[1John 3: 7-9]
“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This is the 25th session on 1 John Lecture Series.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
1 John 3:7-8 says, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”
When an evil person deceives others, he makes it sound convincing by disguising it as the truth.
For example, if somebody needs a guarantor for his loan, he wouldn’t explain honestly saying, “I am going to do some risky business and I don’t have the funds, so please be my guarantor for my loan. If this goes wrong, you might have to assume a great loss. But I will try my best not to let that happen.”
Instead he would only explain the good points saying, “My business will certainly succeed, and soon I will have more funds. Now is a very good timing for the investment, and being my guarantor is only for just a couple of months. Then I will pay you back handsomely. There is no chance for any problem to rise, but even if there is, I will guarantee the return of your investment.”
In this kind of situation, those who have engraved the word of God do not need to think about it.
They can just obey the word of God no matter what.
But those who don’t keep the truth in their mind will begin to use their own thoughts like…
‘We’ve had a long-term friendship, so why shouldn’t I help him when he is in need?’
‘He is not even asking me to give him money. It’s just for a couple of months, and if I refuse, I would appear to be merciless. I would feel ashamed to see him again.’
At the same time, you also have some desire for money for he did say he would pay you back ‘handsomely’.
But no matter how many good points there may be, if you become his guarantor it is disobedience to the word of God.
It is a foolish act that creates a wall of sin against God and that causes calamities to come upon you.
Giving such excuses as “I was deceived by an evil person. I committed sin because he was urging me to do it” cannot solve any problem.
It’s not because of anybody else but because you did not have truth in your heart. It was because you were not on alert spiritually.
Only you can be responsible for the results of your actions that occur because you did not keep the word of God in mind and you departed from the way of truth.
When Satan tempts people to sin, the temptation is very tactful.
He gives people so many reasons that might make them disobey the word of God.
He doesn’t explain the truth saying, “God hates these actions, and if you keep on doing these things, you can have pleasure for a moment but you will soon face great disasters and punishment.”
He gives you many excuses to walk away from the word of God.
For example, he says, “Of course, it would be good to live by the truth 100%, but you are not even a pastor, and how can you?”
“In this age today, how can this kind of act be considered sin?”
“You don’t have enough faith yet, so if you can’t enjoy all these things just because you go to church, your Christian life will be so boring and hard.
“When the pastor says that you will go to hell if you love the world, it is just a warning that is really meant to keep you from committing greater sins.
Besides, you can just take some worldly things and turn back later.”
He tempts you this way to cause you to accept and gradually get deeper into the world little by little.
Moreover, with TV and Internet, the world is being stained with sins much faster than in the past.
You can easily access the methods to commit crimes, and even students and young children are exposed to obscene and violent materials.
They see and hear evil every day, so their hearts also become hardened.
Long ago, people would tear their heart over a certain kind of sin, but today, they just say, ‘it’s no big deal, things like that just happen.’
Even when they see something good, their hearts are not touched. When they see something evil, they can’t really feel how evil it is.
This is not concerning just unbelievers. The religious conscience of the believers has changed, too.
They do something against the will of God, but they don’t consider it a great sin saying, “All other believers are doing it, too.”
They say they love God in the church, but they just seek their own benefit in the world.
They cause damage to others for their own benefit, but they give excuses saying they couldn’t help it because they were in a very difficult situation.
They commit adultery and give excuses saying, “I was just too lonely.”
Or they blame the others saying, “That person liked me so much and I couldn’t help it. He told me it was OK because we were going to get married.”
But in any case, the truth of God never changes. The standard of judgment for salvation never changes.
As it is said, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you,” you must never be deceived by Satan.
Even though darkness becomes increasingly thicker and the world is increasingly being stained with sins, God’s children have to dwell in the light.
The reason why God gave His one and only Son Jesus to suffer on the cross was not to save those who willfully continue to commit sins.
It was to destroy the works of the devil that cause people to commit sins and go the way of death.
It was to allow for us to live righteous lives, just as Jesus Christ is righteous.
1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith…”
The devil prowls around this earth like a hungry lion searching for his prey.
Beginning with Adam and Eve and until the day of the Final Judgment, the devil will tempt all mankind and drag them into sins.
