Rev. Dr. Jaerock Lee 2007-09-23
1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 10th session of the “Spiritual Love” sermon series.
If someone asks you a question, “What kind of a fruit is an apple?”, you might explain an apple in terms of what you have understood and felt about apples saying that an apple is a fruit with red, yellow or green skin. It is sweet to tart in taste and it has crisp whitish flesh.
Now if you are asked, “What is love?” What would you answer?
Unlike the apple, love is not easily explained because it is not some inanimate object seen by our eyes.
But you have heard the message titled “Spiritual Love” and you should be able to give a clear answer to anyone who asks.
This message titled “Spiritual Love” clearly speaks about what love is, and about the true meaning and concept of love.
How thankful it is that you can accomplish true love in your heart by making this message of your spiritual bread!
The last session’s title was ‘Love Is Kind’, and I told you that in order to accomplish kindness you have to cast off evils from the heart, demolish the self in you and become sanctified.
Only when you have gotten rid of every form of evil, can you look at, forgive, understand and embrace all souls with the heart of our Father God.
And only when you have become sanctified, can you clearly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and guide other souls to the green pastures and still waters.
Thus, you can be deemed meek and kind by God only when you have sanctified your heart.
It is not complete for you to accomplish kindness by becoming sanctified and having no evil at all. You have to possess virtue expressed outwardly as well.
Today I will explain to you what has to be done to possess virtue outwardly.
I urge you to make keep this message in heart and accomplish kindness and virtue so that you can come forth as beloved children of God.
May each of you enjoy eternal blessing in the kingdom of heaven in the future just as Psalm 37:11 says, “But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, No matter how good you are inwardly, if you are not well-dressed, you may be looked down upon by others.
Even if you are a member of a royal family, if you do not wear the royal garments, you may not be recognized as royal. As said before, virtue is the same as these royal garments.
Just as some garments symbolize the social positions, virtue is the revelation of the inward kindness and the passage to help inward kindness work outwardly.
Let me give an illustration. Most of flowers have beautiful colors or sweet scents to attract animals such as bees and butterflies to pollinate the flower.
If the flowers’ colors are not outstanding or their scents are not sweet, no matter how much nectar they have, it will be difficult for them to attract bees or butterflies.
In the same way, even though you have kindness without evil in your heart so that you can turn the left cheek when someone slaps you on the right cheek, that kindness cannot be brought to light without virtue.
Of course, even if your words and deeds seem to have virtue, if you have not accomplished kindness inwardly, this is a bigger problem because it is only covering of the appearances.
No matter how well-dressed you are, if you are not good inwardly, your nice appearance seems to be worthless.
So, when you are equipped not only with inward kindness but also with outward virtue, you can be deemed truly meek and display true value.
This is really true of Joseph. Though he was a Hebrew, because he was so virtuous he became the ruler of Egypt second only to the Pharaoh.
Egypt was one of the strongest countries of that time, and so the king and the people were very proud.
Joseph was a stranger to them, but became the prime minister. In this situation if he had shown even the slightest transgression or error, it would not have been easy for him to keep that position.
Joseph successfully ruled over Egypt under such difficult circumstances, yet the people of Egypt obeyed whatever Joseph told them.
Joseph was very meek, humble and blameless in his words and deeds. Also he was full of wisdom and the dignity worthy of a ruler.
He had the greatest power next to the king but he neither tried to rule over the people with his power nor arrogantly boasted of himself. He had ill feelings against no one and never broke peace with anyone.
He was strict with himself, but benevolent and generous to others. He was so virtuous that he was considerate of others in so much as a single word or deed.
That’s why the king of Egypt and his other ministers were neither watchful nor jealous of him. Instead they favored and trusted him. When someone acted in evil toward Joseph, Joseph forgave and accepted him with a broad heart.
Thus, his virtue prevented Joseph from judging and condemning others with his own standard even though he was upright in his words and deeds because he had a broad and big heart.
This characteristic of Joseph was well represented when his brothers, who had sold him into slavery in Egypt, entered Egypt to get food.
Joseph had more than enough power to make his brothers pay for their transgression against him.
But Joseph did not seek revenge against his brothers for the sufferings he had received, but instead, he tried to give them a chance for them to destroy the wall of sin between themselves and God.
Instead of disciplining them carelessly or forgiving or embracing them unconditionally, he arranged everything to bring benefits to them in accordance with the will of God.
