as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”
Worship and Living with Faith
Just before the sermon, I gave a little blurb about worship. Worship is something that you give with faith. Without faith, it is not possible to give worship because worship is not an action. Worship is not what you do. Worship is something that happens internally between you and God. So only way to really worship God is through faith. Only through faith. You cannot figure out God with your brain. You can only approach God through faith. And when you approach God through faith, something wonderful happens. As we heard the song today, God made everything beautiful and that beauty of life will be experienced in our lives through the worship. So wonderful things can happen. So, I hope that your life opens, and you experienced that a beauty of life.
I believe that living with faith is very important. Living with faith is more beneficial than living without faith. You can live more meaningfully, and you can achieve even more in life. Abraham is known as the father of faith and I believe that he lived with faith and he lived a truly blessed life. Even hope against hope. He believed he encounter all kinds of impossible situations, but somehow Abraham learns to deal with all his situations, with faith. Not with his brain. For a while he tried to deal with his situation with his brain, he ended up making more mistakes, but somehow, he learned to deal with these situations through faith and in the end, he became a father of faith. If there’s one thing that you need to learn in life, I will say, it is faith. But this learning is different from what you can learn in school. It isn’t life learning, so it’s a little bit more complex than studying the textbook and all that. It involves your life, situations, circumstances, and your attitude, who you are, and everything is involved, but somehow if there’s one thing that you need to learn in life, I believe that that is faith. That if you learn to live your life with faith, you can deal with a lot of situations in a healthy and productive way. Your life will be very different.
Of course, when I talk about faith, I’m talking about faith in Christ and faith in God. But today what I’m going to talk about is when that faith is manifested in our life, what does it look like? How does it manifest itself in life? And I would like to share three things with you.
The first, I believe in circumstances. I believe in circumstances. That’s how faith is manifested. Our circumstances are not always good. There are times that our circumstances are very bad, unbearable even. Sometimes there are times when things work out very well, but there are also moments when life gets so entangled that you don’t know where to start to untangle your life. But no matter how difficult our situations maybe I believe that there is always a way out. That’s what I believe. There always a way out. I believe that all our circumstances will work out alright. If we learn to be patient. A lot of times we make it worse by trying to untangle on our own, but when we wait with faith, somehow our circumstances, life circumstances have their own ways of resolving themselves. We need to be patient. We need to wait, and we must trust in the fact that the circumstances will find their own way out. Even in a hopeless situation, there is a way out.
This is what Saint Paul said. “We know that all things, all things meaning, all circumstances will work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. All circumstances ultimately will work together for good.” That’s what St Paul believed. He believed in circumstances, but all these circumstances will work out for good. That was how Abraham lived his life. Even when he had no child, not a single child, God told him that you will be a father of great nations, many nations. And somehow, he believed when he had no child, he believed. Kind of dumb. When you really look at it. Being too smart, it’s not really being smart. I realized sometimes being dumb is good and Abraham somehow believed that he will be a father of many great nations. And then he got a son, Isaac, and he was so happy. Finally, God is doing his work and then suddenly God told him to sacrifice your son. But strangely he again believed. Somehow something will work out. So, he brought his son Isaac to be sacrificed, believing that somehow there’ll be a way out. And there was a ram right there. Jehovah Jireh, meaning God prepares in all circumstances, Abraham somehow believed, believed that things will work out. If you can believe that you can live a powerful life.
Don’t be victims of your circumstances. Overcome your circumstances and do not fear difficult circumstances. Do not give up just because you face many difficult circumstances. When you learn to live with faith, you will be able to see how things work out for good. I’ve encountered many impossible situations personally, but also other people’s lives and in the end, things worked out. And I’m thankful to God for that. I believe in myself. That’s how faith manifests itself. I believe in myself because God chose me. I believe in myself because God believes in me. This is what Isaiah said, “do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” This is what Isaiah believed. You are mine God said. I have chosen you. I have called you.
