Peter Tan-Chi - When Discouraged, Fix Your Eyes on God
Prioritize first things first. This is the real foundation. We mess up, we have problems, because you don't know how to prioritize things first. There is a Chinese saying called "Look at the importance". Do you know this? You have to learn to weigh things, what is important and what is not important. In Tagalog, you have to know how to weigh. It's very interesting to translate, and its meaning is: You have to decide what is important and what is not important, because the truth is that you can't do everything you like, your time is limited, your resources are limited, your energy is limited.
I know not many speakers today who talk about energy management. You have to manage your energy, because the truth is you can't do everything. True success is doing everything God wants you to do. Amen? Okay, a quick recap, why is this topic so important? Because last Sunday, we discussed the heart of God, and God was telling the people: Everyone, read this scripture: Haggai 1:5 Now thus says the Lord of hosts: Examine your ways. That sentence—examine your actions, is repeated four times in two chapters. Examine your actions. Examine your actions. God is telling you today to examine your life. What is happening to you? Have you ever considered what is happening to you? Have you ever measured it? Do you know how to measure your own life and what happens to you?
And then He gave them examples, for example, He said, Haggai 1:6 You sow much, but reap little. You eat, but are not satisfied. He drank, but was not satisfied. Wear clothes, but not warm. He who receives wages puts his wages into a leaky bag. Can you imagine? Make money and put it in a leaky bag. Here's what God is saying: You're not satisfied. No matter how hard you try, you still feel empty. Examine your own behavior. Have you considered this? Are you feeling empty because of this? Notice that He repeated, Hey, read verse 7: Hag 1:7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: Examine your ways. Notice, He repeated, Hag 1:9 You hoped for much, but received little. When you receive it in your home, I will blow it away. Why is this? For my house is desolate, but each of you runs to his own house.
The context has to do with the temple of God. God is saying: Put first things first. This is what I want to do: build my temple. God's work takes priority. What do you want to do? Build your own house. You want to live a comfortable life. God is saying, examine your own behavior. Look at chapter 2, that's related to what we're going to talk about next week, but now let's look at an example from Haggai 2:15. Now you must remember that before this day there was not a stone upon a stone in the house of the Lord. God is telling us, everyone read: Hag 2:17 I will attack you with drought, mildew, and hail in every work that you do. (Everyone read:) Yet you have not returned to me.
You see, when God gives you trouble, it's not because He's angry with you. He's calling for your attention. He's saying, Hey! Come back to me. You are lost. Last night, my son Paul gave a similar message. He talked about what God was doing in his life, how God related his business to his lifestyle. Because a lot of times we don't connect our financial lives, our emotional lives, our family lives, to our behaviors. God is saying, Hey! Wake up! Examine your own behavior. So my question to you this morning is simple: Do you know your priorities? Do you know how to prioritize the first things? No one can make this decision for you, your values determine your priorities.
For me, my priority is always God and doing what God wants me to do. And because God wants me to be a good husband, a good father, that's something I can't shirk, that's the priority. Because God wants me to be faithful, my time with God is a priority. Do you understand what I mean? My son explained what your top five priorities in life should be: What comes first? God. second? spouse. the third? child. Fourth place? Your job. fifth? Your ministry? Your job? No, no, it's your friend. If you are not a follower of Jesus, what are your top priorities? Carpe diem with friends. Second priority? Your job. That's your most important thing. What is the third position? your child.
What's number four? your husband or wife. What's the end? God. Now let me ask you, what are your priorities? God comes first. Note that this does not mean that those are not important. The implication is this: When you go to the office, you can't tell your boss: My priority is God, so I can't work right now, I need to read the Bible, boss, do you understand? God comes first. Boss, I want to study the Bible and God comes first, so I can't attend the meeting. That's not what I meant. What I mean is, once you understand your priorities, everything you do will fall into place. For example, when you go to work, you do things for God, so you want to be the best employee you can be because your priority is God. Understand?
When you're with your family and your kids need help, you don't tell your wife: Baby, our kids need help, so I can't talk to you right now. No, no, the implication is: Whatever you do, put God first. Then those things will become clear, so what are our priorities? God. Everyone, tell your neighbor: It's God and please Him. Well, here's the thing: Too often, we fail to remind ourselves: Prioritize first things first. So, let's get to Chapter 2, are you ready? Okay, Haggai Chapter 2: Let's read together: Haggai 2:1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying, Notice, in the span of a few months, God gave Haggai another A message. This time span is very short.
