"Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God:
“You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you.
You defiled your sanctuaries
By the multitude of your iniquities,
By the iniquity of your trading;
Therefore I brought fire from your midst;
It devoured you,
And I turned you to ashes upon the earth
In the sight of all who saw you.
All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you;
You have become a horror,
And shall be no more forever."'"
The Fallen Angel
In today’s Scripture reading, God speaks about the fall of an angel who had been blessed to live in His garden. At first, this angel lived in obedience to God as befitting his status, but when his heart turned arrogant, he abandoned his station and was ultimately cast out by God. There is no record of God’s creation of angels in the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis. The Scripture does not give any detailed account of angels because God wrote the Bible for the purpose of saving fallen human beings from all their sins. God recorded in the Bible that His plan of salvation to deliver humankind from their sins and the fulfillment of this salvation were both achieved through Jesus Christ. Like this, the Scripture focuses primarily on the Truth of salvation to shows us how God has delivered fallen human beings from their sins. God is rejoiced to reveal His providence of salvation to all of us through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.
It is still important for us to know about the work of the fallen angel, so God is telling us about it in today’s Scripture passage from the Book of Ezekiel. Here, pointing out the sins of the king of Tyre, God is equating the judgment of this king with the judgment of the angel who rebelled against Him. It is also God’s wisdom meant to teach us, who are obtuse. Because most people do not know about the work of the fallen angel, they are worshiping him unconsciously. The problem here is that even though we all need a good knowledge of angels, this is not our reality. No one in this world can receive God’s blessings without a proper knowledge of the angel standing against God so that one does not end up worshiping him even inadvertently. The truth God has hidden from us can be understood only if God teaches it to us, or otherwise we cannot know anything about the angel standing against God. It is a matter of course that we couldn’t know who God’s opponent was all this time. Now that we have come to know the Truth of salvation through the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is time for us to learn about the angel standing against God and abide in the Truth. If we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we need to be taught about the fallen angel by God’s servants, so that we can realize what kind of life of faith God wants us to live. We must therefore have faith in the God-given gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. God is pleased to no longer hide His purpose and instead reveal it to the people of faith who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Here in today’s Scripture reading, we see that the king of Tyre sinned against God by lifting up his own heart like the fallen angel. What God is telling us here through the king of Tyre and the fallen angel is this: if our hearts become proud before God, we will be cast out like them. Through the fallen angel, God is showing us that anyone who is proud before Him will face His judgment no matter who that person is. Regardless of what one’s station in life might be, individuals and kings alike, to let the heart become proud is to turn into God’s opponent.
So, it is very important for us to learn more about God’s attributes and abide by the clear Truth. We also must realize that standing against God is in the Devil’s nature. Today’s Scripture reading from the Book of Ezekiel offers many spiritual lessons to us as it records in detail the sins of the fallen angel. God entrusted different tasks to different angels, such as Michael, the angel of war, and Gabriel, the bringer of good news. However, there was also a certain angel that rebelled against God after carrying out his God-given tasks, so there is an important lesson to learn from this account: we must never become God’s opponents no matter what. Through the sins of this fallen angel, God is teaching us about “pride.”
What Will Result When One Becomes God’s Opponent through His Own Free Will?
Speaking of the fallen angel, the Bible says toward the end of verse 13:
“The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created”
Prior to his fall, this angel’s duty had been praising God’s holiness with the musical instruments prepared by Him. The angel had a high status among all the angels God made, as it is written:
“You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:14-15).
We can see from here that when God created this angel, He made him to near perfection so that the angel would lack nothing. We can also see here that God gave free will to not only human beings but also all the angels He created. It is only proper for the God-given free will to be exercised in a way that pleases God, so as to glorify Him. In other words, those who have free will ought to live for God’s glory by obeying Him and submitting themselves to Him according to His will.
When we think about the fallen angel’s sins, we can see clearly that he misused the free will that was granted to him. There is no question that before succumbing to corruption, he had been serving God closest to Him. Since the angel serving God nearest to Him turned himself into God’s opponent, there was more than enough reason for him to be cast out by God. This consequence clearly stemmed from the angel’s failure to manage his own free will. We humans also make countless bad decisions using our free will. Even today, the work of the angel who stood against God is about entering into the hearts of countless kings and people in this world and making them stand against God. Having entered into many people’s hearts, this evil spirit, who is God’s opponent, is stirring them to rebel against God. So, just as God had judged His opponent in the old days, today also, God is waiting for the day that He will judge all His opponents. We must therefore know the work of the fallen angel properly, and never allow ourselves to follow in his footsteps.
