Subject 13 : The Gospel According to MATTHEW

[Chapter 24-10] Like the Wise (Matthew 24:32-51)

Like the Wise
(Matthew 24:32-51)
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I would like the Lord to come soon. If the Lord came suddenly today, I would be very pleased, but the young people here would probably say, “Oh, no, that can’t be.” Whether you are like that or not, I would like the Lord to come soon and for a new world to begin. Do you also have that desire? 
People with this desire are those who are under a lot of stress. If a person is under a lot of stress, he may wish that this damned world would quickly end. Nowadays, I have to take medicine to relieve my stress because I have been under a lot of it. I didn’t even know that such a medicine existed, but after taking it, I felt a little better. Therefore, I found out what stress is exactly. Now, it’s not that I get sick because I do not eat enough food or do not eat the right kind of food; it’s a case that I have so much stress that my nerves are on edge due to even small matters. It seems like no matter what, I have a lot of stress building up because the duties with which I have been entrusted are not accomplished quickly. This is called a mental disorder in hospitals.
I went to a hospital once, but the doctor told me to go to the mental health department. So, of course, I went to the mental health department as the doctor instructed. I met the doctor there and told him I was a pastor after he asked me what my job was. After the doctor took a look at me, he said, “Strictly speaking, you are a person with a mental disorder. Therefore, I’ll give you medicine that people with mental disorders take.” I took it, and it was good. I get dopey when I take it. I can’t describe how peaceful it is. It’s just good and joyful. I thought, “Wow! I didn’t know this kind of medicine existed.” After waking up, I really didn’t feel good again, so I took the medicine again and after taking all of the medicine that I had bought, I went to receive the same prescription the next time, but the doctor didn’t give it to me.
I thought this type of mental disorder would happen to specific people, but I didn’t think I would have it. There was nothing wrong with me, but my body is stiff and I am a nervous wreck even at the smallest problem. More than getting stress from a particular thing, it seems that I am the most stressed by my duties that are not accomplished quickly. Even though it seems like it will be finished soon, it’s so hard because it won’t end. I contracted a disease of really wanting to say, “It is finished.” I was really yearning to say so, but it’s impossible to say so before my duties are really accomplished. Now, it’s even worse. It is only a desire to finish my duties quickly.
I would like for the Lord to come soon, for this world to end soon, and for the Lord to give a new heaven and a new earth. I have a desire for the Lord to quickly do as He has promised. But on one side, I wonder, “What will our brothers and sisters say to me? What will people in the whole world say to me? Won’t they say, ‘Do you think it’s all right for you to think that pessimistically about the world as if you are the only person who has a hard time?’” I think they may rebuke me then. All of these things are my personal thoughts.
We have to wait a little more until the Lord comes. Therefore, I’m giving you these words from a feeling that I must complete all of my work quickly before He comes. I have selected today’s Scriptural passage in order to share God’s grace with all of you, hoping that we can complete our work in unison with each other before meeting the Lord. When I can’t fully complete the work that has been given to me, an extremely large amount of stress builds up in my heart. Even more than other cases, if I can’t complete my duties, I suffer a lot of that sort of mental pressure. I can never sleep if I lay aside a task. I have to finish the work I have to do even if it kills me. Whether the job was done well or not, I can sleep and go on to some other task only after having finished the previous one. 
Therefore, if I am exhausted while doing a task because it is too hard, I cannot but take a good day’s rest and get up again and throw myself into that task in order to hurriedly complete it. But I worry even more when I see that there are still many things to do. And it’s not just me that is like this; all the servants of God that work with me are the same. Because they can’t live by putting the work they have to do aside because their characters are like mine, these people continue to take medicine together and look for work to do if they get even just a little strength. However, seen later, the result of the work done when sick compared with that done when well is totally different. When my body is not well, I look at how well I have done and think, “This is good enough,” and then, I am prone to hurry over the task somehow. But later, when my body is healthy, I see it and think, “Oh, no. I’ve made a mess out of this. What kind of task can just be left done like this?” It cannot be suitable to me.
