【The English Sermon】"Let us live a life of laying up treasures in heaven" 2021.11.21 Mark 10:17~31

 "Let us live a life of laying up treasures in heaven"

2021.11.21 Mark 10:17~31

    There is a parallel article in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke about the following verse in Mark 10:17. It is probably an actual event. Some preachers say that this article contains God's commandments to all human beings. In other words, this article contains the key to faith in Christ.

    A rich man (probably a young man) asks the Lord Jesus, "Good teacher, what is the meaning of eternal life? What must I do, good teacher, to inherit eternal life?" (v.17) The Lord Jesus says there is no one good but God. He said, "You know the law, 'Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not rob, honor your parents. And he says, "Sir, all those things I have kept since I was a child" (verses 19, 20). But the Lord Jesus strikes at the root of this man's obsession.

    He says, "There is one thing you lack. Go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have wealth in heaven. Then follow me." (v.21) But this man was not ready to give up his possessions. He was probably giving to the poor. But he could not give away most of his wealth. No, I think he did not have the heart to give it willingly. He walked away because he could not follow the Lord Jesus. It is a very sobering experience.

    Furthermore, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, "Children, how difficult it is for you to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were more and more amazed, saying to one another, 'Who then can be saved?” (verses 24-26). The disciples did not understand the problem. This was no stranger to them.

    But I would like to note the following words of the Lord Jesus. But let us take note of the following words of the Lord Jesus: "It is not for man to do, but for God. For with God you can do anything." (v.27) I'm continuing with Peterson's translation, and I'm struck by his meditation on April 25. The subject is "What We Do Best. Giving," Peterson asserts, "is what we do best. Giving is the way of the world," he says, and encourages us to be generous to others instead of living a life obsessed only with ourselves. He tells us not to cling to the dead leaves of our "bank account" but to finally let go of them. The Lord Jesus laid down His life for all people. He showed us God's love with his own body. I want to live a life of laying up treasures in heaven. Let us pray.

【説教】「天に宝を積む人生を生きて行こう」2021年11月21日 マルコ福音書10章17節~31節


  2021年11月21日 マルコ福音書10章17節~31節






       だが、主イエスが語った次に御言葉に留意したい。「人間にはできることではないが、神にはできる。神には何でもできるからだ。」(27節)今、ピーターソンの翻訳を継続しているが、その4月25日の黙想には心打たれる。「わたしたちが最も得意とすること」という主題である。ピーターソンは「与えること」こそ、わたしたちの最も得意とすることである」と断言する。「『与えることは』とは世界の在り様である」と述べ、自分だけに固執する人生に生きることなく他者に寛大に生きて行けと勧める。「預金口座」という枯葉にしがみつくな、最後は手放す時がくると説く。主イエスは全ての人のために命を捨てて下さったのだ。神の愛を身をもって示して下さったのだ。天に宝を積む人生を生きて行きたい。 祈りましょう。 


【The English Sermon】 "I want to live the mystery of marriage"  2021.10.24 Mark 10:2

 "I want to live the mystery of marriage"

2021.10.24 Mark 10:2

  I would like to take the following article from Mark 10:2 as a lesson for Christians to keep in mind and live by. It is the mystery of marriage. However, how many difficulties are there in the life of a marriage? There are peaks and valleys, and sometimes even breakdowns.

    However, there is no doubt that the Lord Jesus considered marriage to be very important. The Pharisees try to correct Jesus by saying that divorce is allowed in the Bible (Deuteronomy 24:1 and following). It says, "If a man takes a wife and becomes her husband, and finds anything disgraceful in her and does not like her, he shall write a letter of divorce and put it in her hand and leave his house" (Deuteronomy 24:1).

    Doesn't the Lord Jesus clearly say what marriage is in response to this? The reason why Moses wrote the letter of separation and allowed the couple to be separated is because "your hearts are stubborn, so I have written this law" (verse 5). But from the beginning of creation God made man male and female, so that he might leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two would become one flesh. Therefore they are not separate, but one flesh.

    These words are familiar to anyone who has been to a Christian wedding ceremony. But the original word for "united" in the verse, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife," means "to cleave to, to bind tightly.” It means that a man and a woman are bound by a strong adhesive "glue.. Furthermore, if a man and a woman who are tied together so tightly break down for some reason, the hurt they cause each other will be deep.

    Lastly, I would like to note the words of the Lord Jesus. "This is what the minister officiating at the wedding proclaims at the end of the wedding ceremony. Father Tetsuro Honda faithfully translates this verse as, "What God has joined together in one yoke, let not man separate.”

