[Ezekiel 47: 1-5]
Verse 3: “When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles.”
[1 John 5:16]
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.
Dear brothers and sisters members of over 10,000 branch churches in Korea and all over the world, local sanctuary members, those who are attending the service on the Internet worldwide, GCN viewing audiences, [children of Sunday school],
This is the 24th session of God Measures Our Faith. The latter part of Luke 18:8 says, “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” This is the time that Jesus mentioned. The number of Christians is decreasing all over the world. It is my regret that some of the believers are also departing from their faith. The world has become so evil, and even the believers fall into temptations and betray the Lord.
Some of them are leaders and workers of the churches. They betray the Lord by repeatedly committing grave sins that believers in the Lord must never commit and that deprive of their salvation. Unlike novices in faith, if pastors or church leaders commit such sins, the faith of the church and the church members will be shaken and destroyed. The sins may spread like yeast in the church.
So, how can we say their sins are light? The Bible says such sins are sins leading to death. It warns us that they are sins that will certainly put us to death.
From today, I will talk about the three main kinds of sins leading to death. I hope you will diligently wash your robes of your heart so that you will not fall into such sins. So, to the question of the Lord asking, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” I ask you in the name of the Lord to boldly say that you have true faith.
Dear brothers and sisters, and viewing audiences,
I said that if leaders who have been believers for a significant period of time commit grave sins depriving of salvation, that sin will be a sin leading to death. Here, let us consider the Bible to think about the three main kinds of sins leading to death.
The first one is to crucify the Son of God all over again to put Him to open shame.
This is mentioned in Hebrews chapter 6. Hebrews 6:4-6 says, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
When we accept Jesus Christ, God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit in our heart. As we lead a Spirit-filled life in faith, we will experience amazing things. We will taste of heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and taste the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.
Once we receive the Holy Spirit, we can believe that we are sinners and Jesus who was born on this earth about 2,000 years ago is our personal Savior. Also, we can believe that God is living and Heaven and Hell are real. Some of us experience divine healing upon receiving the Holy Spirit, for He burns the germs and viruses.
In our church, many of you are healed of incurable diseases by powerful works of the Holy Spirit. Also, through the help of the Holy Spirit, we can understand deep in our heart the deep, spiritual words, namely words about goodness and love. Some of you had your spiritual eyes opened by special grace, so you see spiritual realm such as Heaven and Hell. You receive the solution to problems or experience gifts of the Holy Spirit when you are full of the Spirit.
Then, you might even say that you want to dedicate your life for the kingdom and righteousness of God and for the church. You do anything that is for God with diligence and dedication. As you keep on acting that way, you are recognized by people and receive titles in the church.
To crucify the Son of God all over again to put Him to open shame is to befriend the world and corrupt again after having become partakers of the Holy Spirit and tasting spiritual things as above. You are diligent in your faith, but from a certain moment, you look back at the world again, and you live just like worldly people or even worse. Following your lust, you seek money, fame, and pleasure, practicing unrighteousness and lawlessness, and living a life that is worse than animals.
When people see such believers, they might even criticize the church saying something like, “What is the use of going to church? Believers are even worse!” It means they disgraced God greatly. Furthermore, they might receive strong works of Satan and create schemes to stand against the church and bring it down.
Of course, some new believers, if they have weak faith, they go back to the world again and come back again like the prodigal son in Luke 15. I am not saying such people who come back have committed sins leading to death.
But it is about betraying God after having been recognized of their faith even to become leaders in the church, and having received too much grace to pay back during their entire life, and having experienced undeniable works of the Holy Spirit. For those who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and put the Lord into open shame, the spirit of repentance cannot be given to them. It’s because their evilness that goes beyond the limit disgraces God.
Because they cannot repent, they cannot be forgiven of their sins, and they will have to fall into death. Among the biblical figures, Judas Iscariot, who used to be one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, belongs to this category. Though it was before the Holy Spirit came, Judas witnessed many signs and wonders following Jesus.
Also, he must have received so much grace to become one of the twelve, who were closest to Jesus. Otherwise, how would he have been able to follow Jesus forsaking all his life? And he sold out his master Jesus, the Son of God who came to this earth as the Savior, for thirty sliver coins. He forsook the grace because he could not cast away his greed for money and power, and because his eyes were covered by his evil. Judas later regretted and tried to return the money. But because he couldn’t receive the spirit of repentance, he could not be forgiven. Eventually, he killed himself, being unable to bear with the torturing pain.
