“The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.”
In today’s Scripture reading taken from Genesis chapter 19 we see God rained down fire and brimstone on the land of Sodom and destroyed it completely; a city where Abraham’s nephew Lot had been living. As you know very well, God judged this world with water in the days of Noah. And now, in the days of Abraham, God judged the land of Sodom with fire. Abraham’s nephew Lot was living in Sodom at this time, but because Sodom and another nearby city, Gomorrah, were so wicked, God had decided to judge them. When Lot heard about this imminent judgment from the two angles that were sent by God, Lot told his family members about it, but while his wife and two daughters believed him, his sons-in-law did not take his words seriously thinking he was only joking.
God Almighty had sent His angels to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah to investigate it, and having verified just how wicked these cities were, God brought down brimstone and fire from the heavens and judged them. By raining down brimstone and fire on the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, God burnt all the inhabitants and all the animals and plants in those cities, destroying them all completely. This historical fact that God rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah is also supported by archeological evidence. Some archeologists investigating these possible sites discovered grain that seemed to be burnt at that time, after being buried underground for millennia. They interpreted this grain as evidence to indicate where Sodom and Gomorrah were actually located.
As supported by archeological evidence as well, God had indeed rained down fire on the land of Sodom and Gomorrah and overthrown it and burnt them all up. But before this happened, Abraham’s nephew Lot was able to escape from Sodom along with his wife and daughters, fleeing to a small city nearby called Zoar. The angels had warned them not to look back after leaving but head straight to safety. While Lot and his daughters heeded this warning and ran straight to safety, his wife instead, stopped and looked back and ended up turning into a pillar of salt. When the sun rose in the morning, Abraham looked towards the land of Sodom and Gomorrah and saw thick smoke coming up from it. The Bible says that it’s because God loved Abraham that He saved Abraham’s nephew Lot.
This Present Age May Also Face Such a Disaster
What lessons can we draw from today’s Scripture reading? I am sure you yourself are well aware that this present age we are living in today is the age of sorrows. What kind of faith should we then have in such an age? This is precisely the question that God is addressing to us in today’s Scripture.
Slowly but surely, this planet earth is facing more and more disasters, epidemics, famines, and wars. In South Korea, we saw unprecedented heat waves this summer. Such fatal heat waves were not confined to only South Korea, but they struck nearly every country all over the world with temperatures rising up above 40 degrees Celsius, destroying many lives. As if these heat waves were not enough, torrential rainfall was also quite common this summer, and not to speak of wild fires. Anyone can thus know that this present age is the age of sorrows without my saying so. The whole world is indeed plagued by one disaster upon another. People all over the world are suffering a great deal from natural disasters—some from forest fires, others from floods, and still others from earthquakes. But that’s not all. Incurable viruses such as HIV and Ebola clearly prove that this present age is the age of sorrows. When we take an overall look at all these signs, we see clearly that we can neither ignore nor skirt over the fact that now is “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8).
What you and I should be asking ourselves here is this: How should we live in this present age of sorrows? Just as God had judged the land of Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire, so will this earth where we are dwelling now also be condemned for its sins. This world is facing God’s imminent judgment, and for you and me to preach the righteousness of the Lord in such a world, we must have solid and unwavering faith in the Lord’s Word of warning. The warning in today’s Scripture reading is that we should never set our hearts on this world as Lot’s wife did. It’s written here that because Lot’s wife looked back—that is, because she still had lingering attachments to this world—she ended up turning into a pillar of salt. We should never allow ourselves to become like Lot’s wife, and this is the key lesson that God is teaching us in today’s Scripture reading.
In the Bible, salt refers to the Word of God. The fact that Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt for not believing in the Word of God is a clear demonstration of what would happen to those who neither believe in nor follow this God-spoken Word. Put differently, this teaches us that everyone must follow the righteousness of God as commanded by Him. Even though God’s messengers appeared before her very own eyes and warned her of what was to come, Lot’s wife did not believe wholeheartedly in the Word of God that the angels had delivered. It’s not necessarily the case that Lot’s wife had absolutely no faith in God’s Word. Rather, she did have some faith, but it was a weak faith. The problem was that her faith was not enough, and because of this she was plagued by many doubts. Because her faith in God’s Word was not complete, she looked back towards Sodom and Gomorrah even though God had clearly told her to never look back, and as a result she ended up turning into a pillar of salt.
