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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

For Whom Should We Live?



<Genesis 3:17-21>

ďThen to Adam He said, ĎBecause you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ĎYou shall not eat of ití:

ĎCursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.í

And Adam called his wifeís name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.Ē




As the first man sinned, mankind was cut off from Godís blessings. Human beings now had to labor in sweat to eat the yield of the field. Because man had offended Godís commandment, he now had to labor and toil to make a living. Such suffering came to mankind as the result of not believing in the Word of God. In other words, not to believe in Godís Word is to sin against Him and depart from Him, and when one leaves God behind, its consequence is that he now has to live by his own strength.



By Whose Strength Are We the Righteous Living?

Mankind had lived in Godís blessings, in abundant prosperity attained without any effort. Todayís people are so used to living by their own strength that this message probably doesnít appeal to them too much. Itís after man fell that he came to survive by his own effort, and this has now become the accepted norm.

However, for everyone to eat and survive on his own strength is not the originally intended norm, but it is Godís curse. Those who do not trust in Godís Word even after being born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit live by the strength of their flesh. But since the born-again has restored their relationship with God, what is normal for them is to live with God enjoying His blessings.

In fact, no matter how hard mankind might try, nothing can be achieved unless God blesses. A farmer may toil in the field for a year, but just when he is about to harvest, a flood might come and wipe out the crop. Manís labor, in other words, must actually be accompanied by Godís blessings.

Those who are separated from God will now starve to death unless they work. Most people find it hard enough to just meet their ends, and so they have little resources to serve others. This is the accursed life that resulted from us not believing in the Word of God and leaving it. You have to fully grasp that leaving God behind only brings an accursed life. Itís a shortcut asking for curses to say, ďI donít care about Godís blessings. Iím just not cut out for this realm of faith. Iíll succeed on my own terms.Ē Those who have left the Church even after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and being born again are indeed living in curses. If one cannot do any righteous work at all, and yet is satisfied to just toil away to barely get by, then such a life is an accursed life.

My fellow believers, those who have drifted far away from Godís blessings have nothing to eat unless they labor. None other than this is an accursed life. Yet sinners do not even realize that this is a curse. They accept their accursed lives only as a matter of course. As they are so used to living by their own strength of the flesh, they have simply given up trying to live by trusting in God. Itís akin to the ostrich that has given up flying. Thatís why God included the ostrich in the list of unclean, inedible birds (Leviticus 11:16).

If human beings do not believe in Godís Word and instead live by their own strength, they will only return to a handful of dust when they die. Born from dust, man is to live in dust and return to dust. That is the Truth set by God. When we consider whether it is a normal life for such people like us to live by our own strength, we can see that it is not normal at all. The normal life for a Christian is a life that is lived in God for His righteousness by believing in His Word.

It is written, ďUnless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vainĒ (Psalms 127:1).

If God makes us labor, then we work hard, but we also hope that God would give us even more blessings, apart from the products of our labor—these are Godís blessings. If we were to obtain only as much as what we have labored for, then we would have nothing to share with others. Although we are weak, God provides everything needed on this earth to eat and drink to those who believe in His Word. However, those who do not believe in God can hardly get by despite toiling so much. Countless people lived without faith in the righteousness of God and died in vain.

When I worked at a company, I made about $50 a day. I had to make my ends meet on just $50 a day, but there was hardly any money left after paying the rent, buying the food, and paying the bills. I detested such a life. I, too, was born from dust, but I abhorred such a meaningless life. I wanted to live in Godís righteousness and His blessings, according to the will of Godís desire. So I hoped that God would make me serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit through His Church.

God said that where the name of Jehovah is remembered, He would bless it, and I believed this to mean that God would bless where the gospel of the water and the Spirit is preached. So my heart truly yearned to be able to preach this gospel. I wanted to be live in Godís blessings, freed from the confines of a life that offered only the products of my own labor, and I wanted to live as someone who would spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. God then allowed me to escape from my accursed life.

Those who still try to live by their own strength even after being born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not realize just how abundant Godís blessed life is. They are rejecting the blessed life that God has given them. God does not want us to live only by our human strength. Humans are honorable beings, and the honorable should do honorable work and live in Godís blessings until they stand before His presence. Yet many people live without even realizing their own honor—this is nothing else but a curse.

