The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 11 : The Tabernacle

[11-28] (Exodus 25:31-40) The Ornamental Knobs For the Gospel of The Water and the Spirit

(Exodus 25:31-40)
“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”
 
 
This passage describes the lampstand of the Tabernacle. Today, I would like to explain the spiritual meaning of its ornamental knobs, flowers and lamps. God commanded Moses to first make the shaft of the lamp stand out of one lump of gold. So the shaft was molded first, and then from this shaft branches were hammered out. Three branches came out of each side of the lampstand, and on each branch three bowls like almond blossoms were made, and then ornamental knobs and flowers were made. Like this, seven lamps were placed on top of the branches. Oil was then put into these seven lamps to light them. The lampstand thus illuminated brightly the inside of the Holy Place and all of its utensils as well.
For you and me our Lord, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, came to this earth in the likeness of a lowly human being. And on this earth Jesus carried out the works of salvation manifested in the blue and scarlet thread. These works of salvation were fulfilled by Jesus Christ who was born unto this earth, and was baptized by John the Baptist at His age of 30 in the Jordan River, and then was condemned on the Cross. By “thus” being baptized in a form of the laying on of hands, Jesus took upon all the sins of mankind (Matthew 3:15). Because Jesus, who had become a man, took upon all the sins of mankind by being baptized, He was crucified and shed His blood, and thereby carried out His duties of salvation manifested in the blue and scarlet thread. This is the Truth on which God’s Church places its foundation.
Our Lord has become the ornamental knob of the Church. God became the foundation of salvation for you and me who have received the remission of sins. Therefore, you and I have become part of God’s Church by believing that the Lord has saved us from all our sins with His works of salvation manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been clothed in God’s grace. This is why the word “church” is called as “έκκλησία” (Ekklesia) in Greek, meaning “the gathering of the called out from the sinful world.”
He who has enabled the people of this world to escape from sin by delivering them from it is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the Lord who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and washed away the iniquities of all sinners. By believing in the Lord’s baptism and bloodshed, we have been saved from sin and become perfectly righteous. That the Lord made us righteous was achieved by our faith in the truth that He came to this earth and fulfilled all the works of salvation manifested in the blue and purple thread. This is the faith that is revealed in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.
By being baptized by John when He came to this earth, Jesus took upon all our sins (Matthew 3:13-17). This is the truth and faith that are manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Because Jesus was condemned for the sins of the world on the Cross after being baptized by John the Baptist, He has blotted out our sins once for all. In other words, Jesus, who shouldered all our sins, has delivered us from all sins. In this way, with His works of salvation manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, the Lord has saved us from all the sins of the entire world. What the faith of true salvation really means is for us to know and believe in this truth correctly.
Because we have been saved from all our sins by faith, salvation from sin is a gift of God. Like this, our salvation had been designed in Jesus Christ even before the foundation of the world, in the baptism that He received and the blood of the Cross. Before this planet was even made, and before Adam and Eve, the common ancestors of mankind, were even created, God the Father had planned in Jesus Christ and with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the salvation of sinners from their iniquities; and when the time arrived, He came to this earth to fulfill it by being baptized and shedding His blood. Our God who created mankind has fulfilled the remission of the entire mankind’s sins as He had promised to them. This fulfillment of God’s promises was all achieved by Jesus Christ being baptized by John and shedding His blood. And to all those who believe in this, God has given the gift of salvation that delivers them from all the sins of the entire world and allowed them to receive the remission of their sins and eternal life. Those who believe in this Truth have been perfectly saved by God as His very own people. This Truth is the Truth of salvation revealed in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.
 

The Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Is the Shaft of the Lampstand
 
Jesus has become the cornerstone of salvation, the indispensable cornerstone for the salvation of all mankind. With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Jesus has completed and become the foundation of salvation for us. The lampstand of God had bowls like almond blossoms, ornamental knobs and flowers. And it had a shaft. Jesus Christ has also become the flower of salvation. If Jesus Christ’ Truth of salvation is the flower, who might the ornamental knobs then be? They are, of course, the servants of God and all those who have received the remission of sins. In other words, the flower is Jesus Christ and we are the ornamental knobs that support the flowers to full blossom.