Many of you must have realized how grace such sins are through the ’98 and ’99 incidents. There were people who said they loved God first and that they were dedicating all their lives, and what did they do? They were practicing many kinds of unrighteousness to cause difficulties in the church and led so many souls to the way of death.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus died a wretched death on the cross for us, and if you crucify Him once again with your own hands, how and through whom will you be forgiven of your sin? Therefore, all believers must circumcise their heart. Jeremiah 4:4 says, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”
What crucified Jesus? It is our sins. The sins and iniquities that we committed before knowing the Lord crucified Jesus. Now we who have been forgiven of sins by accepting the Lord must remove the foreskins of our heart that was stained by sins. Otherwise, if we still live in sins following the old habits, the blood of the cross will be meaningless. Furthermore, those sins will crucify the Lord all over again.
Therefore, cast away all the sins and evil that make you look back at the world again and commit sins following the flesh. In doing so, you must never crucify the Lord all over again. But rather, I earnestly ask you to wipe out the tears of the Lord who was crucified, by lead many souls from sins and evil.
Brothers and sisters, and viewing audiences,
The second sin that leads to death is to willingly and willfully commit sins after receiving the knowledge of the truth.
This is explained in Hebrews 10:26-29.
It says, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
Here, to go on sinning willfully is to keep on committing sins knowing they are not going to be forgiven. In 2 Peter chapter 2 it talks about such people in detail. Peter advised the believers to be cautious about false prophets who were staining the church with sins.
The false prophets followed sensuality and exploited the believers with lies and false teachings. They did many unrighteous things. Peter said they were false teachers, so it appears that they were in positions being able to teach. They were not novices in faith who did not know the gospel. And yet by their own discretion they corrupted the gospel and went on committing grave sins depriving of salvation.
2 Peter 2:10 says that they “indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties.” Also, verse 14 says, “having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children.”
The following passages tell about Balaam among the biblical figures. The sons of Israel who came out of Egypt reached the land of Moab, just before entering into Canaan Land. Balak, the king of Moab, asked Balaam to curse Israel because he thought Israel was going to become a big threat to his kingdom. Balaam at first refused the request. Balaam knew how to communicate with God, and had the authority to curse and bless. He certainly knew the will of God. He knew that he could never curse the chosen people of God. However when Balak presented Balaam with a large amount of offerings through his noble men, Balaam could not drive away the temptation.
When he was about to participate in this unrighteousness, God sent His angel to stop him. Balaam however was unable to recognize the angel of God. But rather it was his donkey that recognized the angel of God and stopped. Balaam, not understanding what was going on, struck the donkey to keep her going. So, God opened the mouth of the donkey to teach him his fault. Through this event, Balaam not just refrained from cursing Israel, but he blessed them according to the command of God.
But because he did not cast away his greed for money, power, and fame, instead of him cursing the Israelites directly he gave the Moabites a scheme to harm them. It was to invite all the men of Israel to observe the sacrifices of their gods. Men of Israel fell to this scheme. They played the harlot and worshipped idols.
A curse fell upon them because of this, and 23,000 men died of the plague. As Revelations 2:14 latter part says, “…Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality,” Balaam is the one who taught the Moabites this scheme. Balaam knew what the will of God was, and God let him know God’s will again and again, but he sinned because he loved the price of wickedness.
As a result, he ended up going the way of death. When Israel was conquering the Land of Canaan, Balaam also died a wretched death. What is the reason Balaam’s sin led him to death? It was because he went against the will of God and the right way again and again knowing well what God’s will was.
To those who do this, 2 Peter 2:20-22 says as follows: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A dog returns to its own vomit,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.'”
We are living in a world that is much more stained with sins and evil, beyond comparison with the time of the Early Church. Therefore, we must be on the alert to such sins all the more. Just as a dog vomits what he has eaten and eats his own vomit and vomits again, and just as a sow returns to wallowing in the mire after being washed to become clean and become dirty again, if a believer commits a sin, repents of it, and repeatedly commits the same sin again and again, how can we say he is a saved Christian?
