(Pastor Ock Soo Park’s Sermon for Children)
Saul took a leading role in imprisoning Christians. He did not talk with Christians and closed his heart, following his own thoughts. Then he met Jesus and discovered that his thoughts were wrong and broke away, becoming a worker of Jesus. I wish that you would not stick to your thoughts, but rather talk with others and share your heart. Through this, the world will become a brighter and beautiful place.
“Jesus of Nazareth Is Alive?” Acts chapter 9 tells the story of Saul who persecuted Christians, those who believed in Jesus. Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians there and to bring them, bound, to Jerusalem. When he came near Damascus, there was a sudden light in the heavens that shone on him. Shocked, Saul fell to the ground. That is when he heard a voice. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” “I am Jesus whom you persecute.” Saul was startled. “Jesus of Nazareth, who I thought was dead, is actually alive?” This is how Saul met Jesus for the first time in his life.
The Many Problems That Occur From Not Communicating Many difficulties arise in the world. When we search for the causes of these difficulties, many times it is because people do not converse with each other. Even though you may live in the same house, if you do not talk, there will be no flow of the heart. If there is no flow of the heart, you become more distant. This is when misunderstanding and distrust starts to sprout. We can see that many conflicts and problems occur from this. People who are in suffering caused by various problems are mostly those who do not communicate with others. They close their heart because of various reasons and live inside of their own thoughts. They don’t realize how much harm is caused by this. Conversely, those who listen to others, regardless of whether what they say fits with their thoughts, live a beautiful life. As we listen to the stories of others, their heart flows into our heart and thus, we are able to understand them. That is how our heart flows and becomes close. You can’t imagine how happy you can become by living this way.
Satan Made Saul to Think of Only One Side When Saul heard from those who believed in Jesus that, “Jesus resurrected in three days after being crucified on the cross,” he immediately thought, “This is nonsense! How can someone resurrect after being crucified? The rascals who believe in Jesus must be deceiving our good citizens. Who can be fooled?” Saul stood at the forefront of persecuting Christians, beating and putting them in jail. Satan planted in Saul’s heart the thought that the stories told by Christians are misleading and worthless and that they are wrong people. In order to establish a crooked heart in Saul, Satan vigorously blocked him from meeting Christians. “It’s completely meaningless to hear their stories! Those people have to be put behind bars and should be killed!” Satan gave him these thoughts so that it would be unimaginable for him to even listen to the stories of the Christians.
The Most Evil Person in the World Is . . . As people living in the 21st century, we are living comfortably, enjoying the various benefits of modern civilization. But there is surely no telling how many people remain sleepless at night and suffer in despair. This is because we don’t communicate. As we talk, our heart starts to flow and we get to trust each other. If we have someone we trust in, our heart finds peace. But Satan blocks us from communicating in order to keep us away from this peace. The most evil person in the world would be someone who has the heart of Saul: “My thought is right! I don’t have to listen to others!” No matter how right you may be, you must listen to others. Even though their thoughts might be hard to listen and accept, as you live your life communicating this way, you will be able to live a life much happier than if you were living in a good house all alone.
“How Evil Was I! How Wrong Was I!” Because Saul had a one-sided thought and did not communicate with Christians, Jesus appeared to Saul. When Jesus said, “I am Jesus whom you persecute,” Saul had a change in heart. “Oh, how many Christians did I blamelessly beat and imprison for them to die! How wrong was I! I did not even try to find out the truth and just believed in my thoughts!” Saul at last acknowledged how big a mistake he had committed. That is when Jesus spoke, “Arise, and go into the city.” Saul followed the Word of Jesus and went into the city and met Ananias. He also met many other Christians and communed with them. During this, the hatred and anger that filled Saul’s heart was replaced with repentance and regret and as he shared hearts with the Christians, peace filled his heart.
I Wish That You Taste the Joy of Having a Flow of Heart with Others in Jesus Just like Saul, even today there are people who have a closed heart towards God. There are many people with a closed heart towards their friends and neighbors. There are also many people who have closed hearts towards their family. We should not close our hearts like Saul who thought of only one side, and have a flow of heart with others by communicating. I wish you all become parents and children, brothers and sisters, teachers and students whose hearts flow inside of Jesus. When we live like this, I believe the world will become a brighter and more beautiful place.