Acts 27:13-26
Sunday Morning – 15 Apr 2018 11:32:02 am – Pastor James Yang

In the missionary school, I read these scriptures and I remembered what happened. All the pastors there do not have their own possessions. Even before one enters the seminary, one gives up all their possessions and begins their missionary school life. I sold my car, my apartment, and gave it all to God. Then I went to the mission school, where it is quite hard to graduate from. There, I was taught how to pray to God for everything I needed. Pastor Park used to teach us this, “Train yourselves here in the seminary to rely on God. For if you preach the gospel in Africa and in the jungle you encounter a lion, what will you do? Call you mother?” So this was how he taught us. He taught us how to experience God working for us in the seminary. He said to us, “If you do not believe that God is really alive, then this path of the missionary is not for you”. In the missionary school, I learnt how to be emptied.

As per the testimony of brother Han Cho today, I could see how God was emptying his heart so that he could gain God. If you gain God, you gain everything.

In the missionary school, I wanted to graduate with a good record.

But what God taught me was that no matter what the problems and situation, I could only rely on the Word of God.

Apostle Paul received this Word from God.

“saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭27:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Therefore, all the things that I see with my eyes is not necessarily the truth. The Words of God only is the truth. This Word sustained Paul to be able to continue on the journey.

So I gained a lot of strength from this Word. I was able to testify that time that there was indeed no problem at all in my life.

“Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭28:1-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I heard that the the vipers from Malta are quite venomous. I once met an Italian man who was from Malta and he confirmed this for me. He also told me that when bitten 2 hours is all you need to die. This viper fastened itself onto Paul’s hand. All the natives thus thought that justice did not allow him to live. Paul just shook off the viper into the fire. Then, after a few hours, there was no harm unto Paul. Then people said, “Wow, he must be a god”.

Do you want to be a God? Let me tell you how. For all those people who receive the Word of God into their hearts, they are like God. Consider Moses who led the people of Israel to Canaan. This Moses asked God “Who will listen to me?” And God said, “You shall be like God to Pharaoh” and eventually, Pharaoh did so and so let the people of Israel out of Egypt. This is not the act of Moses but the Words of God that actually entered Moses and moved him.

When the Word of God enters my heart, I felt very thankful.

Once, my wife was once diagnosed with cancer and about 80-90% was cancerous. The specialist in fact, even showed me what was a cancerous tumour and what was not. My son was 8 and my daughter was 5 years old. So I had the heart that if she dies, I would not be able to continue with my ministry. From Monday to Friday that time, my wife cried. I searched for faith from Genesis to Hebrews at that time but I just could not accept the word in my heart. The most difficult time is this – when we do not have the Word of God in our heart. Even though I tried to look for faith, I could not find it as much as I tried. And then, 2 Timothy 2:4 struck my heart and came to me.

“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

It was around Friday 4pm. My wife asked me, “Do you have faith, honey, that I would be healed?” And I replied “Of course! Yes, I do! You are already healed”. With faith, folks, we can say such things with absolute clarity. When we have faith in our heart, we don’t feel worried. But when we do not have faith, then we feel worried.

On the following day, we went to the specialist’s office. My wife was checked up and I was sitting in the corridor. I overheard the conversation between the nurse and the speciality.

“Doctor, the tumour is gone!” The nurse said.

“What? Impossible, search for it again!”, the doctor said.

And when the nurse gave the same answer, the doctor took over and examined the chart for himself. He looked and looked and then came out to confirm the details.

“Ma’am…you are Mrs. Kim so and so, right? You are female and aged so and so right?”, the doctor asked.

As much as he checked, the tumour was no where to be found. And I gained this heart, “I knew it already yesterday at around 4pm”.

And indeed, the specialist confirmed that day that the cancer was all gone. He said that in his lifetime of being a gynaecologist for the past 30 years, he had never experienced this and was very bewildered.

This difficulty called “cancer” helped us to establish the Word of God in our life. If you have difficulties in your life, then these difficulties are great conditions for you to establish the Word of God in your life. This is why God does not only give you difficulties alone.

