God wants us to advance and move forward with a sense of unity. He wants us to move forward vigorously with faith to accomplish God-given visions such as the national evangelism, the world mission, the Canaan Sanctuary, and the Grand Sanctuary. To march forth towards the vision given by the Father without stopping, above all, we need to check the alignment of our lines. If a line is disorderly in a march, it will be very hard to reach a goal even if they are on a well-paved roadway. A group of people can achieve a common goal only when they unite around a pivotal figure and thousands or tens of thousands of people move as if they were one person. In the beginning of this new year 2014, God gave us visions. So, what should we do to vigorously advance and accomplish them?
- We have to trust and obey the shepherd whom God has established
God gave us the shepherd as the pivotal focus of this church. When the Israelites advanced on the Promised Land of Canaan, the pivotal figure was Moses. Moses was selected because God looks at a person’s inner heart and He recognized Moses and selected him. Even his brother, Aaron, who was an eloquent speaker, merely supported Moses.
From man’s point of view, Aaron, who spoke so eloquently, might have seemed a more outstanding choice than Moses, but it was only Moses whom God recognized as the leader. God did not just dismiss it if anyone considered himself/herself equal to Moses, spoke evil of him or regarded him with contempt (Reference: Numbers Chapter 12). This is because demeaning Moses was equivalent to ignoring God who had appointed Moses as the leader.
Hence, Moses was the first and best in everything in the sight of God. Moses’ brother Aaron, and Miriam, his sister, and elders should have just played their own roles as assistants to Moses according to their talents. It was not acceptable for them to put themselves above Moses or even regard themselves his equal.
When Joshua succeeded Moses as the leader, God guaranteed the words spoken by Joshua. So, when he delivered the will of God to the Israelites, they trusted and obeyed him. The Jordan River that was overflowing its banks, but by obeying Joshua’s words telling them to consecrate themselves before crossing, they were able to cross the river on the dry land.
When they captured the city of Jericho, they obeyed in one heart with no complaints at all. They obeyed just as Joshua had spoken telling them ‘to march around the city circling it once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day.’ None of them said, “What if the citizens of Jericho attack us suddenly while we are marching around it unarmed?” No one opposed it.
Finally, on the day when God told them to shout, they shouted all at once and the impregnable city wall fell to the ground. Since they completely trusted that the word of Joshua was the will of God and obeyed him, they were able to witness the amazing work.
God urges us to have such trust and obedience. He wants us to trust the shepherd who God has established and give him 100% trust without using any kind of human thoughts. We must not say, “I trust the shepherd, but he doesn’t know such and such a matter exists. So, he must not do it in this way.” We must not speak contrary to the will of the shepherd. If you trust him from the bottom of your heart 100% and serve him, you can say only ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ to him in every matter. You can’t give any reason or resort to excuses. Thus, I urge you to become united as one with the shepherd in perfect trust and obedience and move forward to accomplish the visions more earnestly.
- We have to be faithful with our talents and help each other as though we were one
When the Israelites marched in the wilderness, they were encamped with the tabernacle of God at the center. Things related to the tabernacle were done by the Levites. As written in Numbers Chapter 4, the three families among the sons of Levi took over the work in the tent of meeting. The descendants of Kohath took care of utensils in the tent including the ark of the testimony (the ark for the tablets of Ten Commandments) and the altar (the place of burning and offering up sacrifices), the families of the Gershonites, the hangings of the court and the covering, and the sons of Merari, the boards of the tabernacle and its bars and its pillars and its sockets. Since they each fulfilled their duties, the tabernacle was maintained properly.
Thanks to the good maintenance of the tabernacle, the Israelites could keep advancing towards the Canaan Land. The ark of the testimony was very important but the tabernacle couldn’t have been set only with the ark. Each part of it such as its pegs and cords were things that they should never misplace. Thus, we can’t say one family played a more important role than the other families or that a family’s role was less significant than any other. All of them were important and necessary.
The same applies today. Matthew 25:14-30 describes people who received five talents, two talents and one talent each from their master. In the same way, every person has a different measure of ability. Here, a ‘talent’ spiritually symbolizes faith, hope, and love. It also refers to one’s gifts in a fleshly sense. Each one has a different measure of faith and they might be good in different fields, but if they help one another and gather their hearts they can display great power.
With just one person alone who is outstanding, God’s work can’t be achieved. Therefore, if one receives five talents, they must not say they will do everything alone. If another receives only a talent, they must not sit back doing nothing. One with a talent should use the talent and work. The other with five talents must not look down on the one with a single talent. He should realize that the reason why God gave him the five talents is that God wants him to fill in the shortcomings of others with less ability.
And the person with a talent must not feel jealous and envious of the one who has five talents. He should think, ‘I am so grateful to him for filling my shortcoming. He is doing things that I am unable to do and the kingdom of God is being extended. How thankful it is!’
According to Matthew 25:22-23, the person who received two talents received praise and blessing just like the person who had received the five talents. If the man with one talent had gained one more talent like them, he would have been praised also. Thus, the thing is, it is important to work faithfully with one’s own talent, keep peace, help one another, and become united. Then, we can move forward toward accomplishing our visions given by God more quickly.
- We must not compromise with unrighteousness and we must keep a firm heart in the truth
This subtitle means that we must become sanctified. Numbers Chapter 25 describes an incident where 24,000 people of Israel died by the plague although they had been advancing towards the Land of Canaan without an obstacle. Then, what brought forth such a disaster? At that time the Israelites stayed in the plain of Moab after conquering the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Basha.
Numbers 25:1-3 reads, “While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel.” The Israelites heard from Moses many times for 40 years while they were living in the wilderness that they should serve the LORD. Nevertheless, some of them fell into the temptations of the Gentile women.
Today, some Christians publicly speak as if there were salvation in other religions. It is a dreary thing! This kind of wrong idea is being spread like the plague and people accept it without knowing. However, Acts 4:12 clearly says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” There is no salvation but through Jesus Christ. There is no forgiveness of sins in other religions, then how could they receive salvation and enter the heavenly kingdom?
The Israelites were trapped in the temptation and worshipped the foreign god. They betrayed God. That is why the first generation of the Exodus couldn’t get into the Promised Land, Canaan except for the two people, Joshua and Caleb. The rest all died in the wilderness. Here, we should know that unless we pull out the original root of sins it is difficult to watch over our hearts when the temptations of the world are before us.
When we build the Canaan Sanctuary and receive abundant blessings in spirit and body, we must not follow in their footsteps. We must not think, ‘Done!’ and become relaxed and take in fleshly things. We must not compromise with any kind of unrighteousness. We should think only in the truth and strengthen spiritual hearts so that we would never fall into the temptation of the world. We should keep advancing until we build the Grand Sanctuary and reveal God’s glory all over the world. So, I hope you will advance and march forth vigorously with a goal, “I will enter Canaan Sanctuary with the heart of whole spirit.”