I believe that all our brothers and sisters in Zion are waiting for the blessings of the Holy Spirit of the latter rain God has promised through the autumn feasts. Just as the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, looking forward patiently to the autumn and spring rains (Jas 5:7-8), we are waiting for the refreshing rain of the Holy Spirit in order to bear the precious fruits pleasing to God.
In order not to put out the fire of the Holy Spirit but to make the Spirit well up always in our hearts, we should let the water of life flow without remaining stagnant. For this, we must pay attention to the words of the Bible, given by God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and put them into practice. Among the words we are to put into action, this time, let’s think about the mission of preaching the gospel which God has entrusted to us, His children, in this age.
There was once a farmer who had three sons. Before he died, he said to his sons in his last will, “I’ve hidden many treasures in the field. So, dig up the ground diligently until you find them.” After their father’s funeral, the three brothers ran to the field, wishing to find the treasures. They expected there would be precious stones or metals such as gold and silver in the field. However, even though they dug up the whole field and searched through it, they didn’t find any treasure. The second and youngest sons finally gave up looking for the treasures. However, the eldest son believed that there would be treasures somewhere in the field as his father had said, and continued to dig out every inch of the field. Meanwhile, the harvest season came, and the field produced twice as many crops as usual. While they were digging up the field to find the hidden treasures, the soil was well cultivated, and it brought forth a plentiful harvest.
In this process, the eldest son thought over what the treasures, which his father had spoken of, really were. In actuality, his parents were not rich enough to possess treasures like gold or silver. Nevertheless, his father said in his last will that he had buried some treasures in the field. The son clearly recognized his father’s will to make his sons realize that they would reap a rich harvest if they cultivated the land diligently.
‘This is the treasure which father had meant.’
The eldest brother shared this realization with his younger brothers. From that time on, they worked harder, cultivating the field more diligently, so they were able to live a rich and happy life together.
Sometimes we, God’s children, fail to fathom the depth of the words that Heavenly Father and Mother have told us. As Father and Mother say, “Preach,” some try preaching but give up easily when they feel tired after trying once or twice. On the other hand, some think there must be a certain will of God and run the path of the gospel diligently so that they can live a life without regret, as did Apostle Paul.
In the above story, the sons dug up the field, expecting to find expensive treasures, but what they obtained was not gold or silver but a spiritual heritage that would serve as a treasure for their families from generation to generation. Likewise, the words God has told us contain a lot of blessings. “Preach fervently; pray continually; study the Word diligently; keep the faith; love one another; be united as one.” All these commands surely contain God’s will for our own good.
When the sons dug up the ground diligently as their father had told them to do, they came to realize what the treasure truly meant. In the same say, when we practice God’s words constantly, we can understand God’s will contained in His words, although we fail to know the will of God at the beginning of our practice. When God says, “Pray,” those who obey the word and pray hard can understand why God tells them to pray. When God says, “Preach fervently,” those who preach eagerly can understand God’s will contained in His command to preach. When God says, “Study the Word diligently,” those who study the Bible hard can understand His grace contained in it.
We must continue to do what God always tells us, not forgetting what we have heard from God. Our supreme task on this earth is to preach God’s word that has power to save human beings, that is, the gospel.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Mt 28:18-20
These were the last words Christ spoke to His disciples on this earth just before He went up to heaven. In other words, these last words of Jesus are like a parent’s last will for his children. In the above story, when the father said to his sons in his last will that they would find treasures if they dug up the field diligently, the son who continued to do what his father had said was able to fully realize what the treasure, which his father had spoken of, really meant. Likewise, when God tells us to do something, those who think there must be God’s will hidden in it and put it into practice can be blessed.
“Go and teach people of all nations to obey everything I have commanded you.” We need to examine ourselves: ‘How faithfully am I carrying out this command of Christ?’ God has told us to preach the gospel to the entire world—from Samaria to the ends of the earth. Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit follow the desires of the Spirit. So, they do not stop preaching the Word in any circumstances.
O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived ; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Report him! Let’s report him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.” But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. . . .Jer 20:7-13
The prophet Jeremiah, moved by the Holy Spirit, proclaimed God’s word diligently. People ridiculed and slandered him, and even his friends waited for him to slip and live a secular life. Because of severe persecution he faced whenever he preached God’s word, he decided not to proclaim the Word again. However, God’s word was in his heart like a fire, and he became weary of holding it—he couldn’t. Then he went out to preach God’s message again.
This is the life of a prophet. God has given a burning heart to all the prophets—all God’s children who are to be saved, so that they cannot hold themselves back from preaching the Word.
The reason Jeremiah was weary of holding God’s word in was because of the Holy Spirit that was grieved within him. What is most pleasing to God is to lead dying souls to repentance and salvation. So, if this work of salvation is not processed well, how anxious and grieved God must be!
