Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 14-3] If You Want to Follow The Lord, Calculate First And Then Follow (Luke 14:25-35)

If You Want to Follow The Lord, Calculate First And Then Follow
(Luke 14:25-35)
“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”

Follow the Lord after Having Examined Your Faith

Have you had a good meal? I don’t know why it’s raining so much in this heat. I am very glad that you are all living out your faith so well. I am glad to see you like this without having faced death. As we lead our life of faith, we really don’t know when we will die, but there are many people who aren’t thankful for their lives. Is today better than yesterday? Is your heart feeling happy and thankful today, too?
Yesterday, we were a little tired and fatigued for it was our first day of arrival here. Anyway, I am glad and happy to be seeing you all at this summer discipleship training camp. I hope and pray that we will be having a wonderful time all through this meeting by sharing God’s grace that is revealed in His Word.
When we look at the Scripture passage we have read today, the Lord tells us that if anyone follows the Lord and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be one of the Lord’s disciples. Also, He tells us that whoever does not bear his cross and go after the Lord cannot be the Lord’s disciple. In a metaphor, the Lord tells us that a certain person, trying to build a tall tower, will fail in that endeavor if that person does not count the cost that will go into it first. He also tells us that certain people, making war against others, will suffer a great failure if they wage war without having considered in advance the results, the gains and losses, or the outcome, victory or defeat, of that war. Then the Lord says in conclusion, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Luke 14:33-35) Such are the contents of the Scripture passage we have read today.
All the Words spoken by the Lord are the truth, and they are something very precious to us. They continue to be something very precious to you and me who are living in this day and age. If we cannot understand these Words and if we cannot believe in and follow these Words well, I believe we will suffer a great failure exactly as it is written in today’s Scripture passage. Therefore, we must think about how we can continue our lives of faith until the coming of the Lord incessantly and unwaveringly, and we must count and calculate it well. We will gain much help and strength if we were to live out our lives by thinking and calculating in advance about the following: “Can we lead our life of faith to the end? Can the faith be maintained? Can we become true disciples of the Lord? Why must we follow and serve the Lord? What differences would there be between the result of having followed the Lord and that of not having followed Him? Hence, with what kind of attitude must we lead our life of faith?” We can live out our faith by knowing its results beforehand.
We must lead our life of faith until the end of this world, until the day when the Lord will return, and until we go before the Lord. But in order to do so, as we are right now following the Lord by having received the remission of sins, we must consider whether or not it will go well very meticulously. We should lead our life of faith by reflecting on our mindset seriously and thinking about the following things: “As we are leading a life of faith like so right now, can we endure until the coming of the Lord with such faith, when the tribulation comes and when hardships fall upon us? Will we be able to do the entrusted work well then? Might not we be leaving the Church before the coming of the tribulation? Can we be abandoned by God owing to my unfaithfulness?”

Let Each of Us Take a Look at Our Faith

We must examine ourselves as to whether or not we can follow the Lord no matter what happens. I am asking you to calculate if you can follow the Lord all the while you do everything that fits you to be a good social being. We must see if we can live as the Lord wishes by doing all the things that we want to do from a fleshly perspective, such as, what our parents of the flesh want, what our spouses want, what our children want, what our brothers and sisters want, and also what our own selves want. If we do such things first, we can never follow the Lord wholly. The Lord says to us that we cannot become His disciples as we do things that we and our brothers, sisters, and parents of the flesh want us to do.
They are something the Lord has also calculated. He says to us that, as we follow Him, if we do things this way and that according to the flesh, that is, if we do things according to the desires of the flesh, then that will make us lose our faith. In other words, He says to us that we cannot follow Him while taking caring of all the people and things that concern us due to our social and blood ties which bind us to the flesh. He is saying to us that we cannot follow Him by doing well what a human being must do, responding to every single thing, getting accepted, and receiving applause from our parents, brothers, or relatives. It means that if there is such a person, someone who tries to follow the Lord as he receives applause from all those who are related to him by flesh and does all the worldly things, then that person will never be able to follow the Lord perfectly. Such a person can never become a disciple of the Lord.
Furthermore, the Lord says to us that people who try to follow the Lord after having taken care of their own difficulties first cannot serve the Lord properly. The Lord is telling us how to follow Him after having considered it meticulously, as if He were solving a math problem. He is telling us that such a person also cannot become His disciple and cannot follow Him. Like so, the Lord concludes. The Lord says to us that if we truly do not throw away all that we possess, we can neither follow Him nor become His disciples.
