Come Out From Them and Be Separate

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV

This passage sums up the blessing of Abraham concisely. God promised Abraham as it says in verse 16, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” And after He established a new covenant in the New Testament times, He said, “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

In order to fulfil this, what God demanded of us is to come out from among them and be separate. He told us to be separate. This is an important point. He is telling us to be separate in order for Him to be with us.

Originally, Abraham was living in the Mesopotamian region, but God made him leave so that He could be with Abraham. “Leave your father’s household and your homeland.” So he did. If Abraham remained there, God could not be with him. God would not be able to do His work freely in him.

Later on, He called the Israelites who were in Egypt to come out. Why? So that He could be with them. He commanded them to leave first. Both Abraham and the Israelites crossed the river when they left. The word Hebrew means to cross the river; to be a stranger. So he was baptized. Also, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and were baptized in the clouds and the sea, the Scripture says. In this way, it is necessary to come out of where we were.

We came out too. It is because we came out that God is with us. It is not that we come out because He is with us but because we came out that He abides with us. Also, entering heaven is due to Him being with us, not the other way around. We come out to be with Him, and together with Him enter the kingdom of heaven.

Through baptism, we united with Jesus and were sanctified, which is why He sent us the Holy Spirit through whom He abides in us. From that time on, God’s spirit dwells within us.

There are many gods (spirits) in the world. Unbelievers worship gods and yet when they are asked if gods exist, they deny their existence. Last time, I met with sister Yang’s brother-in-law and his wife. Sister Yang urgently asked to see me, requesting that I speak to her brother-in-law for her. Sister Yang and her husband did not want to worship ancestors and they requested to be left out of it. She took me to where her brother-in-law and his wife were. They were actually drinking at the time. It was not an ideal situation but anyway, I spoke with them. I told them that Sister Yang and her family believe in God and thus do not want to partake in ancestral worship. But then, her brother-in-law said, “Isn’t it rightful for my older brother to do ancestral worship for our parents who passed away?” He was very adamant and firm with his stance. So I talked to them for a while and told them that when they do the ancestral rites and serve food on the table, the dead come to eat the food. At that, they were utterly shocked. So I told them, “Didn’t you just tell me that you have to serve your dead parents well and perform ancestral worship, that you need to take care of your dead parents? Isn’t it because they are still there that you think this way?” And he said he does not believe so. He does not even believe that his parents’ spirits exist nor that they actually come when they perform ancestral rites. Nevertheless, he insists on doing ancestral worship. So he was contradicting himself.

Although people deny in this way, without them knowing they are worshipping spirits. There are many gods in the world yet most people argue saying, “Where is god?”

Our God is one and only. God said, “There shall be no other god before Me.” Nevertheless, there are many gods in the world, many in the heavens and on earth. So the book titled, “The Name of God,” starts off with the sentence, “There are many gods in the world.” When the people in China read that, they wrote to me saying that from the start of the book, it did not make sense. I had requested them to proofread the book before it was printed and they came back with such feedback. So we added a footnote on that – why there are many gods in the world. And once we had it translated, explaining why there are so many gods in the world, they were able to then understand. There are many gods in heaven as well as on earth. But the question is, which of those gods are you going to worship? Everyone has to make a choice.

Our evangelism is not necessarily about telling people to believe in God. Rather, we teach them that there are many gods as well as God, and whether they want to have a relationship with God. Thus, it is necessary for us to introduce our God to them well. We have to explain to them who our God is, in order that they can make a choice. If you just tell them to believe in God without any explanation, they would argue, “How can I believe in God not knowing who He is?”

If we approach people by telling them that they have to believe in God, just because we are believers of Jesus and believe in God, it can be quite difficult for them. When people are buying a new phone, they spend a lot of time researching and comparing the options before making a decision. In the same way, they need to choose the god they want. Hence, we tell them this truth. ‘There are many gods in the world which you probably did not know. And technically you can be with any god you want. You can worship demons, you can worship this god or that god. But I will tell you the outcome of worshipping different gods. If you worship a particular demon, the outcome will be such and such. If you worship and be with God whom I want to introduce to you, the outcome will be so and so. I will tell you what happens when the gods of the world go into you. They display their characteristics in you.’ They say, “Father like son.” If the father does one thing, the son will do the same. If one’s father abuses his wife at home, the child will be tortured by it. He will be distressed by what happens between his father and mother. But when he grows up, he may also abuse his wife. Even though he was distraught by the abuse, because that is what he saw growing up, he ends up being like his father. He does what his father did.

