[Matthew 27: 51- 54]
[Ephesians 5: 31 -32]
* The Bible verses are quoted from NASB
[Matthew 27: 51- 54]
“And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
[Ephesians 5: 31 -32]
“FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”
Servants of Christ are the stewards of the mysteries of God. This mystery is the method to gain eternal life, which is hidden since before the time began. Now, God does not want to keep it as secret any more but make it known to all peoples around the world.
He wants all who hear to accept Jesus Christ and gain eternal life. If you believe in the Lord, heaven and hell, and that you are saved, you should preach as the stewards of the mysteries of God.
You should lead many dying souls to gain life. You should guide them so that they will gain peace and comfort found in the love of God. This is the 18th session of the Message of Cross.
Through this Message of Cross preached in Sunday morning worship services, you can systematically understand the secret of the gospel and the way of salvation. I hope you will keep the message in your heart and have perfect faith, so that you will save numerous souls by diligently preaching the gospel.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be praised in heaven by God, who will say, “Well done, my good and faithful sons and daughters.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as I explained until the last session, Jesus, who was hung on the cross, left last seven statements and breathed His last.
Matthew 27:51-54 talks about some amazing things that took place after Jesus’ death. It says, “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
The veil of the temple being torn in two from top to bottom symbolizes that the wall of sin between the sinners and God was torn down.
In the temple of the Old Testament are the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, and there was a veil in front of the Most Holy Place, so nobody could enter that place.
Only the chief priest could go inside the veil with the sin offering and offer the sacrifice for sinners. It was because sinners could not communicate with God.
But after Jesus became the atoning sacrifice Himself, the veil of the temple was torn in two. In the same way, the wall of sin between God and His children was torn down. Now, we came to be able to communicate with God by the precious blood of the Lord.
So, Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,”
Because Jesus redeemed us from sins through His blood, you and I who believe in the Lord can come into the sanctuary and worship, praying to and communicating with God directly. But today, some people who believe in God, when they commit sins, do not pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ but make confession to a man.
They think the man who receives the confession prays for forgiveness, they will be forgiven. Of course, one with faith and love can pray for other people for the forgiveness of their sins.
As said “effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much,” when a man who is blameless and loved by God makes earnest intercessions with faith and love, God may give one more chance of repentance through the request of the one who is loved by God so much.
Also, when you sin against a brother, sometimes you should repent directly to him, so that he will pray for the forgiveness of you sins.
For example, when Aaron and Miriam stood against Moses, God forgave them through the intercession prayer of Moses. When Job’s friends sinned against Job, Job prayed for them, and God forgave those friends through that prayer.
But basically, repentance should be made in the name of the Lord, before the Father God. It is the same with all kinds of prayers. We offer our heart directly to God through Jesus Christ, who tore down our walls of sin and became our mediator.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, after Jesus’ death, the veil of the temple was torn in two, and also, there was an earthquake. It says, “the earth shook; and the rocks were split.” This happened because God, the ruler of heavens and earth grieved and lamented so much.
Even lifeless rocks were split, and it is obvious that all things on the earth shook together. Luke 23:44 says, “And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,”
These things took place because God lamented so much with the heartbreaking pain of giving out His blameless one and only Son as the atoning sacrifice and with the sorrow coming from the people who were still living in sins without realizing the fact that Jesus died because of their evilness of.
Next verse 52 says, “Many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”
When those who are saved finish their life on this earth, we do not say they died but have fallen asleep, because when the Lord comes back again, they will resurrect as if they are waking from a long sleep, and participate in the glory of the Lord.
Some of the people of the Old Testament times earnestly believed and longed to see the Savior prophesied in the Bible. Also, people life Anna and Simeon recognized Jesus as the Savior when He was just a baby, before He began His ministry.
These people have faith to be saved even though they died before Jesus accomplished the providence of salvation by taking the cross, so we say they are asleep.
‘Saints who had fallen asleep’ in today’s passage refers to those who died before Jesus died on the cross among the people who had faith to be saved.
And as said 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep,” they could not participate in the resurrection after Jesus became the first fruit of resurrection.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the believers who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior will resurrect in their body at the end, and also at the moment of accepting the Lord, their spirit is resurrected. Namely, they gain eternal life.
Today’s passage Ephesians 5:31-32 says, “FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
When people get married, they leave their parents, and the husband and wife become one. This is not really a secret but common knowledge, but whey does it say ‘this mystery is great’ in today’s passage?