Through his efforts, the brothers regretted and repented of their transgressions. But they were afraid when they realized that the ruler second in command to the Pharaoh in Egypt was Joseph.
Joseph did not intimidate his brothers by asking them why they had tried to harm him, their younger brother, nor did he threaten to repay them for their transgression.
Instead, he comforted them, saying, “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
Joseph not only forgave them from the heart but actively practiced goodness by measuring the heart of his brothers and comforting them with touching words.
In other words, Joseph had become wholly sanctified and had no evil at all, so he not only possessed a kind heart to forgive his enemies, but he also possessed outward virtue capable of moving them with a good heart and deeds.
The truthfulness of Joseph’s heart is described in Genesis 47:12, saying, “Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.” Joseph served and honored his brothers and their families.
Joseph’s kindness that was accompanied by virtue not only rescued many people in and around Egypt from severe famines, but it also made it possible for the amazing plan and providence of God to be achieved.
Virtue that is expressed outwardly together with active deeds of kindness within the heart enables amazing things to happen.
Therefore, I want you to long to accomplish true kindness embedding amazing power, namely kindness accompanied with virtue.
What do you have to do specifically in order to possess this kind of virtue? Above all, you have to cast off evils and become sanctified.
Inward kindness is accomplished through the sanctification of the heart. Virtues can also be possessed when you cast off evils and become sanctified.
In the last session I told you that virtue is a character that refers to having integrity and dignity that makes your heart right and it allows you to act in accordance with justice, duty and sense of responsibility.
And I added that if you have this virtue you can discern exactly what is right and what is wrong through a fair and proper standard.
In order to accomplish such virtue you have to have no evil in your heart at all.
There are some of you who are able to show virtuous deeds through your cultural training, refinement and education, or because you were born with innate broad-minded nature, even though you have not become sanctified.
But true virtue comes from the heart in which there is no evil at all and through which you follow goodness and truth.
Otherwise, you may form the frameworks of self-righteousness in your view about virtuous actions, and you may judge and condemn others from within such frameworks.
So, you have to become sanctified to possess virtue. And as much as you become sanctified you can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly and receive His guidance concerning what is virtuous action in each circumstance.
In order for you to fully accomplish virtuous words and deeds, merely casting off the biggest and thickest roots of evil is not enough.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, our Lord urges us “[To] abstain from every form of evil,” and in Matthew 5:48, “To be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
When you have thrown away all kinds of evils from the heart and also become blameless in your words, deeds, and behaviors, you can accomplish kindness in which many people can take rest.
So, you should not be satisfied when you have cast off the evils such as hatred, envy, jealousy, arrogance and hot-temper.
You have to take off detailed deeds of the body and accomplish the deeds of truth by receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the word of God and fervent prayers.
What are then the deeds of the body?
Romans 8:13 says, “. . .for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
The body here does not simply refer to our physical body.
As I have before explained to you through the messages on “Spirit Soul and Body,” the body spiritually refers to the body of man after the spirit, namely, the truth, had come out from him.
In other words, it refers to the corruptible and physical body stained with untruths.
And the deeds of the body refer to the deeds that come from untruths that have filled mankind who have changed into the flesh.
Some of you habitually and easily exchange words jokingly and speak to each other in an undignified manner, while some others are always careful in everything you say and speak with respect to others. There is a great difference between these two kinds.
This kind of words and behavior can come out as much as you sanctify your heart, remove evils, and serve and love others.
In other words, to the extent that you become sanctified and get rid of evils, you can show good words and deeds.
The deeds of the body include not only evident sins but also all kinds of incomplete deeds. For example, some of you use coarse and clumsy words even though you have no evil intention.
After accepting the Lord, even though you have thrown away every kind of evil that was in the heart, because traces of the flesh may remain in you, your personality that is rather brusque than tender and sweet may show in your manner of speaking.
Some others of you wear clothing that follows the course of the world, untidy clothing, and inappropriate attire for the time and place.
You are not concerned about the outer appearance of the clothing or put on the clothes just the way you did in the world.
These things seem to be trivial. But when you are qualified in very detailed aspects, you can be worthy to be favored and trusted by the people around you saying “Very neat and elegant!”
When some others of you are found to be improper in some aspects, you may say that you have inborn natures or make excuse saying that you cannot escape from such deeds because they are a part of your life.
But increasingly possessing virtue is after all the process of resembling the image of our God and accomplishing the instructions of the Lord as the children of God.