It is foolish for us to return to our old lives and take care of only ourselves and our own families even after being freed from our sins. It is so frustrating for me to see some workers reverting back to their old lives according to the flesh. They do this because they have no faith in the righteousness of God, even though I have tried to rebuke them, saying, ďAll that you can see is just that. If you really care about your family, then like Joseph, you should live by faith and save all your family. Why do you wish to return back to your accursed life?Ē



God Blesses on the Faith of the Servants Who Have United with Godís Righteousness

If some righteous people toil in sweat only to barely survive and yet they are satisfied by this, itís because their spiritual eyes still have not opened to know and believe in the righteousness of God, and because they donít realize how Godís blessings abound in the realm of faith. The born-again cannot live on just the satisfaction of their flesh. That is why our workers and our students at the Mission School must live by faith.

There was a certain worker who followed his own greed. When we were holding a revival meeting at his church, he claimed that there was no money for flower arrangements. So I had some doubts, wondering, ďIs his church so strapped for money that it canít even afford flower arrangements?Ē As suspected, later on it was revealed that this minister was seeking after his own greed. When his church had money, he didnít send it to the Head Office of our mission organization, but he pocketed it for himself. The church where he ministered had never made any contribution to the Mission for the Lordís gospel. On the contrary, it was the Mission that had to provide financial resources to him.

At first, I thought that he was struggling since his church was a newly planted one, and so I sent another worker and his wife to work with him. This, however, changed nothing. What was in this ministerís mind? This is what he had in his mind: ďI should spend what I earned. Why should I give up what I earned and offer it for the spreading of the gospel? Whatís wrong with me wanting to take what is rightfully mine earned with my own labor?Ē This is why his ministry was ruined. The saints at that church had also labored so much for him.

Something then came along and I rebuked this minister. I also ordered his post to be moved, so that I could bring him under my close watch and open his eyes to the true realm of faith, but he refused to obey, and his wife even told me that I should change my mind. To this day, I have never seen such a minister in the Church, nor such a wife of a minister.

This couple then told me, ďReverend, we canít continue with our ministry.Ē He was fundamentally unequipped to serve the gospel and the Lord. All that he cared for was to earn his living and make his ends meet, and this was what his faith was all about. He had absolutely no desire to trust in Godís righteousness and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As the Lord told us, ďA tree is known by its fruit,Ē to be exact, he had only pretended to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not with his heart.

Anyone who says that itís only fair for him to spend what he earns wants to live only for his own flesh. Such people see no need to serve the Lord or preach Godís love to other souls; neither are they blessed by God, nor do they want to be blessed. All that they want is just to live in this world on their own. In doing so, they are neglecting the thorn of suffering to grow in their hearts. None other than this is a suffering heart.

I admonish you all to realize that trying to live on your own strength is the evidence of your faithlessness. God neither wants to be served by such people, nor does He want to bless them.

Before the advent of Godís curse, man had no need to till in the Garden of Eden. Since God had provided man with natural fruits, all that he had to do was just eat them. However, because of his sin, man now had to till the field, sow the seed, fertilize the ground, harvest the yield, and only then could he eat of his labor. Moreover, this backbreaking labor had to be repeated all over again, and the same grueling work has continued all the way down to this day.

You and I must now believe with our hearts in the Word of God that has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And we must renew our hearts. Anyone who tries to live by his own strength is someone who does not believe in Godís righteousness. And anyone who does not believe in Godís Word is someone who is committing a great sin before God.

The Bible says, ďWhatever is not from faith is sinĒ (Romans 14:23). We must turn around from our carnal thoughts. We shouldnít live in our own narrow-minded way. Nor should we live only within our own means. On the contrary, we should live by our faith, believing in the righteousness of God and His power. The Apostle Paul confessed, ďI can do all things through Christ who strengthens meĒ (Philippians 4:13).

We should live before God by believing in the power of His righteousness and receiving His blessings, not by trusting in our own carnal strength. How can anyone who has been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit return to his parents or brothers, to revert back to his old life? If we want to save our parents or brothers, then we must live in the realm of faith, believing in the righteousness of God. By living by our faith, we must lead our families to be also saved from sin. If we give up serving the Lord, we would be killing our own families, in both body and spirit. That is the reason why we must follow the righteousness of God. We must realize that an accursed life is unavoidable for those who try to live only by their own strength even after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and being born again.

It is a curse to live by trusting in oneís own strength instead of believing in Godís righteousness. We must not fall into our carnal lust, not learning about faith in the righteousness of God and His power, and so we must actually and tangibly live by faith in Godís Church. Only then can we realize just how insufficient we are, and, as a result, come to learn about faith in the true Word of God and unite with it. Anyone who is born again must serve the gospel tangibly in Godís Church.

