“Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods. So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. When the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.”
It has been raining a lot during this summer discipleship training camp. How do you feel? I want to go home since it has been raining much. I thought the time has been going by fast because I mistakenly figured today is Thursday, but someone told me today is Wednesday. Pastor Baek said that this training camp has been enjoyable, and I also think it has really been fun. We have been working very hard for the preaching of the gospel until now, and it is really pleasant to get together like this and hear the Word and take a good rest. It is because we, the ministry workers, do not have much time to rest during the year besides the period of the discipleship training camps. Isn’t this true? There is, of course, always an exception. The ministers’ wives have been very busy preparing food during this training camp. They are even busier during this time. Anyway, they have been working very hard.
It has really been raining much. Yesterday, they forecasted that there will be 100 to 200 mm of rain in this central region. Our ministry workers are very happy when it rains a lot because their waterproofing businesses can be very prosperous during this time. They are happy when it rains a lot and the roofs and concrete slabs are leaking. They are working hard to serve the gospel through this means of tent-making mission. Long ago, the Apostle Paul worked as a tentmaker to serve the gospel and I think we are also doing similar work like our predecessors of faith.
It would be great if you can come to the discipleship training camp and just hear the Word of God very comfortably, eat good food, and rest without being anxious about something. We tried to build some buildings and extend their canopies so that your shoes would not become wet, but the water is still somehow coming into the building. Water has seeped into the entrance of the brothers’ lodging quarters. So, I wonder how many buildings we would have to build to avoid such inconvenience.
By the way, it’s raining cats and dogs. I hope and pray that God would protect us from all dangers. And I do not want you to take a walk through the foot of the front mountain because I am worried about some possible landslides. Those who have cars parked below the mountain should move their cars to another location and prepare for a landslide beforehand. We must do all that we can and pray to God and trust Him to protect us. Rain then shall fall up to the appropriate level.
We have read the Word from the Book of Judges chapter three, and I want to preach a short sermon and let us have lunch afterwards, have a time of fellowship, and also take a good rest afterwards.
God Wanted to Test the Children of Israel
It is written in the Book of Judges chapter 3 verses 1-4, “Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”
What did God say to the Israelites here in this Word? God said through Moses the following: “If you enter the land of Canaan, you should destroy the seven nations of that land and their idols; you must not join hands with them; and you should always obey God’s command as the circumcised people of God. Then I will be with you and protect and bless you always.” God had promised like this.
Joshua then led the Israelites to the land of Canaan, fought against the Gentiles there, and took much land, but he could not be with them forever because he could not but die and go to God. Hence, each tribe of Israelites was often waging wars against the enemy. Then as time passed and the people who had not known war had all grown up. All such people, who had seen the work of God that He was fulfilled through the servants of God, such as Moses and Joshua, had died and the next generation had taken over. This generation had not known war and also had not known the Word of God that He had spoken through Moses.
Thus, God tested them to see whether they would follow the Word of God. God had left the five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites until that time to wage war against the Israelites in order to test them. God had left them until that time to make those peoples wage war against the Israelites to test whether the Israelites would follow the law of God and follow Him only as His people because God had told the Israelites to not live in harmony with them, not live cordially with them, and not believe in their religions and idols they believed in. The Israelites had to follow God’s Law and follow Him as His people only. Therefore, God made them wage wars to see whether the Israelites would obey Him or not. Put differently, God was testing whether or not the Israelites would keep the commandments that He gave them through Moses, but they failed miserably. They ended up joining hands with the Gentiles and worshipping their idols. And if that was not enough, they brought the daughters of the Gentiles to marry their sons, and they also gave their daughters to the Gentile men. As a result, they became a people of mixed-blood. God was not happy with this. Thus, God made the Israelites live as slaves for many years.
Our God wanted to see whether or not we would obey the commands of God. What did God command to us? He commanded us to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world. And He wants to test us to see whether or not we will obey and follow this command. God leads us and pours down His grace depending on whether or not we obey Him as He has commanded. We must know this.
God had commanded the Israelites to go into the land of Canaan, engage in a war against the peoples there, not to worship the idols they believed in, and not mix with those Gentiles in marriage. In a similar vein, God has commanded us who live in the New Testament era to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world. And God has commanded us the righteous to unite ourselves only with the other righteous people within God’s Church and live for the preaching of the gospel; He also has commanded us not to join hands with the non-born again, not have relationships with them and not depend on the gods they believe in. And God examines carefully whether or not we listen to His commands. We have praised the righteousness of the Lord after receiving the remission of sins and have come to this point while serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit even while experiencing many difficulties. However, even now, God wants to examine whether or not we are keeping our faith, defending our hearts, and preaching this gospel of the water and the Spirit; He examines whether or not we join hands with the peoples of this world. This is what He really is concerned with. This was the will of our Lord.