    In other words, marriage means to bear "one yoke" with each other, to share the pain and suffering. Forgiveness and patience are required. I married my wife (Sachiko) 43 years ago. The words I pledged at that time have become more and more of a support for me since my wife fell ill with a mental illness. No, I don't know how long we will be able to live together, but I strongly believe that I want to live up to my vow. "Do you promise to love, honor, comfort, and help her in all her health and in all her illness, and to be faithful to her as long as she lives?" I am beginning to understand the weight of this promise now that I am sick. Let us pray.

【説教】「結婚の秘儀に生きて行きたい」 2021年10月24日 マルコによる福音書10章2~12節



 2021年10月24日 マルコによる福音書10章2~12節











【The English Sermon】"Be Prepared and Wait" 2020.10.17 Matthew 25:1-13

"Be Prepared and Wait" 

2020.10.17 Matthew 25:1-13


    Matthew 25:1-13 is a teaching on the "end of the world" that continues from chapter 24. The Christians of the early church lived by the "second coming faith" of the Lord Jesus. Isn't this what is required of today's Christians as well?

    E.H. Peterson, in his meditation on May 23 in "Living the Message" wrote that we should live our lives without anxiety and distractions because our daily lives are assured by the "second coming of Jesus.” What an astute meditation! The Lord Jesus compared the "kingdom of heaven" to ten virgins welcoming the bridegroom. "Five of them were foolish and five were wise" (verse 2). One English translation translates foolish as "foolish-thoughtless, without forethought". I would like to pay particular attention to the word forethought. In Japanese, it means "deep consideration, caution, and foresight.” We tend to think of foolishness or cleverness as being smart or stupid, but that is not what is meant here.

    The foolish virgins did not have any spare oil. On the contrary, the wise virgins had oil in reserve for the future. But the bridegroom didn't show up, so they dozed off. Finally, at midnight, the bridegroom arrives. Then the foolish virgins said, "Please give us some oil. My lamp is about to go out" (v.8), they plead with the wise virgins. The wise virgins reply, "We don't have enough to share with you. Instead, go to the store and buy some for yourself" (verse 9). Don’t those sound like cold words to you? The Lord Jesus is the one who preached love and lived in love. Don't you think he would have responded warmly? I used to feel the same way, but when I read the original text, I realized something. Mr. Ken Sato also translates it close to the original meaning, "It will never be enough for you and me. "It says, "for me and for you.

    While the foolish virgins go to buy oil, the bridegroom arrives and they are unable to attend the wedding feast. They ask the master to open the door, "Master, master, open the door" (verse 10), but the master rejects them. These are harsh words. This is clearly a parable of the second coming of Jesus. The second coming of the Lord Jesus is known only to God. It is a matter that is far beyond human wisdom.

    But can we be prepared for the second coming of the Lord Jesus? I think the parable in verse 14 and following gives us a concrete example of this. Each of us has been given a gift from God. It may be five talents, two talents, or even one talent. We should make use of them, not be lazy and hide them in the ground. At any rate, we must make use of the gift that God has given us. Next, we need to live in a way that supports the least of these, as written in verse 31 and following. We need to live in a way that loves such people. Are we living in such a way? Isn't that how we should prepare for the second coming of the Lord Jesus? I want to prepare and wait for the time when the Lord Jesus will come again. Let us pray.

【説教】 「備えて、待て」2021年10月17日 マタイ福音書25章1~13節

「備えて、待て」 友川 栄

2021年10月17日 マタイ福音書25章1~13節



    E.H.ピーターソンは「聖書に生きる」の5月23日の黙想で、日々の生活は「イエスの再臨」で確約されているために、不安や雑念を捨て生きて行けという趣旨を記している。何と鋭い黙想だろうか。主イエスは「天の国」を花婿を迎える十人のおとめにたとえる。「そのうちの五人は愚かで、五人は賢かった」(2節)とある。ある英訳は愚かを「foolishthoughtless, without forethought」と訳す。特に「forethought」に留意したい。日本語では「深慮、用心、見通し」という意味。愚かとか賢いとは頭が良いとか悪いと考えてしまうが、ここではそういう意味ではない。







No wonder she speaks English fluently!
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【The English Sermon】 "Just Give Me Your Word" Gospel of Matthew 8:5-13 English sermon delivered on July 18th

 "Just Give Me Your Word" 

Gospel of Matthew 8:5-13

English sermon delivered on July 18th

 The Lord Jesus wrote the "Sermon on the Mount" from chapters 5 to 7, and in chapter 8, verse 1. He healed a man who was suffering from a leprosy In chapter 8, verse 1, and later, he heals a man suffering from a serious skin disease, which is called Hansen’s disease today. In those days, if you had this disease then called leprosy, you had to cry out to yourself, "I am unclean," and let people know about it. It was a disease where people were isolated from society.

