The Church United by the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:2-3
Overseer Sung-Hyun Kim

“with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:2-3 NKJV

Humility: The Sign of Those Who Have Redemption

Ephesians 4:2

“Arrogance? I do have my shortcomings, but they’re not as bad as you say. I am a quite humble person.”

Is that truly the case? Because the word “arrogance” has a nasty shape, most individuals believe they are unrelated to it. However, arrogance exerts a strong influence on nearly every aspect of human life, almost instinctively. It can sometimes hide within us in forms such as pride, self-satisfaction, and self-esteem. ‘How can I showcase myself?’ ‘How can I belittle others?’ These thoughts are not exclusive to certain individuals.

However, for this very reason, we must not neglect the arrogance within us. This is because arrogance is fundamentally incompatible with the Gospel. The Gospel requires humility. “He will save the humble, while those lacking in humility will be left to perish in their sins,” this is the proclamation of the Gospel. Even though someone accepts the Gospel, if they lack humility, their life journey as a Christian will not progress, for spirits without humility cannot receive God’s guidance. This is precisely what the devil desires. The easiest way for the devil to prevent our fellowship with God is to cultivate arrogance within us.

The source of arrogance is the devil. The devil fell into arrogance because he forgot his presence before God. In other words, humility stems from God-awareness. The more one is aware of God, the more they will realize that their own power, honor, experiences, or achievements amount to nothing. God is righteous, merciful, holy, and glorious; thus, those who are aware of such a God will recognize how unrighteous, arrogant, filthy, and foolish they themselves are. This story is not exclusive to those outside the faith. Even if we repent and enter into Christ, the sinful nature within us does not disappear. Therefore, we must not lose the repentant heart until the day we meet the Lord.

Jesus Christ saved us with humility. He is equal to God, but He did not take it for granted; He lowered Himself and came to earth. On earth, He revealed Himself not as the status who enjoys authority and wealth, but as the status to be despised, with a weak appearance such that people could kill Him if they set their minds. It was because of His humility that the redemption for us could be fulfilled. However, if we who have received such grace now regard humility as worthless, what would be the state of the Lord’s heart?

Just as the Lord’s humility saved us, so too will our humility save others. In the coming days, all creatures will be united in Christ, but before this, the church should realize this on earth first. For this, the most important thing is humility. Originally, we lacked humility. Therefore, for humility, let us train ourselves every day. Let us not give up but persevere in training to restrain arrogance. Let us strive to preach and uphold the Gospel. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” This is the essence of the Gospel.

Overseer Sung-Hyun Kim
Lord’s Day Service on February 18, 2024

Christians Who Should Be Meek and Meek

Ephesians 4:2

Abraham was a gentle person. After leaving his hometown, one day he came to realize that he could no longer stay with his nephew Lot. To avoid conflict, he approached Lot, saying, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are brethren. Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” Consequently, Lot chose the land with sufficient water. Abraham, however, did not claim, “I am the chosen one to fulfill God’s will and should therefore choose the good land first.” He believed that God, who is mighty and righteous, was looking at everything.

A gentle person treats others with warmth and kindness. In doing so, they often have to waive their own rights. Saying “I want to be gentle but I will defend my own rights” is contradictory. A gentle person has the personality to avoid conflict with others. Even when attacked, they are not prepared to retaliate aggressively. Therefore, they often suffer losses in various situations. They make this choice consciously, with willingness and self-control, not out of incompetence.

The reason a gentle person can consistently show a warm and soft attitude is due to their possession of a kind and obedient heart, that is, a meek inner nature. Without meekness, maintaining a gentle appearance is unsustainable in the long run. Therefore, beyond merely performing acts of gentleness, we must strive to integrate meekness into our inner nature. Of course, this change cannot happen overnight. However, rejecting change by saying “I am naturally rough” is completely different from being aware of the value of meekness and striving for it.

A meek person can be perceived as timid and shy. However, this is not the case. Moses was such a warm and meek person that he was regarded as meeker than any other man on the face of the earth, demonstrating warmth and meekness. For this reason, the Israelites might have taken him for granted and ignored him. However, he powerfully fulfilled God’s work. He tolerated personal attacks, but he firmly took a stand against any insult and contamination of God’s name and His holy work.

God desires for us to become meek people. In the world, meekness is often overlooked. However, if we belong to heaven, we should rightly be meek. Meekness serves as a safeguard against the corruption of spirits freed from sin. For the church to be fully preserved, the meekness of its saints is necessary. Meekness is also vital for preaching the Gospel. In some respects, preaching the Gospel is conveying God’s gentleness and meekness. To fulfill God’s will, let the entire church be united. Let us become gentle and meek Christians.

