Sunday Sermon – 25 Mar 2018 11:21:28 am – Pastor James Yang
“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
Luke 5:1-11 NKJV
This morning at 2am, I caught the airplane back from Auckland, NZ to Sydney. I was so thankful. For the past three nights, there was the bible seminar in Auckland church and also we had the Pacific Island festival. The first performance was the Cook Islands performance. On the second performance, I went up the stage, introduced the IYF, the mind education and introduced myself as the mind educator. I spoke about how many people want to expand their knowledge but their hearts are weak and so very easily they fall into the temptation of sin.
Yesterday, I had a brief amount of time to speak to them and so I spoke a little bit about the Korean economy growth. 50 years ago, Korea was indeed very poor. Being able to eat thrice a day was a luxury back then. Our previous generation starved a lot. But now, the Korean economy is well known around the whole world. But we did not become rich as an economy in one night. There were many reasons why it became rich. I also spoke about Hyundai.
In Korea back then, everyone spoke on the floors. Back then, there were a lot of bed bugs as well. So the president of Hyundai back then, elevated his bed, and on the poles of the bed, he put it in a can of water, so the bed bugs cannot enter. So for the next couple of nights, it was very good. But on the fourth night, he was bitten a lot and in the middle of the night he woke up to see what was the problem. Then, he saw that the bed bugs had risen to the ceiling and from there it dropped onto him. There and then, he learnt the spirit of the bed bugs. Since then, whenever he rebuked his seniors in the company, he said, “If you have not tried, you are all less than the bed bug!”
This story I shared in the audience and yesterday, after I preached, a Korean lady approached me and told me that she had no interest but she somehow was passing by and heard a Korean speaking and she listened. As she listened to the mind lecture, she gained hope. Also after that, another two ladies approached me and introduced them as professors from Massey university. They really liked the mind lecture and I gave them my name card. So I was so thankful.
We collect the stories of the mind (as above about the bed bugs) and we related to the heart of God. The bible gives us the world of the heart of God.
Just because we want to be happy does not mean we can.
When I was young, my dream was to be a painter – an artist with a hat, and smoke a pipe. It was my dream. So from grade three, I joined the professional drawing class until grade 9. My mother however broke her support then. This was because from my mother’s side, one of her relatives became mad as he became an artist.
Since I received salvation, many things changed in my life. I gave up painting and I took up violin classes for three years. Even that, I chucked it away.
Two days ago, I had fellowship with a brother at Auckland church. He said, “Pastor, I love poetry but I have no time to write it”, because he has so much church services to attend and so on. So I spoke to him, “Listen, you have to receive salvation from God. Then you preach the gospel”.
For woman, they are most healthy when they are breastfeeding. Because they eat a lot. In my wife’s case, she ate a lot.
When can you be happy in your heart? When your heart and the heart of God meets together.
In today’s scripture, it is about Peter and how he was able to catch a lot of fish. There was one important thing. For Peter, what he was told to do was not really matching against this thought. Peter grew up as a fisherman by the lake of Gennesaret.
On that day, all night long he tried to catch fish but he caught nothing. Then as he met Jesus, Jesus asked him to let his net down for a catch. Then Peter did something great and this is the onset of his spiritual life. Peter said, “I toiled all night long but I caught nothing.” But he still put down his thought and cast the net.
Likewise, in your spiritual life, if you can put down your thoughts, your methods and your ways and experience, then God can surely work through you. If you have this same direction as Peter, then you can live the spiritual life just as he did. He became the fisher of men. It does not matter what the thought told him, he just had to put it down. And by the Word of Jesus Christ, he did it.
Peter was shocked and he caught a great number of fish. Then, he knelt down and asked Jesus to depart from him as he was a sinner. But what kind of sin did Peter commit? What did he do wrong?
The sin here is not throwing the thought away and following the Words of God. Have you thrown away your thoughts?
