“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ So the LORD God said to the serpent:
‘Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.’
To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’
Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
‘Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.’”
When God first made man, He did not make man to stand against Him from the beginning of creation. God created a beautiful world that was in good order. However, there was Satan who stood against God. This Satan, too, was not the Devil from the beginning. He was originally an angel, but because he lusted after the throne of God and challenged His authority to become higher than God, he was condemned and cast out to the earth.
As Satan was driven out by God, he now tried to deceive mankind, whom God cherished, so that he may turn human beings into God’s enemies. God therefore rebuked the serpent, the incarnation of Satan, and cursed it. He said, “And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.” As a result, Satan came to live feeding on mankind’s lust of the flesh. Even now, Satan continues to tempt human beings to sin, and when they do sin, he accuses their conscience and makes them fall into sorrow and suffering.
Today’s pop music that is driving so many young people wild is getting too lustful and outrageously overboard. When heavy metal headbangers shake their heads, the crowd, intoxicated by the dizzying lights and booming sound, take off their clothes and dance as one, turning the scene into a furious frenzy. It is reported that there are even lots of swingers in today’s Western countries. Sin is overflowing all over the world. The Devil uses such settings as the Internet to stir up people’s desire into a frenzy.
When people get intoxicated by the lust of the flesh like this, it brings a great satisfaction to Satan. When the lust of the flesh is aroused in people, and they commit sin according to their carnal desires instead of doing God’s Work and are obsessed with something else, we can safely conclude that the Devil is at work. By inciting madness in people’s hearts, Satan prevents them from looking for God, making them commit sin and, with this sin, stand against God’s righteousness. The Devil feeds on people’s lust of the flesh. He deceives countless people to ultimately make them serve him.
God sentenced the serpent: “Because you have done this. . . On your belly you shall go. And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.” That the serpent is to eat dust here means that the Devil is to feed on people’s sins. So Satan works in this world to prevent people from serving God, to fall into only the lust of the flesh, and to ultimately go to hell and be destroyed.
Satan tells people not to serve only the righteousness of God, but to serve the flesh of mankind. The reason why those who are not born again hate the born-again is because the latter does not serve the flesh of the former. Of course, even the born-again cannot live without the things of the flesh. But still, they are different on one account from those who are not born again, and it is that they serve God by faith.
As such, when the Devil tries to rule over our hearts and make us fall into carnal thoughts, we must command him, by our faith in the righteousness of God, to go away. If we otherwise side with the Devil, then our faith will perish away. My fellow believers, to serve the righteousness of God, you must unequivocally defeat the Devil by faith. It’s because Judas did not stand against Satan but befriended him that he faced such a disastrous blunder.
Genesis 3:15 says,
“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
The woman here refers to mankind. Mankind and the Devil are enemies to each other. But before God cursed the serpent, both mankind and Satan had been fellow creatures, not enemies. The serpent’s friends are those who follow only their flesh.
Therefore, those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and those who are not born again and follow only their flesh, are enemies. An enemy is not someone that is particularly special. If one takes God’s enemy as his friend, then he would himself become God’s enemy. And once he becomes God’s enemy, he would then become an enemy of the righteous as well. That is why we must never fail to take Satan as our enemy. Those who drift away from the will of God will become His enemies in the end. In short, such people will deliver their brethren to death.
The phrase “her Seed” here refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came as the Seed of the woman, the Savior; and He took upon all the sins of the world through His baptism; died on the Cross while shouldering these sins; and rose from the dead again in three days. In doing so, He has blotted out all the sins that the Devil had planted in mankind. That “He shall bruise your head” means that Jesus would eradicate sin and death, over which Satan has authority. In other words, it means that Christ would blot out mankind’s sins.
Today’s Scripture passage from chapter three of Genesis is a prophesy foretelling that Jesus Christ would overcome Satan by being baptized, crucified to death, and rising from the dead again. So this part is called as the original gospel.
Jesus Christ has completely demolished all the sins and evil wiles that Satan planted in mankind. Jesus was crucified by the Devil. However, as Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist according to the will of God the Father, and as He died and rose from the dead again, He overcame Satan.
God said to Satan, “And you shall eat dust all the days of your life.” Those who live only for their flesh are not born-again people. Even if one were to establish God’s Church, if he serves God for his own flesh, then he is a servant of Satan. Such people amass a fortune only to build bigger church buildings, and they pretend to serve evangelical ministries without actually investing in the gospel. These people are all God’s enemies. They are stingy when it comes to God’s work, but they spend generously for themselves—to be exact, they are Satan’s servants feeding on the lust of their flesh.