Read the next verse: Hag 2:2 Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And the remaining people, in other words, God is telling Haggai: You go talk to the leaders. The leader of the world was Zerubbabel, remember? He was the grandson of David and he was the governor. Then there was Joshua the high priest, and then there was the people. Now look at verse 3: Why is this verse important? God was telling the people: Start rebuilding the temple. While they were rebuilding the temple, they were discouraged. Why were they discouraged?
Haggai 2:3 Who is left among you who saw the former glory of this house? How do you see it now? Don't you see it as nothing in your eyes? Do you know what God is talking about? Some of you have become discouraged and you have stopped rebuilding the temple because you remember the former glory, the first temple built by Solomon. The Bible tells us that the floors were made of gold, the walls, the furniture, some of them were made of pure gold, and these people didn't have much money, and God was saying, Hey, are you discouraged because you're comparing? Compare the new temple to the previous temple? Is this why you stopped rebuilding? Do you understand what I'm saying?
Discouragement is a real problem. You should put God first and first things first. There are going to be many, many situations that will cause you to stop putting God first, and that 's why I praise God for the godly practices you have in worshiping God together on the Lord's Day. Because God's words will remind you that when you meet in a small group, your life will be restored and recalibrated. Ladies and Gentlemen, Sometimes when you get a little off track with your questions, don't get discouraged. What do I mean? Let me show you, what's the problem? The problem is that they are so discouraged that in Haggai 2:4, everyone reads: Be strong.
This is an order. Hey! do not give up! Don't be discouraged, be strong! Everyone told me: Be strong! Zerubbabel, you are a leader, you should be strong! Then, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest, you also must be strong. Right? Joshua, you too must be strong! Then, high priest and the people of this land, you must be strong and work hard. What is the basis for being strong? He told them the answer: Because I am with you. The key to overcoming discouragement is to keep your eyes on the Lord. Let me share with you the reality about discouragement, okay? How did it appear? How many of you feel discouraged from time to time? Please raise your hand. How many of you are feeling discouraged today? Don't worry, I won't highlight you. But you do get discouraged, and that's a real emotion, isn't it?
Do you know how this happened? You have certain expectations, right? We will have various expectations. For example, why do you want to get married? Because you want to be happy, right? How many of you got married with the thought: I will be miserable? Of course not, you get married because you want to be happy. Now that you are married, how has your experience been? Praise God! CCF members, when I got married I thought I would be happy. Now that I am married, I am the happiest person, wow! I hope so, I hope so. But the truth is, marriage will disappoint you. Various relationships... Many single people hope that this is it, this is it, I will really be happy, but it does not bring you happiness. Void...
How is work? You apply for a company and you feel, oh my God, this is the best company, I will be promoted, my boss will be good to me. what have you found? Your boss is not a good one, and the worst part is, all your friends have been promoted but you are not, so are you discouraged? Would, you know, why would you want to compare? In your mind, I should be the one, but why did he get promoted? You see, comparison often brings discouragement. What actually happened doesn't match reality, right? So your current experience doesn't match your expectations, and the result is discouragement. The greater the gap, the greater the frustration. If you're not careful, discouragement can lead to depression. If you're not careful, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, and then your life is over.
This is why many people become discouraged and they feel depressed. There was once a survey on social media. They surveyed thousands of middle school children who were immersed in social media for at least five hours a day. They found that this group was 70% more likely to want to commit suicide than those who did not use social media. Have you ever realized that social media makes you compare, no one posts something bad, they always post something like, wow! I am in this country, I am in this place, you start to compare, and when you start to compare, you start to be depressed. So parents, I warn you, cell phones and social media are not harmless. It can be dangerous, and you need to learn how to manage tech products. But giving your children free access to cell phones and free use of technology can cause problems. You need to regulate it. Set the time, failure to do so will cause damage.
