“Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD. Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.’ And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD.”
Today I would like to share with you the Word of God regarding “In which way your heart must lie towards?” Truly you and I possess hearts where lusts of the flesh and covetousness arise. In today’s Scripture reading God speaks to us about where we, who are so lacking, should place our hearts.
Abraham’s Spiritual Eyes and Lot’s Fleshly Eyes
When Abraham and his nephew Lot eventually came out of Egypt and went down to the South, they took many possessions with them. However, these two men had clearly different points of view on the world. Lot, Abraham’s nephew had his eyes set on the current glories of wealth which could be seen with the naked eye. For this very reason, when he quarreled with his uncle and subsequently left for a different land, he chose the land of Sodom which appeared to him to be fertile and abundant.
Abraham, our father of faith, had a different faith. Even when he looked at the land of Sodom it also seemed so abundant, just like the Garden of Eden, lush green pasture for feeding the sheep he was breeding. But he nevertheless stayed in the land of Canaan that God had given him. Dear fellow believers this story of Abraham and Lot isn’t just another simple historical event. Through this story God is telling us where you and I should place our hearts.
And so Abraham stayed in the land of Canaan and Lot went to the land of Sodom. Like this these two men were ultimately separated. What then is the reason behind Abraham and Lot separating like this? It was none other than the issue of property. They separated because of issues over land ownership. Because Abraham and Lot were in the business of stock breeding, raising sheep and goats, they were in need of large pasture land where they could breed and feed their large herds of livestock. However, as their livestock gradually increased, the land on which to breed and feed these sheep and goats became insufficient.
Then Lot started to complain. He said, “I really don’t have to be with my uncle anymore. It seems my uncle is exploiting me because of him just being my uncle. But anyway I don’t want to be with him anymore.” But on the other hand it seems to me that Abraham did not share in Lots hearts situation. It seems as though Abraham had thought to himself that what was good was good since there was plenty of livestock and land for both of them. However, his nephew Lot wasn’t like this. He was thinking that he could turn out much better than his uncle. Through this account we can find out that Lot at that time had his whole heart set completely on earthly wealth like sheep and goats.
Actually the relationship between Abraham and Lot can be compared to the relationship between God’s Church and the saints who are inside it. Put differently, Abraham can be seen as its leader and Lot as God’s lamb. God had previously called Lot forth through Abraham. And so like this because of Abraham Lot received salvation and came out from this world by following Abraham. We can reckon Lot became rich by following Abraham. As his personal wealth grew, so he concentrated his heart to this wealth even more. For this reason he became more uncomfortable and started complaining to Abraham.
Abraham spoke to Lot after recognizing the motives of his heart. He told him clearly, “Please separate from me. Rather than repeatedly complaining to me, leave me now. If you take the left, then I will go to the right, and if you go to the right, then I will go to the left. Please make your final decision.” The truth is, if Lot continued to follow Abraham he could have become someone with even more wealth. This was something that was clearly guaranteed. Despite all of this when Abraham said, “You must then leave me,” Lot lifted up his eyes and looked towards the rich land of Sodom. His greedy eyes saw the land of Sodom and it appeared so great. With this he left Abraham saying that he will go to the land of Sodom.
Dear fellow believers, it is the same with you and me. Actually to receive guidance from the leader inside God’s Church can be a great blessing. It is just like Lot who was able to gather much wealth by following Abraham. Just like Lot who left Abraham, there are people who go on living on their own accord having left the leader of the Church. Such people have been deluded by their fleshly greed. These kinds of hearts are surely the hearts like Lot.
So we see Lot eventually leaving Abraham. But what did Abraham do? As it is written, “Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom” (Genesis 13:12), here we see him still staying in the land of Canaan. The truth is this land of Canaan is not that great of a land. Few trees grow here, and water is in short supply. But the land of Sodom Lot chose had much water and was full of trees. The land was great for stock breeding and green lush pasture. Lot, who had placed his heart in material things, chose this land of Sodom, and perhaps it was a reasonable choice as a human being.
God Was Abraham’s Shepherd
When Lot said he will take the land of Sodom, Abraham then chose the land of Canaan, a land which was completely opposite to that of Sodom. Because he knew that Lot’s heart was not upright, Abraham thought that he should go to the opposite direction. Now that Lot had departed for the land of Sodom, Abraham could now dwell in all the land of Canaan.
