The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 19 : The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS

[Chapter 5-3] (Ephesians 5:1-17) What a Blessing It Is For Us to Support The Gospel Ministry!

(Ephesians 5:1-17)
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
 
 
Paul said in today’s Scripture passage, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Put differently Paul is saying to us, “Whoever has been saved by God must be His imitator. And since the Lord your God has saved you from all your sins and condemnation by sacrificing Himself, you ought to turn away from all those filthy sins that you had committed in your past and live a godly life.”
Paul then went on to say in Ephesians 5:5, “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Like this, the Bible clearly teaches us that whoever follows his lust, covets the things of this world, or worships any idols rather than God has no inheritance in His Kingdom. Although we the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God, no sinner will have anything to do with this Kingdom. Indeed, all of us who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are living our lives in God’s Church to serve this gospel. We all had to realize and believe that Jesus Christ had sacrificed His own body as our propitiation to God the Father for a sweet-smelling aroma. We also had to cast away all our past greed, sexual immorality, covetousness and idolatry. And now that we have become children of light, henceforth we ought to trust in and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit in our lives worthy of our new status. Today’s Scripture passage therefore admonishes us the righteous to find out what the will of the Lord is, and expose the unfruitful works of darkness rather than participating in them, for it is shameful even to speak of the things that are done by sinners in secret.
 
 
God Told Us to Have No Fellowship with the Unfruitful Works of Darkness
 
There is nothing but perishable things that the righteous can ever gain from participating in the works of the flesh. In other words, no one who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit should return to his past life, for this is not only shameful but also fruitless. This means you should not revert back to your past to seek after your own carnal desires and pleasures, nor should you worship idols ever again. The works of the flesh are all about exalting oneself above God and caring about oneself more than God, and it is indeed shameful to even speak of these things. Therefore, if there is anything wrong in our lives, then we ought to be rebuked for it, come to Jesus Christ the King of righteousness, and be transformed into light. The Lord also taught us to walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, and to redeem the time.
God said that if there is anything wrong in our lives, all the things that are rebuked by God are made manifest by the light. If we let our lives go astray to follow just the lust of the flesh even after being born again, then we need to be rebuked. Our hearts will then be illuminated. Most people’s hearts get depressed when they are rebuked for their wrongdoings. In contrast, when we the righteous do something wrong before the Lord and are rebuked by the light as a result, we admit this wrongdoing and look towards the righteousness of the Lord; we are then compelled to glorify God and thank Him, for our Lord has already blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore there is no more condemnation for us.
Because darkness is darkness and light is light, if we go astray into darkness, we must be rebuked for this, while our faith in the righteousness of God must be commended. Even though we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and abide in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, it’s still possible for us to succumb to a fleshly life more often than we realize. It’s times like these when darkness descends on us.
However, no one who abides in the Lord should remain seized by darkness for too long. So it’s absolutely indispensable for the saints of God and His servants alike to admit their wrongdoings and return back to the righteousness of the Lord as soon as possible. Rather than trying to excuse our wrongdoings, all of us must admit them to God and live by trusting in His righteousness. We must look toward the Lord’s righteousness all the days of our lives. The righteousness of the Lord has already blotted out all our sins, and therefore we are not only revealed as the children of light on account of our faith, but we can also live by trusting in this righteousness of the Lord.
 