We have been serving the Lord for a long time thus far. Thus, we sometimes wish in our hearts for the Lord to come soon. We sometime feel in our hearts that we do not have any more strength to carry on working, that each one’s immune system has broken down, and therefore that we cannot do God’s work anymore because we do not have anymore strength left.
Now, We Have Exhausted All Our Strength That We Had at the Beginning
Now, we must display our strength to carry out our middle stage ministry while putting forth our strength to serve the gospel when the end time arrives. So, I hope and pray that our Lord will give us new strength everyday. There are some fellow saints who want to dwell in the comfort of the present situation since we have spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit a lot until now. Some among us think that we have achieved a noticeable progress in faith now and served the gospel of the water and the Spirit satisfactorily. Therefore, they might think now that it is appropriate for them to receive respect and amenities to some degree while serving the Lord. Because we are all humans with flesh, we sometimes think in our hearts that we must first take care of ourselves in order to do God’s work. However, God examines whether or not we are following His commands, and He wants us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit even more throughout the entire world. It is because God wants to save souls from sin continually. This is what God is interested in. God wants you and me to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
God does not want us to join hands with the peoples of this world or dwell in the comfort of our fleshly thoughts, but, rather, He examines whether or not we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the command of the Lord God. Therefore, you and I must first carry out the commands of God by faith no matter what difficulties we face in the flesh. We must ask for strength if we do not have strength, pray to be cured of sickness if we are physically sick, and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world ceaselessly although the current situation is difficult. We must continue to publish electronic books and printed books and send them out to the people of the entire world for their salvation. However, we will fall into the same sin of the Israelites spiritually if we dwell in the comfort of our hearts with the fleshly thinking that it should be enough to serve the gospel this much with our limited abilities.
Some of you might ask whether I am saying that we should work more although you and I have done the work of God diligently beyond our abilities until now. However, I am saying that we have done so to obey the command of God. Then, until when must we continue to do this work? I am saying that we must do this work until we all go before the presence of the Lord, until we become the last evangelists in this world, and until the Lord comes to us again as the Lord of the Advent. Well, even those who are older than us are serving the gospel faithfully now. There are times when I also feel I cannot do this anymore. Correcting my drafts and proofreading my scripts while sitting by the desk all the time is difficult too. For example, when I was correcting the drafts of my third book, my back had swollen up because I was infected with spondylitis while sitting at my desk for a long time. At that time, I had told my coworkers to go on my back and step on me. I felt better when they were stepping on my back, but my whole body felt stiff once they came down from my back. I did not even know it was spondylitis. I eagerly wanted to publish this book to follow the will of God. That made me feel so much pressure, and I thought I was dying because of my physical disorder. Therefore, I thought that I should at least finish this work before I died and struggled to find the strength to complete this work. I did more work during that time, thinking that I would go to Heaven if God took me. It was common for me to work until three or four o’clock in the morning during that time. Not just me, but all the ministry workers have served the gospel like this. Thus, there are times when I think that we have done enough because it feels so difficult now. And not just for me, but I see that the Pastor Jaesuk Kim and all the ministers and brothers and sisters who are working hard in each part as the ornamental knops to support the full blossom of the gospel. Hence, I contemplated whether we should reduce our work to some degree to continue this righteous work to the end.
However, what would we become if we did not preach the gospel of God? What would happen to us if we did not do God’s work? We feel terrible if we do not do God’s work, although doing God’s work is physically tiring. If we quit serving the gospel, both our bodies and minds will be soon deteriorated. You will become corrupted as soon as you stop doing this righteous work. You as a human are such offspring originally. You can choose to be either an instrument of righteousness or an instrument of sin. We do more of the worldly works if we do less of the righteous works and vice versa. When we decide ourselves to live just according to the will of God, we can do much work of God in His grace. Therefore, since we have to do it anyway, I have come to a conclusion that: “I will do this righteous work until I go to the Lord. Not just me, but we will all do this because the Lord will make us do this work as the Scriptures said that we can do all things in the Lord who gives us strength. This is so true.” Our hearts become filthy when we do not devote ourselves to God’s work. Our hearts become depraved and filthy when we do not do the work that is entrusted to us. On the contrary, our hearts are refreshed and full of joy when we do God’s work although our body is tired. We are all like this. It is difficult for you to support the gospel as the ornamental knobs for the gospel flowers (Exodus 25:31-39). However, what would you do if you did not do this literature ministry? Of course, you can visit everyone around you to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Then, souls will receive the remission of sins.
Our Literature Ministry Is a Great Weapon
Dear fellow believers, the literature ministry we are doing now is the best means for the world missions. In this era, to violate one’s privacy is very impolite. You will be given a cold reception if you grab people and ask them, “Do you have sins?” Such a way of preaching the gospel is out of date. People would say that you are insane if you went out to preach the gospel to the people of this era, saying, “Do you have sins?” However, our faith would also die if we did not do such spiritual works.