I already explained about the origin and roles of the devil in the Genesis Lectures and messages on ‘The World of Evil Spirits’.
Briefly, the archangel Lucifer became arrogant and wanted to become lifted up like God.
She tempted the dragons and many other cherubim. She also caused one third of all angels that were under her authority to participate in the rebellion.
But even though she was a great archangel, obviously she could not win against God the Creator who created all things.
God subdued them in a moment and put them in the deep darkness of the abyss.
But after a long period of time passed, when God began human cultivation, God released some of the evil spirits including Lucifer from the abyss.
God let them stay in the air, in the second heaven, and used them as instruments to cultivate human beings.
Since then, the evil spirits tempt men and stand against God.
But this is also possible because God has allowed for them to do so.
The evil spirits can enjoy their authority only within the limitations that God has set for human cultivation.
But Lucifer still does not realize her arrogance and foolishness.
She still thinks she can match the wisdom of God and that she can break off the providence of God by tempting the human beings to commit sins.
That is why she has been doing so many evil things until this day.
She tempted Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge, and in the Old Testament, she persecuted men of God to hinder with the works of God.
When Jesus came to this earth, she instigated the evil persons to crucify Jesus.
It is the role of the devil to make people commit sins.
The terms ‘Satan’, ‘devil’, ‘demons’, and ‘the rulers of the kingdom of the air’ do not have similar meanings. Each of them refers to a different entity.
Satan is the heart of Lucifer.
It exists in the air like a radio wave, and it puts the evil thoughts into the hearts of men.
Now, the devil is the one that makes people put into practice the evil thoughts that they accepted in their minds.
Those angels that rebelled against God and were confined in the abyss are still confined there.
But only a very small number of them were released, only as many as were needed for human cultivation, and they are serving as the devil and messengers of Hell.
Because the number of angels that rebelled with Lucifer was so many, only a very small number of them are enough to be used for human cultivation.
The enemy devil constantly incites the people to commit sins and stand against God throughout the history of mankind.
When there were people who delivered the will of God, the devil instigated evil persons to persecute and kill them.
Without realizing it, numerous people who did not know the truth became instruments of the devil and stood against God.
Of course, they do not think they are instigated by anybody.
They just think that they are thinking and doing what they want to do.
But in fact, any thought that is not of truth is the work of Satan. Any action that is not of truth is obedience to the instigation of the devil.
It’s the same with believers in God.
They might say they believe, but if they do not live by the word of God but live in sins and stand against God, it is to obey the devil.
Those of you who know the truth must not accept any temptation of the devil any more.
You being the children of God cannot obey the devil that is the enemy of God.
I hope you will always be on the alert, stand firm in the truth, and be awakened in spirit.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will demolish the schemes of the enemy devil and Satan with the word of God and boldly keep marching on towards the holy city.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In the following verse 1 John 3:9, it continues to warn us about sins.
It says, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
It says the seed of God abides in the one who is born of God.
Here, the seed of God refers to the word of God, the truth.
Luke 8:11 says, “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God,” in the parable of the heart field.
Also, 1 Peter 1:23 says, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
All Adam’s descendants who are born after the fall of Adam had dead spirits, but those who accept Jesus Christ are forgiven of their sins and are born again.
We are born again with a new life because we have accepted the word of God, which is the living and enduring word of God.
Also, the seed of God can be Jesus Christ.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us on this earth. He obeyed the will of God and fulfilled God’s providence completely on this earth.
John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
He explained that we can go the way of eternal life only through Jesus Christ.
But Jesus could not become the seed of God just by coming to this earth in human flesh.
He could become the seed of God because He completely lived by the word of God and fulfilled the Law with love by being crucified and resurrecting on this earth.
When this Jesus Christ dwells in us, we can gain a new life.
Brothers and sisters,
Those who accept Jesus Christ receive the Holy Spirit and are saved.
But this Holy Spirit is not the seed of God.
The Holy Spirit testifies to the truth so that we can believe in Jesus Christ and He gives us the strength to live by the truth.
Namely, He helps us to have the seed of God in us, so that we can gain a new life.
Even though we have received the Holy Spirit, we cannot be saved in the end if the seed of God, the truth does not dwell in us.
