[Romans 12: 3]
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone 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 a man accepts the Lord and receives the Holy Spirit, his dead spirit is revived. It is the first level of faith at which one is born again by faith just like a new born baby.
Just as a baby grows up taking milk, believers’ faith also grows up listening to the word of God and practicing it.
They grow up to the second level of faith of trying to practice the word, and to the third level of faith where they can keep the word of God. If you not only keep the word of God but also cast off sinful natures in you, you will go into the 4th level of faith.
If you reach the 4th level of faith and become a man of spirit, it means you have accomplished holy heart that resembles God, so you can be recognized as true child of God.
So, you will receive answers to whatever you boldly ask and receive spiritual and material blessings. But this is not all. Even after you cast off all sins and go into spirit, you should advance into deeper level of the endless spiritual realm.
You have to accomplish the whole spirit and go into the 5th level of faith. This is the 17th session on the measure of faith.
I pray in the name of the Lord that, through this message, you will quickly go into spirit and many of you will go into whole spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the 4th level of faith is the level at which you love God to the utmost degree and receive blessings in all aspects because you have cast off all sins and evil and your souls are prosperous. To say that you have come into the 4th level of faith is like saying you have prepared a clean vessel.
But, although you have the clean vessel ready, it is not fully filled with the spiritual contents that are supposed to fill the vessel. After preparing a vessel, what do we have to do? We should fill the vessel with spiritual contents to the fullest.
Let me give you an example. Those who have gone into the 4th level of faith do not have the sinful nature called ‘hatred’. Because he has cast off hatred, he only has love.
But the size and depth of the love, and how much fruit of love one is bearing are all different from person to person who are in the same 4th level of faith. According to how much love you put in the clean vessel that has no hatred, you can become more perfect spirit.
I once explained the level of goodness in four different levels, and let me explain this in relation with the measures of faith.
At the 1st level of goodness, if somebody acts with evil to you, you have discomfort, but you bear with him and do not pay back evil with evil.
In this world, if you are just at the 1st level of goodness, you will be considered as a really good person. In view of the measure of faith, the 3rd level of faith where you can practice the word is equivalent to the 1st level of goodness.
But the 1st level of goodness cannot be considered as true goodness in God’s sight. They do not act evil on the outside, but they still have evil in their heart.
God looks at the inner heart of people, and He acknowledges one to be really good only when he has no evil not only on the outside but also in his heart.
Next, at the 2nd level of goodness, even if somebody acts with evil to you, you do not have any kind of ill-feelings against him, and you can forgive him without any agitation in your heart.
If you have this level of goodness, it means you don’t have evil in your heart, so it tells us you have clean, spiritual heart. It means you are at the 4th level of faith.
Those who are in the deeper state of the 4th level or those who are at the beginning of the 5th level can forgive evil people without any ill-feelings, and also, they can melt down the heart of the other people with good words and actions to touch their heart.
This is the 3rd level of goodness. It is more active love, going beyond the level of just forgiving and bearing with the other person, with more abundant fruit of goodness born.
At the 4th level of goodness, you have sacrificial love with which you can even give your life to the person who acts with evil to you. This is equivalent to the 5th level of faith, and the full measure of the Lord.
Jesus was hung on the cross not only for good people but to save the evil ones. Even while He was being crucified, He made intercession for those who were crucifying Him for their forgiveness.
Only when we can give out this kind of love can we say we have accomplished the highest level of goodness. Just as the same goodness that is recognized by God is classified into different levels, even at the 4th level of faith, the measures are different.
According to how much one resembles God and how beautifully one bears fruit of spirit, the percentage of spirit within the 4th level of faith are different. Therefore, looking at the magnitude of bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we can easily check our measure of faith.
At the 3rd level of faith, you are casting off evil in your heart practicing the word of God, so we can say the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit are being born.
Namely, to the extent that you cast off hatred, you are bearing the fruit of love, and to the extent that you cast off quarrels and arguments, you are bearing the fruit of peace. To the extent that you cast off sinful natures from your heart, oppositely, you are bearing the fruit of truth.
But at the 3rd level of faith, we cannot say the fruits of the Holy Spirit are born completely. It is just like laying the foundation to bear the fruits.
After the flower falls off from an apple tree, a little berry is formed on that spot, and this is the beginning for the apple fruit. We cannot take this and eat and it’s too small to be called a fruit, but it is the beginning of bearing the fruit.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit at the 3rd level of faith is like this. You have not cast off all evil yet, but you are bearing the good characters of God in your heart following the desires of the Holy Spirit.
