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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Water above the Firmament and the Water below the Firmament



< Genesis 1:6-8 >

ďThen God said, ĎLet there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.í Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.Ē



On the first day of His creation, God did the work of saving souls. In other words, on the first day God made sinners righteous, and He also clearly separated the righteous from the sinners. And on the second day of the creation of the heavens and the earth, God divided the water above the firmament from the water below it. Put differently, this means that God divided His Word from the words of Satan.



The Water above the Firmament and the Water below the Firmament

In the Bible, the spiritual meaning of ďwaterĒ refers to the ďWord of God,Ē and it also refers to the ďbaptismĒ that Jesus received from John, through which He accepted the sins of mankind. On this earth, there are those who spread the Word of God, and then there also are those who spread Satanís words. That is why God divided all the waters on this earth into the water above the firmament and the water below it. Through the things that God did on the second day of creation, He is saying, ďIn this world there are those who live by feeding on My Word by faith, and others who live by feeding on the words of Satan and spreading it.Ē As such, it is imperative for us to know how to discern whether those claiming to preach the Word of God are indeed Godís servants or Satanís servants.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). In contrast, every sort of wickedness comes out of the human heart. Therefore, when the light of the Word of God is shone, the true colors of the sinful are unveiled. The water below the firmament—that is, the words of the earth—refers to the teachings that came out of the human heart. That is why the water above the firmament is separated from the water below it.

The water of this earth is fundamentally different from the water above the firmament. In other words, God is saying that every word that comes out of the human heart is the water below the firmament, while the Word of Truth that He spoke to us is the water above the firmament.

There are false prophets on this earth, but at the same time, there also are Godís servants, the true prophets. False prophets are those who say whatever comes out of their own hearts, without even looking at the Word of God. In the Old Testamentís time also, false prophets had prophesied according to whatever came out of their minds. So spiritually speaking, their teachings are the words of the earth, that is, the words of Satan.

However, it is still possible for Satanís words to work in peopleís hearts. So when we look at those who are used by the Devil, we see them telling sinners to receive the Holy Spirit irrespective of the Word of God, or speaking in tongues, which are really nothing more than just gibberish that comes out of their own minds. When we listen carefully to what they say, we can easily find out that itís just a voice of the flesh coming out of their own thoughts and emotion. So itís a complete mess. Itís so filthy that we can hardly continue to listen.

When we listen to what is said at a revival meeting in a prayer retreat, we the born-again can realize in no time whether the preacher with the Bible open is speaking the Word of God now, or just saying whatever is on his own mind. Many such preachers speak in complete irrelevance to the Bible. For instance, while telling the congregation to receive the Holy Spirit, they manipulate the mike to come up with some sort of sound effect, and shout out, ďReceive the fire!Ē Using a vocal band, they stir up the crowdís emotion and put them in a mass hypnosis. Would the crowd really receive the Holy Spirit in this way?

God says in the Bible, ďReceive the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy SpiritĒ (Acts 2:38). However, when we listen to the words of the servants of Satan, they claim that one is to receive the remission of his sins separately from receiving the Holy Spirit. They say, ďAll of you who believe in Jesus are saints. But, from now on, you have to receive the Holy Spirit separately to become whole.Ē

But must one receive the Holy Spirit yet again after being born again? It is none other than liarsí words to say so. Their teachings are not of the Word that is above the firmament, but they are the words that are below the firmament—that is, words that spring forth from the earth. Put differently, they say what God never said, making it up all on their own.

Satanís words are always like that. When people say anything that is different from the Bible, itís all Satanís words. This is the nature of Satanís words: What Satan says is clearly not the Word of God, but he claims that his words are Godís Word. None other than this is the very nature of the words of Satan. It is about pretending to preach the Word of God, only to deceive people in the end.

Those who preach the Word of God must preach it based on the written Word of the Scriptures. Godís servants are those who preach what the Bible says exactly as it is. In contrast, Satanís servants say whatever comes out of their own hearts irrespective the Bible, thus leading countless people to destruction. Satanís words work through those who are not born again. And the words of Satan can work through those whose faith is still immature, even though they believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

How, then, do Satanís words descend on people? First, Iíve already mentioned that Satanís words work in those who are not born again. It is those who are not born again that are the best suited to be used by Satan. So Satan stirs up devotion in them, changes their hearts, and makes them work hard, as if they were really laboring for the Truth, when in fact they are serving only lies. Satan makes people believe in the lies of the false teachers as the truth. It is through these people who are not born again that Satan works. He works through them so that rather than following the Truth, they would follow untruth.