In Luke 19:11-27, through the parable of the ten minas, we can see the cases where we cannot be saved even though we have received the Holy Spirit.
When he was going to a distant country, a nobleman gave one mina to each of his ten slaves.
He gave them some ‘seed money’ so that the slaves could do merchandising and make a profit.
When the master came back, one slave left ten minas with one mina, and another five, and they received the reward accordingly.
But still other slave did not do any merchandise until the master came back. He just kept the money in a handkerchief.
The nobleman was angry with this lazy slave and took away the one mina from him.
Here, the nobleman symbolizes our Lord, and the one mina symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
To do the merchandise and make profit with one mina is that those who receive the Holy Spirit must practice the truth and bear spiritual fruits.
They have to change their heart into truth and possess the faith of a grown adult.
They have to keep in mind the words they hear and learn and cultivate them in their heart.
They have to cast away hatred, envy, temper, adultery, greed, arrogance and other evils, and they have to bear the fruit of goodness such as love, meekness, peace, truthfulness, and humbleness.
The Holy Spirit constantly gives them realization. He gives them grace and strength so they can change.
The Holy Spirit helps us have the word of God in us by delicately intervening in our lives saying something like, “You should not hate and get angry like that. God does not like it. Understand other’s viewpoint and endure with them with forgiveness and love. Pray continually and be faithful. Rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances.”
If you do not obey such voice of the Holy Spirit and not live by the word of God, the voice of the Holy Spirit will become increasingly fainter.
As time goes, the grace of the first love will diminish, you will be stained by the world, and your faith as small as a mustard seed will also be taken away.
Just like one mina that was kept put away in a handkerchief was taken away, the Holy Spirit might be extinguished.
The latter half of 1 John 3:9 says, “Because he is born of God.”
Jesus, who is born of God, is sinless.
The above verse is saying that we who are born again through this sinless Jesus Christ must not commit sins again.
If we are born of God, we must have the seed of God in us.
If we have the seed of God in us, we will clearly discern the will of God in the works of the Holy Spirit.
We will understand God is our Father, and we will realize the love of the Father.
We will understand how good goodness, love, and truth are.
Even if we get paid millions of dollars for committing sins, we can never commit sins because we understand the heart of God the Father.
We will just make our spirit clean as God is pleased.
But even if we have the seed of God in our heart by accepting the Lord, we sometimes commit sins before we become sanctified.
We hear and learn the truth, but the fleshly mind that wants to commit sins will overcome the truth.
But if we keep on filling our heart with the truth in the help of the Holy Spirit, then we can cast off all things of the flesh and works of the flesh.
Eventually, we will resemble the sinless Jesus and become worthy of those who are born of God.
Brothers and sisters,
The seed of God is the word of God, and Jesus Christ who is the truth itself.
But another meaning of the seed of God is the seed of life.
Of course, the seed of life is not just in the children of God but everybody.
But when it says, “His seeds abide in him” in today’s reading passage, it refers to a state where one’s seed of life is revived by receiving the Holy Spirit.
It means he has become a child of God for his spirit is revived.
I explained in detail about this seed of life in the Genesis lectures.
God puts this seed of life in each one’s spirit and gives to everybody in the sixth month of pregnancy.
The children of Adam who committed sins became unable to communicate with God for their spirit is dead, but God gave men the seed of life so they could seek and meet God.
The seeds of the plants will sprout and begin to grow as they are supplied with nutrients and water in proper environment.
Similarly, as we receive the Holy Spirit, our seed of life is revived and our spirit is revived.
As we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the truth, the seed of life will gain power and our spirit will grow up.
As we do that, we can experience various works of God who makes impossible things possible.
Namely, all things will go well with us and we will be healthy, as our soul prospers.
We will enjoy health, youthfulness, richness, and prosperity, and we can receive answers to whatever we ask in prayer.
On the contrary, the seed of life will lose its strength if we live in untruths.
Even if the seed has sprouted, it will wither away unless it is constantly supplied with water and nutrients.
It’s the same with the seed of life.
I hope you will always dwell in the truth and keep the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have many testimonies of God’s grace and blessings, and you will go into spirit and whole spirit quickly.