But it is worse with gods (spirits). When they are in a person, he is bound to follow the spirits. When we see how unbelievers drink, sing loudly, get into a fight and so on, they remind us of what? They are just like demons. It is the demons manifesting. But for the persons themselves, they cannot distinguish whether it is the demon or themselves. Because they have been together for so long, having one heart and will, people cannot make the distinction. What do they do? In a moment of anger, they even commit murder. When people get angry, even though they were not very angry at first, once they start yelling and lose their temper, they get really angry. That leads to a fight or argument. Arguments between couples start off with nothing and it could have been avoided. But they end up yelling at each other, which makes them more angry, they yell even louder and look like mad people in the end. I used to be like that. I used to throw objects and break glass.

These are not the result of a lack of self-control, but the manifestation of demons in them. Some people might be strong-willed. But others who are weak can get subdued by demons which may result in losing their own willpower and submitting to the demons. If such a person has not one demon but ten for example, then he could display many different traits. When an unclean demon manifests, he would do unclean things. When a violent demon manifests, he becomes violent and so on. To what degree can a person change on account of demons? Demons can control people’s hearts to arouse anger and so on, but furthermore, they can even bring changes to the person’s physical body. Hence, people develop cancer. When a demon comes in, the body changes. It is not only the body but even the bone structure can change. There was a demon-possessed person whose bone structure changed over time and later on, the person’s face shape was totally different to before, very crooked and unsightly. The person starts to resemble the demon.

Once an ex-gang member-turned-demon manifested out of a person. There were other demons in him too, such as a baby demon. When the baby demon manifested the person acted like a baby. But when the ex-gang member demon manifested, he acted like a gang member. What is even more intriguing is that when that demon manifested, a scar caused by a knife wound began to appear on the person’s skin and became clearly visible. Then, when the baby demon manifested, the scar disappeared. A pastor in Beijing sent me a report after casting out a demon. The sister from whom he was casting out the demon started to turn red on her skin like a scar. And as he drove out the demon, he found out it was the victim of a murder that happened not long ago in Beijing. The victim was stabbed to death, and the wound appeared on this sister, as though she was stabbed with a knife. In this way, demons do not only change people’s hearts; they can significantly alter their bodies too. It is not even gradual. The scar appeared and disappeared immediately. It is absolutely strange and baffling to the unbelievers. Demons can do that. So the person resembles the demon.

What are demons? They are failures. Failures. Even if they once had a lot of money when they were alive, they lost it all. They failed. They might have been happy before but are now miserable. So they failed. One word to describe demons is failure. They are accursed. Miserable. They are always resentful. Also, they do not have a second chance. They never get another chance. Because they do not have a second chance to make it right, what is another word for demons? Unclean spirits. In what way are they unclean? They are unclean in the eyes of God. In other words, those who do not have another chance are unclean. That is why while a person is living, he is never called an unclean man even if he does not believe in Jesus. But demons we call unclean spirits. Demons are unclean spirits. The word demon itself means unclean spirit. What makes them unclean? The fact that they do not have a second chance. As long as the apple is on the tree it is clean. But once it falls, it is unclean. It starts to rot. There are no more chances. Excrement is representative of all things unclean. Why? Because it is irreversible. It cannot be reversed. It must be buried.

Some people are unclean. Why are they unclean? Because the unclean being resides in them making their hearts unclean. Some people say, “I’ll just die like this. I’m going to die like this.” This itself is unclean. Their will is so far from God. “Just leave me alone. I’m going to live like this and die.” These people are completely oppressed by demons. They learn directly from the demons. Demons will perish the way they are. They have not got any hope. It is impossible for them to be changed. For this reason, the mind of a person full of demons already has no will or motivation to change. Hence they say, “I’m just going to live like this and die.” They are hopeless. That is why they attempt suicide. Such is an unclean will.

What else makes a person unclean? The one who repents is not unclean. But whoever cannot repent is unclean. They do not feel the regret and despair that they are sinners after doing wrong. They have no willingness to repent. Repentance is a second chance. God is giving them a second chance but they do not repent. They give up thinking, “It’s over for me. I have no chance.” Such a person is not pitiful in God’s eyes but unclean. People who are despondent and hopeless are not pitiable but unclean.

In the past, when I did not know this, I tried to comfort people who were despairing saying “It’s okay.” But I do not anymore. There are times to comfort and times to rebuke harshly. Sometimes my kids do that. They get upset and lose heart over something trivial. And they enjoy being in that state of mind. They grieve and stay in that grief. Once I comforted my son. And I think he felt it was worth being in that situation. So he began to do that more, dwelling in despair and grief. I figured it was not right and rebuked him harshly the next time he did that. It really woke him up. He never did that again. When he was in despair and sunk in grief, I rebuked him. So self-pity is truly a pitiful thing to do. Feeling sorry and pity for oneself, losing the opportunity given or not giving a second chance.

