25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
The topic that I want to talk about today is the assurance of salvation. It is one of the most important topics in Christianity that can give believers utmost joy and hope in this life time, but it can also be the source of utter disappointment and damnation for eternity if it’s misunderstood. The question of assurance of salvation can be boiled down to three words: “Am I saved?” A closely related question, then, would be “What must I do to be saved?” Many religions have come up with their own ideas of ways to get saved and reach the heavenly realm. However, Christ Jesus, our Lord, who ultimately proved His deity and authority through His own resurrection, made it clear that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
Now, what does it mean to go to the Father through Jesus? The Bible tells us many times that it is by believing in Jesus or having faith in Jesus. We see this in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This tells us that believing in Jesus, i.e. having faith in Jesus, is the key to salvation. We know that we cannot earn salvation by ourselves. Apostle Paul made this clear in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” So, evangelical Christians have generally concluded that salvation is by “faith alone.” They say, once you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again to give you an eternal life, you are saved for eternity.” Period.
However, those who read the Bible thoroughly will soon realize that it’s not that simple. How do you reconcile the idea of “salvation by faith alone” with the biblical truth that “a person is considered righteous by what they DO and NOT by faith alone (James 2:24)?” Also, why does Jesus say that “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' (these are so-called believers) will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21)?” Now, all of a sudden, this idea of “salvation by faith alone” seems to be weakened.
The relationship between faith and works is very important because they are directly linked to our salvation. And because it is so critical to our eternal life, I am going to defer this discussion to a far more qualified scholar, Dr. Millard Erickson, who is a well-known Christian theologian, professor of theology, and a prolific author in theology. In his systematic theology book called, Christian Theology, he wrote the following about faith and works:
The position we have taken here is that works do not produce salvation. Yet the biblical witness also indicates that while it is faith that leads to justification, justification must and will invariably produce works appropriate to the nature of the new creature that has come into being. … Genuineness of the faith that leads to justification becomes apparent in the results that issue from it. If there are no good works, there has been neither real faith nor justification. We find support for this contention in the fact that justification is intimately linked with union with Christ. If we have become one with Christ, then we will not live according to the flash, but rather by the spirit (Rom. 8:1-17). The union with Christ that brings justification also brings the new life.
In other words, genuine believers don’t do good works in order to earn salvation. They do good works because of the salvation they have in Christ. Genuine faith in Jesus compels to do good works of Jesus. Genuine faith is faith that expresses itself in love (Gal. 5:6).
This may lead to the next question, which is “How can I be sure that my faith is genuine enough?” “What can give me genuine assurance of salvation?” These are very important questions, and I will address them today. But before I do that, I’d like us to look at one of the interactions Jesus had with an expert in the law regarding this issue in Luke 10:25-37.
This section of the Gospel of is famously called the “Parable of the Good Samaritan.” It addresses a few important topics, such as, “Who is considered my neighbor?” and “How should we treat them?” But what is far more important in this discourse is the issue of salvation, which is the very question the expert in the law asks. Let’s look at the passage together, starting from Luke 10:25. (I’m reading from the NLT translation.)
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest (a Jew) came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant (another Jew) walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins (that’s close to $600 in this Bay area), telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
The significance of this Samaritan man taking care of a beaten up Jewish man was that there was a long history of bad blood between the Jews and the Samaritans. They despised each other since the Israelites were divided into two kingdoms - Israel to the north and Judah to the south. The city of Samaria once became the center of Baal worship. Jezebel also had many prophets of Yahweh killed in Samaria. When Samaritans came to help rebuild the destroyed temple, the Jews rejected them. Later, there were inter-marriages between Jews and Gentiles in Samaria, making the Samaritans “less than pure” Jews. So, in the days of Jesus, the Jews despised the Samaritans so much that they would even travel extra miles on barren land in order to avoid traveling through Samaria. It was in this context that Jesus told the story of a Samaritan man having mercy on this injured Jewish man. This good Samaritan took care of the Jewish man despite the animosity and all the expense that was necessary to care for him.
The immediate lesson of this parable, of course, is that we are called to love the unlovable. Jesus plainly puts it this way in Luke 6:32, “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!” We are called to love even our enemies. So, your neighbor is not just the people you like or the people you hang out with. It’s the people you don’t really care, and even those who hate you. We are called to love all of them.
But a bigger question that Jesus is addressing is the question that the expert in the law initially brought up, which is, “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” This question was so important for many people that Luke alone records people asking this question in three other occasions. In Luke 18:18, the rich religious leader asked “Good teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” In Acts 2:37, when Peter preached the gospel on the day of Pentecost, the people asked, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’” And in Acts 16:30, when the jail door of Paul and Silas miraculously swung open with a massive earthquake, the guard came and trembled before them, and asked “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Interestingly, the answer to this question was not always the same. We would think that the answer should always be “believe in Jesus,” but as we see in the passage today, Jesus tells the expert in the law to obey the law, namely the Great Commandment, for eternal life! Look carefully. The expert asks, “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” Jesus told him. “Right! Do this and you will live!” “Do this and you will live???” Jesus is telling this man that he can actually earn eternal life by following the law! How can this be? We know that this cannot be true because of all the other passages that say otherwise. So, is Jesus lying here? Of course not! He is God. He doesn’t lie. So, then, it is a true statement. If you obey the law, then you are guiltless. And, if you’re guiltless, there is no ground for God to send you to hell. The problem is that no sinful human being is able follow the law perfectly, which is what the law requires. Look at the #1 requirement again. The law is to love God with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your strength, and ALL your mind. Forget about even getting to the second greatest commandment. Is there anyone who can love God with one’s entire being, ALL-inclusively? No. No sinful human being is capable of fulfilling the law. All fall short of the glory of God! That’s why Paul says in Romans 7:10, “I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.” And this is the very reason why Jesus had to come, fulfill the law, and die on our behalf as a sinless sacrifice.
