By Pastor Wu
08 June 2014 Sunday
|Sermon: A New Command||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: 10000 Reasons||video||audio||ppt|
|Worship song: How Great Thou Art||video||audio||ppt||txt|
|Worship song: Seek Ye First||video||audio||ppt||txt|
|Worship song: Come, now is the time to worship||video||audio||ppt||txt ?|
Presider: Jessica Wang
Let us bow down and pray together. God of love, God of mercy, God of righteousness, we want to praise your name, praise the Lord who forgives all our sins, who heals our disease both spiritually and physically. Praise the Lord who redeems us from death. Praise your Holy Name who satisfies us with all good things. Dear Lord, we praise you, worship you and give thanks to you, because you show your love and mercy to the ones who fear you. Your love endures forever. Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father, Holy Spirit, Trinity God, today we come all together by your love, we come all together to praise you and worship you. Lord, please let us feel your presence while we are singingworship songs to you and studying your Word, because through your Word, we will know you more. Lord, we want to lift up our brothers and sisters here in your hands. You know our hearts and you know our desire. So we want to lift up your name on high. And we want to praise you and worship you with our whole hearts and our whole minds, with our whole souls and with our whole strengths. Lord, we also want to lift up your servant, our pastor, into your hand. Today, please send your Holy Spirit upon him and show him your power, your strength and your wisdom. Lord, please be with him, let the word in his month and thoughts in his mind be pleasing to you. Lord, we also lift up all the brothers and sisters here who serve you in your hands.Please be with us and strengthen us. Let your glory fill this whole church. Lord, we want to lift up all things into your mighty hands. Please be with us.Let us feel your presence. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture Reading: John 13:31-35
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.
32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Yes, indeed, one day all the tongues will confess Jesus is our Lord. Yes, indeed all the knees will bow in the presence of our Lord, because He is the only one in this universe that is worthy of our praise. And indeed, we come to the church to seek first the Kingdom. We do not come to the church to seek money. We do not come to the church to seek personal friendship with other people. We come to the church to seek first the Kingdom and the righteousness. Because we come to the church to have our relationship with our Heavenly Father restored, so that we can just hold onto the hand of our God and we can be saved. And we hold onto the hand of Jesus that we can be assured of the salvation from Jesus and through Jesus will one day come upon us that we can be saved.
I love to sing songs and I truly believe the Holy Spirit is and was with us and was with us this morning when I was singing with the congregation with the choir. My soul and my heart and my body were touched by the Spirit. And the song was a very lovely song this morning. And I like to give praise to the Lord first and also praise to the worship leader. Many thanks for their work for their service in our church. And brothers and sisters, I truly believe their presence in this church is the demonstration of the Lord.
And you shall always and all the time love one another. That is the new commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples which is recorded in John 13.In this chapter, Jesus gives us a new command that, you, the followers of Jesus Christ should love one another. And that is the topic that I want to share today with you. Chapter 13 in the Gospel according to John.
First, let us say that the story about Jesus is one of the darkest moments of Jesus’ life. Why? Because in Chapter 13of the Gospel according to John, Jesus predicted that He was going to be betrayed by one of his most trusted disciples by the name of Judas. Judas was a disciple who was responsible for the money. He was the chief financial officer for the team for the disciples of the Lord. You know what, if you are running a business today who would most likely be the accountant, be the financial chief officer, your wife or your son or your daughter, because you trust them. They are your relatives. They are trustworthy to you. But this guy is going to betray Jesus. So that is why I was thinking and I believe that the story in Chapter 13 of John is one of the darkest moments in Jesus’ life.
Second. Jesus predicted that his disciple by the name of Peter was going to deny Him, how many times? Three times. Not one time, not two times, but three times! Who was Peter? Peter was the holder of the key to heaven, because Jesus said, “I will give the key of heaven to you. If you tie somebody up, I will tie them up in heaven. If you lose someone up, I will free them in heaven.”(Matthew 16:19) What does Peter mean? Peter means rock. On this rock, Jesus is going to build a church and every church in this world (Matthew 16:18).On Peter, on this rock, but it is this Peter, the most trusted, the most important follower of Jesus, a disciple of Jesus who denied him three times. Jesus predicted that.