You and I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been born again, and we have set our minds to live as Godís workers. Will you then live only by the strength of your own flesh? No! It is when we believe in Godís Word, serve the gospel united with His Church, and live in His dominion by faith that we are blessed. We must set our minds to live by our faith in the righteousness of God.

All the days of our lives in this world entail only toil and sorrow (Psalms 90:10). Mankind is to return to dust. Do you think there is something great about mankindís life? We are no more than a handful of ashes when we die. Have you seen cremation? After our bodies are all burnt, all that remains is only a handful of ashes. We may work to death, but what remains of us in the end? We are only to return to a handful of dust. As God said, ďFor dust you are, and to dust you shall return,Ē we have to realize what kind of life is the accursed life that has descended on us, and rather than living this life of curses, we have to live by believing in the righteousness of God.

God let Adam call his wife Eve and made her the mother of all living. And for Adam and his wife, God also made tunics of skin and clothed them. This implies that God has saved human beings and clothed them with new life. In doing so, God has made them live upright, blessed them, and has renewed and restored them.

Yet despite this, if we were to live only by our own strength even after being born again, what else can this be but only a curse? When God has prepared all our blessings and told us to just believe, to disbelieve in this and live by our own strength is nothing more than a curse. Living by faith is the blessed life. It is so clear. No matter how capable we might be, we should say, ďGod, I canít live by myself. I canít live unless I do righteous work. I want to live in Your blessings.Ē This is the blessed life of faith that pleases God.

There are some people who still have not set their minds even when they are in Godís Church. When circumstances allow, such people come up with all sorts of excuses to inevitably return to the world. We must set our minds, ďIf I live, I will live in the righteousness of God, and if I die, I will die in the righteousness of God. I will live with Godís Church and be buried in the Church.Ē Unless we decide so, even the born-again will return to this world with all kinds of pretexts, if only circumstances are right.

Will we serve our own flesh or the Spirit? We must choose one of the two. The ultimate point is that anyone who has been born again must set his mind to serve the righteousness of God by faith. Our flesh will then also be led by the Spirit of God and be blessed. People do not realize this, but we need to realize just how abundantly wonderful it is to live in Christ, how rewarding it is, and how it is overflowing with so much joy.

To those who are unable to realize this and want to live only for their flesh, we tell them to leave the Church without any hesitation. Once they experience the world for themselves, they will realize what a blessed life it is to live by faith, and so we tell them to feel free to go out into the world. The people of Israel had lived as slaves in Egypt, making bricks out of clay all day long. None other than this is the life that is lived out in the world. When the born-again want to serve only their own flesh instead of serving the righteousness of God, which is the Word of God, they are standing against God, and, as such, theirs is a life of suffering accursed by God.

We must therefore realize what a blessed life it is to live with God in His Church. Adam and Eve failed to realize how blessed it was for them to live by believing in Godís Word, but once they came to live an accursed life, they finally realized that what they had was a blessed life. Only then did they change their minds.



ďTake away the Dross from SilverĒ (Proverb 25:4)

To melt gold or silver and make rings out of them, the ore must be put into the crucible and the dross must be removed. When the furnace is lit and the crucible heats up, impurities float above the melted gold or silver, and these impurities must then be removed. After repeating this process, gold or silver that is 99% pure is obtained. The liquid pure gold or silver is then poured into a mold to make fine jewelry such as silverware or rings.

For you and I to be used by God, the dross must be removed from our hearts. Our hearts must have pure faith that believes in the Word of God entirely. Our thoughts may waver back and forth from time to time, but in the center of our hearts, we must set our minds, ďI will live with the gospel and the Lord.Ē And we must believe that everything will be fulfilled according to Godís Word. We must also have faith in the Church.

The Church is a wonderful place where one member fills the insufficiencies of another member to serve the Lord. Even though we are insufficient, we should live in the Church filling each otherís shortcomings and receiving Godís blessings.

Do you believe that such a life is a blessed life? Do you also want to live this blessed life? As for myself, that is what I believe and want. So even though I am insufficient, I still live in the realm of faith, do the Lordís work myself, and ask my fellow members to also do righteous work. Only when I live in the born-again dominion by faith does the Lord bless me; if I were to align with those who have not been born again dictated by my circumstances, Iíll be cut off from Godís blessings and Iíll have to live by my own strength from then on. I have no desire to live such an accursed life.

I work only with those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not with anyone else who has not been born again. No matter how capable and bright they might be, manís strength is bound to have a limit, and so I do not take their hands, but I rely on Godís power instead. For those who believe in their own strength, when this strength of their flesh is exhausted, their faith will also disappear. Those who still do not wholly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit tend to do Godís work only because they are forced by their circumstances, or for their own glory.