But what is peculiar here is that God appeared before Abraham right after Lot had separated from him. The Scriptures tell us, “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are - northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever’” (Genesis 13:14-15). On hearing these Words, Abraham went up to a higher place and looked towards this vast land. That land was the land of Israel where the descendants of Abraham live today. This shows us that the Word of promise was realized exactly as it was promised.
Dear fellow believers, here we will find one lesson which we must firmly bear in mind: Our God will take full responsibility for you and me, just as He had taken care of Abraham, if we truly give up the desires for worldly things. But if we were to focus on small and visible things in this world and try to obtain them just like Lot, then we will never be able to gain anything else besides this.
God wants to be our Shepherd, and He wants to be everything for us. I hope God who is omnipotent, will grant much blessings upon you and me. But we should know that God wants our hearts to be separate from the things that are fleshly. He wants our hearts to be far away from fleshly greed that stems from this earth. Where does God desire our hearts to dwell on? He wants us to set out hearts in a place none other than this promised land of Canaan, that is, on the Lord’s gospel and the spreading of this very gospel. He wants us to set our hearts on the spiritual work of God. God wants you and me to place our hearts in the hope of His glorious Heaven.
We must wholeheartedly have our hearts separated from the greed of this earth. What would have happened if Abraham’s heart had also been set on the wealth of the land of Sodom? If Abraham, like Lot, had his heart set on wealth and had lived together with Lot in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, that is, if he had lived together with Lot in this sinful world, God would surely have sent down fire upon that land. If that had happened, then Abraham the father of faith would have suffered injury along with Lot.
The Hearts of Those Who Have Received the Remission of Sins Has to Be Set on the Gospel
God said clearly that He would give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. The descendants of Abraham thus entered the land of Canaan and lived there according to that promise. Likewise, it is only proper that you and I living in this day and age should also reside in the land of Canaan. Our hearts must stay in the land of Canaan. If our hearts were to reside in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, God will pass judgment on us when He eventually judges this world.
Where should our hearts which is trying to follow the Lord rest? We must place our hearts in a place none other than this land of Canaan. We lean our hearts towards the Lord-given gospel. After having received the blessing of the remission of our sins from God, what would happen if we were to just seek after earthly happiness by thinking, “What can I do so that I can eat well and live well in this world? How can I receive recognition and live happily?” Someone who seeks earthly happiness like this will become someone like Lot appearing in today’s Scripture passage. Not only that person but also all their descendants will be destroyed without exception.
Even though we are lacking and our hearts are full of filth rising up several times a day, we must clearly bear in mind that we must nevertheless set our hearts on the land of Canaan. We must lean our hearts towards the gospel, and the very Heaven where we will live in the future. We should not just think solely about the prosperity of the flesh here on this earth. Even though we have no other alternative but to live in this world, we must nevertheless lean our hearts towards the gospel and Heaven. Truly we are not the people of this world; we are in fact the citizens of the Kingdom of God, that is, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Of course your heart and mine can dwell on this earth. But what would be the result of this if we were to choose the rich fields of Jordan of the land of Sodom and Gomorrah? We will most certainly arrive at our destruction in the end. We who have received the remission of our sins can choose the land of Sodom that Abraham’s nephew Lot had chosen, but we can also choose the land of Canaan that Abraham had taken. We are free to choose whatever land, but one thing we must keep in mind is that destruction will fall upon all those who choose the land of Sodom. This is precisely what God is speaking to us about through today’s Scripture reading. For this is the Word of the omnipotent God, it is the eternal truth. We must set out hearts upon the Kingdom of God. This is the eternal truth. It is so because everything the Lord has recorded is, after all, the truth.
Even Though We Received the Remission of Our Sins, but If We Were to Set Our Hearts on the Land of Jordan, We Will Surely Die
As you have seen from today’s Scripture reading, Abraham and his nephew Lot fought with each other. After this period of discord, each chose to go to a different land, but from the outset, who seemed to be the wiser? Right in front of their eyes was this vast plain of green pasture, but when looking up yonder, was only waste arid land. So, at that very moment, which choice was more appropriate? Of course, it would seem wiser to choose all the plains of the land of Jordan. But God is telling us that seeking only after those things that can be seen with the naked eye is not true wisdom. Also, He is telling us how we can make right choices when we are faced with critical situations like this.
