“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”
Our revival meeting is scheduled to begin tomorrow, and I ask everyone here to pray for this. It’s wonderful to see such a beautiful flower arrangement next to the pulpit. Every day, night and day, there is so much we need to do for God’s work.
We just read Hebrews 10:26-36 for today’s Scripture reading. At this hour, I would like to explain to you what the Bible is teaching us from this passage of Scripture. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” This passage teaches us that if we betray the righteousness of God, after receiving the knowledge of the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, we will for certain be judged by God. This then begs the question: Why did the servant of God who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews issue such a warning to us? To answer this question properly, it is useful to first get some understanding of the circumstances faced by Israel at that time. When the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote his letter of spiritual counsel to God’s people of Israel, who were scattered around the then known world, many were facing a great deal of suffering. At that time, the Roman Empire ruled over Israel as its colony, and the Israelites were being punished by Rome in retaliation for their frequent rebellions. Having adopted a policy of conquest and enslavement toward Israel, Rome sent General Titus to invade and conquer the land of Israel.
Knowing All of This, the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews Wrote His Letter of Spiritual Nourishment to God’s People
In today’s Scripture passage, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is saying to God’s people not to betray Jesus and His Truth of the righteousness of God no matter how difficult their circumstances are. He was saying to them, “You’ve come all this way, received your salvation by believing in the righteousness of Jesus, and in the process losing all your earthly possessions, even your very own brothers and sisters, while defending your precious faith. He went on saying, after all these years and so many sacrifices, would you now betray the righteousness of Jesus Christ? Would you decide to waste all your sacrifices and render them in vain, only to face God’s judgment in the end?”
When we turn to Hebrews 10:30-31, we can see the author quoting the Word of God warning us also: “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Here, God is saying to us that, when the day of the last judgment arrives, our Lord will judge His people first. We must never forget how the Lord has saved us, who believe in the righteousness of God—by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, being baptized by John the Baptist to bear all our sins, dying on the Cross while shouldering the sins of the world, and rising from the dead again.
Given the fact that we have all received the remission of sins by realizing and believing in the righteousness of God, how could we give up our faith just because our circumstances become difficult? How could we condemn our own future like this? In other words, if we were to betray God and renounce our faith in His righteousness to believe in something else instead, then we will fall into God’s terrifying judgment. This should be feared far more than our current circumstances. After all, how could we not fear the consequences of apostasy, when this means facing God’s judgment that’s far more terrifying than our short term circumstances?
God is therefore admonishing us not to give up our faith, saying, “Your present suffering will be over very soon. Would you still renounce Me in your impatience, only to face My judgment later on? What’s the worst that can happen to you now? Is it not just a physical death, which is only temporary? If you betray Me now you will perish forever. So, endure your present suffering with perseverance, thinking of the glory to come ahead.”
The Bible says to us, “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.” (Hebrews 10:32-34). Put differently, the Bible is asking us, “Have you not borne all these sufferings thus far knowing that God will give you His Kingdom?” The Scripture then goes on to say, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
The Word of God that we have read today was written about 1,900 years ago. At that time, God told the believers in Jesus to persevere. Today in my sermon, I am admonishing you likewise to also persevere, just like these predecessors of faith, as you face trials and tribulations just as they experienced. Enduring faith is absolutely indispensable to all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Patience is also important to us as it is about enduring and persevering through hardships. While the temporary pain we are suffering now requires us to be patient only for a short while, living out our faith until the day Jesus Christ returns requires tremendous perseverance.
Everyone Struggles to Endure Pain
While it’s not that difficult to endure a short-lasting pain, it’s a struggle to bear continuous suffering. The latter is what’s required from us to live out our faith until the return of the Lord. We face the biggest struggle in our lives of faith when the Lord’s promise is not fulfilled right away. In other words, we struggle the most trying to endure and persevere through waiting for the day of the Lord’s return. That is precisely why God said, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).
