Rev. Dr. Jaerock Lee 2008-04-06
1 Corinthians 13: 8 -10
“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
When you go to heaven, if you can take one thing with you, what would you like to take? What can you think of?
Even if you can take something from this earth, actually, it is useless in heaven. Suppose we take gold. Will it be useful in heaven?
In heaven, the roads on which you step are pure gold. The gold you take from this earth will be of no use.
Also, even the most valuable object on this earth cannot even be compared with anything in heaven.
Even the things that you like and cherish so much on this earth can never be better than anything that you have in the heavenly dwelling places.
What God the Father has prepared in the heavenly dwelling places is so beautiful and precious.
God understands our hearts and prepares the best things with all His effort. When the Lord comes back again, only our spirit in spiritual body will go up.
But there is one thing that we can take from this earth, and that will be so valuable in heaven, too.
It is love. It is the love cultivated in our heart while we are living in this world with tears, sorrow, and sins.
Love is something we can take to heaven and something we can possess forever in heaven.
Therefore, I hope you will not set your mind on anything of this earth, but I hope that you will bear only this love in your heart.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will joyfully find yourself in the embrace of the Lord like a beautiful bride who is filled fully with love in your heart.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is getting towards the end of the lectures on the chapter of spiritual love.
Looking at the spiritual love chapter as a whole, from verse 7 onward is the conclusion.
In verses 8 to 12, which we will begin to look at beginning today, it talks about the eternal nature of love.
It emphasizes that only love is eternal and love is the greatest. Why does the spiritual love chapter end with the explanations on the everlasting nature of love?
When I began the lectures on the spiritual love chapter, I told you about the background as to why this chapter was written.
This message is a letter from the apostle Paul to the church of Corinth.
In the church of Corinth, they had an argument about who was greater. In this situation, Paul wrote to them to teach them that love was the best, not (spiritual) gifts or other God-given duties.
So, after explaining about love in general terms, he emphasized that love is the best at the conclusion of the chapter. He was urging the believers to cultivate love more than anything else, because only love is eternal and perfect.
Now, let us delve into the actual contents. Verse 8 says, “Love never fails.”
When the human cultivation is over and we go into the heavenly kingdom, all things of this earth will disappear.
Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”
Not only the heaven and earth, and seas but also all things that belong to flesh will disappear.
What is flesh? It is everything that perishes and changes.
All the things of the flesh of this earth will finally disappear. Even the intangible things such as wealth, fame, and authority will also disappear.
Palm 103:15 says, “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.”
Even the most beautiful and fragrant flowers will wither.
Even the greenest plants will also become yellow someday. All fleshly things change and finally disappear.
Also, when we go to heaven, all the sins and darkness such as hatred, quarrels, envy, and jealousy will disappear.
In heaven, there is no evil. It’s because all the evil spirits that have been practicing control over the darkness during the human cultivation will be confined in the bottomless pit.
And today’s passage says, “…if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”
These things are neither flesh nor untruth, but they are spiritual things, so why do they cease?
It’s because in heaven we don’t need them. Verse 10 says, “…but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”
Heaven is in the spiritual realm and is a perfect place. In heaven, we will come to know everything clearly.
Prophecy, tongues, or knowledge are needed only when we live on this earth with the limited body.
Now, we know about things to come through prophecies.
Through the prophecies in the Bible, we know that the Lord is coming back again. We know that there will be a judgment and that we will go into the heavenly kingdom.
When God lets us know through revelations, we know the things about this world and the situations of this world.
Also, we may know about the things of the spiritual realm or the will of God.
But, we can know these things only partially. Even though we communicate with God clearly and prophesy, it is completely different from understanding everything in the heavenly kingdom in the future.
On this earth, we can know only what we see, hear, or touch. Still we cannot know everything perfectly.
But the spiritual realm is completely different from physical world. Because our physical bodies will change into a body of spirit, which is a spiritual body, there will be no limitations of the body.
Even about the things that have not taken place yet, we can know transcending time and space. We can also read the mind and heart that is not seen by eyes.