The king of Tyre in today’s Scripture reading had been the bane of life to the people of Israel. That is because when the nation of Israel sinned against God, God had sent the king of Tyre to its people to oppress them. When the nation of Israel sinned, God delivered its people to worldly kings and allowed them to suffer at their hands. However, the king of Tyre was supposed to stop at a certain point and moderate his action. Being arrogant, he instead crossed the line to God’s displeasure, when he should have used his free will to stop himself. But the king of Tyre was too busy persecuting the people of Israel. We must remember that the one who is now working in the hearts of many kings and people in this world is the fallen angel who had lived in the Garden of Eden a long, long time ago. Today, there are times when some people torment the righteous, and we need to realize that they are standing against the righteous because their hearts are dwelt by evil spirits.
What If We Were to Live as God’s Opponents?
We the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are cherished by God Almighty in our everyday lives. However, even among us, it is still possible for there to be some people who stand against God and end up getting cursed by Him as a result. Even among the righteous who have received the remission of all their sins by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, some people are living in this world without receiving God’s blessings. What explains this? First, these people have not become one heart with the Lord’s commandment even after believing that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the real Truth that makes it possible for them to be remitted from all their sins. It is because they desire to live their lives only to seek the interests of their flesh while ignoring God’s authority. It is because even among God’s people today, there are those who stand against God’s work just like the fallen angels of antiquity. That is why these people are living in misery, unable to receive not only spiritual but also material blessings from God.
If you really believe in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, you must never stand in the way of the proclamation of this gospel. No matter what the circumstances might be, we must devote ourselves to spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit and serving God’s work. Today, those who have become righteous in God’s sight by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord desire to dedicate their lives to preaching this gospel, for they believe in the love of God Almighty. That is because the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and this Holy Spirit is rejoiced by the life that glorifies God. Because we believe in the love of our God Almighty, our hearts find the greatest satisfaction when we preach His gospel. That is how we glorify God by faith. Why, then, do we occasionally see some people even among the righteous who do not want to live for the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit? It is because these people have replaced God’s love with their own idols and desires.
The Apostle Paul said, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When God inspires the hearts of the righteous by the Holy Spirit and makes them do His work, our hearts are rejoiced and happy. Like this, it is God the Holy Spirit who gives us the righteous the desire to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is God’s will, but if we ignore it, then we will end up standing against God’s love. We must therefore dedicate our lives to spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the will of God, and live by faith. Only when we do this can we receive God’s love and blessings in our lives. If we instead live our lives on this earth as the opponents of God’s will, nothing but curses and sufferings will be left for us.
Second, when will God’s opponents be ruined? It will happen when the time of God’s judgment comes. The Word of God says to us here in today’s Scripture reading:
“By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned” (Ezekiel 28:16).
If we give up on preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and find satisfaction in living a carnal, worldly life, then ultimately, even we the believers in God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit will also be destroyed forever along with His opponents. Where the Bible says here, “abundance of your trading,” it is speaking of prosperity. Even though we believe in the love of God Almighty through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we do not serve this gospel in unity in the world, then we, too, will become God’s enemies in the end. If we are enjoying prosperity thanks to God’s blessings, we ought to live our lives even more faithfully to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to God’s pleasure. The hearts of the arrogant fall into the sin of pride when they seek the prosperity of their own flesh rather than the righteousness of God in their lives.
So, as we the righteous carry on with our lives in this world, we must devote ourselves even more to the spreading of the gospel when we are prosperous in the flesh. Because we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can prosper on this earth also if our hearts are upright. We do make mistakes from time to time even while serving in unity to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should address such transgressions by believing that God has already washed away all these sins also with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you live with God in unity, He will cover for all your weaknesses. However, God does not just gloss over the sins of those who stand against His righteousness despite knowing His will, and this is God’s justice. If we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit were to live our lives only to seek the wealth of the world, God will not just stand idly by.
