The world as a whole is not the ideal place to live in or to want to be proud of. If God exists, we can certainly say that this world is not the ideal world in which God intended us to live. We know that God is the ultimate, absolute Being, and His standard must be the same. Then, are we pleasing God by our thoughts and actions? There are smiles and laughter in the world, but since the fall of man these smiles and laughter have not really pleased God. Whether you are happy or sad, experiencing success or failure in life does what you are doing have anything to do with God's providence? To reach the ultimate standard, all things should be connected to God.
We see children playing on the streets, running about, laughing and shouting. They look so happy, so innocent when compared to adults. But still they are born of stained lineage, of a heritage of sin. (Romans 3:23) And if innocent children are in such a condition, what can we say about adults? Our source of happiness must be in God, but we are alienated from God and live in sadness and misery. We should think and act in connection with God's will, but the opposite is true. We are living this way as individuals and as families. And those individuals and families form the world.
This kind of world is not pleasing to God. If God exists, He is sad about this situation and would want us to live in an ideal world. In fact, we can be sure He will make one for us. But the whole population of the world is separated from Him, so in restoring the world into an ideal one, He cannot do it all at once, but only little by little. He wants to work on the individual base, trying to locate a person who is entitled to such a world. He will then restore a family, a nation, and at last a whole world beginning with that one individual who can meet God's standard. First of all God must locate one person, one single man, a central figure. Finally this one person will be known and influential in the whole world. The project is not a simple one; it may take many years. God needs time to develop His providence. He works gradually, restoring people one by one and family by family. When He restores one person, it may appear that He's working with that man alone. Or we may think that God is interested in just one particular family or nation.
Sincere Christians today pray earnestly and strive to lead a life of faith in order to insure their own salvation. That has required the full effort of Christians. Once their own salvation is secure, then Christians try to save their families. We are accustomed to doing that much, but not far beyond that. We did not realize that if we really struggled to win our nation under God's will, our families and ourselves would be included in the scope of that salvation. By setting our goal at a higher standard and pursuing a broader scope, lesser levels would be already included as saved. Today Christianity is declining in the world, and this is the cause. Christians have not restored nations as the solid foundation on which God can work. Again, Christians today expect that when the Lord returns, he is coming to save individual Christians. But when the Lord comes again, he will establish a whole nation of faith and restore the entire world.
In the days of Jesus Christ people had the same expectations. Many religious people of that time thought that God had prepared 4000 years of history to send Jesus to the Jewish people in order to save Israel. They expected and desired that when the Messiah came, he would take revenge on their enemy nations. According to their interpretations of prophecies, they believed they would be the leading nation of the world and all others would come to their knees before them. They never dreamed that when the Messiah came he would want them to sacrifice themselves and their nation for the sake of the world. If they had believed that, Jesus could never have been crucified.
If you were in God's position, would you prefer to save one nation or just one individual -- or the whole world? The answer is clear. God wants to save the whole world. Now, are Christians thinking that way today? If not, is there any other religion which is seeking to save the whole world? There may be religions whose goal is to win the world, but in that case they want to subjugate other religions and have all other people come under that religion. But there is no existing religion which intends to save the world at the cost of itself or at the sacrifice of the people of that religion.
As you know, even in the Communist world, the ideal is to unite the whole world into one, which is to be the happiest world for people to live in. But we have seen the fact that in the Communist world itself there is a rupture between Soviet Russia and Red China. If it is impossible for them to be united into one within their bloc, it will also be impossible for them to form one world under their ideology. Even though Communism as an ideology advocates the unity of all people and making the whole world into one, Communist nations cannot put the ideology into practice. To really bring about world unity, it is necessary to respect the value of the view of other people, but in this case each country wants to dominate the other. That is how the conflict came about. Russia dreams of the sovereignty of her people over others, for example; but in order for them to make Communism a worldwide ideology, the Soviets must be ready to sacrifice their own people for the sake of the whole world. That is why it will be impossible for them to bring the whole world under their ideology. If the Communist people had been ready to sacrifice themselves in order to make their ideology a worldwide one, transcending the tribal and then the national levels, they would not have failed.
In the democratic world, also, there are difficulties. The United States has so far been the leading nation of the world, working to equalize the conditions all over the world by aid to other countries. But since she is withdrawing from parts of the world for fear of being herself weakened, other countries are not quite carrying out their missions. The founding ideology of the United States was Christianity. If the people of the United States would put themselves in the position of Jesus, and pray to God, "Let the whole world be saved, even if our nation may have to be sacrificed," the United States would continue to be a great nation. Then this nation, even though it might be faced with disaster, could be resurrected as Jesus was, and would be able to save the whole world.
Recently we have seen the policy-makers in America thinking of the benefit of this country alone and having nothing to do with the outside world. They wouldn't seem to mind if other nations perished. The United States has been the one in history until now to stand in the forefront in terms of trying to save the other nations from corruption and danger. But since the United States is withdrawing from that position, we can see no other nation taking that place. If there is a God at all, He would look for a nation, even if a small one, in which the people would be ready to save the whole world at the sacrifice of themselves. If the people of any nation were armed with that kind of ambition, that nation would become the leading nation. God has got to make that out of them. But is there any such nation existing in the world today? No.
