The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 21 : The Gospel According to MARK

[Chapter 7-3] (Mark 7:14-23) Admit Your Human Nature

(Mark 7:14-23)
“When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!’ When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, ‘Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?’ And He said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.’”
 
 
Warm greetings to all of you! I have been mostly ministering in a country church, and so I feel a bit out of place to meet and preach to you in such a huge metropolitan city as Seoul. But I am nevertheless still very glad to meet you all. I actually get quite nervous when I stand before a large crowd, and it takes me a while before I get used to it. So let me ask you for your understanding beforehand.
All our workers ministering across Korea and beyond have been very busy. The past few years have been particularly busy, but even amidst all this work God has bestowed abundant blessings on us. Words cannot express just how grateful we are to the Lord for saving so many souls from their sins, and also for making it possible for us His saints to preach His righteousness. I thank God for enabling us to carry out even more of His work and joyfully serve the Lord every day. While carrying out so much work of God, we have faced many difficulties in our busy schedule, but we’ve been so happy with our work that we have not felt any burden. And we also appreciate the fact that what we have labored for God’s work is only a small part of the work needed to fulfill all the will of the Lord. So let us renew our hearts and faithfully carry out all the remaining work of God in these end times.
We have struggled a lot in recent years, facing numerous challenges while trying to broaden our ministry into new areas unfamiliar to us. Our new series of books for spiritual growth are the products of such an endeavor, and we have made some of our books available to you for free today. Feel free to take them and read them for yourself, as well as share them with everyone around you, including those who still have not heard the gospel of the water and the Spirit and those who already have. I am sure that everyone will find many things in our books that are spiritually beneficial.
It takes little effort for you to receive and read our free gospel books, but it takes a lot of labor for me to actually publish them. In fact, I struggled so much with the first book that I even felt like never publishing another book again. But we have persevered through all our difficulties, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our ministry workers for their diligent labor.
Of course, I am not the only one who has worked so hard. I’m sure that all of you realize just how much work our saints in the Church have done at my request, not to mention our brothers and sisters at the Mission School. Many brothers and sisters there as well as all our saints in the Church, have worked so hard that some of them are totally exhausted. Whenever I see them like this, I am very grateful, but at the same time I feel sorry for giving them so much work.
I’ve even heard some brothers and sisters talking about how much they are struggling with all this work. Of course, they don’t say this to me directly, but I’ve heard a few grumbling words behind my back. Yet even amidst all this hardship, we recently published a few pamphlets. And this was achieved, thanks to all our saints’ hard work, devoting their precious time and effort to our ministry. Each and every one of our achievements is a product of our collective labor. And if there are any shortcomings, they are all our shortcomings as well, and so I ask you to kindly overlook them. I can’t help but thank God for the fact that even such faulty people like us can still serve God, and I’m sure that you also feel the same way.
 
 
What Is Human Nature in God’s Sight?
 