Why did God turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt? As all of us know quite well, salt is easily dissolved. If you leave a lump of salt outside on a rainy day, it will dissolve and disappear in no time. God turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt to teach an important lesson to all of us living in these last days. It is to teach us that if we do not wholeheartedly believe in the Word of God, we will also be destroyed just like Lot’s wife.
When the Age of Sorrows Passes, the Age of Tribulation Will Come
We know very well that this present age is the age of destruction. This earth has already entered into the age of sorrows. Once these sorrows unfold just a little more, the age of tribulation will arrive, and then the Antichrist will make his appearance. And once the age of tribulation arrives, it will spell the end of this world. In this light, the age of sorrows can be described as a precursor for the pending age of tribulations. This present age of sorrows is characterized by disastrous earthquakes, floods, rapid climate changes, epidemics, wars, and the desolation of people’s hearts. Amid all these sorrows, the Antichrist will finally appear and try to subdue by force, against their wills, both the believers in the righteousness of Jesus and unbelievers alike, and he will be intent on murdering them. The Word of God clearly says that the Antichrist will drag as many people as possible with him to hell. Even some saints will surrender themselves to the Antichrist and end up in hell.
It’s written in today’s Scripture passage that when the land of Sodom was destroyed, Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt for not believing in the Word of God. What exactly does this mean? What is the Bible trying to teach us here? This account shows us that in this age of sorrows and with the age of tribulation just around the corner, all those who do not receive the remission of sins will be destroyed just like Lot’s wife, for these people do not believe in the gospel truth of the righteousness of God, namely, the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Today’s Scripture reading teaches us clearly that those who cannot bring themselves to believe in this Word of the righteousness of God will not be able to receive the remission of sins, and as a result, they will never escape from their certain destruction.
All of us know very well that we should never allow ourselves to become like Lot’s wife who refused to believe in the righteousness of God. It’s true that some of us are having a hard time following the Lord out of a pure and willing heart; some of us may in fact feel they are being dragged along against their wills. Rather than submitting themselves to the righteousness of God willingly, such people are being pulled along by their predecessors of faith. But what would happen to them if they let their hands go from this life giving guidance? They would surely return very quickly to the world, only to perish in both body and spirit in the end. There actually will be people who will be destroyed despite believing in the Word of God sincerely.
Why would something like this ever happen? It’s because these people are still too attached to the things of the world, holding them dear to their hearts, even though God said that He will judge this world and everything in it with fire; and this is why they will all perish along with the things of the world. What then would happen to us spiritually if we were to love anything in this world more than God, whether it’s a person, a family member, or material possessions? We would go completely astray. But God has opened a way for us to escape from destruction and be led into His Church. Knowing this now we ought to renew our hearts and follow the Lord faithfully by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should keep in mind that even for those who know the righteousness of God, if their faith becomes weak due to the attractions of this world, and hanker after it, missing them so much that they pine for it will end up following it and the results will be that they will be destroyed in the end.
You and I must realize clearly that this world will be destroyed for sure. God Almighty Himself said that the first heavens and the first earth of this world will all be destroyed. The Lord promised us that He will destroy the first heavens and the first earth and give us new heavens and a new earth. What does this promise mean? It means that God will give new heavens and a new earth to all of us who have received the remission of sins and bless us to live forever in the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven. This, my fellow believers, is not just an empty promise, but it is the truth. We must therefore remember this Word of promise, for the Truth spoken by the Creator of this world is the very Word that brings everlasting life to us.
Before the land of Sodom was destroyed, Abraham’s nephew Lot had been visited by two angels. Let me spend some time here to elaborate on this account. The layout of cities in the age of the Old Testament was very different from today’s urban layout. In those days, cities were walled like a fort, and entrance was possible only by the gate. So, to get into Sodom or Gomorrah, one had no choice but to go through this gate. When the angels came to Sodom, they found none other than Abraham’s nephew Lot sitting in the gate. They had come upon Lot sitting in the gate like this. When Lot saw the two angels, he rose to meet them and bowed before their feet. Lot then took them over to his house and treated them to a feast.
