[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,
God of love gave His children who accepted Jesus Christ very special grace of salvation.
He gave eternal life to those souls who were destined to fall into hell, and let them go into heavenly kingdom.
Furthermore, during their lives on this earth, if His children just ask with spiritual faith, God responds to whatever they ask. As said in Matthew 8:13, “it shall be done for you as you have believed,” He gives us health, wealth, peace in family, and even fame, according to our faith.
He gives us prosperity in all things and answers us in matters both big and small with His delicate love if we will just ask before Him. But why are there people who say they have not received any answers although they asked diligently?
If you are a member of this church, you can easily find the answer from the Word of God to the above question.
Just to confess with lips, “I believe!” is not true faith. We must have evidence of faith.
The standards to judge the measure of faith are whether or not we keep the word of God faithfully and how much we have cast off sins and evil from our heart. This is the evidence of having faith.
As we resemble God more, the measure of faith will increase, and as we have greater measure of faith, we can receive and enjoy more blessings.
Even though you are God’s children who have received the Holy Spirit and salvation, if your faith stays at the same spot or backslides, it is very difficult to experience God’s works. You won’t have many testimonies in your life in faith.
When you have problems, you cannot easily receive the faith to receive the answer, so you pray for a time and soon give up and you implement the ways of men.
Therefore, if you are at the first level of faith by just having receiving salvation, you should diligently listen to the word of God and practice it to go into the second and the third levels of faith.
Only when you dwell in God’s word completely, which means only when you go into the fourth level and above, can you receive anything you ask for in prayer as God’s true children.
If you finally get to the fifth level of faith, God will answer the desires in your heart from His side before you even ask.
Therefore, you will be able to experience God’s works in all things, and you will give glory to Him whether you eat or drink or whatever you do. This is the 19th session of the measure of faith. I will continue to explain to you about the fourth level of faith.
I hope, through this message, that you will become God’s true children whose faith can be recognized by God the Father.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive answers to whatever you pray for and dwell in God’s blessings all the time.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, people who have gone into fourth level of faith are those who have cast off sins and evil from their heart and who have a clean vessel.
But we cannot say they are perfect only by having a clean vessel. They shouldn’t just stay at the state of having no sin in their heart but their hearts must be completely filled with goodness.
In the clean vessel, spiritual contents must be filled. Namely, they have to bear spiritual fruits abundantly.
Only then will their traces of flesh disappear and they will become men of whole spirit who resemble the Lord completely.
Their words and actions will become like the Lord so that they will show grace and virtue to people around them. They will understand what pleases God the most and do it.
Ephesians 4:13 says, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Also, Ephesians 4:15 says, “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” Likewise, in order to grow up to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ, even the men of spirit must go through trials.
What kinds of trials are these for those who are in the fourth level of faith to let them go into the fifth level of faith?
From the third level and below, the enemy devil and Satan can bring charges against them because of their evil and sins, and God allows the test, so that His children can be refined by receiving trials from the authority of Satan.
But from the fourth level above, God does not let Satan give them trials, even though His children must go through some refinement processes.
God refines them Himself, so that their traces of flesh will be removed and they will be filled with perfect fruits.
In the control of God, He refines what has to be refined and plants more truth in them.
For example, Job in the book of Job in the Old Testament feared God and was a righteous man. But it doesn’t mean he had already cast off evil from his heart completely. He was at the last stage of the third level of faith, and he kept the law of God diligently, as much as he knew it.
But in the depth of his heart, he always had the fear of God. He was always nervous and worried that God’s disaster might fall on him.
1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
Because he couldn’t understand the heart of God the Father and he couldn’t trust the love of the Father completely, he had worries and nervousness.
Just having these fears tells us he didn’t have perfect love, and that he didn’t accomplish a heart of spirit.
So, when Job received a trial, Satan brought his accusation against him before God, and God allowed the trial, so Job’s trials began. He lost great wealth and all his children in one day. He had painful boils all over his body and his wife cursed him and left him.
At first, it seemed that he was enduring well and keeping his righteousness before God.
But as the pain of the trials became greater, and it went beyond the limit of his endurance, the evil hidden inside him began to be revealed.
Each of his evil natures came out through his lips. He complained against his parents who gave birth to him, and looking down upon them, he spoke with evil to his friends who were arguing with him.
Finally, he came to speak words that stood against God saying, “I haven’t done anything wrong, but God gave me this disaster. God is unrighteous.”
In terms of deeds, he was very righteous, but because he had evil hidden too deeply for him to be aware of, Satan accused him of this evil and could bring him disaster. Of course, it’s not that believers will face disaster only because they have evil natures in them. Although they have not cast off all sins and evil from their heart, as long as they keep on trying in their measure of faith, God protects them not to face any disasters.
But Job’s case was a special case.
Because Job could go into spirit only when his hidden evil was exposed through that trial, God allowed the charge of Satan to take place.
As Job found his evil through this trial, he repented thoroughly and cast off his evil from the depth of his heart.