Thus, we can even talk in spirit with plants and animals in heaven. It’s not that plants and animals actually talk, but they can express thought in various ways.
Animals will read our mind and do cute tricks. Some trees may wave their branches, and the flowers will give out their fragrances. God’s children can read the mind of animals and plants through these things.
Also, in New Jerusalem, where they have the clearest inspiration, they can understand each other’s heart even without speaking.
Also, they understand so correctly in spirit, and there is no misunderstanding. Before Adam committed the sin, when he was a living spirit, he could rule over all things.
It’s because he knew about everything and communicated with God.
But since his fall due to sin, his spirit died and he became a man of flesh. Then, he could not communicate with God any more.
Even on this earth, those who receive works of demons and other evil spirits can tell what happened in the past.
They can also read the thoughts of men.
Because demons are spiritual beings, they can read the mind and thoughts of men of flesh. Then, in the heavenly kingdom, we will become spirit itself, and how much clearer will we know everything?
Then, we will clearly understand the heart of God the Father and the Lord, too.
We will even understand what the Father’s heart was like while we were being cultivated on the earth, and what kind of heart the Lord had when He was taking the cross!
The things we know through prophecies on this earth are minor. So, when the perfect comes, the prophecies will be done away with.
It’s the same with tongues. Here, ‘tongues’ refer to different languages. Now, we have many different languages on this earth.
Actually, there was once only one language for all mankind. But since they built the Babel Tower to stand against God, different languages resulted.
Not to have this kind of unrighteousness again, God confused the languages. Since then, people could not completely understand one another.
To talk to others who speak different languages, we have to learn their languages. To share the heart and thoughts, we need a lot of time and effort.
In case of our mission teams, they go to many other countries.
To have the translations and to prepare praise songs in local languages, they have to put in so much time and effort. It’s not something that is done very easily.
But of course, even if we speak the same language, we cannot understand other people’s hearts and thoughts completely.
Even if we speak very fluently, it’s not easy to convey our heart and thoughts 100%. Because of words, we may have misunderstandings and quarrels. There are also many mistakes in words.
But if we go to heaven, we don’t have to worry about these things.
There is only one language in heaven. So, there is no need to worry about not understanding others.
Also, the language in heaven consists of only good and beautiful words. It’s because in heaven there is no evil.
Because the good heart is conveyed as it is, there cannot be any misunderstandings or prejudice.
In each word there is contained consideration, love, and service for others.
Also, it is eloquent and beautiful, and it touches others. Even the words of best speaker or announcer of this earth cannot be compared with the language of heaven.
It’s the same with knowledge. Here, ‘knowledge’ refers to the knowledge of the word of God.
When we live on this earth we diligently learn the word of God. Through the 66 books of the Bible, we learn how we can be saved and gain eternal life.
As we read and hear the word, we understand what the will of God is and what truth is.
We also learn about God, who is spirit, and we learn about the spiritual realm.
But when we go to heaven, we will all just understand everything about what we are learning here. Thus, in heaven, we will not learn the things of this earth, but the deeper things of spirit.
We learn the things that we couldn’t really understand on this earth because of the limitations of the flesh. For example, you who are in this church are learning about the spiritual spaces.
This is actually very deep spiritual knowledge and it’s not easy to understand.
It’s the same with the sign of Jesus walking on water or stopping the sun and the moon. We cannot understand it with the worldly science or knowledge.
So, to make us understand better, God gives us hands-on experiences to see them and touch them. He teaches us slowly step by step.
But when we go to heaven, we will not have any limits of flesh, so we can understand the spiritual things that are limitless.
We will understand how God created the heavens and earth and all things in them with His word, how the spiritual realm is managed and so on.
The knowledge of the truth and the knowledge about the spiritual realm are so vast. The knowledge that we gain on this earth is really minute in comparison. It is merely what we need to receive salvation and go to heaven.
For example, we hear and learn and practice such words as, ‘Love one another,’ ‘Do no envy, do not be jealous,’ and so on.
But in heaven, there is only love, and so, we don’t need this kind of knowledge there.
With the knowledge of this earth we are only partially able to understand about heavenly kingdom.