There were some other things that happened, but to cut to the chase what Lot heard from these angels was this: “Leave this land of Sodom and Gomorrah. God said that He will judge these cities. We have come to verify the wickedness of these cities, and we have seen that the cries against them are indeed justified. God will therefore judge Sodom and Gomorrah as He said He would. So you must flee as soon as possible. Tell all your family members. Take as many people as you can and leave this city at once.” In a way, this was terrible news for Lot since the impending doom would destroy all his belongings, but in reality, it was actually a blessed news as Lot was given a chance to save himself and his family.
Why Did Lot’s Wife Become a Pillar of Salt?
Who do you suppose came to Lot’s mind right away when he heard this news? Of course, he thought of his own family members. So he ran to his wife, daughters, and sons-in-law and told them about God’s Word that he had heard from the angels. But the Bible says that Lot’s sons-in-law thought that he was joking. We can imagine the following conversation taking place between Lot’s sons-in-law and their wives:
“Honey, your father has a good sense of humor. For an old guy, he is still very funny.”
“Actually he is not joking at all! That’s what my father really heard straight from the angels’ mouths!”
“Sure, I’m sure that’s what happened. You go ahead if you think he was serious. I’ll stick around for a while and maybe catch up with you later. My legs are still good; if anything happens, I’ll make my way to catch up with you. Don’t worry about me. Just go ahead and follow your father.”
This may not have been the exact conversation that went on, but it gives you a pretty good idea of how Lot’s sons-in-law treated this warning. Since they all thought Lot was just joking, none of them did anything to flee from the impending doom.
As his sons-in-law did not budge until the end, Lot had no choice but to flee from the land of Sodom with only his wife, his daughters, and a few simple belongings. Even this took a lot of goading by the angels, as Lot kept on lingering into the dawn. The Lord then said to Lot through the angels, “I will judge the city as soon as you leave. But there is one thing that you must remember: You and your family must never look back.”
Lot in fact, did believe that God would rain down fire on the land of Sodom and destroy it. But since God had told him not to look back, he had no way to confirm this. On the way to safety, Lot asked the angels to let him head to the small city nearby instead of the high mountains where he was told to go, saying that he was afraid of what might befall him on those mountains. God then allowed this and let Lot flee to this settlement. On his way, Lot kept wondering about what was going on in the land of Sodom, but he was able to suppress his curiosity even if it took a great deal of effort. He also insisted on his family to never turn around to look back, saying that this is what God had commanded. Lot did everything he could to ensure that no one in his family would look back, since he knew that the Word of God brought to him by the angels would be fulfilled for sure. Lot’s wife, however, did not listen to him. She might even have told her daughters to never look back since that’s what her husband had told her, but she herself could not resist the urge and ended up looking back.
Perhaps Lot’s wife thought to herself, “I’ll just steal a quick glance so that I can tell Lot what’s going on. I’m sure nothing is going to happen to me.” But, as soon as she looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt. There was nothing Lot could do, because his wife had already turned into a pillar of salt, so he had no choice but to leave her there and flee with his two daughters.
By the time they reached safety, the sun had already risen. Then brimstone and fire began to rain down from the heavens. When we try to make sense of this by reason, frankly it’s quite difficult for us to grasp exactly how God brought down brimstone and fire. Did God prepare a giant bowl filled with brimstone? This is the extent of our human thought. When we read the Bible where it tells us that God rained down brimstone and fire, we wonder if God had prepared a gigantic blast furnace and poured down brimstone from it, as smelting is done to make steel. We might end up with all kinds of imaginations.
However, the Bible only says, “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire” (Genesis 19:24). This is the Word of the Almighty God that requires no further thinking or questioning on our part. Just as the Bible says, God brought down brimstone and fire. And with this rain of brimstone and fire God burned up all the houses and all the living things in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, overthrowing these cities.
Cast Away All Your Lingering Attachments to This World, Knowing That Now Is the Beginning of Sorrows
Abraham, our forefather of faith, prayed to God for his nephew Lot. It’s because the Lord God loved Abraham that He allowed Abraham’s nephew and his family to flee. Let’s take a look at how Abraham had interceded to God on behalf of Lot. Abraham said, “Lord, would You destroy the land of Sodom and Gomorrah if there were just fifty righteous there?”
“If there are indeed only fifty righteous, I will not destroy it,” said God.
