Revelation 21: 19-20
“The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 49th session of ‘Heaven’ sermon series. Continuing from the last session, I will talk to you about the spiritual meanings contained in the twelve foundation stones of New Jerusalem. In the previous sessions, we learned the meanings through the eighth foundation stone, beryl. In this session, I will talk to you about the ninth stone, topaz, and the tenth, chrysoprase.
God’s word itself is the light. So if the word of God dwells in us, we will give out the light from within.
This spiritual light cannot be hidden covered by something like towels. It just comes out naturally and shines out into the surroundings.
But light has another important function in addition to brightening the darkness.
It is to give out warmth to raise temperature. So, if we give out spiritual light, even the heart that is frozen can be melted.
The spiritual light that comes out from the foundation stone that I am going to introduce this time gives out warmth. It’s the light that is desperately needed in this age when love has cooled down and people have more hardening of the heart.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the ninth foundation stone of the city wall of the New Jerusalem is topaz.
It has reddish-orange color and is transparent. Another name for the dark red-orange topaz is the semi-precious gemstone called “HYACINTH”
What kind of spiritual heart does topaz symbolize? It is spiritual goodness.
Goodness is the quality of being kind, helpful, and honest.
But spiritual meaning of goodness has deeper meaning.
There is goodness among the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, too, and it has the same meaning with the goodness of topaz. Then, what is the spiritual meaning of goodness? It is to seek goodness within the Holy Spirit.
Each person has a standard to judge between the right and wrong or between good and evil. What is it called? It is called “conscience”.
The concept of the conscience differs with diverse times, countries, and peoples. What the world calls conscience is somewhat similar to spiritual goodness in the truth.
But the standard to measure the magnitude of goodness is only one: the Word of God, the Truth.
Therefore, to seek goodness from our perspective is not spiritual goodness. To seek the goodness in God’s sight is spiritual goodness.
And the spiritual meaning of goodness is a little more than that. Matthew 12:35 says, “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good.” Likewise, those who have spiritual goodness in them will naturally bring out that goodness.
Wherever they go and whomever they meet, good words and good deeds will come out from them.
Just as those who spray perfume will have a pleasant aroma, the aroma of goodness will come out from those who have goodness. Namely, they give out the aroma of the goodness of the Christ.
Therefore, just by seeking goodness in heart cannot be called goodness.
If we have the heart that seeks goodness, then we will naturally give out the aroma of the Christ with good words and deeds. This way, we should show moral virtue and love to people around us. This is goodness in true spiritual sense.
Then, what is the ‘goodness in the truth’ that is the standard to measure spiritual goodness?
In fact, because God Himself is good, goodness is found throughout the Bible, the Word of God. So, goodness is vast in meaning. But there are also verses in the Bible that specifically give out more of the colors of topaz, namely the colors of spiritual goodness.
In this session, I will talk about two of them. I hope you will remember these two points and be able to check the magnitude of goodness in you all the time.
First, in Philippians 2:1-4. It says, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Even though something is not right according to our thoughts and our characters, if we seek goodness in the Lord, we will bond with others and agree with their opinions.
We will not quarrel in anything. We will not have any desire to flaunt ourselves or be lifted up by others. With only humble hearts, we will consider others better than us from the depths of our hearts.
We will do our work faithfully and in a very responsible way. We will even be able to help others with their work.
In Luke, chapter 10 Jesus illustrates a comparison for us about those who are good and those who are not good.
The parable goes something like this: A man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was robbed and almost killed.
At that time, a priest was passing by and saw him, but just went away. So was a Levite. At that time, priests and Levites were the ones who knew the word of God very well.
But because they did not have the goodness in heart to seek goodness in truth, they just went away.
However, there was a Samaritan who was passing by and saw this man who had been robbed. This Samaritan had pity on him and bandaged up his wounds.
He took him on his own animal and took him to an inn. He stayed a night with him there and paid for his expenses.
He asked the inn keeper to take care of him, leaving him in the inn. He also promised the inn keeper that he would pay when he would come back if any extra expenses were incurred.