There’s another prophet, Jeremiah, before he was in his mother’s womb, somehow God used Jeremiah. Even before he was born, when he was in mother’s womb, God set him aside as a prophet. But unfortunately, Jeremiah did not believe in himself. This is what Jeremiah said, “our Lord God truly, I don’t know how to speak. For I am only a boy. I’m not a prophet. I’m only a boy.” Jeremiah did not believe in himself. When he did not believe himself, God said to Jeremiah “do not say, I’m only a boy, for you shall go to all. To whom I send you and you shall speak, whatever I command you, do not be afraid of them, for I’m with you to deliver you.” God told Jeremiah, “trust in yourself. Don’t say you’re just a boy.” Trust yourself. Don’t just say that you are a failure, or I cannot do this. I cannot do that. Don’t just say that. Believe in yourself. You can do many things. I believe in myself, not because I’m great, not because I can handle everything well. I make so many mistakes, I fail so many times, but still, I believe in myself because God chose me. God called me. God strengthens me, and God protects me.
Believe in the Future
Peter articulated our human identity or believer’s identity in this way, “but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” I don’t know how Peter got all this message to some miracle. I mean that’s how he saw himself and others. In order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. That was how he saw himself. If you don’t believe in yourself, you cannot achieve anything. God works through you, but if you don’t believe in yourself, how can God work through you? Only when you believe in yourself, then God can work through you. If you are weak, God will give you strength. If you have no wisdom, God will give you wisdom.
Even before Jesus started his ministry, he was preparing himself by being baptized for his ministry. The first thing that God taught Jesus was, believe in yourself. That was the first thing God taught Jesus. This is what God said. “You are my beloved son. With you, I am well pleased.” In other words, make sure that you remember that you are my son, the beloved, and I am very well pleased with you. Make sure you know that. No matter what circumstances you may go through, make sure that you know that you’re my son. Right after that, Satan comes to Jesus and said to Jesus, if you are the son of God, are you the son of God? He was questioning Jesus, but the first thing God said to Jesus was, you are my son, beloved. I am well pleased with you. Jesus had to believe in himself in all kinds of situations. When you believe in yourself, there’ll be nothing in the world that can destroy you. In any situation. You will come out strong. Come on strong. Believe in yourself.
Third, I believe in my future. I preached a few weeks ago. Tomorrow will be better than today. That’s what I believe. I lived without faith. Tomorrow will be better than today. We learned from the past live in the present and believe in the future. Somebody said, “the future belongs to those who believe in it. For those who don’t believe in the future, there is no future. But the future belongs to those who believe in it.” God told Jeremiah “for surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm. To give you a future with hope.” I believe that. This morning preparing to come to church we turned on the TV and then there was an Olympic closing ceremony. And the chairperson of our IOC came out and said a similar thing. “I have faith in the future. Yes, I have faith in the future. I have faith that someday in the future there will be no situation where the powerful exploit the weak, but everybody lives with equality and love, harmony and understanding. And I believe in the future that North and South Korea will be reunified and become one country. I believe in the future. All nations will come together in harmony and love.” I do believe in the future. Future is not something we can see. You cannot see the future with your physical eyes, but we can see the future with the eyes of hope. If you have eyes of hope and believe in the future, you can persevere through your adversity in the present. If you don’t have it, you cannot persevere. But when you have that, when you have faith in the future, you can persevere through your adversity.
I believe in what St Paul said. This is what Saint Paul said. “I am confident of this. That the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” This is a word that I gave to MiSun when she suffered quite a bit/ Ultimately God will bring things to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. Luke recorded what the people who received the Holy Spirit look like. When you receive the Holy Spirit, what do they become? This is what he said ” ‘in the last days it will be,’ God declares, ‘that I’ll pour out my spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.’ ” Prophesy, visions, dreaming dreams. They became the people who believe in the future. When the Holy Spirit comes, that’s what happens.
The early Christian survive through extreme persecution and difficulties. They worship like this, and the next day so and so got killed and so and so disappeared. All kinds of stories they heard every day. But they went through and persevere through extreme situations because they believed in the future. And they saw the future and the future they saw was this. Let me read it for you. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, see, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. Mourning and crying and pain will be no more for the first things have passed away.” When you look at the second part is all future tense. They will. They will, they will, he will, but in the beginning, then I saw a new Heaven. They saw the future and they believed the future and they fought for the future. You are God’s people, you’re God’s chosen race. God called you to bring about a better, brighter future in this world. Let us believe in God who is working through us.