I say to such people, ďIf you donít want to work with me, you should quit right now.Ē They then ask me why I am telling them to quit, when they are still useful. I then say to them, ďThere are many people other than you whom God can use.Ē Not realizing this, they think that they are still quite useful. But this is not how God thinks. Referring to the faithless who rely on their own strength, God says that they are useless. And God looks for and uses those whose hearts are humble before God.

Try living in the realm of faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You will discover how truly peaceful it is. Even though itís hard for my flesh, I still live in the realm of faith, believing in and serving the righteousness of God, praying whenever I am insufficient, trusting in the Word of God and waiting. God then blesses me in many ways.

I am so thankful to God that we have received faith in His righteousness and His blessings. Itís simply marvelous. God has done the truly amazing work of salvation for us. And He continued to do marvelous works in our lives. I am only amazed at how we have come to live in such a blessed realm.

Everyone else is living in confusion. Some people claim themselves to be God, while others say that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of parables and symbolisms. Regardless, all those who have not been born again are invariably living by their own strength, unable to have wholesome faith; however, as far as we are concerned, though we may be insufficient, we live by believing in Godís righteousness. We live by faith because we know all about the final end of those who live relying on their own strength instead of trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and because we know very well that the origin of all blessings is God.

God has made us be born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and live by faith before His presence. God has given us such wisdom and faith. He has enabled us to live perfectly remitted from all our sins, and He has made us live as matchmakers leading the lost souls to Jesus Christ to marry Him. Unless God gave us this faith, how else could we have lived such a life? Of 24 hours a day, God has made us spend most of the hours thinking about His work, praying for the gospel work, and doing the righteous work. Whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, we do for the glory of God—God has given us this blessed life to live for His glory. I give all my thanks to God for making us realize this Truth.

You and I, now that we have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, must live the rest of our lives by trusting in the righteousness of God. In doing so, we must help those who do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit to be born again, and we must lead them to the life of blessings. Even if we had only one day to live, we should live for Godís righteousness. If our lives are lived only for our own flesh, then we might as well give up now.

I am not suggesting here that those who are not born again should die right away. What I mean is that mankind must live a life that is worthwhile. Once born, we must all get old, fall ill, and eventually die in the end, whether we like it or not. Where, then, is the need to extend life meaninglessly until we get old waiting for death? If the way we live our lives is in vain, then it is better for us to turn around as soon as possible and live a life that is worthwhile.

What is there to life other than seeking the pleasures of the flesh? However, King Solomon concluded that it is all in vain to try to enjoy happiness in the flesh. Everyday, people have to get up early in the morning, go to work, come back home, get up the next morning, and then repeat the same thing over and over again. They may go on a vacation a couple of times a year, but once they are back, they again find themselves in the rut of work, going round and round the spinning wheel like a mice, only to be forced into early retirement and wait for death. If this is all that there is life, isnít it just too meaningless?

However, such a meaningless life is not what God has given us, but He has given us a new life, a life that is far more worthwhile. Put differently, God has enabled us to live a blessed life. God has given us a blessed life. Through the Word of God and by allowing us to taste the bitterness of life, God has enabled us to realize the emptiness of life and its futile end.

If not for Godís Word, how else could we know such an end beforehand, and how else could we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the blessed Word of God? Can man-made philosophy make mankind noble? Could science make mankindís life a blessed one? No! Only God has made our lives blessed.

I am so thankful to God for enabling us to live such a blessed life. We have many shortcomings. But even so, we are renewed everyday by faith. Of course, there are ups and downs even to the lives of the righteous. Sometime we fall into carnal thoughts and struggle, but when we are strengthened by the Word of God and live by faith, we will come to live a spiritual life, as eagles soar on their wings. A life that follows the righteousness of God is a blessed life, for it is a life that is fundamentally lived in the Lord.

I hope that your lives are not the kind of life that is lived in dust only to return to dust. I want all of you to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and be born again, to trust in Godís Word and live by faith, and to receive and enjoy all the blessings bestowed by God. If you die, die for the gospel of the water and the Spirit in Christ, and if you live, live in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to serve this gospel.

God has given the blessed life of faith to you and me alike. I admonish you all to believe that when we have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and live united with Godís Church, we will receive all the blessings of God. It is when we live united with Godís Church that we can achieve all that we desire. Yet too many brothers and sisters are still trying to live by their own strength, and this troubles me deeply.