After saving us from our sins, our Lord has made all of us the ornamental knobs of the gospel. Do you know this truth and believe it? Our pastors, elders, and brothers and sisters are all ornamental knobs. Anyone who has received the remission of sins is an ornamental knob. The Lord first laid the shaft of salvation with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. He then saved us first with the gospel of the water and the Spirit and made us the ornamental knobs that support the flowers of the gospel so that it could bloom. Only when all of us become ornamental knobs can sinners be saved from their sins. The only difference is in size, as some ornamental knobs may be large while others are small, but the fact that we all are the ornamental knobs for the gospel does not change.
Because Satan always stands opposed to God, he seeks to prevent us from believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in order for all of us not to be freed from our sins. But as flowers blossom even in a ruined field when a storm have passed through, every sinner can be delivered from sin by hearing the gospel of salvation, namely, the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord wants to save the lost souls from sin. In other words, He wants to spread the Truth of the water and the Spirit throughout this entire world. Therefore, God’s Church also works for the same purpose.
When ministers do not serve their churches by believing themselves to be the ornamental knobs of their respective churches, such churches can hardly bear any fruit of salvation. Therefore, if any minister only seeks to be served by his congregation, he then is merely an obstructer of the gospel themselves rather than a supporter of the beautiful gospel.
The reason why Satan first came is to rob us of life and kill us. But our Lord came to give abundant life to His sheep (John 10:10), and He has saved them by giving up everything He had. If anything is beneficial to the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must not hesitate to do that no matter how hard it seems to be. Such mindset makes us become the ornamental knobs of the gospel. It is even proper for pastors to work as menial workers to serve the gospel, and that is why our pastors are actually working under the burning sun. If even a single soul can be saved by their fulfilling the role of ornamental knobs even under the burning sun, then they would do this for their entire lifetime. Ministers are the ones who have the kind of faith that makes them willing to do anything to bring the flower of God’s gospel into bloom. You need to realize just how much effort and sacrifice it takes for a single flower of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to blossom. The very fact that you and I have been able to receive the remission of sins was also because of the fact that there had been the forefathers of faith who were martyred to preserve the Word of the Scriptures.
The seven lamps in the Tabernacle were where God’s precious oil was poured in. By our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been able to receive this precious oil and enjoy it, and by the grace of God, we have also become the ornamental knobs of the gospel. When we serve the gospel, we come to realize that there are so many things to do. From one thing to another, there is no end to what needs to be done. Publishing our gospel books, securing adequate funding for the ministers to preach the Word, to pray, and to lead their brothers and sisters, and for the brothers and sisters to serve the Lord—all these things must be carried out to fulfill the role of the ornamental knobs that serve the gospel. I hope you never forget the fact that God is using us the righteous as these ornamental knobs that enable the flower of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to bloom. 
 

Taking Good Care of New Believers Is Also Doing God’s Work
 
The cutest but at the same time the most fearsome in God’s Church are those young brothers and sisters who have only recently received the remission of sins. Before them, even pastors must be humble and engage them at the level of their spiritual understanding. Why? Because though they have received the remission of sins, their standard of judgment still tends to be based on their flesh. Therefore, the predecessors of faith who have believed first must become the ornamental knobs that serve those young believers who are following in their footsteps. They must serve new believers so that when these new believers grow up in their faith, they will come to realize how they had been taken care of when they were still young in the faith. They will come to be grateful for the kindness that had been bestowed on them personally, and with their faith they will in turn also return this kindness to the new saints coming into the Church.