Then, like so, if people cannot follow the Lord, then what will be the end for those who don’t follow the Lord? In the end, those people will be abandoned by the Lord. He said, “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out” (Luke 14:34-35). Dear fellow believers, if you do not follow the Lord, your life will become like that of the salt that has lost its flavor. In other words, the Lord will throw you out. Your role will be over. The result of not having followed the Lord is getting abandoned by God.
What the Lord requires is a little higher in dimension. It is neither a fleshly requirement nor some religious requirement. Rather, He is requiring us to follow Him unconditionally. Strictly speaking, His requirement seems exorbitant. But, what will happen when you neglect this Word of the Lord? As I have said, you will be abandoned by the Lord. You will break away and disappear from the ranks of the life of faith in which people believe in the Lord and follow Him.
One might say, hearing this Word, “Well, it is fine so long as I get to go to Heaven. So what if I deviate a little. No matter if this happens, and no matter if that happens. It’s fine so long as I get to go to Heaven.” But what I am saying is that is not the case. What the Lord has concluded is that just as He has said that although salt is something good, it will be thrown out if it loses its flavor, one will suffer complete abandonment from the Lord because of their deviation from a life of faith. Think about mixing in salt into fertilizers used for farming. You must have seen sawdust and fallen leaves heaped up and getting decomposed, right? As one decomposes them, let us assume that the person adds tons of salt to them thinking it will make them better fertilizers and mixes them together. Using this, if the person fertilizes some crop, such as wheat, what will happen to the wheat? It may cry out, “How salty, too salty. I am getting thirsty. I need rain; I need water, not some fertilizer. I am dying! Don’t regret after I die, but rather, remove this fertilizer from me. I don’t like this kind of fertilizer. I like water, not salt.” If that wheat had lips, this is what it would have said.
Getting thrown out into the streets is the same. Do you think it would be good to have salt spread out in the streets? There has to be dirt on the streets, but if the streets were covered with salt, plants would not be able to grow. Dear fellow believers, imagine salt lying around on the streets in filth. The streets would only be dirty and filthy. Salt is something that has to go into food. If it were thrown on the streets, it would be unsightly. In Korea, salt is usually thrown to someone who seems to bring bad luck. To sum it up, I say to you that the result of not willing to follow the Lord and not being able to follow the Lord will be getting abandoned from the Lord like so.
It won’t be so serious if anyone can go to Heaven just by living out one’s faith half-heartedly, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be great if you can arrive at Heaven regardless of whichever way you go? There is a Korean saying that goes, “It doesn’t matter so long as you can go to Seoul.” This means that the result is important while the means to achieve it are secondary. But when it comes to the way to Heaven, the process and the result are both important. They coincide with each other. If we live out our faith well everyday, we will surely reach Heaven and vise versa. Therefore, we have to set our mindset upright before the Lord and follow Him to the end. We already have faith in Jesus. So, how great would it be if our hearts do not change despite something happening to us? What worry would there be if we could be like that?
You might think, “It will not matter whether or not I stay inside the Church. But you say I should stay in the Church. Would that be so important?” However, the Lord asks us to do so. Therefore, we need to calculate this beforehand.
What is the difference between those who lead a life of faith and those who do not? There’s a clear difference. The difference between the two is much greater than you might think because the Lord is the just God and because He is the omniscient God. For people who do not follow His Word despite having known it, what punishment is prepared for them? What happened to that person who had received a talent and hid it underground? Despite having known that the Lord sees through everything, he hid the single talent he had received, and when the Master came back, he gave it back, saying, “Here it is.” The Lord rebukes such a person saying, “You wicked and lazy servant,” and He casts that unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, that is, hell. Dear fellow believers, although it may seem as though I am speaking in a strict black-and-white logic, these Words aren’t something I have made up. Rather, they are the Words of the Lord. Therefore, these Words apply to you and me as well. The Lord says to us that if we want to become the Lord’s disciples and to follow the Lord, we won’t be able to do so unless we throw away all our possessions. Throwing away possessions is not about throwing away your properties. He is telling us that it is right to follow only what the Lord requires and not follow the requests of all your acquaintances with whom you are bound by fleshly ties.