Satan packages pop stars into commercial products, thus ensuring that today’s youth would be drawn to their physical appeals and their fads. Especially, by making young people adore pop stars blindly, Satan makes them drift away from God. The Devil makes people’s hearts fall into such lusts of the flesh. Whenever we see such things, we must deal with them by faith, knowing that they are the Devil’s tricks.
Pop stars do not amount to much, other than being a feast to the eye. Recently, an actress in Korea shot nude pictures on the theme of “comfort women”—these are women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military before and during the Second World War—and she was roundly condemned on ethical grounds and sued by the victims’ group. Like everyone else, I, too, like to look at nude photos. Such pictures are easily available everywhere, from billboards to the Internet. But they mean nothing. That some people make money by taking nude photos itself is not a big problem, but the real problem is that this generation is heading in a direction that fuels only the lust of the flesh.
Our essential needs must be met, and God provides us with them in due time. So rather than being enslaved to the body and material needs, all that we have to do is renew our hearts and run for the Lord. God will then provide for our physical needs, and meet our spiritual needs as well. To those who follow His will, the Lord will bring prosperity in both body and spirit.
Plastic surgery has become the rage of the time. Among those who have received the remission of sin, is there anyone who has lost his sense to think, “If circumstances allow, I’d like to change my face as well”? It’s not because our circumstances do not allow us that we can’t have plastic surgery, but it is because they bring no benefit that we choose not to have it.
To all those young men in the Lord, do not be fooled by the outside appearance of women. It’s all nothing more than a makeup. Depending on what cosmetics are used and how they are put on the skin, different optical illusions are created. If you marry someone just for physical attraction, you will not only be disappointed, but you will die spiritually as well.
The righteous men should prize not the outside appearance of women, but the beauty that emanates from their inside. That’s why the Bible says, “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids” (Proverbs 6:25). When I was young, I, too, was once fooled by such optical illusions.
The actual purpose of cosmetics is to prevent the skin from the elements. But with passing time, women came to put on makeup to appear sensual. Women’s appearance has changed considerable today. Perhaps it’s because I am from a small town, but when I go to a big city, every woman looks so pretty that I can hardly see anyone ugly, no doubt an optical illusion. Women in a big city look all alike, and their hairstyles and clothing fashion look all the same. Their faces are all white, as if they had bleached themselves. But when I look closer, they all have makeup.
Cosmetics have advanced so much that depending on what women put on, they look completely different. Perhaps that’s why women invest so much money into such things. I am not talking about who is good-looking and who is ugly here. My point is that the people of the world adorn their flesh too much. This world invests too much on shaping the body. Compared to them, our sisters hardly put on any makeup at all.
I, too, know very well that if I wanted to get rid of my potbelly, all that I have to do is just check myself in a hospital for a couple of days. With liposuction, I’ll be thin again in no time. But it’s said that liposuction does not guarantee that one wouldn’t get fat again, and so he would have to watch his diet. Nowadays, however, I need to manage my waist lest it should go over 38 inches. I do try to be careful with my diet to stay healthy and avoid obesity. If I lose my health, it will have a detrimental impact on God’s work.
God said, “You shall eat dust all the days of your life.” This means that the Devil feeds on people’s carnal lust. Demons incite the human heart to sin, and they feed on this sin. What happens when people commit sin? They end up leaving God behind, to ultimately challenge His authority. So it is true that the Devil feeds on sin.
However, our Lord has wiped out the sin and destruction that the Devil had planted in us humans—all by coming to this earth, taking upon the sins of the world through His baptism, carrying them to the Cross, being crucified and shedding His blood, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again.
There are still many people who, deceived by Satan, continue to serve only their own flesh. Such people are found even among the born-again. They follow the Devil, not treating him as their enemy. We must boldly defeat the power of darkness. Even our own families can turn into enemies. When the times of tribulation come, these enemies will betray us and hand us over to our execution. That is why we must never again befriend those whom God has declared to be His enemies. We must clearly distinguish our enemies from the people of God.
God greatly increased the suffering of conception to women and made them labor in pain to give birth. I have told you that ‘woman’ here refers to God’s Church, while ‘man’ implies Jesus Christ (Romans 5:14). Then this means that the saints have to suffer much to save sinners from hell. Just as a woman can give birth to her child only if she goes through birth pangs, so can we give birth to the spiritual children of faith only if we go through spiritual labor. For us to give birth to spiritual children, we must go through the labor of faith. Without the labor of faith, we cannot bear spiritual children. For that reason, we must sacrifice ourselves to serve the Lord, and we must invest more faith into following God by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Even from now on, our hearts must cherish the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only when we have such hearts can we conceive spiritual children and give birth to them in labor. It is not by doing nothing that all of us are made into people of faith.