 
The Lord Told Us to Redeem the Time
 
It’s written in Ephesians 5:15-16: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have not only received our salvation but also become the righteous children of light. As such, from now on we ought to walk wisely and redeem the time to carry out the Lord’s work.
It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to understand what the will of the Lord is. If we have really received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we ought to know what kind of age this present age is; and given the fact that Lord has saved us, it is incumbent on us to carefully consider how we ought to live the rest of our lives until we go to the Lord and see Him face to face.
As long as we are in this world, we must live out our faith so that our lives on this earth would be fruitful. To achieve this, we must first understand what the will of the Lord is for our lives. The Lord has placed you and me on this earth for a divine purpose. So, as we continue to carry on with our lives before God, it’s absolutely important for us to realize what His will is. Put differently, if we are living without even understanding the will of the Lord, then this can only mean that we are not really leading a proper Christian life.
What kind of life do we lead when we realize the will of the Lord in our lives? If we have indeed received the remission of sins on this earth by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then all of us ought to live for the Kingdom of God. This will then not only sustain our faith but also make us prosper in both body and soul. To live for the spreading of the gospel is what it means to live with a clear understanding of the will of the Lord. To live for our flesh alone, on the other hand, indicates the absence of spiritual wisdom.
The Lord told us to be wise. He told us to be harmless as doves and wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16). When we turn to the Book of Genesis, we see the wicked Devil tempting Adam and Eve and making them fall into sin to fulfill his desire, and even today, Satan is still working like this among the people. It’s therefore absolutely indispensable for all of us to realize what is wise and what is beneficial to us, and live before God according to this wisdom. If we have really received the remission of sins, then should we not all lead the kind of life that saves other souls and pleases our Lord Jesus? Indeed, if we really believe that Jesus bore all our sins on His body, died on the Cross, and rose from the dead, then all of us ought to live according to the Lord’s will. That is what it means to live wisely. The wise live in a way that is profitable to not only their own souls but also the Kingdom of God, saving and serving other souls. That is how you can kill two birds with one stone. Put differently, if you have really been saved from all your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then you ought to lead your life in a way that not only brings God’s blessings to you but also profits others.
The Lord told us to know what His will is. What then is this divine will that the Lord is speaking to us about? It’s all about preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the ends of the earth and then going to the Kingdom of Heaven that God has prepared for us. To realize this and live by faith is the Lord’s will. We must grasp this will of the Lord. It’s the Lord’s will for us to lead others to enter the Kingdom of God. As such, we must believe and live according to the will of the Lord. Such a life makes it possible for you to not only prosper but also save others from sin. And none other than this is what it means to live wisely.
One of the lessons that the Apostle Paul is teaching us here in his Epistle to the Ephesians is that we had all been slaves to darkness in our past, not the children of light. Because we had been enslaved by the Devil before we believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we could not help but live in darkness. Until we realized the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we had all practiced sexual immorality, worshipped idols, and disobeyed God’s will in our lives. However, now that we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been saved from all our sins and become God’s own children of light.
Therefore, even though we sometimes stumble and fall into weakness because of our fleshly shortcomings, at least our hearts must clearly abide by unwavering faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. All of us must live by faith, clearly realizing who we are, whether or not we are God’s children, and whether we are the children of light or of darkness.
 
 
Your Supporting Role Is Absolutely Indispensable for the Gospel to Be Preached Throughout This World
 
