[1 Thessalonians 5:23]
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Dear congregation, this is the 1st session of the 2nd part of the spirit, soul, and body.
I already explained the 1st part of the spirit, soul, and body in 8 sessions in Sunday morning service, and it was the explanation about man’s spirit, soul, and body from the physical point of view.
In the 2nd part, I will explain in more depth, from the viewpoint of the soul. When we get to the 3rd part, it will be spirit, soul, and body from the spirit’s point of view, which is in more depth than the 2nd part.
This message on the spirit, soul, and body consisting of 3 parts is the explanation to make you contemplate on how your body, thoughts, and spirits were formed, what they consist of, and how they operate.
When you realize about yourself in this way, you can see which way to go. Many parts of the Bible tell us to get rid of flesh and take spiritual things. It means we must not be men of flesh but of spirit.
Also, it promises us that men of spirit can receive abundant blessings from God as His children.
Then, we first have to realize how spiritual person we are and how to become perfect men of spirit in order to become men of spirit who are suitable for God’s blessings.
Namely, we have to realize what we lack, what we have wrong in God’s sight and how to correct it to become a perfect person before God.
When we throw away fleshly things one by one and change into spirit in that way, we get confidence before God. We will be loved by God and will lead a powerful Christian life receiving answers and blessings from God.
Also, since we will resemble the Lord, we will receive the glory that shines like the sun in heaven.
But if we do not realize about ourselves, we do not have so much confidence in our Christian life.
Also, to the extent that we belong to flesh, we suffer hardships in trials, and because we do not know the way that God wants us to take, we just have to live without any specific purpose.
How dreadful it would be! Therefore, it is such a great blessing that you can realize about yourself through the Word of God.
I hope you will give thanks to God who has given you spiritual messages as you find out about yourself and change yourself, and make those messages thoroughly yours. We should keep the messages in our mind and change our inner heart and actions.
For a boxer to play well, studying the theories and rules perfectly is not enough.
He has to exercise and get training to get the strength to actually fight.
It is the same with the Christian life. Some members know a lot about God’s Word by listening to it for so many years, but cannot make it truly their own thing.
They sometimes find out themselves with the truth and try to change themselves for some time, but they just leave it as time goes.
They just go back to old-self and just accumulate God’s Word as mere knowledge.
But I hope none of you will be like this.
Ephesians 5:14-16 say, “…for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
I hope you will make the most of every opportunity as the wise and change yourself quickly.
I bless in the name of the Lord that you will be able to receive the Lord as His bride whose whole spirit, soul, and body are holy and perfect.
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,
This is the 1st session of the 2nd part of spirit, soul, and body. And let us first delve into the body part.
In this church you often hear, “You have to get rid of flesh and come into spirit.” “Do not be a man of flesh but of spirit.”
But new comers might wonder, “Get rid of flesh? How can I get rid of my body?”
But if you listen carefully today, you will be able to understand.
Let us first look at the definition of the word ‘flesh’. Worldly people say it is the meat or flesh of animal.
It is the generic term for the body of human beings or animals from the head to toe and all parts.
This world calls our visible body flesh. They are more or less the same in the ordinary sense.
However, flesh in spiritual sense is completely different. Also, I will explain about sinful nature in the 3rd part of spirit, soul, and body. But for now, you can just understand ‘flesh’ as all untruths that are against the truth, not the visible body.
If we do not understand these things correctly, it is easy for us to misunderstand the meaning, or just not understand it at all.
Let us look at some examples in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” In Korean Bible, man without the Spirit is expressed as a man who belongs to flesh.
And it says a man who belongs to flesh does not accept the things that come from the Spirit. So, if the flesh refers to our visible body, it means we will not receive the things from the Holy Spirit.
However, even though we certainly have bodies, the Holy Spirit came into us. Also, we experience works of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues and so on.
From this, we can see ‘flesh’ is not our body in spiritual sense.
Also, John 3:6 that says, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit,” and John 6:63 that says, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life,” are the same.
The word flesh here has very different meaning from the worldly sense.
It’s the same with sinful desires or sinful acts.
Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
And sinful nature also has spiritual meaning.
Also, in Romans 8:8 that says, “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God,” and in Romans 8:12-13 that say, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,” sinful nature and body have spiritual meanings, and we have to understand those spiritual meanings.
Also, Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” In order to understand this verse, we have to understand the proper spiritual meaning of the word sinful nature.
Also, Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love,” and also Galatians 5:19-21 say, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery…” to explain what the acts of the sinful nature are.
Of course, not all flesh or sinful nature in the Bible has spiritual meaning. Sometimes, they just refer to body.
However, only when you know the spiritual meanings, can you distinguish which ones are used with spiritual meanings and which ones are not, so that you can realize God’s will more clearly.
Now, what is the spiritual meaning of flesh? ‘Flesh’ is the generic term for everything that perishes, changes, and disappears over time. The opposite of this flesh is spirit, and it is something that is eternal and never-changing, and is perfect and beautiful.
Most of the things in the world perish and change over time. They do not have eternal life but disappear and become extinct.
Even the body of human beings is flesh. It gets old, gets diseases, perishes after death, and returns to a handful of dust. Therefore, it is also flesh.
Flowers, trees, animals on this earth and the sun, the moon, and the stars all change, perish, and become extinct over time.
