Mark 15:16-2016The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 1. Reasons for Jesus’ wearing the crown of thornsA. To redeem us from the sins committed with our thoughtsB. Each individual has his own knowledge and thoughtsC. Fill you with knowledge of truths for the thoughts of truthD. Throw away fleshly thoughts for spiritual thoughtsE. Purify your heart for the thoughts of truth2. Jesus wore the crown of thorns to give us good crowns Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, This is the 12th session of the Message of the Cross, testifing to the providence of the Cross.Jesus came down to the earth to save us sinners.To save sinners, He had to take the penalty of death that sinners should have received.That’s why Jesus suffered many pains and finally was crucified. The suffering of Jesus has brought us the forgiveness of our sins.And it has set us free from the curse of sin and let us live in the blessings of God.By the way, we should not simply have the idea that Jesus forgave us of our sins, but understand in detail how He forgave us.Only then, will we be able to love Jesus from our heart and to live a more powerful life in faith knowing how He took all the sufferings for us.Through the previous session, we have looked into the providence of Jesus being laid in a manger, living a poor life and shedding His blood by the flogging.I will now preach about the providence in Jesus wearing the crown of thorns. I hope you realize from the depths of your heart the love of the Lord who wore the crown of thorns for us. And I pray in the name of the Lord that all of you run more powerfully toward the gate of heaven in that abundant love of the Lord. Dear brothers and sisters,Jesus is the Son of God, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He truly deserves a glorious crown.However, the crown Jesus wore was not a glorious crown made of gold and jewels but of sharp thorns.Mark 15:16-18 say, “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”Brambles in Israel have long and hard thorns. Roman soldiers made a crown from branches with those thorns that was sized smaller than that of a man’s head and pressed it unto Jesus’ head.Those long and terrible thorns pierced through the skin of His head and it brought excruciating pain to the bones of His head. And soon His face was covered with blood.Why then did God let His beloved only Son Jesus wear such a thorny crown? That was because He intended to forgive us of the sins committed through men’s thoughts.Men think untruths that are against truth and have evil feelings because there are untruths within their minds.They hate, envy, judge, condemn and are jealous of others. They covet others’ possessions, have the desires of adultery, and pretend to honor others but despise and have contempt for others in their hearts.Because they have those sins in their thoughts and minds, they commit those sins outwardly too. No matter what evil thought or desire they have, it is not considered as sins in the world unless it is committed in deeds.But, when somebody desires to sin in his thought and mind, the Bible condemns him. Matthew 5:28 says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”And 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”If somebody hates another person, though he has not murdered, he will be deemed to have already murdered in the sight of God who sees the inner heart of each one of us.The reason that Jesus wore a crown of thorns and shed His blood was to forgive us of even the sins we commit in our thoughts.Anyone who believes this fact and is forgiven should purify his thoughts and mind. Dear brothers and sisters,To abstain from the sins of our thoughts, we should understand what the thought is.In our brain there is a “memory system” through which we can store and utilize knowledge.When we have stored what we have seen, heard and learned through our senses into the memory system, that which is stored is called “knowledge.”When the stored knowledge is reproduced, this process is called “thought.”The knowledge stored in each individual’s brain since his birth is different.That’s because each one’s growth conditions and education are different, and each one has different feelings even though he is taught by the same person under the same situation.Because each one has different knowledge, his standard of value and the standard of discerning good and evil are differentThe content of the knowledge each one reproduces in the same situation is also different.Some people might say that something is bad and wrong but some others may say it is good and beautiful.What is deemed to be polite in one country may be condemned as rude in another country.Likewise each individual’s thought is different and most of thoughts in the world are against the truth.That’s because it is Satan, the enemy of God, that controls the thoughts of fleshly people.When Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, he had only the knowledge of truth.It was because God taught him only truths.Adam’s thought was only about truths. But since he sinned, the knowledge of the truths leaked from his heart and the knowledge of untruths replaced the truth of his heart.The knowledge of truth such as to love, service, and understanding was replaced by the knowledge of the untruths such as hatred, greed and desire for gain. Satan controls the knowledge of untruths and urges us to think against the will of God.Let me give you an illustration. Suppose one of your colleagues did a good job and was praised before many people. In that situation, Satan may control untruths within you and urge you to think evil things.Then, you may complain thinking, “This job was not done only by that man, but now he alone is praised” or “Why is only he praised although I also helped to do that job?”If he has only the knowledge of truth in his mind, he will not think that. Satan cannot control him but he will rejoice with truth saying, “I am happy because he is praised. Now I will also be diligent like him.”When someone’s actions disagree with what you want, if you follow the thought of untruth, you may pass judgment that they are rude and selfish. You may have ill feelings and have a mindset against meeting him or her. You may go through great pains to be patient despite your fierce hot–temper.On