Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

Sep 11, 2016
“God's Miniature" No.6 by Rev. Toru Asai
John 14:23, Deut 30:6, Jer 31:34, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

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Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching (lit. word). My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)."

If you really love someone, and he/she tells you to do something, you will do it wholeheartedly, and what he/she asks or even commands you to do is not burdensome, but rather joy. This is exactly the relationship we Christians have with Christ, and with the Father. We have learned so far that the we were born through the word of truth—the death and resurrection of Christ—to be doers of the word fulfilling the will of the Father on earth. Importantly, however, this task cannot be done with the attitude of "I-have-to-do." The common mistake we make as Christians is to try to keep God's commands and do his will in the same way as the Jews in the Old Testament tried but failed. They did so without really loving God: their actions were not motivated by their love for God. This attitude always goes with legalism and hypocrisy, and everything is done for men to see.

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little (Luke 7:47)."

In order to base your actions upon the love of God, you will first need to know how much you are loved by God. Your "knowing" him must come from your own personal relationship with him. It is not enough to know that God loves people in a general sense. The above words were spoken by Jesus when "a sinful woman" came and stood behind him at his feet weeping: she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Her actions indicated that she loved Jesus and God. And according to Jesus, it was because she was forgiven much. This is how a person comes to know God, and it is called "the circumcision of the heart."

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live (Deut 30:6).

The problem that the world has today as a result of the Fall of Man is the inability to know God who is love. Without knowing who God is, we cannot love him, and without loving him, we cannot obey his commands. Surprisingly, the above scripture, in the middle of the book of the law, prophecies that God will makes us love him by circumcising our hearts. Jeremiah also prophesied about this calling it "a new covenant."

"No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jer 30:34)."

Under the old covenant, people had to teach each other saying, "Know the Lord." But the ones who taught did not know him either: nobody really came to love God personally as the sinful woman whose sins were forgiven did. Yet, they tried to keep the law, but the judgments came because they failed to do so. It was because the word of God was not in their hearts. Their hearts were closed and covered with hard shells so that they could not understand what God meant and accept his words. Or, according to the oracle given through Jeremiah, their sin was engraved and inscribed on the tablets of their hearts with an iron tool and with a flint point (Jer 17:1). So, a completely new covenant has come to be made through Christ: the word of God is now written on the hearts of those who believe in him so that they can understand, know and love God, and obey what he says. In order for this to happen, his word first needs to penetrate into their hearts breaking the hard shells: this is called, "the circumcision of the heart."

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me (John 8:28)."

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