What is today's sermon message? Folks, let's read this together: What must you do when you are discouraged? Keep your eyes on God. What is the solution when you feel discouraged? Keep your eyes on the Lord. When you are anxious, when you are worried, the Bible tells us, everyone, please read: Hebrews chapter 12, verse 2, read together: Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He endured for the joy that was set before him... Notice the word, endure, persevere, He is our example. The suffering of the cross, despising the shame, sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. You have to keep your eyes on Jesus. Most of us keep our eyes on people. You focus on Christians, you focus on your parents... Single people, please wave to me, wave to me, raise your hands high, single people.
I want to speak to single people, single people, if you focus on your parents, which is inevitable, I want to warn you, you will definitely be disappointed, because there are no perfect parents, so my advice is, Keep your eyes on Jesus. Fellow church members, if you set your sights on leaders, if you set your sights on discipleship leaders, sooner or later, even your pastor and your discipleship leader will let you down. So, keep your eyes on Jesus. So turn to your neighbor and tell your neighbor: Keep your eyes on Jesus. And tell your neighbor: I will disappoint you. Tell your neighbor: Sooner or later, I will disappoint you. Therefore, I tell you in advance, sooner or later, all of us will let you down. Whether it's intentional or not, because of something I did, or because of something I didn't do, because I'm not perfect. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
If I could teach this principle to a young Christian, now that you're so excited that you've come to know the Lord, that you're so excited to read the Bible, I'm going to warn you now: You're You're bound to face disappointment in life, for example, this famous businessman, he owned the largest television network in the United States, and he used to go to Sunday school. His sister is sick, his sister has cancer. No one gave him correct instruction according to the Word of God. His theology was this: If I pray, God must answer my prayer because God loves me. Because God loves me and He does not want disease, and because God does not want disease, my sister must be restored to health.
Do you understand this kind of thinking? God loves us, doesn't he? So far, no problem. Because God loves us, God hates disease, because God hates disease, when I pray, you must heal the disease. You have this kind of mentality, you know? He prayed. My sister is very young, how could God let her get sick? But his sister did not recover and died. Because his sister was not restored to health, he turned his back on the Bible. He turned his back on Jesus, he became an atheist. My friends, I am warning you that you will be disappointed. People often ask me, where was Jesus when my mother died? Where was Jesus when my daughter died? Where was Jesus when my son died? Where is Jesus when we have all these troubles? What's my answer? Jesus is in the same place.
When John the Baptist was beheaded, and when the Apostle Paul was beheaded, Jesus was in the same place. God was in the same place when Jesus, His Son, was crucified. God knows your pain. But your theological convictions must be correct. Who should your eyes focus on? Again, keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the Author and Perfecter of faith. He has begun a good work in you, and He will complete it, but the process may involve pain, the process may involve trials, but God has my best interests at heart. I call this the process of controlling your emotions, right? Is it possible to control your emotions? Let me tell you how to control your emotions, okay? Something happens, and then you need to deal with it, and you need to think about it. The basis for how you approach something is your beliefs and assumptions. We all have computers built into us.
When something comes up, you process it now, based on your beliefs and assumptions, and then you come to a conclusion, you know? So let me give you an example. That conclusion determines your mood. Well, we were in Israel a few weeks ago, and I was in Jerusalem, and I couldn't find my watch. I feel bad, I can't find my watch. I told my wife I knew what was going on. So I was processing it in my head, and here's my reasoning, I told my wife that I believed I had left my watch in my room. I think the cleaner is a thief, he took the watch. So I lost my joy because in my mind, this was a five-star hotel, in theory. How can their employees be thieves? That's my assumption. Because I told my wife, I actually remember I put it on the table, and my Bible and stuff... but I forgot to put it on.
Now I've been looking for my watch all day and I can't find it. So what is my conclusion in my mind? My conclusion was that someone was stealing from the hotel where I was staying, and that they worked in the hotel. So what happened to me was very simple, I was angry at the hotel, but in a very Christian way. Do you know how Christians show anger? They don't yell, they don't accuse anyone. But in my heart, I was unhappy, and I was thinking: No more tips, no more tips, no more tips. That's what I was thinking, but you know what happened? The next day, you know a lot of times God will speak to my wife. My wife said, I feel like, I feel like it's right there on the podium. But I praise God, we had a staff member right there, and he looked at the podium, and the watch was there, all day and all night. Wow!
