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The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. (John 1:29~31
In the last issue we spoke about John the Baptist. John chapter 1 talks about John the Baptist introducing Jesus. Upon shouting, “Repent! For the kingdom of God is near,” John introduced Jesus, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Sister, You Are Lying Now
When I ministered in Dajeon, one of the sisters of my church, who was a widow, was remarried. The man she was marrying had two daughters. I was there to sit with her and discuss the marriage. The man who was to be her husband had lived alone with his two daughters for a long time and was very glad to welcome a new wife. She too was very happy. As they were discussing many things, they began to talk about the two daughters. The sister said, “I will treat them well, as if I were their real mother.” I said something upon hearing those words. “Sister, you are lying right now.” The sister was stunned. “No, Pastor, I really want to be good to them.” “Sister, it is good that you have the heart to be good to these children. But that does not happen just because you want it to.” The title, “Mother,” is very good. But not just anyone can be a mother. It cannot be done through your effort or labor but you have to have children. As a mother has the child in her womb for ten months and risks her life to give birth, the heart of a mother for this child, which no one else can have, becomes formed in her. This cannot be learned nor bought with money. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for someone who is not the actual mother to act as one. It can never be done simply through trying to do so. Loving the child you conceived, risked your life to give birth to, and sacrificed for, that heart of a mother can only be found in the true mother. A woman who marries and raises the child from her husband’s previous marriage is a stepmother. In old Korean stories, stepmothers were all terribly wicked women. The stepmothers did not think to be evil mothers to begin with. But this could only be because fate had it that they would raise children born from a stranger. With a good heart, they think, “I feel sorry that the child cannot grow up under his real mother. I should be good to him.” But in the actual living, they can never act as the real mother. This mother would give anything to her own child, she would even freely give her own life, but she cannot have that heart for a child born from someone else. This sister thought, “I can do well if I put my heart into it.” This is the heart to believe in one’s self. However, this would not work out. Gold has to be gold to begin with; something cannot change to become gold. Likewise, a mother has to have the child to be the mother. The sister was at a loss and asked me, “Pastor, then what should I do?” I gave her an answer. “What should you do? Be honest with them. ‘You’ve heard the stories of stepmothers, right? I am that stepmother. I can never be like a real mother to you. No matter how hard I try to be good to you. I cannot be as good as your real mother. If you think of me as your real mother you will always be disappointed and have complaints. You will be unhappy living with a stepmother, and I completely understand. So I will try and pour my heart into doing well, so let’s work on this together.'” Because people do not know themselves, they think that they can do anything well if they try and make up their minds to. People think that they can keep the law well if they try and that they can do spiritual life well if they try. They think, “It was because I did not pour my heart into it. If I do it with my heart, I can do it!” With such a heart to believe in their selves, there is no need for the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The only thing such a person has to do is not sin. Why would he need the Lamb of God take the place of his sins?
