Monday, March 25, 2013

More than enough room! 十分な部屋以上のもの

 Luke ルカ14:16-24
Once again, we are looking at a parable of Jesus.  So far, we have learned that Parables are teaching tools that come out of real life experiences and Jesus uses them to teach us some real life Spiritual lessons.  The weak point here may be with us who misunderstand the parable or if we don’t follow the teaching.  The lesson here seems to be straightforward: Be ready to come when He calls.
The problem in this story is that the people who were called did not take it seriously at all.  In fact, they came up with three pretty silly and, could be interpreted as selfish or foolish reasons.  三人の貧しい者の言い訳
1. Bought a field and now I got to go see it?  Really?  Would you really buy a field and not see it first?
2. Bought five oxen and need now to go try them out?  Really? Why did he really buy them before he tried them out before hand?
3. Just got married?  Really?  Already blaming his inaction on the wife!  If something goes wrong-blame the wife.
It would like the line some make when they don’t want to go on that date: “I can’t go out with you on Friday because I am washing my hair.”  What about Saturday?  No, I’m drying my hair!
It would have been better if they told the truth: “I don't care about your party! Leave me alone!
Well, this response from the man’s friends angered him.  Angry because his friends were treating his offer so poorly.  Angry because his friends would not show him any courteous for his kindness. In short, they grew cold toward him.
The active people in our story are unnamed but ever so important to the results.  His servants”, “the servant”, “his servant” by title only.  This role was one of action and of being very involved with the community around him.  He was doing the will of his master. この共同体における仕えるも
のとしての役割 Going, talking, pleading in some cases, reporting back factual reports of how things were going.  This person or group of people were really dedicated to their master and would do anything and DID do anything for him.  They responded to the master’s request to compel others to come for the meal.  To go beyond the comfort zone and really ‘get’ those people to come in for the feast.
In short, I really liked these guys.  Men of action.  行動する男性。Men with a mission.  Men who really went the extra mile to satisfy their master.  But we don't know their names!  A group of no bodies.  No named workers
The Bible is filled with such people.  Who was it that built the Tabernacle? (Exodus 25) Oh, we got a few names of the men God chose to give special talents with gold and silk and gems but he (Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah and Oholiah from the tribe of Dan) did not do ALL the work by themself.  They had helpers.  Who were they?  Don’t know.
Who were the men who fought for Israel.  We got a few names of the leaders and about 70 Men of Valor with King David, but they too had seconds to help out but we never hear their names.
And even if we did read of their names, the names were hard to pronounce.  Yet, the Work of God continued and He got the Glory for all the Acts of God in Human History.
When it comes to the New Testament, Paul, esp. uses a lot of names of Saints who followed the Lord.  He even named some enemies of the Gospel-telling the reader to watch out for Alexander, the metalworker who did Paul great harm. (2 Tim 4:14) In the letter to the Romans, Paul goes into very deep theology when he explains the Gospel.  Great passages dedicated to the understanding of the Secrets of God and he ends that great discourse with a list of names he wanted to say hello to.  Names that we know like Priscilla and Aquila and Mary but also names like Urbanus, Herodion, his relative, and Rufus and his mother.  Who are they?  What is their story? In that passage, over 36 names are used and other men and women.  Most of us will not know—or care—who they were but they were part of the early church and ones that were ready for the Great Banquet.  
Why am I taking this time to talk about these unnamed people?  Because we are those people. わたしたちはそのような者です! People who will follow us in the Church in Japan may never remember our names, but God knows them.  He knows our names.  He knows our every thought.  Those names are written on the palms of His Hands.  Those people—like ourselves—are remembered by our Savior.  We all are part of this work here in Tokorozawa.  All of us.  No matter if you are a deacon or a piano player or a teacher or the one who sits in the back row on the left side of someone who comes only once or twice a month.  We are known by the Master and we are part of the whole.  And when you are not in the picture—when you stay home or go someplace else rather than to church on Sundays, you are really missed and that hurts the Body. 
It is not the question of “What am I getting out of the service?” Or even “I am not being feed here.”  What are you putting in the service/THE CHURCH? It is a matter of coming to the banquet and sitting down to the meal the Lord has provided.  I may not be the best preacher this land has ever seen but your ‘role’, if you will, is to pray for this man so that he would be the best in this spot on Sundays. 
Sunday after Sunday, do you pray for me?  祈る必要Do you ask the Lord to bless my heart with deeper understandings of His Word?  Do you ask the Lord to protect my heart from fear and uncertainty?  Are you praying for the next person who will be leading our Church?  Make no mistake about it.  The Power of the preaching is not in the pastor’s words but in the prayers of God’s People for the delivery of God’s Word.
