“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The phrase ‘The wages of sin’ tells us that all mankind became sinners since Adam, and they came to death due to the wages of sin.
Also, death does not only refer to physical death but eternal death and punishment that one’s soul would receive in hell.
However, as said, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” God opened the way of salvation for us.
Sinless Jesus died on the cross to pay for the wages of sin of sinners.
Those who believe in this will be saved from punishment in hell but enjoy eternal life in heaven. But the problem is that many people misunderstand this providence of salvation through which we are saved by faith.
They think, because Jesus has forgiven all sins, those who believe in this will be saved and go to heaven even though they live in sins.
But the Bible never tells us so.
Those who believe in the Lord must keep away from sins and live a holy life.
1 John 1:6-7 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Also, it is said in 1 John 2:4, “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” We must understand God’s will clearly.
If those who dwell in darkness and do not keep the commandments say, “I have fellowship with God,” or “I am God’s child and a believer of the Lord,” they are telling a lie.
If they think they will be saved only because they believe in the Lord, and if the Lord tells them on the Judgment Day, “You are liars. You lived in darkness so you have nothing to do with me,” it is a big problem.
This is the 4th session of the 3rd lectures on spirit, soul, and body. Continued from the last session, I will tell you about sins that are committed by action, namely works of the flesh.
Through the message, I hope you will dwell only in light as God’s children who have abandoned darkness, so that you will advance into the beautiful kingdom of heaven up to New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters, members who are attending the service through the satellite all over the country, members of branch churches, local sanctuaries, Light and Salt mission, Restaurant Mission, members who are attending the service on the Internet all over the world, [children of Sunday school] Today, among the works of the flesh recorded in today’s scripture, I will tell you about sorcery, hatred, and contentions.
First, sorcery is witchcraft or magic. Witchcraft is mostly done in shamanism.
In this world, there are people who have contacts with spirits. They say they can let you receive blessings or know about future by the power of the evil spirits.
There are also many people who go to these spirit mediators to get the answer to their desires.
For example, they ask about their children’s college entrance exam, their future husband or wife whether or not the marriage will go well, and the reason why they have troubles in their families.
To cause harm to one’s competitor, or to fulfill one’s desire, people have a charm or an amulet, or they exercise exorcism.
But God’s children should never do these things.
Leviticus 19:26 says, “You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.”
Following these things as a believer is such a great sin betraying God because it is to follow evil spirits that are against God.
Also, even for the unbelievers, if they do these things, they will not gain any benefit but they will only bring in evil spirits so that they will face more disasters.
I saw families that had disasters by the works of the evil spirits performing some exorcism. But I saw their disasters did not go away but they had to keep on doing exorcisms.
Once they do the exorcism, the evil spirits calm down for a moment, so it seems that they gain peace.
But soon, the same or even greater disaster comes back to that family.
The evil spirits bring more disasters so that they will be served and worshipped more.
So, these families cannot escape from repeated disasters, and they are more and more tied with the power of the darkness so that their situation would only be worse.
If we see with spiritual eyes, evil spirits do not leave but more evil spirits come to those who have charms or amulets. Also, even if they do soothsaying or fortune-telling, evil spirits cannot see the future.
Evil spirits, because they belong to spiritual realm, can read the mind of people to some extent, and through these things, they cheat as if they see the future.
They deceive people with some tricks and cheatings so that people will worship them. It is their trick.
It is only the living God, who is almighty and controls over life, death, fortune, and misfortune of life, and knows about the future and can bless us.
Unless men rely on God, they cannot get any blessing even with all kinds of magic or witchcraft. Rather, they will bring in only disasters.
I hope all of you will rely on God only and receive the blessings that God has prepared for His children. Dear brothers and sisters, but the sorcery does not only refer to contacting evil spirits.
In a broader view, a trick, namely making schemes and trying to deceive others with sly lies are all parts of sorceries.
In this world, there are many people who take other people’s things or make others fall with evil tricks.