    Some biblical scholars say that if you have Hansen's, you have to stay at least two meters away from the infected person. One of the commentaries said that if a person who had this disease was up wind, he had to stay about 50 meters away. It was such a scary disease.

    Now, the world is in turmoil because of the new coronavirus. Vaccination for COVID-19 is speeding up, but what will happen in Japan, where the Olympic and Paralympic Games start this week? It seems that not everyone is safe after vaccination. I fear that wearing masks will become the norm. Keeping a distance, sitting down, and regular ventilation will become the norm. I wonder if it will become commonplace to keep your distance, sit down, and have adequate ventilation regularly. At any rate, we should not be overconfident.

    But the Lord Jesus reaches out, touches and heals. This is a startling event. Then, in chapter 8, verse 5 and following, the Lord Jesus Jesus heals the centurion's servant. Many scholars assume that this centurion is not a Jew. He is a Gentile, so to speak. Isn't the amazing gospel of the Lord Jesus also written here? I would like to take this as an introduction to the Christian faith.

    I would like to take this as the first lesson of Christian faith. First of all, this centurion "came near and begged" the Lord Jesus, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home with the middle wind and is suffering terribly. "The centurion first "approached" the Lord Jesus, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home with the middle wind and is suffering terribly."

    Stepping closer to the Lord Jesus, faith begins with walking up to the Lord Jesus. Stepping up to the Lord Jesus means you can talk about your hardships and problems. There are many things in life that we can't accomplish even if we try.

    There are many things that you cannot overcome. There are many things that we cannot overcome, like illnesses and trials. We don't get sick by choice. At some point, we will get sick. But we are grateful for the people who support us through our illness.

    But through sickness, we gradually come to understand how grateful we are for the people who support us. The Lord Jesus always shows us the will of God.

    In response In response, the Lord Jesus says, "I will go and heal him" (verse 7). Ken Sato translates it as a question, "Will I go and heal him? "(v.7). In his note, he says, "The question expresses concern that Jesus, an Israelite, should enter the house of a centurion, who was a Gentile or a neighbor of a Gentile.” The Lord Jesus was a Gentile.

    The Lord Jesus refuses the request of the Gentile centurion, but the great thing about the centurion is that he does not give up after one or two times. He said, "Lord, I'm not the kind of person you can have under your roof. Just say the word. Then my servant will be healed. (verse 8). He also says, "I too am under authority, but under me are soldiers. I have soldiers under me, and if I tell one to go, he goes; if I tell another to come, he comes. If I say to my subordinate, "Do this" he will come. And if you say to one of your men, 'Do this' he will do it. (verse 9).

    In the same way, the word of Jesus, which commands healing, will also be delivered. The centurion has total confidence in the Lord Jesus, doesn't he? We, too, can ask the Lord Jesus through the Bible, "Just give me your word. " through the Bible, we want to taste and digest the Word that is given to us, and become people who can live by it. Let us pray.   

【説教】「ただ、お言葉をください」マタイ福音書8章5~13節 2021年7月18日

























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【The English Sermon】“As One Who Seeks the Father’s Will” August 15, 2021 Matthew 12:43-50

 “As One Who Seeks the Father’s Will”

August 15, 2021 Matthew 12:43-50

    Faith is not a straightforward thing. ”Be sober, be vigilant. The devil, your adversary, is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm in the faith and resist the devil," says Peter (1) in Chapter 5, verses 8 and 9. If we put our own desires before God's will, the devil will enter our lives and bring our faith to naught.

    The Lord Jesus tells us a strange thing in Matthew 12:43-45. "The unclean spirit... looked for a place to rest, but found none. So he says, 'Let's go back to my house, where I came from.’ When he returned, he found the house empty, cleaned and ready for him." (Matthew 12:44). He goes on to say that the evil spirit will bring seven spirits to live in the house, and the situation will get worse. So faith is truly a battle. As you all know, there are many battles to be fought in faith. It is not a shallow thing that you can just believe and be saved. We are human beings with a body and a mind, so many things happen to us. It's not all fun and games, right? This verse is a warning against that.