This Samaritan might not have known the word of God very well as knowledge. But we can see that he had the heart that followed goodness. It means he had the spiritual goodness following the goodness in God’s sight.
Even though we have to spend our own time and money, we have to choose the goodness in God’s sight. This is spiritual goodness.
Another Bible verse that gives out the light of goodness more brightly is Matthew 12:19-20. It is concerned with the goodness of Jesus.
It says, “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory.”
As said, those who have goodness do not cry out or quarrel with any body.
Also, they will show their goodness in their appearances as well. As recorded, “Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.” Those who have goodness will give out goodness and humbleness on the outside.
How blameless and perfect must Jesus’ habits have been in his bearing, gestures, and language!
He must have had true etiquette. I hope you will try to imagine this attitude of Jesus and resemble even His gestures and deeds. Those who seek goodness in truth will also have different words on their lips.
Proverbs 22:11 says, “He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.” I hope you will be gracious like this.
Now, let me tell you what you have to remember first when we talk about goodness.
It is that we ‘should not break a bruised reed or put out a smoldering wick’. These words hold the representative reference points of goodness.
First, a ‘bruised reed’ represents those who suffered many things of this world and are hurt in their heart.
Even people like these, when they seek God with a poor heart, God will not forsake them, but accept them. This heart of God and this heart of Jesus is the very height of goodness.
Next, it’s the same with the heart that does not snuff out a smoldering wick.
A wick is twisted cloth or thread placed in candle, lamp, or stove. It’s the thing that we light. If the wick is smoldering, it means the fire is dying, but there still is the kindling that remains.
Therefore, ‘a smoldering wick’ is a person who is so stained with evil that the light of his spirit is ‘smoldering’.
Even this kind of person, if the has the slightest possibility of receiving salvation, we should not give up on him. This is goodness.
Our Lord does not give up on even those people who live in sins and stand against God. He still knocks on the door of their heart to allow for them to reach salvation. This heart of our Lord is goodness.
If you have this kind of goodness in you, you will want to try to lead all kinds of people in the way of salvation.
Even when a person reacts with evil toward your good deeds, you will have pity on him and do not give up on him.
There are people who are like bruised reeds and smoldering wicks in faith.
Some people when they fall to temptations because of weak faith, they don’t have the strength to come back to church again by themselves.
Maybe because of some fleshly things that they have not cast off yet, they might have caused damage to other church members.
Because they are so sorry and embarrassed about it, they don’t feel they can return to the church.
So we have to first go to them. We have to extend our hands to them and hold their hands. This is goodness. Also, there are people who were first in faith, but later they are behind in spirit. Some of them also become like the ‘smoldering wick’.
Some of them want to be loved and recognized by others, but it doesn’t happen. So they are heartbroken and the evil in them comes out.
They may be jealous of others who are going ahead in spirit, and they may even slander them. This is like the smoldering wick that is giving out smoke and fumes.
If we have true goodness, we will also be able to understand these people and accept them. If we try to discuss what is right and wrong and make the other people submit, it is not goodness.
We have to treat them well with truthfulness and love, even those who show evil. We have to melt and move their hearts. When we do this it is acting in goodness.
Brothers and sisters, the tenth foundation stone on the city wall of New Jerusalem is chrysoprase. Chrysoprase is a kind of chalcedony. It’s semi- transparent and has a light apple-green jade-like color.
In ancient Korea, women deemed this stone very precious. It symbolized purity and chastity of women.
Then, what kind of spiritual heart does chrysoprase symbolize? It is self-control.
In God, abundance is good in everything, but to have everything in harmony and in an orderly manner, we must have self-control.
If we do not have self control even in physical world, it will cause many negative results. For example, if we eat too much without self control, we will suffer.
Also, if we exercise too much, it will rather harm our bodies. Likewise, even physically, if we lack self control, it is not good.
And how much more self control should we have in this world since we are longing for spirit?
Titus 1:7-9 talks about the qualifications of overseers, and one of them is self control.
