[1 John 2:28]
“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
This is the 16th session of the Lectures on 1 John.
In the last session, I talked about the fact that we can enjoy eternal life only when we dwell in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is what we have heard from beginning.
I also explained that we must not listen to any words from those who are trying to deceive us. We must walk in the truth in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes you hear testimonies from people like the following.
Some people had misunderstandings about our church, but later the came to discern the truth through the voice of the Holy Spirit.
For example, in the past a station once broadcast some misleading information about our church which resulted in some people thinking something was wrong with our church. However, some of them said that they heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in their prayers telling them not to judge God’s servant.
Others said they realized God is with this church when they saw the manifestation of the power of God or when they actually listened to my messages on the Internet or through other media and realized the truth.
When we have more interaction with the church associations of Korea, many misunderstandings will be resolved very quickly in similar ways through the works of the Holy Spirit.
Those who long for the spiritual realm and are thirsty for the truth, when they hear the holiness gospel and see the power of God, they will experience the joy of the Holy Spirit in them and they will come to us.
As you hear these testimonies, you will realize the fact that those who long for the truth will all receive the same works of the Holy Spirit.
But saying that we have to be guided by the Holy Spirit and we don’t have to listen to others does not mean that we don’t have to learn the truth.
If others’ teachings are in agreement with the Bible, we have to learn them diligently.
We shouldn’t pay attention if others try to deceive us with something that is not in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ, namely the truth we heard in the beginning.
Now, let us go into 1 John 2:28.
It says, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
When we accept Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, we become God’s children.
Once we have received the Holy Spirit and become God’s children, we must now begin to change into true children of God who resemble Him.
We have to cast off sins and evil from our heart and become righteous.
Ephesians 4:13 says, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” As written, our measure of faith has to increase.
For this to happen, we have to abide in the Lord, namely in the word of God, as it said, “abide in Him.”
Of course, we cannot completely abide in the truth from the moment we believe in God.
We have to diligently learn the word of God and try to practice what we have learned.
Once we gain faith through our efforts, we can be confident when the Lord appears, namely at the time of the judgment.
On the other hand, even though we have become God’s children after accepting the Lord, if we do not abide in the truth we will face shame when the Lord appears.
We might even fall away from salvation.
In Matthew 22:11-14, we see a scene where the king gives a big party and invites many people, and looks around the party place.
It says, “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The one who was invited but was not dressed in wedding clothes was thrown out of the party.
It means those who hear the gospel but do not live as being worthy of children of God will not receive salvation.
Even if they barely receive salvation, they will still be ashamed.
In the message about the measure of faith, I explained those believers at the 1st and 2nd levels of faith will receive shameful salvation.
Those who are at the first level of faith do not even understand that they have to cast off sins because they do not know the truth.
Those who are at the second level of faith learn that they must cast off sins. So, they try not to commit sins, but sometimes they commit sins because they are still weak.
Those who dwell in the darkness in their deeds cannot lift up their faces when they stand before the Lord.
Even though the Lord whom they longed to see so much is right in front of them, they cannot confidently run to Him to hug Him.
It’s because when they stand before the Lord after getting out of their body physical body, they will realize the truth very clearly.
They will thoroughly feel how foolish they were that they had lingering attachments to perishable things. They will feel how dirty sins are.
We have some church members who were faithful and they have gone to Heaven before us.
Sometimes God lets me know about their confessions or their heart they have after they went to Heaven.
Here, those who did not enter into spirit express regret in their confessions.
They realize and say things like, “Why was I so foolish? It is so meaningless to insist on my self-righteousness. Arrogance, envy, jealousy, ulterior motives, and all flesh are so meaningless. It was so meaningless to have obsession on and to try to get the worldly things. If I could just I get another chance, I would love God only and be faithful looking up to spiritual things only.”
But during their lives on earth, even though they heard and knew the truth, in their heads they did not realize it.
Only when they left their physical bodies did they come to have clear understanding.
They were ashamed that they lived in sins while confessing that they were children of God who is light.
They felt very sorry and embarrassed before God.
On the other hand, those who diligently read, listen to, and cultivate the word of God in their hearts and abide in truth will not have to be ashamed.
When you meet the Lord, you can boldly be at His side, and your spirit will give out brilliant lights.
You will be able to see the face of the Lord that shines so brightly.
Those who already passed away do not have any more chance even though they realized the truth clearly.
But you still have a chance.
In each day of life given to you on this earth, I hope you will meditate with earnest longing to cultivate the word of truth in your heart.
Also, I urge you to pray fervently with all your heart and quickly cast off sins by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This way, I hope you will quickly finish the spiritual adorning as the bride of the Lord and wait for the Lord saying, “Lord, come quickly!”