In the book of Esther, Haman tried to kill Mordecai only because Mordecai did not pay him honor. Not only that, but he also made a scheme to destroy all of the Mordecai’s race, the Jews.
Also, when Daniel was loved by the king greatly, other courtiers were jealous of him and schemed to put him into the lion’s den.
But what were the results? God protected His people, the Jews, and Mordecai and Jews were saved. Rather, the evil Haman was killed by the order of the king. Also, even when Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, God protected him and he was saved. Rather, the other courtiers who accused him became the prey of the lions.
Proverbs 26:27 says, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.”
Making evil schemes and trying to harm others is such an evident work of the flesh and the way to cause one’s own destruction. This kind of person will finally be judged by the justice of God.
What you have to remember here is that when God’s children walk in the right way, they will not be deceived by anybody even if evil ones try to deceive them with evil tricks.
However, there are some believers who are cheated by others and suffer a great loss.
It is because, basically, they went away from the way of truth with their own desire. To the extent that they have untruth in them, their mind will be moved by the deceiving words of other people.
If the believers walk the right way without following their own desires, they will not be deceived even when others try to cheat them with reasonable words.
Also, even when evil ones try to harm believers with evil tricks, God will protect them and let them avoid loss only if they walk in the correct way, working everything for the good.
Dear brothers and sisters, next, hatred is to have enmity with other people, to have very ill feeling about them and to want them to be put into destruction, and to try to make it happen.
If a person begins to have bad feelings about another person, he will stay away from that person and further hate him.
If its extent goes too much, his anger will blast and try to harm the other person.
Worldly people do not consider it is evil to have enmity with others. They think it is righteous to pay back if others did evil to them.
But God told us to love even our enemies and overcome evil with goodness.
No matter how great wrongdoing the other person has done to you, if you think of the love of the Lord who died on the cross for sinners and saved you, you can forgive him.
Have you heard the word ‘nuclear bomb of love’?
‘Nuclear bomb of love’ is the nickname of pastor Yang-won Sohn, who was imprisoned for refusing to worship Japanese shrines under Japanese rule in Korea, and became a martyr for the name of the Lord during the Korean War.
The reason why he gained this nickname is because he loved his enemy in such a way that ordinary people cannot even understand.
In 1948, at the time of Yeo-Soon incident, in which some leftist soldiers rebelled against the authority, pastor Yang-won Sohn’s two sons were seized by the rebel army, and they were forced to deny the name of the Lord.
But these two sons did not deny until the end, and they were finally killed by gun.
It was when Pastor Yang-won Sohn was preaching in a revival meeting when he heard the news about his two son’s death. But he finished his sermon calmly.
Even when he heard that his two grown up sons were dead on one day, he only gave thanks to God.
After some time, the rebel was put down, and one of the men who killed the two sons were caught and was sentenced to death.
At this time, pastor Sohn went to the army general and made a plea to set that murderer free.
The reason was that pastor’s sons became martyrs and went to heaven, but that young man who killed his sons would go to hell, so he had be guided to the way of salvation.
He said that he refused to worship the Japanese shrine to keep God’s Word that tells us not to worship idols, and because God tells us to love even our enemies, he had to keep that command as well.
He not only forgave the murderer, but also adopted him as a foster son.
Dear brothers and sisters, if you can forgive your enemy who killed your own sons and adopt him as your foster son, who can be your enemy in this world?
When pastor Sohn’s two sons became martyrs, he did not lament or mourn but gave 10 kinds of thanks to God.
Seeing that prayer of thanks, we can feel what kind of faith he had until he cultivated the love of the Christ to love even his enemies.
When I read it out to you, I want you to compare it with yourself.
“First of all, I give thanks for my sons became martyrs although they were born of the bloodline of me, who is so full of iniquities. Second, I give thanks for God gave me these precious ones to my family among so many believers’ families.
Third, I give thanks for that I sacrificed my first and second son, who were the most beautiful among my 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Fourth, it is hard for one son to become a martyr, but for me two sons became martyrs and I give thanks.