So, why did Jesus tell the expert in the law to follow the law for eternal life instead of saying “believe in me”? Jesus’s answer was His way to state the truth, but at the same time, mock the arrogant expert. It was His way of satirically saying “Sure, fulfill the law (if you can), and you will have eternal life.” Jesus knew that this expert was testing Him. He also knew that this man was self-righteous by attempting to live according to the law. So, Jesus gave him the answer that fit the condition of his heart. Just as it is written in Proverbs 3:34, “The Lord mocks the mockers, but is gracious to the humble.” To the arrogant, Jesus gave an unattainable solution for eternal life, but, to the humble, he extends grace. And so, we confidently know the answer to the question, “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” The attainable answer is to believe in the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.
This takes us back to the original question. What can give a believer genuine assurance of salvation? Unless there is a way to surgically open a person’s heart and see if there really is genuine faith, anyone can easily be deceived. I’m sure many of you have experienced something similar when going into a classroom to take a test. Students walk in with a pretty high level of confidence, but many come out scratching their heads. What they thought they knew and what they actually knew was quite different. Faith is quite similar. The faith that you think you have and the faith that you actually have can be very different. So, how do we know we have genuine faith? How can we be sure of our salvation?
Dr. Wayne Grudem, another prominent evangelical theologian, seminary professor, and the author of the book, Systematic Theology, listed three questions based on the Scripture that a person could ask of oneself to see if he or she can have real assurance of salvation.
#1. Do I have a present trust in Christ for salvation?
This is about examining whether you presently have faith in Christ for your salvation. It doesn’t matter if you thought you had faith in the past. The Scripture is clear that those who continue in the faith to the end are the ones who are saved. (Col 1:23, Heb 3:14, Heb. 6:12). So, do you presently trust in Christ for salvation?
#2. Is there evidence of a regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in my heart?
There are various evidences to look for in your life. Do you sense the leading of the Holy Spirit in paths of obedience to God’s will (Rom. 8:14)? Are there character traits the fruit of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 2:22-23)? Do you believe and accept the sound teaching of the church? Is there a relationship with Jesus through prayer and worship? These would be some of the places where you could find evidences of a regenerating work of the Spirit.
#3. Do I see a long-term pattern of growth in my Christian life?
If the first two questions were about the present faith and present evidence of the Holy Spirit at work, this question is about whether these traits are continuing to grow (2 Peter 1:5-10). This implies that our assurance of salvation can be something that increases over time in our lives. Although young believers can have strong confidence in their salvation, that assurance can increase to even deeper certainty over the years in which they grow toward Christian maturity (1 Tim. 3:13).
So, if you can confidently answer “yes” to all three of these questions, then you are truly blessed. You can know for certain that nothing can take away the salvation that you have. This doctrine, called the perseverance of the saints, should be tremendously comforting.
On the other hand, if you are unable to say “yes” to any of these three questions (i.e. if you are backsliding and straying away from Christ), then this should cause genuine worry and even fear. As Dr. Grudem puts it,
Such persons must clearly be warned that only those who persevere to the end have been truly born-again. If they fall away from their profession of faith in Christ and life of obedience to him, they may not really be saved – in fact, the evidence that they are giving is that they are not saved, and they never really were saved. Once they stop trusting in Christ and obeying him (in terms of outward evidence) they have no genuine assurance of salvation, and they should consider themselves unsaved, and turn to Christ and repentance and ask him for forgiveness of their sins.
Dr. Grudem’s words may be hard to hear, but it is the bare truth without any sugarcoating. If you feel like you are on shaky grounds in your faith, make today the day of true repentance and turn to the Lord for forgiveness. Turn your way of living for yourself, and live for God. If you’ve been leading a life of disobedience, repent and start obeying. If you are rejecting the Lord’s call to go on missions, make today the day to repent and sign up to go. If you are rejecting the Lord’s call to engage in the body of Christ, the church, and its ministries, repent and engage in church ministries. Make Christ your everything.
17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”
David Brooks, who is an American political and cultural commentator, wrote an article for the New York Times early last year, called “The Self-Reliant Generation.” He was, of course, referring to the millennials born between early 1980s and early 2000s. In it, he identified some characteristics of the millennials, one of which was self-reliance. He wrote,
Another glaring feature of millennial culture is they have been forced to be self-reliant and to take a loosely networked individualism as the normal order of the universe. Millennials have extremely low social trust. According to Pew Research, just 19 percent say most people can be trusted, compared with 40 percent of boomers. This leads to detachment from large entities. Just 32 percent of millennials say America is the greatest country on earth, compared with 50 percent of boomers. Millennials are very suspicious of organized religion. 35 percent say they are unaffiliated with any religious group, compared with 23 percent of Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980).
Indeed, this is the reality. More and more teenagers are quitting church, believing that watching YouTube sermons is enough. Also, millennials have been brought up to think and judge for themselves rather than to go along with the established knowledge and tradition. They have been brought up in an individualistic society, where individual performance and satisfaction is more important than teamwork. Self-reliance became the norm of the millennial generation.