However, you should not treat them with kindness unconditionally. Being kind to someone unconditionally just in the flesh does not necessarily mean that this person’s soul would grow and prosper. The way to lead people to spiritual well-being is to guide them to live according to the will of God by faith. If we are blindly nice only in the flesh, then far from helping them, it can actually corrupt them. Do you know why some brothers and sisters leave the Church? They leave because they were not led by faith into a spiritual direction. Just like the lampstand was made by hammering out a lump of pure gold, those who have become the lampstand and ornamental knobs must deny their thoughts of the flesh and their own righteousness, and they must hammer their hearts and bring them under submission according to the will of God. They must become the workers of God’s Church by beating themselves to submit to God appropriately.
Social workers often ponder how they can best help people. What is the appropriate course of action? Giving money to beggars, or helping them to become independent? Often, many people just hand out money and food to them. But those who have some knowledge of social works never just hand out money. They instead give the kind of help that plants the motivation and independence in the needy so that they may be able to live their lives independently. This is what truly helps them. So helping others also requires some highly technical skills.
Likewise, this thing called the gospel-preaching ministry is also a gift of God, for it requires one to water souls with the Word of God and serve them so that their flesh and spirits would grow in harmony. Ministers, in other words, must lead souls and guide them to the Lord, and they must also lead them in the affairs of the flesh so that they may succeed in their lives of faith. Ministers must always be wide awake. Our lives of faith as the born-again are all about fulfilling the role of the ornamental knobs every day and in many different fields and occasions. Our duty is to faithfully spend our entire lifetime as the ornamental knobs of the gospel before going to the Lord.
After saving us, our God has made us the ornamental knobs and entrusted us with appropriate duties so that we can serve to bring the flower of the gospel to full bloom. The people of this world who have not been born again are authoritarian, pretentious, arrogant, and always trying to be served by other believers. But the servants whom God has appointed as ministers in the born-again Church are well aware of His will and they are faithful to do what has been assigned to them as the ornamental knobs of the gospel. It is critically important for ministers to fulfill the role of these ornamental knobs well. Our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). This is not just a hypothetical notion, but it is the guiding principle of faith and of actual life. Those who give are indeed more blessed than those who receive. Have you experienced this yourselves?
Let me tell you a story. A couple having a child late in their age, prayed that this child would grow up loved. As they had prayed, the child indeed grew up always being loved. But as time passed by, they discovered that their child, who they thought would be loved only, was instead growing up to be a selfish person who cared for no one else but himself. What they had done thus far was not beneficial to the child at all. As he constantly kept receiving, he came to know only how to receive, not to give, and this turned him into a child filled with greed and selfishness. The old couple then prayed again to turn their child into someone who knows how to love others.
Giving is more beautiful than receiving. How much fun is it to serve the Lord? How gratifying is it? When I think that a soul comes to receive the remission of sins whenever I serve the gospel by faith, I can only be joyful and gratified. The righteous believers desire to spread the gospel to many souls. In God’s Church, the role of the ornamental knobs of the gospel is critically important. You and I must realize in which positions God has placed us as the ornamental knobs. And on these positions of the ornamental knobs, we must fulfill our roles by faith. I believe that when we serve the gospel not by the abilities and prides of our flesh, but by our faith in God, He will bring the flower of salvation to blossom fully. It is when we become the ornamental knobs of the gospel that the flowers of the gospel bloom, and it is through these flowers that many are blessed.
 
 
The Church Is the Lampstand That Illuminates This World with the Light of Salvation
 
By gathering together, the righteous become the lampstand of the gospel and illuminate this world. The righteous shine the light of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Life as the lampstand illuminating the dark world with the bright light of truth—this is our lives. It is when the righteous who have received the remission of sins become the ornamental knobs of the gospel that the flowers of faith are in the full bloom in this world, and it is when this happens that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is testified throughout the entire world. Without these ornamental knobs, there can never be flowers nor any lamp. The shaft of the lampstand had four bowls like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. It is when we become such ornamental knobs and fulfill the role that has been assigned to each of us that God’s Church can spring up everywhere and many souls can be saved from their sins. When we look at the lampstand, we see that there was another ornamental knob above one ornamental knob, and that above this knob there was yet another knob along the shaft. Like this, through your serving the gospel, the flowers of the gospel have been blooming so far, and the gospel will be preached throughout this entire world. You and I are these ornamental knobs. From hearing the gospel of the water and the Spirit to spreading this gospel throughout the world to this very day, we have done countless works as the ornamental knobs. This is how you can receive the remission of your sins and spread it to others as well.