Let me ask you a question: In God’s sight is everyone clean or filthy by nature? You may wonder why I am asking such a question at the beginning of my sermon. I’d like to begin the first day of this revival meeting with a serious issue rather than a light one.
God says that everyone is precious, for God made man in the likeness of His own image. But because Adam fell into Satan’s temptation, he and all his descendants turned into sinners. And because all the descendants of Adam have sin in their hearts, none of them are clean. Even though most people try to forget the fact that their hearts are filthy, it is an undeniable fact that our human hearts are very filthy even in our own eyes.
I have received the remission of my sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But when I look at my fleshly heart, I can see that it still has many carnal desires. It was only after I reached my forties that I could admit this sinful nature of mine to God. Before then, I used to get very angry if anyone called me unclean. Not only did I get offended, but I also protested very loudly, absolutely refusing to accept such an allegation. In time, however, I eventually came to realize just how prone my body was to commit unclean acts in this world, both before God and before man.
So all of us should answer this question God asks of us honestly: “Are you really clean before Me, or just the opposite?” You should admit that you have sin before God and therefore you are unclean. God sees every aspect of us, both of the flesh and of the spirit. Only someone who knows that he is a filthy human being and a vile sinner in God’s sight can receive the remission of his sins by believing in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. Put differently, only those who recognize clearly that they are filthy sinners before God can be cleansed by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Why is this so? It is because God has made it possible only for such honest people to wash their hearts clean with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Such people who are able to admit their sinfulness to God and recognize that they are doomed to be condemned for their sins—none other than these are the blessed who can receive the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
There are countless people living in this world. But it seems that few actually realize that they are bound to be condemned for their sins. Most people carry on with their lives without any concern, forgetting the fact that they themselves will bear the condemnation of sin. Perhaps they live like this because they cannot help it. How about you then? When you consider yourself, do you think that you are a decent and upright person? Why do you think that you are such a wonderful person when you see yourself in a mirror, even though when you look deep side your heart, you know that you are completely worthless? Some of you may be offended to hear me saying that you are worthless inside, but I’m saying this because everyone is a sinner before God until and unless one receives the remission of sins.
Most people refuse to admit their sins because they think too highly of themselves, and they don’t like it when they are criticized or called a sinner by someone else. That is why so many people evaluate themselves so generously, all according to their own thoughts. As mentioned, I have received the remission of my sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But before receiving the remission of sins, I did not think that I myself would bear the condemnation of my sins that the Bible spoke about. However, now that I have received the remission of sins, I know that I would have borne this condemnation had I not believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When God said to me, “You cannot keep the Law. You are a sinner that commits murder and adultery. You steal, you are jealous, you quarrel constantly, you are arrogant, and you act foolishly,” I was able to admit that I was such a man and say to God, “Yes, Lord, I am indeed such a man, and that’s why I have to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” However, even after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it took me a long time before I could really admit that I was committing all of the twelve sins that Jesus spoke of in today’s Scripture passage.
Is this not also the case for you? Do you really acknowledge every God-spoken Word in your life? If you heard someone calling you a filthy man, would you be able to keep your face? Only when you accept the Word of God into your heart is it possible for you to truthfully admit your spiritual condition. Everyone is a sinner in God’s sight. If you look deep inside yourself, you will realize that you commit sin constantly throughout your life. Yet despite this, too many people do not realize that they themselves are sinners, deluding themselves into thinking that they don’t commit any sin at all.
Even among animals, there are some that cleanse and groom themselves. Dogs and cats do this regularly. I recently realized this when I saw my own dog trying to cleanse itself. Even a dog tries to cleanse itself. For instance, when a dog gets mud on its body, it tries to wipe it off by rubbing itself against the floor or the wall.
Even dogs want to be clean like this, but there are many people who refuse to wash away their hearts’ sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though everyone is destined to be destroyed for the sins that are piled up high in their hearts, too many people have no intention at all to blot them out by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament says, “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness” (Proverbs 30:12). This means that a lot of people think that they don’t have to cleanse away their sins. Even though they clearly have unclean sins, and they themselves are filthy human beings soiled in grime, they just are not interested in washing. They think on their own that everything is just fine even if they remain unwashed, despite the fact that they can actually cleanse away all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Referring to these people Proverbs 30:12 says, “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness.”
 
 
If You Recognize That You Are a Filthy Human Being, You Ought to at Least Try to Wash Away Your Sins
 
Many people living in this world simply have no interest in washing away their sins. This is a vexing conundrum. If there is a way for you to wash away all your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, shouldn’t you at least choose this way? What would you do if you were in their shoes? If there is a way for you to wash away your sins by faith, then of course you should choose this way!
However, many people still refuse to expose themselves before God as sinners destined to be condemned for their sins. Some people try to solve the problem of their sins in strange ways, seeking the remission of sins by offering their own prayers of repentance or doing good deeds. These people try to do many good deeds and dedicate their time and effort to what they think is a good and worthy cause, but can all your sins be really washed away once and for all by relying on your own virtuous deeds? No, of course not!
This is because no one can reach salvation through his own work, but our Lord has given us the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, the only means by which all our sins can be washed away. However, for you to believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit, you must first recognize that you are a sinner destined to be destroyed for your sins. It’s because of sin that the Bible says that human beings are like the beasts that perish.
From where do the sins of mankind come? Do they arise out of one’s circumstances, or do they fundamentally proceed from the human heart? Do people commit sin because of their fundamentally sinful nature, or because of their circumstances? What do you think? This question is answered by our Lord in today’s Scripture reading; and so let us turn to His Word and read it once again.
 