Abraham then said, “Would You spare it if there were five less than the fifty righteous, just forty-five?”
“Yes, I will spare it as you ask.” In this way Abraham kept on decreasing the number of the righteous and God kept on replying that He would not destroy the land of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of the righteous living there, until the number came all the way down to just ten.
What does this imply? It means that the land of Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because there were less than ten righteous people. Let’s try counting them here. Abraham’s nephew Lot was someone who had received the remission of sins, as he believed in God’s Word of righteousness. Likewise, his wife had also received the remission of sins. Then there were Lot’s two daughters. But even when they are all added together, the number still amounts to just four. When God first decided to burn and wipe out the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, He was going to destroy Abraham’s nephew Lot along with these cities. But Abraham had interceded to God on behalf of his nephew. And the Bible records that God loved Abraham so deeply that He answered this prayer and spared Lot and his family. Indeed, just as God listened to Abraham’s prayer, I have every faith that God will also listen to us when we pray to Him.
We know that this present age is the beginning of sorrows. And if we were not to cast away our attachments to this world, we would surely end up being destroyed. We should never allow this to happen to any of us. All of us ought to believe that this world will be destroyed and judged by God for sure. God clearly said that He will judge this world with fire. If this is what the Almighty God said, then this is exactly what will happen without fail. When wickedness prevails on this earth as it did in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, God will infallibly judge this world with fire. We all know that whoever does not believe in the Word of God will be destroyed at that time amid this judgment of God. You and I must therefore remember clearly just how imperative it is for us to believe in this Word promised by God exactly as it is. We must believe in the God-spoken Word of judgment with all our hearts to escape His condemnation. Rather than setting our minds on this world, in other words, we ought to follow the Lord alone by faith, for this world is a world that will be destroyed by fire just as God’s Word says.
Just as Jesus said that it’s hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, rather than being so attached to this world’s material riches, and including our own greed, we ought to be satisfied with what God has given us and serve the Lord, trust in Him, and follow Him. You and I should prepare ourselves for the new world that the Lord will give us, not for this present world. It is to this new world prepared by the Lord Himself that we ought to flee by faith and live happily there forever.
If your faith is still young and you are spiritually immature, you have all the more reason to hold onto the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in this Word of God with all your heart. If God said that He would destroy this world, then this will come about exactly according to what God had said. So, if you are still fond of this world and as a result do not submit yourself to the Word of God like Lot’s wife, then you will be destroyed. The account of Lot’s wife is compelling enough for us to never allow ourselves to be destroyed for faithlessness like her. Lot’s wife was indeed a wretched woman both physically and spiritually, for not only was she destroyed, but her entire household was ruined because of her.
Take a look at what happened after Lot and his daughters fled from Sodom. If Lot’s wife had not turned into a pillar of salt and escaped safely with her husband, then she, her husband Lot, and her two daughters could have led happy lives instead of seeing their whole family being destroyed. Perhaps Lot’s family could have gone to Abraham, asked for his forgiveness, gotten Lot’s daughters married, and been well-off again tending Abraham’s livestock.
However, because Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, Lot and his two daughters ended up fleeing to a nearby little town instead of the mountains as the angels had indicated. Lot’s daughters could not find any husbands there. That’s because everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah and their vicinity had been killed by God’s judgment. So the daughters made their father drunk, slept with him, and bore children by him. One of the children became the father of the Moabites, and the other became the father of the tribe of Ammon. These tribes would later become the archenemies of the people of Israel in a constant conflict. As the descendants of the daughters of Lot stood against the people of Israel, they became the enemies of God’s army. This all happened because of Lot’s wife, because she did not believe in the Word of God and looked back.
We Must Believe in the Word of God and Keep It in Mind
Who knew that such consequences would follow? Who would have looked back if it was known that such results would follow? No one would have looked back. Yet Lot’s wife ended up looking back simply because she couldn’t resist her curiosity. If you still find the world irresistibly curious and interesting, then take a look at what happened as a result of Lot’s wife looking back. When it comes to what human beings are saying, it doesn’t matter whether you listen to them or not. But you must listen to God’s Word without fail. And you must believe in it and follow it without fail. You will live if you believe in the Word of God and follow it, but you will die if you don’t believe in the Word of God and look back towards the world. Nothing can be clearer than this. How could you take the Word of the Almighty God lightly when it comes to the question of life and death? You should never take God’s Word as a joke as Lot’s sons-in-law did, nor should you ever take it lightly as Lot’s wife did. The consequences of taking God’s Word lightly are one’s own death and everlasting destruction.