It is not about marriage of the worldly people but it is about the Christ, the church, and the believers. It is about the providence of salvation through the cross, which is hidden since before the time began.
John 8:44 says, “You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.”
Also, 1 John 3:8 says, “the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
When people commit sins with their heart and deeds in this sinful world, they are the servants of sin, and they are under the control of the enemy devil and Satan. That is why it is said ‘You are of your father devil.’
But those who accept Jesus Christ are not the children of the devil any more. They now belong to God as His children. Also, with faith they are united with Jesus Christ the bridegroom.
When we believe that Jesus redeemed us from our sins by taking the cross, we are united with Jesus and become one. When we unite with the Lord, God gives us the Holy Spirit into our heart.
As said in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” when the Holy Spirit comes to us, He revives our dead spirit and lets us give birth to spirit through the Spirit.
Giving birth to spirit through the Spirit is to fill our heart with the knowledge of truth. Those who give birth to spirit through the Holy Spirit in this way become God’s sons and daughters and they can call God ‘Father’.
If you become God’s children you can inherit the kingdom of God. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let me elaborate on God’s children receiving the Holy Spirit and giving birth to spirit through the Holy Spirit.
Man’s heart can be divided into many parts. The easiest distinction is the heart of obvious truth and the heart of obvious untruth. To make it easy, it is the white heart and black heart.
White heart is the heart of truth that follows truth that God planted into Adam in the beginning. The black heart is the heart of untruth that was at later times planted by the enemy devil and Satan.
When God first created man, He breathed His breath of life into the man, so man had the seed of life. Then, God planted truth in man, so Adam’s spirit and his heart was the truth covering the seed of life.
At first, Adam’s heart was only white heart filled with only truth. But since Adam committed a sin, his communication with God was disconnected, and the enemy devil and Satan began to plant sins and evil, unrighteousness, lawlessness, and untruth.
Thus, in Adam’s heart, the original white heart and the black heart planted by the enemy devil and Satan came to exist together. And in addition to these two hearts, another kind of heart was formed. It is the conscience.
Conscience is formed through what you put into yourself while you see, hear, and learn, based on your nature that you inherited from your parents. Conscience is the mixture of truth and untruth, and it serves as the standard of judging different values.
This conscience is different from person to person, in different areas, and in different times. So, when one person says something is right according to his conscience, it cannot be recognized as right by all other people.
There are people who have the qualm even with trivial lies while there are also other people who do not have any qualms even after causing such great trouble to other people with their big lies. Some think it is right to pay back evil with evil, while some others cannot really pay back evil with evil although they are angry.
Likewise, all men have different conscience, and in most cases, even the good conscience of man cannot be considered good in the sight of God.
For example, if there is a person who endures his anger and resentment within his mind, the worldly people would say he is good, but in God’s sight, he is not good. Those who truly have good conscience will not have any anger or resentment in the first place. They love even their enemies, understand others, and cover other’s wrongdoings.
In sum, men’s heart can generally be divided into three parts: heart of truth, heart of untruth, and conscience. In fact, the heart of truth that was first planted by God is rarely remaining. Also, as we are going towards the end, evil prevails even more, so people’s conscience becomes more evil, too.
In most cases, people do not even obey the voice of their conscience but follow their heart of untruth. If they store evil upon evil, their conscience will be seared as with a hot iron, and they do not even have any sense of guilt even when they commit such evil things.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I told you that men have seed of life that was given by God in the beginning. The seed of life can be active only when it communicates with God and is supplied with the truth.
But due to Adam’s sin, communication with God was disconnected and untruth came in, so these three different hearts came to surround the seed of life. Among the three, the heart of untruth surrounds the seed of life to make it inactive. Now, the seed of life could not stay active, and it was just like it was dead.
This state, in which the communication with God is disconnected and the seed of life is inactive surrounded by the untruth, is what we say the spirit of men is dead. But it is not that the seed of life is dead completely.
It is inactive, but is waiting for the day of revival. Just as the seed of a plant seems to be dead, if the life is still in it, it will someday begin to grow.
As said in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has also set eternity in their heart,” although the seed of life became inactive, it longs for the eternity and the truth of God and is waiting for the day of revival.
Then, when will the spirit of man revive again? It is when we receive the Holy Spirit. When we hear the gospel, the light of God, life, and truth is shone on our heart.
Then, the heart of truth that is remaining in our heart and the good heart accept this light and accept Jesus Christ as the Savior. Then, God sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts, and this Holy Spirit combines with the seed of life in our heart.