We must know more about what God’s opponent does. When God looks at us, what does He see as our pride? It is trusting in our own abilities alone and not relying on God—this is what is meant by arrogance. Those whose hearts are proud before God are not only dismissive of the authority of His servants and people, but they also take one step further to obstruct His work. It is because they obstruct God’s work that they end up finding themselves standing against Him. God is saying to us the righteous, “Ignoring your colleagues’ word is pride.” That is because God is saying in His people’s hearts, “Your colleagues’ word is My Word.” God speaks about our sin of pride through the lips of the members of the Church. God speaks to you through His servants, and we also hear God’s command through the members of His Church. When you and I go astray in God’s sight, He speaks to us through His people, saying, “What you are doing is wrong! You are going astray!” It is through God’s people that we hear His warning. In times like these, we must be able to recognize that what we are hearing from our colleagues is the Word of God and listen to it.
We must realize that our colleagues’ admonitions are God’s voice. The wise ought to grasp, “Oh, God is telling me now to humble my heart.” For us to become the blessed in God’s sight, we must listen to His Word and unite our hearts with the servants of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We ought to realize that our pride stems from faithlessness, and therefore we must have faith and cast aside our pride. The people of God must also have faith in the policies of the Church and the guidance of its leaders. We can lead a proper life of faith only if we also learn about the will of God properly from our leaders. That is because God is pleased to speak to us through the Church He founded. Since we are no match to God Almighty, we ought to listen to His Word and obey Him by faith. So, we must believe that God is speaking to us now through our colleagues.
The Bible says that from the very day God created the fallen angel in Heaven, his duty was to forever praise God. This was the purpose for which he was created by God, so it would have been wonderful if the angel had abided in the holy and almighty God and praised Him with the harp and lyre, singing, “Holy, holy is the Lord God.” Like this, if we are abiding in God’s dominion by faith, we can live such a joyous life that there is no time for boredom. The lives of the righteous are joyous every day and renewed every day. But, we must remember that one of the God-made angels ended up being condemned to eternal destruction because he became too proud, left his station, and challenged God’s authority. What might explain why this angel thought of such arrogant things? It is because he was proud before God. Because God gave him free will, it was possible for him to have such proud thoughts and do such arrogant things. God gave him free will because He did not want the angel to obey Him by force.
This angel was foolish to think, after exercising his own free will, that he himself was wise. When such thoughts arose, the angel should have rebuked himself, turned away from his proud thoughts, and returned to his proper place to fear God. Instead, the angel stood against God Almighty, saying, “I will give it a try. I will rise to this challenge with my underlings.” So, together with other angels who got onboard with his ideas, he committed the sin of pride by challenging God’s authority. Seeing his arrogant plan and actions, God said, “Will you be exalted to the ends of the heavens? No, you will be brought down to the ends of the earth. I will prepare Hades for you and throw you into its bottom.” It does not matter whether we are talking about angels or the righteous. Regardless of who, if anyone’s heart and acts are proud before God, then this person will be cursed by God just like the opponent who stood against Him.
“Not to Think of Himself More Highly Than He Ought to Think” (Romans 12:3)
Sometimes our thoughts are like an endless stream, with one thought leading to another. Of all the thoughts we have, the thoughts of the flesh are not only self-destructive but they also make us stand against God. In contrast, the spiritual thoughts we have before God make us work to save many souls. Therefore, whenever we think, we ought to have spiritual thoughts. The spiritual thoughts of the righteous are all about fearing God and leading souls into Christ. We must think of God’s thoughts and believe in them. Worldly religions seek to find the answer by relying on human thought processes, but the solution to all problems is not located in the human mind, and is instead found in the Truth given by God our Christ. That is because Jesus Christ is the Truth itself. Even though people think that their thoughts are profound, in reality, human thoughts seek one’s own fleshly interests, and these thoughts of the flesh ultimately drive people to spiritual confusion. The answer to mankind’s salvation depends on the Word of our Christ God, not on human thoughts. When people reach the end of their fleshly thoughts, they can’t even recognize what they are thinking anymore. That is why the Apostle Paul said in Romans, “Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”
We the righteous must think of spiritual work according to the written Word of God, and we must live by faith in the Truth. Sometimes God rebukes us, saying, “Why are you wasting your time thinking about the things of the flesh?” In the early days of our Church, some people used to say to me, “Right now you are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but in a decade or two, you, too, will ultimately change.” None of the people who used to say such things are still in God’s Church now. With their useless thoughts of the flesh, they ended up turning themselves into God’s enemies. Because the God-given gospel Word of the water and the Spirit is the Truth that saves all sinners from their sins, it was, is, and will forever be the Truth of salvation. And if the gospel of the water and the Spirit we are preaching now makes it possible for people to receive the remission of sins into their hearts, then the God-given gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is the everlasting gospel of salvation for all mankind.
