“‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.’”
I don’t know if the Lord has heard our prayer to have the gospel evangelized quickly, but our webmaster told me that the average number of hits on our homepage has increased to about 5,600 per a day. (Editor’s note: the number recorded over 20,000 a day in 2006.) The response has been great since we have produced some more electronic books that contain the gospel of the water and the Spirit and uploaded them on the internet since we were not able to print many books in paper because of the financial difficulty. The request of the books increase by about 100 copies each time the number of visitors to our homepage increases by 1000 people. I am happy because the work of the Lord seems to be going well throughout the world.
There is much concern these days because there is a lot of arson being committed in Seoul these days. I think such crimes are increasing because life is becoming increasingly more difficult. Our weak hearts become even more damaged and anxious when such terrible things happen in our society. But it is so fortunate that God has taken care of us and blessed us so that we can serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit like this. I don’t know how much longer we will be able to share this gospel, but I believe that God will give us strength and make us preach the gospel even more.
I will continue to share the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the entire world and write the books for the spiritual growth of the saints. And I believe the Lord will always work together with us so that the seeds of the gospel will blossom the flowers and bear fruit abundantly, and the flames of the gospel of the water and the Spirit will arise throughout the whole world.
But on the other hands, there are more saints who are leaving even after receiving the remission of sins than the new believers coming into our Church. Of course I think that could happen because we are weak human beings, but it is also true that I feel truly frustrated when I see the empty space left by the saints who have not set their mind firm with faith. But I truly want God to hold unto them until the end so that they would not become the adversaries of God. I have a desire in my heart that they would not become like the unfaithful servant who just returned the very one talent to the master and eventually faced condemnation as is recorded in the Scriptures.
I have a desire for you and me to complete all the work that has been entrusted to us until the day of the Lord’s coming. I also think that this life of serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit and walking together with the Lord is truly happy. Though we are lacking, we are happy because we serve the gospel and we are comforted even when we are facing difficulties because we always abide in this gospel and the Lord. I sometimes wonder what I would have lived for if not for this gospel. Would we have true happiness if we lived only for our own flesh instead of serving the Lord came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Is it really a righteous life if you live only for yourself? No, it isn’t. Living without knowing the Lord and the gospel of the water and the Spirit is really worthless, as it is written, “A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).
The Scriptures Say the Sheep Must Enter through the Door of the Sheep
Today, we have read the Gospel of John chapter 10 together. When we look at the verses 1 to 5, we could see that our Lord is talking about the conventional practice in the world. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
As you know, the shepherd that takes care of the sheep opens the door for the sheep when the sheep come back after eating grass. Then the sheep come into the fold, and when the shepherd opens the door the next day and goes before them, the sheep follow him and eat grass. And the sheep recognize their shepherd perfectly and definitely. They only follow their own shepherd and do not follow anyone else even if that person wears the clothes of the shepherd. The sheep that remembers the shepherd’s voice still follow their shepherd even if the fake one is disguised as the real shepherd. That is truly an bewildering and amazing thing, but it’s true. The Lord spoke of the truly correct and real fact in the first part of the chapter 10.
In the Gospel of John chapter 10 verses 7 to 9, the Lord talks about the realistic and spiritual things here and our Lord portrayed Himself as the “door of the sheep”: “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.’”
The Lord is our God. Jesus says He is the door of the sheep because He has become our Shepherd and led us, the flock of sheep, to the correct door and fed us the food of the salvation called the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And He continues on to say, “All who ever came before Me are thieves and robber.” This is saying that anyone except the Lord who insists that he is the savior, the founder of a sect, or a religious leader are thieves and robbers. I am not trying to undermine other religions, but the teaching in Buddhism that all people can become Buddha and go to the nirvana is of a thief and a robber according to the Lord’s Word here. The Lord said that only the Lord Himself is our true God and Savior and the Shepherd who leads us to the righteous path and gives us eternal life. He said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
If we believe in the Lord according to this Word of the Lord, if we believe that the Lord is our God, and if we believe that the Lord has blotted out all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you and I can receive the remission of sins through that faith and become God’s children and attain eternal life and go in and out through the door of the Lord and always eat the bread of life. That’s because the Lord is the door of the sheep and the door of the Kingdom of Heaven as well as the door of salvation and the blessing at the same time. Probably, no one among the saints who believe in this fact does not know the Word, “[The sheep] will go in and out and find pasture.” Who among the born-again does not know the fact that the Lord is the door that sends us to Heaven? But the important thing in our life of faith is ‘faith’ more than ‘knowledge.’ Through the Word in today’s passage, I want you to reconfirm and believe in your heart this Truth that you have known well until now and have the heart of thanksgiving to the Lord.