We have done various works to carry out our roles as these ornamental knobs. For example, we built this chapel two years ago for our discipleship training and spiritual retreats. It took us about a month to build this sandwich panel building. When we built this building by faith, we thought, “Our brothers and sisters will come to this place for spiritual retreats, and many lost souls will come to our gospel classes, hear the Word, and receive the remission of sins.” Though we had faced many hardships while constructing this building, we were always keeping this thought in our minds, plowing through such difficulties and working faithfully in hope. This is how this discipleship training center was built, and how we have been able to worship in this warm and comfortable place. This was also made possible because of those who fulfilled the role of each ornamental knob. It is because you and I have become ornamental knobs that we can now worship in warmth even in this cold weather. Had there been no ornamental knob, these easy circumstances would never have come about. Before this chapel was built, this place had just been a desolate wilderness. If we were to gather in such a dreary place to hear the Word of God, would you have wanted to come? Too cold for worship service, you would probably have gone back home.
It is because ornamental knobs have been in place that we have been able to make the flower of the gospel bloom not only to this day, but we will also continue to do so in the future. There is a famous Korean poem titled, “Beside a Chrysanthemum,” and it goes,
“For one chrysanthemum to bloom,
The nightingale must have wept like that since spring.
For one chrysanthemum to bloom,
The thunder must have rolled like that in somber clouds…”
Indeed, the ornamental knobs of so many servants of God and so many saints have been placed to the tree of the gospel. To bring the gospel of the water and the Spirit to blossom, the workers who fulfill the role of such ornamental knobs have worked hard everyday. And below these ornamental knobs, the Lord has placed more bowls like almond blossoms so that we would fulfill this role of ornamental knobs even better. And God has also bestowed on us His grace in His time, giving us oil for the seven lamps. Knowing that we cannot do anything with our own strength, our Lord has clothed us in His grace through the Church, so that we would be able to fulfill the role of the ornamental knobs that serve the gospel. You must therefore realize that becoming these ornamental knobs does not mean that we can spread the gospel alone by our own strength. Rather, it is only by the grace of God that all of us have been glorified to become these ornamental knobs.
Those who received the remission of sin now and those who received it a while ago are all the same ornamental knobs that are to serve the gospel. The reason why they are all the same in spite of the differences in their spiritual levels is because they are all called as the ornamental knobs. Each and every one of us is an ornamental knob without any exception. Just preaching the Word spiritually while not lifting a finger in other works is not what the proper spiritual life is all about. Those who are truly spiritual can do anything if it benefits the gospel. “My church position is this, and so I only do these things. Since you received the remission of sins now, should you do these other things while I do just mine?” This is not right. When it comes to serving the gospel, there is no one higher or lower than anyone else. We must all unite together and become the fertilizer only for the gospel to blossom and bloom.
 
 
How Can the Born-again Saints Follow the Flesh?
 
“I am so happy now that my sins have been remitted and I have become sinless. But I would be happier if I became rich. Would it not be nice if I could finally live in opulence?” Is there anyone who wants to be successful in the flesh also now that his spiritual problems have been resolved? When I first met the Lord, not realizing that He had saved me so that I would become a perfect ornamental knob for the gospel, I thought I would fulfill this role by going into business and making some money. I thought I would go to church everyday, teach at the Sunday school, spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the kids, run a small business and work only for a few hours a day, give my daily earnings as my offering to the church, and help church planting by serving materially in this way. Of course, I also thought that apart from the few hours that I spent with my business, I would spend the rest of my time for the Lord. But regardless of what my thoughts were, when I asked the Lord what role I should fulfill as an ornamental knob, He did not want me to fulfill it by making money.
