(1 Kings 12:1-18)“And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. So it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard it (he was still in Egypt, for he had fled from the presence of King Solomon and had been dwelling in Egypt), that they sent and called him. Then Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.’ So he said to them, ‘Depart for three days, then come back to me.’ And the people departed. Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, ‘How do you advise me to answer these people?’ And they spoke to him, saying, ‘If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.’ But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. And he said to them, ‘What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?’ Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, ‘Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’’ So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had directed, saying, ‘Come back to me the third day.’ Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’ So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the LORD, that He might fulfill His word, which the LORD had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying:‘What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.To your tents, O Israel!Now, see to your own house, O David!’So Israel departed to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah. Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the revenue; but all Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem.”Today’s Scripture passage that we just read records the events that occurred when Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, assumed the throne. Rehoboam was King Solomon’s son by blood. When King Solomon died, the people of Israel came to Shechem to see his son Rehoboam, and made a request to him. At that time, a man called Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, returned from his exile in Egypt and came to see Rehoboam together with the people of Israel.
“Your Father Made Our Yoke Heavy; Now Therefore, Lighten the Burdensome Service of Your Father”
Jeroboam and the people of Israel requested to Rehoboam, “Now that you’ve become our king, show some consideration for our weariness. Let your rule be lighter than your father’s rule. If you also impose heavy burdens as your father has done, we will no longer be able to endure this yoke. Promise us therefore that you will lighten our burdens. We will then serve you wholeheartedly.” Yet despite this, even though the people of Israel asked Rehoboam not to rule them as his father had done, Rehoboam the son of Solomon rejected the people’s request and spoke to them even more harshly. His rejection of the people’s request stemmed from his arrogance.
Of course, Rehoboam first consulted the elders who had stood before his father Solomon when he was still alive, asking them for their advice regarding the people’s appeal. They counseled King Rehoboam to restrain himself, saying to him, “If you really want to serve them and answer them with kind words, then they will be your servants forever.” However, King Rehoboam did not listen to their advice. Instead, he consulted the young men who had grown with him, asking the same question. These young men then counseled King Rehoboam to say to the people, “My father was inferior to me. My little finger is thicker than his waist. If my father had ruled you with a heavy yoke and whips, then I will chastise you with scourges!” So following the advice of these young men, King Rehoboam answered the people harshly, “Though my father had ruled you with whips, I will rule you with scourges.”
When the people of Israel saw how the king did not listen to them, they returned to each of their tents, saying to him, “Look after your own house!” Not long after, Rehoboam sent Adoram to mobilize them into forced labor, but the ten tribes of Israel stoned him to death. And these ten tribes from the twelve tribes of Israel made Jeroboam their king. Because of this, Jeroboam rose to the throne of the Kingdom of Israel, but he ended up sinning against God, replacing Him with golden calves and making priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi (1 Kings 12:28-32). The Bible says that it’s because of Jeroboam, because he had followed his private greed, that the nation of Israel and its people turned into heretics collectively, something that they would regret for a long time to come. From then on, and until the time Jesus Christ came to this earth, Israel turned into a nation of idolatry. And King Jeroboam was forever tainted with infamy as the very man who brought forth collective heresy in the domain of faith.
We need to consider here carefully how exactly King Jeroboam led the people of Israel to fall into collective heresy. Jeroboam had followed his desires, and it’s precisely because of this that all his people ended up falling into heresy. All those who have led today’s Christianity to fall into collective heresy also follow their desires of the flesh. God says in the Bible, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). God also says that those who belong to heresy do not follow His righteousness, but far from it, they actually stand against this righteousness, and therefore they eventually become His enemies. Heretics are those who seek only the pleasures of their flesh.
For those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, when we think about heretics, we think that they are fundamentally different from us. Just like us, however, they also believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ, they also call the name of Jesus, they also praise Him and pray to Him, and they also sacrifice themselves and labor for His name’s sake. The only difference is that they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we believe in; other than this, they have the same Bible as we have, and there is little difference between their form of worship and ours. We often are not able to discern heresy, and this is all because we do not quite understand what the heretics are seeking after.
