[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 brothers and sisters in Christ, have you ever asked yourself, “Why do we live?”
It is not a difficult question to answer for the believers who believe in the Lord Jesus and go towards the kingdom of heaven.
Those who have listened to the Message of the Cross and understood it can probably answer to this question without difficulty.
We will get to the kingdom of heaven and live with God sharing our love with Him forever.
Our life on this earth is the preparation to get into the kingdom of heaven.
Namely, it is the process of recovering the image of God that had been lost since the Fall of Adam.
But those who do not believe in God cannot find the answer to this question. That is why so many people have contemplated and tried to find the answer for “Who am I?” and “Why do we live?” They have made many philosophical theories to explain the meaning of human existence.
They also wonder about the life to come after the death on this earth, so they have made many kinds of imagination and speculation.
It is because God gave us eternity in our heart, as said in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
However, they cannot find the answer by themselves, no matter how much they study and contemplate.
Human beings who live in the limited physical world cannot understand about the eternal world by themselves. Only when we acknowledge God who created us can we listen to the answers that God is giving us and we can understand them.
The message about the spirit, soul, and body delivered in Sunday morning worship services is the clear and detailed answer to the meaning and value of your existence.
I bless in the name of the Lord that you will realize what truly valuable and honorable life is, and make your life valuable.
Dear brothers and sisters, 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 on the Internet all over the world, [Children of Sunday School]
This is the 10th session of the 2nd part of the spirit, soul, and body.
Through the previous messages, you learned what one’s soul is. Soul is the generic term for the memory device in human brain, the contents that are stored in it, and the thoughts that retrieve and utilize those contents.
You have also learned about the operations of soul.
I explained that, when we see, hear, memorize, or retrieve our memory and use it, we have to operate our soul according to the truth to be appropriate in the sight of God.
Now we have learned about the body and soul, and it is time to go onto the spirit. But before that, there is something to be explained.
It is the difference between animals and human beings. Human beings consist of spirit, soul, and body, and how about animals?
Do animals consist of spirit, soul, and body, too? When human beings die, their spirit and soul go to either heaven or hell, and do animals also go to either one of them?
Those who believe the Darwinism say human beings at first began as a low state organism but evolved into more complex organism to finally become human beings.
If this is true, we can say that human beings and animals are not different in nature.
However, if we learn about the spirit, soul, and body, we can easily see it is not true.
It is because human beings and animals have different origin and beginning and different composition.
Men consist of spirit, soul, and body, and the most important thing is the spirit.
The spirit of men never becomes extinct as I will explain to you about it in more detail later.
The body is like the vessel or a house that contains the spirit and soul.
Even though the body perishes, the spirit does not become extinct. Also, the soul is combined with the spirit and remains.
When God made the animals, He did not breathe in His breath of life as He did it to men.
That is why animals do not have spirit but consist of only with soul and body. It is the same in fish, birds, and animals on the ground.
They have brain in their head. They act and continue their lives according to the instinct and the knowledge they have input in their brains.
Then, when they die and their bodies perish, their soul also becomes extinct.
As their brain cells perish and disappear, the memory stored in the brain also disappears and there is no more operation of soul.
They just go back to completely nothing.
Ecclesiastes 3:21 says, “Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” It clearly tells us about the distinction between men and animals.
However, those who do not know this difference mourn or weep when their pets die.
In fact, they do not weep for the animal that died, but for their own sorrow.
If you think from the viewpoint of a cow in a farm, once it dies, it does not have to work hard be beaten any more.
But from the owner’s standpoint, it is a great damage in his wealth. Even in cases with pet dogs or cats, it is just the end for them once they die.
Their existence itself just disappears, and they do not have any pain or sorrow any more.
But from the owner’s point of view, they feel sad because their animals that they used to love and care disappeared. They also think animals will have something to fear about death just as they fear death.
For example, even though a doll of a baby breaks down, the doll would not feel any pain.
But the baby considers it pitiful because he/she thinks that the doll will feel painful as he/she feel the pain.
It is the same with animals.
Of course, animals have life and they feel the pain and fear.
They have certain operations of soul, so they can remember the love they received from their owners. They sometimes show their affection to their owners or express their joy, anger, or sadness.
But the operations of soul done by animals have certain limit.
After animals are born, they learn how to live with their instinct. They eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are sleepy, breed at times, and die.
Although they do operate their soul, it is limited only to continue their lives in this way.
They never think what valuable life is or try to find the answer to the meaning of their lives thinking, “Why do I live?”
Even dolphins or chimpanzees that have high level intelligence do not fear God or seek religion thinking, “What will I become after I die?”
Of course, even animals have the fear of death in its instinct.
When somebody tries to kill them, they run away. When they feel danger, they resist or get afraid. But this happens only when they feel the danger. If the danger disappears, their fear of death also disappears soon.
But how about human beings? Unlike animals, they do not think only the things that are necessary for survival and they do not have limited and simple operations of soul.
They have much more complex operations of soul, and they seek things that are more valuable than just eating and surviving.
That is why they could have developed civilization, and have made philosophy and religion thinking about the meaning and value of life.
Also, the fear of death for men is different from that of animals.
They do not only fear the pain accompanied in death. They rather fear death itself, and more than that, they fear about the world or things after their death.
That is why they try to avoid death in all kinds of ways even though their death is not close.
Just as an ancient Emperor of China tried to find the plant that stops aging of men, people today care for their health so much to live as long as possible.