Nevertheless, millennials are hardly the first generation to introduce the concept of self-reliance in our society. In late 1820 and 1830s, just a few decades after the foundation of this nation, there was already a philosophical movement called Transcendentalism. Its core beliefs were that the people and nature were inherently good, that society and its institutions have corrupted the purity of the individuals, and that people are at their best when they are left truly self-reliant and independent.
This idea may have propelled the nation to grow rapidly as a whole. Since the forefathers of this nation decided to have its independent country 241 years ago, people were expected to take care of themselves as free and independent citizens. Self-reliance became the standard. And because of this, it motivated people to seek a better life for themselves, and likely fueled the Industrial Revolution during that same historical period. Based on such culture, the result is that, today, United States is one of the most advanced nations in the world.
However, this idea of self-reliance and independence has a detrimental spiritual side-effect. The idea that people were inherently good reduced the need for repentance onto God. Pursuit of self-reliance meant less reliance on God. Pursuit of individualism meant self-centered life instead of a life that seeks after the good of others.
One of the intellectuals who led this Transcendentalism was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was one of the champions of self-reliance and individualism. He started out his career well by establishing his own school and being the schoolmaster. He even went to Harvard Divinity School, and upon graduation, was invited to serve as the junior pastor at Boston’s Second Church. However, when his wife of only 2 years fell sick and was dying of tuberculosis, he began to doubt his own beliefs. After his wife’s death, he began to have disagreements with the church, and then began to think that the profession of pastoring was antiquated. Consequently, he left the ministry soon thereafter. A few years later, he was invited to Harvard to deliver the school’s graduation address. In his address, he discounted biblical miracles and proclaimed that, while Jesus was a great man, he was not God. This obviously outraged the establishment and the general Protestant community, and he was denounced as an atheist and a poisoner of young men’s minds. It was intellectuals like Emerson who advocated for self-reliance and individualism.
Self-reliance runs contrary to the biblical principle to rely our lives on God like a child. The self-relying world encourages us to be self-sufficient, while the Bible declares that our sufficiency is from God (2 Cor. 3:5). The self-relying world tells us to trust one’s own instinct and understanding, while the Bible calls us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The self-relying world tells us to get ahead of others by whatever means necessary, while the Bible calls us to be humble and regard others as better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). The tension is clear between the self-relying culture that we live in and the God-relying principle that we are called to live.
This self-reliant culture has unfortunately affected the church negatively. Many ministries and missions rely on manpower and money rather than on God. There are often more Martha’s in the church doing work rather than Mary’s who humbly soaks in the word of Jesus at His feet. We sometimes see church volunteers who think that the church will come to a grinding halt if they ever step down from their service. Many of these well-intended believers operate out of such self-reliant and individualistic mindset of this world.
So, when Jesus was sending out his 72 disciples for missions, he made sure that they would have a God-reliant mindset. If you remember the sermon a few weeks ago, Jesus instructed His disciples in Luke 10:4, “Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals.” In other words, don’t be self-reliant; be God-reliant! And when the disciples returned with great joy in their success in missions, Jesus instructed them on having a humble, God-reliant mentality.
Let’s look at that interaction a little more closely. Today’s message is titled “Fulfill God’s Mission (Part 4)”, which is the last part of this series. We’ll look at how our attitudes should be as we engage and fulfill God’s Mission. In Luke 10:17, it reads, “When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, ‘Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!’” You can sense a great deal of amazement and excitement from the disciples. The disciples were able to drive out demons from sick people in Jesus’s name, which is something they had never done before.
To be clear, when it says that the disciples used Jesus’s name, this is not about using His name as some kind of magical spell, but it is another way of saying “by the power of Jesus.” We know that using Jesus’s name merely as a magical spell does not work because of the story of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19. They tried to perform exorcism by invoking the name of Jesus without accepting Him as the Messiah. In response, the evil spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” And then, the man with evil spirit jumped on them and beat them so hard that they ran away naked and bleeding.
On the other hand, when a believer truly believes in the power and authority in Jesus, the believer is able to drive out demons in the name of Jesus. I had a seminary friend who, upon graduation, went to a 3rd-world country as a full-time missionary. And as you may know, there are more demon-possessed people accessible in public in those countries as opposed to America where demon-possessed people are usually locked up in mental institutions. One time, this friend wrote us a letter that described his experience of exorcising a demon-possessed girl. (Mind you, we were trained from a Baptist seminary, and so we didn’t get much training on exorcism.) At first, the spiritist of the village was called in to exorcise the evil spirit out of her, but it didn’t work no matter how hard the spiritist tried. Then, my friend thought that maybe he should pray for her. So, he went over and prayed over her in the name of the Jesus that the evil spirit come out of her. He was hoping that her mind would calm down and get healed. Instead, the girl began to scream with an altered voice and convulsed on the ground uncontrollably. And then, all of a sudden, the girl returned to a normal, peaceful state of mind. I don’t remember exactly what he said in response, but I believe his words could be summarized in three letters: “O.M.G.” He never experienced such a thing, so he had to write that in a letter and send it to us.
We see this same excitement from the 72 disciples who experience the power of Jesus. They were ecstatic like children because of the miraculous work that they did in Jesus’s name! Church, I want you to know that you, too, carry that power in you. As Apostle Peter puts it, those of us, who have repented and got baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the same powerful Spirit of God that Jesus had, and it is available to us as well.