But as you have witnessed, what was the reality of the things? Even in this church where the members are trying their best to live by the Word of God, there were some who committed sins leading to death, repented, and then committed same sins again. The number was more than I ever imagined, and I couldn’t help but become shocked.
While I was preaching about holiness for the last 30 years, some of you were committing sexual immorality and other abominable things following your lust. Also, surprisingly many of you were you were just attending church, cheating the brothers for unrighteous benefits, doing many unrighteous things. I could not believe the fact that there were quite a few of the pastors, Levites and leaders who were committing such grave sins that deprive of salvation.
The letters of repentance asking me to intercede for them were from the members of whom I knew the faces and names. They were willfully committing sins that I could not even talk about. At first I was very shocked thinking how they could do such evil things if they had the least bit of faith, or even the least bit of conscience in them.
Of course, through many chances of repentance given by the Father God, most of you repented and turned back from your previous ways.
Dear brothers and sisters, now we must never repeat the same kind of wrongdoings.
The people of Israel were caught up with harlotry and idolatry just before they went into the Canaan Land. As a result, many of them were put to death. Therefore, as we are about to build the Canaan Sanctuary, I urge you to be more cautious about sins.
This is the way for this church to give glory to God the Father, and the way to receive salvation and blessings that are prepared for you. Now, you must never partake in the sins leading to death, which is to crucify the Lord all over again. I ask you to keep this in mind and just keep marching on towards New Jerusalem.
When I say there is no forgiveness for sins leading to death, some might ask the following kind of question. “The Lord taught us to forgive seventy times seven, so it seems the Lord is a fearful person who does not forgive sinners repeatedly. This kind of question arises when they misunderstand God who is full of love but is just and free of darkness at the same time. Also, it is an excuse for those people who do not want to turn from sins, but still want to shake off the fear of punishment.
In the Bible, many verses that seem to be contradictory form couplets between them, and give the perfect meaning and understanding. Words about forgiveness are the same. When the Lord said, “forgive seventy times seven,” He meant we had to have endless mercy and compassion towards those who commit sins towards us.
But this verse cannot be applied to the sins leading to death. Not a single verse in the Bible says one who has committed grave sins depriving of salvation and does not repent can be saved, especially if he does not even intend to repent. Forgiveness and salvation, and God’s mercy and compassion are grace that is given only to those who completely turn from sins and who struggle against sins to the point of shedding blood to turn from sins.
Let us consider the case of King David, who loved God very much. David committed adultery by taking somebody else’s wife. To cover up his fault, he even murdered a righteous person. But when the Prophet Nathan came and pointed out his sin, he repented immediately.
After repenting, he never carelessly spoke any word in order not to commit sins before God all throughout his life. God loved this David who thoroughly repented of his sins and forgave him of all his grave sins. True repentance is something like that of David. God shows endless mercy and compassion for those who truly repent. But of course, David still had to receive the retribution for his sin. But this trial was also a blessing of God. It’s because David became a person who was spotless and blameless through that trial.
On the contrary, how did Saul act? Samuel pointed out his sin, but he just kept on committing sins without repenting at all. Eventually he was forsaken by God. Even if they believe, if they willfully and knowingly commit sins time and again, God will forsake them. The Holy Spirit in them will be quenched, and their consciences become seared as with a hot iron, so they cannot repent. As a result, their names are erased from the book of life, and they cannot be saved. Instead, their names will be inscribed in the book of death in Hell.
In Revelation 20:12, we can see there is the book of life that will be the ground of judging Heaven and Hell and rewards and punishments, and also other books. It is said in Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”
If our name and deeds are not written in the book of life, where else would they be written? They will be written in the book of death. If there is anybody who has stepped into the swamp of sins because you did not circumcise your heart or you couldn’t overcome the temptations of sin?
I hope you will get out of it now. Turn from the depth of your heart and ask for mercy and forgiveness of God the Father. Cast off even the sinful nature itself completely to show the evidence of your sincerity. In doing so, even if your name was once written in the book of death, you must erase it completely now.
Even though your power may be little, you can get out of sins and evil by the precious blood of the Lord. Jesus shed all His water and blood, even to the last drop, to give us the power to cast away sins and evil. Also, because the Holy Spirit is praying for you grieving, and I ask you in the name of the Lord to hold on to this love and go the way of life, and not the way of death.