We must devote ourselves to world mission before the presence of God. We must obey the command of God also in this era. God is watching us. We must preach the gospel until we go before the presence of God. God appreciates us and tells us, “You have served diligently and worked very hard.” However, He still tells us to continue doing this work. This is the will of God. God asks us to do His work ceaselessly. It is proper for God to ask us like this because He has sacrificed Himself to save us from the sins of this world and carried out even more difficult work than the work we are doing now.
There is a great difference in the quality of the testimonies of salvation sent to us in the year 2006 and those of the year 2007. There is a great difference in the depth of their faith. The content of the testimonies of salvation sent to us by our readers abroad in the year 2007 is better, and that of the year 2006 is not as good, while the testimonies of salvation sent to us in the year 2005 are worse than those of this year 2007. This means that the faith of our readers is growing stronger because we have published many books that contain the genuine gospel and sent them to our readers all for free. It means that they have not received the remission of sins by reading just one book, but that they resolved some questionable issues about being born again and confirmed their faith through reading many of our books. They have come to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts by reading our various books comprehensively. And some have applied to become our coworkers who distribute our books now because they have come to believe that this gospel is correct and the truth of salvation. They are doing God’s work with us now because the gospel of the water and the Spirit has become believable in their hearts.
Therefore, we will continue to do this work of God. We will do this until the Lord tells us to stop preaching the gospel. Dear fellow believers, how long could we serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit in the future? The calamities of natural disasters have begun in this world. Our country, Korea, is trying to negotiate to sign FTA’s with many countries now. It is because it would be disadvantageous if we did not sign this treaty with each and every country. Only the powerful countries throughout the world will survive in the future. And even in the field of business, only the big companies will survive. This has become such a period. They say that people must invest in stocks now if they have money. They say that a person who invests in stocks will not make much money immediately, but, in 10 years time there will be a huge difference between a person who invests in stocks and a person who does not. Some people who have invested in stocks will become very wealthy and others who don’t will become totally broke.
However, the Lord said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). We are investing in the Holy Mission of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit now because we cannot invest in the stocks of this world. We are truly wise people. Wouldn’t we regret for eternity if we do not take advantage of the opportunity God has given us? You must recognize that the opportunity to do God’s work comes only once, and this opportunity does not come again if we lose this opportunity. And you must keep in mind that you absolutely cannot become rich instantly by investing in stocks. Rather, your stocks will become mere scraps of paper when a great depression comes upon us suddenly.
The People of God Have a Spiritual Work They Must Do, Unlike the People of This World
I contemplate why God told the Israelites not to join hands with the gentiles and instead reject the religions the Gentiles believe in when they went into the land of Canaan. It is because there was only spiritual and physical death to them when they actually did such things. In a similar vein, those who have become the people of God now must give glory to God. The righteous people will perish when they join hands with the peoples of this world. By doing this is opposing the righteousness of God. The righteous consequently becomes an enemy of God if he joins hands with Gentiles.
The people who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are consequently opposing the righteousness of God. The Scriptures refer to the people of this world as “goats.” When we tell them to do it like this, they go and do like that instead, and when we tell them to do it like this, then, they go out and do like that. We are trying to resolve their problems and help them, but they do not follow our steps. Therefore, we come to oppose God if we join hands with them and also stop serving the gospel. We will then be destroyed.
One of our pastors told me, “The leader of an evangelical sect built a huge church building and if that was not enough, they purchased all the houses around the church to expand their parking lot.” I do not know how many houses that church purchased. And this pastor commonly advertises their meetings in the newspaper and holds revival meetings in places like huge sports stadiums. They say that about 600 people attend that church. Are 600 church members of this church great in number? In the worldly churches, there are so many churches that have 600 attendees. Commonly in Korea, a church that has a big church building has more than 3000 attendees.
Among the pastors or lay believers, all those who do such things like casting out demons are demon-possessed. A person who has come to a church for the first time to believe in Jesus starts doing such things like speaking in tongues immediately although he still has sins. Can a person receive the remission of sins although he does not know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Are such things like twisting tongues, uttering strange noises, and being cured of sickness by laying on of hands the works of God? Is the will of God fulfilled through such things like gathering many people like this, accumulating wealth, and building a huge chapel? Is it the will of God for the righteous people to join together with these worldly Christians? Dear fellow believers, the number of our workers and saints is not small. There are about 240 officially recognized countries throughout the entire world. We can preach the gospel throughout the entire world if each person goes into one country and preaches the gospel of the water and the Spirit there. One person can even preach the gospel to ten countries. At this point, there are many among us who are covering ten countries to twenty countries. You are actually doing this now.
