[Romans 12: 3]
“For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
When you sow a mustard seed, it will sprout, grow up, and finally become a big tree. The seed of life that was sown when you received the Holy Spirit will also grow up to become great faith.
According to how much your faith has grown up, the kinds of works that you can experience in this world will become different, and the heavenly dwelling place and rewards will become different.
Luke 17:20-21 says, “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here [it is!]’ or, ‘There [it is!]’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Although you cannot see it with your eyes, as much as it is realized in your heart and to the extent that we advance into it with faith, the heavenly kingdom is already in you. You will be filled with clear hope for it, and you will have true heaven in your heart with joy and thanks, walking with the Lord everyday.
But if the seed does not sprout for a long time after it is sown, the life in the seed finally disappears and the seed will decay.
Likewise, even if you received the Holy Spirit and are saved, if your seed of life does not grow up sown in your heart does not grow up for a long time, you might not even receive salvation.
The enemy devil and Satan will give you worldly desires and doubts to take away the faith to receive salvation. I hope you will never let the precious seed of life given by God become extinguished in any way.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will water it and care for it just like you water and care for the seed that is sown, so that your faith will grow up to reach the full grown measure of a big tree.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the 1st level of faith is the level where you just received Holy Spirit and are saved. The second level is the level at which you listen to the word of God and try to live by it.
In the second level, they know the word and learn that they should keep it, so they at least try to practice it. They sometimes practice the word but at other times they violate it and commit works of the flesh.
But just as they may fall down but stand back up again and walk again, if they keep on trying to live by the word, their faith grows up.
The measure of their faith increases to practice the word more and more. In this way, when they reach the level where they can really practice the word, it is the 3rd level of faith.
So, the third level of faith is the faith to practice the word. In the second level, you may sometimes commit the works of the flesh, violating God’s word, but in the third level, you do not commit the works of the flesh any more.
At the 3rd level, you do not keep the word being forced, but you practice it voluntarily because you understand the will of God.
For example, about keeping the Sabbath and giving the tithes, just knowing it and understanding it are completely different.
By keeping the Sabbath, we prove that our spirit belongs to God since it is to acknowledge the spiritual authority of God. When God’s children keep the Sabbath holy, God protects them from disasters, diseases, or accidents throughout the week and guides their souls to prosper.
Also, to give the tithe is to acknowledge the material authority of God and is to acknowledge that all our belongings came from God.
No matter how much we toil and try, if God does not give to us, we cannot harvest any fruit.
Thus, all our income belongs to God, but we give to Him only one tenth of it, and we are allowed use the rest freely.
When we give proper tithes, God protects us not to lose any of our wealth, and He promised us that He would bless us until our storehouse will overflow.
But even though we hear so much and know that our souls will prosper, and diseases, disasters, and trials will leave us, many times we do not keep the Sabbath and do not give proper tithes.
We can keep them when we understand it in our heart, not just with our brain.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say your boss in your company tells you that if you work all- night just for tonight to finish a certain work, he will give you big amount of extra pay and promote you.
He adds that if you don’t want to work all-night, he will give the work to somebody else, and you can just go home and rest.
For people to get promoted in their workplaces, they try for so many years, and if they can get promoted just by working one whole night, who will refuse it?
It’s the same in spirit. If you truly understand that it is blessing to keep the Sabbath and to give the proper tithes, you will gain the faith to practice it fully.
People hear the word but do not practice it because they do not really understand in their heart. Likewise, the 3rd level where you understand and practice the word, and the second level where you don’t really understand are completely different.
But even if you don’t really understand at the second level, you heard it and know it, so you try to practice the word.
If you pray and try to act, God gives you grace from above at a certain moment, so you can understand from the depth of your heart.
That becomes the grace and strength in you, so you gain the faith in your heart. Then, you can practice the word easily.
But if you see a new-born baby trying to walk for the first time, it’s not that the baby can just stand up one day and begin to walk.
They first move their hands and feet and increase their strength and flip over their bodies. They begin to crawl, and finally stand up on their feet. In this process, they gain the strength in their legs, and finally, they can walk and even run.
It’s the same with faith. You cannot receive the grace and strength to act just by listening to the messages.
You have to pray yourself and try to act by the truth. When you do that, God looks at your heart and gives you grace to understand His word.
