[2 Corinthians 10:3-6]
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
Dear congregation, this is the 7th session of the 2nd part of the spirit, soul, and body.
Our visible body is only a shell; the essence is our spirit and soul contained in the body.
Between spirit and soul, spirit is more important. God’s children should have their spirit as the master of soul and body to control them.
3 John 1:2 says, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
God blesses us in everything and to be healthy as our soul prospers.
In this verse, “prosperous soul” refers to a state where spirit, as the master, controls the soul and the body.
In order to understand how spirit controls soul and body, we first have to understand about each of spirit, soul, and body. We should understand how our spirit, soul, and body were formed, and what it means by spirit controls the soul and body.
Only then will we be able to change our souls to be prosperous.
Even if we believe in God, if we do not understand about our spirit, soul, and body clearly, it is not an easy thing for our soul to be prosperous.
I hope those who long for New Jerusalem will understand this message about spirit, soul, and body clearly, and keep it in mind.
Only then will your souls be prosperous so that you will change into men of spirit quickly, and finally enter New Jerusalem as God’s true children.
I bless in the name of the Lord that today’s message will become the light on to your path and lead you to the quickest way to New Jerusalem.
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]
Today, we will continue with the untruthful operations of soul.
Soul is the generic term for the following three things as a whole: the memory device in the brain, the contents in it, and the thoughts that utilize these contents.
It is very important whether or not we operate our thoughts with truth or untruth.
If we clearly understand what kinds of untruthful operations of soul there are, we can change these operations into the ones that are truthful.
I told you in the last session that not being able to understand others is one of the untruthful operations of soul.
If we see somebody who is different or who does not fit in our own framework, we cannot understand him, and naturally we have untruthful operations of soul.
But those with a truthful operation of soul will not insist on their own thoughts, experiences, or frameworks in their faith but have peace with others.
They think from the other person’s point of view and understand him with goodness. They consider anything is OK as long as it is within truth, so that they can embrace and understand any kind of person.
The next untruthful operations of soul is judging and condemning. When we see other people’s words and actions, we come to a conclusion according to our own experiences and minds.
However, we should remember that only God can see the innermost heart of people and judge each person no matter how much we think we are sure and certain of the matter.
Of course, as said in 1 Corinthians 2:15, “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment,” the spiritual man, namely a person who has cultivated his heart into spirit, can see the innermost heart and intention of people.
It is because the Holy Spirit, who searches even the deepest things of God, lets him know.
For example, a person who speaks English very fluently, when he sees other people speaking English, can easily distinguish how fluently they speak.
Even though he does not try to judge, he is just able to distinguish how well other people speak.
For your information, even though you do not judge others, there are times when you need to discern between things and act according to it.
For example, suppose a woman who was sitting close to you left her purse and went away.
A little later, a man comes, looks around, picks up that purse and goes out in a hurry.
In this situation, what would you think? If you think, “It is not his purse, and he must be a thief for he is taking it out in a hurry,” it is judging and condemning that man.
He might be actually a thief, but maybe he just wanted to take it to the owner upon her request, or he mistook the purse for somebody else’s.
At this point, if our security team members try to think with goodness, “Let me not judge. There must be a reason,” and do not take any action, how can we say they are doing a proper job?
Even though they do not judge him as a thief, they should see what is really going on and take the appropriate action about it.
Dear congregation, continued from the last session, let us continue to look what kinds of untruthful operations of soul there are.
The first one is delivering a message incorrectly.
There is a game like this: you put about 10 people in a line.
These people have to pass the message with a whisper from the first person in the line to the last one.
At the end, we can often see that the message of the first person and the last, 10th person are quite different.
Passing many people, they put in their own thoughts, and the message sometimes becomes completely different at the end.
We can very often see delivering messages incorrectly in this way in our daily lives as well. Of course, there are times when people cannot hear well because of noise and deliver wrong messages.
But the problem is that people, after hearing the message properly, often change what they heard as they like.