Guess what happened to my mood? Becoming positive again. Wow, this hotel is great, the hotel is great, the staff is great. Friends, the way you think affects your emotions. I remember calling someone recently and that person didn't return my call, no feedback. Hey, how do you feel? How do you feel when you send someone a message or call someone, but no one calls you back or texts you? To be honest, do you feel uncomfortable? Do you know why you feel bad? Because you are thinking negatively. You don't know how to think positively. You should deal with it. So I have a suspense file in my head, I call it the suspense file. I'm not going to judge you. If you did something wrong to me, I'm not going to judge you. I'm going to put it in the suspense file.
You know what I would do? When I saw you, I wasn't sure, but hey, did you see my text? Then I will wait for your explanation. But I won't judge you, you know why? Because I have to deal with, deal with. You know what my friend told me? I didn't receive any information! I didn't receive any text messages! How is this possible in the Philippines? So global, so smart... anything is possible. So since anything is possible, my conclusion is: relax! Now you're not going to believe this, yesterday, my wife did something. I was hoping she wouldn't be here for the first session, but she was here, so... But I asked her permission, and she said certain things, and it was really...
Remember last Sunday? My wife is not here. I told you that some soy sauce sometimes gets into her brain... But this time, it's not soy sauce, it's something... Because she said she was in a bad mood. Do you know why she was in a bad mood?? She was getting ready to tell me something personal, and I was watching the news channel, and you know my favorite channel is the news, Fox News. I turned up the volume when she spoke. Of course, how else can you expect your wife to be in a good mood? She felt bad. And then she started telling certain things, and then my wife started kind of regurgitating old stories. I tell you why? She has every reason to settle old scores. Because I have this tendency, when I'm doing something and my wife wants to talk to me, you know what I tell her? What did I tell you, baby? Yes, like this, you know the meaning of this gesture, right? Wait, wait, OK? Not a priority, not a priority. So I deal with it, I deal with it...
Gentlemen, have you ever been corrected by your wife? Have you ever been corrected or criticized by anyone in your life? Do you have? Especially men, now men look at me, men. When your wife corrects you, honestly, how do you feel? Believe me, few men would say: Hallelujah! No, all men, I know, all men, I know, the first feeling, not so good, not so good, you know why? Our pride, or our lack of sensitivity, our insensitivity, men's complete insensitivity, there's something wrong with us. I have to admit, OK? Because my wife is very sensitive. Wives, I praise God for you, you can see it, you can detect it. To us, we were so numb that I stayed silent. Do you know why I remain silent? Because it needs to be processed. So I'm processing what my wife said.
Some time later, my wife came to see me, in our room, and I knew what she wanted to do, she wanted to make peace. But it was actually my fault and I said, baby, please forgive me. You know, the moment I said, baby, please forgive me, are you willing to forgive me? I'm sorry, will you forgive me? You know why I wanted to make sure she would forgive me? Only in this way can history be rewritten. You need to rewrite history. She said: OK. So every time she brought up old scores, I said: Didn't you forgive me? Say no more, it's over. Gotta deal with it, you know? So, my friend, your job is to get things right. The Bible tells us how to handle things. Everyone, please read Philippians 4:8. Brothers, I still have something to say. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report. If there is any virtue, if there is any praise, (read everyone:) think about these things.
This is a command, not a suggestion. You must guard your heart and mind. Think about these things. What things? Whatever is honorable, whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is pure... do not think the worst. Many of us, because of our past, think of the worst-case scenario. When something happens, you think the worst. Now everyone, what is today's topic? What must you do when you are discouraged? Keep your eyes on Jesus. You need information processing, why should I be discouraged? Then you keep your eyes on God, on Jesus. Look what God has done. He told Haggai: Haggai 2:5 This is according to the word of the covenant I made with you when you came out of Egypt. Then my Spirit will dwell among you. Don't be afraid.
You see, in order for people to overcome their negative emotions: discouragement, fear, God is now reminding them: I am with you. I promise you: I will be with you and I will watch over you. See, the Bible says: This is according to the word of the covenant I made with you when you came out of Egypt. That was almost a thousand years ago, and God was saying, I am always faithful. I am always keeping you, I am always with you, My promise... If you keep your eyes on Jesus, if you keep your eyes on God, if you keep your eyes on His promises. Let me repeat, how do you keep your eyes on Jesus? You focus on His promises and His presence. My Spirit dwells among you. Don't be afraid. Why is this so important? I asked the family for permission to discuss the funeral.
