“My word is spirit” (John 6:63)
God is the God of blessings. God is God based on the presumption that He is spirit. When we say, “God is spirit”, this means at heart that He lives forever. When we refer to the Word as ‘spirit’, this emphasizes that it is living and active. This is the way we can understand Jesus’ words, “My word is spirit” (Jn 6:63). Idols are not spirits. In other words, they are not living beings. But God is spirit.
Ur of the Chaldeans (the place where Abraham lived before God called him) was the cradle of the earliest human civilization. Idolatry was prevalent there. God chose Abraham among all the people living there because his understanding of God drew God’s attention. Though most people at the time worshiped idols made of wood and stones, Abraham believed God must be living. He believed that if God was not almighty and was unable to hear man’s concerns, He was not God. He believed that if God is living, He must be man’s Master.
If anyone believes that God is living and acknowledges that God is their Master like Abraham, they will acknowledge themselves as God’s servants. It is normal for a master to one-sidedly command his servant. If we truly believe in God, we must accept His words as the Master’s commands. When we do, these words will become eternal life to us (Jn 12:49-50). Among all created things in the universe, what can enter heaven and enjoy eternal life? Only those who receive the word can experience such glory.
God is living. If He is not, Jesus would not have risen after dying on the cross. This is very important to us because it is clear evidence that the God who raised Him is living. Even though they killed Jesus and buried Him – He rose again, appeared to His disciples, and appeared to about five hundred believers at one time (1 Cor 15:4-6).
“I know that his command leads to eternal life” (John 12:50)
How amazing is it that the living God has commanded us? Jesus said that God’s commandment is eternal life (Jn 12:49-50). We live lives of faith to have eternal life. But if we ignore God’s commands, what good is our life of faith? Many people’s minds are at ease if they are healthy in this life. But their spirits are already dead. When their bodies die, their spirits will become demons. Demons continue to operate on earth for a specific period before they are cast into the abyss. At the appointed time, they will be cast into the lake of fire. Do not become complacent because you think that you have faith. The Bible warns us that if we sin deliberately after we received the knowledge of the truth, “no sacrifice for sins remains, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Heb 10:26-27).
The Lord commands us to keep the holy day. The holy day is very important to our faith. Idolatry is a serious offense which brings a curse. It continues to the third and fourth generation. The punishment for idolatry takes place slowly over time. On the other hand, anyone who transgressed the Sabbath was severely punished by being stoned to death (Num 15:32-36). One can clearly see how severe an offense breaking the Sabbath was. The Lord said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Mt 12:8). When you consider how strict the Lord was when it came to breaking the Sabbath, how more severe will He be towards those who transgress the Lord’s Day?
The Lord’s Day is the day of the Lord. Revelation 1:10 says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.” It was on the Lord’s Day that apostle John was inspired to write Revelation. This was the first day after the Sabbath. The disciples remembered Jesus’ precious blood and accepted His words when they gathered to partake in the bread and the cup (Acts 20:7). When they gathered, they did not come empty-handed, but brought offerings that were prepared beforehand (1 Cor 16:1-3). We should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but we should keep the Lord’s Day wholeheartedly (Heb 10:25). If we truly acknowledge the Lord’s authority, we must accept His commands. We come to the church to worship because the Lord commanded it.
Worship is to meet the Lord face to face. When people say “God is spirit”, many think that since God is invisible, they must understand Him in an abstract way. But the main idea we must understand when we say, “God is spirit”, is that God lives forever. And because He is living, He calls us, commands us, and hears us. Worship is about meeting the living God.
God is the God of blessings. Because blessings come from God, they cannot be separated from Him. Therefore, blessings are given by God alone. Even though the Son of God blessed others, He did not give the blessings Himself. He invokes the blessing and says, “Father, please bless them.” God alone is the source of blessings. It was He who said to Abraham, “You shall be a blessing!” This meant that God would be with Abraham. So God promised that He would bless those who blessed Abraham, and curse those who cursed him (Gen 12:1-3).
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2)
Those under the Law received God’s blessings, but it was only on their flesh. Their spirits could not be saved. Jesus once spoke about a rich man and Lazarus. The rich man lived every day in luxury, but his spirit was not saved (Lk 16:19-31). Though a person stores up many crops in his barn and says to himself, “My spirit, be at peace” – if God takes his spirit away – who will get those crops?
A foolish person considers a peaceful life and material prosperity as blessing. But the Lord says we should not store up treasures on earth, but in heaven. He even gave us the keys to the kingdom, so that we can use on earth whatever we stored up in heaven (Mt 16:19). Anyone who understands this secret can use what they stored up in heaven whenever they need it. They do not need to carry their burdens like normal. Whoever wants to safeguard their treasure must store it up in heaven (Mt 6:19-20). Those who do not store up treasures in heaven have no right to use them, even though they appear to possess much.
Blessings are for the spirit. The flesh cannot bear them. In the first covenant, the spirit could not bear blessings because it was dead. But thanks to the blood of Jesus, our spirits lived. If we accept the blessings that God commands, we might face trials on earth because of it. But since God commanded blessings, we should not refuse them, and welcome them instead (Num 23:20).
If our spirits are blessed, we can still suffer in the present and be poor, but this blessing will be revealed in time, especially after we resurrect and enter heaven. We will receive amazing glory. It is not strange at all that God’s heirs should suffer in this world (Rom 8:17). Though our Lord Jesus Christ could feed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread, He suffered and often went hungry. He said, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Mt 8:20). Does this mean He was not blessed? He suffered many trials on earth, but He rose from the dead and inherited heaven. We also must walk on the way He showed us, for it is through Him that we became God’s children.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
The Lord also helps us while we are in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” If we truly obey His commands, the Lord will provide for our needs. The passage says that we became rich through Him. This does not mean we will have every material thing we desire. Jesus fed thousands of people with five loaves and collected the remains, leaving nothing to waste. He always provides the right amount and takes away what is left. But the blessing will never disappear.
God regarded Abraham’s faith as righteousness and made him the source of blessing. Today, we also have faith that is regarded as righteousness through Jesus Christ. Not only has God credited us with righteousness, but He made us into sources of blessing.
The word ‘source’ also means ‘root’. For example, when we cut grass, it grows back again because the root is still alive. If you cut a tree too low, it will not be able to grow back and will die. But if you leave the tree’s stump, new shoots will grow. Since much of its roots are intact and they give nourishment to the shoots, they grow faster and healthier than new saplings.
We are sources of blessings. If we receive blessings and keep them, our descendants will grow just like shoots from the base of a tree. Sungrak Church is a source of blessing. This base is The Return to the Word Berea Movement, which has taken root for fifty years. Some people are trying to destroy it from the root. If they get their way – who will face persecution and contempt, and step forward to shed their own blood like Semuon? Even if Semuon passes away, Sungrak Church must protect the base of The Return to the Word Berea Movement.
“You are a blessing!” God’s word must be fulfilled in us. The words God spoke to Abraham becomes a command for those with the same faith as Abraham. God gave the Holy Spirit as a guarantee for the righteousness that comes by faith. Let’s obey the Holy Spirit so that He can freely work in us. Let’s not just obey God’s commands, but let’s submit to His will, even if we do not understand it.
Sermon by Senior Overseer Ki-Dong Kim