“For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.”
‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The will of God is not to just give us afflictions but through the afflictions and problems, God wants us to establish the Word of God in our lives.

In the ship where Paul was, there were about 290 people. A big tempest struck and they thought they were all done for. This wrecking ship represents our lives. In our lives, we come across unwanted problems. Then, there are times when we come across unexpected difficulties in our lives. So why does God allow this?

In the ship where Paul was were many other people too. They had a lot of expectations and never imagined the ship would wreck. But when were the people able to hear the Word?

Don’t you experience problems in your life time to time? For instance, when your business is failing, or when you have problems in the family? Is this a bad thing or a good thing? A good thing! Because through this, the Word of God can be established in you. Then, Paul stood up and spoke the Word of God that he received and then it all became calm.

I meet with a number of pastors and many other people and I speak with them. I can feel that many people who live in Australia are every exalted. They have just no interest in the word of God. As soon as I say that I am from church, they just wave their hands to tell me to wander off or they just ignore me. Before when a man would tell me that he was not interested, I would hear the word interested (not being able to hear the word “not”) and just walk into the house. When I opened the bible, then he threatened to call the police.

As I saw myself and my lacking English, I fell into despair. English was something I could never speak.

Through the difficulties and unwanted things in my life, God wants to establish His word.

As you all know, we have the Bible Seminar coming soon. As I see the circumstance, it seems like things are not going well. But Acts 28 says that there are many people of His in this city. So I can strengthen myself through this Word everything I recall it.

When you see yourself, you may seem dirty, filthy and evil. However, how does God see us?

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

One man’s disobedience – this one man is referring to Adam. The sin and disobedience of Adam made us far from God. There is no way we can be close to God through our effort and works.

In 1 Samuel, there is the story of Hannah and Peninnah. The latter had many children but the former had no child. In the bible it says that God closed her womb. Hannah thought that her husband loved her so much and so naturally one day she would have a child. But as she held on to this thought, there was no way she was having a child. Peninnah also started provoking her and she was so troubled.

What is sin? Sin is trusting in oneself and not in God. Why was Hannah living within her own thoughts? It is because she had no idea that this was sin. But once she realised this, she could change her heart.

The book of Isaiah says that God is our true husband. It means all others are fake.

We became sinners without choice. With our efforts and our deeds, we cannot be clean nor free from sin.

But many religions teaches people to try hard and be good and what not to cleanse our sins.

When I was young, close to my house, there was a chubby girl. She would say hi to me and also wink at me. Then very naturally, I started to think about her. Continuing on, lustful heart started arising. I then went to the dawn services and prayed loudly “Lord, forgive me because I have this lustful heart towards this girl”. Then someone tapped my shoulder and it was the pastor who then told me not to pray so loudly as he could hear everything. I was so ashamed. No matter how much I prayed to have my sins forgiven, it never was.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Our iniquity was all laid on Jesus. Thus, our righteousness and ability to be free from sin does not depend on our performance but on the performance of Jesus, on whom all the sins were laid.

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
‭‭John‬ ‭19:30‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus said, “It is finished!” And this means all our sins are finished by Him. No longer is it about how we feel or what we do. The truth is what is written in the bible.

Through one man’s obedience, many are made righteous. So what we feel about ourselves is not important but what God says in the bible is very important.

When God speaks “The sickness is not unto death” it means that one would not die. When God says that our sins are washed away, then our sins are washed away.

The problem is that many people know this but they still think they can do something for the future sins that they commit. Thus, they are still sinners and do not actually believe in Jesus.

Won’t one by full when one eats?

Folks, there is a pastor I know who is quite old. He had a stroke. His wife fed him and he finished eating. He put his spoon down. Then he said, “Honey, please give me food” and the wife said, “But you just finished your meal?”

Thus, when Jesus washes away all our sins, then won’t our sins be gone?

Even though Jesus Christ died for you and washed your sins clearly, but you still rely on what you see and what you feel.

When the Words of God were upon Paul, then even though tempests and the viper struck, it was not a problem for him at all.

When you have cancer, or an accident, can these be a problem to you? No! Only when God allows, you can die.

We are the people of God. I really hope that the Words of God catch hold of you.