, God says that she will have a child and He leads us in faith. The important thing here is, for God to work in Abraham, their hearts should become one first. If you read the bible, that is how the whole bible is written.
Jesus, as he heard that Lazarus was ill, he had the plan to save him. But there was Mary and Martha whose hearts were conflicting. Jesus was supposed to come and raise him up, but inside their hearts, they couldn’t believe that their brother will live. Their hearts must be connected first in order for Jesus to work. “Your brother will live,” Jesus says. But they think, “You have saved him before he died. Now you see he stinks and he is rotten. Before Jesus brings back Lazarus, he puts faith into Martha and Mary. “Hey, even though it seems that he may not live but if God says so then he will live; your brother will live.” He raises the dead Lazarus in their hearts, and after that, Jesus goes to the tomb to raise Lazarus from the dead. He was not only rotten and stinking.
In our lives, we have such problems and agony, and the process of solving it is the same process. God wanted to give a son to Hannah, Samuel. She was just thinking “Oh well, what if I don’t have a son?” But it doesn’t end like that, but God puts in her the heart to want that child. There is one husband two wives. One is loved, but the other, Peninnah was not loved, but she had a son. So Peninnah she was proud. And this was giving so much agony to Hannah. Hannah was crying and crying. Inside heart of Hannah, she really had the heart to have a child. She was praying and praying and praying, and the prophet Eli was looking at her. He thought that she was drunk and told her to stop drinking, and Hannah said, “I am not drunk.” But she heard the words of Prophet Eli and then she gained the faith. That is how God is guiding her heart.
Loving brothers and sisters, regardless of who you are, whether you’ve done good or evil, God loves all of you. God wants to reveal His strength; He really wants to show that to us. We think the power of God, “Oh, He can’t solve this problem with His power.” But for Him to work in us, our hearts must become one. When your heart becomes one, from then onward, God can work. To me it seems impossible, but we hear the word of God and follow. We express this as faith. To me it seems impossible but if God speaks then it will work. God can do it. When we believe that God can do it, then that is called faith. Thinking God can’t do it — that is not faith. Jesus came to Bethany to save Lazarus. But before he started to work in the hearts of Martha and Mary. Inside their sad hearts Jesus is saying, “No your brother will live.” Jesus is doing the work of giving that heart to them. They analyze his words, “Your brother will live,” saying “I know that he will live on the last day of the resurrection.” Jesus says “I am the resurrection,” and inside the heart of Martha and Mary, he is putting in his heart into them. Sarah cannot have a child any more, but God gives them the heart that they will have child.
One time there was sister who had a surgery. She had an ulcer inside of her so they had to cut a lot of her ovaries. The doctor left a little bit of it, and removed everything else. This sister, everyone thought that it would be impossible for her to have a child. She’s never had a child before, but in the church, she really wanted to hold the brothers and sisters’ baby. But they would take the baby away from her and say, “you don’t even have a child, you don’t know even know to do this.” And so she would have so much heartache. Strangely, the sisters around her would not let her even touch someone else’s baby when she wanted to hold them. This pastor‘s wife, she was angry towards these sisters. “Just because they have baby, they are so over doing it.” But God was constantly given her such problems and conflicts inside her heart.
One day, she really wanted to have child. She was never like this before, but she cried, “God give me a child too!” Every time she wanted to touch their baby they would take baby away from her saying, “you don’t even know how to take care them.” So she was angry and she cried before God. “Why can’t I have child and why must I have to go through all this?” As she was crying, she thought, “I think I should ask for a baby!” She had this heart even though she couldn’t have a child. One day, she came to me and said, “Pastor, please pray for me.” She was saying she wanted to have a baby and show them that she has a baby too. So we prayed to God. The amazing thing is, I don’t know everything about it, but she become pregnant by the little bit of the ovary that was left after surgery. But because she had a tumor that was growing with the baby and they were of similar size. She went to the hospital and everyone said she could not have a child but she became pregnant. But this sister said, “God had allowed this for me and she was so thankful.Before she went to the hospital, she visited our house and to tell us. We prayed and she went to the hospital and she had a son. The sister-in-laws paid for her hospital fees, bought her a stroller because of how thankful it is.