What will happen to us if we follow all the requests from the world? There a thing I have learned from the world. What I have realized is that if you were to try to meet the request of the world properly, even if you have twelve bodies, you will still be in want. I had learned that fact when I was young. When I was a little boy, I participated in the memorial services of my ancestors, tried to be pious to my parents, tried to get along well with my friends, showed my utmost respect to the elders, and so on. While I was growing up, I was educated like that.
For example, trying to show my worldly propriety, I always turned my back so as to hide my wine glass when I was drinking wine in front of the adults, and as for smoking, I couldn’t even dream about smoking in front of them. Even though I was young, I took care of all the memorial services of my ancestors in our household. When there was a memorial service being held at my relative’s house, I went there even after midnight, bowed together on my knees and ran errands for them. Moreover, if there was an occasion for celebration or sorrow, such as weddings, funerals, and such, I went there. I gave my congratulations or condolences with words and money. I did all of that.
However, as I got older, I realized, “Alas, there is just no end to all these kinds of services.” I also came to realize that things like these, even if you continue to do them, had no end and that there has to be a limit to taking care of worldly things. Furthermore, I came to realize that one cannot take care of them without money, and that one has to have money to carry out such things—occasions for celebration or condolence, visiting the sick, holding memorial services for my ancestors, and so on. So, I came to think, “Alas, I have to have a lot of money and need about 12 bodies to act like a human being properly.”
After having become the born-again, I came to think even more so. Therefore, I had concluded, “At any rate, I am not very good at acting like a proper human being in front of the worldly people. If I do all those things—attending my nephews’ and nieces’ weddings, attending memorial services of my ancestors somehow (even if I do attend without bowing on my knees), and so on—when will I follow the Lord, when will I preach the gospel, when will I rest at home, when will I hold prayer meetings, when will I give sermons, and when will I share fellowship with the saints? All right, this is ridiculous. Such works are over; all of them!”
I graduated from doing worldly works as such. I graduated from the world with a shining diploma in my heart. Whatever the case, all I have is a single body, so I decided to be faithful in at least one thing, the Kingdom of God. I came to think that I should at least do this one thing—serving, believing in, and following the Lord well, for I cannot do everything. I simply gave up on the worldly works, thinking, “How can I possibly receive recognition from worldly people, receive praise from them, and do my duties toward them?” The Lord said, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).
As our saints and the servants of God endeavor to follow the Lord, they are faced with difficult circumstances and other problems. There truly are many difficulties. Once you start making excuses, there can be many excuses that will prevent you from following the Lord closely. You might think, “My current situation is like this, so I cannot do that. Because of my current circumstances, it is difficult for me to go out and engage in the ministry of preaching the gospel. Because my living is difficult, I am unable to carry out the work of serving the Lord with materials things, with my heart, or with prayers. Under my current circumstances, it is too difficult for me to follow the Lord wholly.” But dear fellow believers, if you truly want to become a disciple of the Lord who follows Him wholly, you must throw away worldly things. As I have mentioned above, it is truly difficult to do. However, when will you have time to follow the Lord when you are chasing after the things of this world and doing all the humanly duties for the people of the world? I am telling you to try to calculate what you should throw away and what you should attain if you want to become a disciple of the Lord and to follow Him. You must carefully reckon such things as what is most important and whether or not it is possible. Dear fellow believers, what I am saying to you is this: What strength will you have left to follow the Lord if you are going about meeting worldly friends, pleasing all of them, visiting neighbors, becoming a town’s headperson, and attending all sorts of friendly gatherings and neighborhood clubs? I am asking you to calculate to see if you will have any strength remaining after all that.
Therefore, the Lord speaks to us that people like that are just like the salt which has lost its flavor. In other words, people who live out their lives without having set their heart in the Lord and those who claim to follow the Lord without even throwing away their own carnal desires and lusts are just like the salt that has lost its flavor. It means that they are useless to the Lord as well as to the world in the end because they are the salt that has lost its flavor. Such people are also useless for the spreading of the gospel.