As we go on living here on this earth and as we follow the Church, we will most certainly encounter this problem most often. I am saying that these two different hearts will always collide with each other: That is, seeking after material wealth of this world or looking towards the Kingdom of Heaven. Looking at these two hearts, which do you think is the genuine and correct choice? God tells us, “Do not place your heart on this earth. Set your heart on the gospel, and set your heart on Heaven. Choose these spiritual things. If you do this, you will gain everything, including the wealth of this earth.” It is recorded in the Bible that Abraham became a very wealthy man in his old age. Abraham became such a rich man that his great wealth could not even be compared to that of his nephew Lot. Not only him but also his son Isaac lived as a rich man. What do these words mean to us? People who follow after God will certainly receive many blessings.
Dear fellow believers are you not often faced with this question, “Whereupon must I actually set my heart?” Following the material wealth of this world or setting my heart in the gospel and in Heaven — don’t these two things conflict with each one another in our hearts? Many people end up leaving God’s Church and their leaders because these two thoughts are in conflict with one another. However, their end is quite obvious. They will no doubt suffer the same tragedy Lot had suffered.
But people who choose God like Abraham will be able to live enjoying the riches along with God. Of course, this blessing will be small in the beginning. God said, “Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly” (Job 8:7). It may seem as though it is very small in the beginning and suffer much, but with the passage of time, when you look back, it will never be like this.
Abraham really chose well. Abraham saw that his nephew’s choice was not upright. That is why he chose the opposite to Lot’s. Obviously Lot chose all the rich plains of the Jordan. Because of this Abraham said, “Well then, I will choose the land of Canaan.” As I’ve told you previously, Canaan was not a good land, void of much pasture and lacking water. This environment was too poor for Abraham to breed and to feed his livestock.
We Must Choose the Good Side
Although I am a person who is lacking, I have clearly taken the side of God. What do you think the reason for this is? Because if I choose God’s side, I will be under His protection all the time, and will be guaranteed to receive blessings at any time. Although the land of Canaan seemed to have nothing in it, but the truth is it was a land of tremendous blessings. It was because God blessed that land even though it was barren. Furthermore, God blessed not only this land of Canaan but also all the places Abraham had stayed in.
We the faithful must therefore make a good choice. We must choose the best place where we can set our hearts on permanently. Even if the desires of our flesh would rise up from time to time, we must nevertheless make a good choice. Dear fellow believers, do you understand? One single choice can affect the rest of our lives. A single choice taken in faith can lead your whole life into eternal blessing or into eternal cursing. Therefore this choice is extremely important for you and me.
Chapter 12 of the Book of Genesis speaks about the beginning of faith through Abraham who left his country behind, the house of his forefathers and kinsmen after having received the remission of his sins. And in today’s reading, it speaks about choosing the way of life by faith. God is telling us right now that we must make a good choice. “Are we going to abide in God’s Church? Are we going to be with its leaders? If not, are you instead going out into the world?” This is truly the most important choice we will ever make. Therefore, God is saying to us that we must make a good decision regarding this matter.
Dear fellow believers, choose God. Regardless of your situation, take sides with God. If you do this you will never regret it, and your future will be secured. However, if you choose only good things that lure your fleshly desires, you will soon come to regret it. And not only you but your descendants will also suffer destruction, generation after generation. Please bear this in mind. People who seek after fleshly wisdom after having received the remission of their sins will become someone like Lot as depicted here.
We find two types of people amongst those who have received the remission of sins. While there are people who choose heavenly things like Abraham, there are also those who choose fleshly things that glitter just like Lot. And as for the ignorant that pursue only after worldly things, I really don’t want to step into their perishing lives. But for those who choose God and follow Him and having received His guidance; I can clearly say to them that their future will be guaranteed with God’s blessings, just like Abraham.
As I labor and carry out this ministry I meet many kinds of people. I have also preached the gospel of the Lord on numerous occasions. Amongst these people there are many who also share the same purpose of this Church of God. But when we look at them just as they are, they might seem like fools. If people of this world were to look at those who are with us in the Church, they might seem to be stupid people. But with only a little passage of time, a gap between those who follow after God and those who do not will widen noticeably. People who are with God will gradually start flourishing, but those who are not with God will gradually start to wane and suffer destruction. People who pursue after fleshly desires will surely suffer destruction. Not only them but all their descendants will also suffer this same fate.