But once they find out that their death is near, they suffer more from psychological pain than physical pain.
For example, let us say there are some people who are hospitalized after they were diagnosed to have the last stage cancer and he could live only for a limited period of time.
Then, in many cases, although they have been living ordinary lives, they suddenly become haggard and look really like a patient in a couple of days.
It is not because their symptoms worsened. It is from the fear and hopelessness for they are going to die soon.
It is the same with the convicts of death penalty.
If they are to be executed after a month, they suffer from the fear of the execution for the whole month.
The physical pain of execution is momentary, but the mental pain caused by the fear of death is much greater than the physical pain.
At the time of French Revolution, the hairs the French queen turned white in a couple of days after she was sentenced to death, while she was in the prison waiting for the execution.
Her mental pain caused by the fear of death was so great.
The reason why men have much more complex operations of soul and feel the fear of death is because they have spirit as well as soul and body.
Because men have spirit, they can feel the spiritual realm in their instinct. Not only the believers but also unbelievers feel very deep in their heart about God and heaven and hell.
That is why in ancient days, even among those who did not know about God or hear the gospel, there were some people who worshipped something above and tried to live with goodness.
Also, there are some people who do not acknowledge God and say, “Where is heaven and hell? Once people die, it is the end.” But even they have some kind of fear in their instinct.
If they do not have that fear, they might as well welcome death.
If they are living in despair due to poverty and diseases, isn’t it better for them to die and have eternal rest?
But even the ones who say with their lips they want to die try every method to live if they are about to die.
By the way, there are some people who give themselves up due to excessive despair, or whose minds and thoughts are taken by evil spirits. These people lose their fear and choose to die sometimes.
But if they can control themselves even a little, even though they deny God, they suffer from the pain coming out from their instinct and try to live longer when they face death.
Let me give you an example. Voltaire, a philosopher of enlightenment in the 18th century, was a famous atheist.
He said there was no God or heaven or hell. He wrote many books on atheism and things that stood against God, proclaiming that he would liquidate Christianity in 50 years.
But when he was at his deathbed, he made completely different statement than before.
He pleaded to his doctor, “I am forsaken by God and people. I am going to the fearful hell. If you just let me live for 6 more months, I will give you the half of all my valuables.
It is said that he confessed just before he died, “It would have been better for me if I were not born.” A famous and intelligent philosopher who denied God and the existence of heaven and hell with his knowledge could feel what truth was when he faced death.
One interesting thing is that his house where he used to write to destroy Christianity became a publishing house that printed the Bible. Later on, it became the headquarter for printing the Bible in other languages.
The Word of the living God works forever regardless of any denial or confrontation of people. It is still being spread to all over the world.
Dear brothers and sisters, until now I have explained about the difference between human beings and animals in terms of spirit, soul, and body.
Animals do not have spirit, so their soul become extinct once their bodies die. The level of their operation of soul is much lower than that of human beings, and their operations of soul come out from the instinct to survive in this world.
People sometimes fear when they hear stories that say when animals die with enmity, their souls will take revenge on people.
In my childhood, people told me to hang snakes on high places after killing them. They told me that the snakes would revive and come to take the revenge once they touch the ground.
Also, some people say the souls of cunning animals like cats or foxes damage people.
However, if you understood today’s message, you can see that these are just groundless rumors.
Because souls of animals disappear along with the death of their bodies, they cannot harm anybody even if they want to.
Also, no matter how much time passes, animals that are made with soul and body cannot evolve to become a being with spirit.
God gave spirit only to men. That is why Adam could become the lord of all creatures, who ruled over all things.
But today’s spirit, soul, and body of men are not same as the spirit, soul, and body of Adam when he was first created.
Before Adam’s Fall, his spirit was the master of his soul and body and ruled over his soul and body.
But after Adam committed a sin, his spirit died.
To die here does not mean that it became extinct.
His spirit was same as dead because it could not do any spiritual activity. It was also spiritual death because the spirit and soul would go to hell after the life on this earth is over later.
When the spirit died after Adam’s sin and could no more rule over soul and body, now soul became the master of men and ruled over the body.
Since the soul became the master, human beings began to lose the value of human beings as time passed.
Spirit leads soul and body to dwell in truth following after the image of God. On the contrary, soul sought sinful instinct and desires.
That is why Ecclesiastes 3:18 says, “I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.””
Human beings who live like animals, which are made only with soul and body, will finally have to receive the punishment in eternal hell since their spirit cannot become extinct.
Therefore, in order for us to get to the kingdom of heaven, we must recover the value of a human being. It is to make the spirit master of soul and body to rule over them.
Only then can they recover the state of God’s children who are made after the image of God, and enjoy eternal life in heaven after the earthly life. How, then, can our spirit revive and rule over soul and body?
Let us learn about this in the next session.
Dear brothers and sisters, Luke 9:25 says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
Although we gain riches and honors, fame, and authority in this world, our lives will end up in misery unless we are not saved in spirit.
It would be better if we just disappear like animals, but we will have to suffer forever from the fire of hell.
Therefore, you should not put your hope in this momentary world but in the eternal life to come so that you will spend your remaining time in more valuable way.
You should throw away your sins and become completely sanctified, and I hope that you will rejoice in storing your possession in heaven, not on this earth.
I also urge you to spread the gospel in season and out of season with your mercy for those who are dying.
I bless in the name of the Lord that you will be ready as a holy bride of the Lord when He comes back as the bridegroom.