That is why when someone leads his life of faith under a pastor who is not born again, he ends up turning into a servant of Satan himself. If this pastor does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and has therefore not been born again, then regardless of how he might believe that he is doing well in his own way, ultimately all his ministry is nothing more than Satanís work. As such, the pastor must first be born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit



Satanís Work Is Manifested Not as Faith in the Truth, But as the Devotion of Man

As a matter of fact, there are many pastors in this world who are doing Satanís work without even realizing. They are doing so much false work as Satanís servants. Although their work of Satan can heal illnesses and cast out demons, they bear sinners, for their followers still have sin in their hearts. Their next work of Satan is to turn their congregation into legalistic believers, changing them to strive hard to keep the Law.

Before the Apostle Paul met the Lord on the road to Damascus, he had been utterly devoted to the Law. As the Pharisee among the Pharisees, he was extremely pious. His devotion even extended to persecuting and murdering Christian saints. Before the Apostle Paul was born again, when he was a young man, he even guarded the clothes of the people who stoned Godís servant Stephan to death. He was someone who said, ďIíll watch over your clothes; go ahead and stone him all you want!Ē In this age also, such devotion is found in the churches and homes where Satan is working. God makes His servants do His work quietly. In contrast, the Devil does His work with all kinds of clamor through his servants, by inciting their lust for glory.

Making people zealous is characteristic of the work of Satan. When we look at people used by Satan, we see how they all labor with only their own zeal. From attending morning prayer meetings for 70 straight days and overnight prayer meetings for 40 days to campaigning to read the entire Bible in a week, there are so many exceptional requirements to their work that itís a constant struggle keep up with them. Their lives of faith are a continuation of one slogan after another, of striving to do something on their own. But all that we really have to do is just pray to God placing our faith in His righteousness, with our hearts entirely relying on Him and trusting Him. Must we fast for 40 days for God to be pleased? Of course not!

However, because they are not the people who believe in the Truth and follow it, and because they therefore cannot trust in Godís Word, they seek after something special so much. They think that if they are carnally zealous, God would somehow bless them. They try to be so zealous that we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit cannot follow the zeal of such people who are not born again.

Before I knew the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and before I believed in it, I, too, had been zealous beyond description. I used to gather the youths to clean the church inside and out, lead them out to the streets to bear witness, and then gather again in the evening for choir practice. This is how zealous I was before I was born again. Those who are yet to be born again before God are so zealous that it is imperative that we consider their misplaced devotion here.

Just because a Christian is devout, this does not necessarily mean that he is following the will of God. In other words, when we lead our lives of faith, we must first have the proper knowledge of what the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is, and what the God-pleasing life is. For us to rely on the Word of God, seek its counsel, and come out to God is to fulfill the will of God. Following the Truth is to march forth trusting in the righteousness of God; it is not something that can achieved by mankindís devotion.

Genesis 1:2 says, ďThe Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.Ē This means that the Spirit of God works with the Word of God. All that there is for us to do is to understand what the Word of God is saying and follow it. God works in our lives when we seek His counsel, trust in Him, and follow Him, but in contrast to this, the devotion is mankind is like a marathon race without the finish line. There is no end to this, no matter how long one might continue with his devotion. It entails a constant exhortation to try just a little bit more and just a little bit harder, but all that results from this is a never-ending struggle to be a devoted believer.

The purpose for mankindís devotion is also to satisfy oneís own lust. One would fall off a bicycle unless he pedals ceaselessly; just like this, so does the piety of mankind requires one to run endlessly. This zeal tires and torments people so much. Yet Satan still stirs them to be zealous, and ultimately drags them into hell. That is because far too man people follow Satanís words more zealously than Godís Word.

Oneís zeal does not set the person free, but it makes the person weary. God said to us, ďYou shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.Ē In contrast, Satan says to people, ďYou just need some rough understanding of Godís Word; what you really need is piety.Ē Satanís logic is that if we are utterly pious to God, God would also be moved, just as ďsincerity moves Heaven.Ē As a result, people think, ďThough I am a sinner, if I pray to God diligently, God will overlook it.Ē This very thought is completely fallacious.

What can really be achieved just because we pray to God zealously? We must not emphasize only our own devotion. That is Satanic. Rather than living according to our own zeal, we must realize Godís will and live according to this will of God.

However, the servants of Satan try to incite us to be zealous for the work of the earth. Next to extolling us to devotion, they try to turn us completely ignorant, leading us to hell as know-nothings. That is why God said in 2 Timothy 3:6-7, ďFor of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.Ē

In other words, Satan tries to trip people into ignorance. He tries to confuse them. God says that Satan brings ignorance to people so that they may remain completely oblivious, making them learn constantly and yet never be able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Satan makes them fall into ignorance and stubbornness, and these ignorance and stubbornness prevent them from reaching the knowledge of the Truth. Itís Satanís strategy to make people ignorant.

