The Jewish Synagogue and the Remnant Ministry (Acts 14:1-7) August 21, 2011
We have finished all of the summer retreats. Starting with the college and young adult group retreat in June, we have held the children’s retreat, prenatal retreat, and the youth group retreat and the Kindergarten retreat last week. This year, we gathered all English-speaking multiethnic college students at four different places and shared messages, and we also held cultural, language, and academic camp for two weeks and a vision camp, a college tour to prestigious universities in the East Coast. As I participated in all of them and shared the messages, I was able to take a closer look at our Remnants and saw a lot of hope and vision. I saw about three hopes, and I request all of you lay leaders and believers including all parents to pray. First, our Remnants listened to the Word very well. That is how pure they are, and whatever entered them will come straight back out. The Word is in fact God, and that Word is living and active. This is what we must do for our children. We must hold onto the Word first and let our children keep on hearing it (Deu.6:1-9 – two things that were specifically emphasized to be done in Canaan). Second, through our Remnants, I saw the hope of our parents and our church. The words Remnant, elite, and summit were the theme of the entire Darakbang ministry and all of our retreats. “You will trample down their high places” (Deu.33:29) is God’s covenant for our children. Or this God has saved us, made us His children, and promised us that He will be our helper, shield, and glorious sword”. Restore these three things: your identity, three battles (God has promised the background and the strength with which you can fight), and challenge to the world (“You will trample down their high places”). With this mystery, you must go to the world, your family, and your school as a Remnant Missionary. You must prepare yourself as a Remnant lay leader who will take care of God’s church in the future. Many of our teachers who participated in the retreats grew up as Remnants. I can see our future in the next five to ten years. Third, I was able to confirm more specifically the Remnant Age and the RUTC Age, which will begin through these Remnants. Their time is definitely coming. Age of Moses will pass and age of Joshua will come. What are you going to do today for that time? When the children who grew up in our prayers and support stand in that age, how joyful and moving will it be? Today’s passage records that Paul and Barnabas went into a region of Iconium and preached the Gospel at the Jewish Synagogue. This was not the first time Paul went into a synagogue to preach along his mission trip. In fact, everywhere he went he went into the Jewish synagogue first.
1) There were the descendants of the Jewish people, the Remnants.
a. The word “Remnant” to the Jewish people was a word they had a consuming passion for. When the Israelites completely lost hold of God’s covenant and were being taken captive, God continuously gave them the covenant of the Remnant. There are the ones “God has remained” (holy seed). “Those who remain”, “those who will remain”, and “those who were chosen from the beginning” are the Remnants.
b. In the Bible, the word that is second most important after the “Gospel” is the “Remnant”. In a sense, salvation has the meaning “Remnant”. There are people who chose to remain when the world is going towards destruction and judgment. That is why all of us who are saved are Remnants. Because God has remained us, we will never go astray no matter what, and we will remain until the end. We will not just simply survive. We will remain as those who conquer and save the world (I studied this concept of Remnant for a whole semester at my seminary). Finding “those who remained” (Remnants) is evangelism. Helping these Remnants grow as Remnants is “discipleship training”.
2) In fact, Paul went into the synagogue because God’s future and the future of the world lay there.
a. That was one thing the Jewish people did really well. Even when their nation went astray and they were taken captive, colonized, and scattered, with hope they staked everything for their descendants. That is how they came to build the synagogue. Even now, where there are Jewish people, there are synagogues. The synagogue is not just a place for worship, but it is built for raising their descendants.
b. That is the very reason why we are trying to build RUTC’s all over the world. We must help our Remnants to prepare for their own future, the future of their families, and the future of God’s church and the world. This cannot be done at public institutions or at church where Remnants meet only once a week. We need a place where continuous healing and concentrated training can take place. That is why we have an RUTC at our church and the World RUTC is being built in Korea.
3) What eventually change the world are disciples. They are not just churchgoers, but trained disciples. They must receive that training from early on. Do you think there is hope when you fail and wander around now? If parents really hold firmly to God’s covenant and pray in faith, it will be absolutely delivered to their children. Extremely speaking, if your children are losing hold of God’s covenant, leave him to God’s hand and help other Remnants. Then the fruits will absolutely come back to you. Doing mission is the same principle. Even though things may be hard for you, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38) Of course we are not doing mission with this kind of motive. But that eventually is the seed we are sowing (2Tim.2:6). The Early Church members were persecuted, impoverished, and faced with many difficulties, but they evangelized and did world missions.
2. Content – What must we deliver our Remnants, descendants, and to the world?
1) We must deliver the Gospel. We must deliver God’s love, plan, and power within Christ Jesus (Rom.1:16-17). God loves every single soul, He has a plan for every single soul, and He is able.
2) The one who came for that reason is Christ. Come out from all the curses through Christ (curses of the original sin, family, fate, and hell – priest). Through that Christ, you must fight and defeat the spiritual forces that rule over the world of the Darkness and make you fail regardless of your effort and diligence Satan and the evil spirits (King). He is within you forever, walking with you, guiding your way, and helping you (prophet).
3) Within those who have this Christ, there is God’s life. No one can make them crumble. Children of God have all identities and authorities to enjoy all of God’s blessings as their very own. Even though the world may go corrupt, crumble, and fall into curses, those who have remained, those who will remain, and those who will conquer are Remnants. Through this Christ, you must become happy, and those you meet and the entire world must become happy. People in charge of this work are evangelists.
4) There is only one thing we must do. We must enjoy this as our very own, and therefore, gain realistic strength. That is why we give worship (receive the greatest strength), and we must enjoy within scheduled prayer, and 24-hour prayer. I can do anything with God’s strength (Phil.4:13 and 2Cor.12:10). As much as we take faith in it, the Holy Spirit will work.
Before the evangelists who went into the synagogue with this mystery there were two results. A lot of believers (chosen ones) arose including the Jews and Greeks, and on the other hand there were many who opposed the idea. But Paul and Barnabas did not care. They spoke more boldly in verse 3. Eventually, God gave them more evidence and let them preach the Word. I bless and hope that the evidence of God’s blessings and answers may continue in every Word of God you hold to and preach.