I can look back over these years in Japan with a great deal of wonder and excitement.  Sometimes, the ministry went very well while other times it seems like lead was added to my shoes.  Sometimes that was because I was not looking to Christ for my direction. Other times it was because I was.
In 1979-80, while teaching English at Unoki Church in Ota-Ku, Tokyo, I was excited about the Work the Lord was doing.  We had well over 60 kids in our Sunday School program while the church only had about 25 members.  My helper and I were speaking about the size of the group and he said: “There are too many kids!  I thought he was getting his English a little mixed up and said to him: “Not enough room for all the kids!”  すべての子供のためのない十分な部屋。 He said: “No, too many children!  He did not misunderstand me; he misunderstood the Work of God. 
The time is right for us to look ahead to grow.  The tendency is for people to stop coming—for the group to shrink.  No real need for that.  If it gets hard to come to a shrinking community, invite others to come with you.  The more the merrier.  Go into the areas of your own relationships and ask them to come—to the banquet. Remember the Words of Jesus?
Matthew マタイ25:35-44.   35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 35 あなたがたは、わたしが空腹であったとき、わたしに食べ物を与え、わたしが渇いていたときに、わたしに飲ませ、わたしが旅人であったときに、わたしに宿を貸し、36 わたしが裸のとき、わたしに着る物を与え、わたしが病気をしたとき、わたしを見舞い、わたしが牢にいたとき、わたしをたずねてくれたからです。』
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 37 すると、その正しい人たちは、答えて言います。『主よ。いつ、私たちは、あなたが空腹なのを見て、食べる物を差し上げ、渇いておられるのを見て、飲ませてあげましたか。38 いつ、あなたが旅をしておられるときに、泊まらせてあげ、裸なのを見て、着る物を差し上げましたか。39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 39 また、いつ、私たちは、あなたのご病気やあなたが牢におられるのを見て、おたづねしましたか。』40 すると、王は彼らに答えて言います。『まことに、あなたがたに告げます。あなたがたが、これらのわたしの兄弟たち、しかも最も小さい者たちのひとりにしたのは、わたしにしたのです。』
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. 41 それから、王はまた、その左にいる者たちに言います。『のろわれた者ども。わたしから離れて、悪魔とその使いたちのために用意された永遠の火に入れ。
42 おまえたちは、わたしが空腹であったとき、食べる物をくれず、渇いていたときにも飲ませず、43 わたしが旅人であったときにも泊まらせず、裸であったときにも着る物をくれず、病気のときや牢にいたときにもたずねてくれなかった。』
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. 44 そのとき、彼らも答えて言います。『主よ。いつ、私たちは、あなたが空腹であり、渇き、旅をし、裸であり、病気をし、牢におられるのを見て、お世話をしなかったのでしょうか。』45 すると、王は彼らに答えて言います。『まことに、おまえたちに告げます。おまえたちが、この最も小さい者たちのひとりにしなかったのは、わたしにしなかったのです。』
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Our problem was indeed that we had so little room for all the kids that were coming to Unoki Church.  The children’s number was great!  He—even after I explained to my helper the importance of all these kids coming to hear the Gospel, still he did not move from the idea that God was doing a great work.  Later this month, I will be visiting that very church and some of our past students have been invited to attend the service.  Some of the names will be missing from my memory but God knows them very well.  He had died for them and He will remember. 
Just like here. The purpose of ICCS is not to have your or my name be remembered but that the Cause of Christ would impact people’s lives for Christ sake and for His Glory.  To please Him in all we do.  And in all we do, we are getting people ready for the Great Banquet. There is room here for a lot more. 祈る必要 Get ready for them.  Keep the Gospel alive here and they will come.
Go beyond your comfort zone and get “THOSE” people to come.  The master is happy when the room is full to receive his blessing.  So that ALL will taste and see that the Lord is good!
It is a question of HOW, isn’t it?  We will grow God’s way.  Can I quickly share what has been on my heart for a long time?  Walk with me here:
Vision, ビジョン Mission ミッションand Goal ゴールof ICCS: We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.  ....として私たちはキリストのようになる(Starting with ourselves!)  Not a game, not a club, but as a Family of God!
•We Glorify God as we become LIKE Christ. ....として私たちはキリストのようになる
Following Christ and becoming like Him is the vision of ever Believer and of every Church! It should be.
•Through our worship gatherings, we exalt God in Christ as the Only one who is:
--Worthy of our Worship
•We glorify God by making disciples....弟子を作ることで...again-start with us…
Four primary facets of discipline-making are:
o   Share the Word 言葉を共有する-lifestyle
o   Show the Word言葉を表す-in action
o   Teach the Word言葉を教える-in word and deed
o   Serve the Word言葉につかえる-out of the heart of Love.
•The question we need to be constantly asking at ICCS is:
How can we most effectively make disciples of all nations?
•Small Grow Groups: The primary avenue for disciple-making to occur:
1. Approximately 8-12 believers sharing life together
2. Growing inward by showing and teaching the Word
3. Growing outward by sharing and serving the Word
4. We want to see small groups of disciple-makers all over the planet
•We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
Everything we do at ICCS, we do ultimately for the sake of God’s Glory in all nations! すべての国は、神の栄光のために!
a. Through short-term missions, we encourage one another to give 2% of our time each year in contexts around the planet in a way that transforms the other 98% of our time here in the process.  Work toward reaching out to others.
b. We are investing in national disciple-makers and churches in other contexts and equipping them to go into the world with us.
c. We are joining hands with Faith Families around the planet so that together, we are impacting our world for Christ.