The very fact that we are now sitting in Godís Church on our faith in His righteousness is, in and of itself, something that is truly amazing. Were it not for this faith, we could neither teach nor learn anything sitting here. It is because God has given us faith and blessed us with His grace that we are able to sit here and listen to the Word of God. God has given you such grace all on His own, regardless of whether your individual faith deserves it or not.

In my country, South Korea, when a young man turns 20, he has to take a physical exam, and in one year, he is drafted into the military service. You are the ones who have been drafted into Godís army. God saw those who have set their minds and drafted them into His Church, calling them as His workers. The draft notice that is sent by Godís Church is a truly blessed invitation, for it is an invitation to live as Godís soldiers. In Godís Church, even if one is born again, unless he denies himself and refuses to live only for himself, he will never come into the Mission School. Some of such saints may somehow come in, but they will eventually leave on their own.

No matter how erudite one might be in secular knowledge, itís all useless in the realm of faith. Do not compare our Mission School to the theological seminaries of this world. Putting all the seminaries in the world together cannot be compared to our Mission School. There is nothing to learn in seminaries.

Seminary is not the place where one learns about Godís Word of the Bible itself. If not the Bible, then what do students learn there? What is taught there is just some theological philosophy espoused by famous theologians and man-made doctrines. It teaches, ďAfter graduating from Oxford University, Livingston dedicated all his life to the people of Africa, and so you should also become like Livingston and pay back the debt you owe to the love of Christ.Ē Countless people invest their entire lifetime into studying theology, but their investment is all in vain.

Do the theologians of the world believe in the divinity of Jesus? They cannot believe this, for they do not have the Holy Spirit of God. Even the so-called religious leaders of the world do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. They consider Jesus only as a man.

This is what theology is all about: Who are some of the most renowned theologians? What is their view on salvation? What did they do? What is their belief on the divinity of Jesus? How did Calvin believe in Jesus Christ, and what did Luther say? This is all that is learnt. Students set aside the Bible and learn from textbooks such as ĎSystematic Theology,í ĎIntroduction to the New Testament,í and ĎIntroduction to the Old Testament.í All that it takes for students to earn their credit is to learn some Hebrew and Greek, and to submit a handful of papers for each course.

Did you learn about Genesis 1:1 in a seminary? You canít learn about the Truth that chapter one of Genesis speaks of, for this Truth is not taught in seminary. Moreover, seminary cannot even address the overall contours of the Bible. Even the students themselves do not seek to learn either.

When I was interviewed for admission to a seminary, a professor at the interview asked me, ďWhy do you want to attend our seminary?Ē So I said to him, ďI would like to learn about the Bible.Ē The interviewing professor then told me that my answer was wrong. He said, ďThis is not the place for that. It is an institution that nurtures pastors.Ē Essentially, he taught me the right answer, telling me, ďA seminary is where pastors are made.Ē He then asked me again, and I passed the interview by repeating back his answer. He also asked me, ďDo you have a sponsor? If so, is your sponsor reliable?Ē So I told him, ďMy mother is the head of a certain prayer retreat of our denomination,Ē and based on this one sentence I was accepted into the seminary.

Evangelist Um, who was one of our students at the Mission School, had attended a Baptist seminary before, and his righteousness was broken many times during his Mission School days. Iíve told him, ďYou may have certain pride for having attended seminary, but that is nothing. What you learned at the seminary does not even approximate the basics of the Truth. Just by knowing about which theologian espoused which theological ideas, you canít graduate from our Mission School. You have to have faith in the Word of the Scriptures. Only then can you pass.Ē The Mission School in Godís Church is not a place that teaches ministering skills or philosophical understandings, but it is a place where one learns about faith in his heart.

God has given us amazing blessings. He has given us the Church, the Mission School, and a place to work as well. Our Lordís blessings are marvelous. You must have faith in the righteousness of God, believing in the His Word entirely, trusting in the Church entirely, and believing that God is with us, blesses us, and works together with us. Such faith must be in your hearts.

You must know what God does through the Church and what He says to the Church. You must realize that the Holy Spirit Himself is leading you personally, teaching you and refining you. You must also know that the Holy Spirit, unseen in your eyes, is now working in your lives. You must do so if you were to boast of God.

I am saying to the future students of our Mission School: Those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are not qualified to come to the Mission School. Those who have sin in their hearts cannot come into the Mission School. Even if they are accepted, they will all walk out on their own. Even though we donít impose any restrictions, and we only teach the Bible as it is, they still canít bear and end up waking out. Itís quite amazing.

My fellow believers, once we are born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must live a blessed life in Godís Church by placing our faith in the righteousness of God.

 

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