As God said here, we are leading our lives of faith by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that we will see the promised return of the Lord being fulfilled. There are many times when we have to bear hardships for the sake of the Lord’s work. But we must endure such sufferings in order to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and to serve it. When we live out our faith to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will start realizing that our lives of faith are all about the continuation of endurance. For us to receive God’s promised blessings, we must endure our present sufferings and hardships. All of us must run our race by faith until the day we enter the Kingdom of the Lord.
It’s far better for us to struggle with much work to do for God than to worry about having too little to do for Him. Don’t you agree? It’s indeed better for us to be busy with God’s work. I, too, find it very fulfilling to do God’s work together with you, and I’m sure that you feel the same way. I know what’s in your heart even without going to the place of your work. You are all very busy with God’s work, just as I am, but it’s still a joy for you, just as it’s a joy for me also.
To rejoice in God’s work is what it means to live out our faith. So you can see why there is so much to do. There is so much work that it overwhelms us, but at the same time, we are joyful to do this work. This morning, I saw Hagyung, a little child, crying by the entrance door for some reason. I didn’t know exactly why she was crying, but in my heart, I told her, “Hagyung, you, too, have to endure. You have to go through everything and persevere as you grow up.” In the same way, for God’s workers and saints alike, each and every one of them must endure through all the trials and tribulations that God brings to them in order to train them.
There is no one here who can live out his faith without patience. Each and every one of us must endure all the hardships that come our way when we preach the righteousness of God, for we have no other choice. It’s because only then can God’s righteousness be fulfilled. The righteous work of God requires persistent endurance from us until the Lord finally completes it and rewards us in the end.
As we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we in turn are working very hard to preach the righteousness of God. Unless we overcome our hardships, by relying on our faith in the righteousness of the Lord, we cannot emerge victorious. To be victorious in our lives of faith, we must ensure that our faith in God and His righteousness perseveres through so that we start bearing fruit. We must defend our faith in God’s righteousness no matter what. This is only too obvious, but I can’t emphasize enough just how important it is for all of us to defend our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and the righteousness of God. I am sure that most of you know what I am talking about here, given the fact I’ve addressed this point repeatedly in the past.
Sadly, there have been some people in our Church who have ended up giving up their lives of faith, and it goes without saying that this is totally wrong. Yet, this can happen to us also if we fail to endure and persevere through our trials and tribulations for the sake of the Lord’s righteousness. Whenever you and I face difficulties, we must pray to the Lord for His help and obey His will by trusting in God and His Word. We will then surely see that all our problems are solved away thanks to the righteousness of the Lord. If we otherwise fail to endure our hardships by faith, then we will end up betraying the Lord’s righteousness.
We must endure everything and persevere through by trusting in the righteousness of God. Whatever difficulties you might face, you must address them by putting all your faith in God’s righteousness. If we endure all our hardships patiently for the sake of preaching the righteousness of God, then our hard work will ultimately reward us with the fruit of righteousness. The fruit of the righteousness of God is His gift to us we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s truly amazing and wonderful.
After all, have we not heard wonderful news from all around the world, with many people saying to us that they have now been saved from all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as preached by us? This morning, while listening to the report on our missionary activities, I heard about someone in Kenya who read our gospel books. This man apparently read just two of our books, the very first sermon book we published and another sermon book on Genesis. Yet, despite the fact that he was relatively new to the gospel of the water and the Spirit, his testimony of faith was amazing.
Like this, whenever we hear or read about the remission of sins that God has given to such new believers and their testimonies of faith, we are all edified beyond words. I am absolutely sure that such fruits of righteousness were born through us because we have lived by faith to preach the righteousness of God like this. It’s because we have worked hard and endured in patience for the sake of God’s good work that the fruits of righteousness are being born all over the world. In other words, we are bearing such fruits of righteousness because we are working hard to preach the gospel and to support its ministry. At first, only few fruits were born, but now, we are hearing about new fruits being born from all across the world.