I Am Not Saying This without Having Considered Your Lacking

I know my lacking, and I also know that you are lacking as well. I am not saying that our lacking causes trouble in our life of faith, but rather, I am speaking about our mind-set, that is, we must not have our hearts set on the world. Our hearts must not lean toward worldly things. If not, we will neither be fit for the Lord nor the Kingdom of the Lord. When that happens, we will become a person unfit for the world as well in the end. A person who does not throw away all that he or she has cannot follow the Lord properly. If the ministry workers or the saints who follow the Lord were to come and go to Church only with their bodies but without that kind of an attitude, what will happen? There aren’t that many born-again Christians who have already set their mind on the Lord, and they lead a life of faith half-heartedly. At any rate, they don’t calculate the consequence of their faith saying, “Que Sera, Sera.” Do you know the famous popular song that goes, “Que Sera, Sera”? These Spanish words mean, “Whatever will be, will be.” Anyhow, what I am saying is that we need this kind of attitude if we want to follow the Lord. We must confess like this: “I will follow the Lord without fail by truly throwing away all that I have and my greed. Even though I am not perfect in this world and here in God’s Church, and I lack so much like this, I will follow the Lord despite my lacking for I am still someone who has received the remission of sins before the Lord. I will become a disciple of the Lord.” Then, we must choose a side and give up the other. We must choose between becoming a disciple of the Lord and becoming a servant of the world.

People Who Have Become Disciples of the Lord Follow His Righteousness

The Lord’s disciples are those who follow the righteousness of the Lord to the end. People who throw away worldly values and follow the righteousness of the Lord can follow the Lord to the end despite their lacking. They will become like that. They will be following the Lord with the Lord-given strength, power, and blessings. However, it is true that people who aren’t like that can neither follow the Lord nor become a person useful to the world. For example, when playing and having relationships with the worldly people out there in the world, the born-again people can play and develop relationships better than those who aren’t. When playing, they play ardently, and they can also lead well, saying, “No, this is dull! Let us try this for fun.” But we cannot find anything useful from such people; they are useless inside God’s Church without a doubt, and they are useless in the world as well. They are also of no use when it comes to the spreading of the gospel. Dear fellow believers, compared to salt, a useless thing is like some plastic salt, only white in color but insoluble in water. It is like that fake salt. What use would that kind of salt have? Although we have to become like salt, giving things salty taste, we won’t be able to become like that. We will become of no use for anything.
Not just anyone is useful to the gospel, and not just anyone can serve the gospel and follow the Lord. Someone who is of great use to the gospel is a person who leads a life of perseverance to become a disciple of the Lord. Anyone who tries to become a servant of the world, unable to throw away all his or her possessions, worldly things, worldly desires, and avarice, rather than to brace oneself to follow the Lord is useless. They are useless in the Church as well. In other words, anyone who just comes and goes to a church, offers worship, does things loosely, and wastes time like that is of no use. People like that are troublemakers in the Church. They raise dust for no apparent reason. They criticize by saying something’s wrong with this, something’s wrong with that. When they aren’t starting up arguments, they stay silent over the issue of the preaching of the gospel just for a while until they go on cursing ministry workers and God’s servants. They say, “Our Church is as small as a pea, so why do you work so hard? Let’s just order something delicious and eat. Let’s work loosely. Let’s share some Chinese noodles. It should be all right so long as we have a good time like this.” When the servants of God preach to them that we must spread the gospel throughout the world so that people can receive the remission of sins, they say, “What? Are you crazy? I don’t even have any money for food. Yet, you want to spend money for the gospel?” People like that are of no use anywhere.
Of course, there are people who are like that because they don’t have any spiritual discretion. Essentially, for one year after having received salvation, the young believers are considered to be without discretion. During that period, we can try to understand their preposterous actions, thinking that they are without discretion and are just child-like. But, if they were to continue to act like that and speak like that even after three years, then, we can say that they do so because they are hopeless. For they know only themselves, they have to be insulted much more. Then, what about those who do such things after two years? People like that are neutral, that is, neutral in gender. Doesn’t neutral describe something that is neither this nor that? Although I am embarrassed to say this, people like that have to receive a sex change operation. They are creepy when they take fancy in men and the same thing even when they take fancy in women; we feel awkward being near them, and when we see them in the distance, we get confused.
Dear fellow believers, is it okay for you and I to become useless people inside the Church and among the people of God? Is it okay for us to be abandoned by the Lord? Never. Is it not a problem for us to be excluded from the precious work of God? No, absolutely not! Must we become people eliminated from the task of saving souls?