Unless we have such a burning heart, it is proof that the Holy Spirit has left us. Even until the end of the year, if we bear no fruit or have no will to bear fruit or don’t feel anxious, we should reflect on ourselves: ‘What’s wrong with me?’
If our hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit is manifested through preaching. Throughout all ages, the power of the Holy Spirit has bloomed and brought forth fruit through preaching.
In the book of Acts, let’s look at the scene where the apostles received the former rain of the Holy Spirit, and find out what kind of work the people who received the Holy Spirit devoted themselves to.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, . . . Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. . . . Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. . . . And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Ac 2:1-21, 38-47
It is preaching that those who have received the Holy Spirit do first, In the above verses, we can see the scene where the apostles including Peter received the Holy Spirit and immediately began to preach the gospel that very day.
Those whom the Holy Spirit has come upon always concentrate on preaching. It is because the Holy Spirit desires the salvation of all human beings and the power of the Holy Spirit is radiated through preaching. No matter how strong a man may be, unless he trains his body through exercise, he cannot exert a greater maximal force. It is the same spiritually. Unless we preach, we are no different from the man who was born strong but does not improve his physical skills or use his strength.
We must not only listen to God’s word but put it into practice; when God tells us about one thing, we should preach that one thing, and when we hear two things from God, we should preach the two things. Those whose hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit cannot bear to remain silent without preaching.
Thus, the power of the Holy Spirit motivates us to preach, and if we preach the gospel with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are surely able to bear fruit. Even though we bear no fruit right away, we must not give up but continue preaching. Then we will be able to find the true will of God.
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.Ac 4:1-4
The apostles were so eager to preach the gospel. Because of opposition from the Jews, sometimes they were kept in prison, being falsely accused, but they didn’t care about it at all. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles bore over three thousand fruits on one day, and on another, five thousand fruits. And God added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The more we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the more we are able to bear fruit. We can all bear fruit, but sometimes we put ourselves into a state of spiritual hibernation. That’s why God has asked us to stay awake waiting for Him.
Let us awaken from our long spiritual sleep, and judge if our souls are alive or dead according to whether we have borne fruit or not. The fruit we bear is evidence that we are spiritually alive. Keeping in mind that we live on this earth because there is a meaning or purpose in our life here on earth, let’s glorify God by bearing the fruits of the gospel abundantly this year, too.
The Bible likens people to trees (Jer 5:14). Most trees surely bear fruit once a year. Not only to trees but to all living things, God has given power to bear fruit.
God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mt 22:32). The trees that bore fruit last year also bear fruit this year, too, because they are alive and submit to the providence of nature ordained by God. We can also surely bear fruit if we obey God’s word in accordance with His providence. All living things bear fruit regularly in due season; if we bear no fruit, we need to check ourselves if we fully obey the will of God.
Reflecting on ourselves—‘How many beautiful fruits have I borne until now?’ let’s put our whole heart and mind into bearing fruit, so that we will not have any regret or shame at the end of this year. God has prepared a lot of fruits to grant us. Since God even allows a trivial tree to bear fruit, wouldn’t He give fruit to His loving children?
To the people who are filled with the Holy Spirit, their physical conditions or circumstances do not matter at all. The young David displayed the glory of God by defeating the giant Goliath who even adults did not dare to fight with. Noah, even in his old age, participated in God’s work of salvation by preparing the ark in obedience to the will of God. Besides, the Bible testifies that an amazing work occurred through some people who led those around them to repentance through their faith inspired by the Holy Spirit even in the lion’s den or in the blazing furnace (Acts 16; Daniel 3 and 6).
Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit do not feel tired. Suppose you are doing what you like. Even though you do the work all day long, you may not feel fatigue. In the same way, those who joyfully do what pleases God and always hope in Him will renew their strength and not grow weary because God pours out the power of the Holy Spirit on them (Isa 40:31).
When the father told his sons to dig up the field, saying he had hidden treasures in it, they didn’t find them right away, but when they believed his father’s words and continued to dig up the field, they finally obtained the true treasure. Likewise, when God tells us to preach fervently, even though we do not understand the will of God right away, if we preach God’s word diligently while praying and studying the Word diligently, we are eventually able to bear fruit through the power of the Holy Spirit that God pours out on us. Nothing is impossible for the person who believes and follows God’s will. I earnestly hope that you will be “the living” who bear much fruit every day by preaching hard, believing that God will surely give you fruit, so that you can glorify God.
God tells us to preach in order to continuously inspire the power of the Holy Spirit into us. I’d like to ask you to believe that the power and work of the Holy Spirit occurs to those who preach—in the place where the gospel is preached, and to put your whole heart and mind into accomplishing the world evangelism quickly which God desires. May you bear much fruit in the year 2009, too!