We want to have a little rest after finishing each of our tasks, but aren’t we doing really difficult work? Actually, even though a missionary goes to one country to spread the gospel and spends his whole life just doing it, it is something he cannot do well. Because we are spreading the gospel to the whole world, it seems that our bodies pass over the limits of being able to carry it out. A couple of days ago, I got a call from Pastor Jung, who is in charge of printing our books. He said, “Pastor, our book’s binding is good, but one of the picture films came out backwards. If we change that one thing, it will be okay. Should I take it to you?” I said, “Hey, why do you need to bring it to me? Stay there. You take care of it all and bring it to me when it’s all finished. Please don’t come to me.” Because I retorted irritably, Pastor Jung responded with “yes, sir” and hung up.
I wasn’t like that before. I used to address myself to my coworkers in a kind manner, saying, “OK, come on over. Coming over is better than not. Come and we’ll get something good to eat and talk for a while. It’ll be good.” But nowadays my head hurts so bad that I say, “You do your own stuff. Isn’t the part of printing your responsibility? You do your own job. That’s your job. My part is editing the documents. You do your own job. It is clear that you have your job and I have mine. Let’s keep it clear.” Lately, I’m brutal, so I respond like this, “Whose job is that? What department does it belong to? The staff that has been given that task should do it. What are you saying? What do you expect me to do after telling me such and such? I can’t do anything. I don’t have the strength to respond to you like a nice guy anymore. I’m not a nice guy. Now, I’m overwhelmed, too. I’m overwhelmed because I don’t have the capacity to even do my own work. If I can only finish all of my own work, I’ll dance for joy.” This is how I feel lately.
I feel acutely that publishing a collection of sermons in one book is truly not an easy thing. I work while thinking, “When will this work be done? This is annoying. I’m sick of it. It’d be nice if this damned thing were finished soon. When I’m tired, I think, “This is good enough. It’s done.” Then, even though I have put down the finishing touches, I quickly take out again what I have finished when I get even just a little better and think, “No, this is a total mess. What kind of sermon have I spread out like this?” Then, I do it again. Since I have no skill, my work doesn’t turn out well even if I work so much that it kills me, so lately I feel irritated and get nervous. I have to quickly finish my work before the Lord comes. I can only rest if I finish it. If it is the work that I have to do anyway, I have to finish it soon. But it doesn’t turn out the way I have determined. 
The Lord has said that if the evil servant who says the return of the Lord is delayed drinks liquor, beats his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with his drunkard friends, the Lord of that servant will come at a time he did not think of and at an hour he could not know, severely beat him, and appoint him his place with the hypocrites where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:48-51). I really don’t want that to happen to me. Also at this time when the coming of the Lord approaches, I want to work more faithfully. 
However, whether it is physically, mentally, bodily, or spiritually, all of my energy is exhausted and it doesn’t work out the way I think. But I want to do my work better until the Lord comes. I want to spread the gospel to the whole world no matter what country it is until the Lord returns. The door to North Korea, too, is being opened and I want to spread the gospel there, as well. Lately, we are making a Russian book. The printing of the pages has all been done so the only thing needed for the book to be published is to make the cover art and do the binding. It is anticipated that the versions of various languages such as Romanian and Hungarian will come out sometime this month. So the gospel is being spread in Europe, as well.
We are now doing missionary work through the literature ministries in order to continuously lay the foundation of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I hope that publishing will be completed quickly to a certain extent, so that we can hold a revival meeting again. I want to declare the gospel to my heart’s desire, and I have an earnest desire to fight if there are people who stand against the true gospel. It’s been quite a long time since we have not held a revival meeting for over a year. If there are those who haven’t received salvation, I would like to shout, “You people. Throw off your worthless faith and receive the remission of your sins!” I would like to yell at them. I have the desire to be a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season, and I want to spread the gospel to the whole world until the Lord comes. Do you also have the same desire? 
There have been many changes all over the world lately. Conflict between Israel and Palestine is continuously amplified. In today’s Scripture passage, we can find an important lesson on the last day that says, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” The Lord said, “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matthew 24:32-34). 
