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04.21.24 "Whose Sermon Should We Listen to in the AI Era?" (AI시대 누구의 설교를 들어야할까?)


  • In the era of COVID-19, the number of "floating Christians" has increased. This term refers to Christians who have moved away from the traditional patterns of faith practiced in churches and instead engage in worship through online platforms or broadcasts.

  • In the present, COVID-19 has blown open the door to the age of artificial intelligence. The era of hyper-personalization has begun in earnest, where services and products are tailored to individual characteristics, demands, and preferences.

  • OTT Christians are on the rise. Crossing the boundaries between what is offline and online, individuals will create their own customized faith environments tailored to their worship, Bible study, online communities, and personal beliefs.

  • We are pilgrims in the city. We believe that such massive changes are also under God's providence. Crisis can be an opportunity for evangelism. However, we do not necessarily endorse these changes outright. We must always be ready to discern whether our current culture is an adequate medium to convey truth.

  • Sure, here's the translation:

  • Christianity is a religion of revelation. God speaks through nature, culture, history, and supernatural miracles. These are called general revelations. We also have special revelation, which is the word of God recorded in the Bible. We believe that God has revealed His holy will to us in the Scriptures. In Christianity, without the unchanging truth revealed through the Bible, it would be just another unattractive religion compared to other religions. Instead, aren't Islam, Buddhism, and indigenous religions more religious in appearance?

  • - Who were the first people entrusted with the responsibility to teach saints the truth like jewels found in the Bible? They are the pastors.

  • "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." 2 Timothy 4:2

  • - Paul, while pastoring the church in Ephesus, is urging his disciple Timothy, through a letter, to proclaim the word of God consistently until the end.

  • "When the time is right, people will not listen to sound doctrine. Instead, they will gather teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and chase after myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:3-5

  • - Paul also warns Timothy about the infiltration of pleasing philosophies, myths, and heresies that people desire to hear, urging him to preach the true gospel to counter it.

  • - Timothy's role as the overseer of the Ephesian church was to teach saints to guard the unchanging truth, to continue teaching the messianic identity of Jesus Christ as taught in the Old Testament, that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again as our Savior.

  • - In the AI era, the activities of heretical groups will flourish even more. Cults like Shincheonji, after losing many saints to COVID-19, are transforming into friendly images through digital means to carry out evangelistic activities. Nowadays, the danger to MZ (Millennial and Gen Z) Christians is not from Islam or Buddhism. Hardcore religious groups like these have much stronger religious obligations than Christianity, so it's unlikely for MZ individuals to fall into them. Rather, cults like Shincheonji, JMS, and Unification Church are less problematic. Except for outliers, MZ individuals don't submit their lives to those claiming to be the reincarnated Jesus. The problem lies with heretical groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists, who acknowledge Jesus but lead people down a completely different path. They are not wolves in sheep's clothing but goats in sheep's clothing. Their strategy is to lure people with enticing videos on the internet, and the real teachings are delivered in conferences, seminars, and Bible study groups.

  • - Pastors cannot see the search history of saints regarding which sermons they've been exposed to. Among the sermon videos flooding the internet, there are no videos tagged "I'm a heretic." Hence, in the AI era, the responsibility of the senior pastor becomes more critical. They must teach discernment to distinguish false truths floating around on OTT platforms. Sunday sermons alone are not enough. Through disciple training, current leaders must be well-equipped to teach other saints, ensuring that the true gospel flows through the church's veins.

  • - How much should pastors teach saints? We can find our goal from the saints of Berea. They eagerly received the word and searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul was preaching was true.

  • "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." Acts 17:11

  • - There's a saying, "When there's a flood, there's no clean water to drink." Nowadays, words are pouring out exponentially, waiting along with algorithms. We live in an era where there are rankings of famous, popular preachers. Did you know that the same faith issues existed in the church Paul established in Corinth?