 
The Lord’s Explanation of Our Sins
 
Let’s first turn to Mark 7:14-15: “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.”
What did our Lord say to us here? He said, “The things which come of him, those are the things that defile a man.” Through His spoken Word, our Lord is saying to us, “Your hearts are filled with filthy sins, and you act out this sinful nature all the time.”
Everyone likes to rationalize himself by justifying his actions—that is, people rationalize their actions according to their sinful thoughts. They do this typically by blaming their circumstances for their sins claiming, “It’s not my fault that I am committing sin now it is because my circumstances are bad. It’s because of I’m living in a bad environment that I’ve been spoiled.” Another common way where people justify themselves is blaming their acquaintances for their own sins, claiming that someone else tempted them and misled them to do such bad things. They protest loudly that they themselves were actually good people in the beginning, but they went astray and fell into sin because of someone else. All their sins and all their misfortunes are therefore traced back to someone else other than themselves, arguing that they are just innocent victims.
Like this, most people think that they are good by nature, and whenever they do anything bad, they blame someone else for leading them astray. However, the Bible clearly says that everyone is born as a depraved sinner. As Adam’s descendant, everyone is born into this world as a wicked human being. In other words, all of us were born as a brood of evildoers (Isaiah 1:4).
Let’s turn to the Bible and see what our God actually says to us about this issue. It’s written in Mark 7:20, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.” What does this passage mean? It means that everyone is born with filthy sins. Put differently, we commit sin in our lives because we were born with filthy sins from the beginning. This is what the Word of God says. And this Word of God is the absolutely undeniable and irrefutable Truth.
Lions sit at the top of the food chain in the animal kingdom and prey upon weaker animals. When a lion hunts down a gazelle, it’s just doing what comes natural to it as a carnivorous animal. The same is true for human beings as well. Since we were born with sin, it’s only natural for us to commit sin throughout the rest of our lives. That is why all human beings are a brood of evildoers. This is a self-evident and incontrovertible fact.
Yet despite this, countless people still refuse to recognize that they are such sinful beings. But unless they admit their sinful nature, they cannot be saved. It is therefore absolutely imperative for you to grasp your fundamentally sinful nature from the Word of God. You must begin anew by believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. If you really want to become a child of God, you must first see and recognize your sinful self. And then you must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with your heart and wash away all your sins by faith. Only then can you become God’s own child.
Our Lord came to this earth to save us from all the sins of the world. Why then did He have to be baptized by John the Baptist, and why did He have to be crucified to death? It was to bear all our sins that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and it was because of this baptism that the Lord had to be crucified to death. And Christ had to do all these things because all of us were born with sin.
However, countless people still continue to live in great confusion, dragged around by so many religions that promise salvation but can’t deliver. The religious leaders of this world do not admit that they themselves were born as sinners. On the contrary, they teach that everyone is born as a good human being, that people commit sin only because of their bad circumstances, and that only such people need to receive the remission of sins. Yet these religious leaders themselves were born with filthy sins, but they have no inclination whatsoever to admit this. It’s actually unimaginable for them to ever admit and call themselves filthy, since they are supposed to be pious as religious leaders. So far from speaking out about the innate sinful nature of humans, they all try to comfort their followers with their mistaken understanding of human nature, saying, “You were born as a decent human being. Your character and integrity are beyond reproach. So don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself.” In other words, these religious leaders only stroke their followers’ ego and do not actually speak out about their sins. This is nothing more than whitewashing.
Most people like to listen to someone who says kind words about them. In particular, all churches around the world do this when a new member is introduced to the congregation as someone decent and great. But what would happen if a new church attendee were instead introduced like this: “Today we have a sinner who has come looking for God”? Of course, no pastor would ever say this! Common sense dictates that this just is not feasible. However, in spiritual terms, any and all unsaved people are sinners, even if they attend church.
 