What does this mean? Wasn’t the country of Israel destroyed about 2000 years ago? However, in 1948 the country of Israel was founded through the Zionist Movement. This happened about 1,900 years after Israel had been destroyed. But the problem is that it is a fact that the Palestinians who had been living there one day all of a sudden had to be chased off of the land where they were living. After nearly 2000 years of leaving that land and living scattered all over the world, one day they suddenly gathered there, formed a government, and proclaimed it as an independent nation. They drove out the Palestinians and conducted themselves as if they were the real owners. Therefore, it’s continually a case of life or death and they cannot but keep fighting against each other. Until now, the wars that have sprung up in the Middle East have all been that war.
About 2000 years ago when the Lord was on this earth, He said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” You all understand what this means, right? You must know that the end of the world is near when Israel is restored and prospers. The Lord will come again before the end of the world when Israel is restored and before it is ruined again. We must know that the Lord is at the door when the nation of Israel puts forth its leaves and they turn green. The Lord said He would come again before Israel is destroyed. That day is not far.
Actually, the existence of Israel is an explosive warehouse in the Middle East. For nearly 2000 years, the Palestinians lived normally on that land, but all of a sudden the Jews came, said it was their land, and told them to give it up. If that were you, would you just sit still and let it happen? Our country is proud of its 5000-year history. If some outsiders came to our country shooting our people and telling us to leave, telling us to give over the land because they had lived here 5000 years ago and it was their land, would you fight against them or not? Wouldn’t this make you furious? This kind of battle is continuing in the Middle East now. But if war arises there, the chances of it spreading to a world war are great. The Jews have close connections with the United States, so if a war develops in Israel, the United States will thrust itself into it, and it will eventually become a world war. That is because it is a war in which neither side can compromise. The Lord will come when such things are developed.
We must be aware that the time of the Lord’s coming is right at the door. This generation is that kind of age. You all are probably well aware that this generation is like that. This generation is calm as if nothing is wrong like the night before the storm. If it were only possible, it would be nice if that kind of war or natural disaster didn’t happen. It would be nice if we lived well finishing our work quickly until we went before the Lord. 
Actually, my human desire is that I would like for us to live and eat well until we finish all of our labors and go before the Lord without natural disasters or wars. But I know well that it won’t turn out that way just because it’s what I want. That is because the Lord has decided on a certain point. The Lord has told us what will develop in the future in order to let us know the time and prepare for it. We must prepare in advance perceiving that things will develop as the Lord has said. We can think, “Oh, these things are going to develop.” But ultimately what can we do when such things are actually brought about? We can’t do anything.
No one knows when the Lord will come, but we can know approximately from the signs that will appear in the last days. Since the Lord said to learn the lesson of the fig tree, we have to distinctly see if that kind of event is developing in Israel. If something develops in that country, world war will arise and the end will approach according to the Word of God. We believe the Word of God above all else.
“When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” The Word of the Lord never passes away and will be all fulfilled. He said, “Heavens and the earth will pass away, My words will by no means pass away.” Therefore, this will happen according to what God has said, and the Word about Lord’s coming is Truth. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” When the Lord comes, the people will be like the generation of Noah; they will reach the peak of seeking sin and living lives of the flesh.
At that time, there will be the contrast of some people being raptured before God because they have received the remission of their sins while others remain on this earth and suffer all of the tribulations. It is written that two people will be grinding with a hand mill and one will go and the other remain; two people will be working in the field and one will suffer abandonment while the other will be taken away. The Lord has said that this will happen in the future. 
Therefore, if there is someone in your family who has not yet received the remission of his sins, you must help him do so. You also have to separate yourself from the person who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the end, even though he may be one of your family members. Because that kind of person is the one who will betray us to death at the end, we must say an eternal farewell to him from our hearts. The salvation of our family members is truly very important. If there is someone in our families who hasn’t received the remission of sin, he will be left behind when the Lord comes, even if we are sleeping together or working together now.
Have you seen the movie called The Rapture? There was a person in that movie named Patty. She had a husband and several female friends. She went to sleep one night, and when she woke up, her husband was gone. She wondered where he went and searched inside the house, not to mention the streets. As she went out to the street, other people were seen coming out of this and that house and looking for their families. And on the TV news, it was reported that a strange event had developed and people were vaporized all of a sudden.