The Lord Who Is the Good Shepherd Gives His Life for the Sheep
The Lord said in verse 11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” The Lord says that He is the good Shepherd. The thieves come to kill and destroy, but the good Shepherd comes to this world to have the sheep attain heavenly life more abundantly. The Lord who gave us the true life and salvation is the good Shepherd: no one else but our Lord is the good shepherd. It means that there is none other than the Lord who can say, “I am the good shepherd.” But what did the Lord say in following? The Lord said that the good shepherd dies for the sheep.
Giving up one’s life is definitely not an easy thing. And there probably isn’t anyone who would give up his life without hesitation to save others. But the Lord our God gave up His life and saved us because He loved you and me so much and had so much compassion for us. I am saying that the Lord came to this world and received the baptism to take all our sins upon Him and died in our place and saved us from the destruction. The Scriptures say that the good Shepherd gives up His life for the sheep. And the Lord gave up His life to save us. That’s why we profess that the Lord is surely our good Shepherd.
Who is the good Shepherd who loved His sheep so much that He gave up His life for them and saved the sheep? Yes, He is none other than Jesus Christ. Can you and I give up our own life for the sheep? No, we can’t. It is definitely not easy to give up our own life for others. Think of this story for a moment as an actual story for yourself and not just as the Word in the Scriptures. Our Lord did the work that no one else could do. The Lord who is the Almighty God came to this world as our Savior and paid the wages of all our sins by receiving the baptism on His body and giving up Himself to die on the Cross and resurrected again to perfectly save you and me. Therefore, the Lord said He is the good Shepherd. There really isn’t anything more to say and explain any further about this clear Truth.
The Lord really is our God and the Savior who has saved you and me perfectly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He is the Shepherd that has never treated us like a doormat; rather He has treated us as His friends. We must confirm in our hearts of this faith that the Lord is the good Shepherd who has given us eternal life. Only those who understand this and believe in Him correctly are the people with the true faith.
But, what would happen if we do not believe that the Lord is our good Shepherd as we believe and follow the Lord? We just try to find a way out for ourselves and do not stand beside the Lord when we face a difficult situation. Then we stand against the Lord unwittingly. If we believe that the Lord really is our own Savior, we can uphold ourselves for the benefit of the gospel even when we are in a disadvantageous situation as we follow the Lord. We can do so because we believe clearly that the Lord would never harm you and me who are His sheep. You must remember that you can become the adversaries of the gospel some day if you do not acknowledge this fact and do not believe in this in your heart.
The Lord pointed to Himself and said, “I am the good shepherd.” And He also said, “The good shepherd gives up His life for the sheep.” We must understand that He is truly our good Shepherd and receive it with our hearts if the Lord definitely said this. We must become His sheep by believing that the Lord is the good Shepherd just like we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We cannot really become His sheep and we are beings who can always depart from the Lord if we cannot accept this fact by faith.
