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And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. (Genesis 7:1~5)
Tommy, Throw Away that Cane of Yours the Next Time You Come
I speak often about Genesis, and whenever I find out the heart of God, I would think, “God loves me! God bestows grace upon me! I am lacking but God accepts me!” and be so thankful. Not long ago I held a conference in Los Angeles and a man with a cane came limping toward me after the evening sermon and said, “Pastor, your sermon tonight knocked on my heart very much.” I sat down and spoke with him and he told me all about his past. He said that he turned 52 this year, and that he had been doing drugs for 40 years. He lived as a beggar and a homeless man. He had many diseases, but married a Korean woman and was deeply touched by her love and care. Even so, he would take all of the money she would earn and use it to fulfill his addiction. I asked him a question. “Tommy, have you ever seen a butterfly? Do you know what turns into that beautiful butterfly?” I continued speaking to him. “Disgusting, ugly caterpillars are what become butterflies. This is the providence of God. God made humans filthy and dirty rather than good and honest so that He may save them, making them holy and glorious. Tommy, God has had you live a filthy, sinful life like that of a caterpillar for you to be able to eventually live like a butterfly.” Then I preached the gospel to him. “Tommy, you have walked in darkness until now, but Jesus will now have you live a new life. Jesus shed all of His blood on the cross for all of your sins. He has made you holy and righteous.” Upon hearing the gospel, he laughed, “Ha, ha, ha, ha!” He could not believe it. “Was Jesus crucified for a person like me? Did He really wash my sins away? Is it really okay to believe this?” But he returned with joy after accepting the gospel into his heart. As he was turning to leave, I called him over and spoke to him. “Tommy, throw that cane of yours away the next time you come. God will surely help you if Jesus is with you. He will renew you.”
After the conference in Los Angeles was finished, I held conferences in Atlanta and Dallas, and then I returned to L.A. to leave for Korea. I stopped by our church in L.A. because I had some time before my flight, and Tommy came to church to see me because he heard that I was coming. He was wearing jeans and a white jacket. He looked brand-new and young. “Tommy, jeans look really good on you. You should wear jeans from now on. You look really good, and you look very young.” Tommy began to speak to me. “Pastor Park, I threw away my cane like you told me to. Now, I don’t need my cane anymore. It was a bit weird, but yesterday I played basketball with some students. I was not good, but I threw the ball, too. I am going to buy a treadmill and start exercising.” I was so thankful before God to see how much Tommy had changed. Tommy had lived in darkness until he met Jesus, but his life was exchanged with Jesus’ after he met Him. The powerful, glorious, and beautiful life of Jesus came upon Tommy, and Tommy’s sinful life moved over onto Jesus. Not only Tommy, but as I preached the gospel all over the world, I have seen how the lives of murderers, death row inmates, Russian mafia members, and drug addicts changed through meeting Jesus. Anyone who enters Jesus changes. That is why 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17 says, Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. It is not that we should live honestly, keep the law, and pray zealously in order for our lives to change. We must meet Jesus. Our lives before meeting Jesus were sinful lives that needed to be destroyed. But just as a disgusting caterpillar becomes a pretty butterfly that flies in the sky, we change when we meet Jesus. God has made us that way.
If You Enter the Ark
God tells Noah in Genesis chapter 7, verse 1, Come thou and all thy house into the ark. It was because the judgment was coming, and the only way to survive the judgment was the ark. Even if one cannot swim and is exhausted, he can have rest and freedom if he enters the ark. However, anyone outside of the ark can only be destroyed no matter how good or honest he is. Genesis tells us about that very well. Satan had man eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which gave man his standard of good and evil. Thus, people think that they will be cursed and destroyed if they do something evil, and think that they will be saved and blessed if they do something good. According to these thoughts, every person pursues goodness. But precisely put, true goodness is not helping others or providing relief for others. Jesus, Himself, is good. True wickedness is not murdering, committing adultery, or stealing, but the life outside of Jesus, itself, is evil. Therefore, we should not try to do good to receive salvation, but we must enter into Jesus.
The big and little problems we face are no longer ours but Jesus’ once we enter Jesus. The woman taken in adultery was being dragged out to be stoned when she met Jesus. She faced the pitiful fate of being stoned to death before she met Jesus. But she had changed as she met Jesus. All of her problems became Jesus’ problems. Jesus bore the problem of her having sinned, and the glorious, beautiful life Jesus lived had now become this woman’s. Jesus asked the woman: “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” “No man, Lord.” “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” The Bible tells us that the precise moment we meet Jesus and enter Him, all of our problems are no longer our problems, but they become Jesus’ problems. In October of 1962, I realized and believed that all of my sins were washed as white as snow through the blood of the cross. From then on, the heart of Jesus and my heart became one. Before I met Jesus, I would try and labor to do good things and be honest whenever lustful and dirty ambitions would boil inside of me. I was always exhausted from fighting against sin. I would sin, regret, sin again. . . . Such life endlessly continued for me. Yet after Jesus entered my heart, my flesh was still being led to eat, drink, and enjoy itself, but another heart arose in me which allowed me to overcome the desires of the flesh. It was not I who was fighting against my evil thoughts or lust, but Jesus was fighting against them which enabled me to live a bright life. Jesus led me to be bright, holy, and glorious. If the animals that entered the ark were outside the ark, they would have died in the flood. But once they were in the ark, it was not a problem, no matter how much it rained. It was because the ark blocked out the entire flood, judgment, and curse. In the same way, if you enter Jesus, in your place, He takes the curse, destruction, and misery you should be receiving. That is why there is true rest and freedom inside of Jesus.