 
My Testimony
 
When I first planted God’s Church in a small City, I did not have enough money to open the Church in a nice place. But I still felt compelled to open God’s Church, as I yearned to serve the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit. So I rented the second floor of a small building by the sea, which was actually little more than a shack. The winds blowing off the sea stirred up so much sand that it even spilled into the church building. If I did not clean the church building even for just one day, sea sand would be all over the floor. So I had to sweep and clean the floor every day, using a large, wet towel to wipe the floor on my knees. The building itself was so old that it was all stained and discolored. But still, I wiped the stairway with a wet towel, thinking that no one would want to come to this church to worship if it was so dirty, and hoping that at least some people would come if the church was clean.
Of course, this was all just my own wishful thinking. After all, no one comes to church just because it’s clean. Besides there was only so much I could clean up with such an old shack. Even so I still tried to spruce up the building, painting over stained and dirty areas and doing anything I could just to make it look nice. There was a very important spiritual lesson I learned in those days. While washing the mop which was used to wipe the church floor I thought to myself: “Just as this mop is dirty, everyone’s heart is also filthy. When people walk up this stairway into the Church, I will cleanse them all and present them to the Lord as His holy brides. The Lord bore all these people’s sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist and saved them all by dying on the Cross, and so I will preach this Truth to them and make them believe that the Lord has washed their hearts from all their sins. The Lord will be happy when their hearts are all cleansed. I will preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them and present them all to the Lord as His brides.”
I wanted to become a matchmaker of the soul who could say to the Lord, “Lord, here are your brides. They have received the remission of sins once and for all by believing in your gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people are your brides. Please welcome them all into your Kingdom.” And in time, I realized that I had indeed become a true matchmaker of the soul before Jesus Christ. Before this moment of awakening, I had considered it only a hypothetical notion that I was a matchmaker of Jesus Christ, but while wiping the church floor and washing the dirty mop, I realized clearly that my purpose on this earth was preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all the sinners of this world, wash their filthy hearts, and present them to the Lord as His brides. It had dawned on me once again that my duty on this earth was preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
“What Comes Out of a Man, That Defiles a Man” (Mark 7:20)
 