Your effort will be born as fruits of the strength to practice the word one by one. When you have the confidence of faith, you will no more feel it is difficult to practice the word.
Just like you lead your ordinary everyday life, it will be natural thing in your body, so you will lead a stable Christian life.
Because the visible untruths are almost removed, you don’t commit the works of the flesh any more. Now, you cast off things of the flesh and the sinful natures from your heart.
Until the word is fully realized in your heart and the big roots of evil are completely pullet out, you with faith keep on fighting the good fight.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I said when you try to live by the word, you will gain the understanding, and when you understand, you will easily practice the word. Let me make it easier with an example.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
If you don’t understand the meaning of this word in your heart, when you face hardships, you try to rejoice and be thankful, but it is only on the outside.
In your heart, you still think, “I’m facing such a difficult situation. It is not something to thank for, and how can I give thanks?”
You try to rejoice, but you cannot bear it any more and you may finally complain.
But if you keep on trying to obey the word, you begin to understand the will of God from a certain moment, through your prayers.
“Life on this earth is only momentary even though there are hardships. I have the hope to enter into eternal heavenly kingdom, so how thankful it is! a sinner like me was forgiven and received salvation. Also, through this human cultivation, I received chances to change myself. How happy a thing this is! God answers me if I ask with faith. Although there are hardships right now, I will receive the answer and give glory to God, so how joyful it is!”
Likewise, you can realize the things for which you can be thankful.
Also, you gain greater faith to believe that the tests and trials go away if you give God the sacrifice of thanks according to His word.
Rejoicing and giving thanks according to God’s word is an act of light belonging to God. Tests and trials are brought to us by the enemy devil and Satan.
When light comes into a dark room, the darkness has to go away. In the same way, when you truly give thanks and rejoice in your heart, the tests and trials go away by the spiritual light, and you receive blessings in reality.
If you realize this fact from your heart, you can be joyful and thankful with faith even in difficulties.
Then, you will experience that the tests and trials go away in reality, too, by the grace and power of God.
After experiencing these things, you gain more confident faith, and when you face tests next time, you can rejoice and be thankful more easily and overcome them.
Even when the reality is so difficult in front of your eyes, if you can just understand the meaning of God’s word in your heart, you can look up to the blessing with faith and act according to the word.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, but even if you act by the word on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are at the 3rd level of faith.
For example, even if you do not miss any Sunday service, the level of your faith is different according to how you worship God.
It is different according to whether you really come to worship with firm faith, or you come being aware of other people or because you are afraid of facing disasters if you do not keep the Sabbath.
Even though you attend Sunday service every week, if you do not worship in spirit and in truth but doze off, or fall into idle thoughts thinking, “I hope the service will end quickly. I want to go back home. I want to watch an interesting TV program showing now,” we cannot say you are at the 3rd level of faith.
Also, faith must be accompanied with deeds, and it must not change.
Sometimes, you give to God because you hear you will receive blessings when you sow, but because you don’t see the blessing quickly enough in your eyes, you regret sowing before God, or you go back to the old way of life.
We cannot say these people have reached the level to understand in heart and act.
Therefore, we cannot measure one’s level of faith just by one or two things shown on the outsides.
We can distinguish it through how much a particular person understands the will of God in his heart and acts it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when you get to the 3rd level of faith and practice the word, you first have some conflicts in your heart. You understand the will of God and obey it, but because you still have sinful natures in you, you still have the conflict.
Of course, this conflict is not the kind of conflict that you have at the 2nd level of faith, thinking, “Shall I practice the truth or not?” You do act in the truth but still, spiritual thoughts that try to follow the good heart and the fleshly thoughts that try to follow evil desires struggle against each other.
As explained above, when you suffer from hardships, at the second level of faith, you try to rejoice and be thankful, but sometimes you give out complaints, not being able to overcome the situations.
But at the 3rd level of faith, you can rejoice and give thanks even in hardships. But even at the same 3rd level, you cannot have perfect joy and thanks 100%.
If you are at the beginning of the 3rd level, if you face some difficulties, you have fleshly thoughts like, “It’s too hard.” Then, you may get discouraged and your fullness may disappear as well.
But you soon hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and begin to control your heart with the truth thinking, “No, I should rejoice and give thanks. God is living, and why should I get discouraged?”
Also, if you cry out in prayer to more completely rejoice and give thanks and receive God’s grace and strength, you will be filled with more thanks and joy.