There is no other gospel for us to preach but the gospel of the water and the Spirit God has given us. Why? It is because the Lord has never given any other truth of salvation to mankind but the true gospel of the water and the Spirit. Has any gospel other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit ever delivered us from all the sins of this world? No, for it is written, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The gospel that has brought true salvation from sin to sinners is the gospel of the water and the Spirit we are preaching now. The gospel of salvation God has given to mankind is the gospel of not just the water, nor of the blood alone, but of the water, the blood, and the Spirit. This God-given gospel Word of the water and the Spirit God is the Truth that will continue to save all those who have fallen into sin 30 years from now, 40 years, 500 years, 5,000 years, and forever.
The gospel Word of the water and the Spirit is the absolutely incorruptible, true Word of salvation God has given us, for it is the Word of God and the forever-unchanging Truth. However, those who have not been born again yet despite believing in Jesus as their Savior think in their flesh, “Once enough time goes by, this gospel of the water and the Spirit will change, too.” Those who treat God’s Word only in carnal terms like this must realize that their thoughts are nothing but the thoughts of death. Human beings are bound to be ruined if they succumb to their own thoughts of the flesh and stand against the true God and His righteousness, which God has offered to mankind. All the carnal thoughts of mankind are wrong in God’s sight.
“Your Heart Was Lifted Up Because of Your Beauty”
Do you have any forever-unchanging beauty? What beauty do you have? Is it your face, your body, your honor, or your riches? Which of these is your beauty? Let us take a moment here and reflect upon ourselves according to the true Word of salvation God has given us. God has now given the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all of us. He has given us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit all the talents and blessings we need to carry out His righteous work. So, each of us has at least one precious gift God has given us. It is not just I, but my colleagues all have at least one gift. However, some people think that they alone have the best talent in the entire world. The fallen angel in today’s Scripture reading must have been very beautiful in God’s sight, as the Bible writes that his heart was lifted up because of his beauty. And the Bible also says that this angel was arrogant because of his own splendor, and corrupted himself with his own wisdom. He had come to think, “If only I could take over God’s place, I will be like Him. I will become God myself and rule over all His creation.”
What Is True Wisdom?
True wisdom is the ability to apply one’s knowledge to accomplish something. “Knowledge” is just knowing, while “wisdom” is the ability to implement one’s knowledge to achieve something. So, anyone who believes in God’s love must have not only faith in His Word but also wisdom, though obviously no human being can ever be as wise as God. Knowledge can be attained by anyone with learning. In contrast, not everyone has the God-given wisdom, so it is something that must be received from God by praying to Him. The true wisdom that comes from God is about believing in the God-given Word and walking by faith. That is because God’s wisdom is a blessing that can be had only by those who believe in God and obey His will.
There was someone who, despite having over $2 million in his bank account, thought he was ruined financially and killed his wife, his children, and himself. His left a note saying that he was committing suicide over his money trouble, and that he was taking his wife and children with him as well. Even though this man had $2 million in his bank account, he still thought he was doomed in this world. Clearly, he did not have God’s wisdom. While $2 million might not be big enough to run a large company, it was still more than enough money for him to invest in a decent business and make a good living for himself and his family with hard work. And if he had done so, he would have set an example for his children. But, this man lacked wisdom.
When the fallen angel looked at himself, he thought he was exalted. He thought he was living in glory. His status was indeed very high and splendid, since he was an angel praising God right next to Him. As his heart soared in arrogance, he ultimately tried to become God himself, and ended up being condemned to hell. This fallen angel had been serving God Almighty right next to Him. So, we can realize here that God is telling us through this account, “My place cannot be taken away by anyone. Only those who accept the grace I am offering can live with Me.” God made not only angels but also human beings.
Having created human beings in the Garden of Eden, God promised them that He would bestow His grace of salvation on them by delivering them from the sins they would committee. God promised with His Word, “I will come to this earth through the body of a woman as the Savior of all humanity. And I will save you through the gospel of the water, the blood, and the Spirit.” To carry out the work of Christ on this earth just as He promised all mankind with His Word, God Himself had to be born through the body of Mary to be incarnated in the flesh of man. And this God was baptized by John the Baptist to bear our sins, was crucified to death, rose from the dead again with power, and has thereby become the true Savior for all of us who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Mankind’s salvation from sin is all written in the Bible like this, in both Old and New Testaments.
