Dear congregation, it is the third session of the 2nd spirit, soul, and body.
Because every message on the spirit, soul, and body are related with one another in each session, you should well understand the previous sessions to understand the following sessions.
I hope you will not miss any message but understand each session and keep them in your mind every week.
What we first learned in the spirit, soul, and body was the definition of “flesh” in spiritual sense.
Flesh does not refer to our visible body or the meat of animals, but is the generic term for everything that changes, perishes, and disappears.
Most of the things in this world are flesh that change, perish, and disappear. Human beings, animals, trees, plants, the sun and the moon, and even stars change and perish over time.
Man was actually a spiritual being, namely a living spirit. But after the Fall of Adam, men corrupted into a fleshly being that changes and perishes over time.
Also, the things that men think, seek, and make are all flesh that change and perish.
As said in John 3:6, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit,” what fleshly beings seek, make, and take are all flesh.
Next, because men are made from the dust of the ground, they have the characteristics of the soil. The quality of soil changes according to what kind of things are added to it.
Therefore, men who are made from the dust of the ground change in their characteristics according to what kind of fleshly things are added to them.
What kind of foods they take, what kind of thoughts and feelings they put in their minds, what kind of actions they take and what kind of value they seek – all these things change the characteristics of men.
If they add evil things in them, they become more evil. If they add untruthful things, they become more untruthful.
On the one hand, the fleshly people seek and give birth to fleshly things. On the other hand, spiritual people give birth to spirit by the Holy Spirit.
We have received the Holy Spirit, and therefore we should not seek flesh and give birth to flesh, but follow the works of the Holy Spirit and give birth to spirit.
We should plant in us not flesh that is evil, filthy, and changing, but beautiful and spiritual things such as truth, goodness, and love, according to God’s Word.
Up to the last session, we have covered these things. From this time, I will continue to explain about fleshly things.
I bless in the name of the Lord that you will keep the message in your mind so that you all can become complete men of spirit.
Dear congregation, members who are attending the service through the satellite all over the country, members of branch churches, branch sanctuaries, Light and Salt mission, Restaurant Mission, members who are attending the service through the Internet all over the world, (children of Sunday school)
Because Adam was made from the soil, men become fleshlier as they accept more fleshly things in them.
Why, then, did God make Adam with the soil?
God is spirit, and He has no flesh or bones. Even the heavenly hosts and angels are only spirits.
But when God created Adam, although He made Adam in His own image, He did not just make Adam as spirit.
He intentionally made the body with soil and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
Wouldn’t it have been easier if God made men just as spirit like angels? Wouldn’t it have been better if God made the body of men with gold or steel that does not change well over time?
But God made Adam with soil in order to fulfill the purpose of human cultivation. God created men because He wanted to gain true children with whom He can understand each other’s heart and share true love.
But when Adam was living in the Garden of Eden, he could not be called a true child of God.
Because God taught him only goodness and truth, Adam in the Garden of Eden did not know what sin, evil, unhappiness, and pain were like.
Because the things in the Garden of Eden does not either change or perish, Adam did not even know the meaning of death.
Therefore, he could not understand the concepts of happiness, love, or eternal life, that are opposite of bad things.
For example, only those who have starved before will give true thanks for they have something to eat.
If one always eats only delicious foods, he would take it for granted and would not feel thankful in any special way.
Only those who experienced sorrow will realize that joy is good, and we come to realize that health is so important only after we suffer from diseases.
Adam lived a comfortable life. Therefore, he could not feel the true happiness, joy, thankfulness, and love because he did not know the opposite concepts.
Of course, God the Creator knows everything about good and evil, happiness and unhappiness, and joy and sorrow.
But because men are mere creatures who have limits, they can understand true happiness and thanks only when they experience the opposite things. When babies smile, it is not because they know happiness. When they make cute tricks, it is not because they are really thankful to their parents.
Here, the parents would not probably want their babies to stay always as babies who do not know anything.
