04.06.2021 – The Sabbath Year
♠ Transcript ♠
Message: Immanuel Church Sunday Worship, 1st Service- 09/13/2020
Title: The Sabbath Year
Scripture: Leviticus 25:1-7
▶Today is a day to receive special answers. Today is RTS Sunday, for our seminary students. What do our seminary students, who are responsible for the next generation, need to prepare? How can our believers carry out the role of the patron, fellow worker, and host for our Lord’s servants?
▶The Israelites’ journey through the wilderness is not over yet and they’re still traveling through (in the passage). Most people are the same. They have 3 things.
① Scars of the past. If that becomes their springboard, they’ll prevail, but they have scars from their past. Right now, with the exception of a few people, almost all of them have scars from their life as a slave and difficulties. What else?
② The pain in the wilderness. That’s what they have. It doesn’t end with that. They also have ③anxiety regarding the future. These are the 3 things that the people, who are going through the wilderness, have. Scars, pain, and anxiety. So because of that, they fall ill. They have these illnesses in their hearts/minds. Because they have diseased hearts, the first thing that happens is, their thanksgiving disappears. When you fall ill in your heart/mind, you’re unable to give thanksgiving. Because you don’t have thanksgiving, the opposite happens. You start to complain. And naturally, you’re bound to choose unbelief. Even if you don’t choose it, you’re bound to be in it. It’s a problem. And then, mental problems begin to come as well. Then, physical illnesses also come.
▶At this time, God gave an important Word. Simply put, He was saying, “If you’ve been working for the past 6 years, rest on the 7th year”. “Even let the fields/land rest. Don’t do anything. Don’t put the servants/slaves to work.” Giving rest to the fields is understandable, right? Why? They say that the land/field does need to rest every once in a while. They called this the “Sabbath Year”. But people misunderstood the Sabbath Year, again. They understood it as, “We’ve worked for 6 years, so let’s just rest for one year”. They don’t really have this right now, but in the past, there was a system in place where pastors would do their pastoral ministry for 6 years and take a year off after, as a Sabbath Year. Of course, I’m sure it also means something good like, “Gain new strength after 7 years”. But I think that they misunderstood this a bit. A few years ago, Rev. Lee Byung-mu from Gwangju came to me. He said that there’s a report he needs to give to me and I asked him what it was. He said, “I sold my car.” I asked, “Why?”. He said that the contracts and paperwork were all done. I asked, “What did you do?”. He said, “Because I built up the church for the past 6 years, I’m going to have a Sabbath year (sabbatical) next year.” So I asked, “Whose decision is it for you to go on sabbatical like that? You have to do the headquarters trainings. Are you just going to put all that down and leave? I don’t even take a sabbath year, so why are you?”. And he listens to my words well, so he said, “Okay” and immediately cancelled everything. Even now, he’s working, without enjoying any sabbath year.
▶Today’s passage is not about that. The answer is in verse 2. Look carefully in verse 2. “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord…” He gave an important covenant right now. You’re going to go into the land of Canaan, so do this when you go in. Hold to this covenant, now. That’s what He’s saying.
▶Main- Then why is it 1 year? During the year, don’t do anything else, but do what is very important. 3 things.
1.Make a Spiritual System with the Grace You Have Received Until Now.
▶Make it so that all the grace you’ve received until now becomes a concentrated spiritual system. It’s important. That’s the true Sabbath. People misunderstand, thinking they just need to sit still and hang around for a year. That’s not it. “Make it so that you enjoy this tremendous blessing throughout the year.” What? It’s the spiritual system through which you make the things God has given to you, yours. So this is very important. What is this about? “Didn’t you receive grace on Mt. Horeb and didn’t you receive the Word? Don’t you have the tremendous thing that God gave through the ark of the covenant? Imprint that.” What are the 3 feasts? “Completely imprint that blessing of that important field, in which you give worship.” Simply put, “Make this content through which you can gain spiritual strength and go.” These are very important words. Today, you must hold on to that covenant. If you don’t know this at first and lack spiritual strength, you become a slave. People push all these important things off to the side and just think they need to rest. That’s how they understand it. That’s not it.