    Next, I would like to take note of the words of the Lord Jesus in verse 46 and following. In the New  Community Translation, there is a sub-heading paired with the words, "Jesus' mother and brothers. There is even a parallel article written under the subheading. They are Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21. I don't have time to talk about the parallel articles today, so please compare them when you get home. The contents are almost the same, but the details are slightly different. The differences are actually very important.

    It is said that the Gospel of Matthew was written with reference to the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark is said to have been written in the 60s or early 70s A.D., although there are various theories that make it impossible to be certain. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written in the late 80s.

    Today's article was written after the Beelzebul controversy in Mark, as it was in Matthew. In the Gospel of Mark, the mother and brothers of the Lord Jesus thought that "the man is out of his mind" (Mark 3:21) and came to the Lord Jesus to seize him. In other words, the mother Mary and the brothers of Jesus do not understand him and are worried about him. Did they come to persuade him to return home?

    The Lord Jesus was a carpenter's son. He was also apparently the oldest son. "He had brothers and sisters. His mother's name was Mary, and his brothers were James, Joseph (Mark has it as Joses), Simon, and Judas.

Don't all of our sisters live with us? Where did this man get all this from?"(Matthew 13:55, 56). The Lord Jesus was the eldest of the five male brothers and had at least two sisters. I also have seven siblings, and I feel a sense of kinship with them.

    When the Lord Jesus is standing outside with his mother and brothers trying to talk to him, he says something that at first glance seems to be a rejection of his own mother and brothers. Then, in verses 49 and 50, he says, "And pointing to the disciples, he said, 'Here is my mother, and here are my brothers. Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother or sister or mother. Isn't this breaking the fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments,' Honor your father and your mother' (Exodus 20:12)? Isn't this blasphemy? Or does the Lord Jesus really mean that faith means that we must insulate ourselves from our parents and brothers and sisters? Then we read, "He pointed His disciples toward them. This expression is unique to the Gospel of Matthew. It is probably one of the teachings that he really wanted his disciples to remember. It is a lesson that should not be forgotten. I believe that the key to unlocking it is implied in "those who do the will of the Father in heaven. There are actually not many times that the Lord Jesus refers to "doing the will of the Father.” The Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (6:10) and the fierce prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Father, let this cup pass from me. But not according to my will, but according to Thy will."(Matthew 26:39) The rest is not in the Gospel of Matthew. Is it obvious that we are to do His will? I have been a Christian for 51 years and a pastor for 43 years, but there are still many things I don't understand about "doing God's will." Why did my wife become schizophrenic?

    How many times have I prayed to God to heal her if it is His will? But God does not heal. I want to get her out of the mental hospital as soon as possible and move her into a nursing home, but God refuses to let me do so, saying, "It is difficult to deal with schizophrenic patients. Isn't it easy for us humans to understand what the will of God is? However, there is one thing I am learning through my wife's illness. It is that I have begun to understand a little more about the pain and anguish of those who are undergoing trials.

    Paradoxically, my love for my wife is finally growing deeper. This is certain.

    Did the Lord Jesus liberate the people of Israel from Roman rule with military power and wisdom after this? No, he did not. The Lord Jesus accepted the will of God the Father in heaven and was crucified on the cross. He even laid down His life to atone for the sins of all people. He gave up His own life to save others. To do His will is not something obvious to human beings.

    Believing and willingly accepting His will may involve long and deep struggles, doubt, resignation, and sorrow. But I believe that Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, and the disciples must have had such experiences. In particular, the sorrow of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, is immeasurable. Her own child died first, and then he died on the cross.

    However, the God we believe in is not the one who would abandon those who are in trials and tribulations. Strangely enough, Acts 1:14 says, "And they were all praying earnestly with the women, and with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And so it is. I believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the brothers of Jesus were radically changed and came to understand the "love of God" manifested in the cross of Jesus. I believe that they came to understand that God is still alive and working. Isn't that what it means to "do the will of God"? When you believe in God, the bonds of your family are strengthened. Let us also believe in God and walk with Him, cherishing the steps we are given each day while seeking God's will. Let us pray. 