In fact, heretical Christianity has also branched out from God’s Church, that is, from corrupted groups of believers. How is it then possible for heresy to arise out of God’s Church? Actually, the origin of heretical groups goes a long way back, all the way to the days of Jeroboam, even to the days of King Solomon. It’s from the days of Jeroboam that the entire people of Israel turned into heretics. We can see this more clearly if we take a look at how King Solomon had walked. Because King Solomon had sought and followed only the desires of his flesh, he ended up allowing both himself and his people to serve idols, and in the end, he turned into a heretic in the presence of God. From Solomon, we can see that if anyone follows only his private desires, then he will turn into a heretic before God. So it was to warn us of such risks and to teach us a lesson that God wrote this story of the Old Testament for us.
Solomon had inherited the throne of his father David as well as all his wealth and splendor. By waging many wars, his father David had defeated countless enemies, brought the neighboring nations to submission, and built a great deal of wealth from their tributes. David was a man whose heart was in harmony with God’s heart, and he was also a good king of Israel. All through his life, David was rebuked by God harshly only once, and this happened when he took Uriah’s wife out of his lust. Except for this, there was virtually no other occasion when David was harshly rebuked by God.
In contrast, all that King Solomon did was just enjoying all this wealth and serving idols. King Solomon built God’s Temple as the very first accomplishment to do once he succeeded to his father’s throne. He raised a 30,000-strong labor force from the people of Israel, injecting 10,000 men in shifts, to work for a month and rest at home for two months (1 Kings 5:14). Since it’s also written that there were 70,000 carriers and 80,000 stonecutters in the mountains (1 Kings 5:15), while the Temple of God and Solomon’s palace were being built, all the people of Israel were likely mobilized into forced labor for at least several months a year. While King Solomon imposed this burdensome labor on his people, he himself lived a life of extravagant wealth and splendor.
The Bible writes that during his lifetime, Solomon spent silver as if it were as common as stones in the ground. He squandered his wealth like this throughout his lifetime, and he had no less than 1,000 wives. He also forced his people into labor for seven years to build the Temple of God. And to build his own palace, he made them work for 13 years. If he had really cared about the people, then he should have had them work just a year or two at most to build his palace, and then let the people rest and serve their families.
Think about it yourself. Imagine if I had conscripted you into forced labor to work for 13 years just to build my own house. I would be faced with stiff resistance from you. That’s why when the reign of Solomon’s son began, the people of Israel came to King Rehoboam and asked him to lighten up their burdensome labor. The king should have listened and granted their request, but he foolishly rejected it, thus triggering their rebellion. But it was all in God’s will that King Rehoboam refused to grant the people’s wish. As King Solomon had served the idols too much, which God hated, his son Rehoboam was allowed to make this blunder so that God may render His judgment for the sins of his father Solomon.
Why Does Heresy Emerge from within Christianity?
Heresy springs forth in Christian communities because there are people like Rehoboam or Jeroboam in them. Let’s now examine more closely why it is that heresy has emerged from within Christianity. Even for us, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we follow our private greed too much, then we will also turn into heretics. And for those inside Christian communities as well, if they believe in Christianity only as a matter of religion, rather than leading their lives of faith by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then they will also be seen as heretics in God’s sight. Although it’s only natural for this to happen to nominal Christians, you must realize that even if one follows God, if he only seeks his private desires, then he will also turn into a heretic.
Even for the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if they live only according to the desires of their flesh, then they may also turn into heretics before God. Jeroboam had followed his private greed. That’s why he turned into a heretic in God’s sight. King Jeroboam was a heretic before God. That’s because he had followed only the lust of the flesh according to his heart’s desires. Heretics spring forth from their heretical predecessors. Jeroboam had witnessed Solomon’s walk while serving in his court. That’s why he committed the same heretical sins as King Solomon. Like this, because the people of Israel also followed in the footsteps of Jeroboam and repeated the same sins that he committed, they turned into heretics hated by God.
There are many in today’s Christian communities who are imprisoned by collective heretics. In today’s Christianity, all those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are in fact God’s opponents, but it’s not because they actually wish to stand against God that this happened. Rather, it’s all because they are unable to cast aside the lust of the flesh that’s in their hearts. If one is not born again, and therefore his heart is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, then he is incapable of throwing away the lust of his flesh, and that is why he ends up belonging to the gathering of collective heretics. It’s so frustrating when I think about such people who are following their own lust before God. How can a pastor seized by his own carnal lust be called a leader of Christianity? Such pastors do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit nor believe in it, and therefore they have many sins in their hearts. Then how can these pastors, who are ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, stand before their congregation and preach to them, far less spread this gospel of Truth to sinners?