I can also see such people around me that cannot live steadfastly as the Lord’s sheep and depart from the Lord. Such people believe in the Lord, but suddenly turn from the Lord and stand against the Lord when their faith inflicts a loss on their lives. They should hold their hearts to unite with the work of preaching the gospel, but they instead are shaken like the chaff blown away by the wind. And they say, “When have I served the gospel?” regardless of whether it would harm the evangelization of the gospel or not. Such a person would become my adversary because he stands opposed to the Lord, but I think that is possible because he is a weak human being when I give it a second thought. Actually, you and I are beings that could become like that at any time if we do not truly believe in the Word that the Lord is our true Shepherd and the door to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Do you really believe that the Lord is the good Shepherd? I am sure you do. The deeper I think about it the clearer is the Truth that the Lord is the door of the sheep and the good Shepherd. We can understand definitely that the Lord is our door━the door to Heaven, the door of salvation, the door of the blessing, the door to eternal life━and the good Shepherd if we contemplate deeply, “What is really the relationship between the Lord and me?” or “Who is the Lord to me?” The Word the Lord spoke through today’s Scripture passage is absolutely not exaggerated, forceful, or false. The Lord said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives up His life for the sheep.” The Lord who takes the responsibility of our present and future sins and gives us the eternal life is clearly our good Shepherd. Could we give up the Lord while living out our faith just because we face some difficulties and loses now that the Lord has paid the wages of all our sins by receiving the baptism and dying on the Cross and gave us the true salvation that we cannot receive by any other means? No, we can’t. That is a wrong behavior that a born-again saint should not do.
Of course there appear some disappointing things among people and some wrong doings to one another when we follow the Lord and live out our faith. It’s because our life of faith is also entangled with many humanistic relationships too, just as it is in our social life. But all problems are resolved naturally when we believe in the Lord and devote all our hearts to the preaching of the gospel. It means that I am able to overlook some one’s shortcomings and understand him if he is a person who benefits the preaching of the gospel even though he has shortcomings and has done some wrong things to me. That’s because a person who lives with his heart set for the benefit of the gospel is really a precious one.
People who serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit and give their efforts for the preaching of the gospel are precious people regardless of their shortcomings and abilities. Anyone who has set his heart clearly for the gospel the Lord has given is a precious person. But what about a person who has not? He is in danger of his spiritual life. He is someone who could change at any time and become my enemy.
As you know all too well, there was a man named Judas Iscariot among the 12 disciples who followed Jesus. The Lord did not use him much although he was always at the side of the Lord because Jesus knew that he would later sell Him out. And this Judas who followed Jesus, listened to the Word from Jesus, and shared food to eat with Him actually sold Jesus out when Jesus didn’t seem to do as he expected.
What can we realize from the account of Judas? It’s that anyone who does not have unwavering faith can become an enemy to the gospel even if it’s someone who has always lived a life of faith together with us. Therefore, we must set our hearts firmly and believe in Him so that we may not become like that. We must believe in the Truth that proclaims Jesus is the door of salvation, the door of Heaven, and the good Shepherd who would do good to us from the past, present, to our future eternally. The Lord will definitely not cast us out if we set this faith solid in our hearts and work for the benefit of the gospel of the water and the Spirit in the place that the Lord has permitted us.
The Apostle Paul said, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” As this Word in the Scriptures says, if we take a closer look at people’s thinking or emotion, it is really filthy. People do not even consider a good thing as a good thing when they start thinking about such things. The chain of thoughts that follow one after another inevitably reaches a negative conclusion. But how is the spiritual thinking? It brings a positive conclusion, true life, and peace.
Therefore, we, the people of faith, who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do not need to bring in our own thinking into our faith. We just need to set our hearts firmly in the gospel and profess our faith, saying, “The Lord is my good Shepherd. The Lord is the door of the sheep and the door to all things. He saved us and gave us the eternal life and He does not harm us. He takes responsibility for all my past, present, and the future and also takes responsibility for our souls. He is a really good Shepherd to me. Therefore, I will serve the Lord in the situation that the Lord allows even though I am lacking.” We must set our hearts firm in faith like this.
We Must Set Our Hearts for the Lord
I often say, “You must make up your mind to the Lord,” to the believers and the servants of God. I mean that you must place your heart onto the upright work. Our hearts must take hold of the right place with the thinking, “This is my rightful place that God has given,” and set our hearts down there as the plane in the air must land somewhere. If we set our hearts firmly in the faith, then the negative thinking that comes up as we live in this world cannot topple the faith. But what would happen if we were in a state that has not set the heart properly in faith. We might turn our backs to the Lord and stand in a position that stands against the gospel of the water and the Spirit because of the negative thinking that comes to us unavoidably for we are human beings. Therefore, today’s Scripture passage is very important Word that is telling us we must set our hearts in the righteous thing and in the Lord who is the eternal Truth.