Our Lord said in Mark 7:20-23: “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
When I stood before this Word of God, I realized that the Lord was speaking about me. And I realized that all human beings were born as a filthy brood of evildoers by nature. Our Lord made this clear to all of us. Indeed, when we acknowledge the Lord’s Word and look at ourselves honestly, we cannot help but admit our sinfulness and say to Him, “Lord, You are right. You saw right through me. You are completely right. You have spoken plainly and clearly. Your Word is true. I am indeed who you say I am. I am such a sinner with evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and even foolishness.”
When I accepted the Word of the Lord by faith and examined myself before God, I realized that what the Lord said in today’s Scripture passage was spoken to none other than me. This God-spoken Word was a completely accurate description of myself, for I was such a sinner in the Lord’s sight whose thoughts were evil, lewd, wicked, blasphemous, proud and foolish. When I looked back at my past, I saw that I was indeed such a depraved sinner who had committed adultery, theft, and murder in my heart.
But you will be surprised to hear that despite my utter sinfulness, people in my hometown actually considered me rather highly. I used to get praised all the time for being such a polite, well mannered young man, and my parents were the envy of the neighborhood for having raised such a good son. But in reality, I had each and every one of the twelve sins listed in today’s Scripture passage.
Let me tell you a story from my seminary days to illustrate just how much I struggled with my sins. A professor at my seminary once told the class to never look at any lewd posters when passing by a theatre, instructing us to call on the name of the Lord three times if we felt tempted. I had to pass by a theatre on my way from the seminary to my dormitory. Most times I had no trouble walking pass the theatre. But whenever I saw a poster with a scantily clothed woman, I found myself drawn to the theatre for some reason. It was actually lust rearing its ugly head in my heart. Though suppressed most of the time, all it took was the right circumstances for lust to surface.
It would have been not so bad if I stopped at just stealing a glance at the poster. If the poster was particularly revealing, then I would want to take a closer look at some of the smaller pictures posted by the entrance of the theater below the giant poster. If I had any company, I would say to him, “Why don’t you go first; I have some business to take care of.” When asked about where I was going, I would say, “It’s just I have something to take care of. So you go first and wait for me. I’ll catch up with you in ten minutes.” And if my friend wanted to go with me, I would say, “Actually, I have to go there alone. So why don’t you go first and I will catch up with you later.” After sending away my friend like this, I would walk straight to the theater to take a closer look at all the pictures posted beside the entrance and enjoy myself. For one reason or another I could never pass by such an opportunity, even though I always found myself regretting this afterwards. But the reason was actually simple and straightforward: I was caught up in lust.
I never actually entered that theater. But whether I actually watched the movie or just stared at some pictures and entertained lewd thoughts in my mind is not the point, for I was being equally lustful in God’s sight. But I still clung onto my pride as I told myself that at least I did not actually watch the movie. So on my way to the seminary residence, I would congratulate myself for not giving into temptation and wasting my money on such a useless movie. I would feel proud of myself for the fact that despite being tempted, I stopped at just seeing some posters and pictures and did not actually walk into the theater to watch the movie. I would then justify my behavior by saying to myself that I did not completely give into temptation. Of course, I never told anyone about lingering around the theatre and glancing at its lewd posters and pictures, but I was satisfied that I didn’t actually walk into the theater.
I took it as my pride the fact that as a seminary student purporting to obey the will of God, at least I did not walk into that theatre. When I returned to the residence, my friends would ask me about where I had been. I would then say to them, “Nowhere in particular; I just had some business to take care.” However, when our conversation somehow led to movies, I would blurt out without thinking, “Oh, there is a movie playing in the theater, I saw some parts of it today. It looked very good.” When asked how I got to see the movie, I would say, “I didn’t actually see the movie. I just got a few glances of the poster.” But later on, I would eventually discover that I was not alone to have seen the poster, but all my friends had also seen it. But since we were all seminary students, we felt at least a bit guilty about our behavior. So we tried to keep our pride by clinging onto the fact that we had not actually walked into that theater. We were trying to keep our pride as seminary students and Christians.
However, given the fact that everyone is lustful in God’s sight, was I not a lewd man just because I did not actually pay to watch any vulgar movies? No, of course not! That’s like insisting that the king still has gotten dressed up even as he is stark naked. When I look into my life like this, all my sins are exposed just as the Lord pointed them out here in today’s Scripture passage, from wickedness to greed, adulteries, murders, thefts, evil thought and so forth. Indeed, I am a filthy man. I am a completely depraved man. That is why I needed the Lord. I needed the Lord who had blotted out all my sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is because I was such a filthy man that I believed in the righteousness of the Lord, and that is how I received the remission of all my sins.
I believed in Jesus as my Savior who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit because I was such a filthy man. Now that I have received the remission of my sins, whenever I look into the Word of God like this, I realize time after time that I am indeed nothing before God. I have absolutely no merit whatsoever in God’s sight, other than the fact that I believe that Jesus Christ has blotted out all my sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. All that I remember is that the Lord has blotted out all my sins, and this is the only thing that I can speak of boldly. And this alone is my pride and my heart’s joy. I have nothing else to present to God. I have nothing on my own to show to Him.
 