【説教】「父の御心を求める者として」2021年 8月15日 マタイによる福音書 12章43~50節



2021年 8月15日 マタイによる福音書 12章43~50節












【The English Sermon】"Don’t judge others" Matthew 7:1-5 delivered on July 4, 2021

"Don’t judge others"

Matthew 7:1-5

English Sermon delivered by Rev. Sakae Tomokawa on July 4, 2021

    We can see that Matthew 7:1-5 was the teaching of the Lord Jesus, who continued to warn the Christians of the early church. It is an important teaching that continues to guide our walk even today. Don't judge others. Do not judge others, lest you also be judged. You will be judged with the judgment that you judge, and you will be weighed with the scales that you weigh. (vs. 1, 2) In the illuminated Bible, verse 2 says the same thing, with some differences. Romans 2:1, 14:3,4, 1 Corinthians 4:3-5, and James 4:11,12. I don't have time to look at all of them, but I would like to read Romans 2:1 and 14:3,4 with you. Please open them. What do you think? He must have known the teachings of the Lord Jesus.

    When I read the words "judge others,” I think of the book "In the Light" written by the late Ayako Miura. Ms. Miura said the following: It means that we have two measurements when we look at a person. There is a difference between the scale on which we weigh ourselves and the scale on which we weigh others. If a child breaks a teacup, I yell at him, "Why did you do that?” But if you break it yourself because of carelessness, you just stick out your tongue and say “why?" or "I did it.” They also gossip about other people's things. She says they also gossip about other people, saying things that are not true, in other words, they go on and on about bad things. However, when they are bad-mouthed for some reason or another, they become so agonized that they cannot sleep at night. Is there such a thing as being too hard on others and too soft on oneself, or vice versa? This is no stranger to me.

    Every year, I receive a card from a certain church (I dare not mention the name of the church because it is a matter of honor for the church) for my birthday and my wife's birthday. The primary reason I didn’t reply was that I didn't have the energy myself, but to be honest, I was reluctant to write a reply or postcard because I felt that I was forced to quit. I'm going to send a small donation to this church because they are "the Lord's body" and had taken care of us for a short time. That said, today's verse has melted my stubbornness.

    Now, back to today's Word, when I prepare a sermon, I prepare it by reading the original Greek text, the Japanese translation of the Bible, and the English Bible. The New Testament translation written by Mr. Goro Maeda states in the note "Do not judge others," "It is not a prohibition against the trial of maintaining order, but a prohibition against the arrogance of man putting himself in the place of God. Mr. Maeda's understanding of humanity is deep. Judging others is probably the arrogance of human beings who think they are absolutely right and the other person is wrong. He said, "You can see the sawdust in your brother's eyes, but why don't you see the log in your own eyes. Another English translation: While you pay no attention to all the beams (logs) in yours How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the sawdust out of your eyes? You have a log in your own eye. (vs. 3, 4).

    As I studied the Word given to me today, I was reminded of one confession. I was reminded of one thing while studying today's verse: Christians will face God's judgment at the end of time. Even in our faith, or perhaps it is because we are believers, if we are stubborn that we will never be wrong, we will stray from the right path. The true judgment is God's, and it is dangerous for human beings to begin to think with confidence that they are not wrong. Please read 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. It does not matter to me whether I am judged by you or by the courts of men. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but that does not make me righteous. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, when the Lord comes, do not be hasty in judging anything. The Lord will reveal the secrets hidden in the darkness. Then you will receive praise from your God. So it is said. What a wonderful verse! Isn't it a way of life to simply surrender everything to God who knows everything without any human gain or loss or interest? Isn't it a way of life where we fear God, who judges all things impartially, and walk in freedom, unencumbered by anything? Let's go forward step by step, trusting in the all-knowing God. Let’s us pray.

【説教】「人を裁くな」 マタイ福音書7章1~5節 2021年 7月4日




2021年 7月4日 友川 栄





  さて、今日の御言葉に戻りますが、説教を準備する時には、ギリシャ語原文を日本語訳聖書、英語の聖書を読んで準備します。前田護郎氏が書いた「新約聖書」は「人を裁くな」の注に「秩序維持の裁判が禁じられるのではなく、人間が自らを神の位置に置く傲慢の禁句である」と述べています。前田氏の人間理解は深く鋭いですね。他者を裁くとは自分が絶対に正しい、相手が間違っているという人間の傲慢なのでしょう。「あなたは、兄弟に目にあるおが屑は見えるのに、なぜ自分の目に丸太が(口語訳:梁)に気づかないのか。(ある英訳は:While you pay no attention to all the beam in yoursと訳す)兄弟に向かって『あなたの目からおが屑を取らせてください』と、どうして言えようか。自分の目に丸太があるではないか。」(3,4節)と書いています。













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