My thoughts at that time had been wrong. The Lord did not allow me to do this. So now I am fulfilling my role as a proper ornamental knob by fully dedicating myself to my ministry for the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whatever pleases God, we must do it all. If He tells us to remove a mountain, then we must remove it. If countless people are saved by removing this mountain, then we are more than willing to do so. Even if any given task seems hopelessly impossible and reckless, if God tells us to do it by faith, and if it is spiritually beneficial, then we believe that it will surely be achieved. Digging the mountain with hoes, our beginning may be feeble, but in time, we will blow up the mountain with dynamites and clear out the debris with bulldozers. The mountain will then disappear. Because we do not follow our man-made thoughts but only the will of the Lord, in other words, we always fulfill the role of ornamental knobs for God’s gospel by faith. This is how we carry out our roles as His ornamental knobs.
The Lord has placed us inside His Church so that we would become the ornamental knobs for the spreading of the gospel. Where we are placed as ornamental knobs is the only difference, and when it comes to the spreading of the gospel, there is absolutely no place that is more or less important than another. If we have to sort out the order, then the first shall serve the last, as the Lord Jesus said, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Is it not true that when the Lord has called us to fulfill the role of the ornamental knobs, He wants us not to strut and show off ourselves? When we fulfill the role of ornamental knobs well, marvelous works of our Lord takes place, as the light of the seven lamps on the lampstand illuminated the Holy Place brightly.
It is written in today’s Scripture passage, “And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain" (Exodus 25:38-40). Among the utensils of the lampstand were its wick-trimmers. Oil was poured in and the wicks were placed in the lamps that rested on top of the lampstand. With the wicks burning, sparkles flew, and the wick-trimmers were used to pick up these sparks. These wick-trimmers were also made of gold. Priests trimmed the burnt wicks with these wick-trimmers and placed them in trays. Such utensils were used often in the Holy Place.
When we are fulfilling the role of ornamental knobs after having received the remission of our sins, there may be times when our hearts are hardened from busying ourselves too much with just one job. So there are times when we do our entrusted works very habitually or halfheartedly. In such times, the servants of God need to change the wicks of the lampstand. Like the burnt wicks were trimmed, the servants of God renew our hearts by alternately changing the duties that have been assigned to us. Our Lord removes the cinders of our hearts so that we may be able to continue to serve the gospel with our renewed hearts, as it is written, “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through this, the workers come to serve the gospel with their hearts made new once again.
Do you remember that there was nothing but pure gold inside the Holy Place? To become a faithful ornamental knob by faith, you must look for new works of the Lord incessantly. Only then can we always live by faith. We must live today by faith, and we must live tomorrow by faith also. By faith, we fulfill new roles of the ornamental knobs everyday. We the workers of the gospel of God must remove all cinders from the wick with the wick-trimmers, tend the lamps, and keep them shining brightly and make their light be never put out.
The inside of the Holy Place is glorious. The Lord has called and gathered the righteous into God’s Church so that they may become the lampstand that spreads the gospel of the remission of sins. In it, God has placed leaders, He has given to all the righteous His gifts that enable them to serve the gospel, and He has called us so that we may serve the Lord by becoming the ornamental knobs that bring the flowers of the gospel to blossom from the place that each of us has been assigned to. God has thus allowed us to spread the gospel to all the sinners throughout the whole world. This is the very “ekklesia,” God’s Church. We are, in other words, the people of God’s Church where the called-out and the saved gather together. Our God has saved us from sin by delivering us from all our sins and iniquities and calling us out from the world. Through our Lord’s salvation, God has saved us by making us believe in Jesus, and He has formed this Church so that we may serve the gospel by uniting together. It is this truth that has formed the gathering of the saints.
 
 
The Reason Why the Church Exists Is to Shine the Light of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
The reason why there was the lampstand made by hammering a lump of a talent of gold is to make God’s Church unite together and bring the flowers of the gospel to blossom. This lampstand denotes God’s Church, and it exists to illuminate all darkness. This is the very purpose of the existence of the Church. The Church has first become the ornamental knob to serve us to be born again. And now is our turn. You and I, and all of us who have received the remission of sins, must become these ornamental knobs, and we must all keep carrying out our duties as the ornamental knobs and fertilizers so that the flowers of the gospel may be in full bloom. All of us the righteous and all God’s Church must carry out the role of the lampstand that spreads the light of the gospel throughout the whole world and serve the Lord.