the other hand, if you have the knowledge of truth, when you see the person act with evil, you will not judge or have ill feelings but try to understand why he did that and truly understand him. Dear brothers and sisters,If a man has stored the knowledge of truth into himself, he is able to think only in truth.But in fact, because everybody stores up the knowledge of untruths since birth, every thought reproduced from his mind is untruth.That’s why you should change your knowledge into the one belonging to truth after you believe in God. Then, your thought will change into the one of truth.Let me give you an example. If you make some food with bad ingredients, that cooked food will surely be bad. That’s why you must replace those bad ingredients with good ones if you want to make fresh food.In the same way, when you change the knowledge stored in your mind into truth, your thought will change into truth.For you should diligently listen to the word of God and make it your spiritual food.You should worship God in spirit and in truth, and receive the word with ‘Amen’ and ‘Yes’ and change yourself by it.If you do it continually, you can go into spirit as soon as possible.Some people say “Amen” when the word of God agrees with their own thought, but they deny it saying “No, it’s not” when it disagrees with them.Even though the word says, “You will be great if you serve and lower yourself” they think it is not easy to be great even with many efforts to elevate themselves and refuse to lower themselves and serve.If the word teaches them to turn their left cheek when somebody strikes their right one and to give him their cloak if he wants their tunic, they say they cannot live in the world with that way.The almighty God absolutely elevates a person who serves and blesses a person who obeys the word.But man does not believe the word but considers what is against the will of God because the word disagrees with his own knowledge and experiences.Here the thought that is against the will of God is called “fleshly thought.”It is Satan who makes man follow fleshly thought.The Bible shows us that Peter was rebuked by Jesus because he followed his fleshly thought.When Jesus said He would be crucified according to the will of God in the future, Peter said, “Never, Lord!” This shall never happen to you!”Peter did not say it with a wicked purpose.Peter said it because he felt sorry and wished Jesus would not be killed. When people head it, they considered it as righteous and good.But, Jesus did not say “I know why you did it. You did it because you love me’ but instead rebuked him, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”He did not mean Peter is Satan but wanted to awaken Peter that Satan controls our fleshly thoughts so that we will think against the will of God.Fleshly people regard fleshly thought as wise and good.However, Romans 8:7 says, “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”The sinful mind, namely fleshly thought is hostile to God and so it has nothing to do with God.No matter how wise and good the fleshly thought seems to fleshly people, when you have done duties following fleshly thought, it has no relationship to God.Only when you demolish every kind of fleshly thought, will you be able to possess spiritual faith by which you can create something out of nothing.When you have removed your fleshly thought, you can understand the will and heart of God and please God, and experience works of God.The power of God transcends human knowledge and thought and His wisdom and understanding cannot be measured by man. If we do not follow fleshly thought but obey the will of God, we can experience the immeasurable power of God all the time. Dear brothers and sisters,Since I met God, I have never doubted the word of God with fleshly thoughts.For the seven years of my illness, no doctor could heal me but God healed me instantly.I took neither medicine nor received any operation, but when I went to a church and knelt down, I was immediately healed of all of my diseases.Because I experienced the almightiness of God myself, I believed all the words of the Bible. When the Bible told me that Jesus made the dead alive again and healed the sick, I believed as it said.I believed the almighty God created the heavens and the earth, made the sun and the moon stand still and parted the Red Sea into two.Because I believed every word of the Bible, I could keep all the commands of God recorded in the Bible.Because I believed in the almighty God, I relied only on God through prayers in any circumstances.Each time God performed miraculous works transcending human ability and understanding.At Manmin Joong-an Church, there are many brothers and sisters who have experienced powerful works of God because they did not follow fleshly thoughts but depended on God. In 1997, a brother in Christ heard the news that his sister had been admitted to a hospital because she drank an agricultural chemical. At that time she did not believe in God and drank it out of a fit of rage.That chemical is so poisonous that if anybody drinks the slightest amount of it, it has a 100% mortality rate. It is said to have no antidote.Her mouth, esophagus, and stomach were severely damaged and her lungs, liver, and kidneys were decaying. Although she was in hospital, doctors had no medical treatment but only diagnosed she would survive 15 days at that point.Her brother visited her as she waited for death in the midst of severe pains, and he preached the gospel.He testified to Jesus Christ and the Almighty God. And he told her about a number of God’s powerful works that had taken place at Manmin Church.At last she opened her heart and then she left the hospital in patients’ clothing and came to me from the distanced province.I saw her faith and prayed for her. Next day a surprising thing happened to her.All of her excruciating pain disappeared and the final medical examination said that all the internal organs that had decayed had fully recovered to normal.Doctors said that she would lose her sight because a little chemical liquid popped into her left eye, but after my prayer her eye was also completely healed.If she had followed her fleshly thought, she would have doubted how someone who had swallowed the agricultural chemical could be healed in a church.But she did