Now, let us think for a while about why we have to calculate our life of faith on the basis of what Jesus has said. He said, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?” Let’s say that as we engage in a war, we find ourselves having ten thousand soldiers, while the enemy has twenty thousand. Yet, we have to fight the war. So, we must think about what we must do. If two countries should make war against each other, they have to fight to win the war somehow. Both sides will have to calculate carefully beforehand to see whether or not they can win and then decide on whether or not to start the war. In cases like this, one would have to make a choice, right? It would be between making war and making peace.
But, if one of them were to engage in war without even having done the calculations, then they will lose the war, 100%. They will all die. And so, after having done the calculations, if it doesn’t seem viable, they would have to send a delegation and ask conditions of peace while the other is still a great way off. This is it. “Do we need to fight? Let’s not fight with each other. What are your requests? We want such and such things. Let us negotiate.” Like so, both sides must compromise and let things be mutually beneficial. That is what negotiation is.
The Lord tells us to negotiate with Him. “If you want to follow Me, now that you have been born again, calculate the result in advance. Throw away worldly things that aren’t important.” “If you want to follow Me, try to calculate to see if you can follow the world at the same time. Calculate whether you can follow both of them or not. If you find that you will not be able to follow them both, you must give up everything that is related to you, that is, worldly things.” You must do so. I am saying to you that you must return to the Lord who gives us everything and serve Him by giving up everything that doesn’t give you any true benefit, happiness, and blessing. I am saying that you must become the disciples of the Lord. If you don’t, you will be abandoned by the Lord because you are useless in His eyes.
You must have a clear understanding of these Words spoken by the Lord. There probably are those who say, “Well, whether useful or not, I have received the remission of sins, and I am sure that all I have to do is to come to Church. Yet, why do you go on mentioning such a burdensome admonition? Even without it, my head is complicated, so all I have to do is to go on doing what I have been doing. Doing my own duties in the world now is also difficult. You go your way, and I go my own way. That is it.” Still, I want to make a proposition to you, for you as well as for myself. Precisely, I want to tell you to follow the Lord by having done the calculations. I propose that you calculate and then chose one of the ways between following the Lord and chasing after the world that is beneficial for you. I say this for your benefit and mine.
Some people may say, “I want to follow the Lord, but I am too weak to serve Him.” It is all right to be faltering right now. Let us put off for a minute that flesh does falter like that. What is important is that the mind and heart mustn’t be faltering. If you falter at heart, you will be abandoned. If your mind falters and is weak, sooner or later, you will be missed from the Church without even a trace. Also, you will become someone who is absolutely useless even in the Kingdom of God. What the Lord says to that person is this: “You are a useless human being.” He will be branded like this. Not even knowing that, we are prone to think from a fleshly and human perspective, “We are all the saints. So, please, tolerate my weakness, go on and on saying yes, yes to me, and try to just mingle and get by in any way possible until the Lord comes.” However, the Lord will sort out people like that saying, “You are a useless person. Even though I came to this earth for you, throwing away the glory up in Heaven, received the baptism, took on all your sins, died, and was resurrected from that death to save you, but you are of no use anywhere. It is true that I am your Savior. Nevertheless, I will vomit you out of My mouth because you are a useless person.”
The Lord doesn’t expect anything from people who are useless like that; obstinate people who just go to church without even once trying to do the calculations. Understanding this Word of the Lord, we must try doing the calculations at least once. After being born again, we must calculate, at least once, which way is the right one to follow. As I have mentioned, the Lord told us to decide on whether to fight or to make peace by doing detailed calculations, even in making war against twenty thousand soldiers with just ten thousand soldiers. Likewise, when following the Lord, we must carry out all acts by having done the calculations and following the exact answer derived from them. I am telling you that we must calculate accurately and then follow the Lord. People who follow the Lord without having done any calculations may appear to be optimistic, but the Lord will say to them, “You are nothing. You are none other than the enemy. You may have come in here, but you are the enemy, the foe.” This is how He will treat them.
Neither on this side nor the other; simply put, they are double agents. Double agents are treated as despicable criminals. Even now, when we look at recently unified Germany or other nations, double agents are still getting captured and tried. Why? It is because in those countries, even prior to the unification, there were so many people who had been engaging in secret activities. They are clearly citizens of the unified Germany, but even though the spies who had worked for either one of the sides, East or West Germany, aren’t being accused of crime, those who had acted as double agents are clearly getting accused of crime even now. Spies who had been on either of the sides are not being questioned, rather. It would be somewhat odd to be accusing them of crimes after the unification when political offenders are even being released. However, people who had been double agents are being accused of crimes, nevertheless. People who are neither this nor that are the most dangerous.