Of course, not everyone will become penniless for having left the Church. But you can be certain that they will become completely spiritually deprived, and later on they will lose what they own as well. Could someone who has already received the remission of sins suffer the same fate? Of course they can. The remission of sins is guaranteed only to those who take sides with God. Even if someone has received the remission of sins, if they do not choose God’s side, then God will never bestow upon them any blessings.
I am aware that many people are speaking ill of me. They have something against me and say, “What is so great about you that you go on speaking so boldly?” and, “The gospel is elsewhere too, but Pastor Jong says he is the only one who is preaching the genuine gospel. He is a strange man saying that the gospel is only with him.” After making such like statements, they leave the Church. They leave God’s Church saying they are wiser than me. To these people I say, “If you want to leave then leave!” After they have left I would hear about how they are getting along, and find out that they have become really awful people not long after their departure.
They are those whose hearts have rotted away. Their faith was perfectly preserved when they continued to follow after God, but because they do not continue to follow after God, even that little faith that remains in them will also rot away. Once you rot away in your spirit, not even your children will be able to receive the remission of their sins. No matter how many times they hear the gospel, they will not be able to receive the remission of sins. They will barely survive in this world and then die.
The children of Lot became the ancestors of the Moabites and the Ammonites (Genesis 19:31-38). They became God’s opponents. It was the end for them. Only hell was waiting for all of them. Did Lot receive the remission of his sins? Or did he not receive it? Lot was a righteous man who did received the remission of sins. But all of his descendants went to hell, not being able to receive the remission of sins. It was 100% hell for all of them.
We Must Look towards the Land of Canaan, and We Must Stay in the Land of Canaan
Are you going to follow after God, or if not are you going to chase after your own fleshly thoughts? When we are faced with crises, we must chase after God for certain. We must look towards the land of Canaan, and we must dwell in that land.
Become wise. Have eyes that can see far ahead. Just as our flesh has two types of eyes, our hearts also have two types of eyes. Some people are shortsighted while others are far-sighted. Also, people who are old tend to see a thing that is far away well, but struggle to see things that are close up. The elderly wear glasses and they barely see through them. It is usually like this. When they thread a needle, what do they do? Even though they cannot see very well, they hold it far away and try to put the two together. We may think, “If it is hard for them to see even when this thing is close, why then do they struggle to thread a needle in this way?” But the truth is that they can see things from far away much better. When one gets old things that are further away are easier to see.
This is the same spiritually. There are people who chase after immediate benefits that they can see with their naked eyes. And there are those who can see blessings that are hidden behind visible things, rather than the visible thing itself. People who know how to see these blessings will boldly give up things that are visible. Because better things lay behind these visible things, therefore they give up these visible things which are in front of them. It is because they know that if they were to grab these carnal things that lay in front of them, they will not be able to grab much greater things. You and I must see things that are hidden behind the visible world. If we know how to see these hidden things, we will not get attached to things that would be beneficial to us right now. It is because we now have a greater hope for the things of the eternal world.
People who do not know how to see far ahead will fuss over current things and issues. That is why we must be able to see far ahead. Whether you have just received the remission of your sins or you have received it a long time ago, you must be able to see far ahead. Like this you must see far and wide and make the right choice. If you make the wrong choice, you will suffer an unexpected disaster and will be destroyed.
You and I Have Often Made Such a Choice
After receiving the remission of my sins, I had to also make such choices very often. My mother was a quite a large figure in a Presbyterian denomination. So much so that many elder pastors would come to my mother and bow down to her. Thus, if I had stayed in that denomination and preached this true gospel Word, I would have won respect from many in that denomination. As it is said, “All the plain of Jordan was well watered, and the land of Sodom and Gomorrah seemed like a blessed garden, just like the Garden of Eden,” I could have lived out my life inside that denomination for about ten years, winning respect. I am saying this that I could have become a great man enjoying great wealth and reputation inside that denomination. But what would have happened after that? I could have lived as a wealthy man for about ten years, but the remainder of my life would be that of someone on a downward spiral, a life of having lost even those that I had gained. I would even have lost my faith that I had gained in the past.