One time, Pastor was in the US and he was speaking to a pastor there. He said to him, “Why don’t you go on a moneyless witnessing trip for one month? If God does not help you, then rip off your bible, and don’t come to church anymore. Who wants to volunteer?” Then about 10 of them volunteered to go on a moneyless witnessing trip. Then an amazing thing happened. The missionaries who witnessed powerlessly in the US came back because God worked so strongly for them on a daily basis.
A few years ago, I embarked on a five day “no money” witnessing trip. Other brethren also came along but to other areas. I went to Newcastle with my wife. We did not have a place to sleep and it was also approaching the evening. We were at the “Civic park” that day. We began to preach. A young man called Dave asked us what we were doing and when we told them, he asked us where we would sleep. I told him that God would provide so he need not worry.
It was so hot that day. We took a seat to rest a bit. The beach was also close by and as I saw it, I just wanted to dip in and take a swim. As I told my wife that it would be nice to have swim, she was out of her mind. She yelled saying “How can you think about swimming when we do not even know where we will sleep for the night? I don’t want to sleep there in that open shelter!” So we continued to witness. I then thought as if God was telling me “Did you come here to sight-see? To find a place to sleep? To find a place to eat?” and my answers to all this was “No”. As I concluded that I was only there to preach, I was so thankful and I was strengthened so much by this hope in God. I couldn’t care even if we have to sleep on the rock in the open.
Then, all of a sudden, one man by the name of Martin came to us asking us what we were doing. As I explained that we were on a “no money witnessing trip” he could not understand it. My wife then said with emphasis “NO MONEY WITNESS TRIP!!!” And so he understood. Then he asked us whether we had a place to sleep and I said “Don’t worry, because God will give to us”. Then the man asked whether we wanted to sleep over in his place. Trying to restrain my happiness, I said, “Ok, sure.” And he grabbed my wife’s carrier and I carried my and we went to his place. Soon as we settled, he asked whether I wanted to go swimming. And in a few minutes, my wish to swim God made it come true. That evening, after dinner, I preached the gospel to Martin and his wife, who was also a Korean. I told his wife how we were on a moneyless witness trip. I don’t know if they received salvation, but they listened intently. I was so thankful.
On the next day, the young man Dave called me and said that he had prepared an elder’s house for us. On that day I just felt like having pizza although I usually didn’t like it. My wife asked me to pray. And that very evening, the elder and his wife prepared pizza for us. They also gave us the key to his house and asked us to come back home whenever we wanted. I was so thankful.
As we returned to Sydney, I said to my wife, “Honey, if we grow old we can just get a backpack and go to moneyless witnessing trip until we die and we can go around Australia”.
This was how I felt. I could really find out that I was such a sinful man. From the very beginning God prepared everything for us and yet I had worried about it. God provided everything already but I had no faith in that.
There are people who understand what faith is in their knowledge. But practically, they do not know about faith.
Peter grew up as an experienced fisherman. But that night, he caught nothing. He was fixated in his mind that there was no fish in the deep waters. That day, Peter made a great decision. He threw away his fixated thought and let down his net for a catch. He was shocked. He realised how up until then, he was living such a sinful life. He did not follow the Words of Jesus.
When you actually go witnessing and you preach the gospel to people, then you understand exactly how God works. But many people try to avoid witnessing.
Last year in America, I wrote down the testimony of pastor Park Young Gook. He said that his father (Pastor Ock Soo Park) in front of the automatic door just goes through because it opens. But for me, I stand afar from the automatic door waiting for the door to open. I realised that I was living just like pastor Young Gook. So for this bible seminar, I should also walk forward and meet other pastors for the Christian Leaders’ Forum (CLF).
The amazing thing is that pastors who attend come and listen and they receive salvation. Until then, I was confined in my fixated thought. Now there is a pastor who does online broadcasting and he invites me to preach at his station over the internet radio.
So as I realise it, I have been committing sin — that is all I have been doing.
Please step forward and actually live the spiritual life. If you do, then you will see the work of God. Then you will see God working in your heart. Then you will see the work of God in your heart.