For the gospel to be spread in this world, there must be supporters, just as a flower cannot blossom without a stem or a knob that supports the flower from below and sustains it. Let’s examine this relationship through the shape of the golden lamp in the Tabernacle. There were seven bowls made like almond blossoms on each branch of the golden lamp, and each bowl was supported with an ornamental knob so that the lamp would shine brightly inside the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:31-39). In this revelation, Jesus is the Light, the flower is the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and all of us are such ornamental knobs whose job is supporting the gospel ministry to preach the righteousness of God. It is Jesus Christ who has saved us from all our sins. What is our role then? Ours is a supporting role, laying the groundwork for the gospel to be spread. We are the ornamental knobs that sustain the flower of the gospel. So only when we fulfill our supporting role properly can the gospel flower blossom in all its glory for everyone to see.
Our role in evangelizing the world is supporting the gospel ministry from behind rather than trying to be the center of attention itself. It’s absolutely important for us to support the gospel ministry. So you and I should think about how we can support the gospel ministry and serve it better day and night. As such a supporter of the gospel ministry, you should never fall into despair just because the will of God is not fulfilled so easily. That’s because what you are doing right now is extremely important. When it comes to spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit, your supporting role is absolutely crucial and indispensable. In fact, all of us are supporting the gospel ministry in one way or another; the only thing that’s different is the position from which each of us is serving the gospel.
The Lord told us to walk circumspectly, and we should realize here that our calling is to support the gospel ministry. None of the things that we are doing to support the gospel ministry is the flower itself. These things are done not to fulfill our own purpose, but to support the gospel ministry from behind. Therefore, all of us should realize that it is by faith that we should all work to support the gospel ministry, and we should also grasp that if there are more ornamental knobs, the more the gospel flower will blossom. It’s when we fulfill our supporting role properly that the gospel of Truth is preached even more to reach everyone in this world.
We have been working hard to advertise our gospel books on the Internet so that even more people would have the opportunity to be born again. To serve the Lord like this is what it means to support the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Many people have already received the remission of sins from reading our gospel books that contain the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but we will continue to provide this opportunity for even more people to receive the remission of sins, so that they would also lack nothing to receive the Lord when He returns on the last day. We are supporting the gospel ministry like this in hope and faith because we know for sure that our Lord will bring understanding to all these lost souls.
Right now, most of our staff members are working in extreme heat with temperatures going over 36 Celsius for the sake of God’s work. They have been working so hard that their whole bodies are covered in dust. The Word of God admonishes us to walk circumspectly, and what we are doing right now is being mindful of the Lord’s will and supporting the gospel ministry in obedience. That’s why we have drawn up a concrete plan on how we would support the gospel ministry over the course of the year, so that we would be able to spread the gospel even more. Having carefully considered how we can better preach the gospel, we are praying for it and rising up to the challenge by faith. That is what the Apostle Paul is teaching us here.
The Apostle Paul faithfully fulfilled his supporting role during the Early Church era. Like us, Paul also engaged in literature ministry during the days of the Early Church, and that’s why the Word of God has been handed down all the way to the present age. We have the Pauline Epistles in our hands precisely because the Apostle Paul wrote them to the saints of his days.
However, the gospel of the water and the Spirit was preached only for about 300 years since the founding of the Early Church. Although the saints in the era of the Early Church believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and defended their faith in this true gospel, with the passing of this age, when Christians no longer faced any persecution, they gradually stopped preaching the gospel. Once Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire, many Christians ended up forgetting all about the will of the Lord and sought after worldly fame and power. As a result, this world was engulfed in the Dark Ages from then on until the end of the Medieval Ages. The Medieval Ages are not the only Dark Ages, but all the years and centuries during which the gospel of the water and the Spirit was not preached are Dark Ages in human history.
However, God has given us the gospel of the water and the Spirit in this present age, and He has made us spread this gospel all over the world. When we think about this amazing work of God, we can realize clearly just how greatly we have been blessed. We are being used as God’s instruments for His precious work, and we are only too happy for this. But we should recognize that now is the only opportunity we have to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the whole wide world. The Apostle Paul admonished us to understand the will of the Lord and redeem the time, for the days are evil. Therefore, unless we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit now in this present age, we will not get another chance. As I have often said, this present age is going through tremendous changes. Times are changing so rapidly nowadays that just a year makes a huge difference. With the global warming, next summer’s temperatures in Korea may reach as high as 40 Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit. If the weather turns either too cold or too hot due to the global climate change, it will be difficult to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When it’s too hot, it’s difficult for me to focus on my work, but last night when I went to bed, I could feel that the weather was cooling down a bit. Early in the morning it was actually getting slightly cold. It was so refreshing to wake up this morning with such cool and crisp air. With the weather cooling down, I renewed my resolve to carry out God’s work even more diligently. When it’s hot, all that I can think of is how hard it is to bear with soaring temperatures, but now that the weather has cooled down, I can better focus on the task that lies ahead all the while thanking God for giving me such an ideal season to work. As the supporters of the gospel ministry you and I are doing an extremely important work. We are leading our lives of faith with a clear understanding of the Lord’s will, just as He told us to understand what His will is.
 