At that time Satan made many propositions to me. Satan continuously makes such propositions to people of faith: He tells people to think about only what they can see with their naked eyes right now and chase after it. He repeatedly says, “See it now and take many fleshly things. If you do this, wouldn’t that be good?” If I really had fallen for this temptation, I would have gradually grown more and more distant from the blessings of God. If you take up something that is of the flesh and not follow after that which is spiritual, everything will come to a dead end.
Such a thing happened to me right after I was born again when I started to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. People told me to carry out pastoral duties at a church my mother was working in, but I decided to think about it more deeply. If I had carried out my pastoral duties there, my mother would have been really happy. Looking on the surface, it wasn’t all that bad for me. It was because I would have been able to gain much fame since the Word of God that I preached was new to them and because I would have won much respect from many Christians, due to my relationship to my mother. Carrying out these filial duties all the while gaining much fame and wealth—it would have been something really great. If I had done this, I would have been a director of the prayer house that my mother was running.
That prayer house was a truly beautiful and really stylish place. If one were to become a director of such a great prayer house, that person wouldn’t even be envious of being the head of any big denomination. However, I did not choose to go that way and my mother could not understand this choice I had made. She said, “If you just choose this way, everything will be guaranteed, but why do you not work in this denomination? If you are a sane person, you will not do this.”
But think of what would have happened if I had stayed in that prayer house and worked for that denomination. If I did this then I would not have met you and have been working for the Lord with you so far. I think that there are many more people I have to meet in the future. I believe that there are many people who have received the remission of their sins through me and that there are many people who will enter the land of Canaan with me. There are many people who will receive the heavenly blessings from God just like me. Therefore I am not a poor person. Like this and for the gospel and for the salvation of souls, and for any future achievements, I have placed my heart here in God’s Church, instead of choosing that comfortable position of the director of that prayer house.
Even after this offer, similar propositions were brought to me on numerous occasions. There was a certain man who came to our Church and said, “This Church does not have a piano. I have a few hundred thousand dollars, and I will buy a piano for this Church. So please will you appoint me as an elder.” Right then I said to this man, “Receive the remission of your sins first. If you have sins then you are not qualified to buy a piano for our Church. You are not even qualified to make any monetary donations to our Church.” Even now, that thought has not changed in me. And even in the future, I will never trade my choice with whatever profit that appears right before my eyes.
Dear fellow believers, if you follow the Lord everything will be guaranteed. What I am saying is that your future as well as that of your descendants will all be guaranteed and also the future of all those who side with you will also be guaranteed. Why would you want to throw away the assured blessing in order to obtain a little bit of those material things? It might be good in the short term, but you cannot live out your entire life on just material things. What good is it to have material things without God? I cannot live without God. No matter how much material wealth I have, I cannot live without God. I believe all of you who are here are also like this.
These material temptations apply not only to me but to you as well. Satan will continue to tempt you with material things. He says, “I will give you much material things, so give up your life of faith. If you have these things, will you not be comfortable? Is this not sufficient? Why don’t you make some more effort on you own? If you do this then you can live even more happily. As a human being, comfort is all you need. Yet, why do you live like this as if you were a special human being?
Dear fellow believers, you must place your heart towards God in order to become a happy person. It is natural for your body as well as everything else to turn out well only when your soul is clean. The day when the soul turns around, it will be the end of everything. What satisfaction would there be after the soul has turned filthy? What significance would there be in your great wealth? Even if you have much wealth, if a robber were to come along and take that which you have away, you will have lost everything in an instant.
Therefore, you and I must choose well. All of us are facing this very problem. Chasing after the flesh seems to be a very wise way of living in this world today, but it is a wicked temptation from Satan. Instead of falling into this kind of temptation, we must have eyes that can see far ahead. We must set our hearts on the land of Canaan. We must dwell in the land of Canaan and live there. We must set our hearts on the Lord’s gospel and serve this gospel. We must walk towards the gospel and offer ourselves to that very mission where souls receive the remission of all their sins. Dear fellow believers, bear this in mind. You must live out the rest of your lives for this. To live for the gospel before God is the right and correct choice and the thing to do. If you set your heart on material wealth that you can see with your naked eyes, then one day when these material wealth burns up in fire, you and all your descendants will likewise also burn. If you follow after God, material wealth will come along to you naturally; but if you chase after only material wealth, you will lose God, lose material wealth gained, and lose even yourself. Therefore, you and I must decide carefully. In order to maintain your life of faith perfectly, you must be very discreet in making this choice. The day you make the wrong choice will be the day when everything will come to a dead end.