As many of you know, last week one of our members, Andy Sanchez, had a heart attack and died. He was once healthy and he was a good guy. In fact every time I'm here, I can't help but think of Andy. Do you like our sound system? That's what Andy did. Do you guys like the flooring in many rooms? That was donated by Andy. Andy is very generous. Every time CCF plants a church, if Andy knows about it, he will make a donation. But Andy passed away, and my wife and I... he was not only a church member, he was a friend. He was more than a friend, he was a good friend.
So when I went to the funeral, I officiated. I was surprised by the family's response. His wife Linda responded in such an amazing way that she became an encourager. All the children, everyone, are positive. It's true, a funeral is like a celebration. They love Andy, I love Andy, and I tell them that I have mixed emotions: On the one hand, I'm going to miss him, so I feel sad; on the other hand, I'm happy because of his legacy because he's gone now. Arrive before the Lord. The whole family copes appropriately. Yes, my dad died, my husband died, keep your eyes on Jesus. God has a plan and His time has come. It was time for him to enjoy the presence of the Lord.
My friends, that same week, I met another guy. Someone told me this man's story. This man attends another church. His son is sick. Priests prayed for his son, who did not recover. But this man did not respond correctly. After his son died, he became discouraged and stopped coming to church. Do you understand? Why does the same thing happen, a death in a family, how do you deal with it? You will either get better or you will become bitter. You may become more confident, or you may lose hope and you give up. Many people are discouraged today because no one is teaching them biblical principles. How should you deal with disappointment? How do you deal with discouragement? My advice: prioritize first things first.
What's the first thing you should do when you get discouraged? Keep your eyes on Jesus. Prioritize first things first. Put God first. See things as God sees them, don't interpret God based on circumstances. That's wrong. Prioritize first thing—God. What is your perspective of thinking? If you don't understand, just keep trusting God and saying, Lord, I don't understand what's going on. So you must keep your eyes on God's presence and His promises. Years ago we had an estate and I was tasked with preserving it. This property is huge, but we have a squatter problem, a government problem, all kinds of problems... You and I both know that dealing with the government is really difficult, so first things first.
What does it mean to prioritize things first? Put God first. So, Lord, how are you going to deal with this? So we took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. We fight to the end. We finally won the lawsuit after 15 years, which took so long. At the same time, what keeps us moving forward? Keep your eyes on Jesus. I said, Lord, you must have a plan, this property is huge. You know, when I look back, oh, that was the best thing that ever happened to us! You know why? If I had developed this property, 20 years ago, the value I could have gotten would have been so much, but because I couldn't touch this property, you all know that real estate in the Philippines has skyrocketed, right? It's going up like crazy, so when you look back, wow, Lord, I thank you! But at the same time, you don't understand, what's going on?
Prioritize first things first. Put God first. What must you do when you are discouraged? Keep your eyes on the Lord. Especially His promises. Look at His promise: Here God reiterates His promise, let's read together: Hag 2:6-7 Thus says the Lord of hosts, In a little while I will shake the heavens and the earth again, the seas and the dry land. I will shake the nations. The treasures of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. I've added parentheses here. Because there are two ways to interpret this verse. Grammatically speaking, it's correct. So I believe this verse has a double meaning. The first meaning: God will shake all nations, and they will bring all the treasures from all nations. This is a prophecy. You can find it in Zechariah as well.
The Bible says that in the end, the treasures of all nations will be brought to Israel, and that is true. But I believe there is another meaning: to be precise, it says this: The desire of all nations shall come. what does that mean? The desire of all nations, this is of a prophetic nature, the desire of all nations, after all, is none other than Jesus. The Bible says that when the heavens are shaken, Jesus will return. So when you lose heart, we must understand God's promises. Now how do I interpret the meaning of shaking the earth and shaking the sky? The best way to interpret the Bible is to interpret it biblically, so let's look at the New Testament. The New Testament Hebrews 12:26 explains this verse, let's read it together: Then the earth shook with his voice.