After that, soldiers came to grab people, telling them to receive the mark of 666, but Patty fled. When she found no other place to go, she entered a manhole, but some other people were already hiding there. There was a barcode expert among those who were in hiding, and he gave her a fake barcode. So, she went to the market and bought some things with her fake barcode but ran away again after being detected. She was trying to get away in a car, but she was chased to a road blocked by barbed wire. She couldn’t go by car anymore, so she got out and climbed the barbed wire. A helicopter was hovering overhead and someone said through a microphone, “There is no where for you to go.” She was totally surrounded and thought for sure that she was done for, but she got away again with the help of her friend.
Patty and a number of her friends all vowed that they wouldn’t get the mark. But one of her friends had already gotten the mark and had become the pursuers’ guide. She hid her true colors by pretending to be on their side and said she would take them to a safe place, but she led them to the pursuers. The pursuers compelled them to receive the mark. They said they would never get the mark and ultimately died at a guillotine. Before going to the guillotine, they praised the Lord, singing, “♪There’s a bright and heavenly pathway♬ ♪That ever leads me on,” and prayed to the Lord, “Please receive my soul.” The movie ended with her being martyred in that fashion.
The lesson of this movie is this: “People who are not raptured and left behind on the earth at the end are those who have not received the remission of their sins. But if they think about what their families had told them, and never received the mark until they embrace their martyrdom, they can be delivered.” But, this story is really stupid. This movie was made according to the perspective of the Evangelicals, and we can see that they misunderstand the point of the rapture. This movie unfolds a story that the rapture comes before the tribulation, but God has said that the rapture and the Lord’s Second Coming in the air would occur at the point when the seventh trumpet sounds, that is, when three and a half years have passed of the Seven-Year Tribulation. 
Until then, even those who believe the gospel of the water and the Spirit will remain living in the tribulation and will be persecuted by the Antichrist and compelled to receive the mark of 666. But only the righteous can defeat Satan by faith and embrace martyrdom because they are truly born again by believing only in God and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who believe in this gospel now will never surrender to Satan. They will all be raptured after being resurrected along with the righteous who will survive until the end.
However, it is impossible for those who to that point don’t know the gospel to be martyred. On the contrary, they become the tools of the Antichrist after surrendering to him. We have to deliver the gospel well to our family members also because those who will persecute and betray us to death at the last day will be our family members who have not been born again. Therefore, at this time when the Lord’s coming approaches, we have to become people who please God by staying awake to work and becoming loyal and wise servants. We have to become those who all do God’s work firmly together until we are victorious and stand before the Lord. Let’s quickly complete the work that God has entrusted us and go before the Lord.
And the thing that I am really bidding is that we all do more of the Lord’s work more faithfully. When the time of the Lord’s coming has all been accomplished, let’s not live with the heart of “gather roses while you may; play while you’re young because you can’t when you’re old.” We really need to know exactly what we have to do. We have to concentrate our attention upon how we spread the gospel to the whole world. Then we can stand before the Lord proudly after faithfully accomplishing the tasks to which we have been entrusted. The closer the end draws near, the more we must work faithfully before the Lord and go to Him. That is what today’s Scripture passage is talking about.
We really don’t know when the Lord will come. The Lord said that He would come as a thief. The Lord will come not far from the time that people are pursuing only the pleasures of the flesh by eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage. I think that now is that time. Therefore, you and I living in this generation must do God’s work even more faithfully. I think that we have to live by spreading the gospel more precisely and faithfully. That is what I believe. As you and I continue to live on this earth, stress builds up and our bodies are weakening, but I feel that we must do a lot of work before our bodies catch serious diseases. 
I know that you all have work that has been given to you, too. I know well that working for the gospel is something that can’t be done alone but is accomplished when we are united with each other concentrating our strength on this task. I hope each of you stand before God as virtuous and loyal people after faithfully doing the work given to you. Do you understand? 
You and I have hit the limit of our ability. Therefore, there is nothing else we can do. However, I haven’t forgotten that the purpose of my life is to do all of the work that has been entrusted to me. I believe that God will give us a lot of new work to do when we finish the work that we are doing now. We have prepared lots of books that we will distribute to the whole world now. I want to take the brothers, the sisters, and the ministers to the revival meetings frequently, and I hope to give out our books and preach the gospel. I believe that if we do the work of the gospel by faith, the work of the Spirit that was unfolded in the Early Church age will be brought about by us.