 
Everyone Is Destined to Do Filthy Things throughout Their Entire Lifetime
 
Ecclesiastes 9:3 says, “The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” As the Bible says here, everyone’s heart and acts are indeed full of madness throughout their entire lifetime.
I was also a filthy man before God. It’s only because the Lord has delivered me from all my sins that I have received the remission of sins and reached my salvation. This evening, all of us must realize and admit clearly here that we are all filthy human beings. Are we clean or filthy before God? Let’s set aside Jesus Christ for now and think about our fundamental nature as human beings. Are we filthy or clean in God’s sight? Do you feel too uncomfortable to admit that you are a filthy man with so many saints around you? Do you still think that you are not filthy at all? Look back in your past and examine yourself honestly before the Word of God. See for yourself whether or not you are indeed filthy, whether or not your acts are virtuous, whether or not your heart is upright, whether or not your thoughts are godly, whether or not there is anything filthy in your heart, and whether or not you do filthy things in your life.
Look deep inside yourself and say clearly whether you are filthy or clean in God’s sight. If you think that you are not filthy, then you ought to be able to say clearly, “I am not filthy. Others may be filthy, but I am truly clean.” If you really think that you are not filthy at all, then you ought to be bold enough to say this to God also. If on the other hand, you think that you are a filthy human being, then you must admit this to God and say, “Lord, you are right. I am indeed a filthy man. But even though I am such a filthy man, did you not save me? I thank you for saving such a depraved man like me. I give you all my praise and thanks.” Without Christ, all of us are indeed filthy people.
My fellow believers, all of you who have received the remission of sins here should glorify God this evening. On the other hand, if there is anyone here who still has not received the remission of sins—that is, if anyone here has led his life to this very day without realizing clearly that he is indeed a filthy human being by nature—then all such people should draw a clear line this evening. If you still have not drawn this line clearly before God to determine whether you have received the remission of sins or not, and whether you are filthy or clean, then I ask you wholeheartedly to draw the line clearly this evening.
Let me ask you one more time: “Are you clean or filthy?” Why are so many of you still not answering this question? Let me ask you again, for it is absolutely indispensable for us to admit clearly to God whether we are clean or filthy. Are you a filthy or clean human being before God? You are a filthy human being in God’s sight. Regardless of whether you have received the remission of sins or not, your existence as a human being in itself is filthy by nature. And it is fundamentally in our human nature to do nothing but filthy things throughout our lives. Don’t you agree?
As I see some teenage girls sitting here, I am reminded of just how many filthy thoughts I used to have in my past. I used to have such a filthy mind that when I looked at the girls of my age when I was young, they looked like angels compared to me. But in reality, these innocent-looking girls were actually no better than myself, and some of them might have been even worse.
My fellow believers, all your heart’s sins will inevitably come out sooner or later. Whatever you ate this evening may now be in your stomach, but it will soon pass through. If we were born as filthy human beings, then it’s destined for us to do filthy things while living on this earth. That is life. If we still try to rationalize ourselves and claim that we have not led a filthy life, then we would not be honest to ourselves. And this should not be the disposition of anyone who is poor in spirit in God’s sight. It is not the attitude of anyone asking God for His mercy and grace.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Whoever is poor in spirit admits to himself readily and says, “I am indeed a filthy man. I was born as a filthy human being from the beginning. And I have led a filthy life to this very day. I cannot help but live a filthy life, for that is my true nature as a human being.” Such people who recognize that they have no righteousness of their own at all, that they are filthy, and that they are full of shortcomings—none other than these people are the blessed. And Heaven belongs to none other than such people. Heaven belongs to those who know that they are filthy.
Of course, this does not mean that the Lord would take them to Heaven in their filthy condition. Rather, the Lord cleanses them first and then takes them to His Kingdom of purity and glory. That is why Jesus said that those who truly recognize their filthy selves are blessed.
All of us must reveal and admit ourselves to God, particularly at a revival meeting like this. Even if you have not done that many filthy things so far, in time, you are bound to do them just like everyone else. Everyone is the same; there is nothing that sets anyone apart from anyone else as far as human nature is concerned. No one is better than anyone else. You are the same as the person sitting next to you.
There are some beautiful lilies in front of the pulpit here. Are any of these lilies different from the rest? No, they are all of the same flower species. Some of them are in full bloom while others are not, but this doesn’t mean that they are different flowers. With enough water and time, they will all blossom fully. Just as the lilies in full bloom will eventual wither away, the lilies that still have not blossomed will also wither away in the same way. The same is true for us humans. Since all of us were born as filthy human beings, all of us are equally bound to do filthy things until the day we die. The only difference is the stage and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