This is all because we have endured and persevered through, and living by faith for, the sake of the righteousness of God. The Lord has blotted out all the sins of the entire human race once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been saved form all our sins once and for all. And keeping our faith in the righteousness of the Lord, we continue to follow Him by faith. Therefore, all of us ought to continue to do the Lord’s good work every day, and live by faith until the day the Lord’s will is completely fulfilled in this world. It doesn’t matter how much or how little we can contribute; what really matters, and what all of us ought to grasp here, is that whatever little we can do to carry out God’s righteous work will eventually bear wonderful fruit.
I have endured much while leading you to the righteousness of God. I know that I must train you patiently so that you will become God’s valuable worker, and it’s for this reason that I cherish you so much in my heart and teach you with so much patience. I can now see you turning into the vessel that God wants you to become. And I treat myself with such patience as well.
Today is Parents’ Day in Korea, and to mark this occasion, children pin a carnation on their parents’ chests as a sign of their love and respect. This morning, I also received a carnation, and other gifts as well, from the kids in our Church, but I haven’t really done anything for them to deserve this. In some ways, it seems a bit unfair to the children, since they are supposed to respect me as an adult, while I haven’t done anything special for them. So I feel a little uneasy about the gifts I’ve received today, and I’m also that much more thankful to the kids in our Church.
It is in fact only proper for the young to respect and honor the elderly out of a sincere heart. This kind of attitude should be self-evident. After all, no child can ever fathom the full extent of his parents’ love for him. Only when they become parents themselves and raise their own kids can they begin to understand the profound love their parents had for them. But, when they grow up enough to finally appreciate this, their parents are likely to be no longer with them. Given the fact that your parents can live for only about 70 to 80 years on average, by the time you realize their love they would already have passed away. There are some things that are irreversible in this world, and one of them is that, once your parents pass away, you cannot love and honor them no matter how much you wish to do so.
I am so grateful to our Lord for coming to this earth, incarnating in the flesh of man, bearing all the sins of this world, by being baptized by John the Baptist, and sacrificing Himself on the Cross for us, all to save us from the sins of the world. We now understand fully how the Lord has saved us the believers in the righteousness of God from all our sins, by being baptized and bearing untold suffering for us. When we praise God for His righteousness, we praise Him for receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, for enduring the suffering of the Cross, and through this, saving all of us who believe in the righteousness of God.
Think about just how painful it would be if we were to actually endure such sufferings. Imagine being crucified. Imagine what it would be like if we were crucified, stripped naked, slapped around, and despised with utter contempt. If we were in that situation to face such sufferings, then perhaps we would have a better sense of the sheer magnitude of the pain the Lord endured for us. Indeed, only if we put ourselves in our Lord’s shoes like this can we finally begin to appreciate it, even if it’s ever-so-slightly, the suffering Christ bore for us.
We can empathize with another person only if we put ourselves in that person’s shoes. There is a saying that even if someone is suffering the pain of death, this suffering is not as great as your own suffering from a mere cold. To you, in other words, whatever little pain that you might be facing is greater than the most excruciating pain suffered by someone else. Only when you make that person’s pain yours can you empathize with that person. Only when you put yourself in that person’s shoes and appreciate his pain can you be genuinely compassionate towards him. If you otherwise think you have nothing to do with that person, you will not be able to empathize with him. In the same way, unless you build a personal relationship with Jesus, you cannot really appreciate what He has done for you.
When the Lord came to this earth for us, He bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. And to save us from all our sins, He bore all the condemnation of all our sins by enduring the suffering of crucifixion. Only when we seriously consider what it would be like for us to actually bear such suffering can we truly appreciate the passion of Christ and believe in Him. It’s then that we can grasp what a tremendous sacrifice the Lord made for us, all to save us from our sins. It is a joy for you and me to continue to follow the Lord’s righteousness. So I’m trying my best, to make it possible for you, to support the Lord’s work with the least hardship possible.
