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 Let's put off the old self, and put on the new self. (Ephesians 4: 17-24)

2009-01-05 06:47:57, Hit : 7043

 


Pastor David Woo, Jan 4th Sunday Sermon

As we all know, everyone greets each other by wishing a happy New Year.
In Korea, people greet each other with “May you be blessed
in a New Year,” and in America with “Happy New Year.”
Regardless of whom we are in Christ we like to bless
each other in a New Year.

Unlike anyone else, in a greeting of Christians there must be a wish of
God’s blessing to fill their lives in the coming New Year.
In a New Year, everyone wants to fulfill their hopes and dream
and live a better life than the previous.
Not wanting to repeat the mistakes and failures of the previous year,
we all start the New Year with hopes and expectations of success
in their business, and peaceful life, or see their children to be healthy
and academically successful.

However, when we read the Word of God, it is not only us
who wants to be blessed.
God also wants to be blessed by use even more and sees us live in Him.
The Bible tells us every problem in our lives begins within our heart.
In Proverbs 4:23, it reads “Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.”
According to the Bible, the heart is the root of our physical, intellectual, ethical, social, and religious life.
God looks in our hearts and knows us. We meet God in our heart and in our heart we have fellowship with God’s Spirit (Matt. 5:3; 19 :23).

In this Year we need to prepare our hearts to praise God
and obey His word. We ought to begin this New Year
with God our rejoicing praise.
In Psalms 95:1,2, the poet invites us to “Come, let us sing
for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him
with music and song.” In the coming year,
We need to offer our God this worship of praise and song every morning. In the New Year we should to continue to praise God
and show our adoration towards Him.
When we thank Him with praise and adoration our life will truly be filled with God’s blessing and He will let our lives become truly glorifying
(Luk 17:20, 21)

We are beginning a new year. 2009
Accordingly our minds need to be renewed
and our lives need to be changed.
We Ohio Sarang Presbyterian Church also need to
pursue some clear changes because we are beginning
the first New Year with new minister.  

Of-course we should maintain and further develop our good traditions. However, we should not cling to our old practices with indolence
and vanity like the frogs in the well. We are required to have more positive
posture to examine ourselves and to fix what we have been wrong,
what we have been unaware, what we have neglected,
and what was not like us.
I would like to illustrate several things what we should observe in new year.

First, we should examine and improve ourselves by differentiating ourselves from secular society in order to be real christians and churches.

Second, we should clarify continuously what is true faith
and make the true faith rooted in our knowledge and daily life.

Third, we should continue and strengthen our programs
in the area of worship service, education, mission,
and voluntary services.
Especially we should invest without stint
for the quality enhancement of our church education.

Fourth, we should not limit our efforts to on-going programs
but we should begin some new programs.
We will begin new campus mission programs for the young people.

Fifth, we should be right by any perspective and we should be the model
of Korean American churches in doing anything.

Sixth, we should not try all these works with our own knowledge and efforts,  but we should try hard to perform them through God's words
and the guidance of Holy Spirit.

Seventh, we should render all the glory which occurred through
all these programs to God and all the works should be done
with humbleness, love, harmony, and unity.  At the same time,
no one should be inflicted and alienated.

But what is more important thing for us, before we plan new programs,
is that we are to be made new. It is to clarify the fact that christians
must be differentiated from non-christians of secular society."

In today's scripture, Apostle Paul made a recommendation
for the people of church in Ephesus who lived non-christian life like the surrounded Gentiles. He said, "you must no longer live as the Gentiles do."

Then what were the Gentiles whom Apostle Paul was mentioning?
The traits of Gentiles who did not know God were as follows:
the first was the futility of their thinking,
the second was darkened understanding and the hardening of hearts,
the third was to be insensitive to sin and to be dull in the sense of guilty
and shame, and the fourth was to be indulged in every kind of impurity
and sensuality with a continual lust for more. All these represent
the departure from God's life, the death in spirit,
and the old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.  

Apostle Paul recommended the christians of the church in Ephesus
to put off their old self. The truth, which christians learned from Jesus, says that it is not the right way to live.
He says that we also should put on the new self.
To put on the new self means to be made new in the attitude of minds.
To be made new in the attitude of minds means to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

These recommendations by Apostle Paul to the christians
in Ephesus are at the same time the commandments
of God given to us today. Although non-christians around us
live in darkened understanding, the hardening of hearts,
and impure lusts and sensuality, God says that we should not live such a life.

To put off the old self and to put on the new self means
that we should take a new way of life in Christ.
It means that we should live by the truth in Christ.
It means that we should live in accordance what we have learnt from Christ. The Bible says, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
" A new creation can not put on the old self.
The new creation must put on the new self.
It means that christians should not live the life of non-christians
who do not know Christ.

From today's scripture, we focus our attention to the fact
that Apostle Paul is giving great emphasis on intellectual aspects.
At verse 17, he mentions "the futility of thinking." Here, "thinking"
refers to "perception."
At verse 18, he also mentions that "they are darkened in their understanding and …because of the ignorance…" The "understanding" and "ignorance"
are also the words related to intellect or perception.  

At verse 20-21, he mentions about "come to know Christ," "heard of him" and "taught in him." These indicate that knowledge is very important for us to put off the old self, to be made new in the attitude of our mind,
and to put on the new self.
The verse 24 of Korean Bible is written as "the holiness of righteousness and truth." Here, "holiness of truth" can be understood as "true holiness" or "holiness that originates from truth." In the New International Version
and in some extra Korean version, that portion is written as
"in true righteousness and holiness."

At any way, it indicates that the righteousness and holiness,
which are the essence of new self, can not be separated
from the recognition of truth. Accordingly, it is clear for us
that we can not be made new without trying hard to learn from Christ,
to listen his words, and to receive his teachings first.
Therefore, our efforts to put on the new self should begin from
the efforts of learning God's words more eagerly.

I hope that our zeal for learning God's words through various
worship services, each level of Bible classes,
and group Q.T classes becomes more and more eager in this year.
The study of God's words is the most clear way for our spirit be made
new and our will of service for church and God's country be fortified.
While beginning new century, I hope that all of us can have a blessed
new year by putting on the new self.


* 오사랑님에 의해서 게시물 이동되었습니다 (2011-03-08 13:32)


  1/2moon
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