▶There was a remnant who sent me a very long letter because they were facing much hardship. “My father just gets angry whenever he comes home. And then he abuses us. He suspects our mother of things and abuses her. I can’t go home because I’m so scared. It’s too hard to just endure it now. Why do we have to live like this?” How distraught was this remnant, that they sent me a letter? I explained to them. “That is the illness of the heart and mind. That’s not something people can control.” There isn’t anyone who says that it’s good to be angry. “That mental illness isn’t anything else, but an illness in the brain, isn’t it?” Scientifically speaking, he (the father) doesn’t have that function in his brain, which manages anger. That needs to be controlled or put at peace, but because he isn’t able to control that, he beats his wife and his kids. It’s a situation where he needs to release that for it to go down. So it’s not just your average problem. Isn’t that so? It’s not something that can just be fixed. He just doesn’t have that kind of function/ability.
In our heads, we have the ability to remember and forget. Isn’t that so? That needs to be balanced. That way, you forget what needs to be forgotten and remember what needs to be remembered. You can’t have more of just one thing. If your ability to forget is stronger, what kind of problem will arise late when you go around forgetting everything? And let’s say you don’t have the function/ability to forget. Then you’ll just continue to remember everything. Then your head is just going to explode. But that’s not controllable.
▶So God said, “For 1 year, completely imprint this and change your spiritual system. You’ve gone through much hardship and received many scars.” How difficult is it to live as a slave? “You lived that kind of life before coming out, didn’t you?” Because they need to go into the land of Canaan, He was telling them to concentrate for a year. He’s not just specifically talking about 1 year, 365 days. “Concentrate and equip yourself with a spiritual system.” Right now, there are remnants who are also listening. A student who continues to do scheduled prayer now, will absolutely triumph when they become an adult. Isn’t that so? That imprint is really frightening. You don’t know now. If you get imprinted with strange things when you’re a student, failure will come later on. That’s why, so many people said that education is important. So the things that go inside you when you’re a student, go for a 100 years. It goes your whole life. That’s what it means. So when a remnant, the younger they are, has this covenant inside them, that person will absolutely be victorious. That’s why God gave this Word. These become very important words.
2.Make the Future System.
▶Second. In chapter 25 verse 2, it was the second time that God had said He is giving this to them. So that they can have rest/Sabbath after they enter into Canaan. What is that? Make the future system. True rest isn’t just about resting. The state of your soul needs to be at peace for it to be called “rest”. Just staying still, doing nothing is not rest. If it is, then being in prison is such great rest. You just sit still. He’s talking about the system in which the state of your soul and your spiritual system is at peace. And what else? Making the future, in advance. You need this kind of time. You must hold to that covenant today. This past WRC, to the remnants, I talked about the 5 things they need to do in advance. No matter what anyone says, those who see in advance will prevail. It needs to be one who has seen in advance, for them to have in advance. You need to possess in advance in order to enjoy. The person who enjoys in advance, even if they don’t go, conquers. Even though this person didn’t go all the way, they’ve already fulfilled. They have this goal. Experience this. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Why must we experience this? Because we must relay this. These are tremendous words. You must understand the background of the “Sabbath Year” that God has given today. And what else? In order to enjoy this blessing, they need to gather in the tabernacle, tent of meeting, and tents for a year. That’s why Israel, though it was a very small nation, was able to conquer the world. The extreme minority, the people of God, were able to change the world. You must hold to this covenant today.
3.Hone Your Spiritual Power.