•The WIN is World-Impacting Disciple-makers

Acts 2:42-47 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

42 そして、彼らは使徒たちの教えを堅く守り、交わりをし、パンを裂き、祈りをしていた。43 そして、一同の心に恐れが生じ、使徒たちによって多くの不思議としるしが行われた。44 信者となった者たちはみないっしょにいて、いっさいの物を共有にしていた。45 そして、資産や持ち物を売っては、それぞれの必要に応じて、みなに分配していた。46 そして毎日、心を一つにして宮に集まり、家でパンを裂き、喜びと真心をもって食事をともにし、47 神を賛美し、すべての民に好意を持たれた。主も毎日救われる人々を仲間に加えてくださった。
•Our Values: Biblical 聖書
Biblical Proclamation  (Acts 2:42)
Sacrificial Care (2:42)
Wholehearted Worship (2:42)
Desperate Prayer (2:42)
Exponential Multiplication (2:47)

•Reproducible: 7Questions we NEED to ask are …再現性  7つの質問
1. What if God choose to add 10,000 people to the kingdom this year in Tokorozawa?
2. Would we be ready to support such growth?
3. Are we currently organized for routine addition.
4. Can we be organized for rapid multiplication!
5. Is ICCS is not a place of ministry or a base of ministry
6. Can we eliminate all references to the church as a building from our vocabulary.
7. Are we decreasingly dependent on ministries that require large budgets or buildings

•To Be Cross-Cultural.  That is the thing we all like about ICCS.  Don’t loose it!
•Keeping things SIMPLE: 物事を保つ シンプル
·       Worship Gatherings
·       Small Groups
·       Short-Term Missions
Four levels of support:
·       Assimilation
·       Administration
·       Communication
·       Education

•KEEP things Radical: 合理的な
·       For the sake of the lost ... 失われた...
·       For the sake of the poor ... 貧しい
·       For the sake of the Church ... 教会...
·       Ultimately for the sake of Christ! キリストのために!

•So that His Word can Impact The Planet
A church with this vision, mission, goal, values, and strategy will produce world-impacting disciple-makers.
Pray with me?

Still MORE from John

Good morning! It is my pleasure again to proclaim the Word of God to you from the Gospel of John once again.