They mix their own thoughts and feelings and change the contents.
In fact, even if we deliver the exactly same sentence, the meaning can be different according to the facial expressions and the tone of the speech.
For example, even when we call somebody with the same word, “hey!”, calling him with friendly and soft voice, “hey!”, and calling him with a rough and angry voice, “hey!” are completely different.
Moreover, if we cannot deliver the exactly same words but change them into our own words, the original meaning often gets distorted.
In the Bible, we read an incident as follows. In John 21, the resurrected Lord said Peter would become a martyr.
Then, Peter became curious about John and asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Then, Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Jesus meant that it was not Peter’s business to care about John even if John would live until the Lord returns.
But John 21:23 says, “Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?””
Even at this time, there were people who delivered the words of Jesus in a completely different way.
We can find these examples in our daily lives as well.
They exaggerate or cut down some of the things. Sometimes, they just change the words into totally different ones. “Isn’t that true?” becomes “It was true,” and “We are planning to” or “We might” become “It is fixed that we will do it.”
“They are having a little problem” becomes “They had a big fight.” “He is having a hard time financially” becomes “He is bankrupt.”
Have you experienced these things? I have experienced these things many times.
For example, if I said, “I will do it at the appropriate time,” people say, “Senior pastor said he would do it soon,” or some people even say that I said I would do it on which date of which month in which year.
If I say, “The end is so near, anyone who is spiritually awake can feel it,” some of the ones who hear this say, “Senior pastor said he knows the day and the hour the Lord will come back.”
If I say, “Somebody treated me to a spicy fish soup,” people say, “Senior pastor likes spicy fish soup very much.”
When I said I liked sweet fruits, somebody told others that I liked sweet things, so other people even brought me candies and chocolates.
There is another case. A person who is promoting some work comes and reports to me that he will do so and so things.
So I answered him, “yes.” Since he said he was going to do it, I said it to mean, “Is that so?”
But after talking to me, this person tells other people that the senior pastor ordered this or it is the will of the senior pastor.
Sometimes, when I see something is changed, I ask why it was changed. Then the ones who heard me say, “Seniors pastor told us to change it back.”
I just wanted to know the reason why it was changed.
Dear congregation, in this world, there are much more people who deliver messages incorrectly than the ones who deliver messages correctly. Actually, most people deliver wrong messages.
Also, in most cases, these are just minor or trivial things that we can just laugh and forget about.
But, why am I explaining these things in a sermon? The problem is not just with passing wrong messages but with the untruthful operations of soul at the moment we deliver incorrect messages.
If we accomplish truth in our heart, we will not distort the fact with our own thoughts.
We will be able to pass the messages with more accuracy to the extent that we get rid of evil hearts such as seeking our own, not trying to be accurate, being quick to judge, talking badly about others.
We will not deliver the message along with our own thoughts and feelings but will deliver the actual meaning or what really happened.
Therefore, by trying to check how much we are delivering inaccurate messages, we can realize how much untruthful operations of soul we have.
Dear congregation, the last thing I would like to explain about untruthful operations of soul is bad feelings.
Because we have fleshly, bad feelings like being disappointed, feelings hurt in our pride, being jealous, and getting angry, we have untruthful operations of soul from them.
For example, for the same word we hear, our reaction becomes different according to our feelings.
Suppose a boss in a company says to his worker, “Can’t you do a better job?” pointing out a mistake.
In this situation, some people would receive it with meekness and smile and say, “Yes, I’ll try to do better next time.”
But those who had complaints about the boss would have bad feelings and think in an untruthful way. They might think, ‘Does he have to speak in such a bad way?’ or ‘How about himself? He doesn’t even do his own job properly.’
Also, let us say you tried your best in certain work, and somebody comes and gives you an advice saying, “I think it would be better if you correct this part in this way.”
Then, some of you will simply accept it and say, “It’s also a good idea. Thank you for your advice,” and take that advice into consideration.
