2015.05.02 (Sat) Cyber Fellowship Pastor Ock Soo Park
Hello everyone. I am currently at the World Camp in Frankfurt, Germany. I am so grateful to be able to meet you all through today’s Cyber Fellowship. Today we will read Acts chapter 4 verse 4.
“However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.”
As we read the book of Acts, after Jesus was nailed to the cross, died, resurrected and the gospel was preached, we could see how many multitudes arose and persecuted the spread of the gospel. Satan continues to cause such problems in the church, for in Acts chapter 3 Peter healed the lame man on his way up to the temple gate. However, in chapter 4 Peter was confined to prison and the persecution began. There are obviously many churches and religions, but Satan is not interested in places where there are no works of the gospel. On the other hand, Satan has never once passed by a place where the gospel is being preached without having persecuted it. Even the family members of believers persecute, and believers persecute even non-believers and do whatever is on their mind.
In Acts chapter 4 the apostles were sent to prison, in Acts chapter 5 Satan tried to cause chaos and difficulties in the church through Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts chapter 6 there was a dispute between the Grecians and Hebrews, and in Acts chapter 7 many hardships occurred in the church due to the death of Stephen.
However the amazing thing is that whenever difficulties or circumstances occur, the works of God and the Holy Spirit also occur. That is why although the persecution sent Peter and the apostles to prison, it said, “and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.” Amazing works occurred. However, if we are afraid of such persecutions before preaching the gospel and avoid them, from then on our spiritual life stops growing and we are dragged by Satan. Nevertheless, despite hardships and persecutions if you witness the Word of God boldly, the hardships and persecutions still remain but God helps you to overcome them all and the works of Salvation arise.
There were honestly many difficulties in 2014 and 2015. I have no choice but to praise the Lord for our church and also personally, because the most people in the history of our mission received salvation during 2014 and 2015, and the door of the gospel was opened. Just as Paul said, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries,” if we are not preaching the gospel and if people are not being born again, there is absolutely no reason for persecution. But because we are preaching the gospel and people are receiving salvation, Satan cannot bear it and uses faithless people by adding thoughts into them to persecute and go against us. The amazing this is that even though such things happen, the works of the gospel still arise. In Acts chapter 3 the lame man who sat by the temple gate was healed and then in chapter 4 persecution followed.
The apostles were put into prison. However they continued preaching the gospel, and Ananias and Sapphira tried to stir darkness in the church, but the situation was sorted and the works of the gospel arose. In chapter 6 there was a conflict between Grecians and Hebrews and Satan thus wanted to create chaos in the church, but it was also solved and people were added to the church daily. Even when Stephen died in Acts chapter 7, we were able to see how the Gospel was continually preached with power and was widely spread. Our church is also a gospel preaching church and is God’s church; therefore we are persecuted by other religious groups, and even face hardships from former brothers and sisters. Nevertheless, the gospel is still being powerfully spread, and I am so grateful to see people receiving salvation.
While hosting the World Camp in Germany this year, I was so thankful to see many youths come and change and be renewed. In the past we always thought it was difficult to preach the gospel in Europe, but I am so grateful to see how pastors in Europe recently are working with so much hope and faith.
Brothers, sisters and folks, God did not let us live on this earth just in order to comfortably eat and enjoy and then leave this world. Although there are hardships, problems and difficulties, if you preach the gospel, God will handle your hardships. Thinking of such works of the gospel that will happen makes me so grateful.
Regardless of what people say about us, if we worked according to our circumstances we could not have gotten anything accomplished. We did not possess the conditions to dispatch missionaries in 1980. Our missionaries experienced many financial difficulties and it was also difficult on us, however through it we were able to dispatch missionaries to preach the gospel all over the world, and now those churches have grown greatly. There are many churches overseas that have over 1000 members, and I am so glad to see powerful workers arising. It is because God is with us in everything we do therefore there will still be persecution in the future.
There will be people who criticize us. There will be people who go against us. Foolish people only listen to one side of the story and complain, however I am so grateful to see how God is with us, opening the door of the gospel, and fulfilling his work.
In Acts chapter 4 Peter was put into prison and persecuted, but we gain hope in the verse that says, “However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.” Although it may be difficult, when you run forward for the gospel, God bears fruits for us and is pleased with us. I firmly believe that the Lord holds onto our lives and leads us.
I hope the same works that occurred in the book of Acts will continue to occur in our mission until the Lord comes. I hope that you do not use family or yourself as an excuse to avoid doing the work of gospel, but work with us and continue to run for the gospel until the day the Lord arrives. I will meet you all in Korea. Thank you. Farewell.