By Alois Eggmann


(Alois began his sermon telling us about a movie he watched on his trans-Atlantic flight that touched him very deeply. This synopsis is from www.allsaintsmovie.com.)

“ALL SAINTS” - is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor named Michael Spurlock, the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.
After trading in his corporate sales career to become a pastor, Michael’s first assignment is All Saints, a quaint country church with a dozen members. It comes with a catch: he has to close the church doors for good and sell the prime piece of land on which it sits. While developers eagerly eye the property and the congregation mourns the inevitable, Michael and his family look forward to moving on to an established church where they can put down roots.
But when the church hesitantly begins welcoming Karen (kuh-REN) refugees from Burma — former farmers striving for a fresh start in [Smyrna, Tennessee] America — Michael feels called to an improbable new mission. Toiling alongside the Karen people, the congregation attempts to turn their fertile land into a working farm to pay the church’s bills and feed its newest people.
Jeopardizing his family’s future by ignoring his superiors, Michael must choose between completing what he was assigned to do — close the church and sell the property — or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community.


When finally time was ready to bring in the fruits of the harvest, there rose up a storm that nobody expected. The storm damaged almost the entire harvest.

Imagine going through this experience yourself. A person would be tempted to just give up. Questions come up such as How could God let this happen? Why now? Why did God make all the provisions before to bring forth good fruits? Having our eyes on the damage before us, in such a moment we are not even ready to accept a "good answer." But it is here where God meets us in our trial. The provisions he made were not in vain. God had a greater goal to be fulfilled in this story, because this story did not end with the storm. God knows what is ahead of the storm. He was not only interested to bring in a harvest on the fields – but to bring back to unity the harvest of the whole church in Smyrna.

God is at work in our lives and in our personal relationship with him even when we have a hard time understanding what is going on around us. His ways and thoughts are above ours. God was purifying that church. God has a plan to clean and purify us from all that does not belong to him.

Some time ago, a few ladies met to study the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable statement in the third verse:

Malachi 3:2
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. [emphasis added]

One lady decided to visit a silversmith, and without telling him the reason for her visit, she asked him to tell her about the process of refining silver. After he had fully described it to her, she asked: "Sir, do you watch while the work of refining is going on?" "Yes," replied the silversmith. "I must sit and watch the furnace constantly, for, if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured." At once the lady understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi's statement. God sees it as necessary to put his children into the furnace, not for judgment, but to become obedient.

1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [emphasis added]

God's eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying. His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us. Our trials do not come at random, and he will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.

Before she left, the lady asked a final question: "How do you know when the process is finished?" "Oh, that is quite simple," replied the silversmith (whose name is Jesus), “When I can see my own image in the silver (the silver is you!), the refining process is complete."

The Lord is at work within us at all time. When we are weak, he becomes strong. He works within us to will and to do of his good pleasure. When all the chaff is burned away — things of the old nature such as pride, envy, selfishness, greed, and hate, things intent on "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Eph. 2:3) — then we come into the liberty of Christ, to bear good fruits for his kingdom.

Job 5:17-19
17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

When silver and gold are refined seven times, they are 99.999% pure. This is the finest quality they can achieve. Any attempt to refine them beyond that will only cause damage to the metals.

Conformed to the Image of His Son

James 1:23
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

The word "glass" in James 1:23 refers to a mirror image.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. [emphasis added]

As we look at his glory, we are changed — transformed — into the same image of the Lord. The more the purification process advances, the more we look into the glass and see not ourselves but the image of Christ!

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

This word "darkly" means "an obscure saying, enigma, or riddle." An enigma is a saying that is puzzling to understand, or a revelation obscurely expressed. Paul metaphorically describes a mirror reflection, by reflection, indirectly, in contrast to a personal encounter with Christ. We do not always understand the things we are going through, but we know that all things work together for good to conform us to the image of his Son.

Romans 8:29
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 John 3:2 2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.



Presented in French Settlement, Louisiana, on March 4, 2018