Then again there are people who not only give themselves a second chance but are unwilling to give others a second chance. That is treating others as unclean, and they do so because they themselves do not have the experience of being holy. If someone has done wrong to you, you should want the situation to be resolved quickly, but even when the person at fault comes to you with a penitent heart, you do not want to accept their apology. Some people in that situation even say, “No, I don’t want your apology. I’m having nothing to do with someone like you. Don’t ever see me again.” They think it is better if they do not see the other person altogether. With family, that is hard to do, but if it is possible to just end the relationship, people think it is over once you decide not to see them again. They would just pretend they do not know the other person. It is certain that such people do not know grace. Such people’s consciences do not recognize God nor have they received grace. Those people exist in the church too. Even when someone apologizes to them, they do not want to have anything to do with them anymore, telling them they do not want to see them ever again. These types of people are very unclean. It has been a long time since the demon took hold of their heart, and in God’s eyes, it is unclean.

But what is God like? If we look at His promise to Abraham it is evident. He did not promise that He will bless him. Instead, He promised to bless Abraham and make him a source of blessing so others are blessed through him – not just the people around him, nor his family nor the people of his town. Rather, that all nations will be blessed through him. This means, though God blessed Abraham, others can have that blessing also. Hence with God, if He has anything good, He wants to share it with others. He is virtuous. His nature is to give and share. God’s focus is not on one person who does what is pleasing to him only. Instead, He wants to have a relationship with even sinners who are yet to please Him. He is different from us.

Generally, people like to be around the group of people they like and are used to. If they have a good relationship between themselves, they enjoy going out together and eating together. But if a new person wants to join them, what is the usual response? They do not like it. In some churches, let us say they have 50 congregants. They have lunch together every Lord’s Day. But they do not like it when the number grows. For the founding members of the church, they do not like the church getting bigger because it is not as intimate as it used to be. Hence, they are against the church’s growth. This demonstrated the narrow-minded nature of man.

In the early days of our Translation Center, we had three members who worked here. So I did not have much issues since it was only three people. But it is easy for us to have the want to push away a new person who wants to join us. I do not like doing that, but this nature could be hiding somewhere within me. Hence, I intentionally rejected such feelings. And I told those working with me to do the same. We needed more people to come and do the work. We needed a revival. So we made great efforts for this, opening the doors wide open.

For this reason, creating a family-like atmosphere among co-workers is not so helpful to ministry. This is the reason why I use honorifics to everyone. There are some of the co-workers using casual speech with other colleagues. This does not pose a problem when things are okay between each other. But when problems arise, it can lead to conflicts during work and affect the relationship. In such situations, a new team member cannot join that team. It is hard for a new person to adjust to that situation.

Our organization is not about us staying as a small intimate group. Instead, we are here to do missionary work, therefore, it is necessary to keep some space between each other. I do that too. Others who do not understand might ask why I am like that. They think they have worked long enough with me and yet there is a distance between them and me. But I do that purposely.

So the people who later joined us said it was odd to see the way I deal with co-workers, and they with me. For outsiders, it seems we are very close because we are always together, but when they actually come and see us here, they realize that it is a lot more formal, we keep our distance from each other, we respect each other and use honorifics in our language. It is necessary to do that so that we do not remain as just us.

God’s nature is to share whatever good He has, not hoarding it all to Himself. Since God comes inside of us, our nature changes that way. Sometimes we pray for others to receive the Holy Spirit, and while the persons themselves are not really moved, we who are praying for them are in tears. That is possible for us because we have God’s nature in us. And since when did we consider those overseas? When did we ever care about China or the US? We were not people that cared like that. We were selfish and cared only about ourselves. We did not even care about our family. We did not even care to show gratitude to our family even during occasions. But now we care for people all over the world, people in the US, we are mindful of them and pray for them.

Where does this nature come from? God (spirit) is within us and displaying His nature through us. It is ‘God like man.’ We resemble God. Which god are you going to be with? This God is not a god of despair but God of power. He is also always happy, not on account of anything else but of Himself. He is happy on His own. He rejoices with Himself. For this reason, since He is with us, we have a happiness that no one can take away within us. He has power and thus that power is displayed in us. We are taking after Him.

The Bible says we should be mature to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. So how much of Him should we resemble? We have to resemble Him up to the point of receiving glory.