In the process of creation, God poured out all His being into the universe He made. That is to say, He sacrificed Himself in creating. In the course of restoration providence, also, those in the position of the subject must be ready to pour out all thei r being to those in the object position. So to save our families, nations, and the world, we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves, our families, and anything we have. We may reach the conclusion that the Kingdom of God on earth can only be brought abo ut by that kind of attitude, not by the desire to bring all other people under our own sovereignty.
You must be ready to love your family more than yourself, love your relatives more than your family, love your nation more than your relatives, and love the world more than your own nation. It may be easy for individuals to sacrifice themselves for their families. Each family member may be ready to sacrifice for other members of the family. Among families it may not be too difficult, because good families would be ready to do that for others. But between nations it will be very difficult. Toward neig hboring nations you may have a good feeling, and you would be willing to give up to some extent your own for the sake of that other nation. But beyond that point, when there are great differences in customs, traditions, and history, it may be difficult f or you to want to sacrifice your nation for those other nations.
There is no religion which teaches sacrificial spirit today of the quality which can embrace the world. If this kind of life cannot be lived by human beings, God has no hope to be able to restore the world, because He cannot change the world by Himself. God must work through man. If no one is ready for that task, God cannot save the world. But wherever God could find such a person, such a family, such a nation, such a religion, He would be very pleased, and He would work through those people and that religion.
We must be ready to sacrifice our nation in order to save the world. We must be willing to sacrifice our families to save our nation and the world. And we must sacrifice our own selves to save our families.
When you have won victory on the individual level, when you have saved yourself by bringing your body to obey your heart centered on God, then what will you do? You must reach the level of sacrificing yourself for the world by working through your family and your nation and leading them to live the same way. You are inclined to think that after you have perfected yourself, you are going to be the boss in your family. But you are forgetting that you are living with the purpose of saving the whole world.
Even your family has that purpose; it does not exist just for yourself. Then what would you do to make your family a success in God's sight? It is not enough that husband and wife love each other. In loving each other you must be doing that for the sal vation of the nation and for the salvation of the world. In order for you to be able to save the whole world you must know that you must be able to sacrifice your nation, and your family for the nation.
We are taught that we have to make an offering to reach God. That means that what we are going to save at the cost of the offering is greater than the thing we are going to sacrifice. When you are going to save your family at the cost of yourself, you h ave already obtained something greater your family. And when you are going to save your nation at the sacrifice of your family, you will have gained the nation, which is greater than your family.
When you make an offering before God, would you offer Him leftovers? You would choose the best thing out of what you have and would want to give Him that. What you cherish most will be your offering. When Noah spent 120 years of the prime of his life i n the business of building the ark, he was offering the best part of his life to God. Abraham was in the position to have to offer his wife to God, then even his beloved and only child. For him it was more difficult than to sacrifice his own self when h e had to offer his son. Moses experienced the same course. When he was going to receive the Law, he fasted for forty days and went through many difficulties and hardships. He was ready to sacrifice himself, his own life, in making the offering before G od.
The same is true with God. He would ask us to make offerings, but on His part too, He has to give something for the salvation of man. He has to sacrifice the man who makes the offering. That means God barely has won that precious person Himself, and al ready He has to sacrifice him. We know that after choosing and preparing a nation to receive the Messiah, God was ready to sacrifice that nation for the sake of the world. People, however, did not realize that fact. They thought that the Lord would com e to save their nation and put it above all other nations and that God would help them to have that position.
What is God's desire and our desire? That is to restore the nation which God can claim to be His. In order for us to be able to do that, we must eliminate the evil condition. At all costs, even at the expense of ourselves, we must establish the kingdom of God on earth. We are living for that purpose. The whole earth will be our country. In God's sight there are no national boundaries. We have to unify the whole world under God's will. With all nations put together, they will be one people in God. With all those people in cooperation with each other, we are going to build God's kingdom on earth.
If Adam had not fallen, the family multiplied from him would be the world. He would have played the role of the first ancestor of the citizens of God's kingdom on earth.
In the course of restoration, every one of you must be thinking of yourselves as a starting point. You are going to be blessed in marriage and give birth to your children, and you will be the true ancestors to your descendants. From then on all will be citizens of the kingdom of God. Christ comes again inheriting God's sovereignty, and with him as the core, you must be able to spread that blessing out, establishing the kingdom of God on earth. The whole earth being our land, the whole population of th e earth being our people, God's sovereignty will reign over all mankind.
You must strongly believe that you women are the representatives of all women on earth, and you must put yourselves in the position of mothers to the descendants of the people of the world. With true faith, men are the representatives of all the men of t he earth. The whole earth will be God's, the whole population of the earth will be citizens of God's kingdom, and the sovereignty of this world will be God's sovereignty. We must pray for that day and fight for it with gratefulness.
We have the glorious kingdom as our mission directly ahead of us. We are going to sacrifice ourselves for that cause, and we are destined to become the joyous citizens dwelling in the love of God. And for that cause let us march on.
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