Many Christians are also very zealous when it comes to bearing witness, preaching to others to believe in Jesus. Satanís servants are quite diligent with their proselytizing efforts, for their zeal is great, and they lure those who seem weak. In other words, Satan claims that people would prosper if they believe in Jesus, be healed from their illnesses, or succeed in their businesses, and by making such claims, Satan stirs up their desires and lures them according to his strategy. This is nothing more than a result of ignorance. That is why the Word of God says that the zeal of the ignorant can never reach the Truth. It says that even though those who stand against Godís righteousness are always learning, they cannot reach the knowledge of the Truth. Put differently, the ignorant who have not been born again can never reach the Truth, no matter how much they might learn from the servants of Satan. They may teach others everyday, but their followers still remain as sinners even after their teachings are over, just as they had been sinners when they first began to be taught.

The Lord said in John 8:32, ďYou shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.Ē So God is telling us to know the Truth. Like this, while the Lord tells us to know the Truth, in contrast, Satan tells us to be zealous.

What is Godís righteousness? Itís the Truth. What is the real Truth? The real Truth is the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that saves peopleís lives. As such, when one knows the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he can receive everlasting life. Satan, in contrast, prevents people from reaching everlasting life by making them fall into ignorance. He tries to lock them in as sinners until the very end, so that they may be punished forever. That is why Satanís servants continue to spread the words of ignorance, to prevent people from reaching the knowledge of the righteousness of God.

Satanic faith is this: ďHaving a form of godliness but denying its powerĒ (2 Timothy 3:5). The power of godliness refers to the gospel of power through which one is made righteous by believing in the righteousness of God. So, Satan makes people believe not in the righteousness of God but in their own righteousness, all the while pretending to believe in Godís righteousness. While Satanís people may mimic as if they believe in the righteousness of God, they cannot receive the real power of godliness by faith. The Devil tries to prevent us from knowing the Truth that God has blotted out our sins. He tries to thwart us from realizing that we have now become completely sinless. All that Satan does is just make people put on only the outside appearance of godliness, of believing in Jesus. That is what Satan does, making people believe in Jesus without a clear purpose and preventing them from receiving the remission of their sins.

In other words, Satan stirs up people to be zealous, making it impossible for them to reach the Truth, and by doing so, he leads countless Christians into ignorance to die in their own weaknesses in the end. This is Satanís work, making sure that people would still retain all their sins in their hearts even though they believe in Jesus. What is so tragic is that such teachings of Satan are so rampant in todayís Christianity.



We Must Separate the Truth from Falsehood according to the Word of God

What God did on the second day of creation was to divide according to His Word. God commanded the water above the firmament to be divided from the water below the firmament; whatever God says is fulfilled accordingly. Here then, let us think about what it is to divide according to the Word of God.

God separates His Word from Satanís words. With what criterion does God divide the Truth from falsehood? As God said in Genesis 1:2, ďThe Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters,Ē He is always working with His Word. Therefore, He is able to divide the born-again from those who are not born again with His Word.

When we reflect a certain teaching on the Word of God, and we see that it is not right according to the Word, then we can conclude that it is Satanís words. In other words, because it is Godís Word of righteousness that we hear, believe, and keep in our hearts, when we reflect what people say to us upon the God-given Word, if itís not right, then we can judge it to be Satanís words. On the other hand, if itís right as reflected on the Word of God, then it is the Word of Truth manifesting Godís righteousness.

Put differently, whatever teachings the righteous may come across, they can divide them into the Word above the firmament and the word below it. The teachings that come out preachersí lips are either Godís Word or Satanís words. If these teachings are not congruent to Godís Word of righteousness, then we must ignore such teachings, no matter how systematic and finesse they might be, and no matter how famous and authoritative the one giving these teachings might be. Words that do not contain the righteousness of God must be defined as Satanís words, not Godís Word, and we must move away from them, even if they are preached as Godís Word by a respectable denomination.

When we divide a certain teaching into the Word above the firmament and the word below it, the standard for this is Godís Word of righteousness. When the people of this world hears someone speaking, they do not listen based on the measuring rod of the Word of God, but they judge looking only at his background, such as his power, wealth, fame, or education. However, based on this kind of standard, it is not possible to separate the Word above the firmament from the word below it—that is, the Word of God from the words of Satan. When we hear someoneís words, if we open the Bible, which is the Word of God, and listen based on this Word, we can surely distinguish Satanís words from Godís Word.

As such, we should cast aside the standard of the world, and based on the Word of God—that is, the Bible—we should separate the Word above the firmament from the word below it. You, too, should free yourselves from confusion through the Word of Truth.



Fallacious Doctrines Made by Satan

Some people claim that one is wholly saved only if he reaches sanctification after believing in Jesus. In Christianity, such a claim is known as the Doctrine of Incremental Sanctification. In fact, along with the Doctrine of Justification, this teaching is one of the orthodox teachings officially sanctioned by the so-called mainstream Christianity. However, this teaching did not come out of the biblically sound Word of Truth.

The arguments put forth by those who assert such a groundless doctrine is as the following. First of all, they, too, invoke the Word: ďAnd we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn