1 Peter 5:4
“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 33rd session of the series sermon “Heaven.”
In the last session I explained to you about the dwelling place and the crown rewarded for each individual in the 2nd kingdom of heaven.
In the 2nd kingdom each individual receives a separate single-story home, and each home has a nameplate of its owner.
Each of the individual houses will be supplied with one most-favored facility that its owner had desired to possess on the earth.
And the crown of glory will be given those who will enter the 2nd kingdom.
Suppose those who will be in Paradise or the 1st kingdom should meet those in the 2nd kingdom. How do you think the ones from Paradise should act toward the others?
In the old days when the expression of social status was very strict, the common people would not look into the eyes of the royal class and clergy. In the same manner, those who are in the 2nd and 3rd kingdoms and New Jerusalem are respected and admired for their accomplishments by those who are in Paradise and the 1st kingdom.
When they see the 2nd kingdom’s residents wearing the crown of glory, they will have a sense of envy of its shining radiances and render them honor and respect from the heart.
But there is no form of evil in heaven; there is no dweller in heaven who would be jealous or envious with any kind of evil mind when one sees another wear a better crown.
No one will forcibly or unwillingly bow down before another in heaven.
When those in Paradise or the 1st kingdom bow down before those in the 2nd kingdom, the latter will not boast of themselves or ignore the other.
They will just greet the other with a proper attitude and the heart of love even if they do not bow.
Through this message, I ask you in the name of our Lord to examine your faith more exactly and to become more qualified to enter a better kingdom of heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The residents of the 2nd kingdom have the faith by which they can practice the word of God, but are not found fully sanctified.
They have kept the word of God because they knew who God is and loved Him, but failed to get rid of every form of evil from the heart.
When they saw another person acting out in evil, because God told them not to hate, they did not show their hatred in words and deeds.
But since they had hatred from within themselves, they could not show them their love in deeds.
Those who have reached this level of faith can enter the 2nd kingdom.
Let me give a more detailed illustration.
Suppose you work for a company and your fellow worker is rude to you and he often tries to give you the work that is his responsibility.
In that situation, if you are at the 2nd level of faith, you may feel offended by his actions.
You may try to suppress your emotion of anger, and to serve the other because you have heard the word of truth, but you have ill feelings within you.
And you may feel uneasy thinking, “He is really rude! Why does he force me to do his duties? Do I look so weak in his sight?” And when you go too far your limits are exceeded and you get hot-tempered. You will be measured to have the 2nd level of faith and to enter the 1st kingdom.
But if you have already reached the 3rd level of faith and been qualified to enter the 2nd kingdom, you cannot do the things that break peace at all.
Instead you should think, “To him acting like that is not really rudeness, he is just trying to be friendly with me and perhaps he cannot get the work done himself right now for some reason.” And you would just serve him as he wants.
But you who are still at the early stage of the 3rd level of faith have ill feelings in your mind because the truths have not filled your heart completely.
When uneasy thoughts come upon you, you can cut off those fleshly thoughts and change your heart into a heart of goodness having good thoughts and.
If you succeed in standing on the rock of faith in the 3rd level, you can turn earthly ill feelings into spiritual thoughts and peaceful mind and then serve the other in peace.
If you have no temporal ill-feeling and are able to serve the other like a seed of dying wheat, you can be found having entered the 4th level of faith and becoming a person of spirit.
Let me give one more illustration for the 3rd level of faith that is equivalent with the 2nd kingdom of heaven.
With the same troubles and difficulties, you who are at the 2nd level of faith try to rejoice and give thanks, but maybe complain because you cannot fully overcome them.
But those of you who have reached the 3rd level of faith and have become qualified to enter the 2nd kingdom, can be joyful and thankful in the same troubles.
But you cannot always give thanks and rejoice 100 %.
If you meet with difficulties when you are at the early stage of the 3rd level of faith, you will feel troubled because of fleshly thoughts and then lose heart and fullness.
But soon you will hear the Holy Spirit teaching you, “No! I have to rejoice and give thanks. What do I have to feel discouraged because God is alive?” And then you will hold fast the truth.
Moreover, if you cry out in prayer to fully rejoice and give thanks, you will not only receive the grace and strength, but be full of thanksgiving and joy as well.
With the passing of time if you pass through the mid stage of the 3rd level of faith and reach the latter stage, fleshly thoughts seldom follow.
When you meet with unexpected difficulties, you will not be discouraged or complain but instead have a mind to rejoice and give thanks relying on God.
When you are momentarily struck with an idea that you are troubled, you can drive it out and change it into the sense of thanksgiving and joy.
If your faith is not shaken in the midst of trials and troubles but you completely practice the word of God, you can be deemed to stand firm on the rock, Jesus Christ.
If you reach the measure of 60 % at the 3rd level of faith, you no longer find it burdensome or difficult to live by the word of God.
And you can be considered to have entered the measure called ‘the rock of faith’.
When you rise up to 70 or 80 % of the full measure of the 3rd level of faith, you have stood on the rock of faith and made it a rule to live according to the word of God.
Furthermore, if you do not follow fleshly thought in any circumstances, but instead completely rejoice and give thanks, you are found having entered the 4th level of faith.
Then, you are qualified to enter at least the 3rd kingdom of heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
From now on let me introduce to you a few members of Manmin Church who passed away after having lead their religious lives at Manmin, and have been allowed to enter the 2nd kingdom.
A person was qualified to enter only the 1st kingdom, but gained the qualification of going into the 2nd kingdom through his final efforts. Another person could have entered the 3rd kingdom if he had become sanctified just a little more.
When I give you each illustration, I wish for you to examine yourself and then not to stay at the 2nd kingdom but to press on toward the 3rd kingdom and also New Jerusalem.
The first person was the mother of a home and a senior deaconess of our church.
A lady and her husband came to Manmin Church in 1982 stricken with serious diseases.
The woman was healed of her disease through my prayer. She and her husband had been faithful until they became a senior deaconess and an elder.
Meanwhile, the senior deaconess went to heaven in 1997.
God let me know what she felt most sorry about before our Father God at the moment she drew her last and went to heaven.
She had not completely performed her God-given duties nor had she cast off every form of evil from the heart.
Of course, she kept the commands of God.
But as I told you before, she felt so sorry because she failed to completely cast off every evil from the heart.
She was so sorry to the shepherd because she had not confessed her gratitude to the shepherd who had healed her of her disease and improved her spiritual faith nor said to him from her deep heart, “I really given thanks to you for letting me live.”
The first reason that she led to entering the 2nd kingdom was because she had failed to fulfill her God-given duties after she was designated as a senior deaconess and the second reason was because she had not completely circumcised her heart even though she heard many words of God.
As she confessed herself, she was supposed to enter just the 1st kingdom with her measure of faith, deeds and words.
I prayed for her three times before she drew her last.
When I prayed for her 3 times, her faith was raised up from the 2nd level for the 1st kingdom to the 3rd level of faith for the 2nd kingdom.
She did her best to examine what she had to repent and repented of them, and tried to fill her heart with truth and spirit.
She spread church newsletters “Manmin News” to as many people and homes, which pleased God and God remembers these deeds of hers.
That’s why she inherited the 2nd kingdom as her eternal dwelling place.
She left a special message for her family that remained.
Let me tell you her message.
“The kingdom of heaven is exactly divided, and each kingdom has totally different glory and light, so I wish for others to surely enter the city of New Jerusalem.
I want to let my family on earth know how sorry and shameful it is before our Father God to have evils yet to be thrown away, and not possible before Him to lift up one’s face.
Anyone would be very envious of the rewards and the magnificence of the houses that our Father God will give to the residents of New Jerusalem.
I wish for them to understand how much more shameful and regrettable it is before our Father God to fail to cast off every form of evil than it is to be jealous of those magnificent things.
I eagerly urge my family to bear this in their mind, cast off every kind of evils, and then enter the glorious position of New Jerusalem.”
In heaven you will not live according to the unit of family like on earth.
But those who used to be a family on earth will have a special heart among them.
That’s why if a member of your family enters New Jerusalem, the member can invite the others to come there.
For example, if you enter New Jerusalem, you can send an invitation letter to your mother residing in the 2nd kingdom.
The more of your family members who enter New Jerusalem, the greater the numbers chances will be given you to visit New Jerusalem.
You will be able to visit New Jerusalem more often and stay there longer.
No matter how often you will visit there, however, it is still less than to live there.
That’s why I eagerly ask not only her family but also all of you here to have the stronger hope for New Jerusalem and advance toward there.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
Only when you lay hold of the kingdom of heaven by force, will you be able to inherit a better place of heaven.
It is because it is said in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
If a country invades the other, they will wage a fierce war and blood is shed by many.
Why then does the Bible tell us to take the kingdom of heaven by force, a kingdom that is so beautiful and peaceful?
Against whom do you have to wage the war to take it by force?
It is none other than to wage a spiritual warfare against your sins and the enemy devil that triggers you to commit sins.
The enemy devil and Satan always plot evil schemes to cause even believers to fall down.
He provokes the sinful natures hidden in their hearts and moves them to then commit the desires and deeds of the flesh.
When the enemy devil and Satan cause you to follow fleshly thoughts and to commit sins, you will have to drive out their temptations with the word of truth of God in the hope for heaven.
For example, when someone caused harms to you, you have to remember the word of our Lord saying, “Even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. And love your enemies,” and to overcome it with love.
You must not pay back evils for evils with the same hatred and ill feelings. But instead you have to understand others with goodness and love for him or her in spiritual love.
When worldly temptations come upon you and they seem good to your eyes, you have to drive the temptations away by the word saying, “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior!”
You have to flatly cast away the temptations saying to yourself, “I belong to the kingdom of heaven and am a child of the Holy God. Those worldly things do not become me,” to act and say like the children of the light.
When your faith is weak, you will find it difficult to keep your mind steady and walk in the light, but if you do your best with the love for God, you will surely be able to do it.
As much as you walk in the light, you will be able to struggle against and overcome your sins, and accordingly you will be able to inherit a better place of heaven.
The enemy devil and Satan continually tempt you to commit sins, and hinder you from taking the better place of heaven by force.
If you have a real longing for the better kingdom of heaven, when you meet with those trials and temptations that the devil brings on you, you will make it a good chance of going into the better places of heaven.
Do not be shaken on the rock of the truth but move the hearts of the other with goodness and love.
Please be sure to show the enemy devil and Satan your faith by which you are worthy to enter better places.
Whenever you win in spiritual warfare against your sins, the Holy Spirit dwelling within you is so pleased, your heart will be changed into truth, and you receive greater strength to overcome the sins more easily.
I urge you to overcome and overcome your sins, and to enter the level of spirit and whole spirit more quickly so that you can enter better places of heaven, and even to enter into New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today I have spoke to you about the faith of those who enter the Second kingdom of heaven.
If those who have already entered heaven and tasted its glory are given a chance to live on earth again, they will surely try their best to throw away their sins and to become sanctified.
When anyone’s spirit leaves his/her body, he will undoubtedly realize that it is the most important to cultivate the heart into spirit.
All of you from children up to the elderly confess that you long for New Jerusalem most eagerly.
You cannot enter there just with a longing heart.
An athlete cannot win the golden medal no matter how many times he has confessed. “I want to get a golden medal at the coming Olympics!”
It costs much in terms of time and energy for him to win the golden medal at the Olympics. He has to practice with many tears and much sweat.
He must overcome not only the fatigue from hard practices but also the war against the desire to abandon it.
Only when he succeeds in overcoming 10 years, 20 years or 30 years of hard training patiently, can he become a national candidate and attend the Olympics.
No one can become a champion easily. It is the same when you become a man of spirit and enter the better place of heaven.
I wish for each of you to remember the fact you can do it as much as your old self is put to death and walk in the light through thorough religious life.
On earth the honor of winning the golden medal does not last forever.
It is different in your faith. The honor and glory of the kingdom of heaven you take by force will be everlasting.
That is everlasting glory, honor, position and blessing.
If you really long for the everlasting kingdom of heaven, please do not think the training of faith on earth difficult.
May each of you look up to the glory and honor that will be given you in the future and take the kingdom of heaven by force in thanksgiving and joy, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!