Even if they will have to experience the sorrows and pains of this world, the parents would want their babies to grow up. The babies will then know about happiness and joy, and understand the heart of the parents and share love with them.
In the same way, God did not want Adam to live forever, not knowing true happiness, joy, thanks, and love.
That is why God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and let Adam experience the fleshly things.
God let men realize in their deep hearts how good spirit is by experiencing sorrows, pains, death, and unhappiness in this physical world and then coming back to spirit after receiving the Holy Spirit. If Adam had been made only with spirit, he would not have experienced anything of the flesh.
Therefore, to make men experience fleshly things and change back to spirit, God had to make men with soil of which the quality changes according to what is added to it.
Now, you know why men were made with soil, and why we have to experience fleshly things on this earth and then go back to spirit.
Dear congregation, sometimes in Korea, when parents make their children study so much and send them to so many cram schools, the children might feel it too hard for them.
They might even grumble at their parents saying, “Why are my parents giving me such a hard time?”
But those children who are mature and understand the heart of their parents will obey with thanks because they know their parents are doing it for themselves. In the same way, if we understand God’s heart, we would not complain to God saying, “Why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and make men suffer from pains?”
Rather, we would truly be thankful to God for letting us go through human cultivation and giving out His one and only Son to save us who have changed into flesh.
Also, even when we face trials, we would not complain saying, “Why is life so difficult?”
Because we know that we are going to enjoy the eternal happiness of heaven only if we come out as God’s true children through human cultivation, we can overcome any kind of hardship by following the goodness and truth.
Dear congregation, God lets us experience this fleshly world in order for us to come out as His true children.
However, when we live in this fleshly world, we should not live our life in any way, as we want. We should realize why we are being cultivated and do the whole duty of men.
People who live in this fleshly world experience sufferings and unhappiness. But those who have accepted Jesus Christ can enjoy happiness and joy in God.
Of course, the eternal happiness without any kind of sufferings will be given to us in heaven only.
Even the believers sometimes face trials while living in this world.
However, this does not mean that we have to suffer from hardships that the enemy Satan and the devil bring, or suffer from disasters.
1 John 5:18 says, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.”
If we keep God’s Word not committing sins, God also protects and keeps us.
Since God is protecting us with blazing eyes, the enemy Satan and the devil cannot bring diseases, accidents, disasters, or trials to us.
Even if we suffer from a trial that is caused by our own mistakes, God gives us the way out and the strength to win over it.
Only if we live according to God’s Word, throw away flesh, and change ourselves into men of spirit, can we live a prosperous life even in this fleshly world.
However, not all believers change into men of spirit quickly in this way.
On the one hand, some believers, since they accepted the Lord and received the Holy Spirit, learn God’s Word enthusiastically, obey it, and throw away sins and evil.
On the other hand, some others receive the same Holy Spirit and learn the same Word of God, but their faith grows slowly because they cannot obey it immediately.
Now, let us consider where this difference comes from. Dear congregation, unlike animals, human beings have what is called ‘heart’.
The heart of Adam, who was made by God Himself, was a heart of spirit filled with only truth, and therefore, his heart was spirit itself.
But since he committed a sin, untruth came into men’s heart as men’s spirit began to die.
This untruth gets mixed with the original heart of truth and makes up a new kind of heart.
Then, conscience, with which we try to distinguish between good and evil and try to follow the good way, was formed.
Different people have different goodness in their conscience. Some have stronger goodness in their conscience and try to live according to the truth while others have relatively evil conscience and seek their own rather than seeking the truth.
Even those who do not know about the Lord Jesus can have clean conscience and try to follow the way of truth.
They try to live a valuable life.
Even some young students try to keep their positions and do their whole duty.
They attend classes well in the school and study hard at home. They keep their actions and appearances neat and decent.
These students have the strength to control themselves, and so even after they become adults, they can control themselves.