If you have a nice car, a nice place and if you have a lot of money, it’s nice, but that’s only your thought. God is saying He wants to give you His blessing, spiritual fruits, and spiritual things. But because we are stuck in our thoughts, God does a work of lifting our hearts through the word or through fellowship, and through the bible, before anything is given to us. The sisters would take the baby away from the pastor’s wife and say “you never had a child before and you don’t know how to take care of them,” and that kept on occurring so she started getting angry. She said, “Fine, then I want to get my own baby. And she started praying.” In such way, we easily fall into the ways of our flesh, but to make worlds inside of us, God gives us pain. “God, please give me give me a son too!” As God gives us that want, He makes our hearts arise. Abraham thinks, “I can’t have a son anymore and it’s going to end like this.” But it doesn’t end there. God said to Abraham that your sons will be as many as the stars. That’s the work that God does. You can just live your with a son and daughter and that’s all. But God wants us to lift our hearts, as Mary and Martha who were in such sadness. Jesus wanted to raise Lazarus but Mary and Martha didn’t believe in that, so Jesus was so sad, he was so sad that he wept.
We just want to eat, work, make money and be satisfied like that, but in the eyes of God, in the eyes of Jesus, He doesn’t want us to live that kind of life. Inside of your heart, God wants to make a world of God. He wants to make a hole for Him and he wants to work in your heart, and He makes power and grace inside of your heart. He works because He wants you to live with that. Often times, He interferes with us and He works within us. To a person like me, I am a minister but I have never imagined of being a pastor. My sister used to say, “Ock Soo, never think of becoming a pastor” because I had a short tongue. Every time I read the book out loud, everyone would laugh at me. As my wife and I got married, she told me that my pronunciation is bad. I could not say ‘thirty three years’ and my wife often makes fun of me, so I tried very hard so that I would not be made fun of by my wife, and now I can say ‘thirty three years’ in Korean. As I became a minister, I started practicing my pronunciation. I never imagined of becoming a pastor, but to make me a person who witnesses the gospel, He gave me salvation, and I wanted to preach the gospel. He washed all my sins and I felt so sad for the people who have not yet realized that. I really wanted to preach the gospel to them. I started read from the bible. I read a lot and the amazing thing is that the thing I could not see before I can see it, I can see the love of God. As the heart of God enters my heart, my heart that was filled with desires of the world, flesh and the lust was amazingly made one with the heart of God as His entered mine. I wasn’t living my own heart anymore but the heart of Jesus, and as his heart flowed into mine, I wanted to preach the gospel to those who have not realized that Jesus washed their sins away. And when I read the bible, I could see more. So this is how my sins were washed away, this is how clean I am. As I believed in all this, I felt sad to those who don’t believe and started to open my mouth and preach. I see now that I have become a pastor. As time passed, God has been working in my heart.
Loving brothers of Gangnam church, right now do you what God is doing? God does the work of planting his heart inside of us, and your heart grows and as you become one with the Lord and you start to bear fruit, you can’t become a person of the world, you become a person of the holy God whether you are a grandma, grandpa or a housewife, you have studied a lot or a little is not a problem. The person of God is not by your wisdom or knowledge but we must have the heart of God. And God does the work of planting his heart into us. In the beginning, Abraham ,didn’t have the heart of having a son, because he was so old. “I am a hundred years old, how can I have a child? Sarah is 90! Even if he hears the word of God, he denied it. “What do you mean I am going to have a son?” But as time passed, God was planting the heart of God inside him just like how farmers plant the sprout.