It’s said that a lot of worldly perks follow when one becomes a pastor. Kings are guaranteed various royal prerogatives, but it’s said that pastors are guaranteed even more privileges than kings. So they don’t want to give up their line of faith, even when they come to know it is wrong, for they would lose every privilege as pastors of mainstream Christianity. It’s because so many pastors today are ministering according to their private lust only to satisfy this greed that they don’t even try to correct their mistaken direction. That is why pastors and their followers are unable to escape from collective heresies of the so-called mainstream Christianity.
In today’s Christianity also, many leaders are living according to the lust of their flesh, just like Jeroboam. All these people are walking on the way of heresy before God. Heretical pastors are ministering to pursue their individual greed. Some pastors emphasize the so-called “blessings of the three-fold gospel.” These pastors all seek only the blessings of the flesh. Citing 3 John 1:2, which says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers,” they claim that if anyone believes in Jesus, he would not only be saved but also receive the blessings of the earth and be healed from all his physical illnesses. Such beliefs are nothing more than placing one’s faith in crude, false doctrines that are no better than a crass comedy. Armed with the argument that claims, “All problems will be solved if one believes in Jesus,” they incite those who seek their own lust, and turn them into fanatical followers of their own teachings. For such people, Jesus is little more than an insurance provider that guarantees their success. Deep in the center of their hearts, it’s not Jesus that is found, but golden calves.
Those Who Belong to Collective Heresy Are Followers of the Lust of Their Flesh
Today so-called leaders of Christianity neither know nor believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and yet they are all pretending to be churchmen in Christian communities. In the end, they are not only living for their own flesh, but their flesh is honored all in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s because they want to serve golden calves that they are ministering as churchmen. In some cases, there is nothing else that they can do out in the broader society; in fact, some of them can’t even make a living otherwise, and that’s why they are working as ministers. Such people exploit foolish souls, armed with the puny theological knowledge and a few Christian doctrines that they learned in seminaries, and fronting famous theologians or martyrs boasted by their own denominations. Yet even as they are nothing more than piles of greed, their flesh is honored in Christian communities. It is these people, who are not only incapable of casting aside their private desires, but are actually ministering to satisfy them, that have become heretics in Christianity.
Even for all our ministers, our workers, and our saints who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit today, if they follow only their private greed, then they may also turn into heretics before God. Ultimately, those who embark on the way of heresy do so because they put their own carnal lust in God’s place and serve it as their god. This is the tragedy of today’s pastors who are now serving golden calves in Christian communities. Even if one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, unless he serves this gospel and lives his life for its proclamation, then such a righteous person may also turn into a heretic. And this is even truer for the many pastors who are now ministering in today’s Christianity without being born again. Why have ministers and their followers in today’s Christian communities turned into collective heresy? It’s because they have followed only their own private lust.
Any king of Israel should wage war against its enemies and rule his nation under a theocracy, but far from this, a certain king not only brought foreign women into his court as his wives, but he spent all his life boasting only his own wisdom, intellect, and virtues. This king was a heretic. Do you know who he is? He is none other than Solomon. Such a king cannot help but ultimately drive his own people to idolatry.
What did Solomon say as he approached the end of his life? Didn’t he say, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”? (Ecclesiastes 1:2) Solomon had experienced everything on this earth. He had lived according to his greed, but wasn’t all his labor in vain? We can then find a great lesson here from God. Our ministers, our male and female workers, and our saints are now following the righteousness of God, having received the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, the lust of the flesh still remains in our hearts also. Nevertheless, we must devote ourselves to the work of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit, believing in and following the righteousness of God. Even for the righteous, if they follow only their carnal lust, then they will ultimately turn into heretics. It’s because one follows his own private desires that he is unable to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and, as a result, turns into a heretic. The same lesson applies to us as well: Although we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we put too much emphasis on our private desires of the flesh, surrender ourselves to these desires, and follow only the lust of the flesh, then we will also turn into heretics. This is the lesson that we must also learn here.
We have to keep in mind that even those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receiving the remission of their sins may follow idols. I am certain that even in God’s Church, if our ministers, workers, and brothers and sisters follow only the lust of their flesh, then it will take little time for them to also turn into heretics to serve idols. Some people may then say, “We believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and so how could we become heretics before God?” But this is not so impossible. We, too, may be reduced into a heretical church that serves idols 100 percent. For those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it’s only a matter of course for them to serve idols. However, even we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit may end up like Jeroboam.