And, when you cast off all sinful natures from your heart and get into the 4th level of faith, the fruits of the Holy Spirit will begin to show. But even at this time, they are fully born or completely ripe.
If we say the complete fruit is 100, some fruits are born only 50%, and some others are born 70%, or 90%.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I told you the 4th level of faith is to love God to the utmost degree and you have cast off all sins from your heart, and how are 4th level, which is spirit, and 5th level, which is whole spirit, different from each other?
At 4th level of faith, you have cast off all sins, but you still have the traces of flesh. Men are born with original sin, and because we have been living in the world that is changed into sins and evil, you may have the traces of having been living a life as a man of flesh.
You can go into the whole spirit and partake in the divine nature only after you make this perfect, too. As fruits of spirit are born more perfectly in heart, the remaining traces of flesh of the men of spirit will disappear.
This trace of flesh is closely related with the original characters or natures of a person that he has had it before he was changed into spirit. For example, some people are very upright and straightforward, truthful, and righteous, and on another hand he lacks love and virtue.
Some people love giving to others and are full of love, but their emotions easily change, or their words and actions are sometimes rough and they hurt others’ feelings.
Some people have bee faithful to their duties all the time, so they have been acknowledged and love by others always. Because of this, they have pride, of which they are not aware, very deep in their heart.
Each person has his own characters like this, and even after he casts off all sins and goes into the 4th level of faith, he still has his former characters like traces of flesh.
Because of these things, you go through trials to accomplish the perfect image of the Lord.
When you hear this, is there any of you who have a question like the following? “If you have sin you have it and if you don’t have it you don’t, and what is this traces of flesh about? What does it mean?”
But if you wash your clothes, you may be able to understand this. For example, the clothes that have very old and deep dirt will not be as clean as it was first made even after cleaning it.
You used detergent, washed it well, and washed out all the dirt, but it is not as white as the first time. We cannot say it is dirty since it is cleaned, but we cannot say it is same as the new one either.
Let me give you another example. Let’s say you wrote down something very hard with all your strength on the first page of notebook, and you tore out that page. Then, on the back page, you have the clean page, but there is the mark and traces of the letters you wrote on the first page.
In the same way, there are things that men have input in them while they are living in this world of flesh for the purpose of human cultivation, and these things remain as traces and affect them in some ways even after they cast off all sins and become sanctified.
So, the 4th level of faith is certainly spirit, but there are traces of flesh and we have to bear the fruit of truth perfectly to be considered to resemble God.
Let me give you an example from the Bible to let you understand the difference of spirit and whole spirit more easily.
It was when Joshua, the successor of Moses, was conquering the land of Canaan. God told them to destroy all the Gentile people around the Canaan land, and one day some messengers came to Joshua.
They said they were from a very far away country and showed Joshua their worn clothes and dry and moldy bread. They were saying their clothes were worn and their bread was dry and moldy because their country was far away and their journey took a long time.
Joshua just believed them and made a covenant of peace with them. But soon, Joshua found out they were not from a distant country, but they were from Gibeon, which was very nearby. They were one of the peoples that God commanded to destroy.
If Joshua asked God before his decision, God must have let him know that they were cheating him.
But Joshua was not careful enough for a moment. He decided without asking God, and as a result he couldn’t destroy them.
Joshua was a man of spirit who didn’t have any evil in his heart, and he didn’t insist on his will but completely obeyed the will of God. But since he was not in the level of whole spirit, something like this could happen, too.
Here, Joshua didn’t do it for his selfish motive or intentionally disobeyed God’s command, so from man’s side we cannot condemn him as being arrogant or evil. But in the sight of perfect God, He can say it is arrogance.
Joshua didn’t ask God in such an important matter but acted carelessly. He didn’t rely on God perfectly.
This is an example of the trace of flesh that you have to cast off at the 4th level of faith. For another example, Abraham’s wife Sarah was once taken by the king of Egypt. Sarah was a very beautiful woman.
While he was going to Egypt, Abraham thought the Egyptians might try to harm him to take away his wife Sarah. So, he asked Sarah to say she was his sister.
Of course, in blood, she was his relative, so it was not a lie. Of course, it was not that he had any fear out of his cowardice or unbelief in God.
He had the brevity to confront them if something wrong happened, and he had the faith that he would win by the power of God.
Nevertheless, he didn’t want to have any kind of trouble whatsoever from the beginning. That is why he was trying to find a wise way and he came up with the idea to say Sarah was his sister.
This was not a fleshly thought coming out of untruth, but it was a humanly thought that could come out in the limit of man because he was a man who was being cultivated on this earth.