Like this, God’s will is that we do not join hands with the Gentiles. Only then can we preach the gospel exactly as it is. What God wants from us is to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and we must also continue to do this work unceasingly. And the Lord promised that He will give us abilities to do this. Pastor Jaesuk Kim told me that I could become healthier if I took two pills of vitamin C after every meal, so I have been doing this rigorously. Thanks to that advice, I do not feel tired too much this week. I want you to also take vitamin C pills regularly.
For a while, I had thought that I would not be able to do my task because I was so tired. Not just me, but all our ministers also felt like this. The young ministers have been sitting around inside instead of playing soccer. They used to go out and play soccer even if I did not tell them to, but they do not play ball now. Why are they like this? They are resting, instead of playing soccer, because they have been so tired physically. There also are some workers who do not play soccer even if they are not tired. There always are exceptions. There are some brothers and sisters who just stay alone and do not come together when we ask them to gather and do not enjoy recreation together when we ask them to join and play together. This is not good spiritually, it is written,
“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment” (Proverbs 18:1).
It is worthwhile for you and me to do the work of God together and we are happy and satisfied with this work. Some preachers are boasting that they have held revival meetings at large stadiums gathering over several thousand people. But that is nothing. Some might think that I am saying this out of a feeling of inferiority because I cannot do this, but I am saying that such meetings are nothing in God’s eyes. Of course, I do have a sense of inferiority when it comes to the issue of height. I am short, so I have told our ministry workers to not utter the word ‘short’ before me. Once, while working, I asked someone to bring a short H-beam, and he brought me one that was too short. Thus, I told him that he should have brought a longer one, and he asked me whether he should bring “a lacking one.” I told him that does not sound right and would rather he say “a short one.” He was saying “a lacking one” because I become upset when someone uttered the word ‘short’ in front of me. Thus, I told him to rather say “a short one” plainly instead of saying “a lacking one,” and we all burst into laughter. We joke like this, but we nevertheless respect the order of the spiritual hierarchy as well. We ministers of God are not envious of the people of this world. I am sure you all have seen some photos of our coworkers abroad, which are displayed on the walls of the main chapel. A few thousands of pictures of our coworkers abroad have been sent to us and we have selected a dozen of them. We are planning to select a little more during the coming winter discipleship training camp.
Obeying the command of God is better than dying as a martyr. Doing the things God tells us to do by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit before the presence of God is receiving blessings from God. Do you understand? Just working diligently does not please God. We must do the things God tells us to do. Whatever you do, you must contemplate on whether or not you are doing God’s work now. You must at least think whether or not you are now doing the work of God even if you do physical labor, and think whether there is any discomfort when the saints come and take their shoes off and do what you can so that they do not become sick when they come here. The drinking water here is also not the same that used to flow before. We dug a fountain and it cost us about 15 thousand US dollars. All these works have been done to serve the saints, and I am sure these works are also of God’s will. Like this, you and I must think whether or not we are doing God’s work.
We are serving the Lord now by running some businesses, but it is a very precious work of obeying the command of God no matter how lowly it might seem to the other people. Dear fellow believers, do you think that only the ministry workers who are working on documents and working on computers are precious and the people who do such things like waterproofing and plumbing are not precious? There is no difference in rank in the work of God. This work is precious and that work is precious, and all these works are precious. They are all precious because it is obeying the command of God. No matter how one tries, one commits the sin of disobeying the will of the Lord God if he or she is not doing the work that obeys the command of God in his or her heart.
God has commanded the Israelites to absolutely not join hands with the Gentiles and not serve their gods when the Israelites went into the land of Canaan. God speaks about this in detail in the Book of Deuteronomy. Joshua had preached the will of God after Moses had died. However, the Israelites eventually did not follow the command of God and threw away God and instead joined hands with the gentile nations and mixed in marriages with them. They had believed the religions the Gentiles had believed in and lived with them. This was not the will of God. God warned that He would pour down curses on them if they did such things. Thus, the Israelites paid the price of their disobedience by being enslaved.
You and I are also like this. If we keep the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, obey the command of God, God answers our prayers whenever we pray to God to give us faith and help. We come to live prosperously under the protection of God both physically and spiritually if we live like this even if the people of the world do not help us. However, God’s curse falls on us if we join our hands with the peoples of this world although we are God’s people if we unite with their religions.
We must lead a consecrated life separate from the world in order to obey the will of God and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world. We must not join our hands with the peoples of this world. We must not consider the people of this world as our friends. Do you understand? We must obey the will of God. And we must carry it out. We must carry out the will of God.
Dear fellow believers, you will come to know how beautiful and what great joy it is to obey the command and the will of God. Is this true, or not? We are happy that we have obeyed the will of God. Even if some projects are not that successful, we are happy that we have obeyed the will of God. We give thanks and praise to our God.