  • "Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" 1 Corinthians 1:12-13

  • - There were divisions within the Corinthian church regarding who baptized whom. Paul mentions the names of prominent figures from the early church. Paul, Apollos, Peter, Christ. People were boasting about whom they were baptized by, and this became a source of pride and division in the church. However, Paul addresses the divided Corinthian church in his letter:

  • "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." 1 Corinthians 1:17

  • - Paul emphasizes that what matters is preaching the gospel, not who baptized whom.

  • - The gospel doesn't need to be difficult to convey. Paul admonishes that the gospel doesn't need to be preached with eloquent words but may sound foolish to the world.

  • "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

  • - The world of God is vast. The Bible contains God's narrative about Himself and His beloved people. It encompasses God's creation, human existence, sin and redemption, salvation, the kingdom of God, and eternity.

  • - However, the invitation to the world of God's kingdom doesn't come with a lengthy message. The gospel of Jesus Christ is very simple. The explanation of the way of the cross was once widely known and spread through a gospel booklet called the Four Spiritual Laws, which could be shared in 10 minutes. It's a logical story even children can understand. The gospel is simple but powerful.

  • - Pastor AZ Tozer once said, "The Bible is the easiest book to understand for those with spiritual hearts but the most difficult for those with fleshly minds." Indeed, the gospel of Jesus Christ should be something even children can share. We need to remove the frills from preaching and focus on the new life Jesus Christ gives, filling our worship with joy, tears, and hope. This is the original worship. Through the church, where small and significant stories are abundant, the gospel transforms what appears to be a worldly church into a place overflowing with stories. This is the power of the gospel.

  • "I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so

  • that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2:4

  • The responsibility of preaching the Gospel is a gift bestowed by God to pastors, not a shackle. This gift and ability are given to pastors entrusted with the task of proclaiming the Word of God for the advancement of His kingdom.

  • The passage you referenced from 2 Timothy 4:13-16 emphasizes the importance of dedicating oneself to reading the Scriptures, exhortation, and teaching. It encourages pastors not to neglect the gift within them, which was imparted through prophecy when they were ordained. By being diligent in these tasks, pastors not only grow themselves but also contribute to the salvation of those who listen to them.

  • Therefore, the duty of a pastor is to faithfully teach the Scriptures and proclaim the Gospel message, using the gift that God has given them for the sake of His kingdom. This gift is a privilege and an ability granted by God, not a burden.

  • "I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." - 1 Corinthians 4:14-15

  • Paul emphasizes that although there may be many mentors, there can only be one spiritual father. He became a father figure to the Corinthians through sharing the gospel with them in Christ Jesus.

  • In this age of AI, there are numerous opportunities to selectively listen to good sermons. This presents an opportunity for personal growth in faith. Sermons can be accessed through the internet, benefiting anonymous worshippers as well. There are also various resources available, such as Bible apps, study apps, counseling apps, podcasts, and even Christian movies and dramas on platforms like Netflix. We should be thankful for the abundance of opportunities to experience and enjoy God.

  • However, in this changing era, the role of your pastor has become even more important. Just as the food prepared by a loving mother holds a special place in one's heart, pastors are called to deliver the Word of God with the same love and care as a nurturing mother. As children of God, we should receive the Word with a childlike heart.

  • I have a testimony. During the recent 40-day prayer retreat, I miraculously did not catch a cold, despite being in close contact with many people who were ill. Even my wife and son fell ill during this period, and my immune system was weakened. However, God protected my health. I am convinced that the Word must be proclaimed in the church.

  • Let us pray that our pastors become servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries. Let them preach sermons that are pleasing to the ears of people, guiding the saints with the Word of God rather than seeking their approval. Let us pray for pastors who proclaim the gospel not with eloquence or human wisdom but with the power of God and in demonstration of His Spirit.

  • "For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building." - 1 Corinthians 3:9

  • Let us pray for a heart of love and acceptance towards our pastors. Even in times of correction and rebuke, let us seek faith and obedience, trusting that if it is in accordance with the Word of God, it is God's will. Let us resolve to live each day with the Word of God as our top priority, utilizing the opportunities given to us to make God's Word the center of our daily lives.

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