What does Jesus say in response to the disciples report? In v.18, Jesus says, “Yes, I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!” What Jesus saw in the spiritual realm was the beginning of the destruction of His enemy. Satan fell from heaven like lighting! This almost gives me the imagery of Thor hitting someone with his hammer so hard that the opponent gets flung miles down the road. Satan is not completely destroyed yet and he can still be quite annoying in our lives, but the path of his destruction is set in motion.
Jesus continues in v.19, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” Now, if you take this literally and try this out, you will most-likely end up in an Emergency Room. The reason why you don’t want to try this is because A) the Bible says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test,” and, more importantly, B) the snakes and scorpions refer to the spiritual enemies. Just like Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent, these snakes and scorpions also refer to the demons of the spiritual realm. That’s why Jesus said, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy,” not the power of poisonous creatures. The reptile is not our enemy; Satan is. Jesus promises that his demons cannot harm us, but rather we can crush them with the power and authority of Jesus.
Church, this encouragement of Jesus to His disciples is an encouragement for us as well, who has the Spirit of God indwelling. There is nothing - no spirit of fear, no spirit of anxiety, no spirit of evil – that can withstand the power of our Lord Jesus. And with His Spirit in us, we are invincible with eternal life and powerful to do the works that Jesus did. In fact, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
But before Jesus’s disciples got all puffed up for the powerful work that they did, Jesus gave them an important word of caution. In v. 20, he says, “But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” What is he saying when he says, “But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you?” He is telling His disciples not to get arrogant that the evil spirits obey them. Without the power and authority of Jesus, the disciples have nothing. So, in a word, Jesus is reminding them to be humble. There is nothing to brag about. We must be quick to confess what Apostle Paul confessed, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, Jesus tells his disciples not to get puffed up, but he does say, “Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” In other words, He says to rejoice for fact that they are confirmed to be part of the Kingdom of God. The fact that the power of God was manifested in the disciples’ ministry confirmed that they were legitimate children of God, and that was something to rejoice over. This doesn’t mean that a person is not saved if he/she hasn’t performed a miracle, but it is saying that the miracle work is a confirmation to his/her faith. So, Jesus’s cautionary words to His disciples were this: Don’t be cocky when God works through you. Stay humble and just rejoice in the salvation you have in Christ.
This message is very important for us today. In an individualistic world that we live in, we can easy become self-reliant in God’s ministry and self-promoting when things happen to go well. Jesus is cautioning us not to be like that. The Pharisees were famous for self-reliance and self-promotion. They would attempt to perform all the religious duties out of self-reliance for salvation and expect honor and esteem from others out of self-promotion. Jesus hated that. Instead, His instruction for us was, “When you have done everything you were told to do, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” And when God works miracles through us, we must be quick to turn the attention to God and give Him the glory. Apostle Peter’s response to Cornelius should be that of ours as well. After the Pentecost, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and did great wonders in his ministry. So, when Cornelius met Peter in Acts 10, Cornelius fell at Peter’s feet in reverence, but Peter made him get up and said, “Stand up. I am only a man myself.” The lesson for us is the same: be humble and stay humble, especially when God works through you in amazing ways.
In the following section of the passage, Jesus lifts up a prayer of thanksgiving to His Father. Let me just go over the first part of it. He prays in v.21, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.” To be childlike doesn’t mean to be juvenile and immature, but means to be God-reliant, not self-reliant. It means to have faith in the power of God, not skeptical of His power. As it is written in Hebrews 11:6, “it is impossible to please God without faith.” In other words, faith is essential to please God. And, to have faith is to take risk and depend on God. That is a God-reliant mentality. And when we take that approach like a child, the work of God can be done through us.
Brothers and sisters, would you like to experience God’s power in your life? Would you like to be used by God to touch others’ lives in powerful ways? Then start by having a humble, God-reliant attitude. This afternoon, we’ll have our summer mission trip orientation, and the cost may be a little daunting, but again, have a God-reliant mindset. Fully trust that God can provide all your needs, and that He can powerfully bring about the good works He has planned for you and those you minister. It is my prayer that, as we humble ourselves and have a God-reliant mentality, God would bless us and bless others through us in unimaginable ways. And when God does some amazing work through us, I pray that we would be quick to say “To God be the glory!”
10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ 12 I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.
This coming Friday is Good Friday. It is a special day to commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus and His death at Calvary. It is a day to reflect on the enormous cost paid for our sins to be forgiven. But, before I go any further, let me first clarify a few things about this name, Calvary. It is the English name for the place where Jesus was crucified. It has nothing to do with cavalry or caviar. They just happen to sound similar. The original Greek word, Kranion (meaning “skull”) was translated to the Latin word, Calvaria, and from there, we get the English word, Calvary. This is the name Luke used to describe where Jesus was crucified. What about “Golgotha”? The gospel of Mathew, Mark, and John says Jesus died at the place called “Golgotha.” Is this place different from “Calvary?” No. “Golgotha” is derived from the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic word, “Gulgata,” which also means “skull.” So, just like Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing, Calvary and Golgotha are the same place-name. It was the place where Jesus experienced the ultimate rejection from people – the people for whom he came to save as the sinless sacrifice.
Although it is unlikely that we, currently living an America, will face the kind of rejection and death that Jesus experienced, there is still plenty of hostility against Christians for the truth that we hold today. Whereas the world endorses tolerance and inclusivity, we uphold the truth that Jesus exclusively is the only way for salvation. Whereas the world promotes pro-choice and gay-rights, we uphold the biblical principle of pro-life and the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. Whereas the world is becoming more nationalistic and xenophobic, we uphold the biblical principle to care for the hurting, the poor, and the marginalized wherever they come from. Our Christian stance very much opposes the current trend of this world. So, it is no surprise that persecution against Christians is rising around the world.