We are not trying to establish a new denomination. If we have to describe our denomination inevitably, then it is Jesus’ denomination. We are the righteous who have been called to serve the Lord. When we become the ornamental knobs of the lampstand and serve the Lord, we come to realize that He also fills all our needs as the ornamental knobs. Even though we don’t try anything particular to fill our needs, God Himself supplies all our needs abundantly. Everything is supplied in time just as the Lord said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). The Lord adds to the righteous who serve the gospel all that they need. When the workers who are carrying out the role of the ornamental knobs face hard times, the Lord gives them strength, saying, “Cheer up! I am with you always.” When the ornamental knobs have no faith, then He gives them faith, saying, “Have strong faith! You can do everything through Me who strengthens you.” And the Lord also bestows His grace upon them. The Lord then solves that problem, saying, “My ornamental knob, you must really need this. I will solve this problem for you.” To use us as the ornamental knobs for His righteous works, God blesses us the righteous that have become the ornamental knobs.
Whatever we the righteous do, we must do it to serve as the ornamental knobs for the blooming of the gospel. Our students must also lead their school lives faithfully as the ornamental knobs of the gospel. For our lay believers to earn their living in their workplaces, they must also do so as the ornamental knobs of the gospel. Whatever it is that we do, all of us must do it to become the ornamental knobs of the Lord’s gospel. We the righteous must all exist for carrying out the role of the ornamental knobs of the gospel, and this is in fact how we should actually live out our faith. Ornamental knobs are critically important for the flowers of the gospel to blossom.
You must remember that we ourselves are not the flowers. The flower of the gospel is Jesus. The true Light is also Jesus. All that we do is just preach this Jesus Christ throughout the whole world by faith by believing in the Truth of salvation manifested in His blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. It is written in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Our lives are aimed at the spreading of this gospel by faithfully fulfilling the role of the ornamental knobs.
What people worry about the most in their youth is their future. They wonder, “How will my future life turn out to be? Where is my beloved and what is my future spouse doing?” Where is my future spouse? He is in God’s Church, and He is none other than Jesus Christ. What then does He do? He shines the light. He is the Light of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He is the Lord, and all of you are the brides of Christ. The Lord is telling you to come into His Church, saying that He would meet you here in His Church through the Word. The Lord is saying that He would meet you when you pray to God by wholeheartedly believing in the Truth which is manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. He has told you that He would come to you and meet you when you believe in Him.
The righteous must be always awake in their thoughts. When you fill your hearts with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will keep you awake everyday. All that the righteous have to do is just live their lives according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we do so, we ourselves can then realize and discern the carnal thoughts from the spiritual thoughts.
You probably have peeled an onion before, layer by layer. There is outside skin at first, and when you peel it off, there appears another layer then, looking somewhat greenish. When you peel off this greenish skin, then a white inner layer is revealed. When you peel this one off, then there is another white inner skin, the same as the one before. The whole onion is made of white layers one after another. When it is peeled off and its white inner skin is exposed, in time this exposed layer turns into a yellowish skin. But when this skin is peeled off, then the white inner skin is once again revealed. After some time, this inner skin once again turns into outside skin, and so you have to peel it off again to get a crispier layer.
Our flesh is like these layers of an onion, and so we must peel off our carnal thoughts everyday. Now you might think, “I denied myself when I was saved, but should I deny myself again and again even after receiving my remission of sins? Do you have any idea just how many times I denied myself last year? It was hard enough to bend my heart, and now I have to do it again? It’s so hard!” But, brothers and sisters, it is the right thing for you to remove your thoughts of the flesh like this. The Lord is telling us that it is a matter of principle and the right way for us to peel off our thoughts of the flesh as we peel off an onion’s skins.