Have you ever felt so passionately about something that you felt like you might suddenly burst into flame or explode? I know I have. Most of the times I have felt this way, I have looked back on the incident and felt that I should have remained calmer. Isn’t that the Christian thing to do? Isn’t that what Jesus would do? Of, if there is a time and a place for having this burning feeling, when is it? We will look at a moment when Jesus felt and displayed burning anger, yet without sin.

It has been a while, so let’s review what we’ve covered before.

In the prologue, that is the introduction, John the author of this gospel told us about how God revealed himself in his Son, the Word of God who was in the beginning, was intimate with God, and indeed was God. He created all things. But when he came to his own people, they did not receive him. But, some people, both Jews and Gentiles, did receive him and have the right to become Children of God. One key verse I want you to recall is verse 6 “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16, NAS95.

We learned that it’s not really “grace upon grace”, but “grace instead of grace”. The grace of the gospel replacing the grace of the Old Testament. The Law was of grace because it pointed to Jesus. But the gospel is the fulfillment of the Law in Jesus.

After the prologue, Jesus began to call disciples to himself. He invited them to “come and see” and promised that they will see signs. John uses the word sign and not miracle. This is because the miracles recorded in John’s gospel are there so that we might believe and have life. The first miracle was at wedding in Cana of Galilee where Jesus turned water into wine. In this miracle, Jesus blesses the wedding guests with the best wine they have ever tasted. But, it was for the disciple’s faith that Jesus performed the sign. In fact, the other guests were unaware that a miracle had taken place. But it was a sign for the disciples.

Let’s remember that John tells us why he records Jesus’ signs at the end of his gospel:

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30, 31, NAS95.

In the first part of John 2, Jesus turned water into wine as his first sign. And, what was the result? Verse 11 tells us that “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” as we turn to the next episode in chapter 2.

This next episode takes place in Herod’s Temple. The Babylonians had destroyed the first temple, Solomon’s Temple. It was an amazing building. Herod’s Temple, by comparison, was smaller and less glorious. It was also incomplete at the time of Jesus’ ministry. It had been under construction for nearly half of a century when our episode begins.

It’s important to recall what the purpose of the temple was. The temple was not man’s idea. God gave orders to build the temple. The temple was to represent God’s house, the place where God and man would meet. Because man cannot meet God as unforgiven sinners the temple is also where the sacrificial system was performed. So, the temple is the house of God where sins are forgiven though the substitutional death of another. Keep that in mind. It is also to be a house of prayer. The temple was divided into three main sections, the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter here and only on one day a year and only with the blood of atonement. Then, there was the Holy Place where the Jewish worshipers could come. Finally, there was the Court of the Gentiles. As the name suggests, this is the place where people from the nations could come, learn about the God of Israel, and worship him. And, Israel was to be a light to the nations so the Gentiles would hear of God and be drawn to worship from the ends of the earth. It is in this third part of the Temple that this incident takes place.

2.12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days.

After this…
It is my hope that as we look at the Word together, that you will be better able to ask questions of the Word in your own study. So, when we se the phrase, after this, we must ask “after what”? Of course, this episode comes after Jesus manifested his glory to his disciples by turning water into wine.

This phrase is often used to connect narrative events in John. It doesn’t indicate how much time passes between incidents. However the phrase “stayed a few days” indicates that what happens in verse 13 happens a few days after they arrived in Capernaum.

Capernaum is the adopted home of Jesus during his ministry. It appears that his family and his disciples moved there. It was a town found on the northwest shore of the Lake of Galilee.

2.13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

The Passover of the Jews was near…
John keeps careful track of the Jewish feasts including at least three Passover feasts. The Passover was the most important of the feasts in Jerusalem. It was a reminder that when it was time for God to save them out of Egypt and the Angel of Death was sent to kill all of the firstborn sons of Egypt, God passed over their houses which had the blood of a lamb on the doorpost, sparing their firstborn sons.

It is important for us to remember as well since it pointed to the Gospel; God saves us from his wrath because we have the blood of his Son over the doorposts of our souls.

Jesus went up to Jerusalem…
Jerusalem was the central city for the Jews so going there was considered going up.

