[Romans 8: 12-16]
“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh  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.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 13th session of the Voice and Guidance of the Holy Spirit series.
In the last several sessions we have been learning about fleshly thoughts.
You want to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly, but what is the reason that you can’t-
It’s because we follow fleshly thoughts and the desires of the flesh instead of following the Holy Spirit’s voice.
Within these fleshly thoughts we categorized them into three different levels.
Among the three levels, I am talking about the fleshly thoughts that are derived from self-righteousness and frameworks in more detail.
I am doing this because it is difficult to find the fleshly thoughts at this level by ourselves.
But in order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly, we must discover and demolish them.
The ways to demolish them is to find out the hidden evil in our conscience and nature and cast it away.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will clean all the corners of your heart so that you can be recognized by God for being truly good-hearted.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, among the fleshly thoughts derived from self-righteousness and frameworks, there are fleshly thoughts that come from the frameworks of one’s personality.
Also, there are fleshly thoughts that pass by momentarily because of minute untruths in us.
There are fleshly thoughts that are hidden by good environment, and those derived from deficiency of the body.
Today, I am going to talk about the fleshly thoughts that are derived from frameworks of self- righteousness and ‘goodness’.
Frameworks of self-righteousness and goodness are formed when you interpret the word of truth in your own way and consider certain things to be right and good, and solidify those ideas.
In most cases, you don’t realize that it is a faulty framework because you created these frameworks with the word of God that you learned.
Moreover, in some situations, your thoughts derived from such frameworks are right, and you are even more convinced of your ideas.
Let me give you an example of such a framework.
Suppose a worker in the church is touched by the pastor who is forgiving and covering the faults of a church member.
Here, this worker forms a framework of goodness thinking, “It is goodness to forgive and understand. So, a worker who is taking care of the flock should act that way as well.”
So, he tries to forgive and cover up the faults of the flock that is entrusted to him.
The problem is that he acts in the same way even in situations where he must not just keep on forgiving.
If there is a person who is in a situation where he cannot receive salvation unless he repents thoroughly, would it be goodness if you just keep on forgiving him-
In this kind of situation, it is true goodness to guide that person to come to repentance.
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”
When a brother in faith commits a sin, it is goodness and love to lead him to repent and turn away.
Of course, we have to do it without any personal feelings but only with gentle heart.
Also, even though they are in a position to correct the sinners, those who are wise will look back on themselves at the same time.
But some people have self-righteousness when they see other leaders who are giving advice to those who sinned.
Within their own self-righteousness, they think, “Isn’t it love to cover the faults- I think this leader is lacking in love.”
Also, some people help others who are having financial difficulties that are a result of committing sins.
Of course, sometimes it may be beneficial in saving that soul by providing him with financial help.
On the other hand, in doing so, we may block that person from turning away from sins by helping him financially.
Because of the fleshly thoughts derived from framework of goodness, we might not understand the deep love that God has for that soul.
Or, some leaders think it is goodness and love to give advice and correct the flock entrusted to them.
When those entrusted to them do not live by the word, they don’t really try to understand them.
Because they kept the word of God to some extent since they were new believers, they just think others ought to be able to do the same.
They think it is beneficial to teach and advise them to keep the commandments even though the others feel burdened by it.
So, if they discover any iniquity within the flock, they immediately point it out and give advice even though they ought to forgive and cover it.
It means they are spiritually trying to feed solid food to those who still have to drink milk.
Being trapped by their framework of thoughts, they don’t understand the other’s heart or the situations.
Likewise, the self-righteousness and frameworks that are made within the limitations of one’s own thoughts are not in accordance with the will of God.
Of course, it may be right from time to time, but most of the time it is not.
Nevertheless, they keep on insisting on their opinions thinking, “This is goodness, and this is right.”
Of course, I am not saying the truth can change at each moment. The truth never changes.
But the actual application of the truth can be done in different forms, just like the same water can change its shape according to the container, or it can be cold or hot according to the temperature.
Then, how can we see in what kind of form we have to apply the truth-
We can see it through the voice and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Those who clearly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit can immediately understand any kind of situation.
They have the answer as to how to apply the truth right away.
Some mothers who are experienced in raising babies understand what their babies need just by hearing the sound of their crying.
They understand whether they are hungry or they feel uncomfortable.
This cannot be done just by learning how to raise babies. It can be possible only when the mother pays attention with love.
The same goes for our Christian life and fulfilling our duties.
We can understand what goodness and righteousness are, and how to apply to the truth in each situation if we love God and if we love the souls.
The Holy Spirit will teach us.
Brothers and sisters, in order to demolish these fleshly thoughts derived from the framework of self-righteousness, we have to constantly try to realize ourselves.
We have to cast off not only the evil in our conscience but also the evil in our nature.
In Hebrews 10:22 we find, “…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
There are some forms of untruth in our heart that are easy to distinguish while there are ones that are difficult for us to recognize.
It’s difficult to realize the evil in our conscience or in our nature.
If we have such forms of evil in us, we will form our frameworks of truth without realizing or recognizing them.
Even though we don’t want to have fleshly thoughts, they will arise from these improper frameworks of truth.
As a result, we may even go against the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we certainly have to cast off evil in our conscience and our nature.
In this session, let me briefly explain about these two concepts.
You can refer to the Spirit, Soul, and Body sermon series or the books for more details.
Let us first look into the evil in our conscience.
The conscience is a subjective standard with which each person makes judgments concerning whether something is evil or just, or whether it is right or wrong.
Most people regard something contrary to their conscience to be ‘evil’, and what is not, is not evil.
But because conscience is formed in different ways, each person has a different conscience. It differs across different locations and periods of time.
Also, this conscience contains a lot of untruth, too.
The more evil prevails in the world, the more people’s consciences are stained by untruths, and the more they become numb to evil.
So, conscience cannot be the ultimate standard to judge goodness.
You can understand it if you just think about your own conscience.
You will probably realize that your conscience before you accepted the Lord and now are quite different.
You feel something to be evil now, while you couldn’t feel that way about it before.
It’s because your conscience has been purified as you have been listening to the word of truth.
But even though you cast away evil from your conscience to a significant extent, you might still have some minute evil remaining and you may do something against the voice of the Holy Spirit.
You did something thinking it was right, but in some cases, such acts are not right in the sight of God.
Therefore, we have to rummage through all the corners of our heart to find the slightest evil in us.
If we try to find it with prayers, the Holy Spirit will let us realize those minute forms of evil in us.
For example, have you had the following experience- You needed a pen, and there was a pen on the desk next to you, so you just used it without asking anybody.
Because you used somebody else’s possession as though it was at your own disposal, it means you have the desire to steal in your heart.
Because you listened to the word of God, you probably thought, “We are friends, he wouldn’t mind it. What’s so big deal about using a pen-“
But you now feel something different.
Many of you have the pangs of conscience just by doing something unrighteous in this small scale.
In order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly, we have to pull out even the minutest form of evil in our conscience with the help of the Holy Spirit.