 
We Are Now Supporting the Gospel Ministry, but We Must Strive Even Harder
 
It’s absolutely important for you and me to diligently fulfill our supporting role to preach the gospel. It’s not just those who preach the Word of God at the frontline that do important works. In some ways, preaching the Word can be a lot easier. So if God’s servants do nothing but preach His Word and refuse to serve Him in any other way, then they are nothing but idlers. Today’s pastors who don’t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit spend all week preparing and practicing their sermons, drawing from all kinds of books to write them, all in the name of preaching the Word of God. In contrast, those who preach the Word of God trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit do no such a thing. God speaks to them while they actually serve the Lord in many fields. And when His servants read the Bible, God gives them the Word to preach in due time. God gives every Word that’s needed in God’s Church. No pastor ministers by himself, but it’s actually the Lord who is ministering His Church. Therefore, it would be a huge mistake if any pastor thought to himself that everything would be OK if he just preached the Word.
All of us must support the gospel ministry faithfully. Preaching the Word of God is supporting the gospel ministry, just as revising the manuscript is also supporting the gospel ministry. It’s actually not good for you to run out of things to do for God’s work, and that is why I deliberately come up with various tasks and assign them to you so that you would not run out of work while serving the Lord. It is my responsibility to make you all continue to carry out God’s work. It’s also to make sure that you don’t fall into despair that I come up with new tasks for you and support you from behind all the time. In short, you and I alike are working together to support the gospel ministry so that the true gospel would blossom fully in all its glory.
How long must we do this work then? We must carry it out until the day our Lord returns. We must do it until the day we go to the Lord and see Him face to face. Some of you may feel wearisome of this precious but demanding work. However, there actually is no reason why anyone should get tired of serving the gospel. In fact, it could not be more ideal for us to serve the Lord. Is there anything better to do while living in this world than working for the spreading of the gospel of God? Speak out if you can think of anything that’s better than supporting the gospel ministry. Is it better to go bowling than to serve the gospel? Is it better to go dancing, playing pool, playing soccer, or do any of the myriad pastimes that are available to us? No, there is nothing that’s better than the gospel work that we are now doing to lead everyone else to also receive salvation.
The affairs of this world are not worthwhile. It’s only because people are too foolish that they care so much about their outside appearances and are so preoccupied with the things of the world. It is good for us to have what we need to carry out God’s work, and to flourish along the way as well if the Lord permits. But if we were told to find the joy of life in sinning, then life itself would be completely unbearable. Nor is there any joy in just making money for no purpose. It’s because we invest our hard-earned money into the Kingdom of God that the gospel is preached, and this is what makes all our hard work so worthwhile. It is absolutely good for you to live for the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit regardless of whether you are young or old.
A new publication on the Epistle to the Galatians will be published next week and distributed all over the world. I am very happy for this. Too many Christians do not know how wrong it is to rely on their own prayers of repentance to reach salvation, but once this book is published and read widely, they will realize that relying on their own prayers of repentance is full of contradictions. They will also realize just how many people are standing against the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. If we can publish a couple of books to address this issue for so many misguided Christians, this itself would be very rewarding.
Trusting in and serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit in our lives is the right way to lead a proper Christian life. All of us ought to ask ourselves how we can preach this gospel all over the world, how we can find the financial means to achieve this, and how we should spend our hard-earned money for this end. Even today, so many people in this world are still preoccupied with what to eat and what to drink, but in contrast to them, we are constantly thinking about how we can spread the gospel throughout the whole world. Such a life is worthwhile.
Although what we are doing now is hard on our bodies, we are doing a blessed work in God’s sight. The servants of God who walked before us long ago also preached this Word and served this gospel as we are doing now. Paul, for instance wrote numerous Epistles to various churches, from Ephesus to Thessalonica. Recently, while watching the Olympic Games held in Greece, I saw some footages of the Mediterranean region including Turkey. All the seven churches in Asia Minor mentioned in Revelation chapter 1, from Ephesus to Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea were located in this region, more specifically in western Turkey. There are a lot of historic sites from the Early Church era in that surrounding area. So when I saw some of these sites on TV, I thought to myself, “Our predecessors of faith preached the gospel to people who looked like them, but sadly there is nothing left of these churches. What happened? Why did the gospel of the water and the Spirit fade away leaving nothing in these areas?”
There were twelve Apostles of God, but even among those who learned from the Apostles, there also were many who lost their true faith. Among the twelve disciples of Jesus, the one who lived the longest is the Apostle John. This Apostle bore witness of the real gospel of Truth in his three Epistles. He said that our salvation did not come just by the water, nor by the blood, but by the water, the blood and the Spirit (1 John 5:6-8). Our salvation was entirely achieved by God Himself. The Apostle John testified clearly that Jesus the Son of God came to this earth and saved us through the water, the blood, and the Spirit. Jesus Christ is God Himself, our Creator and our Savior. When He came to this earth, He bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross in our place, rose from the dead, and thereby has saved all of us who believe in this Truth. Like this, the Apostle John bore witness of the Truth of salvation completely.