Eliminate Dregs in Your Heart and Choose the Land of Canaan with your Far-sighted Eyes
About 15 years ago there was a certain sister who was attending our Church accompanied with her husband. Some of you may know of them, but you just cannot imagine just how much I had waited for them, teaching them so much in order to make them stand firmly on the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith. Despite all my efforts, I later found out that this couple had lots of doubts about me and that they went so far as to check my background. In the end they took only that which was good from me and refused to believe me any further. And so, before they decided to discard me, I discarded them first. Soon after that episode they built a church on their own. I then paid them a visit and told them that I would support them if they had indeed built the true Church of God after having genuinely received the remission of all their sins. I told them that even though I do not have material wealth, I can support them with other things. I told them that I could provide much support to them in the name of Jesus Christ.
But they refused my proposal and pursued their own way. This choice is precisely like that of Lot who chose the plains of Jordan. Instead of placing their hearts in the gospel in Heaven and in the Church by uniting their hearts with God, they had set their hearts on their own greed. Their faith ended like that. How grievous is this? Dear fellow believers, this situation is truly lamentable? The truth is they did not just hear this gospel just once, but I preached and explained to them this gospel many times, as if I were living with them. One can say I was as it were eating and living in their home; I preached and explained to them this gospel. Like this, I was very close to the children of that household. Those children were following me around. But sadly because those parents chose the wrong way, their children also could not but end up perishing. Despite hearing the Word of God, if one were to drink the poison of this world, then that person’s faith will come to an end.
I don’t blame you just because you are lacking. I am saying you must eliminate the dregs and the desires of your flesh that reside in your hearts. You must eliminate those dregs and then choose the land of Canaan without fail. If you discard the seemingly rich Jordan plains and choose the land of Canaan, God will lead you and me in every step we make. He will take responsibility for us. Jehovah God clearly said to Abraham, “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are - northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever” (Genesis 13:14-15). Because God blesses us like this, there is no reason why we should live poorly. The truth is I am much better off than those pastors who are working in average churches. I am a richer man because I have been preaching the gospel of the Lord to this entire world and because I live with a comforted heart. On top of that I don’t know just how many spiritual children I have. Take a look. Is this not true that I have many of God’s workers and soldiers near me?
Dear fellow believers, the born-again are the truly blessed. People who choose God will become wealthy. Of course, when people first choose God, they will lose much in the beginning. Firstly, their relationship with their close family members could turn out for the worse. But wait and look what happens later on. They get to gain many more brothers and sisters in the Lord. Jesus Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Parents who obey the will of the Lord are my parents; but parents who do not obey God and do not listen to His Word are not real parents. We call them parents simply because they are our physical parents.
Truly, you must choose well. You have a divided heart, am I right? Between these two you and I must choose one. With short-sightedness, will we chase after profits shown right in front of our naked eyes? But with far-sighted eyes, will we decide to live out our lives by setting our hearts on the gospel and on God? If we do this, we will live in abundance and receive all the blessings that God gives us. Where will you set your heart?
The correct answer is setting our hearts on God. Yet Satan who tries to deceive us tells us to set our hearts on all the plains of Jordan. Swayed by these deceptive words, some people do place their hearts on this side, but once they make that choice, they will surely lose the other side. If we choose God, we can receive wealth, glory and all the blessings that are in God. But if we chase after the wealth of this world, we will lose God and His blessings and protection as well. As we lead a life of faith, we must always choose God even if the desires of the flesh rise up inside our hearts. Once you choose God, you won’t have to worry about the rest. And you won’t have to worry about being separated from God. If we choose God, He will keep us safe and protect us in any problems and situations we would face. He will most certainly lead us in any kind of circumstances we might face.