But some people in this situation feel hurt in their pride. Because of these bad feelings, they sometimes complain thinking, ‘I did all my best to do this work, and how can he say such a thing so easily?’
They might even think, ‘He is trying to show off,’ or ‘If he is so able, why doesn’t he do it himself?’
Dear congregation, what kinds of feelings and what kinds of thoughts we have in many kinds of situations in our lives all depend on how we make up our mind.
If we have evil feelings, our thoughts and actions will become evil, and it will not benefit us in any way.
But if we have good feelings, we will see, hear, and think in good ways so that our actions will be good and benefit ourselves.
In many cases, people’s lives change according to what kinds of feelings they have.
We have an extreme case in the Bible. There were many disciples of Jesus. There were some of them whom Jesus loved very much because they had good heart, and there was also Judas Iscariot whom Jesus chose in justice and led with His love until the end, although He knew Judas would betray Him.
Jesus did not always praise those with good hearts or always rebuked those with incapability.
Rather, Jesus rebuked Peter the most, whom Jesus loved the most.
Peter walked on the water by obeying the word of Jesus, but he began to sink because he used his own thoughts.
Still Jesus did not praise him saying, “You have great faith for you obeyed my word and walked on the water,” but rebuked him saying he had little faith.
Also, when the time for Jesus to take the cross came, He let the disciples know what would happen. Peter, then, said, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” because he did not want his master to suffer.
At this time, Jesus did not try to comfort him saying, “I know how you feel. I’m thankful for that. But I have to go,” but rebuked him saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Because the way of salvation could open for the sinners only when Jesus took the sufferings of the cross, stopping this was same as stopping God’s providence.
But Peter did not have any bad feelings or complaints on Jesus only because he was rebuked by his master many times.
If he had any bad feelings, he could have been disappointed thinking, “I said it because I love Him. How can He rebuke me so harshly in front of many people?”
But Peter believed that whatever Jesus said had a certain meaning. He did not have any bad feelings or complain about Jesus’ words but tried to realize why Jesus said it and tried to change himself.
He served Jesus with the same heart all the time and followed Him with unchanging respect and love.
Peter, who kept on thinking spiritually, finally became a great apostle who manifested great works of God’s power.
On the contrary, what happened to Judas Iscariot? In Matthew 26, Mary of Bethany pours a jar of very expensive perfume on Jesus. At this time, Judas Iscariot blames Mary.
He said, “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” But he actually did not think of the poor. He was only interested in the money.
Judas was the keeper of the money bag and was always stealing money from it. That is why he felt regret for pouring such expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.
But for this, Jesus did not speak for Judas but for Mary. Jesus praised that what Mary did was to prepare for His burial in the providence of God.
Right after this, in Matthew 26:14 we read, Judas Iscariot went to the high priests and promised them to hand over Jesus for 30 silver coins. Jesus did not even say to Judas, “You are wrong. Why can’t you think spiritually?”, or rebuke personally or in front of many people saying, “Why do you cheat me and steal?
Still, Judas had bad feelings and complaints against Jesus for Jesus did not acknowledge his words. Since these things were accumulated, he came to accept the thoughts of Satan and made a plan to betray Jesus. Finally, he committed such a great sin by selling Jesus.
The reason why he went to the way of destruction being a disciple of Jesus is that he had usually followed the work of Satan and accumulated evil thoughts.
Dear congregation, so far we have looked at five major things from the untruthful operations of soul.
Not being able to understand and embrace others, judging, condemning, delivering messages incorrectly, and having bad feelings are all connected to untruthful operations of soul.
Originally they are connected with the evil in our heart.
Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.”
The operations of soul that we have looked at so far are not spiritual minds but fleshly minds. If we have fleshly minds, we think the opposite things from what God wants and eventually will give birth not to life but to death.
We will not have peace in our heart either.
I hope all our members will check yourself whether you are only having spiritual thoughts that give birth to life and peace.
I bless in the name of the Lord that you will get rid of untruthful thoughts quickly, see, hear, and think in truth, and speak and act only in truth.