By Pastor Wu
12 Aug. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: Do Whatever He Tells You||video||audio|
|Worship song: Deeper In Love||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: All I Once Held Dear||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: The Heart Of Worship||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: With all I am||video||audio||lyric|
Worship song: The Heart of Worship
|Verse 1||When the music fades,
And all is stripped away
And I simply come longing
just to bring something that's of worth
That will bless Your heart
|Pre-Chorus||I'll bring You more than a song For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart
|Verse 2||King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I'm weak and poor
All I have is Yours every single breath
|Verse 3||By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin & death
And rise triumphant from the grave
|Chorus||I'm coming back to the heart of worship
and it's all about You
It's all about You,
Jesus I'm sorry, Lord,
for the things I've made it
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
Opening Prayer By Presider Cathy Zhang:
Lord of mercy, Lord of love, Lord or creation, we thank you for bringing us together by your Holy Spirit on this special day to get together to worship you and praise you. Please send your spirit to us so that we can open our minds and give all our worries to you. And we can also open our ears to hear your Word. Lord, we pray for all nations in this world and all people, we pray for those who are mourning and sick, we pray that you will be with them, with all people who are seeking you consciously or unconsciously. We pray that your love and spirit may open their minds and fill their hearts, so they can come to you and find you someday. We want to pray specifically for those who come to this church, or those who came to listen to you for the first time today, may your words touch them and your spirit swam them, embrace them. We pray for the worship team and the preacher and we pray for all souls who gather together here in a respectful and watchful heart. We want to respect you and worship you and praise you, so that in the future, your words and your light may guide us and control us. In Christ name we pray. Amen
Scripture Reading: John 2:1-11
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
We, this morning, have come back to the heart of worship, and it is all about Jesus. It is not about the music, it is only about Jesus. I truly love that song. And also I'm very happy this morning that our brother who was away for some time and today he comes back, joining us for the worship, which is only about worshipping Jesus, not about the music. So I'd love to give thanks from the bottom of my heart to the Lord Jesus, because He performs miracles and He is the only one who can perform the miraculous signs.
Brothers and sisters, let's come back to the first part of John, Chapter 2. We were told that 2000 years ago, there was a wedding taking place in Cana. Jesus and his mother and all of his disciples were invited to the wedding, to the banquet, so they were there. According to the Jewish custom, on the wedding day, the father and the bride were not supposed to parade - they were not supposed to parade on the shortcut to the bridegroom's home. Instead, they were expected to parade on the longest road of the village to the groom's home so that all the neighbors, friends, all of the households can greet them as they were walking toward the groom's home. The wedding feast, by the Jewish custom, the wedding feast could last for a few days, depending on whether the groom's family is rich or poor. If the groom's family is rich, the feast, the celebration, can last for probably a week or less than a week. But if the groom's family is a poor one, then the feast could last for maybe one or two days. During those few days, relatives of the bride and the groom's, relatives, neighbors, and friends, would come to congratulate the groom's family. And the bridegroom's family would serve them with various fresh fruit and a lot of wine. I think that was why, because there were so many relatives, neighbors and friends who, on the wedding day, made visit and came to the groom's home to greet and congratulate them, to wish them all the best. I think that is why the wine ran out.
Brothers and sisters, I want to raise a question to you: what would be the most embarrassing thing or incident that would happen to a wedding? I can think of three scenarios, first of all, the bride didn't come, or bride came but ran away, or the groom says to the bride, '"I have changed my mind, you have to go home". These are two of the scenarios, and the third one would be they run out of wine. Because wine was so important, and also is very vital for a wedding, because when we celebrate, when we have a feast, the wine is something that can really set us free, can make us happy, can make us speak the things that we normally don't speak, set us free, liberate us. So wine was vital, wine was so important. So I can think of three scenarios that would be the most embarrassing scenarios that would happen to a wedding, and running out of wine would be one of them.