What is our true nature? What is our fundamental portrait as human beings? Ours is a filthy portrait by nature. God Himself has revealed this to us in our journey of life. Do you feel offended by this? I am actually overwhelmed with joy whenever I see my sinful nature laid completely bare. That’s because only when I see my fundamental sinful nature can I find the greatness of God’s gospel that has solved this problem. That is why I am so happy. It doesn’t matter how filthy you are; even the filthiest man can become the cleanest by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Let me raise another question to all of you gathered here: “Are you now living a completely perfect and flawless life before God?” I keep raising similar questions repeatedly here because when I asked them before, many of you remained quiet. Don’t just stay silent but speak up. Make your decision now and spell it out clearly before God. If you know clearly that you are a filthy human being, you must then admit this when God says to you that you are filthy. You must admit your sinful nature and say to God, “Yes, Lord, you are right. I am filthy even in my own eyes. You are completely right Lord. I am indeed a filthy man just as you say.” It’s actually a wonderful blessing to discover your true self.
So admit your sinful nature and confess to God that you are indeed filthy. And then say to God, “Lord, please save me. You called me filthy, and so now I ask you to cleanse me. You have pointed out my filthiness. Unlike so many people who have said nothing but good things about me, you alone have exposed my filthy nature. Only you know me completely. You alone are true and right. I am indeed a filthy man just as you say that I am. But I believe that you can cleanse me. Have mercy on me Lord, and cleanse me from all my filthiness.” With this confession, hope will spring forth in you to look towards the Kingdom of Heaven.
This age is the age of hypocrisy. So it is impossible for you to see and recognize your fundamental nature as a human being by relying on a worldly religion. Let me illustrate this with a simple example. You can’t really tell a woman’s face when she has too much make-up. Nowadays the demand for make-up is so strong that there are all kinds of cosmetic products made from all kinds of ingredients. Just a while ago, I saw in a TV commercial where some women were putting mud on their faces. I can’t remember what the brand was, but apparently mud is the latest fad in the cosmetics industry. Perhaps it’s because human beings were made out of dust, but mud is said to have many ingredients that are very beneficial to the skin.
Whenever I visit Seoul, there is one thing that always confuses my eyes. It’s the fact that every woman I see seems to have a similar face. For some reason all these women in Seoul look the same to me, as though they came out of the same cookie oven. They all look the same to me. This is not the case in smaller cities, as the women there at least show some variation, using different colors and shades in their make-up. But here in Seoul, every woman has the same color and shade. It seems every woman in this metropolitan city is a master at disguise. Of course, I am not complaining about make-up per se. Far from it, it’s great to see beautiful women. There is nothing wrong with beauty in itself. Rather, my point here is that you should not disguise your heart as you disguise your outside appearance.
It’s only a matter of course for us to keep our appearances tidy and neat, but none of us should ever go as far as disguising our hearts before God and man. This world is so full of lies that it’s very easy for us to follow the prevailing wind to lay ourselves in. But we must never let the world drag us into lying like this. If you want to live an upright life you should never deceive your heart. There is a different society, a society of the righteous who have put on the grace of God and live an honest and upright life. So even though this world is filthy, not everything is filthy. If you really want to live a clean and upright life, then this is more than possible. You can find grace from God if you expose yourself fully, and none other than God’s Church is where you can do this. So I ask you to never deceive your heart before God.
Socrates once said, “Know thy self.” He said this because so many people in his days were full of themselves, just as so many people nowadays still think so highly of themselves. But those who come to recognize their sinful nature before dying are the happiest of people. Those who know their true selves, receive the remission of sins, enter Heaven are the truly happy people. No one is happier than they are. In contrast, those who die without reaching this self-realization are the saddest of all. Those who do not know their sinful nature, oblivious to what they really are before God and men alike, and those who are wasting their lives on this earth without realizing what purpose God has for them—these are the most tragic of people. Referring to such people, the Bible says, “A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20). Such people who do not know themselves are like the beasts that perish.
All of us must therefore realize our true nature. We must all find grace from God and become our Lord’s brides by putting on clean wedding garments and enter His Kingdom after our short lives here on this earth is over. While we are still on this earth, all of us must receive the blessing of becoming God’s people—that is, the blessing of becoming heavenly saints and holy people—to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For what purpose did God put us on this earth? It is to make us His very own people. Therefore, all of us ought to realize our fundamental condition as innate sinners, come to the presence of God, and find His grace.
 