However, there are many people today who do not know anything about the righteousness of God our Christ. They say that they believe in God even as they do not know the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, which God Himself fulfilled to save us from our sins when He came to this earth for us. Human beings must therefore learn about and understand, through the Word of God, the reason why God made them, and the God-made dominion of angels. You and I must grasp clearly and believe in why God has saved us from the sins of this world once and for all, and why God is telling us now to praise His love and glory. That is because if we learn about and understand God’s purpose for us, we can glorify Him. It is because once we realize the providence of God and His purpose, we can glorify Him through our faith in His righteousness. We must realize here that God has entrusted us with the task that had been entrusted to the fallen angel, which was praising God. And we must believe in this. If we know and believe in God’s love for us, and if we believe in and praise His righteousness, then we will be even more exalted than this angel was at the creation of the heavens and the earth. That is because by faith we have reached our true salvation and put on the glory of Heaven, and therefore we have come to praise God.
Praising God is about commending the righteous work God has done for us. That is why we exalt and praise God’s love and the righteousness of His work. Commending God is about thanking and glorifying Him in our everyday lives for not only saving us from all the sins of this world once and for all, but also answering our prayers, helping us in our daily walk, and blessing us to live with Him. This is what it means to live a life that praises God.
Today, you and I who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been blessed to take up and enjoy the glorious duty that the fallen angel had lost. We have become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and God is rejoiced to receive all glory through us. All of this is God’s blessing and the heavenly wisdom God has given us. This is the purpose for which God created us. Isn’t it just amazing that God has allowed all of us to have faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit? Everything God has done to us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is an amazing blessing.
What One Loses from Pride
Because of his pride, the fallen angel lost the beautiful duty he had been given. He was ruined, and he became the head of hell. In the end, he turned into God’s opponent standing against Him. We now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but how are we leading our lives before God? Is there anyone among us who has succumbed to pride, whether on account of outward beauty or talents, and has thus turned into an object of God’s hatred? If you have beautiful gifts or talents, you should not let them go to your head, for they have been given to you so that you would serve God.
God said the workmanship of timbrels and pipes was prepared for the angel on the day he was created. This means that God had given this angel the blessed duty of praising Him. It’s not as if the angel went to a music school! His God-given talent was the ability to play musical instruments and the heartfelt desire to praise the holiness of God. Seeing God’s creation, his mind must have sprung forth musical notes naturally so that he could praise God beautifully. Like this, we the believers in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit also have great talents God has already given us. But, if we think we are better than our brothers and sisters because of such talents and use them to oppose them, then we will be ruined. If we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit give up on spreading the gospel, and go out to the world to seek our own monetary wellbeing, then we will ultimately find ourselves standing against God. Our lives of faith would then be over in God’s sight.
I, too, am nothing without the talents God has given me. So I use my God-given abilities to preach the gospel of salvation that has saved me. I do not boast of myself before God. Everything I do is done for the glory of God; there is no other purpose for my work. So, if you and I were to let our talents go to our head and give up on serving God, then we will become just like the fallen angel. Today, in God’s Church also, if you do not use your talents for God, God will not use your talents. If such people were to try to carry out God’s work, God will humble their hearts, saying to them, “What you are doing now means nothing.” So, we see that God chooses us and uses us as His instruments when we serve His work in unity with our colleagues. In contrast, when someone ignores his colleagues and God’s servants, then we see God taking the duty away from this person and giving it to another person, saying, “Stop. I can’t use you here anymore.”
God Has Allowed Free Will to All of Us
For human beings and angels alike, God gave them free will when He made them. God did not make them like robots. The God-made angels were also given personalities. God gave them the faculties of intellect, emotion, and will—that is, the ability to know, feel, and act. God gave the same faculties of intellect, emotion, and will to human beings as well, which is also known as personality. God has allowed them to understand, feel, and act. He has given them free will to think and do everything on their own accord. If they want to become like God, they can think like this; if they want to challenge God, they can do so; and if they want to stand against God because they are upset at Him, then they can do this as well. In other words, God made angels as intellectual, emotional, and willful beings. However, one of the many angels challenged God’s authority. So God cast the arrogant angel and his subordinates to the ground.