Not only things that are visible, but also invisible things are flesh. The emotions and thoughts of people and values that people seek are not eternal but they change over time, and thus, they are all flesh.
Wealth, fame, knowledge, and most things that the worldly people consider valuable are after all perishable and meaningless things. The emotion of love, for example, if we love fleshly love, we cannot love spiritual love.
It is not the love that never changes and seeks other’s benefits but that seeks one’s own, is lustful, and that changes over time and conditions.
Therefore, this is also flesh.
Other than this, among the things that people have in their mind, hatred, envy, jealousy, pride, seeking one’s own, etc. that are against God’s Word, which is everlasting truth, are all flesh.
That is why it is said in 1 Peter 1:24, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,” and James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Likewise, the worldly people’s body, thoughts, and things that they have in their heart are flesh that will perish and get rotten. Therefore, their life on this earth itself is meaningless flesh.
Dear congregation, it is not that human beings were created as flesh from the beginning.
As we already learned in the 1st part of the spirit, soul, and body, God created Adam as a living spirit.
God molded the body from the dust of the ground in His own image and breathed into the man’s nostrils the breath of life. So, man in the beginning had eternal life.
The body of Adam at that time was not a body that gets old or perishes.
Also, God taught Adam only the eternal truth, namely goodness and spiritual knowledge.
Of course, Adam at that time was not a perfect spirit.
Adam was not called just spirit but living spirit, which implied that he might die if he corrupted.
The perfect spirit never changes, and thus, it never gets corrupted.
But since Adam was given the freewill, he could get changed into flesh according to his decision.
About this freewill, I will explain it to you in more detail later.
Here, you can just remember that Adam who was a living spirit took the untruth with his own freewill, and consequently became flesh that changes and perishes.
It is that Adam committed the sin of disobedience by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, violating God’s Word.
Genesis 2:17 says, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” If Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he would surely die, but it was up to Adam whether or not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Of course, Adam’s spirit was from God and it could never become extinct completely.
But after the disobedience, he could not get supplied with spiritual things any more but could only receive fleshly things, because the communication with God was disconnected. So, the movement of his spirit from God became weaker and weaker, and finally it stopped.
The spirit from God now only had the seed remaining, and it was surrounded by the flesh of untruth from the world, so that it could not move at all. We refer to this state as the spirit is dead.
Of course, it’s not that right after Adam committed a sin all the spiritual things disappeared and fleshly things filled him completely.
But from the moment he committed a sin, it was the matter of time to be filled with flesh because the connection with God, who was supplying spiritual things, was broken
Dear congregation, then, what is the content of flesh that filled Adam who now became a flesh? God filled Adam, who was created as a living spirit, with spiritual contents.
God filled him with goodness, service, meekness, patience, peace, order, seeking others, and so on.
Also, God filled him with the wisdom and knowledge to subdue and rule over all things in heaven and earth.
But since Adam disobeyed and corrupted as flesh, the communication with God was disconnected and spiritual supplies were also finished. Instead, fleshly contents began to fill him.
The contents of flesh are all dirty and evil things such as hatred, envy, anger, desire, pride, adultery, seeking one’s own, rudeness, speaking ill of others, etc, that are against the will of God who is spirit.
The ruler of the kingdom of the air, the enemy Satan and the devil supply these things to fill the people.
John 8:44 says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.”
Just as Adam or men of spirit receive spiritual contents from God the Father, men of flesh receive fleshly contents from the enemy Satan and the devil.
That is why the father of men of flesh is spiritually the enemy Satan and the devil. Those who have become children of the devil, dwell in flesh, and act in flesh will be judged along with the devil on the Judgment Day and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Therefore, in order for us to go to heaven, we must get rid of fleshly contents in us, stop receiving what the devil gives us, and fill us with the contents of spirit given by God.
Dear congregation, King Solomon, who is famous even among unbelievers, enjoyed all kinds of pleasure of the world as a rich and well-known king of Israel.
But he confessed in Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, “”Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” Also, Ecclesiastes 2:11 says, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
Toiling to get many things and enjoying pleasures with body and mind were all meaningless for him.
It is because all those things are flesh.
On the contrary, 1 John 2:17 says, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
When we fill ourselves with the spiritual contents such as truth, love, goodness and light that God wants, He gives us eternal joy and blessings.
The grace and blessing of God are not meaningless.
They do not either perish or disappear.
The more you seek the pleasure of the world, the more sensational pleasure you come to seek, and you are left with only meaninglessness. But the joy given by God satisfies our heart like a fountain that springs out without stop.
The blessing of this world can disappear in a day by a disaster or an accident. But the blessing of God is never shaken because God Himself protects us.
And finally, God lets us enjoy eternal glory and rewards in the eternal kingdom of heaven.
God’s children pray everyday, become holy, and work for the kingdom of God to gain those spiritual things. Therefore, I bless in the name of the Lord that you would not enjoy meaningless things of this world and seek the flesh but only long for the spirit and possess spiritual things.
Dear congregation, we have Lunar New Year’s holiday this week, and many of you are going back to your hometown.
I hope you have a nice journey and spread the gospel to your family members, relatives, and friends giving out the aroma of the Lord.
I suppose there would not be anybody who would bow before an idol. I bless in the name of the Lord that you will have a peaceful time in the grace of the Lord this week.