When did this happen? When God gave the Ten Commandments, do you remember them? The Bible says: The earth and the mountains tremble at the voice of God, and the power of God shakes like thunder. But now He promises that once again I will not only shake the earth, but also the heavens. What is He talking about? OK, let's read. Hebrews 12:27 This word again indicates that what is shaken, even the creation, will be removed, so that what is not shaken may abide. This is talking about the last days, and there will be a great shock in the last days. Everything that does not last forever will be removed, only what is eternal will remain. Now what is an eternal thing? What is something that cannot last forever?
The next verse explains it: Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and serve God acceptably with reverence and awe. Do you know what God is saying? The only things that will last forever are God's people and His kingdom. God will usher in His Kingdom, and you will be princes and princesses. We will be given a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and everything else will be shaken, and everything else will be removed. So, because of this reality, God makes a promise to His people, and it's not a promise to everyone, only to those who belong to Jesus. This promise says: Let us therefore be thankful and serve God acceptably with reverence and awe. In other words, just continue to serve God while being aware of the future. Your future is amazing, what do I mean?
Look at the future of this world without Christ as a contrast. The contrast is this: Everyone read: 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 10: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and all material things will be consumed by the fire. The earth and everything on it will be burned up. The Bible says that the day of the Lord will come when heaven and earth will be destroyed. People ask me, was that a nuclear war? possible. My point of view is that the world will undergo earth-shaking changes, the heavens will be destroyed, and the earth will be destroyed.
My friend, no matter how beautiful your house is, it may be in the most expensive area, Fifth Avenue, Forbes Park, the luxury community of Corinthian Gardens, no matter how nice a place you live, the Bible says, what will happen? Please read: 2 Peter 3:10 All things will be destroyed by the consuming fire. The earth and everything on it will be burned up. What must you do? This is what you have to do: Everyone read: 2 Peter 3:11 Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, (everyone read) How should you be holy, godly, and reverent, since you know that it will what happened. God promised Haggai, He said, don't worry, you know the outcome, I give you a promise, what is the promise?
Let's read this scripture together: Haggai 2:8-9 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former glory. I will give you peace in this place. This is what the Lord Almighty says. Now, let me interpret, the first part, God is saying: everything belongs to me. When you have no money, don't worry, don't be discouraged, the silver is mine, the gold is mine. You see, the Lord reminded us that when CCF started our construction project, many of you were there in the beginning, when we started this project, the cost, believe it or not, the land and construction cost was over 2 billion pesos, where were we going to get it? To 2 billion pesos?
My friend, sometimes my heart beats faster, where are we going to find this money? Because we have such a principle, we don't want to borrow money. Second, I don't keep asking people for money. I will just pray and let people know about this vision. The vision is: We will have a world-class worship center and training center that will change lives. Invest in eternity, because only life, not buildings, lasts. CCF has never valued architecture, but valued life. Now we need parking space and of course we will spend money on it. That's expensive, where do we get the money? Well, the Lord is telling us, who is going to provide this money? Please read this: The silver is mine, the gold is mine. Because of this wonderful truth, elders and pastors, we are all in one accord. What people don't realize is that we are all on the same page in this project.
If something is of God, He will bring it about. But notice the next verse: The latter glory of this house will be greater than the first glory. How could this happen? What does this mean? Solomon's temple was glorious, the Second Temple was nothing. But God said that the later glory of this house would be greater than the first glory. What is God really saying? You will never fully understand the Old Testament without connecting it to the New Testament. Just like offering animal sacrifices, how can offering animal sacrifices get rid of sins? You connect this to Jesus, who died for us. How could this temple have greater glory? how can that be possible? You associate it with Jesus, what do I mean?
Look at what the Bible says. The glory of this temple will be greater in the future. It refers to today. The glory in the future will be greater. Let's read this scripture together: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are the temple of God? Does the Spirit of God dwell in you? Do you understand what the Bible is talking about? Don't you understand? You are plural. You here are in the plural, we and you are the temple of God. The Spirit of God lives in you. So the Bible says that we individually are the temple of God, and we collectively are also the temple of God. Is God here today? I tell you, God is among us. The glory of this temple will be greater in the future. Who can compare with the glory of Jesus among us? And then the Bible tells us that the way to interpret the Bible is that you look to other scriptures.