My fellow believers, would King Jeroboam have been ignorant of the Law of God? No, he knew all about it. He knew very well that the tenth day of the seventh month was the Day of Atonement, and that whenever the Day of Atonement or Passover came around, all the people of Israel had to gather together around the Temple of Jerusalem for the High Priest to offer sacrifices on their behalf and make it possible for them to receive the remission of their sins. He was also fully aware of the fact that ordinary people could not be appointed to priesthood, and that only the descendants of Levi could become priests. He also knew very well that only someone who descended from Aaron could be appointed as the High Priest. Yet despite knowing all these requirements, Jeroboam still went ahead and corrupted the Law of God, making a mockery out of it. All the changes he made were preposterous. Only the Levites could become priests, and only the tenth day of the seventh month was the Day of Atonement established by God. It was all dishonoring to God to change them. Altering the God-established law is something that is done only by heretics, and it is a grievous sin that changes the statutes of God.
It’s because Christians have all followed their own private greed that they have turned into collective heretics. Jeroboam chased after his own individual greed. The other kings of Israel that succeeded his throne drew territorial borders to prevent the people of Israel from sharing fellowship with the people of the Kingdom of Judah, lest they move across back and forth and make contacts with their brothers in the south. When the ten tribes from the northern kingdom, Israel, invaded the southern kingdom, the king of Judah even offered money to another nation’s king and bribed him with gold and silver, asking him to kill the king of Israel and all its people in exchange.
The Israelites asked other countries like Babylon to kill their counterpart on their behalf. Israel and Judah had become enemies to each other. Why did this happen? It’s because their kings had failed to cast aside the greed of the flesh. Had these kings cast aside their private greed, believed in Jehovah God as the only true God, and appointed priests and made them sacrifice according to the sacrificial system established by God, then all the people would have received the remission of their sins and glorified God as well. If King Jeroboam had appointed the descendants of Levi to priesthood; knew and served the will of God through His prophets; allowed fellowship to take place with the southern kingdom of Judah through the same faith; gathered his people together at the Temple in Jerusalem and worshiped God with the people of Judah on such festivities as the Day of Atonement, Passover, the Feast of Harvest; and united with Judah to defeat foreign tribes, then the nation of Israel would have been blessed by God and enjoyed peace. He would then have secured his legitimacy, and his descendents would also have led the people to the right way. Yet Jeroboam did none of these things, but instead, he broke off his kingdom’s relations with the southern kingdom of Judah and prevented his people from having any contacts with the people of Judah, just to satisfy his own greed.
Even today, people throughout the world who have not been born again are wary of those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people do not know what the gospel of the water and the Spirit is. If anyone says to them that his heart has been made sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they blindly paint him as a heretic. Why do they treat the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit like this? They do so in order to satisfy their private greed. It’s because they are afraid that if the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit come to their churches and teach their congregation the true gospel, they would no longer be recognized as pastors by their own congregation. And if they are no longer recognized as pastors in their own churches, then they won’t get paid, they won’t be honored, they won’t even hear anyone calling them pastors, and they won’t be respected by their own congregation. That is why they accuse the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to be heretics.
The Collective Heresy in Christianity, Calling Itself Orthodox Denomination, Has Emerged out of the Ignorance of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
It’s impossible to say that King Solomon had nothing to do with the people of Israel turning into a group of heretics. Although it was clearly wrong for King Jeroboam to serve idols, this came about precisely because Solomon had taught him so. Put differently, the reason why Jeroboam went astray like this is because of his king Solomon, because Solomon had served idols habitually and taught his heretical faith to the people. Then who is to be blamed for the emergence of collective heresy in today’s Christianity? It’s all because of the Christian leaders who are following idols in their lives. And it’s because of those who follow their private greed of the flesh even after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and being born again, that heresies have sprung forth in Christian communities.
Therefore, as those who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must grasp just how important our responsibility is. To our ministers throughout Korea, as well as to all our coworkers and brothers and sisters all over the world who believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit, I would like to make the following point clear: There is no guarantee that we would never turn into heretics before God. If we serve idols like Solomon according to our individual greed, then we will also turn into heretics.
