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  IYF_PH (khnam@goodnews.or.kr   
 2006-04-21 11:44:57, 4785 Hits, 406 Votes
  [02.07.2006] The Work and Blessing of the Holy Spirit
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. (Acts 5:1-6)

God Who Blesses After Punishment  

We see in the Bible that God has many tools in His cabinet and chooses them to use as necessary. Mercy, grace, and love are among His tools and there are times when he finds it good to bestow upon us His mercy, grace, and love. From time to time, however, he sees the need to apply wrath, curse, and punishment. When He does, man is quick to complain that He should never resort to these tools. Nevertheless, we read in the Bible that occasionally God is forced to punish people. Would it not be great if we could avoid God's punishment? Perhaps a better question might be why must God ever see fit to punish, curse, and destroy man. If we open our Bible and read of God's punishment, we see that at times God has no alternative but to punish. After creating man, God said, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, (Gen. 1:28). But man sinned and God no longer said this to man. Following the flood, we read, God mellow ed, and once again said Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. (Gen. 9:1) God bestowed upon man unlimited mercy, grace, and blessings, after punishing sin through the flood.

Beef, and the Permission of God

A long time ago, when I was ministering at Daegu, there was a lady who had been widowed at a young age and was living then with two daughters. In her younger days, when she saw that her brothersand sisters-in-law were well off while she was widowed with two children, she felt that she was suffering and became upset. She would blame her dead husband and in frustration would beat her daughters whenever she returned from her in-laws'. By the time she received salvation, she had long suffered in the bitterness of her husband's death. After receiving salvation, she found a job in the cafeteria at the Garden Hospital. Because the Garden Hospital was a Christian hospital, all the employees were churchgoers. It so happened, however, because of the beef they served, the other employees ostracized this sister. Here's how it happened. Whenever the cafeteria  was serving beef soup, an entire cowwould be trucked in. All the women working in the kitchen would join in to cut it up and, in doing so, would each stash a piece of beef away in a plastic bag to take home to their families. This sister would never take a cut of the beef, however, because Jesus was in her heart. She sloughed it off, saying that her bag was already fullwith her Bible, hymnal, and notebook and that there was no room for a piece of beef. The other women began to ostracize this sister because she would not participate in their unrighteousness. It was not long, however, until it became known in the hospital that the kitchen help were stealing beef. One day, as the women were about to leave work, a hospital employee confronted them saying, "Ladies, hold on a second," and made everyone stop. He first called out the sister. He looked at her purse, saw that it looked full, and said, "Lady, please open your bag." "What do you mean?" "Ah, just open it." "There is nothing in there." Finally, however, she opened her bag. It contained only her Bible, her hymnal, and a notebook. "Okay, Lady, you stand over here." Then he searched all the other purses and bags, where he found that they had all squirreled away large chunks of beef. That evening the sister came to church and gave testimony. "My life when I simply believed in Jesus, and my life of God actually living inside of me and speaking to me are so different. Today, pastors' wives, deacons, and such people, all of whom worked at the hospital, were put to shame. Of course, I wanted to have the beef, but the God in my heart would not allow it."

Put It Here, on the Scale

There is a brother at my church who sells rice, which he delivers whenever he receives a phone order. He once received a phone order for 80 kilos of rice, but it was from a customer who previously had for months delayed paying him. With an urge to do so, he thought, "Should I short him five kilos?" Although he seriously considered shorting the man the five kilos, he had another thought. "As a Christian, you can deceive man, but can you deceive God?" In the end, he took the customer his 80 kilos. Making the delivery, he arrived at the house, went into the kitchen and was preparing to pour the rice into the bin when the owner said, "Excuse me, sir. Not so fast. Before you pour it, put it here, on the scale." When he put it on the scale, it was exactly 80 kilos. That night the brother  gave testimony, saying, "I used to do allkinds of wicked things, even though I said that I believed in Jesus. Now, however, the Lord is within me and keeps me from doing what I should not."