Man Who Is Deceived without Knowing It
Once we enter the world of spiritual life, spiritual life itself is extremely easy. For example, I fly fine on airplanes even though I cannot pilot an airplane. It is because a fine pilot flies it for me. I have been around the world many times via airplanes. If it were I who flew the planes, I would have crashed many times already. However, airlines selected experienced, competent pilots and entrusted the flying to them. Not just anyone who knows how to fly can become a pilot for passenger airplanes. He has to meet many qualifications. Such people are well paid and they fly the planes with all their heart. Sometimes accidents do happen, but all of this allows us to fly on airplanes safely. Spiritual life is exactly like riding on an airplane. However, people say that spiritual life is difficult because they do not think deeply about the Word of God. Most people have a vague perception, thinking, “The Bible tells us to do good things. It tells us to believe God with all our heart. So all I need to do is not sin and be good, right?” and do not read nor think deeply about the Bible. Because I am a pastor I always open the Scriptures, read and contemplate them. There are many stories in the Scriptures of God meeting man. When Abraham met God, when Moses met God, when Elijah met God, when Peter met Jesus . . . . These all have one thing in common, that God is so different from the thoughts of us man. Man is born in a state of ignorance and develops his own perceptions and philosophy based on what he sees, hears, touches with his hands, and feels. Then he judges with his own standards that are developed already whenever he faces something new, and accepts it if it fits his experiences and thoughts. But he refuses if it does not. Nevertheless, Satan is a part of this. Satan’s intelligence is much greater than man’s, therefore, people can only be deceived by Satan. For example, it is easy for a person with an IQ of 150 to manipulate a person with an IQ of 100. Satan is much more intelligent than man and it is not hard for him to drag man around however he wishes to. When Satan gives us things that harm and ruin us, he packages them up to fit our experience, thoughts, and logic because he knows us well. Then we jump at them. In this way people accept what Satan gives them and are ultimately ruined. Trying not to be deceived by Satan does not work. No matter how smart and intelligent you are, Satan is much more intelligent. Although you say, “I am not going to be deceived,” you are, and though you say, “I’m not going to fall victim,” you have. For us to not be deceived by Satan we must meet one who is wiser than Satan. Jesus alone is the only one who is this way. Hence, you must accept Jesus into your heart for you to not be deceived by the devil. What did Jesus do in Matthew chapter 4 when he was tempted by the devil? “If you are the son of God, make these stones into bread.” Jesus did not speak of His own opinions or assertions when the devil tempted Him. “The Word of God says, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God.'” Jesus faced off against the devil with the Word of God. But this was not the case when Adam faced off against the devil in Genesis chapter 3. He faced off with his thoughts, his experience, and his judgment. When the devil said, “Eat from the fruit of good and evil,” Adam judged for himself whether that would be good for him or not. Therefore he did not even know that he was being deceived by the devil. Great misery thus came upon man through this. Thinking They Are Right When They Are Actually Wrong
If you are vaguely thinking, “All I have to do is be good,” you have already been deceived by Satan’s tricks. You must completely empty your heart and accept the heart of Jesus Christ for you to not be deceived by Satan. When the wisdom of Jesus enters you, you come to finally see your image, not the one seen through yourself where you esteemed yourself highly, but the image seen by Jesus. You will be completely startled if you precisely see your image from an objective standpoint. I too thought I was great before knowing my image. It was so ridiculous when I think of it now, but I thought I was so smart even though I was more pitiful than anyone else. I thought I was better and more honest than others because I attended church. I did not know myself at all. Since I thought I was smart, I believed myself. Since I thought I was better and more honest than others, I tried to do all things myself, regardless of what it was. Until God showed me my precise image, I lived a spiritual life centered upon myself, and there was no need for me to know the Bible deeply.
“I only need to be good. I only need to keep the Ten Commandments. I only need not to sin . . . .” I lived with such ridiculous thoughts. It was like a stepmother telling her stepchildren that she will treat them like her own children. It is so ridiculous once we realize it, but people say this as if they are truthful. We are all deceived by Satan. We are never good. Apostle Paul says, For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing. (Romans 7:18) It says in Psalms chapter 14, verses 2 and 3, The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. There is no one who does good according to the standard of God. But there are people who are good in by their own standards. Therefore, they fight with people. Because they think they are right, they fight with people who think otherwise. There is no one who fights with others, saying, “I am wrong!” People fight because even though they are actually wrong, they think that they are right. They believe in themselves. They push forward with their own thoughts and judgments. There is no room in that life for Jesus to enter and work. They plan, and they work . . . . Everything is ruled by them.
I Must Be Cursed!