So the mother of Jesus came to Jesus in the hope that Jesus can help, can help the groom's family to solve the problem. Because the mother of Jesus was so kind, was so nice that she didn't want the family to be embarrassed, because she knew the wine was vital, was important. Brothers and sisters, as I was reading this part of Bible, I came to an understanding that the things we think that is important, vital in our life, the things that we believe can make us happy in our life can also run out.
In Luke 15, we learned about a story. I believe you are all familiar with this story and I believe you are all familiar with the every detail of this story. Luke 15, the story was about a father, an old man, who had two sons. And one day the younger one said to his father, "Give me my share of the estate". So the father divided his property between the younger one and the elder one. Bible tells us, not long after that, the younger one gathered everything that he had and set off for a distant country where he squandered, he wasted everything that he had, and soon he became in need, and soon he squandered everything, Bible tells us, in the wild living. What is wild living? Go to bed probably at 3 o'clock in the morning and woke up at 12 o'clock, 12 am in the morning, so that he can enjoy the night life fed with the money and other things that can buy happiness. That is wild living. And Bible also tells us, soon after that, because there was a severe famine in that country. He was in need so much so that he had to be hired by a citizen of that country, who sent him to the field to feed the pig. And the Bible also tells us he longed to fill his stomach with the things that the pig was eating.
So brothers and sisters, you see, the things that can bring us happiness, the things that can make us happy can run out pretty soon, can run out quickly, can run out easily. But brothers and sisters, our Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross so that we can have eternal life. If we come to him, I assure you and our Lord Jesus has assured you that his love, his care, his kindness will never run out.
When the mother of Jesus found that the wine ran out, she was panic so she came to Jesus for help. And then Mary turned to the servant of the groom telling them “Do whatever He tells you”. Do whatever He tells you, do not even think about it. And they did. Brothers and sisters, let me tell you what will happen if you do whatever God tells you. First of all, if you do as God tells you, a miracle will follow. In the first part of John 2, we were told these servants fill up the six jars with water and the water turned into choice wine. What would have happened if these servants said to the mother of Jesus: Well, let me think about it. I don’t believe that. Or give me some money that I can run to the village shop to buy some wine. What would happen if they said so? But they didn’t even think about it. On the contrary, they did whatever Jesus told them to do. As a result of that, the six jars of water turned into choice wine. So brothers and sisters, if you follow whatever Jesus tells you to do, a miracle will happen to you and follow you in your life.
In Exodus14 in the Old Testament, the Pharaoh of Egypt was so regretful about the decision made by him of letting the Israelis leave the country for freedom in the Promised Land given by God. So he together with his army, soldiers, horsemen and warriors were after the Israelis. The Bible tells us as they were approaching, all of the Israelis in the desert were panic and terrified so they came to blame Moses and said: Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you bring us to the desert to die? So bitter. What have you done to us by bringing us to the desert? Didn’t we say in Egypt that leave us alone? Let us serve the Egyptians. It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert! Brothers and sisters can you tell how bitter the Israelis were? And Moses once again brought the complaint to the Lord and our Lord told him “to raise your staff and stretch out it over the sea and the Red Sea will be divided in front of you so that Israelis can walk on dry ground through the Red Sea. And it indeed happened. What if Moses said to the Lord: Well I don’t know, I am not sure if what you said to me works. I am not sure about that. What would happen? But Moses did whatever our Lord told him to do and miracles followed. So brothers and sisters, if you do whatever our Lord tells you to do, a miracle will happen to you and for you; not only a miracle will happen, but also you will have peace with you.
Can you imagine how peaceful the father of the groom when he saw the choice wine there? Taste so nice. Can you imagine how much they were relieved? Or how much peace they have in their hearts? What an embarrassment happened to us but now relieved! Lord, thank you and give you my praise! That must be the response from the family.