If the leaders in the church do not have self control, there will be problems in many areas.
Also, when other members model after those leaders, the church will have major problems.
In the Lord, whatever we do, we have to have self control in everything, discerning things with the truth, and follow the Holy Spirit.
If we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly and follow it, we can control ourselves when we need to, so we are not going to cause any troubles to develop.
Also, we just take the straight way in the truth, so we can be prosperous. But those who do not control themselves can have troubles in their work and also be faced with many kinds of difficulties.
Even a man of spirit can be a man of perfection through self-control.
The last one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self control, and it’s because it can control everything in harmony.
For example, even joy has to be under control sometimes. If we just express our joy any time and any place only because we are so joyful, it may cause problems.
Even love has to be controlled in some cases. We may give spiritual love from our side, but some people may receive it in a fleshly way.
Also, we should not just act immediately and unconditionally when we have some urge in our heart in the Holy Spirit. We first have to discern it with the truth. We may have an urge or flashing thoughts to give to somebody some advice in truth. In this case, a person who has self control can do it at the most appropriate time.
But a person who doesn’t have enough self control may speak too hurriedly and cause bigger problems.
Brothers and sisters, even for those who have gone into spirit, self control is a must. For those who have not cast off their fleshly attributes yet, how much more will they need self control!
Our purpose for living in this world is not to have material abundance, but to gain eternal things.
It is to give birth to spirit through the Holy Spirit and become a man of spirit, so that we can take hold of the best heavenly dwelling place.
If we have this clear purpose of life, we have to live a controlled life in this world.
Who showed the example of self control among the Biblical figures?
We would be talking about John the Baptist.
John the Baptist clearly knew why he came to this earth.
He knew that he had to prepare the way for Jesus, who is the true light.
So, until he fulfilled this duty, he lived a completely secluded life from this world. He armed himself with prayer and the Word alone while in the wilderness. He ate only locusts and wild honey. It was a very secluded and strictly controlled life.
Through this kind of life, he was ready to prepare the way of the Lord, and fulfilled it completely.
Also, in Matthew 11:11 Jesus said this about him, “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!”
Then, I hope there is nobody who thinks, ‘Oh, so now I will go to deep into the mountains or some secluded place and live a life with self control!”
To think like this is proving that you don’t have self control. You interpreted the word in your own way and thought too much.
It is important to control your heart in the Holy Spirit. If you have not yet come into spirit, you have to control your fleshly desires and follow only the desires of the Holy Spirit.
Also, even after you come into spirit, you have to control the strength or magnitude of each of the spiritual hearts to have perfect harmony as a whole.
This self control is shown with the light of chrysoprase.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this session, I talked to you about the ninth foundation stone, topaz, and the tenth, chrysoprase. Topaz stands for spiritual goodness, which is to seek goodness in truth. Chrysoprase represents self control.
So far we’ve learned about ten of the precious stones among the twelve.
The spiritual heart symbolized by each of the jewels is so beautiful and good. Therefore, the heavenly kingdom can be nothing other than beautiful.
To tell you a secret, the spiritual heart that the jewels symbolize, and that you cultivate in your heart, will be the materials to build your house in heaven.
Thus, the houses in the 1st kingdom of heaven barely have the characters of the owners. They are like apartment buildings that are all built in the same shape.
It’s because we don’t bear hardly any spiritual fruit in the second level of faith.
But those who are in the third level of faith have born some characteristics of spiritual heart to some extent. That is why individual houses are given to those who go into the 2nd kingdom of heaven.
Furthermore, to those who are in third kingdom of heaven, who have accomplished the heart of spirit, many kinds of jewels will be given as materials to build the house, so the houses will be very beautiful.
But in New Jerusalem, even the same kind of jewel has different qualities such as luster, and the number and kinds of jewels is greater.
Therefore, the houses in New Jerusalem are the most beautiful and shine most brightly.
With what kinds of materials are your houses in heaven now being built?
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will completely cultivate the spiritual hearts contained in twelve jewels and have a heavenly house that is decorated with many kinds of beautiful jewels.