I’m always thinking about what I can do to help you. I’m saying this to ask you to understand my heartfelt desire. I know very well just how hard it is for you to serve the righteousness of God day after day without any rest. This year’s summer is approaching so fast, and whenever I think about you working so hard under the scorching sun, I feel your suffering. While I can’t help you in everything you do, please do know that my heartfelt desire is to help you always in every possible way. I know just how much you are struggling to carry out God’s work. But you must endure this by faith. You and I alike must persevere through for the sake of the righteousness of God. Only then can the countless souls all around the world be saved from their sins and receive everlasting life.
I don’t want to spend this hour preaching a sermon that you will listen to and soon forget. You may hear this sermon with one ear and let it out through the other ear, but this is not what I want. I am absolutely convinced that the Word of God that I am preaching to you now is all true. That’s why I have my sermons recorded and transcribed, so that they may be published and reach everyone in the world. Because the Word that I am preaching here is the Word of God, I want it to have a powerful effect on everyone who hears or reads it.
If what I am preaching is not true, then there is obviously no need to listen to it, far less to record or transcribe it. But if it is true, then it needs to be recorded, and preserved, for everyone else in the world, and the future generations to come. That is why I am working with you with so much conviction. Every morning, I hear from Rev. Shin reporting on the status of our mission. I’ve asked him to record this also. I’ve asked him to record and transcribe his mission reports also.
I’m not sure if he has done what I’ve asked him to do; so far he has not given me any transcript, so perhaps he has only been able to record the reports and hasn’t had a chance to transcribe them yet. Or it could be that he forgot all about it, since I didn’t bring this issue up. Whatever the case might be, I’m sure that when our saints hear or read about mission reports, they will find a great deal of strength through them.
Although we are facing many difficulties in our lives of faith, we must all endure them by faith. We should never give into impatience and end up betraying the righteousness of God. I beseech you to never let this happen to you. The Bible says, “The LORD will judge His people” (Hebrews 10:30). Elsewhere in 1 and 2 Corinthians, the Scripture also tells us that God will judge His people first, and then judge the unbelievers. There actually are many wicked people even among those professing to believe in the righteousness of God, and God will judge such people first. Let us therefore all live out our faith, so that none of us may face God’s judgment.
If you stand against God, and oppose His Church, you will be judged without fail. I’m not threatening you here, but I’m just pointing out to you what the Word of God is actually saying. After all, what could a feeble man like me ever do to threaten you? Think about it. It’s not like you will fear me even if I threaten you. I have never been confrontational. I’ve never hit anyone in my life, not even when I was a kid. When playing soccer, I get tackled all the time, but I’ve never tackled anyone. If someone gets aggressive towards me, I always back down and try to reason with him. Not only do I hate violence, I am actually scared of it. So I am the last person you would expect to threaten you. It is not I, but God Himself, who said, that He will judge whoever betrays His righteousness. And since this is what God said, He will indeed judge such people without fail.
Let us remember that our forefathers of faith, who walked before us, were able to meet the Lord face to face because they all endured their trials and tribulations patiently, and preserved through their suffering. Today also, this is what the Lord wants from you and me. Now that we have met the Lord, we must all persevere through in patience. It is not until the Lord returns to this earth, when we stand before His presence, that we can see Him face to face in His Kingdom. That’s why patience is so important to us now. We must persevere through all our hardships.
As the proverb says, patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet, and everything comes to him who waits. We must indeed endure all our hardships for the Lord. And if we ask the Lord for His help, and help one another in God’s Church, then we will be more than able to overcome all our difficulties. We know that sweet fruit awaits us after our hardships. We know God’s abundant blessings are awaiting us. And we know that God will bless His Church, and each and every one of us in everything we do to preach His gospel. Hallelujah!