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Yong Dae Kang
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There are a few books by a few authors I read these days. These authors say that some pastors preach prosperity gospel which emphasizes the blessing of God but that these pastors do not want to talk about sin or the need to repent of sinful human nature. Prosperity gospel makes you think that God blesses those he loves so if you are suffering it’s because you are not following God. Is God there to bless you and enable you to have a good life? Is this the word of God, the gospel?

I’ve seen on television a woman being interviewed say that the world is changing and that the church should change with it. Church is a body of people who have met and worship God. If God created the world and its creation is changing, should God change to accommodate the world? Would you call such a god God? If your own child says I’m grown now so you can do what I tell you to do, would you do it?

Where does prosperity gospel come from? Deep within us, we want to do what pleases us. We want God to be Santa Claus on Christmas and leave us alone the rest of the time so we can enjoy as much we can while we can. Don’t you agree? I agree but that is not what I understand to be the teaching of the gospel, the true word of God.

I’ve read the Bible every now and then when looking for encouragement but it doesn’t sound anything like prosperity gospel. As a matter of fact, it says that God tests those he loves. Jesus himself says, If the world hates you, understand it hated me before you; If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own.

Many people are familiar with stories from the Bible these days. Look at the story of Job. Satan came to God saying Job loves God because of all the blessing he received. God agrees to let Satan test Job. Job loses all his blessing; house and livestock, children, everything. His wife curses him, his friends come and question him about God. Job praises God towards the end of the story. I wonder if people buying into prosperity gospel would do the same.

The gospel doesn’t exempt or rescue us from hardship and suffering. It makes our faith stronger through ordeals God puts us through. Jesus says, Believe in Me and you will have trials and tribulation in this world, but be of good courage for I have overcome the world. Jesus, God in the flesh, went through storms, flogging and crucifixion but overcame temptations by holding onto faith.

Does your faith have to do with what God puts you through? The gospel will get you through the ordeals God allows to happen in your life. If God blesses you with something, it’s to be used to do his will. That is the gospel, the incorruptible word of God.
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If you’ve taken the New York City subway, you might have seen a person get on the train and start talking about Jesus. Jesus is the son of God. Jesus loves you. Jesus died for your sin. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’ On and on the person goes until a few stops later, the sermon ends with have a blessed day.

What is Jesus about? He was a servant of God. He served God. He served God by serving people. He came to serve, not to be served. What does Jesus expect from us? Jesus himself said to ‘Obey one another within the words of the Lord’. God expects obedience. This would not be possible unless you no longer trust in yourself.

You can know and trust yourself to be successful while here, or as Jesus says, ‘Deny, yourself take up your cross and follow Me’. Go get nailed to a cross that you might pay the price for going to heaven to live there forever.

This is the word of God, gospel, Jesus brought to serve, to show by example. Jesus says ‘Every man is a born sinner’. How can a born sinner be rewarded? By renouncing his sinful nature and following in the footstep of Jesus. Jesus says ‘Unless you go through me, you shall in no way see the kingdom of heaven’.

Jesus says ‘Sell all that you have, give it to the needy and follow after me’. ‘You cannot worship God and money’. Either you’ll enjoy this world or enjoy heaven. Jesus says ‘Either you’re with me or against me’. He also says ‘Love your enemies’. This you cannot do unless you’ve met Jesus. You serve God by serving people, even the ones that persecute you.

No one wants to be persecuted. Nobody likes to be a servant. We would all rather be served. Apostle Paul calls himself a slave of God. He spent years as a Roman prisoner and was ultimately decapitated. Joseph, after he was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave by his own brothers, spent years in prison. Sampson, betrayed by Delilah and eyes gouged out, became a slave for the Philistines, enemies he used to kill.

We would all rather fast-forward through slavery. We would rather just celebrate that letters Paul wrote while a prisoner ended up in the Bible, that Joseph was later put in charge of Egypt, that Sampson regained his strength and with the help of Delilah, brought down the Philistine palace, ending his own life. They all became a slave in this world, a servant of God.

All this happened because of the love of God. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’
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Are you happy? With yourself? No you are not. You are who you are. You are stuck. It is what it is.

You take what this world offers you and keep saying you will be as happy as you can be. I don’t blame you. I do the same thing. Aren’t you tired of it though? Then again, there is nothing you can do about it.

Would you be happy if you didn’t know yourself? I used to, for a while. That is, as much as others allowed me to. I’ve concluded there is no true happiness in this world. You didn’t choose yourself. You didn’t choose your parents. You didn’t choose anything about yourself. But here we are. We can’t even save ourselves. Just pretending to be happy.

No matter what changes we make or how much we help others make changes, we will always be stuck looking at ourselves and we can’t even save ourselves. We are born, we struggle, we die. Is that too simplistic? Many of us won’t even choose how or when we die. But we will all die the same person we started out as, won’t we?

Have you embraced yourself? What is it? Only the truth shall set you free? Truth is you are ugly. That’s the truth. And there is no escape from it. We try all different things this world offers everyday but there is no escape.

Go look in the mirror. What do you see? Past failures, mistakes, shortcomings, what you consider achievements? Would you lie, cheat and steal to win? Yes we would. Have you been saved? Or are you safe, for now?
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"Only the truth shall set you free." Jesus is quoted as saying that. And many have used it for their own reason. Does truth about yourself set you free? Once you realize the truth about yourself, there's no escaping it. Only Jesus, holy spirit in human flesh, can set you free from the way of the flesh (what God has called sinful ways), and bind you to the way of the holy spirit (the way that leads to heaven as reward on judgment day). What is the truth about yourself? Jesus says, "Every man is a born sinner."
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Does truth set you free? Jesus is quoted as saying "Only the truth shall set you free." He also says, "I am the truth and the way and the life". Jesus is the truth that can set you free from the way of the flesh and bind you to the way of righteousness, the ways of God, the way that leads to life in heaven (on Judgment Day). If you end up in heaven, you'll live there forever but if you end up in hell to burn forever, would you call that life? This is the gospel that Jesus brought.

What truth do you believe in? Do you think Jesus was saying that you can believe in the truth about yourself and/or others to allow you to do what you want to do? Or to do what you think God wants you to do? Do you take the statement "Only the truth shall set you free" as a license from God?
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What is a Christian? A follower of Christ. Someone who follows Christ. Do you follow Jesus Christ? Are you a follower? What does it mean to follow someone? Ever think about that? What does it mean to follow? Do you want to follow Jesus? If you say you do, then why? Why do you want to follow Jesus? Because you want to go to heaven. Jesus went to heaven. You follow Jesus so you can go to heaven. He came from heaven and he went back to heaven. That's a Christian.
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Why would Jesus say, EVERY MAN IS A BORN SINNER; HAVE NO CONFINDENCE IN THE FLESH; DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THE WORLD; DENY YOURSELF, TAKE UP YOUR CROSS, FOLLOW AFTER ME; UNLESS YOU GO THROUGH ME YOU SHALL IN NO WAY SEE THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
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Does Bible count any more to so many church-goers these days? So many people are ready to say God is good. They make it sound like God is just all good. Bible says God wiped out so many lives (as in Noah's arc); Samson died a blind slave; just about all of the original twelve disciples were crucified or died horrible deaths. What do you make of those? Would you say you believe in God and he gives you a good life? Is that all? What about Sodom and Gomorrah? If God is in charge of everything at all times, what about WWI, WWII, Vietnam War? They say much of what is practiced in today's medicine is based on what the Nazis discovered by experimenting on and even killing human beings. Should Jewish doctors who believe in God stop practicing? What do you believe in? God? Or a God you created for your pleasure?
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