King Ahab is Omri’s son. The sins committed by Jeroboam or his successors pale in comparison with the sins that this man Ahab committed. Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him (1 Kings 16:30). He even made images of Baal and Asherah and set them up in the temple of Baal in Samaria. He built an altar there, bowed before these idols and burnt incense to them, and thereby stood against God. Whom did this man Ahab marry? He married a foreign woman named Jezebel. To his core, he had absolutely no fear of God. How could a man of God marry a foreign woman? Today, many people are marrying across different nationalities, and by no means am I saying here that this is somehow carnal or wrong. Rather, I am pointing out Ahab’s spiritual wrongdoing, as his marriage to Jezebel was a sin, akin to the sin that the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit would be committing if they shared fellowship of faith with any other Christians that do not believe in this gospel of Truth.
Because I have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I think little of those who do not know this gospel, no matter how great and marvelous they may be. Can the people of God cater to and befriend just anyone? No, of course not. Can our brothers and sisters who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit share fellowship with those who belong to heresy? No, they can’t. They may have done this when they did not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but they can’t do this once they have faith in the true gospel. Among the born-again, when those who follow their private desires marry someone who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they try to rationalize their carnal behavior, saying to themselves, “It’s ok; once I get married, I will preach the gospel to my spouse and lead her to salvation.” To such people, I have the following words to say: “Nonsense! You might as well try to be God yourself!”
My fellow believers, why do some righteous people find themselves unable to discern what is spiritually filthy? This happens when they follow only the lust of their flesh. The excrements of the body are not the only things that are filthy. Those who are ministering without believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are also filthy. Are the things that are visible to the eyes of the flesh the only things that are filthy? Aren’t those who follow only their own private greed of the flesh, even after being born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, also spiritually filthy? They are in fact spiritually unclean. Are you really preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith? If you are only after material prosperity, even as you call yourself a righteous person, then you are not actually preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Is anyone who follows only his individual desires really serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit? No, even though such people claim to serve the gospel, in God’s sight they are not actually serving it, for their ultimate purpose lies on material prosperity. These people are idolaters. We must have the spiritual discernment to sort out such heretics, preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them, and thus lead them to really become God’s true children.
Therefore, we have to keep in mind that even we, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit today, can turn into heretics if we seek only the material things of the world. You must realize that if you just follow your greed, then ultimately, you will drift far away from the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and you will find yourself turned into a heretic serving idols. I myself must realize this, and so must you also grasp this. For the born-again who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and for those who have not been born again alike, they all have the greed of the flesh. From today’s Scripture passage, we must grasp how collective heresies arose. I am not saying here right now, “This denomination is a heresy, and that denomination is orthodox.” Rather, I am pointing out for your understanding that the Christian leaders and believers who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit all belong to heresy.
Today’s Christianity all over the world has turned into a collective heresy precisely because it does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who have collectively turned into heretics try to distance themselves from the believers in the true gospel to cover up their mistaken faith, since their false acts would be exposed if they associate with the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even worse, they actually stand against those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In reality, they have become heretics because they do not know and do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not because they are inherently more evil than the born-again. On the other hand, even if one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if he is someone who follows only the lust of his flesh, then he is an idolater before God, and he will ultimately turn into a heretic that stands against the righteousness of God. Even though the desires of the flesh keep arising in our hearts, we must still dedicate our insufficient bodies to the work of God and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and it is when we thus serve the righteousness of God with all our hearts’ dedication that we come to fear God. If we follow God’s righteousness by faith, then we will be cherished by Him. God will also protect us, and we will receive His abundant blessings.
We can’t lead a proper life of faith individually all on our own apart from God’s Church. A while ago, a few ministers who had worked with us challenged the authority of the Church, thinking to themselves, “We’ll just leave God’s Church, establish our own church, and let ourselves be its leaders and ministers.” Confident that they could also establish their own version of God’s Church, they left God’s true Church following the lust of their flesh. But would God use just anyone? And would it really be congruent to God’s will for anyone to follow his own greed? It’s only because we are led by the Holy Spirit, who provides us with bread for both our bodies and spirits in His time, and who makes the will of God known to us, that we are now living according to the will of the Lord, having dedicated all our bodies and hearts to Him. It’s because God holds us steadfast and leads us with His Word and through the Holy Spirit that we are now used by God as His instruments.
Not just anyone can become a leader of God’s Church. In contrast, whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can spread this gospel and support its proclamation. While all of us can preach the gospel, not all of us can please God’s heart, be led by Him, think about His work rather than following the private greed of the flesh, and obey and serve the will of God. I am not saying this to somehow boast my merit, but to explain that not just anyone can carry out the duties of leadership in God’s Church. If anyone could do this, then God would have used everyone!