It’s because God has taught us only to the extent that we can understand heaven is a good place and we can have hope for it.
If we are to write about heaven in detail, even the 66 books of the Bible would not be enough.
And now, is there anybody who is worrying that you still have to study even in heaven? In heaven, we do not study with boredom or difficulties. The spirit is wise, and it can understand easily.
Also, it is rather joyful to learn because we can understand the things that we were not able to understand on this earth.
When we go to heaven, we will be wiser and more intelligent than any good scholar or doctors on this earth.
So, gaining a lot of knowledge on this earth is not the important thing. The knowledge of this earth is only partial and it will be done away with.
Therefore, it is important to know the word of truth and to know about heaven, but it is more important to cultivate love.
Only when we diligently circumcise our heart and accomplish love can we go into the heavenly kingdom and live there happily and forever.
You Manmin members are learning many things about the spiritual realm. You hear a lot of deep spiritual things. Also, through the prophecies given on special occasions, you hear a lot concerning the spiritual realm.
In my house, we have made a model of a part of New Jerusalem.
Most of you have seen it and felt the beauty of New Jerusalem.
But even if we know it this way, we can never know as clearly as we can when we see it firsthand in New Jerusalem.
The happiness we can feel in New Jerusalem can also only barely be imagined.
After verse 11 of today’s passage, it says the level of understanding spiritual things on this earth is the level of children. Namely, it is dim as we are looking into mirror.
When we go to heaven, we will understand everything so clearly and correctly. Why don’t you just imagine loving and living with the Father God and the Lord?
Even on this earth, if you love God and are loved by Him, you are so happy.
You can feel the love of God to the extent that you love Him. Just remember the time of your first love. How happy you were!
God the Father knows you and carefully watches over you among so many people. If you pray, He answers you and He always keeps you.
He shows that He loves you in both the big and the little things in your daily lives.
If you are filled with the love of God in your heart, you are just so happy even if you don’t eat.
In heaven, this kind of joy will last forever. You will share this love forever living with the Lord.
When a bride meets the groom after being apart for a long time just how great is her happiness?
How happy she will be if she can live with her groom happily forever without having to be separated from him any more!
When we live in heaven, we can be in the bosom of the Lord, and we can talk to Him, too. We can walk by the riverside of the water of life or along the flower roads with Him.
When we go to heaven, what remains is only love. Only love is eternal.
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will rejoice only with the fact that love is growing in your heart.
We will pick up again with verse 11 in the next session.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, suppose we are showing a computer to somebody who lived several hundred years ago. Could he understand the value of it? He couldn’t ever understand it at all.
Even though there is something very precious, it is of no use if we do not understand its value.
Luke 8:10 says, “And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”
Jesus had pity for those people who did not understand the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and who could not believe it.
How great a blessing it is to know the secret of the kingdom of God?
You know the secret of the kingdom of God.
With eyes of spirit, you could see the value of love, which is the most valuable thing in the world. So, you lay aside all worldly desires and run towards the heavenly kingdom. God deems those of you who are acting this way more precious than anything.
But we should always check ourselves as to whether or not our hearts have become numb, and whether we are really accomplishing spiritual love to keep this blessing.
If you have been a Christian for a long time or if you have higher positions in the church, you should be awake even more.
You have to check again and again whether you have more longing for spiritual love and whether or not you are neglecting loving and serving others and humbling yourself.
When we go to heaven, we will realize how exceedingly insignificant the things were that we had on this earth. We will also realize how great people are that who have accomplished love.
Therefore, wherever we are or whatever we do, we have to go back to love, which is the most important, the original, and the first thing. From now, I urge you to love God even more.
I hope you will try to live by the word day by day.
This is to love God.
Also, I hope you will try to seek others’ benefit rather than your own. This is to love your neighbors.
So, when the perfect comes, namely when we go into heaven, I hope you will be lifted up high.
In heaven, we will get complete power and knowledge that cannot be compared with the things of this earth.
But even that power and knowledge will be different according to the dwelling places.
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will go into New Jerusalem, the most perfect place among many places in heaven.