not follow her fleshly thought but anticipated that she would be healed if she received the prayer. It was acceptable to God.When she came before God, God saw her faith and let her experience His powerful works.After that prayer she was not just healed but late conceived and gave birth to a baby after 21 years of marriage.If we do not follow fleshly thought but rely on God, God will surely work for us.The problem is that man does not rely on God alone but human wisdom and methods because he follows fleshly thought.Dear brothers and sisters,Every theory and knowledge that hinders us from believing the word of God and obeying it is fleshly thought.People live in countless fleshly thoughts. That’s why the people are all hostile before God.For those of us who were hostile to God because of fleshly thought, Jesus wore the crown of thorns to redeem us from our sins and to save us. Then, what shall we do because we have received this wonderful grace?2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”As this verse teaches us, we should demolish every kind of argument and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. We should get rid of every kind of fleshly thought that is against the knowledge of God, and we should throw away every kind of knowledge that is against the word of God.Then, your thought will change into the truths that are in the will of God.Above all, we should sanctify our hearts to remove the sins committed in our thoughts.In a more detailed explanation, it means we should get rid of the lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of this life.1 John 2:16 says, “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”When we have evils in our hearts and our minds are filled with desires for the world, no matter how much we try to think in truths, we cannot help being reminded of fleshly thoughts.If we have the lust of flesh, the worldly pleasure looks fascinating and we are tempted to gain and enjoy that kind pleasure.Galatians 5:19-21 warn us, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”The lust of flesh urges us to desire for the acts of the sinful nature.Next, the lust of the eyes makes our minds seek for fleshly things through what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears.Because of this lust of the eyes, people’s desire for worldly and earthly things increases more and more.Finally, the pride of this life makes us boastful of ourselves following all kinds of worldly pleasures.The pride of this life makes us desire to be greater that others and be praised and seek for power and honor of this world. If we have removed the lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of this life from our hearts, we will not follow the fleshly thoughts but spiritual thoughts in our thinking. Dear brothers and sisters,We will wear better crowns in heaven because Jesus wore the crown of thorns for us.There are various crowns in heaven. As an illustration, after a contest, sometimes the same prizes are given to every runner except the golden medal, silver medal and bronze medal only to winners.In the same way, our heavenly crowns will be different according to what kind of life we have lived on the earth.1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”‘A crown that lasts forever” here is give to those who have accepted the Lord and tried to cast away their sins listening to the truth.The crown of glory written in Peter 5:4 is given to those who have cast away their sins and lived by the word so that they glorified God.Next, the crown of life is recorded in James 1:123 and Revelation 2:10.It is given to those who have been faithful to the point of death, loving God to the utmost degree, and have been sanctified by casting off every form of evil.To those who have been completely sanctified and fully faithful to their duties with the faith to please God like the apostle Paul, is the crown of righteousness given as said in 2 Timothy 4:8.Lastly, in Revelation 4:4, we can find 24 elders in heaven wear the crowns of gold.Elders here do not indicate those who have the titles of elders on the earth. They refer to those whose faith is recognized by God. Then, they must have been totally sanctified and faithful to all God’s house and possessed the faith of pure gold that will never corrupt.Likewise different crowns are given according to how sanctified and faithful the children of God have been on the earth.In particular, the crowns of gold and righteousness are rewarded to those who are the most recognized by God. They will enjoy the glory that glitters and shines like the sun in heaven.When Jesus wore the crown of thorns, He not only redeemed us from the sins committed in our thoughts but also let us wear better crowns in heaven.Therefore, I hope you realize this deep love of the Lord and cast away every kind of sin committed in your thoughts. I pray you demolish every kind of fleshly thought that makes you doubt the word of God and hinders you from obeying it.I ask you to think only spiritual and good thoughts, fully obeying the word of God and experiencing the works of God. Conclusion 2 Timothy 4:8 says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”This verse means that the crown of righteousness will be given to all who have longed for His appearing.How much have you longed for the Second Coming of our Lord?You should finish preparing as the bride of the Lord as soon as possible for you to confess that you have truly longed for His second coming.When the bridegroom has arrived to receive his bride, if the bride is not ready to enter the wedding banquet because she has not finished preparation of the bride, her confession that she has longed for his arrival is not true.Only when you have completely accomplished a holy and purified heart, and been faithful to all God’s house like Moses and qualified to enter New Jerusalem, will you be able to declare from your heart, “Lord, come soon!”This kind of person can receive the crown of righteousness and enter the most glorious and beautiful dwelling place in heaven.I ask you to finish preparation for the bride of the Lord and receiving the Lord our Bridegroom as soon as possible.I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive the most glorious crown and give thanks and glory to God when the Lord comes again to take you!