There was a day when spiritual life became very easy for me. I believe God allowed me to borrow His eyes that day. I was able to see myself from a completely different angle from the one I had in the past. Before, I did many bad things, stealing fruit from other people’s gardens, stealing crops from other people’s fields, but I thought I was good because I attended church. However, God showed me my image that day. The image I saw at that time was truly evil, a man with no good to be found whatsoever. “I deserve to go to hell! I must be cursed!” Right then I precisely realized that I was a man who could only be destroyed. Can a man with hepatitis draw his blood, remove only the hepatitis germs, and transfuse his blood into someone else? That would be nonsense. How many germs are there in one drop of blood? Likewise, there is the plan of Satan everywhere in our thoughts. The dirty, filthy, and evil things are there. When I discovered myself who was this way, I lost all heart to do something myself. I was so ashamed in front of God. “I am so dirty, evil, and deceitful, but I thought I was good, smart, and great!” The more I thought of it, the more ashamed I was. There was nothing for me to do from this point on. Everything I touched ended in failure, and I knew that everything I did was dirty. Just as clean clothes touched by dirty hands can only become dirty, it was impossible to do something good with a dirty heart. If I did do good, it would be hypocrisy. How can good come from a dirty heart? After discovering that there is no good in me, all the hearts I had of believing in myself completely crumbled down. After knowing precisely that I could only be ruined and cursed if I believe myself, the heart to do something on my own came crumbling down. When you have your own way you cannot listen to what the person next to you is telling you. When you believe that you can cook well, you will not listen no matter how much the person next to you tells you how to cook. If you think you are good at music, you will not listen when someone tells you about music, thinking, “Who do you think you are?” Likewise when you think that you are good, you do not listen to the words of others about good. When you think you are good and think that you are doing well, you do not feel the need to read the Bible or to listen to the words of the Bible. “I can just live good myself!” Most people live spiritual life this way. Spiritual life begins where you precisely discover yourself. “Ah, I really am useless! I am evil! I am dirty!” Before discovering this you try to do it yourself, and while you are trying to do it yourself Jesus can do no work.
I Must Let Go of the Control Stick
John the Baptist in John chapter 1, verse 29 shouts, Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Think about it. Clearly Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. But people have their own sins. They are unable to leave their sins to the Lamb of God. If He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, people do not need to bear their own sins. Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes them away. However, there are so many people today who bear their own sins, cry, repent, suffer, and stay in pain and sadness. Why is this? It is because they believe they can do well. I once boarded an airplane in Africa, and it was a small 13-passenger airplane. The pilot of the plane was the same age as me, and I spoke much with him for he was an interesting person. This airplane had two pilot seats: the one on the left was the main pilot seat and the right pilot seat also had a control stick. I sat on the right side. We on that plane went to many places throughout the day, but I did not get to hold the control stick even once. It was because I do not know how to fly a plane. I saw carefully to see how he moves the stick to fly the plane, and it was different from what I had thought. I could not understand how he was setting the direction of the plane through the stick. But what would happen if I held on to the control stick of this airplane? On our flight, he said to me, “Pastor, there is a lake in Nakuru and there are flamingos there. Why don’t we go down and see them a little?” So we went to Nakuru. On the way he said, “It is very dangerous in Nakuru because there are many flamingos there. When flamingos crash into the airplanes as they fly, accidents happen. Because the airplane is fast, hitting the flamingos can make the airplane fall and crash.” I could only agree with what he was saying. Anyhow, I did not get to hold the airplane control stick even once. It was because I do not know how to fly an airplane, and I trusted everything to the pilot. Spiritual life is much more important than flying an airplane. But people hold the control stick themselves and steer to the left and to the right in their spiritual life. They think they can do well if they try, and they think their spiritual life will not go well if they do not do well. That is the spiritual life of doing it themselves. True spiritual life is not doing it yourself but Jesus doing it for you. But because people do not know of the true spiritual life, there are so many people in the world who are bearing their own sins in pain, even though Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. We need true repentance. We have to empty ourselves and leave everything to Jesus Christ. When you have the spiritual life of letting go of the control stick, spiritual life becomes very easy, peaceful, and safe. If you deeply realize yourself, you will unknowingly let go of the control stick and come to rely on God.