March 13, 2016 – The love of Jesus in my heart

Fifth Sunday in Lent            March 13,2016        Philippians 3:4b-14

The love of Jesus in my heart  by Isaac (Ryong Jae) Jung

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Good morning! I am happy to be here with you today. I would like to begin with some questions. “What are you living for?” “Do you want to live happily?” “What is happiness?” “Is it to earn a lot of money?” “Is your goal to get a high position?”

Where is true happiness or joy? We may not be able to find true happiness or joy in worldly things. People who have Jesus in their lives and hearts know their final goal and are able to find happiness or joy. Therefore, we need to live a fruitful and meaningful life pleasing God through Jesus. “In Jesus, I am happy.” In Jesus, there are happiness, joy, and peace that the world cannot give us. Even though we have a lot of things, learn about many things, gain worldly fame, and get high positions in life, it is not true happiness or joy without Jesus. The worldly things pass away within a short time.

Do you know the song, “Gangnam Style?” Four years ago, many people enjoyed this Korean Pop song in the United States. “Gangnam Style” means a luxurious lifestyle in the Gangnam district in Seoul the Korean capital. In the car, when I heard this song on the radio and was so shocked because I heard Korean language on the U.S. radio. Whenever I met people, they were always talking about this song. The song’s music video has been viewed over 2.53 billion times on YouTube. But these days, no one mentions this song, showing that all trends, no matter how popular, pass and only the trend of Jesus will remain.

However, in order to live a happy life in Jesus, there are preconditions. First, what I should give up? Things we should give up. Today’s passage in Philippians chapter 3 tells us that we need to put down most of the things that we had before believing in Jesus. Captured by self-righteousness, Apostle Paul used to cling to his own things as he had a strong pride on worldly sources before meeting Jesus. However, after meeting Jesus, he put down those things. He was considered faultless because he was a Roman citizen, who had tremendous privilege and received envy from others. Coming from a good background and being loyal to Judaism, he thought that people who believed in Jesus were heretic and took the lead in catching Christians. However, after meeting Jesus, everything changed.

According to research of church history, Apostle Paul lived 60 years. He lived in his own self-righteous and self-centered life for 30 years, but confessed that he was satisfied only by Jesus and lived a life for Jesus for the remaining 30 years. He devoted his remaining life to carry out God’s work as he traveled to spread the gospel. He even wrote or influenced 14 out of 27 books of the New Testament.

Knowledge of Jesus is not obtained through studying but by the Spirit. We need to experience the love of Jesus and meet him as our lives will be changed. When we meet Jesus and have fellowship, it is not us who live but Jesus who lives in us. We will become the children of God who give glory only to Jesus, leave everything to Jesus, and work for the accomplishment of God’s will.

The Bible tells us about a tax collector, Zacchaeus. He was not a person who was admired and loved by people because at that time, tax collectors collected unfair amounts from Jews, being Roman officials’ agents. The Jews thought that they were traitors and despised them as some of the money paid was kept for personal gain. However, after meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus was totally changed. After inviting Jesus to his house, Zacchaeus confessed, “I give half of my possessions to the poor.” He used to think that money was most important and holding unto it.

Money is given by God to use well, not something to hold onto. Many people were going crazy about the Powerball a while ago. However, most lottery winners’ lives are unhappy as families are separated and become enemies. In this sense money can take away happiness. We were born with nothing and when we leave this world, we leave empty handed. Although we earn a lot of money and have great knowledge, we cannot take them with us after death. Through meeting Jesus, I hope that you also get changed and become the blessed servants of God.

Second, what are we trying to obtain after believing in Jesus? Apostle Paul clearly said what he tried to obtain in today’s passage in Philippians. What we should keep in our hearts and live holding unto is our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are pleased only by Jesus. If we obtain Jesus Christ, we obtain everything. If we lose Jesus Christ, we also lose everything.

Before meeting Jesus, I was very famous math teacher in Seoul, Korea. I spent most of my time earning money as a math teacher because I worshiped money more than God. At that time, money was my top priority. Money was an important life goal. I became a money-making machine. Through this desperate experience of not being able to understand God’s vision for my life, I prayed and God answered. Money cannot be my Lord as Jesus Christ is my only Lord whom I should follow in life. I was changed by Jesus Christ. After meeting Jesus, I threw out everything that I used to love. I realized that I loved money the most. So I decided not to be a slave of money. As I put down money, I gained Jesus. From that moment, I followed a new path in my life which became a faithful journey of worshiping Jesus Christ as my Lord.

We need to be armed with the righteousness from God and participate in the power of the Resurrection of Jesus. Although we go through pain, when we participate in the power of the Resurrection, we will be more than conquerors of pain and death. Because Jesus gave us the spirit of the resurrection, we can overcome pain, conflict, and death. Giving thanks to God for the grace of taking hold of us, we should press on toward the Lord. Our life should be held by Jesus and look only unto Jesus. As our lives pass, we must live with meaning, happiness, and joy giving glory to the Lord. Take good care of each other, love each other, and forgive each other. We should live by giving thanks and for the glory of God, making every day happy.

Last, I would like to tell you about the ultimate goal of life. Our ultimate and only goal of our lives is Jesus Christ. We relying only on Jesus. We march forward with faith only in Jesus. By following the image of Jesus spiritually, we should change to the image of Jesus. I hope that you internally change to humble Jesus and externally spread the words of Jesus whom you have as your Savior. That is joy and that is happiness. I want to spread the gospel of Jesus to whom I have met and follow Jesus. I hope that we can all be acknowledged and praised by God.

How futile are our lives if we fight over worldly things, throw a fit, and get angry? When God asks, “What were you doing until the very last?” will you say, ” I was throwing a fit. I had fight with wife or husband.” Instead, we should be able to say, “I did my best for the work of the Lord. I tried to follow the image of Jesus.” Then, God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Apostle Paul testified that he strived toward what is ahead. This is critical to remember. “Forgetting what is behind.” Do not look back. Do not cling to past scars. Look at what is ahead. Jesus loves you so much. I hope that you live in overwhelming love.

Where the joy comes from? I want to sing a song for you which can help illustrate an answer. (Song) “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy. Down in my heart. Down in my heart. Down in my heart. I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy. Down in my heart. Down in my heart to stay. And I’m so happy. So very happy. I have the love of Jesus in my heart. And I’m so happy. So very happy. I have the love of Jesus in my heart.”

I am God’s beloved. You are God’s beloved. We are all God’s beloved. We have the love of Jesus in our hearts. I pray that you confess, “Thank you, Lord. I will live my only one life for you” and dedicate your whole life to Jesus. This is my earnest prayer for you.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.