Our hearts are filled with desires and lust but when the heart of God starts to sprout, how joyful the Lord would be. Or if you receive salvation, my sins have been washed away, it’s been washed away as white as snow. These are not your hearts. I didn’t have this heart before but the blood of Jesus washed my sins away. And God is leading us to live for him. You who lived without the Lord. You lived in your own desires and lust things of the world, your heart is filled with such things, and you who don’t know what to do. When the heart of God was planted inside of you, the death of Jesus was not wasted, he washed my sins away, my sins have been washed away, have been washed away as white as snow. Now I am clean, and through Jesus, God said that I am holy. And these hearts arise inside of you, God receives His glory and He is pleased.
“Lord, I really don’t know but you saved me, and I am thankful for that. Although I don’t know well, I want to do the work of preaching the gospel. I want to live for you, Lord, not for my desires.” The Lord’s heart came to me purely. Even though Jesus has washed my sins away, there are those who can’t accept it. When I was reading the bible I could not just sit there. I just wanted to go out and speak out and tell other people. There are so many things I want to say after knowing the heart of God and experiencing Him. Among those who have heard His word. When I see his work, it’s so precious and beautiful. In the field you pull out the rocks and stones and you till the land, plant the seeds and it bears fruit, the farmers will be so happy. God is a farmer in the land of your heart. God plants His own heart and so that heart can grow. He is working as a farmer and He is farming on the land of your heart. The seed that He plants starts to sprout and to bear fruit, whether big or small, and God is pleased and blesses you.
Loving brothers and sisters, our hearts have followed the lust of our flesh. And just as the Lord worked through Jesus, when He is planted in our hearts, God will work and you will experience amazing things you have never experienced before. Moses said “Who am I that I go to Egypt?” “Who am I that I should lead them to Israel?” I cannot do it. The Lord pulled out the heart of Moses. “You will bring my people out,” He planted that heart inside him. And time passed. He led six hundred thousand people into the land that flows with milk and honey, and they went to Canaan. At that time it seemed impossible. “How can we go in?” It seemed impossible but then according to the promise of God, Abraham’s children became as many as the stars and as many as the sand. In the same way, our loving Lord, I don’t know well but he knows you very well and in each of you there is God’s plan. He is farming in the land of our heart and He wants us to see that fruit.
To Martha, who was in sadness and to Mary, who was crying in sadness, Jesus planted a new heart inside of them and said, “your brother will live.” Mary and Martha did not believe that. They said at the last day he will resurrect but no, he will live. They went to the grave, and removed the stone. Martha says he has been dead for four days and he stinks. Yes, he stinks but still I will rise him from the dead, he us rotten but I will still raise him. In front of Jesus we say I can’t do this, I can’t pray, I’m too fleshly and I want to live in the world. But Jesus pulls all of that out and eventually puts in the heart of Jesus. I did not want to become a pastor. There are so many people who wanted to become pastors but not me. A person like me how can I become a servant of God? But God fulfilled the work. The bible tells us how the faith grew for them to have a child; she received the strength to have a child. Until now God wants to pull out your things and plant his heart, his blessings, his grace and his glory and God is leading us like this Hallelujah, I praise the lord. Martha looks at her brother and he stinks, you should have come before he died and save him. Your brother will live and Jesus keeps telling him that. I was reading the Bible it’s the hand of God and he will work in me. I really thought I would do the work of God but it’s amazing. Jesus said “remove the stone” Martha said “my brother has been dead for four days” and Jesus said to her that I know unto thee, those would don’t believe won’t see the glory of God. I believed in my thoughts lord I will remove that stone. And heart of Martha became one with Jesus and she removed the stone. And Jesus calls out to Lazarus, come forth. God wants you to experience his works and so he gives you Agony and difficulties as time passes, God will work and he will fulfill his will, the bible is showing us small in their thoughts, don’t say like this and that regardless of how I see it, if you sense it say Amen, and now she could change God will be pleased and God works within you, you will receive the grace, and the blessing and the glory that no one even thought of, you will receive it. God will make everything beautiful and started that within your heart. Whether you want to change or not you will change. Moses said that he couldn’t release people of Israel out and also us through God we will change. The people who take part in the work of God. Lazarus come forth and Lazarus comes out on hearing the voice Hallelujah. Because God is almighty he can do anything and in this morning he wants to work within us.