In case of those who have much untruth and whose conscience is dirtied, their seed of life is surrounded by the untruth strongly, so it is difficult for the light of truth to go in. The more of heart of truth and the more of good conscience they have, they more easily accept the gospel and can be born again by the Holy Spirit.
Once we receive the Holy Spirit, now the seed of life begins to act. The communication with God, which was disconnected since Adam’s Fall, starts again, and we are supplied with the knowledge of truth again.
The heart that is filled with untruth such as hatred, pride, quarrels, anger, and adultery now begins to be filled with truth such as love, service, humbleness, and peace.
This is the process of giving birth to spirit through the Holy Spirit, and what we must do in this process is to pray. As we pray with all our strength, we can receive God’s grace and strength from above to cast off untruth of our heart.
As we keep on doing this, the heart of truth gains more strength. But if we do not pray, we will just remain as man of flesh. Even though we may seem to be faithful in God’s works, we cannot give birth to spirit through the Holy Spirit. It will be just fleshly enthusiasm and fleshly goodness.
But even though we pray very hard, it is also useless if we do not break our fleshly thoughts and frameworks. The Holy Spirit moves our heart of truth to follow His desire, and Satan controls the heart of untruth through soul, namely through our thoughts.
If we have more untruths, before we receive the works of the Holy Spirit, we are apt to receive the work of Satan through our thoughts leading us to the way of destruction. Although we listened to a lot of truth and pray for a long time, unless we do not cast off our fleshly thoughts and theories, we cannot follow the works of the Holy Spirit.
Even though we pray, we have distress in our heart and we cannot experience God’s works. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “[We are] destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and [we are] taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
Even though with prayers we cast off heart of untruth among the three kinds of heart, it is not the end of the refinement. After this, we have to find out and cast off the evil in our conscience, which is hidden in our nature.
I told you that conscience is formed through what we input from what we see, hear, and learn, based on what we have inherited from our parents. This conscience makes another deep nature of our own, and this is the heart placed deep inside, of which even we ourselves are not aware.
The untruth in our nature does not agree with the righteousness of God, but to ourselves, it is very correct, so it is difficult to find it and cast it off. That is why God allows trials to let us find out the untruth in our nature and to make us completely holy.
Even the upright Job had to go through severe trials, and it was to find out his own righteousness and cast it off. Job had already thrown away heart of untruth among the three kinds of heart, but had not yet cast away evil in his deep nature. But when he received trials that he could not understand, his evil in his nature was exposed.
After his evil was exposed, God met him, and he could repent thoroughly and came to have perfect heart of truth. If you listen to the word of God within the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and find out and realize yourself, you can quickly cast off untruths in your nature.
But no matter how much you listen to God’s word, if you think it is about other people and do not realize yourself, your growth in faith is slow even after a long period of time. Once you cast off the heart of untruth and also the untruth in your nature, now you only have the heart of truth.
Then, you will be recognized as a man of spirit before god, and you will always experience the spiritual realm.
As said in 1 John 3:21-22, you do not have anything to blame in our heart, so you gain confidence before God and receive everything you ask for in prayer. Also, as said, ‘”If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes,” everything is done according to your faith.
As the heart of truth combined with the seed of life becomes bigger, we will be one with the Lord and we will stay closer to the throne of God in heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, as said, ‘this mystery is great,’ I explained to you the process of uniting with the Christ who took the cross and opened the way of salvation for us and gaining eternal life.
Believers who accept Jesus Christ have left this world controlled by the devil and united with the Lord our bridegroom. Just as a new life is conceived when sperm and egg combine with each other, when the believers with faith unite with Jesus Christ our bridegroom, we have eternal life.
Jesus said in John 17:21, “that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, [art] in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”
As the Lord is in the Father, and the Father is in the Lord, the Lord and the Father are one. Also, just as a man and a woman unite with each other and become one, if we unite with the Lord our bridegroom, we become one with the Lord and the Father God. As we cast off untruth from our heart and instead fill it with truth to accomplish heart of spirit, we can become one with God more and more.
Galatians 4:4-7 says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Those children who have received the Holy Spirit and are saved can now call God ‘Father’ and will inherit the kingdom of heaven. I hope you will more quickly give birth to spirit through the Holy Spirit and become one with the Lord and God the Father.
I pray in the name of the Lord that, by doing this, you will inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven, and especially New Jerusalem.