2.14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves…
It is not unusual that oxen, sheep, and doves would be sold in Jerusalem. These were necessary animals for the sacrifices required at the Feast. Some people had to come from very long journeys and being able to purchase animals near the Temple would be a convenience.

the money changers seated at their tables…
In the same way, it is not difficult to understand that there would be a money-changing service since they money people used in everyday life would have been Roman money while the money for the offerings and Temple tax needed to be given with the shekel.

We might imagine those selling animals and exchanging money were abusing their position, charging outrageous amounts. But, nothing is said by Jesus or Johnin this chapter.

He found in the temple…
What outraged Jesus is the location of the transactions! In the temple! This would have been the court of the Gentiles where the uncircumcised from the nations could come and worship the one true God in his temple. But, what would these Gentiles find when they came? A zoo! Instead of the murmur of prayers, they would hear the lowing of oxen and sheep, the sound of coins exchanging hands.

2.15-16 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

He made a scourge of cords and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen…
This is not the image of Jesus we are used to. We like to think of Jesus as gentle. And, indeed he was. But when his Father’s glory is at stake, he becomes angry. Red, hot anger.

He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables…
He shows no respect for their property or business.

Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.…
Jesus is angry. Not because their business practices were unethical, but because they dared have any business other than worship in his Father’s house. How dare they!

“1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.” Malachi 3:1-3, NAS95.

2.17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”

His disciples remembered…
It’s not clear when the disciples remembered. It may have been at the time or later. John often points out that the only understood later.

This is a quote from Psalm 69:9: “For zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.” However, Jesus uses the future tense found in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Jesus’ zeal is clear.

2.18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”

The Jews then said to Him…
When John says “the Jews” he is usually referring to the Jewish leaders, the priests, Levites, Pharisees and scribes.

What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?…
There is no problem with the Temple leaders wanting to know what authority Jesus had to do what he did. What he did was bold. But, they are not as concerned about whether what he did was just or not. What they failed to see is that Jesus’ act of purifying the Temple was itself a sign.

2.19-21 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…
Jesus’ response is to give a challenge, which they will not take up. But, certainly, if one can raise the Temple within three days of its destruction, that would be a great sign. As we will see, Jesus was referring primarily about the temple of his body. But, there is a double meaning. It is the false religion of the Jewish leaders that will lead to the destruction of the Temple in 70AD.

It took forty-six years to build this temple…
We know that Jesus was referring to his body when he said this temple. But, the leaders think he is referring to the building. This shows that their minds are on the material.

But He was speaking of the temple of His body…
John regularly explains what was misunderstood by others. The temple is where God dwells and meets with man. Solomon’s and Herod’s temples served to represent this truth. But the true temple of the Father is the body of his Son, Jesus. Jesus’ body is the true center of all true worship. Jesus’ body is where the atonement would take place. And Jesus’ body would rise from the dead three days after his death and burial. This is the true sign, the sign of Jonah.

Earlier, in verse 17, John quoted Psalm 69, which said that zeal for his Father’s house would consume him. We noted that John uses the future tense here. What does the word “consume” mean?  Being consumed refers to fire. But, Jesus’ zeal would consume him. And in his death for sinners this prophecy is fulfilled.

I mentioned earlier that there was a double meaning about the temple. The double meaning is also true for resurrection of the temple. By putting Jesus on the cross, the leaders ensured that the temple building would be destroyed in judgment. But, the temple would be raised three days later because Jesus is now the temple. Jesus is where God meets his people. We worship in Spirit and truth.

2.22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word, which Jesus had spoken.

His disciples remembered that He said this…
Until Jesus’ resurrection, his disciples could not understand the significance of what he said to the rulers. But, when Jesus was raised from the dead and the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples, they recognized that what Jesus said and what happened were the fulfillment of Scripture and they believed.

The destruction of Jesus’ body and his following resurrection is the sign Jesus promised. And, as we have seen before, this sign leads to faith in Jesus’ disciples. Are you one of Jesus’ disciples?

If you are one of Jesus’ disciples, shouldn’t you have the same zeal that Jesus’ has for his temple? When we gather together on Sunday to worship as a body, are you just going through the motions? Or, do you believe Jesus’ sign? But, worship is not something we simply do on Sunday. We are called to worship in the temple of Jesus by faith every moment of our lives. Are our lives marked by such zeal? If not, what step will you take to follow Jesus?