My fellow believers, let me once again make it clear here that even the born-again who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit may turn into heretics. Let there be no doubt that even for us, if we follow the lust of the flesh, then we will also turn into heretics. This Truth applies equally to the saints who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If anyone follows his own lust of the flesh, then he will turn into a heretic. The same goes for me as well. Do you agree with this?
It’s absolutely imperative for us to learn about the will of God. And we must also know in detail exactly what God is saying through His Word. When we look at present-day Christianity by shedding the light of the Word of God on it, we can see that it has all turned into a collective heresy. Citing 3 John 1:2, which says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers,” today’s Christian leaders say, “We are doomed to live in the three curses of Satan, but God has substituted the three curses of Satan with His three-fold blessings.” But in reality, they lay stress on material blessings rather than spiritual blessings. Emphasizing material blessings the most is actually something that is done by heretics.
We must therefore understand the Word of God properly, apply it to ourselves, and learn how we should live before God. We must learn about the will of God, realize this will and follow it. Our thoughts are not what is important. We still have a long way to go. Although the desires of the flesh tempt us until our last breath, we must be single-mindedly devoted to the work of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the day we stand before the presence of the Lord, realizing that if we give into this temptation and follow only the lust of our flesh, we would end up turning into heretics. For us also, who have already been made righteous, it’s indispensable to examine our hearts as often as possible. And we must actively participate in the work of spreading the gospel of God. We must do whatever necessary to carry out the work of God, and we must continue to support the gospel ministry to bring its flowers to blossom.
My fellow believers, when we work hard in this world to make money, and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit with this money, that is how we can support the preaching of the gospel. In these days, people do not like it when they are approached by strangers trying to strike a conversation with them. So as God has given us wisdom, we have already been spreading the gospel through our literature and Internet ministries now for ten years. We are now seeing how tremendously effective this strategy has been for the spreading of the gospel. All these works are done by God Himself, through His servants. Maybe you are thinking to yourself, “Well, it’s now been a long time since I believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and so there is no way that I would turn into a heretic.” However, if you follow the greed of your flesh, then you, too, will be ruined without fail. King Jeroboam turned into a heretic before God, making himself the head of collective heresy. We must learn from the Word of God that King Solomon also failed at his life of faith because he had followed the desires of his flesh.
To everyone, from myself to our ministers, our workers, and our saints, I would like to say the following clearly: “Who turns into a heretic before God? It’s someone who follows the greed of his flesh that turns into a heretic. And if anyone does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and instead preaches any other gospel, then he will turn into a heretic.” All of us must remember this clearly. For us also, if we want to avoid turning into heretics before God, then we must have faith, follow the will of God, and always live by faith. Some of us may think that now that they know a few things, and have accomplished a few achievements and grown up a bit in the last ten years, they know what the pastor will preach as soon as he addresses the main passage for his sermon. This, however, is not the case. We have barely taken the first step, and we still have a long way to go. True faith is attained only when the Word of God is understood in our everyday walk and firmly planted in our hearts by believing in it. Our progress of faith is made only if we believe in the Word and put it into our practice step by step—after all, what benefit could we gain just by knowing the Word of God only as matter of intellectual exercise and theoretically? Knowledge makes one arrogant (1 Corinthians 8:1). Even if we know a lot, how much do we really know? All our knowledge is nothing more than garbage, not even enough to fill a few volumes of an encyclopedia. Even the Apostle Paul considered all his knowledge as complete garbage. The way ahead of us, where we have not gone before, still remains long. There still remains so much work to do.
Do you want to turn into a heretic? I ask you this question because while we may set aside those who have already turned into heretics before God, since there is little that we can do, at least we must not allow ourselves to turn into heretics. Do you think that our ministers who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit would never turn into heretics? Far from it! No matter how they are born-again ministers, unless they continue to work to serve and spread the righteousness of God and the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it’s 100 percent possible for them to also turn into heretics. Before, it used to be hard for me to say such things, but now, I am more than able to say them.
Those who fear God and obey His will in their lives can prosper in both body and spirit. Even if this were not the case, we must still live for the righteousness of God and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world. Everything in this world was made by God, and all things are in His hands. That is why all these creatures are living in peace within the providence of God. Like this, if we, who are now living before God, dedicate our lives to the work of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world, then God will take care of all of us and bring prosperity in His time. There are, of course, times when we find ourselves struggling too much. However, as there is a saying that goes, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet,” if we continue to serve spiritual work through both good times and bad times, we will prevail in the end. Have we not seen how God blessed us when we fulfilled our duties to the best of our abilities in obedience to His will? Let us therefore not give up our present effort to follow the Lord, nor fall into despair, but live our lives according to the righteousness of God until the very end.