You, too, will face rejection as you engage more and more in God’s ministry and His mission. If you are not facing any rejection from others because of your faith, it could be an indication that you are going along with the flow of the world. And going along with the world is not a good thing because, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15). On the other hand, Apostle Peter says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:14).” It is an encouragement for us to press on and work hard in the ministry of God in spite of the fear of rejection of men.
Yet, the fear of rejection of others is not easy to overcome. Some fear that they would get ostracized just by saying the name of Jesus. Some fear to speak out the biblical truth when they see something that’s not right. And some have the worldly desire to blend in and seek approval of others. The Bible calls this the fear of men. Proverbs 29:25 says that “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” We are called to fear and revere God, not men, because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Unfortunately, some Christians still fall into this trap of fearing the rejection of others.
This was probably no different for the 72 disciples who were being sent out to tell people to turn away from their sins for the kingdom of God is near. Just like Noah was probably laughed at and rejected by people when he was building the ark in the dessert, these 72 disciples of Jesus were also likely going to face similar rejections. After all, who would want to hear that they are sinners and must turn away from their sins? People’s rejection was likely. The disciples knew this and were probably nervous. Can any of you identify with these disciples? I’m sure many of you can.
But praise be to God! We have a good shepherd, Jesus, who understands our concerns. So, when Jesus was sending out his 72 disciples to fulfill God’s mission, he made sure to prepare them for the rejections that they will probably face.
In Luke 10, v.10-11, Jesus said, “But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’” What is this gesture of shaking the dust off the feet? It is a symbolic gesture that they will literally take no part of the town that is rejecting the gospel. It is similar to the gesture of Governor Pilate, who washed his hands in front of the crowd when giving up Jesus for crucifixion. As he washed his hand, he said, "I am innocent of this man's blood. It is your responsibility!" When facing willful rejection of the people, Jesus’s disciples were instructed to declare that the responsibility for rejecting the gospel is ultimately upon the rejecting people themselves.
What this implies for us as messengers of God is that we are not responsible for how people respond to God’s message. Once the message is delivered, it is up to the hearer to receive it. This should alleviate the fear of rejection when speaking of the Kingdom of God. When we share that the Kingdom of God is near, and that there is only one way to get saved from the judgement of God, it is NOT up to us to convince the hearer. We are simply delivering the truth as a messenger. As we all know, no one can be argued into heaven.
But Jesus’s instruction didn’t just end there. He told his disciples that, before leaving the town, they were to give one last warning again that the Kingdom of God is near. We see that Jesus wants to make sure that everyone hears the message. That’s why He tells His disciples to “go out into its streets,” i.e. in public, to proclaim this truth for everyone to hear. What we see here is not a harsh God, who wants people quickly thrown into hell, but a loving God who wants to give everyone a chance to repent.
From v.12 to v.15, Jesus declares that the wrath on the Judgement Day would be greater for those who should know better. In verse 12, Jesus says, “I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.” What he is saying is that the wicked city of Sodom would be better off than the town that rejects the message of God during Jesus’s time. Why is that? It’s because people in Jesus’s time witnessed Jesus’s miracles, which demonstrated Jesus as Lord, whereas people in Sodom in Genesis did not. The people in Jesus’s time should know better and repent more readily, compared to those who were in Sodom. However, because of their stubbornness and rejection of Jesus, the wrath would be greater.
Jesus continues in v.13-14, “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.” It’s uncertain where Korazin is, but based on the context, Jesus performed miracles there. Bethsaida was where Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Tyre and Sidon, on the other hand, were pagan cities. So, again, Jesus is saying that the people of Korazin and Bethsaida should have known better to repent and submit to God than the people of the pagan cities like Tyre and Sidon.
Note that when Jesus says in v.14, “Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you,” it implies that there will be a different degree of wrath on the judgement day. In the same way that we will be rewarded differently in heaven according to what we have done here on earth, those ending up in hell will also receive different levels of wrath. As it is written in Romans 2:6, God will judge everyone according to what they have done.
In His third example, Jesus brings up the town of Capernaum. Capernaum was Jesus’s home base of ministry. It was where Jesus performed His first miracle. It was where everyone should have recognized that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. But as it turns out, the populace did not accept His messianic role. In v.15, Jesus says, “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.” The people of Capernaum thought that they were rejecting Jesus, but in fact, they were setting themselves up for the ultimate rejection by God.
For your enlightenment, let me say a few things about this “place of the dead.” Jesus calls this place of the dead “Hades” in Greek. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:23, the rich man is said to be “in torment in Hades.” Our biblical understanding is that when a person physically dies, a believer would immediately be with the Lord whereas others would go to Hades, or using a broader term, hell. Many atheists and even some theologians have often argued that any idea of hell as a place of eternal punishment is contrary to the concept of a God of love. In response, Dr. Arthur Travis, who was a Southern Baptist author, professor, pastor, and counselor, wrote the following in his book called, Where on Earth is Heaven?:
If [a man] chooses to relate rightly with God, then he becomes a child of God, and God is able to give Himself to man with all the joys of a happy life on earth and the blessedness of eternity in heaven. When a free human being uses his freedom to reject the truth of God, and to refuse to relate rightly with him, then there is no alternative except to allow him to do so. In making this choice, man becomes responsible for the results of separation from God. He lives his life in this world without God, and when he dies, God will not pick him up against his will and drag him into a place so drastically different from the kind of person he has chosen to become…
In other words, what Travis is saying is that God is not a cosmic rapist or a cosmic imprisoner, who would force love upon another person or hold the person captive at a place against his or her will. Although I agree with most of what Travis said, one aspect of hell that he seems to omit is the fact that you can’t change your mind once you’re in hell. You can’t just say, “Ok, hell suck. God, I’m sorry. Get me out of here!” In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, it says that there is a “great chasm” that is set in place, such that there can be no transferring from one place to another. This hell is where those who reject Jesus would themselves be rejected by God for eternity.