A couple of weeks ago, I made a visit to a sister whom I haven’t seen for some time. I knocked the door and as the sister opened the door, I was so astonished; to some degree I was terrified upon seeing this sister because she used to weight about 110 kg but now, I guess only about 60 kg. She has lost a lot of weight because of her sickness she’s suffering from a serious disease. And because of this sickness, she could not swallow like drinking, so progressively she lost her weight. As I was walking into her sitting room, I saw two things on her desk: on the left side it was the Bible and on the right side, there was a notebook with a pen on top of it. Then all of us sat in the sofa and started talking, but the way we communicated was weird: the lady was unable to speak due to her throat muscle was not functioning, so I spoke first a few words to her and she listened and then she picked up the notebook to write a few words as a response to my question. Then we repeated this again and again and that’s the way we communicated. But she was very happy all along. She was not complaining “well I have been a good Christian and I pray a few times a day, why Lord you want this to happen to me?!” She didn’t complain to me at all for she had peace in her heart. One of the biblical words she repeated again and again during the conversation to me is in
Philippians4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
After I came back, I communicated with her by sending short messages and let me read them for you. This one is what she sent to me after I came back: Pastor Wu, praise to the Lord, thank you for coming to encourage me out of your busy schedule. Thank you for your care. We haven’t seen each other for some time and meeting you today fills me with great joy. Thank you again and many thanks to Haidian Church for the care, love and kindness.
This is the first message and then I responded: What I have done is from the Lord and the grace of God. I believe our Lord will be on your left and right sides, guiding you, protecting you and saving you and shielding you.
Then she sent another message to me: Praise to the Lord, thank you Pastor Wu for encouragement, love and care. I have confidence in loving the Lord who I believe will still be with me. I’m like what Job said about God, ” “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you!” (Job 42:5).
Brothers and sisters, you can tell, she has peace in her heart; she didn’t complain and her heart was filled with joy even though she was struggling with the sickness. So brothers and sisters, if you do whatever our Lord tells you to do, a miracle will happen and follow and you will have peace fill your heart.
The wine for the wedding ran out, and the mother told Jesus and Jesus did a miracle, but before that, the mother told the servants do whatever Jesus tells you to do. And a miracle happened and all the relatives of the groom were very happy but one person, he was unhappy. Why? This is what he said: “Everyone brings the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now!” What are you doing? This person was not happy at all because he regard that very embarrassing. Why? When you treat guests, you start with serving good wine, then the guests will drink much of the nice wine and they will continue to drink until their mouths become so numb and they cannot feel their tongues so that they cannot distinguish the bad from the good, then the bad wine will be served. At this time guests cannot tell which one is better. This is the way the host of the banquet hopes to happen. And that’s why the person wasn’t happy at all.
Brothers and sisters, I want to let you know, our God’s plan, for you, for me, for each one of us, is different from your plan for yourself. Our God’s plan is much higher than what you are planning for yourself.
In Genesis37, Joseph, the youngest son of the Israel was so much loved by his father who made a special richly ornamented robe for him. He was very happy with the position and the love and care his father gave to him over all the other brothers. Everyday he was so happy thinking: well I am the king and the ruler of the other eleven brothers. He thought about this everyday and he dreamed about it in the evening. The next day he told his brothers: I had a dream, where we were all out binding sheaves and I saw all of a sudden, my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. You see how proud he was and then he had another dream, and he didn’t conceal it from his brothers because he was too young as an innocent person. So he shared the dream again with his brothers and parents. He said: I had a dream and in the dream, the sun, the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me worshipping and respecting me. You see brothers and sisters; his plan was to be a ruler or a king over his brothers and parents. That is all but God’s plan was very much different from his: He was sold to Egyptians and he was sent into prison and after he left the prison, he became a hierarchy officer of Egypt only under the Pharaoh. So you see the Lord’s plan is so different from his own plan for himself.
Brothers and sisters, I want to let you know the things that can bring us happiness can run out anytime, but do not be afraid, if we come to the Lord for help, our heart and life will be filled with love, joy and care from our Lord Jesus as long as we do whatever our Lord Jesus tells us to do. And always remember, our plan is lower than the plan our Lord Jesus Christ has for us. His plan is always higher and different from our own plan for ourselves. So let us get everything---courage, wisdom and trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In His presence, He can fill our hearts with joy and things that can never run out. Amen.