So I felt this story about Jesus in John 13 is the darkest moment in Jesus’ life. I continued to read this chapter. I found another reason why the story in this chapter is one of the darkest moments in Jesus’ life.
As soon as Judas left the house where Jesus was having the last meal, His last meal with His disciples, among the disciples of Jesus, a dispute arose about who would be the greatest. Some one of His disciples wanted to be the leader, wanted to be the boss, the teacher or the master of all the people. So brothers and sisters, in chapter 13, Jesus predicted that Judas would betray Jesus, Peter would deny him three times and there was a possible division or split among the disciples. What a terrible situation Jesus was involved in Chapter 13. So that is why I am saying John Chapter 13 is one of the darkest moments in Jesus’ life. And it is because of the division and because of these challenges Jesus said to His disciples, “I will give you a new command: love one another as I have already loved you.” It is because of this that Jesus gave a new command to His disciples.
Another thing I want to share with you. When Jesus gave the command to His disciples, He did not just say that I give you a new command. He did not just say that, He did it. He carried out it first, so that you can take an example to learn from. He demonstrated how to carry out that love so you will learn from what He did. He gave us a new command first and then told us how to make that kind of love happen. He taught us the strategy and the method, the way to carry out love the way Jesus loved us.
So I want to tell you in which way Jesus loved us. When Jesus showed His love to people, and He loves people, brothers and sisters, He loves people irrespective of who a person is. He does not care who you are. He does not care if you are rich or not. He does not care if you are beautiful or not. He does not care if you are a man or a woman. He does not care if you are old or young. He does not care about these things. He just loves you because He is God, because that is the attribute of being God. Because He is God, He is love. Because He is love, He is God. Without love, He is not God. He does not care who you are, poor or rich, young or old, beautiful or ugly, Chinese or American, if you have a different color skin. He does not mind. He just loves you, because that is His nature. That is the way it is. That is what God is, He must love you. He does not choose if you are lovely or unlovable. He does not choose if you are a righteous person or you are a sinner. He just came to love you. That is the attribute of Jesus being God.
In Matthew 9,Jesus was having dinner with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus, a teacher, a master, a boss, was not supposed to be on the side of Pharisees, not supposed to have dinner with sinners, with bad people, but Matthew 9 tells us when Jesus was having dinner in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and with the disciples. Many tax collectors and sinners, people who steal, people who rob, people who kill, people who rape, they all came to have dinner together with Jesus and His disciples and in particular, the tax collectors, in the minds of the average people, they are the sinners. But they all had dinner with this master, with this teacher, with this boss, with this “moral image.” And He is not supposed to do this, but they misunderstood Jesus. Because Jesus is God, He must love and He has to love. That is the way He is, that is His attribute.
And Jesus was so humble in Matthew 9:12. Jesus said to us, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” We go to a hospital because we are sick. We go to see a doctor because we feel unhealthy. And sinners and tax collectors came to Jesus with a need to recover from the sinner’s situation so that they can restore the broken relationship with God, so that they also can have hope that one day they will be saved. So, Jesus loves us. Jesus gave us a new command. He not only gave us a new command, but He also told us a strategy. He tells us a method how to love like Jesus loves. Jesus loves us no matter who you are: young, rich, beautiful, handsome, Chinese, American, English, He loves you. And that is the way we shall love one another.
What are some of the ways that Jesus loves people? He loves those who seem, to other people, unlovable. Many people in this world love to say, “I love my wife, I love my daughter because they are my wife and daughter.” In my heart, they are loveable. They are my treasure. I value them. I love them so much. I want to do everything for them. That is the way I am, and I believe that is the way you carry out love as well. Sometimes, we do extend a little bit of our love to the poor, to the needy, to those who don’t seem very lovable. Why? Because we want to seek a good feeling about ourselves. When we give out a little bit money to the needy, to the beggar, we feel so good about ourselves. You see, I am doing so well. I am well off. I am rich and you are a bad guy. So that is why you are the way you are. We feel so good about ourselves that is why we extend a little bit of our love to other people. When we do, we want to show to the other people that we are morally the much better person than they are; we are much more responsible persons in this society. In this world, we are better than the other people. That is why we want to share a little bit of our treasure with others. Because we seek a good feeling about ourselves. But that is not the way Jesus loves the people in this world.