For Jesus Has Become Our Wisdom, Righteousness, and Redemption
The funny thing about the life in the ark was that, if there were a lion, for example, right next to a group of zebras, the zebras would hear the lion and become frightened, thinking, “Oh, no! There is a lion next to us!” They would be able to hear the lion, but the lion would be unable to eat them because rooms were made. The zebras would be so free. “Lion, are you there?” “What? How dare that zebra talk to me like that!” “Hey, Lion! You should learn manners from now on. Why do you always try to catch and eat me? You should change.” The zebras were always nervous when they ate grass out in the prairies. When lions would come, they would have to run away. But they were so free inside of the ark. They did not need to be nervous; they were at peace. If we, too, enter Christ, we will have such freedom as well. I saw Tommy entering Jesus and becoming free from sin which had always suppressed him. I saw him being freed from diabetes, the palsy, and many other diseases. His heart looked truly free and at peace. The fight against drugs ended in his life and the fight against sin also ended. Jesus Christ fought instead of him. Sin, disease, and the big and little problems that faced his family were all of his problems when he was without Jesus. But those were no longer his problems after he entered Jesus for they were all now Jesus’ problems. From the day I received salvation and Jesus entered my heart, I have gone through many difficulties and hardships, but not once was I ever in pain or afraid. It was because I could see that the Lord was taking charge of everything and watching over all things. Curse and judgment departs from whoever is inside of Jesus, while salvation, true rest, grace, and blessings come upon them; just like being inside the ark. The Bible says, But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Jesus has become our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and salvation. So if you enter Jesus, no matter what sin you have committed or what kind of a pitiful life you may have lived, those are no longer your problems, but the problems of Jesus.
Do You Believe in Your Own Thoughts, or the Word of God?
How can one enter Jesus? When he was very young, my son once asked me, “Father, how can I accept Jesus into my heart? Should I eat Him like I would cookies?” Many people ask similar questions. “Pastor, how can I accept Jesus? How can I enter into Jesus?” John chapter 1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (verse 1) Jesus is the Word. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (verse 14) Hence, entering Jesus is entering the Word. What should we do to enter the Word? First, you listen to the Word. Then, when you unite your heart with the Word, you become one with Jesus. There are many amazing words recorded in the Bible. Of them, Romans chapter 3, verse 23 says, Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The Bible tells us that we are dirty people who have sinned and done evil, but because Jesus received all the punishment on the cross for the sins we have committed, the Bible tells us that we have been sanctified and justified. The Bible tells us that we do not have sin and that we are righteous. But in our thoughts, we say, “But I still have many sins. I deceived others, stole, and committed adultery. How can I say I do not have sin? I am a sinner.” Such people are those who believe in their own thoughts. Their heart is one with their own thoughts, not with Jesus. Becoming one with Jesus is uniting with the Word of God regardless of your own thoughts. If Jesus says that our sins are all washed away and that we have been justified, we must say, “If Jesus says that I am righteous, I am righteous! If Jesus says I am holy, I am holy!” though it may seem that I have sin and that I am filthy, evil, and dirty. This is entering Jesus and Jesus entering me. When Jesus told the man with the infirmity for 38 years, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk,” he cannot do so with his own thoughts. But rising to walk, saying, “If Jesus told me to walk, then I can walk!” is the heart to unite with Jesus. In our thoughts, we all have sin. There is not one person who has not sinned. But the Bible says in Romans chapter 3, verse 24 that we have been justified freely by His grace through the redemption of Jesus, through the crucifixion of Jesus, and through Jesus receiving all the punishment for our sin. God saw that Jesus was crucified and said, “You do not have sin. You are righteous,” and, “You are holy.” The Word of God says that we do not have sin. It says that we are holy. It says that we have been made as white as snow. What do your thoughts say? In your thoughts it seems that you are evil, dirty, and still have sin. Now the question is, “Will you believe in your own thoughts or the Word of God?” Many people go to church, tithe, and try to keep the law, but they believe in their own thoughts rather than the Word of God. Therefore, even though they are told that their sins have been washed whiter than snow, they say, “But I am a sinner. How can I say that I do not have sins when I’ve committed so many?” Such people believe in themselves, not in Jesus. No matter how evil, dirty, and filthy you may appear to be, people who say, “God has called me holy! I am holy because my sins have been washed as white as snow!” and accept the Word, are those who believe in Jesus. Only then do you become one with Jesus, and you are in God and God is in you. From then on, Jesus takes charge of every aspect of your life.
Believe and Dwell in Jesus
People do not know this fact very well, and they try to become righteous, holy, and truthful through doing good on their own. That is our own goodness, not the goodness or the righteousness of God. God told Noah to enter the ark. The reason was that everything was perfectly prepared in the ark so that it would lack nothing in saving Noah’s family and the animals. Jesus Christ did not die on the cross for face value. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who met all the conditions necessary to save you perfectly. The Lord, for this deed, was crucified, shed His blood, was whipped, and then killed. The pain the Lord suffered cleansed us from all sins. It has made us righteous. How amazing this is! I praise God the Father! I had always anguished in sin, but one day, I believed in Jesus who died for my sins according to the Word. I believed that that death made all of my sins as white as snow. I was very joyful and thankful that all of my sins were washed as white as snow. After believing in this one thing, Jesus was always with me. If we are outside the ark, no matter how much good we do, we can only be destroyed, but we can receive salvation if we are inside the ark, no matter what evil we may have done. Salvation depends on whether you are inside or outside the ark. It does not depend on whether you are good or evil. It is not that we have to do something to receive salvation, but we must enter into Jesus. When you believe that the blood Jesus shed washed your sins away and have the same heart as Jesus, you become a person inside of Jesus. I hope that you all will believe in Jesus who forgave your sins and justified you, and that you will dwell inside of Him.