Like this, when God made human beings, He did not make them as robots, but as persons. We can stand against God, or alternatively we can accept the God-spoken Word and be saved from all our sins. God made us human beings with free will. God, too, is a Person, and bestows His love and blessings on those who believe in the love of God and the blessings of salvation that are manifested in the gospel of the water and the blood. However, even though we have been saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we stand against God Almighty, then we, too, will be cast out like the fallen angel. We the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must remember that God has given us free will. Like this, God is truly a just God. Our Creator God is not influenced emotionally by us His creatures, nor does He make compromises with us because He is weak. So, if you and I are arrogant before God, then we will deservedly pay a price for our pride.
We Must Build a Respectful Community of Faith
When you are sharing fellowship with those who have been saved from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, listen attentively to what they are saying. You will then realize that there is much to learn from them. You will come to recognize, “These Church members are faithfully carrying out God’s work without making a fuss. They are just ordinary members of the Church just like me, but they are the people of character and I should emulate them. Some people are highly emotional, loving God and serving Him with great zeal one day, and then suddenly sinking into a deep malaise the next day and refusing to serve. Others, on the other hand, are more consistent, serving the Lord steadily in unity with the members of the Church without bringing attention to themselves.
When we look at God’s workers, we see that they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some members have what we lack, and we have what some members lack. That is why as the members of the Church, we must learn from one another and be united. We can then realize, “These brothers and sisters deserve so much respect. They are amazing. God is being served so well by them! He has given them wisdom and faith to serve Him. He has blessed them!” God wrote the Bible for us to teach us through His Word that we should not lift up our own hearts in arrogance but be united with one anotherFrom whatever positions we each have, God has enabled us to serve the Lord faithfully in unity. He has enabled us to now serve in His workplace so that we can all support the gospel ministry and dedicate our efforts to preaching the gospel. God has left us on this earth so that we would serve and support His work in unity.
Recently, Pastor Galvao sent me a message informing me that there was quite a bit of disquietedness among his brothers and sisters because of COVID-19. Seeing their loved ones dying from coronavirus right before their eyes, the congregation was suffering a great deal and deeply anguished, and Pastor Galvao asked me if I could send them a few words of encouragement. When I heard this, I realized that God was telling me to resume our literature ministry. So, lately I have been revising and adding to the sermons I have given during the hour of worship in God’s Church. This is because I have been asked to do so by Pastor Galvao and other overseas co-workers. It is because the target audience of these new publications is our coworkers abroad. I have been writing my sermons as though I were writing them a letter. The sermons I preach during the hour of worship are also meant for our co-workers around the world. So I have been revising them and getting them translated.
Like this, God makes us do various types of work according to His time. The onus is on us to quietly carry out whatever work God has entrusted to us. Diligently carrying out God’s work by faith every time it is entrusted to us is what the life of faith is all about. That is because all the work we must do while living in this world is God’s work. Like this, we do the Lord’s work, we praise God during the hour of worship, listen to His Word, share His grace together, and renew our strength every day. After our daily lives are over, when the time comes for us to go to His Kingdom, we will also enjoy His glory.
The Fallen Angel Can Never Again Enjoy His Old Glory
As those who have become God’s people by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you and I will enjoy the glory of living with God. God said to us that when this time comes, we will see Him face to face. So, with this hope, let us all carry out the Lord’s work every day. When we work to spread the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will come to glorify God in the life God grants to us. And because all this work is done together with God’s family, our brothers and sisters, every moment is a joy to me. I am rejoiced always because whatever it is that we do in this world, it is for God’s work.
My heart is always joyous, for I am doing God’s work for the sake of spreading His gospel of the water and the Spirit, for the sake of His Church, and for the sake of our brothers and sisters. These are the thoughts that bring me joy: “As I am now laying down the foundation to support the gospel ministry, our brothers and sisters will enjoy all these things. Through this work of service I am doing, the gospel will be spread even more. People’s hearts will be healed. The gospel of the water and the Spirit will be proclaimed farther and farther. I am so happy to see that the work I have done on this earth has brought so many spiritual blessings to our brothers and sisters. I am blessed by this. I could not ask for more, for the fruit of my labor is enjoyed not just by me but also our Church family, and this is what pleases God.”
What is more worthwhile than this, and what more could I possibly ask for? One day, I will enter God’s Kingdom and live forever with Him face to face. You are the same as I. All those who have been saved from their sins through the God-given gospel Word of the water and the Spirit are precious in God’s sight. We are not lowly in God’s eyes. Even if some of our brothers and sisters have some shortcomings in their flesh, we should not look down on any of them. We should instead show tolerance and cherish them, saying, “We understand. You did something unwise briefly. There is a lesson God wants to teach you through this.”