Let’s faithfully do the work that has been given us at this time. Let’s both you and I faithfully do the Lord’s work. I will pay attention to everything until I have done all of the work with which I have been entrusted. If I lazily do the work that the Lord has given me I will really become a thorn and of low existence in His eyes. If I don’t quickly do the work that has been given me but instead do it lazily, the Lord will not feel comfortable with me. Aren’t we the same? If we entrust someone with a task and that person was just a sluggard and only pretended to work, would we feel good or bad toward that person? Won’t these words immediately escape our lips? “You did the work in such a manner. You have to put your heart into it; but you did it like this?” When God looks on us, too, it will be the same. 
If we are given work, it is worthy to do it sincerely. It will be okay anyway if we haven’t been entrusted with some work, but we must faithfully do the work once we have been entrusted with it. I’m not telling you this because I think you haven’t faithfully done the work you have been given; I’m giving it as a precaution to you and myself. I know that you, too, are really working with all of your hearts. Therefore, I know that it is hard for all of us. I also, have to do the work that has been given to me well. Whatever happens, I have to do all of the work that has been given to me. I can request for something before the Lord only after I have finished all of the work that has been given to me; if I ask for something even though I haven’t done all of it, God will feel uncomfortable with me. If that happened to us, we would be really frustrated; then, imagine how frustrating it must be to God.
Dear fellow believers, let’s work more concretely while the end gets closer. Our goal is to spread the gospel to the whole world. What is the work that you have been given? What is the work that each of you has to take care of? I hope that you do your part faithfully. I, too, must faithfully do the work that has been given to me. There is no peace of mind for me until it is done. It is too bad that I cannot serve the gospel to my hearts’ content due to my health problem. Lately, I can barely finish preaching a sermon with my whole strength. I am living everyday by obtaining new strength from the Lord. Let’s you and I both do all of our work faithfully. You each have work given to you, don’t you? Let’s faithfully do that work.
Some pastors admonish their church members to sell all their property and give the money to their churches while emphasizing that the coming of the Lord has drawn near. They also have these people quit their jobs and tell the youngsters to stop going to school. But we are different. The closer the coming of the Lord approaches, the more we do the Lord’s work. Even if the Lord came tomorrow, we would work up to today to finish all of our work. I hope that you faithfully accomplish the duties with which you have been entrusted because that is truly the right attitude. Isn’t that the only way for us to honorably stand before the Lord at the end? I will be really pleased if I only finish all of the work that has been given to me. I can’t explain how pleased I was and how much peace of mind I had when I completed proofreading the pending manuscripts the other day. Even though I would like to be with you and have fun with you, I cannot but work now looking forward to that short time that I can rest.
Let’s each of us do well the work that we have been given, not worry about other things until we are finished with it, endure well, and live well by faith. It’s hard for you and me to work for the gospel, but I am sure that there aren’t many days left for us to do God’s work. I’m not sure exactly how the world’s going to turn out in the future in detail, but I am sure that we don’t have much time to do God’s work. Therefore, we must do all of our work in a short time. Otherwise, it will be too late and God’s work can’t be accomplished. Isn’t the servant of God a prophet? The servant of God knows what will happen in the future. Since what will happen in the future is recorded in the Word of God, the person who believes it can prophesy about it by faith. It isn’t that we will run about in confusion at the end; on the contrary, we will have to have peace of mind. Won’t we have to cope with everything of the world and finish all of our work since we know the Lord will come soon? The person who prepares in advance is a person with peace of mind.
In the future when we have finished all of our work, that is, the world evangelism, I will hold a revival meeting for the people of our country. Now spreading the gospel to the whole world is more urgent, so I am setting a priority to it, but when it is finished, I want to open revival meetings in Korea and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have actually spread this gospel a lot to our people for a long while, but they didn’t accept this gospel well because they were legalistic Christians. Even so, I have thoughts to do so again. If we spread the gospel to the whole world and then spread the gospel in Korea by opening some revival meetings, everyone who will believe will all come to believe. I hope that the Lord will keep you and me until that day. And I hope that the closer the end comes, the more we awaken, become truly wise and loyal servants to manage all of the work we have been given, and stand before God proudly.
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