Then, after you pass the middle stage of 3rd level and get to the higher level of the 3rd level, you don’t have many fleshly thoughts.
Even if you suddenly face a difficulty, you will have thoughts to be joyful and thankful rather than complaining or discouraging thoughts.
Even if you may momentarily think it is difficult, you drive that thought away immediately and soon make your heart thankful and joyful.
Matthew 7:24-25 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. ‘And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and [yet] it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.”
The later part of 1 Corinthians 10:4 says, “and the rock was Christ.”
If you have faith to act completely according to the word, not being shaken by tests and trials, we can say you are standing firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ.
If you go over 60% of the 3rd level, you no more feel it is difficult or burdensome to practice the word.
Therefore, at this level, we can say you begin to stand on the rock of faith. If you get into the 70% or 80%, you firmly stand on the rock of faith, and at this level, you practice the word like a habit that is fully absorbed in your body.
Furthermore, if you can rejoice and give thanks immediately in any kind of circumstances without any fleshly thoughts, you step into the spiritual faith, the 4th level of faith.
Let me give you another example. Let us say one of your colleagues in your workplace is acting so rudely to you or he is trying to hand over the work to you that he should do.
In this kind of situation, one at the 2nd level of faith will feel offended or have bad feelings. He would try to control his bad feelings and serve the other, but he still has complaints in his heart.
You think, “He is such a rude man. He can do the work himself, and why does he try to put it on to me? Do I look that foolish?” And you have discomfort in your heart, and when you cannot bear with it any more, you may get angry with him openly.
But at the 3rd level, you do not break the peace that way. You try to think in a good way thinking, “He is not being rude. He is actually trying to be nice. He must have some reason that he cannot do the work himself.” And you serve him as he wants.
But at the beginning stage of the 3rd level, because the truth is not completely cultivated in your heart, you may have ill-feelings for a moment.
But even if those uncomfortable thoughts come into your mind, you say no to them and change your mind to think in good way and have good heart.
But if you stand on the rock in the 3rd level, even if you may have an uncomfortable thought for a moment, you can change it into spiritual thought immediately, and you can serve the other person with peaceful mind.
If you can serve the other one just like decaying wheat without even that kind of thought, it means you are a man of spirit, being at the 4th level of faith.
Let me conclude the message. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in Hebrews 12:4, it tells the believers, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.”
This is the case when you generally know the word and love God, so you have already cast off the works of the flesh that are shown as action, but you are not casting off sins from your heart.
You have come into the 3rd level of faith, but since then, the growth of your faith got slower. So, even after a long time, you do not stand on the rock of faith, not to talk about going into spirit.
For example, if you judge somebody’s action, you can soon realize your wrongdoing reflecting yourself on the word of God.
Then, you repent saying, “Oh, I judged him. Father please forgive me.” But even if you turn at that moment, because you have not pulled out the sinful nature of judging and condemning, you will judge again next time in the same situation. Then, you realize again and repent again.
You stay at the level to repeat repenting again and again, without actually pulling out the sinful nature in you heart. So, your level of faith does not increase.
For your faith to constantly grow up, you should not just keep on repenting, but you have to struggle against sins even to the point of shedding your blood so that you will cast them off completely.
To do this, when you find out the sinful natures in you, you shouldn’t just pass them away, but you have to deeply mourn in your heart and ask for God’s grace.
You have to realize how filthy the sin and evil in your heart are and offer up prayer to tear your heart with all your life, so that you will receive the power to pull out even the great roots of sin.
You should sometimes fast, prayer all-night, offer up vowed prayers, and give wholehearted offerings to God to receive God’s strength.
Through your efforts like this, God’s grace and power, and the help of the Holy Spirit will come down on you, and finally, your sinful natures will be cast off from your heart one by one.
They cannot be cast off just by repenting again and again. You have to cast them off with your true heart and truthful acts to cast off even sins deep in your heart. When you finally have sanctified heart, your life will go into a completely different dimension.
You will be moved from fleshly dimension into spiritual dimension, so that all the problems will turn into prosperity, and you will always experience God’s works turning impossible things into possible things.
You will enjoy to the full extent the authority as children of God who is almighty.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will long for this spiritual level earnestly, cast off sins quickly and have sanctified heart, so that you will reach the full measure of faith.