When Jesus loves people, He not only doesn’t care who you are. He chose those “unlovable” people to love. In Matthew 8, the Bible tells us when Jesus came down from the mountainside where the transfiguration took place, a large crowd followed Him. A man with leprosy, a kind of infectious disease, came and knelt before the Lord. The man said, “If you are willing, you can make me clean”. Yes indeed, if Jesus said, “Yes, you are clean now,” he could become clean. But, that is not the way Jesus demonstrated His love. Instead of saying the words, “You are clean,” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the rotten body of this person with leprosy, and told him, “Be clean.” Brothers and sisters, if you are in the market, when there is a person with leprosy walking toward you, what would you do? You would stay away from him. You would run away while yelling, “Leprosy, leprosy, stay away from him! Stay away from her!” So maybe that’s the way you are. But Jesus reached out His hand and touched the unlovable. And touched the untouchable. Touched the low-caste. Touched the things that are not loveable.
Jesus gives us a new command, “Love one another.” He not only told us that we should do that, but also taught us the strategy by demonstrating His own love over us and for us. He told us when we love, we should love with a respect forother people. He told us when we love, we should go over to love those untouchable, unlovable. We should love those we seem to hate. And Jesus told us His love never ends. His love is a never-ending love. “I love you today, but hate you tomorrow,” that is not what Jesus wants you to do. He wants you to continue to love. He wants you to forgive one person seventy times seven times..That is what Jesus wants you to do. To love each other. Jesus wants you to have a heart of forgiveness so that we can be open to embracing everyone who seems so hateful to us.
Before Jesus was crucified on the cross, one of the things He chose to do is to wash the feet of His disciples. He not only washes the feet of John and Peter, but also the feet of the person who wants to betray him for 30 dollars. Why? It was because Jesus did not want to give up on sinners and because Jesus did not want to give up on those who sinned against him. Jesus gave Judah a choice. Yes, of course, Jesus came to this world to be betrayed and to be crucified on the cross, as that was the will of God. Judah had the freewill as to whether or not he was going to choose to betray Jesus, or be loyal and faithful to him. He could choose, but he chose to betray Jesus and people have freewill to choose. Jesus chose to wash his feet as he wanted to change his heart and move his heart so that he could be saved. Judah chose to betray Jesus, but Jesus did not want to give up on anyone.
Peter denied Jesus three times and he denied Jesus to such a degree that he went back to fishing in the lake. If I were Jesus, I would say to Peter, “Fine, you denied me three times, we aren’t friends anymore. I hate you, you can go to hell.”If I were Jesus, this is what I would do. “You want to go fishing? Fine, there are no fish in this lake at all.” That is not the way Jesus loves people. Jesus asked “Do you have anything to eat?” (John 21:5) Peter said, “Nothing.” Jesus asked him to cast the net on the right side of his boat and he would have plenty. He did and he had plenty of fish. Peter jumped into the water to flee away from Jesus but Jesus was waiting on the shore of the lake for him to come back. And indeed, Peter came back. Jesus came to the lake for Peter. Why? Was it because Jesus was hungry and he wanted to have something to eat? Was it because Jesus wanted to have some delicious seafood to eat? Was it because he wanted to have some lobster, some crab or trout to eat? No, he did not want to give up anyone.
His love is never ending, and he wants us to have a heart of forgiveness. So brothers and sisters, in John13:35, Jesus said, “By this…” Not by money, not by beauty, not by beautiful hair, dressor suit, not by a full of wallet of money, or by a check, not by this but “…by love. All will know you are my disciples.”So love is the mark of Christians. Love is the mark by which people can recognize and acknowledge you are Christians.