The Lord said that He is the good Shepherd. We must set this faith clearly in our hearts if we hear this Word and acknowledge that the Lord is really the good Shepherd. It means that we must actually accept this in our hearts and not just understand it as mere knowledge. We carry on our lives of faith through the heart not through the head. Your faith stays solid in its proper place no matter how the Devil shakes it and tries to pull it apart, if we understand the Word of God with the heart and set our faith solid on the Word with heart. But your faith will be shaken unintentionally when you just understand the Word without knowing it with the heart.
Some may think negatively saying, “The Lord is the good Shepherd. Why are you constantly repeating that when even I know that it is written in the Scriptures? Is it just to pass time?” This is a wrong faith. The Truth that “The Lord is my good Shepherd” would never be boring and make us feel grateful if we believed in the Lord’s Word and got onboard on that Word.
Would it really be a proper faith if we who have received salvation through God and do the Lord’s work did not believe in the Word God spoke in the Scriptures? I am asking whether you could really walk together with the Lord when you say, “That’s Your Word. But my thinking is different. I think this is correct,” in reply to the Lord’s command that says, “Live your spiritual life this way. Everything will turn out well if you do it like this.” Would you have the qualifications to receive the eternal blessing the Lord gives if you had such attitude? No, we wouldn’t. It is right for you to reply, “I believe the Lord is our good Shepherd,” when the Lord says, “I am the good Shepherd.” This is really an easy and simple method.
The Lord cannot be disregarded as the good Shepherd or become a less good Shepherd regardless of how much very intelligent people think and study about the matter. Just thinking simply, “I thought about it once again and I know the Lord is the good Shepherd as it is written in the Scriptures. It is clear that He is the good Shepherd that takes responsibility for my future and gives me the salvation and does not harm me,” and believing it is the true faith. We may feel that such a person may seem to be foolish and dumb, but actually the person is truly wise. But the person who does much thinking on his own and is stubborn loses the true opportunity to attain proper faith because he is busy thinking deeply with his head. I am also one of the people who believe in the Lord simply like, “How could there be another god when the Lord really took all my sin by being baptized and died for me on the Cross, when the Lord has done all that for me? The Lord is my good Shepherd. That’s it!”
All the religions in the world come to an end when we just say, “They are all garbage.” There is only one mindset because the mind is set firmly in faith. Whether it’s before being born again or after being born again, people have the desire to live according to the benefit of their own flesh because people are weak. But we will never be shaken no matter what temptation comes to us if we set our heart on the Word the Lord spoke and believe it as the Truth. No matter what situation we face, our hearts stand firm with the thinking, “The Lord is my Shepherd and the door to Heaven.” This heart is not set upright automatically. Rather, we must set it upright by ourselves. It means that we must set the Truth and the heart that we think is right in ourselves. People who cannot set their hearts by themselves will not have the absolute Truth in their hearts even if tens of thousands of years passed. And they will eventually make reservations for the hottest seat in hell.
The Lord said, “The hireling is not a shepherd and the sheep is not his own sheep. Therefore he flees when he sees the wolf and the wolf catches the sheep and harms them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd.” Here, the hireling means the people who just work for compensation just as the word implies and there are many religious hirelings around us that deceive the people and say they are the good shepherds. They minister in one church and then leave right away when another church says that they will pay him more. It is the characteristic of a hireling to quit the church that was entrusted to him without hesitation when yet another church says that it will give him more money.
But our Lord is different. The Lord said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” He said that He is the truly good Shepherd that gives up His life to save those souls. He said, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” The Lord gave up His life out of His own volition to give new life to you and me exactly as this Word written in the Scriptures. The Lord took our sins upon Him through the baptism and gave up His life by giving up His body on the Cross, and the Lord says, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” It is saying that He gave up His life on His own and no one takes it from Him, and for no other reason but to save you and me.
The Lord who loved us like this is our true God. The Lord truly is our Lord and our God. The great and almighty God who created the heavens and the earth gave up His life to save us that should die because of sin. That’s why the Lord has to be our good Shepherd. There is none like the Lord in this planet and in the whole universe. The Lord is the good Shepherd who has saved us, and He leads us in the paths of righteousness. Do you also believe in this?