However, some people are so proud of themselves that they obstruct God’s work. These people will be treated as God’s opponents. If anyone is obstructing God’s work, then this person has already sided with the fallen angel. So, we ought to not only respect those who fear God, but also love them and unite our hearts with them by our faith in God. There are some leaders in Christian communities telling people to serve them alone, not God. If we ever unite ourselves with such people, we will be treated just like the fallen angel. The fallen angel was cast out of Heaven and lost his position. So, God made this glorious position vacant, and wanted to make human beings in His image and put them there. God also knew that these human creatures of His making would sin. That is why God had prepared a plan of salvation to deliver human beings, who were made in the likeness of His image, from their sins.
God Himself came to this earth as the Savior, and He has saved all mankind from sin through His sacrifice, endless love, and righteousness. And to all those who believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, God has given the blessing of living with Him. In doing so, God has made us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to boast of Him with our lips, praising, “God has given us salvation, the glory of Heaven, and His blessings.” That is why we praise God with our lips, putting melodies to the lyrics that boast of God. As the righteous, we praise God because our hearts are rejoiced. Singing praises is not something that can be done by force. The lyrics of our hymns are all wonderful. When we praise God for the righteous, blessed work He has done for us, our hearts are renewed in no time. Joy springs forth. This is who God is to us.
God Is Now Speaking to Us to Give Us a Spiritual Lesson
It is written in Proverbs 16:18:
“Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.” God is telling us here that pride is the predecessor to a fall. He is warning us not to let our hearts turn proud. If we did something for God’s work, it is all because of the God-given strength, ability, and blessings, not because of our own power and strength. If you and I accomplished something good for God’s work, it is because of the help we got from God, His Church, and the brothers and sisters around us. Even when it comes to the things that we accomplished before we were born again, we were able to do them because of the help we got from our parents who brought us in to this world, nurtured us, and took care of us while growing up. Could we have done anything at all without the help we got from our parents, siblings, relatives, and friends? Yet, the fallen angel here thought, “This is who I am! There is no one above me but God. Everyone else is below me. All that I need do now is just climb up to God’s place!”
If such arrogant thoughts ever come across our minds like this opponent of God, we should realize immediately what a grave mistake this is, confess our sin to God, and rebuke ourselves. We should smack our lips and lower our hearts, saying to ourselves, “Are you out of your mind? You are here now because God has made you righteous. Were you born righteous from the beginning? Were you not made by God? Do you exist by yourself, like God?” Like this, we must ensure that we never end up standing on the side of God’s opponent. The fallen angel not only stood against God himself, but he also incited other angels to oppose God. That is why the fallen angel was cursed by God. If you succumb to pride, you, too, will become an object of curses like Satan. Satan brings the proud into his fold and uses them as his instruments.
God casts out the proud. Even today, God casts out the kings of the world if they are too arrogant. Even now, God casts out moguls if they boast of only themselves and turn arrogant even before God. We see routinely in this world how such people are ruined miserably in the end. So, we should never let our hearts turn haughty before God.
We ought to be content in our everyday lives. We ought to live with thanksgiving, for we have food to eat and clothes to wear, we are abiding in God’s Church, and we have the fellowship of faith. Because God has now given us the task of carrying out His work and placed us in this position, we are doing what brings glory to God. You and are not where we are now because we somehow have exceptional gifts. Nor am I standing here giving this sermon because I am gifted. Rather, I am standing here because God has given me wisdom, faith, and the Holy Spirit, so that I can understand what the Word of God is saying when I read it. I am preaching to you at this very moment because God has enabled me to realize what He is saying to us through His Word.
The conclusion to draw here is that we have nothing to be proud of. If we are good at something, it is all because God has given us such gifts and talents. When God has given us all our talents, how could we turn arrogant? Whenever we carry out God’s work, we can accomplish it only if we are thoughtful and diligent day and night. It is when we devote all our hearts and strengths for the glory of God that God accomplishes this work for us. God has allowed us to “labor” on this earth so that His work would be achieved. We should therefore not lift up our own hearts, and instead be united with our colleagues.