However, some other students ignore the voice of their conscience but just follow the flesh as their flesh wants. They become lazy, play around skipping the classes, indulge themselves in sleeping, eating, and dating girl-friends or boy-friends, and watch and drink that they must not watch and drink.
Of course, in the beginning even these students hear the voice of their conscience saying, “I should not keep on doing this.”
It is not that they did not have any good heart trying to follow the goodness such as “I want to study hard,” “I want to become a good child,” or “I want to be a good student.”
But because they cannot easily control themselves, they just let themselves follow what their flesh wants.
What, then, will these students who take fleshly things be? They will get farther and farther away from the whole duty of man, and they will be living shameful lives.
They are likely to live lives that are no different from those of animals, following their lust and instinct. In this way, people have different ability in controlling themselves to make their lives more valuable.
Where, then, does this difference come from? First of all, it comes from the parents.
The sperm and egg of parents have the characteristics of the parents, and the children inherit those characteristics.
It is same with the conscience. If the parents follow the goodness and have good heart, their children are also likely to have good conscience.
The most basic condition for one’s conscience comes from the parents and their characteristics.
Secondly, this difference comes from the environment. Even though one is born with good characteristics, if he sees, hears, and inputs evil things because he is raised in a bad environment, his conscience will probably get stained. On the contrary, those who are raised in good environments are likely to have good conscience.
Therefore, if your children are not obedient, and if they are going the wrong way, you should not blame them but look back on yourself first.
‘What kind of heart did I have?’ ‘What kind of heart did I pass down to this child?’ ‘What kind of things did I show to my child in his/her childhood?’ You should look back these things and repent yourself.
But I am not saying that the conscience of a child is the responsibility of parents completely. Even though some people are raised by the same parents in the same environment, they can take different ways according to how they try.
That is why the third condition that affects the conscience is one’s effort to have good conscience.
In this way, one’s conscience is formed by the mixture of the above three things: what kind of parents one is born of, what one sees and hears in what kind of environment, and how much one tries.
This conscience makes difference in people’s ability to control themselves and follow the way of truth.
Dear congregation, what kind of conscience you made affects your Christian life as well.
Some Christians easily learn God’s Word, throw away evil, and make themselves obey the truth, while some other Christians find it very hard according to what kind of heart they made in the past. Those who had weak will and easily changing mind tend to lead the same kind of Christian life.
Those who used to be lazy and were living in disorder do not suddenly change into diligent persons right after they accept the Lord and receive the Holy Spirit.
Those who did not study but played around as much as they wanted and did not do their whole duty following the flesh when they were students, will probably have the same way of life in faith, too.
While others strive for greater faith, they just stay as beginners of faith. They might try hard for some time, but soon they just stop.
But for those who have been doing their duty and controlling themselves in this world, it would be easier to keep their minds even in truth.
They do not find it so hard to keep the Word of God in their mind and to obey it.
Dear congregation, what kind of life did you live before you accepted the Lord? It is something to be thankful for, if you were born of good parents and raised in good environment, and controlled yourself well. It would be easier for you to change yourself into the truth.
If not so, what would you have to do?
Should you give up saying, “I cannot excel in my Christian life because I did not follow the good way before I accepted the Lord?” Of course not!
It is because we can receive the strength from the Holy Spirit. Mark 9:23 says, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Also, Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Even if we do not have the strength to change ourselves, God is able. If you find out your weaknesses and ask to God with faith trying your best, God will give you grace seeing your faith and acts. God can change a man of weak will and changing mind into a man of truth, and a man of laziness and weakness into a man of diligence and enthusiasm.
Even the ones who cannot easily keep God’s Word in their minds can be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit to keep God’s Word and to act according to it.
That is why 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
I hope you will make yourself anew in God’s grace and strength from now on, no matter what kind of life you have been leading so far.
We should not live according to flesh, but follow the spirit and change ourselves.
I bless in the name of the Lord that all our members will change by the power of the Lord that renews all things and go into spirit and the whole spirit quickly.