Now, let’s go back to the example of Capernaum that rejected Jesus. The warning against Capernaum was not only for those living in Capernaum, but it is also for us as well. We must be careful not to become like those in Capernaum. People in Capernaum had so much exposure to Jesus, yet they did not repent of their sins and submit to Jesus. In the same way, there are some churchgoers who continue to lead a sinful life without any remorse, and think they’re saved because they grew up in a Christian family. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to be one of them. And, just like the people of Capernaum, exposure to Jesus does not save a person. In fact, more exposure only demands greater submission and greater obedience. It is written in Luke 12:47-48, “a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” So, if you consider yourself a believer and a follower of Jesus, examine your life and make sure that your way of thinking, speaking, and living backs up your faith. Continue to strive for holiness as God calls you to be. As the saying goes, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” In other words, intentions by themselves are not enough for salvation. Being born of a Christian family is not enough. Being a regular church attendee is not enough. Even if you have all the good intentions, if they don’t manifest themselves in your actual life, it is little use.
In his final instruction, Jesus says in v.16, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” In other words, you are only a conduit – a connector between God and men. If they accept the message, they are not accepting you so much as they are accepting Jesus. If they reject the message, they are not rejecting you so much as they are rejecting Jesus. So, as mentioned at the beginning, this releases you from the burden to convert a person. This also alleviates the hurt that comes from rejection. They are not rejecting you. They are rejecting Jesus and ultimately God our Father.
As a pastor, I also recognize that I am only a messenger of God. When someone in the church misses a Sunday worship service, I sometimes get a message that they are sorry for skipping church. My response is always the same: “Don’t be sorry to me. Be sorry to God.” We gather to worship God, not me. Of course, God would probably understand if something like sickness prevented you from coming to church. But if you willfully chose to do something else rather than to come to church and worship God on a day set apart for God, well then, you’ve just identified your idol that God hates. I’d encourage you to crush that idol in the name of Jesus. Remember, when you choose to keep that idol, you don’t offend me. You offend God. I am only a messenger.
In conclusion, many of us fear the rejection of men and will experience the rejection of men when we fulfill God’s mission. Although the fear is natural just like our sinful nature, we must change our perspective that their rejection is not against us but against God. And, although we may be quick to judge others of not accepting God’s message, we must also examine ourselves whether we, who accepted Jesus as Lord, are living according to the word of God. Good intentions are not enough. Actions matter to God. Jesus didn’t just intend to die for us. He actually did. So, let us not just intend to speak about the Kingdom of God, but actually do as disciples of Jesus. Let us not fear the rejection of men, but revere and honor the command of God to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
5 “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
If you remember last Sunday, after the service, we ran a quick survey of our church. The result was both encouraging and discouraging. It was discouraging because there were still slightly more people who would probably NOT promote our church compared to those who WOULD probably promote our church. In other words, there are slightly MORE people who are NOT proud of our church family compared to those who are. Here is the encouraging part: first, the difference was NOT that big between the promoters and the detractors. Second, compared to the last survey, the number of people feeling proud of our church family has gone up, so the trend is looking good so far. The common response from those who wouldn’t promote our church was that they wanted to have bigger community. It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg situation. Does a bigger community produce more promoters of our church, or do more promoters of our church produce a bigger community? (Hmm… something to think about.) In any case, I was encouraged to see that you wanted a bigger community, because, if you were all satisfied with the current number of believers here, then we would have a problem. We serve a God, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). Everyone! That certainly means more people than those who are sitting here right now! So, yes, I’d love to see our church family grow and multiply. It’s a good sign that you desire that as well.
Now, I have a hunch that the motivation to grow our church family might be slightly different between you and I. I’d love to see our church to grow because I want to see more people get saved, more people get develop as disciples of Jesus, and more people get deploy as agents of God to saves those who are falling into hell. I’d love to see our church become mission-strong. On the other hand, looking at the survey, somehow I get a feeling that some of you just want more friends here. Hey, there is nothing wrong with that. People are, in general, social beings, so it’s natural to seek more friends. So, if that’s your motivation to bring your friend here, by all means, bring them. I have no problem with that. But I hope, as you mature in Christ, you will seek to bring unbelieving friends into our church family because you genuinely care for the lost.