Our Lord wants to meet us through the written Word. He wants to meet us at the table of showbread, at the lampstand, at the altar of incense, and in front of the mercy seat. What I am saying here is not that you should be forced to deny yourselves and pretend to have faith when in fact you do not have it, but that you should deny yourselves out of your own hearts by faith. Can you now understand? The Lord is not merely suggesting that it would be better for you to deny yourselves, but He is saying that you must do so. When you engrave in your minds that you must deny yourselves in your hearts, then self-denial is achieved on its own. It is reached on its own without you realizing it, “Ah, so this is how I can deny myself.” But if the basic principles are not taught and people are only forced to bend their will, then not only is this impossible for them to achieve, but they may even end up losing their faith.
When we tame our hearts into submission the Lord is pleased. And if it pleases the Lord, then we must bring our fleshly thoughts under submission. Of course, there are some things that may seem out of our reach, but we still try hard to achieve them. Is this not the case? Because the Lord has saved us and made us His workers, there is nothing that we cannot do, as the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Moreover, when it comes to bringing the flowers of the gospel to blossom, even if we become the smallest ornamental knob of all, that blossom is still magnificent. What then is there that we cannot do? When the Lord would make the flowers of the gospel blossom and save souls if we would just become even the slightest of all ornamental knobs, can we not become His ornamental knobs? Of course we can.
We must also readily admit our faith in our hearts. All that we have to do is recognize what is right as right, saying, “Yes, that is right,” and admit what is wrong as wrong, saying, “No, my thoughts were wrong. I was wrong.” None other than this is following the Lord, denying the self, and subjugating our own will. When we thus put down our own fleshly desires, our Lord transforms us. However, we cannot transform ourselves on our own. Becoming a spiritual person is not something that can be achieved through our own efforts. What we must do is reflect upon ourselves before the Word of God to see if we are right or wrong, and if we are wrong, then all that we have to do is admit ourselves as it is, saying, “Yes, Lord! Only You are right, and it is I that is wrong.” As soon as we do this, the darkness in our hearts is removed. Then the Lord says to us, “For even such a being as you, I blotted out all your sins. I have turned you into the light.” Our Lord is telling us, “All things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light" (Ephesians 5:13).
There is nothing for us to do out of our own volition. All that we have to do is just live in the Holy Place by faith. When we thus live in the Holy Place by faith, the Lord then works in us. To make us even worthier ornamental knobs, God bestows on us even more grace and more blessings. Because God truly wants to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit through us, He cannot but give us more blessings. I hope you all believe this truth. I hope you believe in all the Word of God. Do you believe? If you answer with a “yes” whenever this question is asked, then your faith will grow. The realm of faith is such that by oneself, no one can learn anything at all.
Ministers are ornamental knobs, and so are all our brothers and sisters. “You are an ugly ornamental knob. But I am a beautiful knob.” I know that no one among you really thinks in this way, but when such thoughts creep up on you, you must turn around, realizing that you are moving in the opposite direction from the mind of God. What good does it do for the ornamental knobs to compete with other saints in a meaningless beauty contest for a prize? No matter how good some ornamental knobs may seem, can any of them really be more beautiful than the flower itself? If the ornamental knobs are more striking than the flower itself, then the flower would only turn into a useless and unappealing flower. Just as small and large bricks are both needed to build a wall, all of us, whether better or worse, are needed as the ornamental knobs that bring the flowers of the Lord’s gospel to blossom.
Hence, let us not ignore each other in our arrogance. Let us instead care for one another, realizing that we are all precious. Everyone is precious. Everyone is needed. As God commanded Moses to make the lampstand by hammering out a talent of pure gold, with the law of salvation He has turned us into the righteous and made us the ornamental knobs that serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God is therefore pleased to spread His gospel through us. Even now, God is spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all humanity through His Church. And through the spreading of this gospel and its ornamental knobs, God wants to illuminate the whole wide world with His love of the Truth.
Hallelujah!