The account of Lot’s wife is particularly important to the born-again. God is showing the born-again that if they look back towards the world and pursue their own worldly greed in these end times, they will be destroyed without exception. It might not have been that bad if Lot’s wife was alone to perish as a result of her unbelief in God’s Word, but who else perished because of her? Her husband and daughters also ended up facing spiritual death. This is what the Bible is teaching us in today’s Scripture passage. Rather than just skirting over it, all of us ought to take it deep into our hearts as a vital lesson. The account of Lot’s wife is a cautionary tale. It is warning us that if we ignore the Word of God in these end times, then not only will we ourselves be destroyed, but all our families will also be destroyed.
All of us must grasp this lesson well. You and I have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but what would happen if we fall into the world, giving up our faith in the Word of God to no longer follow it? Would it be just we who would perish, or would we also end up destroying our own families? Would we not in fact be destroying countless people on this earth? It’s imperative for us to give some serious thought to these important questions.
As human beings, we tend to think in simple terms. We are prone to think, “If I am dead, then that’s the end of everything. Nothing else matters.” However, my fellow believers, every human being is interconnected with each other in one way or another. This is why we have the notion of family, society, and the human race. All human beings are interconnected with one another. Everything does not end when you perish spiritually. Your spiritual death inevitably has a profoundly negative effect on other saints and also exerts a bad influence on those who still have not received the remission of sins. Once I realized this, I resolved myself to cast away all my lingering attachments to this world and follow the Lord wholeheartedly.
The Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Is Not Something That You Should Keep in Secrecy Just in Your Heart
Sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I had taken a different direction when I first realized the Word of God and came to understand the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. What would have happened if I had conceitedly and selfishly kept the gospel of the water and the Spirit just to myself, even as I knew that this gospel was nowhere to be found in the whole wide world? What would have happened if I had never taught the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit and instead preached that one could be sinless just by believing in Jesus’ blood on the Cross alone, saying that anyone who believed in Jesus in whatever way had no sin? No doubt I would have earned the praise of many worldly Christians, elevated myself among them, and turned countless people into my prey. There were times when I struggled immensely to carry on with my life of faith and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There were dark days when I felt like saying to myself, “I should just give up now. I’ve done enough already. I’m not the only man on this earth; let someone else do what I’ve been doing so hard. Either way, I just want it to be over. I should just take a long break and present myself to the Lord when He comes.” When I think about what might have happened if I had stopped preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world and refused to serve it anymore. These thoughts still sends shivers down my spine.
This question of whether to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit or not had personal consequences for me, but I also had to think about others. I asked myself, “If I seal my lips and don’t preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, wouldn’t I end up killing all the countless souls that God has entrusted to me?” I realized, in other words, that my refusal to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit would not only lead to my own death, but also the death of countless people in this world.
That is why I decided to preach this gospel to as many souls as possible no matter how hard and difficult it was. Even though I was weak and powerless, I still resolved myself to hold my position and fulfill the role that I was given as God wanted me to. The same is true for you as well. What would happen if you were to give up your faith now, stop preaching God’s true gospel that’s in your heart, and instead preach a false gospel claiming that anyone can become sinless and righteous just by believing in the blood of the Cross alone? What would happen, in other words, if you were to completely give up your life of faith just because it’s hard? Remember what happened as a result of the unbelief of Lot’s wife: Not only did she become God’s enemy, but her husband Lot and her daughters also became God’s enemies. They were all cursed to garner God’s enmity. They were destroyed, in other words. Like this, your destruction and mine are not just ours alone, but it also means the destruction of our own families. It also implies the destruction of those who would have otherwise heard the gospel of the water and the Spirit from us and received the remission of sins. All of us must remember this always.
As we follow the Word of the righteousness of the Lord, we must think about the spiritual consequences of our actions. We should be able to think ahead and foresee what would happen depending on whether or not we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Above all, we must believe wholeheartedly that God has clearly and unambiguously entrusted us with the work of saving sinners, and live out our faith accordingly. In short, all of us ought to grasp clearly the vital lesson that’s taught by the account of Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt.