▶What’s another reason? Now, you need to hone your spiritual power. Not just any other kind of power. You need to equip yourself with the spiritual system and future system, but you need to have strength/power. You need to have the strength to enter into Canaan. You need to have the strength to go in and save. Someone said this before. “Justice without force is powerless” (Blaise Pascal). No matter how much you talk about justice, if you have no might/power, you cannot actualize that justice. So there are 3 things that were given to them as they traveled through the wilderness. Why did God tell them to build the tabernacle? They need to go there on the day of the Sabbath as well, but He’s telling them to go every day, for that year. When all of them gather, it becomes the tent of meeting. He’s telling them to gather continuously for a year and receive grace. And He’s telling them to do this when they go back home as well. So think about it. God gave tremendous power to the Israelites. What does this mean? What kind of problems do you have? If you do have problems, you must hold on to the true rest/Sabbath that God gives and hold on to the true covenant. Even if you just hold on to the covenant, absolutely, works will arise. Because He said, “Sabbath year”, people poorly understand these words. They just think, “Ah, so we’re just resting on the 7th year”. But look at the background of it. Whenever you face a very important time in your life, enjoy this blessing. When you face a time of suffering and pain in your life, restore this blessing. Are you trying to go somewhere important? Restore this blessing and this power. All you need to do is hold on to the covenant and pray.
▶Today, most of us are giving worship and watching online. But we have our Elder Chung Myung-ju attending service today. Not too long ago, he faced a great hardship. His company was basically completely taken away from him. What could be harder for him, especially as someone who runs a business? And because he had nowhere else to go, he went to America. According to what I know, he’s not very good at English. So how much would he have really suffered in America? But I saw him and I knew, “He’s going to be successful/victorious”. Whenever I go to the conferences in America, he would come. Because back then, we went to the U.S. often. But whenever he came to the conference, I realized that he never lost hold of the core of my messages. That means he was listening. We can tell, when we look at someone, right? There are people who listen to the announcements and people who don’t. People who don’t listen to the announcements say other things, nonsense. So he was holding on to the message and praying. So I thought, “This person will be able to triumph”. That time is the time of the Sabbath year, in which he finds the true things. So really prayed a lot. I’m sure all of us did, but I really prayed a lot. And he himself also prayed a lot. Everything was completely restored (for him). All those difficulties, miraculously, were restored. I knew that that would happen. It was all completely restored and right now, he’s praying for world evangelization. At that time, when I went to America, he was talking about the message that he heard and then he got on his knees. He said, “Thank you so much. Please pray for me.” And then, he said, “I will never forget this grace (or favor/kindness) until I die. Starting today until I die, I will serve you as my older brother”. So in the entire nation and the world, the only person who calls me “older brother” is Elder Chung Myung-ju. I said, “That sounds good”. And everything was completely restored for him. And because his company is in Busan, he came to Busan.
2 weeks ago, he called me. “Brother, I’d like to see you.” So I said, “Okay. I’m going down to Busan on Saturday so let’s grab a meal then.” So we were having a meal, along with my secretaries, and he said, “Oh, you bought a watch”. So I said, “Yeah, I did”. Because I’m a watch mania, I look here and there and I buy them when I can. You could only see a glimpse of it from under my sleeve, and he should have said, “Brother, because you’re wearing it, it looks quite expensive”. But instead, he said, “That’s only $250”. He said, “You have all your secretaries with you and all these other people, but why are you wearing something like that, that only costs $250?!”. I said, “I paid $410 for this.” Then in response to that, he should have said, “Oh, the value has gone up in the last few years”. But instead, he said, “You got scammed somewhere!”. I’m saying this because he’s not here right now. But why am I saying this? If you look at him, he speaks the truth a lot. And if you listen carefully, his words are reasonable. So as I prepared this message for today, I thought about the suffering he went through. He suffered that much and God restored him, but you don’t know how much he really held on to the covenant and prayed. You must experience this. Isn’t that so? You need to experience what God’s true rest/Sabbath is. Not just the Sabbath year, but true rest/Sabbath.
♠Conclusion- Sabbath Year, Every Day!