So dear brothers and sisters, let us to love each other, to carry out this new command from Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, I love this! I love to be here. I want to share with you. When I am sharing I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. I want to talk to you and welcome you every Sunday to the church. To see people who are working and people who are studying at the university. I just love you and just want to be here. I want you to get involved in this church in any way you can as a volunteer. And I also admire the students who are working so hard to have a good academic life. But all the while, you choose to come to church to get close to Jesus and to be in Jesus. I admire you and I admire those most that do student ministry, who take time to be with students so that they can know the words of the Lord and the teaching of the Lord.
This last February I was in Nashville, Tennessee (United States), visiting a few friends of mine. I was very fortunate to meet a lady whose name is Ann Kreiten and she is working in a printing press by the name of Life Way. And this Life Way is trying to collect good Christian materials that they can publish as books for churches in every part of the world, so that they can train volunteers and can train disciples to know more about the Word of the Lord, and so that they can get involved in the church. I had the opportunity to share with this lady and she was so passionate about her work. Her husband happens to be a campus pastor. I wanted them to share how significant it is to have young people in the church. I also want Ann to come to share with us how blessed she has been in this publishing ministry.
I thank you Pastor Wu for this opportunity that I can be here with you today. I want you to know that I am an example of God loving an old, ugly, white person. But I did not start out as an old, ugly, white person. I was a young, ugly, white person. I remember my university days, when Ann and I met, in the university. There was a loving church very near to our campus and they loved us and encouraged us. And that kind of set the stage for we did with our life in the future. For 11 years in our ministry in the United State, we had the privilege to work with young adults and especially college students. I love college ministry and I believe God has planted this church, where you are today, because you are so strategically placed by Peking University, the greatest university in China, and one of the greatest in the world. You have the opportunity to take the love that God has given you, the love that God has already expressed to you, and express it to the university students. The university students are making major decisions in their lives: Who are they going to marry (that’s where I met my wife)?What are they going to do in the rest of their lives? Where are they going to live? How are they going to live? The greatest decision they can make is to ask Christ to come into their life as their Lord and Savior. And how they find out it is because someone loves them enough to tell them about it. Each one of you that is seated here today is a product of this great love that Pastor Wu just talked about. “A new commandment I give to you today that you love one another.”Someone loved you enough to invite you to the church. Someone loved you enough to share the Gospel with you. Someone loved you enough to disciple you to help you grow.
That great love you have, that same opportunity to love, is to let God’s love flow through you to this university. And I challenge your church to do that because these students will then go all over the world, and they will then have the opportunity to share that same love. We discovered that the students we ministered 30 or 40 years ago are now all over the world, serving God and living for Him because a church reached out to them and showed them God’s love.And they discovered Him and have followed Him. I challenged you to do that with the students that you have here today in front of you. God bless you and thank you very much for the opportunity to share with you. I want to give some of this time to Ann.
I bring you greetings from Nashville, Tennessee where Life Way publishing company is. Life Way has been publishing discipleship materials for 120 years. I’ve only started working there about 10 years ago, but I want you to know that I have been using discipleship material many years to teach small groups. It is not the materials we know that changes our hearts, but it is Bible study material that drives us to God’s Word and God’s Word transforms our hearts. And by God’s Word transforming our hearts, we are able to love like Pastor Wu talked about. I can’t love that way on my own, only when God changes my heart. So I want to encourage you to get plugged in to a small group. When I was looking through your website I was encouraged that you also have small groups. But, I know in that small group studying God’s words together, we will begin to grow and we will begin to have transformed lives.
We have seen that over and over again in our ministry. We had the opportunity to live in Singapore for three and a half years. We had a young Chinese man who came and visited us one day and he said, “I have looked around and I have seen Christians love their wives, love their children and love their families. I want to learn to love like that.” He said, “I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I cannot do that. I am still angry and I still get embittered.” So we had a chance to show him by disciplining him. We don’t do that on our own, but God teaches us how to love in that way. And you have that opportunity, too. I just want to encourage you in your walk with the Lord that you become a disciple, that you study his Word. Thank you.