With the passing of time this gospel Truth disappeared. So the age of darkness continued on until today when the gospel of the water and the Spirit was finally revealed to you and me. Now it is we who believe in and serve this apostolic gospel of the water and the Spirit. If the Book of Acts were still being written even now, you and I would be recorded as the disciples of Jesus Christ.
The word “apostle” means one who is sent by God. God has sent you and me to this world. Having saved us from all the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has turned us into the children of light, and He has also sent us to this world so that we would spread the gospel throughout the whole wide world. That’s why we are so blessed. In God’s sight, none other than you and I are His apostles of this present age.
Some of you may wonder, “Why should I be joyful when I have to do nothing but God’s work all my life?” However, it is only fitting for you as a faithful servant of God to devote yourself to the task God has entrusted to you. I too am faithful to the work that has been entrusted to me. I don’t just preach the Word of God, but when my sermon is over, I change into work clothes and engage in manual labor. To put on your work clothes and labor at your workplace is absolutely not a negligible thing. That is how you support the gospel flower. Just as dandelions scatter their seeds all over the world for even more dandelions to blossom everywhere, so is the gospel spread in the same way. Therefore, whenever we work on any task, we must be proactive and diligent no matter what the task is.
If we were to go out into the world and do manual work at a construction site, some of us would no doubt feel that their pride is hurt. After all, we would be no more than just handymen at a construction site. But we are very proud of what we are doing now, for this is the Lord’s work that is so worthwhile. All of us must work united together.
We now understand exactly what the will of the Lord is. That is why we are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit diligently to everyone. It’s my view that there really are not that many days left for us to preach this gospel. Recently in Florida, many people were killed and displaced from their homes from Hurricane Charley. Elsewhere in France, a heat wave has begun to ravage through that country, with the temperatures rising above 35 degrees Celsius; what the normal is for this time of the year is around 25-26 degrees. It’s said that many lives would be lost if the temperatures rises over 36 degrees Celsius. Even in Korea, I have heard that it will no longer be so uncommon to see fragile seniors dying from such a heat wave.
Yesterday, an earthquake struck Incheon, one of the largest port cities located about 40 km west of Seoul. This was no small incident, as the earthquake was large enough for people to actually feel the tremors. Although earthquakes are rare in Korea, they are not entirely unheard of. Imagine what would happen if the whole country is ruined by a massive earthquake. Would we be able to preach the gospel? No, it would not be possible. That’s why we must preach the gospel diligently now at this moment, for now is the ideal time. It is now that all of us ought to work diligently regardless of what lies ahead.
We must preach the gospel diligently all over the world now. If something happens in this world a few years down the road, we won’t be able to preach the gospel. When disasters strike, wars break out, the world is gripped by political crises, and the global economy crashes, we won’t be able to preach the gospel anymore even if we wanted to. Before such things unfold, we must finish preaching the gospel all over the world through our literature ministry. Then the books that we are sending out now will begin to work in many people’s lives. When people realize that the Great Tribulation is now at hand just as prophesied in the Bible, and the Lord’s return is imminent, they will be reminded of what they read in our books. They will then examine themselves to see whether or not they have been saved, and when they remember from our gospel books how the Lord has saved them, they will believe in and hold onto the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Countless people will be saved at that time. Those who go out weeping to sow the seed now will surely harvest in joy on that day. Those who are too lazy to work now, on the other hand, will weep on the last day. Whoever sows the seed now in tears despite the hardship will smile on that day.
The Lord said in the Book of Revelation that when the end times come, He will burn a third of all the trees, plants and grass in the world. You may wonder how such things could ever happen. But this summer, I saw some Ginkgo trees drying up so badly that what had been wonderfully green leaves were all shriveled. I also saw the crops in our field at Inje withering away. The crops were all scorched even though we ran water sprinklers in the field. God said that when the end times come, even people will be scorched to death like this. Such an age will come without fail. Such signs have already begun to appear in this present age. We see them everywhere, from El Niño to La Niña, extraordinary heat waves and massive floods. However, people nowadays are so used to such things that they are not even surprised anymore. They have become so numb to disasters that they just shrug them off.
The work that we are doing now is the right thing to do. If we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit now, the day will surely come when we harvest our crop in joy. Even though it may be difficult and hard for you, if you continue to preach the gospel all over the world as diligently as you are doing now, soon the time will come for you to harvest your crop in joy. The day will come for you to present the saved to God as the fruit of your devotion. At that time, God will reward you with even more blessings like the servants in Jesus’ parable who received additional five talents and two talents for their faithful work. And we will all share in the Lord’s joy. We will receive new life to live forever, not as lowly beings but as honorable beings. So let us all set our minds on such wonderful blessings and grasp the glory that awaits all of us.