Dear fellow believers, I am telling you to stop flustering and pursue either one of the two sides by having done the calculations meticulously. Whatever it may be, pursue it after having done the calculations. One’s body cannot be separated into two parts, but the heart can think of all sorts of things. I am telling you to pursue what seems to be beneficial after having calculated the result. Do you understand this?
Calculate the result of your way of faith. If you neglect it, you will become upset when the Lord comes, saying, “Alas, I have lived wrongfully.” When you do so, what the Lord will say is, in vulgar terms, this: “You are shitting Me. Pour a bowl full of shit in your mouth and shit like crazy. You still haven’t shit everything. You are still not ready.” Also, do you think that is all that He will do? He will separate you from His people. The Lord hates touching sinners who are like filthy dung, and thus, He will say, “Hey, you! Don’t say shitty things anymore, and come over here. Go into the fire that never quenches. You said you do not know Me. So, I don’t know you either.” Although having been born again, if the Lord says He doesn’t know you, then this is what will happen. Dear fellow believers, if you do not do any calculations and chase after worldly things, this is what will happen.
Do you know why people cannot come back after having left the Church? Did they not receive the remission of sins? Why are they like that? They are unable to return because they are weak, first of all. They tend to question how they could possibly return now and have doubts about whether or not they will be accepted. They are unable to return because their faith is so weak like that. However, there are those who return by faith, thinking that although they are truly lacking, the Lord is their Savior and this Church is clearly their Church. The second reason that prevents them from returning to God’s Church is that they have been living among the enemies for too long. This makes them have the same mindset as that of the enemies. As they live in enemy neighborhoods, they tend to think that the enemy neighborhood is their people and that that country is their country. Hence, when they see us, they view us as bad people. Toward us, they think, “Those utterly robbing dogs. Wicked jerks.” With their eyes rolled back, they view us as the enemy. They start to view brothers, sisters, and the servants of God not as friendly forces, but as people who are trying to injure and kill them. People like that are described as those who have been blinded by evil spirits and possessed by demons. When possessed by demons, one will see the people of God and the Church of God as enemies, just as when one puts on red-colored lenses, everything looks red, and blue when one puts on blue-colored lenses. That’s why they are unable to return. If so, what is the result like? Literally, they get abandoned.
What was the man who had received one talent like? What did he do after digging up the ground with a hack and saying, “Oh Lord, You have saved me. Thank You.” He buried the gospel of salvation. The person might say, “If I spread this gospel, I will be disgraced; if I spread this, my ties to my brothers and sisters will be severed; all the relationships will be severed, those with my brothers, sisters, parents, children, and spouse of the flesh.” Like so, as soon as he receives the remission of sins, he will keep it safe by digging up the ground with a hack, placing the gospel in it, covering it up with dirt, and pressing it down well. When the Lord comes, he will be giving it back to Him. He will dig it out and say, “Here it is.” When the Lord says to him, “What did you do all this time? Why did you let it rot like this?” he will answer, “You are shameless. Well, You are asking too much from me just for having given me a single thing, salvation. Well, You did save me saying that it is free, that it is grace, and that it is a gift. But now, You are asking too much. You seem like a dictator, and You are too strict. Still, I am all so thankful for You having saved me, and that is why I am laying it in front of you like this after having kept only just that safe.”
How do you think the Lord felt then? A plant has to sprout to bear flowers, and it has to bear flowers to bear fruit. So, the Lord will whip out the plant with its sprout, and as He gives it to another person, He will say, “I want you to gain even more over your everlasting life, and I want you to do this work of the gospel and hence receive more rewards.” He will say, “Send away this no good imbecile to a dark place.” This is what will happen.
An abandoned person will not be able to come back to the Church. How many people yearn to see their hometown again but cannot go back? You probably know the popular song that goes, “Green Green Grass of Home,” don’t you?
“The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train
And there to meet me is my Mama and Papa
Down the road I look and there runs Mary
Hair of gold and lips like cherries
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.”