Which god would you choose? That is the question. When we evangelize, we do not need to impose on them about God. We just need to explain thoroughly about God – what kind of God He is – and tell them that it is their choice. After that, we need to let them know that they ought to make an agreement with Him if they want to live with Him, and what He would do for them and what they need to do for Him. That is an agreement, a covenant. Just like the old and new covenant.

We have to tell them what they need to do if they were to start their faith life from that day, and what He would give them – such as eternal life, answers to prayer and glory. And then ask them to make a decision. If they refuse, that is too bad, but if they want it, they might even surrender their own to accept Him.

We truly need to be thankful that this God resides in us. We should not ever choose to remain the same way we are but constantly change. We need to overcome cultures. The passage told us to “come out of there.” What is culture? What is the culmination of culture? It is anthropocentrism. When you trace the roots of culture, what do you find? Demons. At the height of every culture are demons. There used to be kings a long time ago. They were at the height of every culture. Kings and emperors governed the culture. So whatever gold was found, it was brought to the king. Whatever sculpture there was, it was given to the king. All the dancers came to the king. The king ruled over them all. Look at the patterns on kings’ palaces. All the artists came to the kings and were faithful to them. The king does not listen to anybody else except whom? Who does the king or emperor listen to? Sorcerers and mediums. Emperors are different from kings. Kings do not have sorcerers around them, nor fortune tellers and mediums. But emperors always had mediums near them like a priest. So in the Qing Dynasty, there were mediums who were involved with the emperor’s decision making. If you watch Chinese movies based on ancient times, you will see mediums standing by the emperor like ghosts. And they are the ones who make all the decisions for the emperor. Hence, the demons are the ones that move the nation.

And every other culture like dancing, singing, and even wearing earrings came from the cultures that worship demons. The drums that people play nowadays first originated from Africa. Africans love playing drums. Also, earrings have now become an accessory but in the old days, they were worn by mediums and shamans. They wore them when they called upon demons. Even colourful clothing originated from there.

In all these things, they are involved. Even the ethical and moral standards in society are related to this. When we think of moral and ethical values, confucianism comes to mind. What is most important in confucianism? It is ancestral rites – worshipping the ancestors. In this way, worldly cultures are all linked to demons, and that is what we are being told to come out of.

Thus, believers of Jesus must come out of secular culture. We have been living in it for a long time and we have become accustomed to it. And it is because we try to serve God while in it that it does not work. Yet, if we are truly being led by God, we should come out of there completely. We should be able to overcome even ethical and moral values in our interpersonal relationships. When the disciples were told to follow Jesus, they left their fathers and followed Him. Clearly, they are unfilial sons. How can they do that? For Peter, he even left his wife. He did not go home for weeks and stayed with Jesus. At least with Jesus, He was not married so it was okay but Peter was married, had a mother-in-law and had to make a living. Yet, he gave them all up to follow Jesus? Do you think his wife would have liked that? We do not know exactly what happened because it is not written in the Bible but it is possible that his wife told him off every day. Maybe her heart could have changed slightly after his mother-in-law got healed.

All of them overcame ethical and moral values and interpersonal relations. People cannot advance further because they cannot overcome these things, no matter how much they want to be with God.

We need to be led by God to go wherever He leads us. We should not be someone who cannot escape the boundaries of culture even when God is trying to lead us. When I was in China, there were some people who came over from the US trying to maintain the US cultures and customs in China. It was ridiculous seeing that at the mission site. Korean people tend to adapt quite well, but for the Americans, it was hard for them to break their customs because they had been in their culture for so long. For some, they could not go to the toilet for two weeks before leaving for the US. They refused to use the toilets there because it was not what they had back at home. Same with food. You need to overcome these things. Another person got angry because he was told to preach a sermon 5 minutes before. He was angry because he felt he was disrespected and refused to preach. He argued that notice should be given at least a day before. He became very upset and did not preach in the end. I do not think those people ever preached spontaneously on the spot. Their custom was to prepare in advance. In a place like China where you are on a mission trip, you might have to preach for 12 hours a day or preach any time you are requested. So they could not adjust to the circumstances. In the end, they could not overcome those factors.

We truly need to be able to overcome culture and customs and come out of there, so that the Lord can say to us, “I want to be with you. I want to display my nature through you.” Let us pray, Lord help me to be the person that You could abide with, and for that, give me the power to overcome and come out of every culture and system if it is your command to do so.

Father God, since we already come out of the old place we used to be in so that the Lord can freely work within us, fill our hearts with the power to overcome every thought, custom and culture. Also, help us to be full of virtue as You – God who abides within us. In the same way that You have power, allow us to have power also. Just as You are never weary, help us to not become weary likewise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on December 31, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team