For example, Ephesians 2:19 So you are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. The Bible says that you and I are no longer strangers and strangers, we belong to the same family. Can you say to each other: We are family. We all belong to God's family. Understand? No longer an outsider, no longer a stranger. I just want to ask you: Are you convinced that you belong in God's family? How exactly do you belong to a family? By adoption or by birth into this home. Understand? How can you belong to my family? If your last name is Cruse, how can you belong to the Cruse family? The parents of this family must adopt you, or you must be born into the Cruse family. How can you belong to the Tanchi family? Either I adopt you or you are born into my family. Did you know that spiritually speaking, you are more than just adopted? You were born into the family of God. The Bible says, unless you are born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.
You see, rebirth is not a religion. Rebirth is an event. It is something that happens, regeneration from the Holy Spirit. So the Bible says, you are no longer strangers, what are you? Everyone read: Ephesians 2:19 You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. We are a family, ladies and gentlemen. Not just a family, look at what you and I should do. Ephesians 2:20 This house is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone. So the Bible is using a metaphor, a building, and the foundation is Jesus Christ, and each brick is an individual life, and you are being built together. Look at this parable, Ephesians 2:21 By Him, every building, held together together, (read it everyone), grows into a temple in the Lord.
Do you see this picture? I am in the construction business, building the temple of God. How? Every time I preach the gospel to someone, that's a brick in God's building. You and I are on the same team, we are building the house of God, one brick at a time, one soul at a time, and the Bible says, Ephesians 2:22 In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Friends, is the later glory of this house greater than the former glory? Why? For you and I are the temple of the Lord. Yesterday, a high-ranking nurse came to see us. Do you know why? Three days ago she took a sample of my blood for testing, but apparently my blood must have been amazing, so much so that they sent the nurse over again, because they couldn't analyze my blood, and they said, we need to take your blood sample again. I don't know if I should be happy or sad. But do you know? Things should be seen from God's eyes. When this nurse came, my wife and I both had this impression, you're not here by accident, and we started sharing the gospel.
I have never seen anyone accept Jesus so freely. You know what she said when we shared the gospel? It's very touching, she was a wonderful woman, and throughout her life she clearly had a hunger and thirst for righteousness and a desire to understand the gospel. I praise God that yesterday, my wife and I, two-on-one, we shared the gospel and she prayed and accepted Christ. Friends, my job is to build the temple of God. One soul at a time, one family at a time. That is why the glory to come will be greater. Many of you have heard the story I told last Sunday. Do you still remember this bowl? How much was it sold for? The bowl was sold for three yuan. remember? I read this news from the newspaper. In 2013-2014, please note how much the new owner sold this bowl for. $2.2 million. remember? I asked you people, why do some people sell bowls for three yuan? And it is actually worth 2.2 million. There is only one explanation: he doesn't understand.
There are many Christians like that today. You sell your life cheaply. You sell yourself for something cheap. God is saying, I want you to put first things first. The first thing is never about you. The first thing is never about your own happiness. The first thing is never about your marriage. God is always first. Don't sell yourself for three dollars, know that you are priceless. The Bible tells us that one day we will read this scripture together, Revelation 21:22: I have not seen a temple in the city; for the Lord God the Almighty is its temple, and the Lamb. You see, one day, this physical building, this place where people gather, is no longer suitable. The Bible says in the Book of Revelation, Revelation 22:3-5, that there will be no more curse. In the city is the throne of God and of the Lamb (Jesus). All his servants shall serve him. I also want to see his face. You will have this privilege: the great honor of meeting Jesus.
The Bible says: There will be no more night. They don't use daylight either. for the Lord God will give them light. They will reign forever and ever. Friends, your future lies outside this world. But if you don't keep your eyes on God and Jesus, you won't have courage. Let me ask you, do you know the promises of God? Are you claiming His promises? You see, many of us are ignorant of the Bible. If you don't know His promises, how can you claim His promises? How do you claim it? Do you understand now why I work hard to read the Bible every day? Why should I read the entire Bible? Do you know why? I look for the promise. You won't believe me, but when I read the Bible, it's like I'm digging for gold. It really is.
When I read the Bible, I am searching, searching for God's promises, searching for the message God has given me. I do this every day. Because this Bible is precious, what about you? You won't know what you're missing. If you are ignorant and don't know to prioritize things first, what does it mean to prioritize things first? God. What must you do when you are discouraged? Keep your eyes on Jesus and His promises. You need to know God's promises. Why is this important? God's promises tell you what will happen and give you assurance about the future. I don't know about you, but when my kids go to college, I usually go to college games, and there's a very famous game in college that probably everyone watches, and that's when the blue team plays the green team.