Lyrics like these are truly sentimental. The understanding is that the protagonist of the lyrics had been imprisoned. The middle of the lyrics goes like this: “Then I awake and look around me, at four gray walls that surround me and I realize that yes, I was only dreaming.” It is enough to drive a person crazy. Everyone has his or her own hometown. It is a place where you were born, where you used to live, and where those close to you live. When you are in a situation preventing you from going there, you start longing for your hometown a lot. When you are unable to visit your country or your homeland, don’t you start yearning it? Like this, if you cannot return to the Church, you will wind up being the same spiritually.
When one tries to preach this gospel to the world by himself after leaving the Church, he will be treated as their enemy. The world will look at that person as if he were an enemy. “This person is a jerk. We are the only ones who can preach the Word, but he is doing it all by himself. This person is ludicrous.” The words I say may sound harsh, but my expression is not too harsh. They continue to sharpen swords to kill such a person. Dear fellow believers, you know those swords used to strike people’s necks, don’t you? Those kinds are what I’m talking about, like half-moon shaped swords. They are relentlessly sharpening swords like the Green Dragon Crescent-Moon Sword used by Guan Yu, a character appearing in the Romance of Three Kingdoms. Swords like that are so thick that they cannot be sharpened in just one day. They have to be sharpened for a long time. Why do they do so? They do so in order to obliterate the enemy army. They are always sharpening the sword tip. Even those who have the gospel will become useless people and be abandoned if they were to try to follow the Lord without having done the calculations.
We have no other choice but to follow the Lord by faith. People have to realize this through faith. If not, they will suffer death. They’ll live out their lives watching themselves die. We see their future clearly: “You are dying and are like that right now, but you will carry out this kind of act soon.” Despite knowing it all, we will leave them be. Dear fellow believers, faith is something personal. Receiving salvation before God is also something personal. Why should we become useless people? Why should we not calculate? We can become the good disciples of the Lord and lead a worthy life receiving blessings only by fully following the Lord after having calculated well and having chosen a side that is good.
Well, if you were to go on living without even trying to do calculations, then you will be living intoxicated by the world drinking all day and night. Although living together with the world, you will become of no use to the world, ruin the world, and become a person who is useless to the Kingdom of God. You will become a person of no use at all before the Lord. Therefore, what I want to say to you is that you and I must never become a person like that. Follow the Lord only after you have done the calculations. You must follow Him by faith. You don’t know what will happen to you tomorrow. At times, I get to thinking that when the day of the tribulation comes, even some of the ministry workers will leave the Church. There might remain only a few of the saints and the ministry workers in the Church. When that happens, it’s really serious. There are serious instances when I see our ministry workers serving the gospel right now. Whenever I think about such things, my heart becomes ill at ease and leaves no room for tolerating your half-hearted faith. Truly, I can go crazy in an instant.
I don’t even have the time to look back because I lack strength and don’t have the sufficient abilities as I deal with the whole world; not just individuals but the entire population of the world. Then, I get to thinking that the result will not be good, as I’ve told you before, if I leave the half-hearted believers alone like this. As I continue to see with the eyes of faith and calculate by faith, I am able to see things that will occur in actuality. They are obvious. I am saying such results will come about not because of the problems of your lacking, but because of your following the Lord without having done the calculations, that is, without having set your heart in either one of the two sides. I predict that the results will be bad, rather than good if I let you do what you want. You will only be very busy, unable to become a disciple of the Lord. You will not become someone whom the Lord can use to His heart’s content. Don’t you think this should not happen?
Dear fellow believers, if you want to serve the Lord, you will be following the Lord steadily. You have chosen this whether you like it or not, after having calculated the result on your own. Although you may lack a bit, if you follow the Lord to the end, you will then receive help before the Lord. You will receive His love and blessings. You will live out your lives amid the Lord-given strength. However, if you were to follow Him without even having done the calculations, not even once, you would become such that you will stop in your tracks when things do not workout. People like that cannot do calculations well. The scariest person is someone who cannot do the calculations. Ignorant people are the scariest. You don’t know how dangerous they are.