Overseer Sung-Hyun Kim
Lord’s Day Service on February 25, 2024

The Share of Longsuffering Given to Believers

Ephesians 4:2

Longsuffering! This is a responsibility entrusted to us by God from the moment we become Christians. Longsuffering is also an essential element in accomplishing God’s work of redemption. In the world, it’s taken for granted to immediately retaliate when personal interests are invaded, rather than to endure. Of course, patience is also emphasized in the world, but strictly speaking, it’s merely a strategic choice to maximize personal interests. The unconditional patience required of Christians has no place in the world. Yet, Christians cannot adopt the goals and methods of worldly lifestyles. This is because Christians and worldly people have different reasons and purposes for their existence.

The terms ‘longsuffering’ and ‘patience’ used in the New Testament have similar meanings, yet they differ. “Patience” refers to enduring adverse conditions, while “longsuffering” specifically means forbearing the evil deeds and faults of others without immediate retaliation. We have experienced such longsuffering from God. Our salvation in Christ, rather than perishing in sin, was made possible because of God’s longsuffering. God has entrusted the burden of longsuffering to those He chose and used, just as with the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles of the early church. And now, He desires that we who are in Christ also bear this burden together.

A certain man owed a great debt to the King but was unable to pay it. Accordingly, the King commanded that the man, along with his wife, children, and all his possessions be sold to repay the debt. The debtor pleaded, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” Moved by compassion, the King forgave the entire debt. However, this man, upon his release, found a fellow servant who owed him a small amount and, refusing to show the same patience, had him imprisoned. When the King knew this, he summoned him, saying, “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” Yes, this is true. The longsuffering of God made us alive; thus, we, too, must practice longsuffering towards others.

If we can extend longsuffering towards someone’s imperfections, our efforts should not stop there; we should also be able to bear them in love. To forbear means to cover other’s faults, not to justify wrong actions, but to prevent their sins from becoming more widely known than necessary, thereby giving them an opportunity for repentance without discouragement. Of course, such effort must not be misused within the church. While we should be patient with those who have the will to repent and change, we must prevent the spread of leaven throughout the whole loaf by clearly warning and reproaching those who intentionally commit evil acts and harm the church.

When a saint practices longsuffering and forbearance in love, it signifies an acknowledgment that they were saved by God’s longsuffering, as reflected in their behavior. We yearn for and can practice this life because God has loved us, and because He is cultivating His unique love within us. Just as God has loved us unconditionally, let us love the Lord’s people without any reason. As God waits for our repentance and return with longsuffering, let us fulfill the work of God with longsuffering.

Overseer Sung-Hyun Kim
Lord’s Day Service on March 3, 2024

Endeavor to Preserve the Unity of the Spirit in Peace

Ephesians 4:2

“Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” “Pastor, I understand. However, I’ll do it later. I have my own life to deal with, and overcoming the challenges I face is not easy.” “That is unacceptable. Make haste to preserve the unity of the Spirit. Do not merely show concern momentarily and then stop; continue to passionately dedicate yourself to keeping it.” Yes, this is true. To keep the unity of the Spirit, or, in other words, to keep the unity of the church is not a task to be done only when one has spare time. It is a priority responsibility for all the saints who were saved, and it also serves as the way in which each saint protects their spirit.

The unity of the church is not man-made. The Holy Spirit has already granted it to us. The very existence of the church is impossible without the unity of the Holy Spirit. This oneness is on a completely different level from the unity the world speaks of. As evidenced by Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, “You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us,” the oneness that the church experiences originally existed between God and His Son.

How does the Holy Spirit unify the church? It does so by binding saints with the bond of peace. The antithesis of peace is sin. In the Old Testament, war was often highlighted as the opposite concept to peace, but fundamentally, war originates from sin. In a spiritual perspective, the opposite of peace is sin. Because of sin, discord arose between God and humans, and conflicts arose among humans. Particularly, Jews and Gentiles could never be irreconcilable, yet through the merits of the cross, a new humanity emerged – neither Jew nor Gentile. These individuals have been reconciled with God and no longer have a need to engage in conflict with others.

Since they have found not only the meaning of life through the Gospel but also received the promise of an eternal future, they are at peace. They can endure any hardships and trials with joy, restrain their freshly desires according to altruistic motives, and tolerate others while remembering grace they have received. Thus, instead of division, unity governs their lives. However, within the church, there are those who exploit selfishness. The Peace that should govern the church is broken by them, and cracks of division appear everywhere. Those who have been redeemed and given a new life should follow the way of new life, however, they entrust themselves into the worldly way that they are accustomed to. Most concerning of all is these elements of disbelief can contaminate others, leading to more frequent conflicts and struggles as their numbers increase.

Divisions will only deepen if the church fails to present and train the way of life the Lord commands, and souls tainted by discord will be unable to fulfill the responsibilities bestowed by heaven. As those truly called, we must make peace to maintain and manifest the church’s unity. This requires humility, meekness, longsuffering, and tolerance for one another in love. By doing so, peace can be preserved, and the church can stand united, not only overcoming the power of sin but also preparing for heaven. Therefore, let us diligently preserve the unity of the Spirit. If even the slightest seed of division stirs within our hearts, let us not ignore it but quickly eliminate it.

Overseer Sung-Hyun Kim
Lord’s Day Service on March 10, 2024