To Be a Model Church for All Who Believe (1 Thessalonians 1:2-7)
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
The year 2016 is meaningful in many ways. It is our church’s 20th anniversary. The human age 20 is a significant age. Many souls have been saved and healed and become evangelists and church officers through our church. I am especially grateful to see the Remnants who had been born to us 20 years ago all grown up to assume important roles at church. Everything is by the grace of God. Until now we have laid down a foundation. Now is the time to go onto the main stage. Those of you who think you are too old now, do not think to yourself, “There’s nothing much to do now. It’s all over,” but pray for faith and health through which you can participate in the next 20 years of blessings. The main stage is the answer of standing stand as witnesses to all churches and believers both individually and as one church. We are not trying to make our church well-known and popular. If there is anything we should boast, we should boast of our weaknesses and boast of Christ. Though we are lacking, we do have to receive the answer of becoming a model church by His grace. “And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:7)
We must be a model church of spiritual blessings. The Church of Thessalonica is a church that Paul established on his second missionary journey despite he was stoned by the Jews (Acts 17). A church born in the midst of grave hardships, it became a model of three spiritual blessings for all other churches (verse 3).
(1) Your work produced by faith. You must have the faith of one heart.
- We serve the one and only God. In order to solve the spiritual problems of this world, He came as Christ. There could be more despair than hope in the world next year. People are getting more and more corrupt and evil. More people will be oppressed and afflicted (Isaiah 60, 2 Timothy 3, and Revelation 12). Satan will try until the end.
- Have you run into another problem or hardship in your life? Confess that Jesus Christ is your one and only and fix your eyes upon Him. That is the faith of one heart. The forces of Darkness that conflict and hinder you will crumble and you will see God’s evidence that far passes your level, circumstance, and conflict.
(2) Your labor prompted by love. The forces of Darkness will crumble and many doors to evangelism will open wherever we go because we have the mystery of only Christ.That is when you need the labor of love. Jesus did not just love us with His words; He gave Himself for us. Love must be accompanied by labor. Not only should you understand, consider and help, you should also be ready to find yourself at a loss for love (Mark 10:17-31).
- Where does the labor of love come from? It comes from your wholehearted love for the Lord. That is when the church too will stand firm. Despite Peter’s big failure, Jesus entrusted him with a big task in John 21 under none but one condition: “Do you love Me?” Is there anyone who is giving you a hard time? Love that person even more prompted by the love of Christ you have received. You will be blessed in return.
- Though you many think what you are doing is petty and insignificant, it is never petty or insignificant if you are doing it out of your love for the Lord. He will remember your labor and it will become an eternal blessing. This is what Jesus says in His parable of sheep and goats: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) Even if it is the smallest labor in the world, do it out of your love for the Lord. If that is not the case, it is fake and just for formality’s sake.
(3) Your endurance inspired by hope. Satan’s method is that he prevents you from continuing. Many people have a hard time continuing. What successful people have in common is that they are good at continuing. What disciples have in common is that they continue regardless of any kinds of affliction. You can continue because you have hope. Satan makes you lose hope, stop continuing, and give up.
- God has undoubtedly prepared our future and our path. He has even prepared our eternal future. Before you go to heaven and enjoy the eternal future God has prepared for you, you must receive answers, serve, and stand before God to the extent you save the world. Do not shake, but continue.
- But it is difficult to continue by our own strength. That is why He promised us the filling of the Holy Spirit. Only through the filling of the Holy Spirit can you continue. Even Paul said that only through power, the Holy Spirit and deep conviction was he able to establish the Church of Thessalonica. This year, hold on to the covenant, challenge yourself in prayer, and continue until you gain this power. That is how the Mark’s Upper Room Church was able to experience the works that took place in Acts 2 (Acts 1:13-14).
Once you start experiencing these three spiritual blessings, God will undoubtedly use you according to His desire and will (time schedule). These are the three directions of the church. You must become the main figure of this blessing. God will give you the rest.
(1) The door to continuous multiethnic ministry. If you hold to this covenant, you will undoubtedly receive the answer of saving this nation.
- Without this covenant, there is no reason for us to live here and this nation will fall apart with no bottom (drugs, corruption, and terrorism). When people from all over the world came to the United States, they brought with them their religions and idols. As prophesied in Revelation 18, this nation will become a dwelling place for all demons. Incomprehensible spiritual problems will continue to rage. That is to which we must provide the solution.
- Until now, God has allowed us to build a foundation for English, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino ministries. Now is the time to go past that. We need disciples from various countries to rise and save their fellow compatriots. The number is not that important; the disciples are. We must raise disciples who will throw away all scars and conflicts and stake their lives on the gospel and evangelism. Start praying and devoting yourself to raising disciples of various languages and cultural backgrounds that are yet to exist at One Mind.
(2) Disciples who will usher in the Age of the Remnant. The age in which Remnants rise and save the United States and the world will certainly come.
- This year, help Remnants make the gospel be imprinted and rooted in them and become part of their nature and deepen their spirituality. The key here is prayer. God has given us everything in the gospel (Matthew 16:16-19). You must experience what God has given you through prayer. All believers must pray sincerely for Remnants, pray with them, and train them to pray on their own. People are not trained in prayer. That is why things are so difficult for them. I suggest every department to conduct its own prayer training and spirituality training.
- Once you continue to study in the midst of the blessing of prayer, you will eventually see your talent that God has given you and in what you must challenge yourself. That is when you will be able to start forming your specialty. On that note, we need personal counseling, mentoring, and internship. It is all about how we help our Remnants personalize, specialize, and “disciple-ize”. We must become a model church in this area. We will raise many Remnant summit disciples who will change this nation in the next 20 years of our ministry.
(3) Healing ministry. Pray that your deep inner world, life, imprints, roots, and nature may be healed. Make this year the turning point of your life.
- Many people who are afflicted and oppressed will be revived through us. I challenge you to fight the full-on spiritual battle and pray that many health and healing professionals arise. Health professionals must form a healing team and begin a specialized ministry.
- Pray for establishing a healing ministry center. We must heal people with mental disorders, addicts, and elderly citizens. We can do it because we have the mystery of Christ.
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4) I really wanted to emphasize this: you, who have embraced this message in your heart, are loved by God that He has chosen you for America evangelization in this age. May the year 2016, the year that marks the next 20 years of our ministry, be the year of greatest answers and blessings for you.