Fifth, it is a blessing to die in peace with faith in Jesus, and I give thanks that they received the glory of being martyred by gun while preaching the gospel.
Sixth, they were preparing to go to the United States to study, and now they went to the kingdom of heaven, which is a much better place than the United States. I am relieved and I give thanks.
Seventh, I give thanks for that God enabled me to adopt as my foster son the enemy who killed my sons.
Eighth, I give thanks because I believe there will be abundant fruit of heaven through the martyrdom of my two sons. Ninth, I give thanks for God enabled me to realize God’s love and rejoice even in this kind of hardship.
Tenth, I give thanks for God let me enjoy all these kinds of blessings.”
He did not only offer this prayer of thanks but also gave to God thanks offering of 10,000 won, while he was receiving 80 won of support for his ministry.
Dear brothers and sisters, how about you?
Haven’t you had ill-feelings towards those who had done something wrong to you, considered them as enemies, and tried to pay back evil with evil?
Even though they have not done anything wrong to you, haven’t you hardened your face and ignored them coldly only because you don’t like them?
Or when others have done something wrong to you, have you given your hand once more and said warm words not to let them feel difficult about you?
The Lord’s Prayer says, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
As said, I urge you not to have any enmity but to change so many souls with the love, of which the world is not worthy.
Dear brothers and sisters, the next thing to consider is contentions. Contention is to have priority in one’s own benefit and authority and to struggle for these things.
One would want others to follow his own opinion having self-centered mind. He would try to fill his own desire even at the risk of sacrificing other people. That is how contentions arise.
Even between the parents and children they argue so severely and stop their relationship. Even between the husband and wife, they should serve each other but they want to be served by the other and insist that their own opinion is right. This is also how contentions arise.
Even between brothers who used to have good relationship, when they have different opinions about receiving the inheritance or when they have surety problem, they have contentions and become like enemies.
Even among neighbors, they follow their own benefit and have quarrels. For example, when re-building or renewing the house, neighbors say it is noisy, makes a lot of dust, and causes traffic jam and so on to bring about contentions.
Long ago, people would have been generous about their neighbors since they were living in the same area, but nowadays, if they feel they have damage even to such a little extent, they come right away to protest and have contentions.
Going towards the end, love of people cools down and people seek more of their own benefit, so that more and more contentions arise. Not only between individuals, but also among races and countries there are more wars and contentions.
But believers must be united with the tie of the Holy Spirit and love.
Of course, in churches, they must not have any contention but become one with one another.
If quarrels, arguments, and contentions are present in churches, surely works of Satan will follow and a wall will be made between the church and God.
Then, the revival will stop, and the blessing for each individual member would stop as well.
1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
If we think of others’ positions not only in church but also at home and workplace, how peaceful it would be! If everybody respects others’ opinions and seek others’ benefits, how happy it would be!
As it is said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” I bless in the name of the Lord that you will sow peace wherever you go so that you will be recognized as God’s children.
Dear brothers and sisters, today, I explained about sorceries, hatred, and contentions among works of the flesh.
Galatians 5:21 warns about the works of the flesh saying, “envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Of course, it does not mean that you will not be saved just because you just went to a fortune-teller a couple of times without knowing the truth, did not forgive somebody, or have some quarrels and discomfort with others.
You can repent and turn back with prayers as you hear the Word and realize the truth. It is the best to throw away all your sin at once, but even when your former conduct comes out momentarily, you can repent thoroughly with tears and turn back to march toward the perfection.
Then, God will recognize your effort to be changed as faith and lead you to the kingdom of heaven.
But if you do not try to throw away your sins but still keep on committing works of the flesh and get stained with the world more and more, God will say your confession of faith would be a lie.
I urge all of you to dwell in light with truthful faith and deeds. I bless in the name of the Lord that you will be blessed on this earth as God’s beloved children and finally get into the eternal kingdom of heaven, and up to New Jerusalem.