Oh my gosh, it's wonderful! Every time I go there, my heart beats faster, sometimes I almost have a heart attack, but praise God, I say in my heart: This is just a game, just a game, just a game. But you know what? One time, they replayed a game, and I knew the result of the game, so when I was watching the replay, although the game was full of suspense, OK, you know why I was relaxed? Let me tell you, why am I relaxed? I know who won the championship. I know. So it doesn't matter, it's like watching a movie. The main character is getting beat up, you know the ending, relax, you know why? You know the ending. Many Christians are so discouraged because they don't know the end. You have to know the ending. I'm going to show you a video, a short clip, of what happens to God's people.
How many of you have seen the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia"? In that movie, the original author C. S. Lewis compared such a picture, Jesus is the lion called Aslan, this lion symbolizes Jesus, and the children represent the people of God. So if you look at this story, it's a wonderful story, written by C. S. Lewis, and it's actually about the Christian life. are you ready? Let me play you the last part, which is the scene from the finale. The sparkling East China Sea! I give you the brave Queen Lucy! O great western forest! I give you the righteous King Edmund! Brilliant and glorious sun! I give you my gentle Queen Susan! The clear sky in the north! I give you the glorious and majestic King Peter! As king and queen of Narnia now, you will always be king and queen. Friends, this scene is your destiny. My question is: will you have a crown? Will you receive the crown God promised us?
That's for the faithful, but not every Christian knows that. This is why you need to know the truth. My question is: How are you living? You see, the glory in the future will be greater. The Bible tells us, Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, appears, you also will appear with him in glory. If you don't have that hope in the future glory that God has promised you, is it possible that you don't know Jesus? If you don't have that desire to actually see Him, to hear Him say: Well done! Then chances are you don't really know the Lord. The Bible tells us, James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation. Because after he has passed the test, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him.
I don't know about you, but I live by the promises of God. Christians, you don't live by explanations, you live by the promises of God. I believe God is faithful and I believe God will stand by His word. At the same time, you may get discouraged, but whenever you get discouraged, what is the first thing you do? Keep your eyes on Jesus. When you fix your eyes on Jesus, and you think about His promises, and you think about His future, that's when we're about to finish, let's read this scripture together: Gal 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good. If you don't lose heart, you will reap a harvest in due time. There is a condition here, and the condition is not to lose heart. Don't lose heart and keep doing what God wants us to do. Sometimes people won't appreciate you, sometimes people in your family won't appreciate you, but I tell you, keep doing it, the Bible gives you a promise: When the time comes, when the time comes, read this with me: When the time comes, it's time to harvest. Let us not lose heart.
Let's bow our heads, if God has spoken to you, I want you to pray quietly and ask God to reveal to you, what are your priorities in your own life, what are your priorities in your life? Is it all about your family? Is it all about your physical comfort? So that you neglect what God wants you to do? It's between you and the Lord. Some of us don't even belong to God's family. You never belonged to God's family. You were always on the outside looking in. You come here every Sunday to accompany your family, but you yourself have no intention of worshiping Jesus because you have religion but not Jesus. Why don't you pray quietly right now and say: "Lord Jesus, I want to be part of your family. I surrender my life to you".
How many of you want to be part of God's family? You have never been in His family, but today you want to be sure: You are in His family. I want to pray for you, please raise your hands. Lift higher. Let me repeat, you have always been unsure whether you belong in God's family, you have always been on the outside looking in, but today you say, you know what? I want this future, this majestic future. I want to belong to the family of God. Raise your hands. I want you to pray this prayer with me. If you want to belong to the family of God, you Pray this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I need you. I admit that I am a sinner, and sin separates me from you, but I thank you, Jesus, that you died on the cross for my sins. Today I ask you Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Lord Jesus, I invite you to be my personal Savior. Thank you for forgiving my sins. I now honor you as my king, and I surrender to you now as my Lord and Savior. Lord Jesus, make you my number one priority. Make your number one priority in my life. Help me to prioritize the first thing, which is you. Lord, help me in times of discouragement, in times of suppressed pain, let me always focus on you, thank you for being our savior, thank you for loving us, we all pray in the holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen! Amen!