What attachments did Lot’s wife have to this world that she would look back? At most, all that she had was a house and some properties, mostly flocks and herds since cattle-raising was the primary livelihood in those days. What value did these things have that Lot’s wife would exchange her own life for them? What about you then? Do you still love this world even though God said that He would destroy it with fire? Do you still have many lingering attachments to this world that you are willing to exchange not only your own life for them but also let your spouse and children be destroyed?
My fellow believers, God has clearly told us that once He judges this world with fire, He will make the new heavens and the new earth for us. God has promised us that He will bless us to reign in the Millennial Kingdom for a thousand years. The first heavens and the first earth of this world are so intolerably filthy and wicked that God cannot bear with it anymore. That’s why God said that He would burn them all down wiping it out to oblivion. The Almighty God Himself said that He would do this without fail.
We have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God’s Word of righteousness. It is then only a matter of course that we should also believe that God will destroy this world for sure, for this is what the Creator of this world and the Lord of salvation said. Whatever God said, all of us must believe in it completely and exactly as He said. Even though in our finite minds we may not understand everything God said, each and every God-spoken Word will be fulfilled exactly as it is.
Soon you will hear more news of war breaking out. You will see with your own eyes from news coverage missiles raining down and bombs exploding. The age of war will soon arrive on this earth. The day is coming when nations will rise against nations, states against states. As amply proven by historical records, there is no compromise in a war fought between ardent nationalists. There can be no compromise. Such a total war inevitably calls for the total destruction of one of the two warring sides. Even though everyone wants peace, there can be no absolute and permanent peace in this world.
The Events of This World Will Unfold as Scripted by God
This present age in which we are living is the age of sorrows. Soon, when the events that I described earlier in my sermon unfold, the age of tribulation will come. Then the Antichrist will appear and force everyone to receive the mark of his name, destroying all who refuse to receive this mark with reckless abandon. And the truly born-again will be clearly distinguished from everyone else. Regardless of whether we are martyred or not, after the persecution, our Lord will return to this earth and then destroy this world. He will then give us new heavens and a new earth. This is the promise contained in the true Word of God.
God’s script for these events that will unfold in the age of tribulation has already been completed. When we read this script from the Bible, we can all see clearly that this present age has entered the age of sorrows, having passed through the age of creation, the age of the Law, and the age of grace. There are only two ages left: The age of tribulation and the age of the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven.
In which age do we find ourselves right now? We are now in the age of sorrows. It is neither the age of creation in which Adam and Eve had lived, nor the age of the Law that God initiated through Moses, nor the age of the Early Church just after Jesus’ ascension. Having passed through the age of grace, we are now living in the age of sorrows marked by the unveiling of unprecedented disasters. Given the fact the Almighty God Himself said that He would destroy this world, who could ever prevent it? Are you then still attached to this world that’s inexorably doomed to destruction? I sure hope you are not one of these kinds of people. I pray with all my heart that you have no lingering attachments to this world. Remember this: Whoever does not receive the remission of sins soon will all be destroyed.
What should we the righteous do when we come across people who refuse to accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit when it’s preached to them? We should not just skirt over this refusal so easily, thinking that it’s not that important. We should let them know clearly that they will be cast into hell unless they accept this gospel of the water and the Spirit. Most people have no clue about their impending doom right up to the last minute. To draw an analogy, think about a pig that’s scheduled to be slaughtered in the afternoon. In the morning as the pig wakes up it has no idea that its life is coming to an end, to be sold and dragged to the slaughterhouse, and so it goes on doing whatever pigs do, eating the morning feed and slopping around in the mud being carefree, oblivious to the fact that by the end of the day, it would have been slaughtered and cut into pieces.
Of course, when the pig sees the owner coming into the pen and trying to catch it, it can sense by instinct that something is wrong. The owner still has the same face, but the pig can feel in the air that something is amiss, so it runs wild trying to evade the owner. The way to catch the pig is by baiting it with its favorite food, perhaps with some boiled beans. So the owner drops a trail of beans to entice the pig. Once the pig sees and smells the beans, it completely forgets about what was going on just moments ago and happily follows the trail of beans until it’s caught and roped by the owner. It’s then taken to a truck to be transported to the butchery, where it is put to death and its meat cut into pieces to be sold in the marketplace. Right up to the very moment of its doom, the pig has no idea what is about to happen. It’s just happy to follow the trail of beans, slurping on them obliviously, clueless that this trail of beans would lead to its gruesome end. Like this pig, so do countless people remain oblivious to their destruction even though it is right around the corner.