As believers and followers of Jesus, our mission in life is Jesus’s mission – to seek and save the lost. Just like how the shepherd goes out to seek the one lost sheep out of 100, we also must have a heart to seek those that are lost. To grow spiritually is to grow in the love of God, such that our love for one another and for all people would grow and overflow. This is why two of the purposes of our church are to evangelize and minister to others outwardly. Now, if you forgot about the purposes of our church, let me remind you again. We exist to WORSHIP God upwardly, DISCIPLE and have FELLOWSHIP with the believers inwardly, and, as mentioned, EVANGELIZE and MINISTER to others outwardly all in the name of Christ Jesus! You can find this information on our website, pinewoodcf.org. These are the 5 purposes of why we exist as a church. Are we worshiping God? Yes, we do that at least every Sunday. Are we being discipled and having fellowship? Yes, we do that every Friday and Sunday. But are we evangelizing and ministering to others regularly? In other words, are we engaging in God’s mission regularly? Perhaps, not as much. My hope is that as we spend more time outside of our church on Sunday afternoons, we’d have more opportunities to engage with others. It’s a good sign that you long for a bigger community, because reaching people outside of our church is the missing part that we need to improve on individually and corporately.
The big question is “how”? How do we engage in missions? How do we reach out to the people? Sharing the gospel is only one aspect of God’s mission. God’s mission for us is to reach out to others and make them disciples of Jesus. This applies to both foreign outreach as well as local outreach. So, when we’re in here, we need to know how to do missions in order to reach out to people you encounter in your daily life.
Well, thankfully, Jesus gave clear instructions in Luke 10 on how to do missions to the 72 disciples as He was sending them out to nearby towns. Two weeks ago, we studied the portion from verse 1 to 4, and we will pick up from there today. Jesus’s instruction up to verse 4 was that the harvest was great, but the workers were few, that we ought to pray for more workers, and that the mission is dangerous and urgent, but that we must not to take any supply with us because Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is with us.
The first step in missions that Jesus teaches to his disciples is to bless the people. In verse 5, Jesus says, “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ You might think it strange if a stranger came up to your door and said that to you, but this was a typical OT greeting and a form of benediction, a word of blessing. Jesus used the phrase “peace be with you” many times when He greeted others. Jesus was a man of peace. In fact, He was the Prince of Peace. The first thing that his disciples had to do was to bring Jesus’s peace to people’s homes. They were called to deliver God’s blessing. This is God’s calling to us as well. We are in the business of blessing others with the peace of God. We are not in the business of criticizing, condemning, or judging others. Whether it’s your classmate at school, your coworker in the company, or even a stranger waiting in line for something, we must have the heart to bless them with God’s peace. So, before you engage in any outreach, pray for blessing upon the person. Pray that God’s peace would be upon them, and don’t be shy to genuinely say “God bless you!” in your conversation.
In v.6, Jesus continues, “If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.” A more literal translation like ESV would say “And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.” “The son of peace” refers to a believer or someone who God is pleased with (according to Luke 2:14). So, if such person was in that household, God’s peace, His salvation, and blessing would rest upon him. However, if the son of peace is not there, (and presumably when he shuts the door at you) Jesus says that the peace will return to the disciples. Isn’t that interesting? It’s like ping-pong. If you hit a ping-pong ball of peace to the other side, and the other person simply receives that ball, he has the peace of God. But, if you hit a ping-pong ball of peace and the other side hits back at you, then you get to receive the peace of God. In the same way, if you offer God’s blessing to a person, and the person rejects it, you get to keep God’s blessing. Your sacrifice and blessings are never wasted no matter how the other person responds to them. This is God’s interesting Kingdom economics – others’ rejection of your blessing becomes your own blessing. The implication is that if someone hates you, you would want to keep praying for them and blessing them, so that all the rejection that you experience from them becomes your own blessing. Are you afraid that you might be stepped on and become a doormat when you forgive and love your enemy? Well, you better believe in God’s economics. All that rejection becomes your own blessing. Do you remember one of the beatitudes? “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, and insult you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven (Mt. 5:22-23).” So, the first step in missions is to bless the people with God’s peace. Pray a prayer of blessing. Speak the word of blessing. And, don’t worry about rejections; rejoice instead!
In v. 7, Jesus continues, “Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.” What is Jesus saying here? Jesus is teaching His disciples to live with them. Don’t move around to different houses. Make that home your home base and eat, drink, and sleep there. Why is this important? This is because it’s great for building relationship. God’s work involves relationship. Remember how Nabeel Qureshi, a former devout Muslim, became a Christian? It was through a deep relationship with his college friend, who was a devout Christian. Why do we have lock-ins and mini-retreats, like the one we will have this weekend? One of the main reasons is for building relationship. There is nothing emptier than God’s ministry without relationship. Another advantage of staying at one place for ministry is that that house can become a church plant. As the disciples come in and out of that house during their ministry, you can imagine other new believers coming into that house and building relationship with the host of that house. A church can be formed organically out of that. So, for those good reasons, Jesus teaches His disciples to stay in one house and live with them.
How does this apply to you when you are living here locally in your parent’s house? The fact of the matter is, even though you are not staying at another person’s house, you are still living a big portion of your life with others. If you’re at school, you spend a big portion of your life with your classmates. If you’re employed, you spend a big portion of your life with your coworkers. The problem with most of us is that, although we encounter others all the time in our daily lives, we seldom engage with them for a meaningful relationship. It takes intentionality. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we don’t live for ourselves, but for God and OTHERS! So, next time you converse with your classmate or coworker, think about how you can bless them and engage in a meaningful conversation. Live with them with intentionally.
Jesus also tells His disciples NOT to hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. God’s principle to take care of God’s dedicated workers has been passed down since His Law was given in the OT. In Deuteronomy 25:4, the Lord said, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Apostle Paul repeated this verse in his letters to Timothy and to the church in Corinth to ensure that God’s dedicated workers are taken care of. In the same way, Jesus teaches His disciples NOT to feel bad to receive the generosity and hospitality of the host, because the Lord uses these people to take care of His workers.