How many people’s lives would you able to touch if you have accomplished refinement and instruction in the Lord? You will be able to move many others just with a single word.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In the same way, when you have to scold someone, you do not do it looking down on that person, but just with wisdom and a respectful attitude.
Thus, a man with virtue is different in small and trivial aspects and so many people want to take rest in him.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, next, you have to cultivate the character of your heart to possess virtue. Virtue comes from a broad and wide heart and through mercy, compassion and unfailing love.
The characters of heart refer to the size of the heart. So, the better your heart’s character the bigger the size of the heart is.
Some of you can do more than expected according to the character of the heart. But some others do just the things assigned for you or somewhat just less than that.
If you the same vessel of heart, according to how broadly you use your heart in each situation, the character of heart will be different.
A man with virtue has a character of heart that is big and wide, so he can do what he has to do.
Philippians 2:4 says, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
So, you should not only look after your own personal matters, but also be concerned for others.
This character of heart can differ according to how much you broaden your heart in all circumstances, so you can change it through continual efforts.
If you have impatiently looked out only for your own personal interests, you should pray in detail and change your narrow mind into a broader one so that you can first consider the benefit and situations of others.
For example, in a mission group, there are many group leaders and, and in a districts, there are many cell leaders sub-district leaders.
Some of them do only their own works assigned for their own cells, sub-districts and districts. Of course, it is thankful that they are able to fulfill their God-given duties well.
But some others not only take care of their own groups or cells, but also look out for the missions and districts they belong to as well.
Sometimes they give up many things for others and sacrifice themselves instead of seeking their own benefits.
They then testify that they received blessings when the members of a group serve their mission as a whole with one heart.
Until he was sold into slavery in Egypt, Joseph was brought up like the flowers grown in a green house. He could not take care of every affair of the house or measure the hearts and situations of his brothers.
However, he changed through various trials after he was sold into the slavery of Egypt.
When he was a slave or when he was assigned for the duty of taking care of all the prisoners, he thoroughly humbled himself and fulfilled his duties faithfully.
Through that experience, he could possess the heart to observe and manage every corner of the organization and learn how to watch over the hearts of others.
Our Father God knew everything that would happen and laid the foundation in preparation for allowing him to become the ruler of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh.
If you accomplish this character of heart along with a kind and blameless heart, you can rule over and take care of a big organization.
You can lead all the members of that organization by looking after the minutest detail and showing the deeds of goodness.
I wish all of you will cultivate this broad and wide character of heart.
I pray in the name of the Lord that each of you become a great vessel in which you can give benefits to many souls and embrace countless souls!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what kind of blessings will you receive when you have accomplished perfect gentleness by possessing inner kindness and outer virtue?
As said in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth,” and in Psalm 37:11, “But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity,” You can inherit the land.
Inheriting the land does not mean that you will receive the physical land of this earth.
The land here symbolizes the dwelling place of the kingdom of heaven, and inheriting the land means “enjoying great power in heaven in the future.”
Those who have the power on earth are accompanied by many people.
In the same way, the meek will be favored and followed by many others in heaven.
A gentle person strengthens other souls with the heart of our Father God and moves their hearts and leads them to salvation.
That’s why the kinder you become the more souls will take rest within you and be guided to salvation by you.
Accordingly, a kind person will be able to enjoy great power and inherit the broad and wide land as the dwelling place when he reaches heaven.
Similarly, he who has great power, wealth and honor on earth is followed by authorities and many people.
But if he loses everything he has possessed, he will lose most of his authority, and many people who have followed him will leave him.
The spiritual authorities that follow a kind person are different from those of this world. They neither disappear nor change.
He is recognized and favored by many people, and is successful in everything as his spirit prospers.
He will be greatly loved by our Father God forever and ever, and be respected and commended by countless souls in heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus explains to us what kind of person is greater.
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
I wish all of you really humble and lower yourselves and possess the gentle heart in which you can embrace and serve even a little child.
I have explained to you that spiritual kindness is given you when you possess the kind heart that is without any evil and virtues in which you can embrace and rule over others.
And I added that in order to accomplish inward kindness and virtue you have to become sanctified by casting off every kind of evil from the heart and be perfect in words and deeds.
Also, I told you that when you possess this kindness you can inherit the broader land in heaven.That is you can receive better dwelling places, and enjoy great authority.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become true and kind children of God and be called greater in the kingdom of heaven and draw closer to the throne of God!