▶If you do it like that, what kind of conclusion comes? An important conclusion comes. If you do it like that, every year becomes a Sabbath year. After Christ… You don’t even have to wait for every 7 years. Every day is the Sabbath/rest. This is the kind of conclusion that needs to come to you. Every year is a Sabbath year for you to gain God’s power and true rest. This time, right now, is the time for you to gain true rest. Isn’t that so? The Gospel is different from “religion”, so all you need to do is grab hold of the covenant. If you just hold to the covenant, the Triune God is bound to work. Isn’t that so? Even though all you did was hold to the covenant, the invisible Spirit of the Lord works. When you hold to the covenant and pray today, the force of darkness is bound to crumble. Isn’t that so? When you just hold on to the covenant and pray today, the doors to the throne of heaven will open. What is this? This is true rest/Sabbath. It’s restoring this blessing. Have the time of true Sabbath/rest. That’s the conclusion. That’s the conclusion that God gave. “Don’t be afraid of the things of the world and the future. Have true rest.” He’s saying, “Have true power”. And then what else? Make the church of true rest/Sabbath. Then, take this blessing of the true rest/Sabbath and speak of it to the next generation. That’s what this means.
▶There’s one last thing you need to remember. The Israelites lost hold of this again. They lost hold of it again, and where did they go? They were captured and taken to Babylon. They restored this power just a little bit and they got out. But they lost hold of it again. Immediately, when you clash with your present reality, you lose hold of it again. So they were colonized by Rome again. Endless problems came. At this time, through the 0.1%, who grabbed hold of the covenant, world evangelization took place. This is what you, who are listening to this message today, must grab hold of. Through you, who really seem like nothing, who have held on to this covenant, God will save the world. This isn’t arrogance. We’re not saying, “I’m this kind of person”. God gave you grace because many people don’t know this blessing. He’s telling you to relay this to them. Most of the people who go to church don’t enjoy this blessing.
▶Then what can we do about these entities that exist, but are not visible? We’re not able to enjoy this. If we can see God, perhaps, our walk of faith would be easier. But that’s fake. The things that you can see are fake. God works as Spirit. That’s why, when we give worship, we confess, “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth”. Jesus said this at the end. Before taking up the cross, he said this regarding a great crisis. What did he say? “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. I will work upon you as the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, so do not be troubled. Because you have the background of heaven, do not be troubled.” At the very end, after completing his work, he sent the Lord’s angels and said, “Men of Galilee!”. But we don’t know any of these spiritual things. When Paul was facing a crisis, what happened? He was in a crisis of life or death. What does the Bible record at that time? “Last night, the angel of the Lord stood before me and said, ‘Paul, do not be afraid. You must stand before Caesar’”. That’s what He said.
▶They asked me this from the Seoul Church. “Pastor, we need to write a Bible verse in the office. What is your favorite scripture?” It’s not really even something that needs to be asked. But in October 1987, I came to Yeongdo. I came to the church that was about 12 pyeongs (roughly 427 sq ft). At this church, they asked me to give a sermon because it was decided that they would be serving me as their pastor. That was October of 1987. What message do you think I gave? I did Acts 27:24. “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar.” What does that mean? That means, “You’ll have to relay the Gospel.” In your life, if you have a chance/reason to relay the Gospel, it’s the most blessed life. Isn’t that so? If your occupation, business, or studies, have been blessed to the point where Christ uses it, you’ve received the greatest blessing. If you really are a person to share the Gospel for the rest of your life, you are the most blessed person. Isn’t that so?
▶You must come to the conclusion today. If our church, the Immanuel Church in Seoul, and Changwon Immanuel Church are truly churches that will do world evangelization, then that’s it. Isn’t that so? Nothing can be a problem. Why? Because we need to do world evangelization. Even though he was facing a storm, God said, “Paul, do not be afraid”. It goes beyond that. He said, “I’m going to save even those who are on the ship with you.” Because of you, everyone else lives. If you’re next to someone who is going to perish, you’ll die with them. Today, you must precisely hold on to what this true Sabbath/rest is. In the second service, an even greater covenant than this will be shown. I bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus, that today will be the day of true rest/Sabbath. Let us pray.
God, thank You. May today be a day of true rest/Sabbath, not just a day in which we stay idle. May today not just be a time of simple rest, but a day for us to gain strength. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.