|16:13||When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?|
|16:14||And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.|
|16:15||He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?|
|16:16||And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.|
|16:17||And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.|
|16:18||And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.|
|16:19||And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.|
|16:20||Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.|
[Introduction] We are offering the thanksgiving worship for the 28th Anniversary of Yewon church today. The worship for this annual celebration is the time for us to restore our first heart and intention that God has shown to us to do for the work of missions. Matthew chapter 16 is familiar to us. Matthew 16:16 is Peter’s historical confession and this is also the confession that we are confessing every week. This confession is of the absolute significance for our walk of faith and is the base for existence of our church. The word ‘Church’ was used for the first time in today’s scripture. I bless you in the name of the Lord to have the assurance for the 28th anniversary that Yewon church has the reason to exist.
1. The Church that Holds Onto the Spiritual Essence
Matthew chapter 16 verses 13-14 reads, “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’” In this response, the things that people want from the church are included. The first is the type of church that is like John the Baptist. He lived a poor, but honest life in the wilderness wearing cloths made by Camel’s hair and eating wild honey and pointed out the injustice of society. The current people of the world want a church to live a poor but honest life and do social movements like John the Baptist. The second church type is a church like Elijah. He did a lot of mysterious works. It is not Elijah’s personal power but God’s given power. However people do not see that as the power of God but rather consider churches as the places where miracles occur. The third type of church is a church like Jeremiah. He represents philanthropy and is called as the prophet of tears. However people approach this from only a physical perspective. The last type of church is the Prophet type church. Prophets represent the law of religion. So that kind of church emphasizes religious pietism or ethics. However Jesus did not respond to the answers of disciples when the disciples answered the question and asked the same question again; “Who do you think I am?” It is because those answers were not what he wanted to hear. In a church, there are some parts that are not the essence of the church. The majority of people misunderstand churches. So He asked his disciples, “Do you know correctly who I am?” At that time, Peter replied an amazing and unimaginable answer. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Hearing this answer, Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Then he said he would build ‘my church’ upon this confession. The essence of church is standing firmly on the truth that Jesus is the Christ. Churches are the field that we must stand firmly on the truth and taste the amazing blessings hidden in the truth. We must realistically experience how wide and long and high and deep is Christ. I bless you in the name of the Lord to catch the essence of the church accurately and get the evidence that shows the spiritual existence as we celebrate the 28th anniversary.
2. Church with Clear Mission
Jesus said to Peter who confessed, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God” that He would build the church on this rock. We can see that the church was built on this covenant; thus, it cannot be prevailed by the gates of hell. Furthermore, He would give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. ‘The keys of kingdom of heaven’ is keys that He has. We can see this fact in Isaiah 22:22 and Revelations 3:7. But there are different terminologies concerning this evangelism message on verse 20 of today’s passages. We can only understand this after understanding the situation at that time. Before coming to Caesarea in Philippi, Jesus did many miracles. Seeing these miracles, people were looking at Jesus as their political and economic Messiah. However, since that time was the beginning of concluding the mission on Earth, Jesus told the disciples to wait for the correct timetable. I bless you in the name of the Lord that all Yewon believers would be the main figure of mission realization who would leave eternal value instead of nihility as we celebrate our 28th anniversary.
[Conclusion] Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) well shows the pain of separation of North and South Korea. DMZ was set in order to prevent physical confrontation as the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed and it is 4km wide—2km north and 2km south. However in August, President Park said with a vision of unification in mind that the DMZ should transform to the Dream Making Zone instead of the standpoint of war between North and South Korea. As I see her description, I felt that Yewon church should be the spiritual Dream Making Zone. In other words, we must be a church that gives dreams and hope. We must be the area that no matter what scars and wounds someone comes with, we can help those people get healed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and let them start a new spiritual life. I bless you in the name of the Lord that Yewon Church would be the church that has such a clear reason to exist and stand firm to be used in the extension of the kingdom of God as the historic, representative, and commemorative church.