But if we do not choose God, such protection and blessings will cease. It is the same logic that we cannot receive the remission of sins due to us not believing in our Lord even though He has blotted out all our sins. Whether or not we receive these blessings depends on our free will. Likewise, after we have been saved, choosing God or material wealth of this world also depends on our free will. Depending on which side we choose, God will either grant us blessings or allow destruction to fall upon us. I am saying that even though we are surely the children of God, He will send us to hell should we choose wrongly.
There are many people who have received the remission of sins, but the number of people who actually unite with His Church is small in number. People who have not united with the Church are prone to choose fleshly things. They think with their futile minds, “Since I have already received the remission of my sins; then what need is there for me to attend every single worship or meeting in the Church? Because I now have received the remission of all my sins through the Church, it is wiser for me to not go there anymore.” But if they indeed choose this way they will lose many things? They will lose Heaven and God’s protection and His blessings in the end.
Dear fellow believers, as we follow God, we will suffer much disregard. If we genuinely follow the Lord, we will suffer much disregard and much persecution from worldly people. But bearing all this in mind: With this suffering of disregard and persecution, the Lord will bestow upon us many blessings without fail.
I think like this whenever people persecute me. Indeed, I receive much persecution. Before I met you, I suffered such harsh persecution that it was difficult to overcome and hard to describe. But after these persecutions, God granted me many blessings. In other words, I suffered these harsh persecutions because God had intended to bestow upon me genuine blessings. I believe God had held me tight all the time and blessed me because rather than succumbing to these persecutions, I stood firmly on the side of God.
Dear fellow believers, we must choose God and we must choose the gospel. Even if Satan would show us something worldly and seduces us with it, we must not at all costs choose that. If we choose something that is worldly, everything will end. The glorious blessings of God will come to an end. If we relinquish what we see right in front of us, that is, this very blessing of God, though we cannot see it with our eyes, it will become yours as well as mine. Please bear this fact in mind. This is the shortest way to possess the genuine life of faith.
I hope that you will lead a genuine life of faith. Your life of faith cannot be finished and completed just by receiving the remission of sins. We must live out our faith in this world. By us choosing God, let us now receive this glory together with God even though we will suffer persecution on this earth. Let us receive and enjoy it all. If we choose God above everything else, we can receive all the blessings from God and enjoy them all. Also we can be used as His precious instruments. We can become precious workers of God. We can become tools for the righteous work of God. This is the greatest blessing.
The Righteous Can Taste the Blessing of God, the Invisible King
Whenever I hold a revival meeting, I see souls receiving the remission of sins. This is not something I have done. This is a work carried out by none other than this omnipotent God. God and only Him leads these souls and changes their hearts. And He is the One who removes the dregs inside their hearts and turns them into righteous workers of God. When one experiences this work of the Lord, one’s heart becomes all so indescribably happy. Truly, what can we compare this feeling to? Do you think a person can obtain this feeling by gaining worldly things? Even if someone were to give me a huge uncut diamond, would I be able to get that feeling? This would make me feel bad, and so, I would throw it away in a garbage can. I will throw it away deep into the ocean so that I would never be able to retrieve it. I am saying this because I have received something that is visible with my naked eye, would this be able to fill me up with genuine joy that is invisible?
Dear fellow believers, things that cannot be seen by our naked eyes is the true blessings, and they are much more precious. The invisible God is the true God, and it is that invisible God who blesses us, guides us and gives us Heaven. Although invisible, this very God is the true God who grants us peace and blessings inside our hearts. He gives us everything necessary for us to save souls, and He gives us everything in order for us to live well on this earth. Therefore, to follow after this God is what true blessing is all about. Dear fellow believers, do you believe?
People who chase after only visible things are stupid like a potbellied pig. If a born-again person were to chase after worldly wealth, then that person can be considered a pig. Lot in today’s Scripture passage was a pig. But there is an ample amount of potential for us to become like him as well.
Follow after God. This is wise and the absolute correct choice. If you and I choose God, God will become everything for us and He will surely grant us all the invisible blessings along with visible wealth as a free addition. And in the end He will grant to us the Kingdom of Heaven that He possesses by giving us eternal life.
I give praise to this God. Let us follow after our Lord. If we follow after the Lord, we will gain the riches of the earth as well. Of course this blessing comes with persecution, but our Lord will surely guide us and take care of us. Truly, I hope each and every one of our brothers and sisters would receive these abundant blessings that Abraham had received by becoming a wise spiritual person just like him and not like Lot.