Sometimes we mistakenly think that we are better than others. We think to ourselves, “Since I am talented, I should be the head of a team. So why are people less qualified than me made heads of teams while I am passed over? Isn’t the Church biased? Isn’t it because the Church cannot recognize my gifts? I am so much better than those people. If I was given the position, I will do a much better job than any of them.” However, God does not want to entrust His work to anyone who thinks like this. God wants us to unite our hearts with the weak also and carry out His work. He wants the strong and the weak alike to help one another and fulfill the Lord’s work in unity. God does not want to complete His work only through those who are good at work, nor does He want to be glorified through just one person. It is absolutely not the case that our God just wants us to do good work.
On the contrary, through His work God wants us to share Christ’s love with each other and to relay our precious gifts to others. And God also wants us to learn from others’ precious talents. He wants our hearts to sympathize with the weaknesses of our fellow members of the Church. If there is someone who is physically weak, God wants us to understand this person and be one in unity through His love, thinking, “I would do the same if I had a physical ailment like that brother. It’s perfectly understandable.” God wants all of us to work together to carry out the gospel work of the water and the Spirit for His goodness. He does not want to be glorified by just someone who is good at work.
So, I do not entrust God’s work to someone who is good at just work. I look at other aspects as well, and after careful consideration, ask that person to take on the task that I have in mind for him. If the person says, “I’m not good at something like this,” I share my words of encouragement, saying to him, “Just give it a try. Pray to God, and give it a try.” Then the person is often able to accomplish the task even if he has some shortcomings. No one is an expert from the beginning. We all make many mistakes when we start out. However, when we think carefully about how to do God’s work and pray to the Lord about it, God gives us the strength to carry out this work. It is while doing God’s work that faith grows in our hearts, and it is according to this faith that God’s work advances. The result is then better.
If a good worker is entrusted with a task, and the task is accomplished successfully, there is little spiritual gain to be had. In contrast, when someone who is not good at work is entrusted with a task, and the work goes well as this person’s faith grows and advances even by a little, then there is much to be gained. This person’s faith is bound to grow as well. That is what I want. So, those who brag of themselves as great workers end up hearing me say to them, “Go away! Go way over there and work there!” Because God’s heart is in my heart, I want someone who is in unity with the members of the Church, cherishes one another, recognizes God’s people, discerns the honorable, is blessed together, and shares these blessings together. This kind of desire was not in my heart in the past. But it sprang forth once I met the Lord who came to this earth by the water and the Spirit. How wonderful is this? God has given me wisdom and made me prepare His work to this day. And when the time came, I was able to share God’s work with others, saying to them, “You should come here and do God’s work. You should go over there and do God’s work.”
Even today, as the king’s heart is like the rivers of water, God moves the leader’s heart. It is God who turns the hearts of His servants. God’s servants do not decide on the Lord’s work on their own, nor do they entrust it to whomever they favor personally. God’s dominion is not the same as this world. The affairs of the Church are overseen by God. So, when someone needs to be trained, I ask him to carry out some tasks. But, there are some people who don’t listen. Some people just keep coming up with excuses and never listen. Refusing to listen to the Church leaders time after time is akin to becoming like the fallen angel. You ought to listen to your leaders. If your Church leaders ask you to assume a certain position, then you should trust them and say, “This must be God’s will for me.” Yet, some people are unhappy about their placement and complain, saying, “Why am I being treated like this? This is so strange! They must hate me. Why are they picking on me so much?” This is not the case. It is God making you carry out His work to train you. God is putting you through spiritual training as you are not trained enough. Only then can we unite our hearts with God and receive His blessings.
To whom would God entrust a choir contest praising Him? Even now, angels in Heaven are praising God. But who will join them in the future? Through whom would God carry out His work? When we turn to the Book of Revelation, we see the righteous gathering together and praising God. The dominion of God will unfold anew in Heaven. And the day will come when God bestows a glorious life on His people. God does not bestow His glory on anyone who is like the fallen angel. The angels in Heaven at that time will be the servants of the sons and daughters of God. God said that He will assign the angels to us His children as our servants. The heavenly angels will be your servants and mine. Those of you who believe in and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the owners of the Kingdom of Heaven. This faith is real.
People turn arrogant when they delude themselves into thinking that their own lies are real. The arrogant brag of themselves and say, “This is who I am,” but in substance they are nothing more than weaklings with countless shortcomings. However, we believe that we can do all things and carry out any task if God blesses us and gives us wisdom. So, realizing this, let us receive the blessings, the glorious life, and the glorious work God has given us, let us never lose any of them to Satan, let us cherish them, and let us glorify God in our lives. I want you all you to receive many blessings on this earth and enjoy even more blessings in Heaven. Hallelujah!