In fact, if we fight against our flesh and bring it to submission, rather than following our individual greed, and if we follow the will of God, then our hearts will be filled with indescribable pleasure and joy, comforted by the Lord. I am sure that you’ve experienced this before, when your heart was joyful, even though your body felt completely exhausted. Trusting in the righteousness of God, we must all lead the kind of life that is proper to His righteousness. From today’s Scripture passage, we should all realize that even the born-again, righteous people may turn into heretics, if they follow their private greed and the lust of their flesh. I truly hope and pray that this would never happen to you and me, where we end up turning into heretics by serving idols. I myself must not allow this to happen to me ever. How could I allow myself to turn into a heretic? How could I betray the gospel of the water and the Spirit and follow the world instead? I can never let this happen. If, however, I end up following the greed of the flesh for whatever reason, then I will surely end up turning into a heretic. All those following me will also turn into heretics, and you will turn into a heretic as well. If this happens, then eventually, we will no longer preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but know it only theoretically, and our faith will be rendered completely obsolete. In the end, we will become like the servant who received and returned one talent, and therefore, God will appoint us our portions with the hypocrites (Matthew 24:51).
That is why your church life is so important. It’s absolutely critical for you to abide in the Church. It is through the Church that God speaks. Both you and I alike must listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through the Church. We are now engaged in various businesses in order to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. Just as the Apostle Paul had raised money by making tents with his own hands, so are we sharing our books with people all over the world with the money that we have earned through our various businesses. Running just one business is so hard. When the business is running smoothly, some of us may think, “Well, it’s running quite well on its own. But that’s only expected; if God blesses, then it should succeed.” But that is not always the case. Even when it comes to God’s work, for it to succeed, it requires that much labor and dedication of our hearts. Only if our businesses succeed can we fulfill the will of God, and so it’s indispensable for those of us who have been entrusted with these businesses to devote their lives to their work and fulfill their entrusted tasks.
Placing our faith in the righteousness of God, we must continue to offer our bodies to His righteous work relentlessly. We cannot afford not to carry out the works that we have launched for the gospel, and when we do carry them out, we must do so faithfully and meticulously. We can’t just carry out God’s work halfheartedly in whatever way we choose. While one may be careless when it comes to the affairs of the world, no one with the duty to preach the true gospel can allow himself to be careless, for he is not doing this work just to make his own living. God’s work must be fulfilled without fail. It must be accomplished 100 percent. Because we are not trying to feed just ourselves, but to feed everyone all over the world with the spiritual bread, and with the food of the flesh if necessary, all of us must work hard to ensure such blessings. That’s why we are weary from all our labor. I am no exception; I, too, feel exhausted quite often.
You probably feel exhausted as well, right? Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “This should be good enough. The Church has all it needs. It already has several vehicles, its finances are backed with sufficient funding, and I’ve done my share of work for this end. Haven’t I then served the gospel faithfully? Shouldn’t this be enough?” If the Lord were indeed pleased by what we have done so far, then we wouldn’t need to work anymore. However, if we stay complacent here, and no longer serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we will turn into heretics. If we follow only our own petty desires of the flesh and live our lives solely for them, we will turn into spiritual monsters. We will become like Jeroboam. This is 100 percent guaranteed to happen. I, for one, have no desire to become like Jeroboam, nor do I want to become like King Solomon. Even though it’s humble, I want to become a worker of God. And when the Lord comes, I want to hear Him commending me, saying to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” Until the day I go to the Kingdom of Heaven to forever enjoy all the wealth and glory enjoyed by God together with Him, I want to live out my faith waiting and hoping for this day. That day will come without fail.
Many people do not take heretics seriously enough, even though they are repeatedly warned about them. Those who belong to heresy, however, are totally evil. All those who serve idols before God could not be more wicked.
It’s my hope and prayer that God would protect all the servants and saints in His Church. In these end times, I pray to God to protect all our fellow coworkers and saints throughout Korea and all over the world. I admonish you all to fear God in these last days, to serve the gospel in the Lord, and to prosper in both body and spirit. May God bless us all to believe in His righteousness. Amen.