This is also a trace of flesh. If Abraham had already been whole spirit at that time, he wouldn’t have come up with this idea.
So, God allowed a trial for him so that Abraham could trust and rely on God more perfectly. Pharaoh took his wife Sarah.
Because Abraham had already said Sarah was his sister, he couldn’t say anything to Pharaoh but he could only worry. In this situation, God worked for him. God brought down disaster in Pharaoh’s household, and Abraham dramatically received back his wife.
Abraham trusted God even before that, but through this incident, he thoroughly experienced the omnipotence and omniscience of God.
Of course, because it was not that Abraham didn’t trust God or faced a test due to his sin, he didn’t have any loss. But by going through the trial of worrying about his wife so much for a moment, he could gain the faith to trust and rely on God more perfectly.
Let me give you a practical example. Let’s say one person is giving orders in detail about even the works that his subordinates are in charge of.
Because he knows the will of God in letting us do that job, and because he knows the ways to fulfill it, he gives specific orders for each thing and he checks the work at each stage.
He is not doing it for his own benefit nor is he trying to give hard time to others. He only wants to accomplish the will of God and he wants the workers to receive blessings by doing the job, so he is only trying to teach them the good way.
But this can be accepted in a completely different way from the workers. Because they don’t have the willingness or strength to obey, they feel it’s burdensome.
They may also feel uncomfortable because they are receiving very specific orders even for things of which they are in charge.
Here, the senior who acts this way may look similar to a person who is at the 3rd level of faith, who is giving hard time to others with his own righteousness and framework. But although it looks similar on the outside, the inner hearts are all different in God’s sight.
Those who act within their own righteousness at the 3rd level of faith want to reveal themselves, judge other with their evil, and look down upon others with their arrogance. These things are laid behind their action.
You should consider the faith, heart, and standpoint of the others once again of spirit do not have this kind of evil heart. They are certainly sanctified and do not have evil, but with the passion to fulfill God’s works, these actions may come out.
But if they truly resemble the heart of the Lord, they will receive clearer inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that they will be able to follow peace more perfectly. Therefore, if there is any kind of confrontation around you, you should humble yourself more and look back.
You should consider the faith, heart, and standpoint of the others once again, and even if the work is done slowly, you should be able to bear with it unless it is total untruth.
If you just think to yourself, “I am speaking with good intention, and this is the way for the benefit of the kingdom of God, but they cannot receive my words because of their evil,” and just feel sorry for them, there is no development for you either.
Among those who have gone into spirit, there are people who get stuck at the beginning of the 4th level, and that is the reason.
They have gone into spirit and have no evil. They are also right, and because they are only looking at the fact that they are right, they cannot realize the deeper level of goodness.
Therefore, even if you have come into the 4th level of faith and have no evil, you will receive trials allowed by God to accomplish even these things into perfection.
I will explain to you about the process of those who are at the 4th level of faith going into the 5th level of faith in the next session.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when there are two boxes with the same shape, the value of each box will be so different according to what each box contains. If it contains jewelries, it is such a precious treasure box, and if it contains only sand, it is only sand box.
Likewise, even when we spend the same 24 hours a day, according to what we have in our heart, and with what kind of hearts and thoughts and attitudes we are living our lives, the value of each one’s life will be so different in God’s sight.
Doing the same work, there are people who have thanks and joy in their heart and rely on God in everything.
On the contrary, there are people who are filled with greed, anger, and hatred in their heart or spend their each day just complaining and grumbling.
Even after they spend a tiring day, there are people who begin the next day with joy of praising God for giving them a night of rest and a new day.
On the contrary, there are also people who begin their new day in a fleshly way, having nothing to do with God, with tired mind thinking that they are tired and they want to sleep more.
When you do your job in the world, there are people who always try to seek others’ benefit first and to become the light and salt in the world, and to give glory to God by living a faithful life. But there are also people who barely finish the job given to them.
When you come to worship and pray in church, some of you really want to meet and experience God with longing heart while some others just come to church like a habit.
Having greater faith and going into spirit is not accomplished by one special grace. According to what kind of things you fill your heart with in your everyday life, you can quickly accomplish spiritual heart or more slowly accomplish it.
You should look back at your words and actions each moment with the desire to resemble the heart of God, wanting to know how Jesus would have acted. When you long for the truth this way and change yourself, you will be filled with the whole spirit beautifully.
Therefore, as said in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” I hope you will all accomplish holiness and perfection in each moment of your lives.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all become God’s perfect children and be able to dwell in the city of New Jerusalem.