God said, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” The husband here does not just refer to a husband of the flesh. The Bible should be looked at spiritually. We must be ruled by our Lord, who is our Husband. We must be ruled by God for His righteousness. Between the world and the Lord, we must follow the Lord and be ruled by Him. In the Church, too, some must rule while others must follow. It is by God that we must be ruled. We cannot carry on with our lives of faith unless we are ruled through God’s Church, through our brothers and sisters of faith, and through God’s work.
God rules us through His Church, and we are trained with the spiritual discipline of faith in God’s Church through His work. When our carnal minds are broken, we are trained spiritually. Only when we are spiritually trained can all our spiritual relationships be healthy. I am not speaking of a marriage of the flesh here, but I am saying that Jesus is our Bridegroom, and we can keep our marriage to Him only when we obey His rule. Those who dislike this will have trouble in their spiritual marriage, and they will be abandoned by the Lord. Those who get divorced from the Lord cannot follow Him, nor can they give birth to a child of the Lord.
Between a husband and a wife, if the husband is too weak, the wife must take the lead, and when the wife is too weak, then the husband must take the lead. Anyone who faithfully serves and follows the Lord spiritually is ruled and led by the Lord. If one does not accept this guidance, then his relationship with God will be cut off. If we have faults, we must admit them to the Lord, and though we are insufficient, we must set our minds to follow and obey the Lord. If we otherwise continue to insist on our own views and righteousness, it will be all over for us. God rules you through the Church, through the preceding ministers or the preceding brothers and sisters. Do you believe this? This is how God rules. None of us want to be ruled by others in human affairs, but when it comes to the works of God, we must obey the order God has established in His Church. We can do this by placing our faith in the righteousness of God.
Because Adam listened to his wife and ate the forbidden fruit, he lost God’s blessings, and God told him that he would have to toil all his life to eat of it. Only when we toil to death can we obtain spiritual fruits and receive God’s blessings. We must also serve the Lord to death to be blessed by God. Without serving God, we cannot be blessed. Without serving God, we cannot learn about faith. It is when we serve the Lord that we come to realize the will of God and our hearts are changed. One must toil all his life to eat of it.
Once we begin to serve only the Lord, we come to realize, “So that’s why God made me do this and led me like this.” In theory, it may seem impossible to understand at first, but once we deny ourselves and obey God, we can realize that God did what He did because it was necessary for us. That is how we come to learn about faith, have faith, live by faith, and see the realm of faith. We’ll appreciate this once we obey God.
We can eat only if we labor all our lives. Only when we serve the gospel until the day we die can we obtain spiritual fruits and eat them. Without labor, there can be no fruit. One reaps what he sows. If we sow by faith, then we will reap by faith, but if we sow for our own flesh, then we will reap only fleshly things. Therefore we must sow spiritual seed by faith.
When we work in the spiritual realm after being born again, it may seem at first that there isn’t much to do, but once we live by faith, there is so much to do that there is never enough time. What would we possibly gain if we do not labor for the Lord? Recently, the preceding workers of our mission organization got together and discussed our future work. Each department reported its work, and then decisions were made after careful consultation. “Let’s do this. This is the best way. In this way, we can spread the gospel effectively without incurring too much cost. We should first publish our books methodically, print translated versions as well and ship them through the post office, raise many coworkers overseas, and get their assistance to distribute our books.”
The money that we make with our labor, we should offer it to God, and we should use this money for the Lord. Since God determined that we must toil all our lives to eat of it, nothing is gained without labor. Good food can be had only with labor, and crops can be harvested only if they are grown—there is nothing that is done on its own.
The Bible is the Truth. If we want to obtain spiritual fruits, we must serve the gospel. Only then can we gain spiritual produce. Therefore, we must serve the gospel, follow the Lord, call our enemies as enemies, and cut them off from our hearts, saying, “Let’s never see each other again.”
The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The forebears of faith all lived for God. And the forebears of faith knew how to deal with poverty and prosperity alike, as Paul said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12). As they believed in the Truth, in their actual lives they all followed God by faith.
I give all my thanks to God. Satan had planted sin in our hearts, but Jesus blotted out all the sins of the world by being baptized and dying on the Cross. By faith, we have been renewed and made to follow the Lord. At the same time, however, God has also made us labor for His righteousness and His Kingdom. He put enmity between Satan and us.
We must live by believing in God, by trusting in His Word. Once again, I give all my thanks to God.