Calculations of faith must also be carried out well. Of course, you should also be good at calculating fleshly things. Doing some work without having done the calculations is tremendously dangerous. It is very dangerous. It is more dangerous than communism. Are you following the Lord after having done the calculations thoroughly? Are you following Him after having done the calculations accurately at least once? “Alas, I used to do calculations well in the past, but why should I have to calculate like that these days? As the saying goes, what is good is good. I think ‘compatibility’ is the best.” Did you choose like that? As you may know, Cheonan is a historical city in central Korea. All the broad roads from the southern regions of Korea were converged as one leading into this city. So the city was famous since the ancient times, described by the words, “Cheonan Fork Way.” There were lots of choices as to where to go. So, in the past, travelers used to stay there for days and the city became prosperous. But one had to eventually choose one of the roads after having calculated everything. Even something like that has to be calculated well before one’s outset. Yet, regarding calculations of faith, is it all right not to calculate beforehand if we are to follow the Lord?

One Becomes the Lord’s Disciple If He Calculates Well

Also, if you calculate wrong, you will without fail become a person absolutely of no use. You will become an abandoned person. Thus, we have to make the right choice by having calculated well if we want to follow the Lord. We must become proper followers of the Lord. It is already noon, and if I continue, I think you will be displeased. Anyway, you can understand what I mean, right? I have calculated time already, haven’t I? You all know how to calculate, don’t you? I hope there isn’t anyone among you, like a fool, who will wage war against an army of twenty thousand with only ten thousand, right? I hope there isn’t anyone among you, like a fool, who will give up following the Lord for having felt that what you have is too precious, right?
When you add up all that you have, how much is it worth? When you follow the Lord, how much do you gain? You must do calculations like that well. You must be taught how to calculate things like that. There are just too many people who do not know how to do these calculations. But then again, you wouldn’t believe how good they are at doing fleshly calculations. Such people are really bad at doing spiritual calculations. What do you call that kind of people? We call them imbeciles, blockheads. Especially among those who are young, I think there are many who are really poor at doing calculations. I think the youth these days aren’t very good at math. With such incompetence, I don’t know how they get to enter colleges. But then, many colleges have sprung up these days, and inversely, there really are many schools, the level of which has fallen drastically. Actually, people don’t learn much at a college. As long as one learns properly at a high school, that person will not have much trouble in society. There are many people who had gone to universities under vainglory and just used up money. They came out with a diploma, but then, they found it completely useless.
There are some college professors among my friends, but as I have said, with the falling college standards, many have quit their job. They gave up their position early on, thinking that raising pupils isn’t worth it anymore. I am saying I have friends who had thrown away chalk and old notes and picked up the Bible with their two hands. A hundred times over, what they did was great. Being professors, they had the brains to calculate they way the did. But people these days cannot do such calculations. They enter a company with a four-year college degree and receive a monthly salary of about 1,500 dollars. After that, they get to receive about 2,500 to 4,500 dollars, at most. It seems there are many people who give up their life for that kind of money. Such people are called idiots. People who can’t calculate are those that if someone were to stay under their direction, that person gets to suffer much. When you sisters are looking for a groom, look to see whether or not that brother is good at doing calculations, and if you find him to be incompetent, kick him away. But, even though a certain brother may seem a bit stupid and is unattractive from a fleshly perspective, if he is very fast at calculating, he will live up to his role well. Hold onto a man like that. Also, it’s the same for brothers. When you look at a sister, if all she knows is how to tidy herself and how to calculate from a fleshly perspective, not knowing how to calculate from a spiritual perspective, spit on her face. You simply cannot make acquaintance with a person like that. However, if she can calculate well from a spiritual perspective, say to yourself, “Wow, she is great. I thought she looked good only on the outside, but she is good on the inside as well.” When you see a sister like that, marry her without a second thought.
Oh my! With the lunchtime drawing near and time continuing to pass by, you must be thinking, “Why doesn’t he finish?” I truly want to exchange my inner thoughts with you as I see you all. As I see you all and as I see myself, it feels truly good. But on the other hand, I am worried about some of you. I worry, thinking, “Oh my, they are all dying. What shall I do? If left alone for a little while longer, they will simply die, so why don’t I teach them the ways to calculate? If they can calculate well, they can stand firm on their faith in the Lord.” Though it may seem conceited, I have many thoughts like that.
Dear fellow believers, the Lord likes a person who can calculate well. A person who cannot calculate is worth nothing. No matter how strong, how beautiful, and whatever virtue one may have, if a person cannot calculate, that is, if the person has a blockhead, then the Lord will not use that person preciously. The Kingdom of God is the same. I think there will only be smart people. I don’t mean those who are smart fleshly, but spiritually. Do you understand this? I hope and pray that you all would be the saints who are good at doing calculations.
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