Every Human Being Is in Honor before God
In Psalm 49, it’s written that although human beings are in honor, those who do not know their honor are like the beasts that perish. As God said, every human being is in honor. Human beings were originally created in the likeness of the image of God. Yet despite the fact that human beings are in the likeness of the image of God, most of them do not know their own honor. Far from realizing that they can actually receive the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit brought by Jesus Christ, reign forever with God, and live for eternity with divine majesty, they are just interested in their own greed just like the beasts that perish. Indeed, countless people today are solely interested in the things of the flesh like the beasts that perish. You and I know very well that we should never allow ourselves to turn into such people who are preoccupied only with the flesh. None of us should look towards the things of this earth alone, only to end up perishing like the beasts. Instead, each and every one of us ought to realize our honor and think about our present circumstances with our minds set on the future, the next world to come. In other words, we ought to think about how we should be living now in light of the future, and with this in mind deal with our present circumstances wisely.
Moreover, we should never think of just ourselves. Instead, we ought to also think about what impact our actions might have on our own families, lest they are harmed because of us. This concern for our own family members should extend to others as well, being carefully mindful of what would happen to them as a result of our actions. In short, our lives should be guided by altruism and a genuine concern for everyone else. We ought to be helpful to others. It’s very important for all of us to learn this life lesson from the Word of God.
What is the purpose for our lives on this earth? It is to serve the Lord. The Bible clearly teaches us that whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, we must do all things to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This means that even when it comes to the food we eat, we need to be careful with our diet in order to serve the gospel of the Lord. This is not to just ensure our own individual health and prosperity, but for the prosperity of all. Indeed, all of us are obligated to live for the glory of God, to bring the remission of sins to everyone else. It’s not just for ourselves that we obey the Lord’s Word and follow Him by faith, but it is for our family members, for those around us, and for everyone all over the world.
Remember What God Said to Us
Our majestic God does not speak to us by appearing directly before us. How does He then speak to us? He speaks to us through His written Word. It is through the Word that God speaks to you and me.
The Lord God destroyed the land of Sodom and Gomorrah completely by raining down brimstone and fire on it. The Word of God alone is enough to end all doubts and all questions. God has commanded us to listen attentively to the Word He speaks through His Church and the Holy Spirit. God speaks to His servants and His people alike through His Church. We believe that God’s Word is found in His Church.
Some of you may think that since Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, she actually turned into something quite useful. Given how widely useful salt is for various purposes such as cooking and preservation, you may think that Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt implies that she had become something beneficial. But that’s not what it means. Far from it, this account means that those who look back towards the world and cannot leave it behind will perish in the spiritual realm, and because of these people, not only will their own family members but countless other people will also be destroyed. All of us ought to engrave this lesson into our hearts. Learning from the lesson that our mistaken action can lead to not only our own self-destruction but the destruction of those around us whom we hold near and dear, we must live by faith.
As we carry on with our lives, you and I must have a clear, unshakable understanding that now is the time of sorrows. I have already told you all about what would happen in the future. I have also explained to you how the events of this world would unfold and what would happen to the world economy. Since I’ve already explained them fully, I have little more to say. I never preach the Word from the pulpit just according to my own thoughts. Right here and right now, God rules over my heart through the Holy Spirit so that I would not utter my own words. So I can’t just speak whatever happens to be on my mind.
In these days when the end is not far away, you and I alike must defend our faith and obey the Word of God, never looking back at the things of the world. So let us all preach the gospel of the Lord to as many people as possible in our lives, and when the Lord returns, let us all set ourselves free from this present world of insecurity and pain to enter the new heavens and the new earth that God has created for us. We will then live there happily and joyously for a thousand years and beyond, for eternity. Realizing that there is a place more wonderful than this world, let us all live by faith. God has clearly told us that He will bring all these blessings to us.
Lord Jesus, come soon!
This sermon is also available in ebook format. Click on the book cover below.