Please do not boast about yourself — “Ah I have realised this through the bible blah blah.” Follow and believe in the Word. Practically live the Word and you will glorify God. One day you will see how sinful it is for you to follow your thought. This way, the Lord will become bigger and you will become smaller in your heart.
We have the bible seminar coming up soon. We don’t want to just follow our normal manner. We want to step forward although we may feel burdensome and participate – e.g. inviting others, offering money to support, etc.
I have already given you the Word “Do not keep yourself silent; for there are many people of mind in this city” as written in the book of Acts.
Peter had never abandoned his heart before. But God really worked when he abandoned his thought. After this incident, the life of Peter changed dramatically. After this, he could deny himself. Outwardly, though he was Peter, Jesus was working through him. God wants us to do the same.
Many people say they believe in God and they go to church. Once we listen to their heart they want to establish themselves so that they have credit to stand before God in their heart.
In New Zealand (NZ), I spoke to one sister. She is rich and she has donated a lot to the church and so on. But when I see her, she has done too many things she has done with her will. However, according to the bible, there is nothing that we do. For Peter, he let down his net for a catch but all night, he caught nothing. For those who live spiritual life by themselves like Peter, they catch nothing although they toil all their lives.
The Bible says that we are evil and deceitful. But when you see yourself, you don’t feel the same way as God feels.
Yesterday, I was preaching in the NZ church. I said this, “In our church, only evil people gather”. But many churches in the world only teach us to become good people.
A few years ago I went to Fiji to preach and the pastor said there “God is good” and the people said “All the time”. As I heard it, I felt a bit incomplete. Yes, “God is good”. But in the book of Romans it says that we humans are all liars. So the second part is missing. After hearing this, I came back to our church, and I said “God is good” and you say “All the time” and I say “You are evil” and you say “All the time”.
The man with infirmity for 38 years (M38) is not the only man in the pool of Bethesda. There were many other sick people there. But only M38 was able to hear the Word. Do you think that Jesus’ will is only to save M38 or all the other sick people as well? It is to save everyone!
Peter realised that for all his life, he was sinful because he followed his thoughts all his life.
One day, angel Gabriel told Mary that she was blessed and that she would bring forth Jesus. Mary was shocked because she was only a virgin. It is unheard of that a virgin would bear a child. However, with God this is possible.
Can vegetables grown without the sunlight? Yes or no!?
“Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.”
Genesis 1:11-16 NKJV
So here, before the sun light came, the herbs and the plants were already made. Thus, God can do everything.
However, many people believe in their own thoughts and decisions. In so doing, they cannot abandon their own thoughts.
Peter was such a person. For him, throwing away his thoughts and his methods was a milestone that turned his life into a new chapter.
“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:”
Romans 4:5-6 NKJV
No one can go to heaven by keeping the law. So who can go to heaven? Here, it is the ungodly who can be justified as it says in the scripture. God justifies the ungodly. This is difficult for the human to understand. This is why we have to forsake our thought.
Peter thought that there was no fish but Jesus asked him to cast his net down for a catch. Then, he caught a great number of fish.
Pursuing my thought and following my thought — this is sin.
Many people however believe in the fact that we have to do good in order to receive salvation.
Many people believe in the fact that by the theory of evolution, monkeys eventually evolved into humans. But let us ask if you have seen any humans today in that process of evolving who have been turned humans from monkeys just recently? That gradual evolution we do not see, isn’t it? If monkeys are our ancestors, then when you need a blood transfusion, would you obtain blood from the monkeys? If they are our ancestors, would it not be rude to keep them in zoos?
We are such a dirty person and we are justified. How thankful is this.
In NZ as I preached the Word, my heart could change. Because many times I feel that I am an obstacle to this great church. Then I changed my perspective that all by the grace of God, I am standing in this place. So the condemnation changes into thankfulness. I was so thankful to be back here and I am so thankful that my wife is working as a flipper to turn my heart around.
How is it possible for Hannah to meet God without Peninnah?
God wants to reveal us as wrong people so that we can follow His Word.