 
Have You Received the Remission of Sins by Believing in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit?
 
How about you then? Is there really no sin at all in your heart? Is there really no one here who has sin in his heart? I am sure that there are at least a few people here who still remain sinful but are hesitant to admit this. If you are such a person, then you must listen to the Word of God and honestly admit your sinfulness. You will then be able to put on the God-given grace of salvation. Just as many of us here have already received the remission of sins and found God’s grace, you will also put on the same grace of salvation. Do you then admit that you and all your family members are filthy human beings? Born as a human being on this earth, you ought to receive the remission of sins from God while you still can, so that you may enter His Kingdom; unless you receive the remission of sins, you cannot attain true happiness no matter how much material prosperity you enjoy on this earth.
The riches of this world, my fellow believers, cannot bring any real happiness to you. True happiness is attained only when you reach your salvation. You must therefore not only receive the remission of sins for yourself, but you must also lead all your family members, relatives, friends, and acquaintances to receive the remission of sins so that they also can enter Heaven together with you. One day, when our Lord decides that it’s time for Him to judge the world and take us to His Kingdom, we will entrust ourselves to the Lord and enter this Kingdom according to His will, while everyone else will be left behind to suffer the plagues of the seven bowls that Lord will pour out on this earth.
When our lives on this earth are over, our Lord will surely take us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the Kingdom of Heaven. So no matter what tribulations and trials come our way, let us all live out our faith united with God’s Church, serve the Lord faithfully and then go to His Kingdom. Where would you go if you fail to receive the remission of sins and instead just live a carnally prosperous life? Where would your destination be?
To find the answer, let’s turn to the Word of God. I will end my sermon shortly after looking at the last passage in the Book of Isaiah. It’s written in Isaiah 66:24:
“And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
This passage clearly shows that hell does exist. Our lives on this earth are not everything. There is God’s Kingdom. Therefore God also has given us the remission of our sins. And it is to make us receive this remission of sins and turn us into His very own people that God allowed us to be born on this earth. This earth is not everything to our lives. I ask you not to place all your hopes on this earth and its vanities. There is another world waiting for you, a new and eternal world that God has prepared for you. So I admonish you all to receive the remission of your sins while you are still on this earth, and then enter this Kingdom of Heaven that God has prepared for you. And to do this, you must first stop deceiving your own heart.
Let me ask you for one last time: Are you a filthy human being, or do you still consider yourself a decent human being? You are indeed a filthy human being. Admit this honestly right here and right now. Everyone gathered here is equally filthy, and so who can condemn whom? The only way to get yourself condemned is to insist that you are not filthy even as all of us here are equally filthy. You will hear people saying, “How can you not be filthy when all of us are filthy like this? That’s preposterous! You are no different from us. You are just as unclean as the rest of us. If you think otherwise, you are just making a fool out of yourself! Don’t be so ridiculous!” If you deny your true nature, you will only make yourself even filthier.
So let me ask you again: “Do you now admit that you are filthy?” It’s not just out of impatience that I keep asking the same question over and over, but it’s because admitting your sinful nature is the very first step to receiving the remission of sins. I myself am a filthy man. But I have received the remission of sins thanks to our Lord. That is my only distinction. Do you think that I am somehow cleaner than you? No, that’s not true at all. I am just as filthy as everyone else.
My fellow believers! Remember that it is those who are poor in spirits that are blessed by God. It’s those who expose their sins to God that receive His blessings. So lay all your sins bare before our Lord, seek His mercy, and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God will then surely save you from all your sins!