If the Holy Spirit Takes Over Your Heart

Many people say that they live a spiritual life according to the word of God, but there are many people who listen to the word and judge it themselves to understand and to believe it. It is only when you deny the existence of the self that the Holy Spirit can begin to rule your heart. From that point forward, you are unable to go against the Word of God. People think, "I should not commit adultery," because the Bible says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But if a person comes to know another who is particularly attractive and if one's heart is drawn to that other person, then one might ignore the Bible and commit adultery anyway. The Word says, "Thou shalt not steal," but if you, yourself, are the master of your heart, you might ignore the Word and steal, if the desire to steal arises. Such people, even if they become deacons, elders, or pastors, can do no more than steal, commit adultery, con other people, or lie. Of course, in their conscience they might feel uneasy about it, but that is about it. You may be that way, but the Holy Spirit of God is not like that. The Holy Spirit of God does not have you commit adultery, nor does it have you lie or steal. The Holy Spirit of God does not flow according to the desires of the flesh. That is the difference between people who live according to their own judgment and the people who are led by the Holy Spirit of God. If you yourself become the master of your heart, you will always be led into the path to receive the punishment of God. On the other hand, if the Holy Spirit takes over your heart, it will free you from the path of receiving God's punishment.

He that Getteth Riches not by Right

As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jer. 17:11) A cuckoo bird may have a beautiful song, but it is arrogant. Because of that, it is unable to sit on its eggs. It is, however, able to lay its eggs quickly. Thus, when a partridge is sitting on its own eggs, the cuckoo bird hides near the nest. When the mother partridge goes out to gather food, the cuckoo bird pushes a partridge egg out of the nest, quickly lays its own egg, and leaves. The partridge then returns to the nest and sits on the eggs, not suspecting that there is an imposter egg in its midst. Again, later, when the partridge is away, the cuckoo bird returns and once again, pushes a partridge egg out of the nest, laying another in its place. When the eggs hatch, the baby cuckoo is bigger than any baby partridge that might hatch in the same nest. While the mother is away, the baby cuckoos push the baby partridges out of the nest and grow quickly by eating all of the food themselves. Then one day the cuckoos fly away. The mother partridge cares for the babies with all of her might, but in the end winds up raising the offspring of the enemy. Just as everything is lost to the partridge when it sits on eggs it did not lay, when we take unrighteous spoils, we destroy all our other wealth and everything is lost to us, even though early on everything seemed okay. I read these verses many times, but I did not know their meaning. One day, while reading the Bible, God gave me a thought. "If I take even a single penny through an unrighteous act, in the end it will be a great loss to me." Because this was such an unequivocal statement, I could not allow taking even so much as a single penny unrighteously. I tithe before the Lord. He has said, "One tenth is mine." Everything I have is the Lord's, but I give one tenth to the Lord. If I were to spend that tenth because I was in need, it would be stealing that which belongs to God. Before, I felt only a little bad when I did not tithe, but to me it was OK. Now, however, the Holy Spirit reigns in my heart and I cannot help but to tithe.

The Judgment of God Is Precise

God is absolutely precise in punishing sin. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Eccl. 8:11) People are aware of and accept others because they see and hear them, but they disregard God because they cannot see Him. Let that not be you. If you realize that that life is vain and wrong, and if you receive Jesus into your heart, you will learn that Jesus does not tolerate sin. Let us look into the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. A certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, (his wife also being privy to it,) and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts. 5:1~4) When we listen to Peter, he is saying that it would have been all right for Ananias not to give the money from selling the land and to keep it for himself. If he had sold the land and said, "I'll use this much for my household and give this much to God," no one would have said anything about it. But when Peter asked whether that was all of the money, Ananias lied, saying that was everything. Then Peter said, "Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God," to Ananias. Ananias had darkness in his heart. He wanted to be able to say, "I sold my land and gave all the money as offering," and be acknowledged by others for having done so. He also had the darkness of being concerned with being rebuked for not bringing all the money from the sale. Ananias wanted to be recognized by people, but he lived his life ignoring the unseen God. Many people live this way. God cannot accomplish anything through them because God is not alive in their heart. God clearly judged Ananias, who was blocking the work of the Holy Spirit. God's response was to rid the church of him. We also see that God does not work when there are unrighteous people within the church. When such people are revealed and eliminated, the Holy Spirit works powerfully and the brothers and sisters rejoice, are strengthened, and enjoy the grace of God. As I experienced such things, I came to understand that the Holy Spirit was uncomfortable with working in the church because I had accepted evil people.