I want you to know that as you dedicate more and more of your life to God and His business, God will take care of yours through ways you’ve never imagined. My seminary life was supposed to be a period of burning through a big chunk my savings. At the end of my 4 ½ years of seminary life, God has left me with more than what I had at the beginning, and he also gave me a wife and two kids as a bonus. Not bad! Of course, this is not an encouragement for everyone to become a full-time pastor, but it is a call for all of us to put God and His Mission as our #1 priority in life, and NOT to worry about your own life because God takes care of His workers. So, the encouragement from this verse is to live with others with intentionality, and when God provides for you and blesses you along the way, just receive it with gratitude.
So far, Jesus has instructed His disciples to bless others and live with them. What else do we see here? He said in v.8, “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you.” Jesus’s disciples were probably concerned about which food meets the Jewish dietary law, so Jesus declared once again that all food is permissible to eat. Today, however, that’s not the problem. The problem is that people not only eat too much, but they also complain about food that is set before them. I’ve seen some Christians (none of you, of course, but others that I know), who would complain about the food that’s prepared for them. Jesus teaches us to just eat whatever is set before you. Why? First, it’s given by God. Have some gratitude. Second, so many people labored for the food to be placed before you – from farmers to truck drivers, to grocery store clerks, and to the cook. Again, have some gratitude. Third, for most of the youth here, you’re not even making any money to buy the food that you’re eating every day. So, again, have some gratitude. My I add another reason? There are people of the same age as you on the other side of the planet who are struggling to eat ONE meal a day. Be grateful that you are living on this side of the world where there’s plenty of food. So, we will have several outings together this year, such as the mini-retreat and summer missions. Please try not to complain about food. As Jesus said, just eat whatever is set before you.
In v.9, Jesus says, “Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’” I love how Jesus simply says “heal the sick” without any further instructions on how to do that. It’s as if a mom tells her teenage son to brush his teeth before going to bed. No explanation required. Just do it. Jesus talks about such charismatic work of the Spirit as not charismatic at all. He makes the supernatural healing sound so natural. Supernatural healing is, in fact, natural to God because He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. For the creator God, healing and restoration is just part of his nature. Now, take a closer look: Jesus didn’t instruct His disciples to pray for healing. He simply told the disciples to heal. And, that’s what Peter said to the Lame man, too. “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” It’s that simple. It is the childlike faith that heals. I believe that the reason we do not see much divine healing in America is because we tend to over-complicate the matter of divine healing, and we seek first Mr. or Mrs. Doctor before we seek God. But in places where God is the only option, He still does His miracles far more than what we realize. Jesus tells his disciples to boldly heal others as part of their mission, because of the powerful Spirit of God that is within them.
What does that look like for you? Are there people in your life who need healing? Perhaps, not so many. Most people just go to the hospital. But you know that there are still people who are hurt emotionally and spiritually, and needs healing. There is that lonely kid at the corner of the cafeteria who is having lunch alone every day. There is another kid you know who gets bullied all the time and others laugh at him. There is that coworker who looks depressed day in and day out. They are the hurting people that need healing. They are the people you need to look after. Just like the Good Samaritan, you must care for the outcast, provide for them, and heal them. Healing others of their hurt is part of missions.
Finally, Jesus said, “tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’” Believe it or not, sharing the message comes toward the latter part of missions. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s less important, but it does mean that there are other things to be done when delivering the truth. You first want to bless them, build relationship with them, help with their needs, and then tell them about the Kingdom of God.
Jesus instructed to tell the people “The Kingdom of God is near you now.” There are a couple implications to this message. First, it implies that there exists a different world that is distinct from this world. And second, that world is coming soon. There is this Kingdom of God, which is also called the Kingdom of Heaven, or simply heaven. Jesus used the two terms interchangeably in Mt. 19. In order to tell people about heaven, the reality of heaven must be real to you. D. L. Moody was one of those who saw a glimpse of heaven. He was born in 1837 in Massachusetts, and was one of the greatest evangelists in the 19th century. He was converted at the age of 18 and worked tirelessly for the sake of the gospel until he died at the age of 62. His son, William, was by his bedside when Moody was passing away. Shortly before his death, Moody said this, which became famous around the world: “Earth recedes; heaven opens before me.” William must have thought that is dad was dreaming, but Moody continued, “No, this is no dream, Will. It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.” I can imagine a big and peaceful smile on Moody’s face as he was passing away. Church, this heaven is real! And the consummation of the kingdom of God is closer than ever before! So, there is no time to fool around. We must go and tell people, “The Kingdom of God is near you now.” Once you’ve blessed them, lived with them, and healed them, go and tell them this truth, “The Kingdom of God is near you now.” Tell them about the Good News of Christ Jesus.
So, in the passage that we’ve looked at today, we see that Jesus instructed his disciples on how to do missions. This instruction is very important for us because we are going on a mission trip this summer to Mexico. His instructions can be summarized in four simple steps: bless them, live with them, heal them, and tell them. The same applies while we are living here locally. We are called to speak and pray for blessing upon the people around us, build relationship with them, help them in their needs, and tell them the truth about the Kingdom of God. Again, bless them, live with them, heal them, and tell them. My hope is that, as we engage in God’s mission in our daily lives according to Jesus’s instruction, more unbelievers will come to faith, more will be baptized, and more will be discipled to become agents of God in our realm of life. Church growth and bigger faith community will just be a natural byproduct of that.
Pastor Daniel Kim