We must understand and believe this Word of the Lord with our hearts and engrave this firmly in each one of our hearts. We must confirm in our hearts this Truth that the Lord is the good Shepherd who gave up His life to save our souls and make us alive again. It is written that the Lord who has the authority to give up His life or receive it again laid His own life down for you and me. I really understand and believe so. All the people who have already received the remission of sins or those who have not must believe in this. We must set clearly in our hearts the fact that our Lord is our good Shepherd and follow the Lord by uniting together with God’s Church and seeking the benefit of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Make up your mind now if you have yet to make up your heart as you live out your faith in these difficult times. The Lord said that He is our good Shepherd. There is no reason why you cannot place your mind on this certain Truth. Let’s make up our mind once and for all by saying, “The Lord saved me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord is my God and my Savior, and the One who gave me eternal life and the One who takes care of all things in the past, present, and the future. He is my good Shepherd that does good work through me.” And we should live the rest of our life for the benefit of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Let’s live like that until we leave this world. The end of the world has drawn near. Regardless of whether you are young or old, whether you are a minister or a lay believer, I sincerely want all of you to make up your hearts before the presence of the Lord in same manner and believe it in your hearts and live this world that way until the last day.
The world right now is like the calm before the storm even though it looks peaceful to our eyes. It is precarious like the calm moment before the storm in every facet including political, economical, military, climactic, and natural realms. You and I are living in a dreadfully terrible time. This is the time to wake up from slumber and come back to the Church if anyone has departed from God’s Church. But there are saints who still have not made up their minds and just continue to live for the benefit of their flesh. Jesus is the only One who gives peace and comfort to us during this time when all things are in a precarious state. Therefore, we must believe that the Lord is the good Shepherd and continue to store the Truth in our hearts as we read the Scriptural Word. We must make up our hearts firmly and draw out the faith once again and confirm it when the crisis rushes in or when the temptation arises from the heart as we live in this precarious world.
When your circumstance becomes disadvantageous and the greed from your flesh arises and hence comes a time when you do not seek the benefit of the gospel and just think about yourself, you then have to reconsider once again the Word, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” by faith. And then turn your heart to thinking, “I should not be like this since the Lord is my good Shepherd. Shouldn’t I be doing the good work as the Lord wishes since the Lord gave me the salvation and did not harm me?” This is the time you should stand before the Lord perfectly.
Actually, I live each day with the heart of one in the battlefields these days. I do so because there could come a time when a more terrible war could erupt and I will not be able to do the Lord’s work properly: I will regret it if I did not do this work today. I live each day with the heart to do the Lord’s work as if we were involved in a war because we can at least work until now. There actually could be many crises for humanity due to various infectious diseases and natural catastrophes in the future as many people died in masses through the infectious disease called pest a long time ago.
We do not have much spare time. The Lord will come soon. We must be spiritually awakened right now at this moment. We must make up our hearts by knowing and believing absolutely that the Lord is the door of the sheep and our good Shepherd. We must give ourselves to the Lord serenely with our faith and commit ourselves to Him. And we must think of the work of God that has been entrusted to us as really precious work and faithfully carry out this work each and every day. I mean that we must live with the thinking, “I am a human being that could die any minute. I will take each moment preciously and work diligently because I might not have a chance to do it later.” The foundation of such life is the faith in the truth that “The Lord is the good Shepherd.”
The Lord really is the door of the sheep and the good Shepherd. Everything else is not much of a problem if we just believe in this. If we have received the remission of sins and become the righteous by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must understand who the Person that has given us the remission of sins really is. We must believe in Him with the understanding that He is the Lord and our good Shepherd.
Living the life of faith is like that. It means that we must not just think of our salvation; we also must think of and believe in the Lord who has given us salvation. I will carry out the Lord’s work diligently together with my coworkers and brothers and sisters today and tomorrow although I am lacking because it is the work that the Lord has entrusted to me.
I believe the Lord will guide us to the righteous path and protect us and make us serve the gospel. I give thanks to the Lord who is our good Shepherd.