Works Continue When Darkness Is Eliminated

People can hold services while they have dark, selfish hearts and hearts to despise and take God lightly. Those are cancerous entities, however, that block the work of God. They are fearful sins. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit worked powerfully after great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things, after Ananias and Sapphira were killed. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all of one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself ot them: but the people magnified them. And believers  were the more added to the Lord, multitudesboth of men and women;) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one. (Acts. 5:12~16) We see in this passage that Jesus was alive in that place. I believe that even today, if Ananias and Sapphira are eliminated, the work of the Holy Spirit will arise powerfully in the church. Why did God have to punish and bring curse down upon man? It is because God can work only after sin is eliminated. He cannot abide sin. Even though you say that Jesus was crucified and shed His blood for your sin, and that all of your sins are forgiven, the Holy Spirit cannot work within you if you are still eating and imbibing sin. I hope that our church will be one from which sin disappears and the Holy Spirit works freely and easily. Then no matter what diseases or difficulties may arise, I surely believe that they will all be resolved by the hand of God. The works of the gospel will emerge, and the power of God will always shine through. Everyone, do not condone sin and do not accept darkness unchallenged. Do not take the spoils of unrighteousness over little money and do not disappoint God .

Become a Temple Where God Peacefully Dwells  

I tell myself every once in a while. I say, "Pastor Ock Soo Park is perfect for this church. It's a good thing Pastor Park is here rather than Peter, because were Peter here, how many of the congregation would still be alive?" Were it I, I do not think I would have had Ananias and Sapphira die. I probably would have said, "Hey, Ananias, you hid a portion of the price of the land, but you are saying this is everything? What will you do if you are cursed?" I know I would not have had him die. If a person were to die in this way, people would think, "I might die too," and no one would come to church. Think about it. Are we all really so different from Ananias. Loving folks, would it not be great if your heart were to become a temple where God could peacefully dwell? No matter what hardship I went through over the 40 years since I was saved, God was always with me. Many times I nearly died, but God protected me every time. I was able to be strong wherever I went because I knew that God was protecting me. Not  only does God protect me, He is the Godof every one of you, the one who keeps us all safe from harm. God wants all of you to become people of God. When you receive forgiveness of sin and become one with God, God wants to work within you to bestow upon you the grace and blessings of His protection. We sin because we are weak. From time to time, we find ourselves trapped within a lustful heart, we live for our ambition, we become arrogant, and we are all  foul and besmirched. Ananias died in Actschapter 5. He received God's judgment.  Because the church must be holy andwithout sin, God cannot allow sin within the church. Because He cannot abide sin, He must punish sin. This is also true regarding the sin within our heart.

If You Trust the Cross

Three hours after Ananias was killed, his wife Sapphira came. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. (Acts. 5:7-11) Sapphira died like Ananias. Both were destroyed as they received God's judgment as the wages of sin. With their deaths, sin was removed from the church. The entire church was afraid as it bore witness to this. Beginning with verse 12, we see the Holy Spirit working powerfully. If you or I sin, if you or I are killed as the punishment for sin, the Holy Spirit of God will work powerfully from within the church. Jesus shed His blood on the cross and wore the crown of thorns to sanctify you. That is why we live holy lives. No matter what evil you have done, I call upon you to hate your sin. Say, "The sins I committed were finished at the cross." Trust the cross. You will be victorious and live a bright life through the Holy Spirit. Just as sin was eliminated through the death of Ananias and Sapphira and the Holy Spirit was once again able to do its work, our sins were resolved through the death of Jesus. Today the Holy Spirit of God can work within you. Believe that the death of the Lord is your death, and hate sin. Then the Holy Spirit will work within you and God will be glorified. No matter what you face, with mercy, grace, and love, the Lord will surely lead you to blessings.

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