He was no longer at the third level of faith where he was righteous only with his actions; he now went into the fourth level of faith by casting off sins and evil from his heart. Since then, he received double the portion of blessings that he one had.
The trial that Job received was also a trial of blessing allowed by God to change him. But this was conducted by Satan, and it’s different from the trials for those who are at the fourth level controlled by God Himself. The authority of the enemy devil and Satan is the authority of darkness, so they can use that authority on people only when men have sins and evil.
Satan cannot bring about any disasters or diseases to those men of spirit who have gone into the fourth level, because they have no sin or evil.
Sometimes, the trials for those at fourth level seem to be similar to the trials for those at the third level, but the proceedings and results have clear differences.
For example, in case of Joseph, God was with him all the time even in his trials, and people around him could feel it.
God protected him with His blazing eyes and changed his heart and allowed for him to have the capabilities necessary to become the prime minister of Egypt. Also, while Abraham was going through trials staying in the Gentile lands, he always received respect from other people; he was never despised or looked down upon by anybody.
Rather, even the kings of other countries feared Abraham.
Likewise, during the trials for the fourth level of faith God attests and protects them, and refines them Himself to make them perfect.
A short while ago, God let us know beforehand that there would be trials for one of our ministers in order for that minister to go into the whole spirit. This was not because of any sin or evil, but it was to let that minister have a great vessel to become the leader of many other ministers and church members.
The trial for this minister was not a disease or disaster.
The trial was to take the responsibility for the whole church fulfilling the God-give duties and to mourn and endure for the souls and kingdom of God so much.
That minister had to meet people who could not be understood at all and had to go through the things that are not understandable, but still had to endure and bear with them.
Also, God gave that minister a time to find and mourn for the shortcomings of not being able to embrace more souls and not being able to give glory to God more greatly.
God, through these trials, refines even those who have cast off sins to let them bear the fruits of truth completely. This way, God changes them into men of whole spirit.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, to let you understand the difference between the third level and the fourth level more easily, I will explain to you through the example of David. Before David went into spirit yet after he became the king, he committed a sin.
In order to hide his fault, he let a man of God called Uriah be killed at the hands of the Gentiles.
This was a sin and clearly an evil act.
In the first half of 2 Samuel 12:14, the prophet said to David, “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.”
As said, David was accused by the enemy, Satan and later encountered great trials.
His son, born of Bathsheba, died. Another son Absalom rebelled against Him and he had to be on the run with his life continually threatened.
Moreover, he had to go through the shame of his concubines being taken by Absalom in public. Of course, David had already repented when the prophet rebuked him, but for the sin that he had committed, he had to go through tests and trials by the accusation of Satan.
Through these trials, David could humble himself even more and came to have an even better heart before God.
This was before he went into spirit, and because it was caused by his sin, he was given over into the hands of Satan, which means, disaster came down on David directly.
But after a long time, God allowed another trial for David, who was now in spirit.
David had an urge in his heart and conducted a census.
The purpose of the census was to count the number of soldiers who could join the army and fight in a battle.
But it was almost relying on men, not on God by taking a census. After David realized this fact, he repented immediately, but it also caused a great trial for him.
The whole land of Israel was stricken by plague, and 70,000 people died in a short time.
But when people read about this in the Bible, they may think God punished them because of David’s arrogance alone.
But will you consider this situation once again?
If just counting the number of the soldiers was such a great sin of arrogance and the whole country had to be stricken by plague, how many of you would be considered upright before God and be able to survive?
In fact, it was something that the king could do any time, and David didn’t even have any evil intention in conducting the census.
So, from man’s point of view, people could not say the king committed a sin. But in the viewpoint of the perfect God, He can say, “You didn’t rely on Me completely, and you are arrogant.”
We may not say that it was an evil act from our point of view, but in the sight of the perfect God, it could be considered as arrogance. This is the ‘trace of flesh’ that I explained to you before, which can remain even after one becomes sanctified.
So, God allowed this trial to David to let him remove even this trace of flesh and make him perfect. But the original reason why plagues came on the people was because they caused God’s anger by committing sins.
2 Samuel 24:1 says, “Now again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.'”
It first mentions that God was angry at Israel. Anyway, David had to mourn so much seeing the people dying partly because of his action, and he thoroughly realized what he lacked and turned away.
Likewise, God refined David while punishing the people for their sins at the same time.
So, although David went through a trial, it was not that Satan brought any disaster to him. Also, it was not David who actually received the disaster.
Rather, after that incident, God accepted the sacrifice of David to stop the plagues in Israel. He showed that He still confirmed David and was with him.
Likewise, the trials for men of spirit will not be given to the hands of Satan but God Himself guides it and works on it.
Of course, Satan, who is looking for someone to devour like a roaring lion, always tries to find something to bring accusation against a man, even against men of spirit who are sanctified. So, sometimes, Satan incites evil people to bring sufferings to men of spirit. It may seem men of spirit face disasters in that way sometimes.
But if you look at the results, you can easily see that the trials were allowed by God and controlled by God Himself.
Finally, God works for the good of everything, and they will surely receive blessings later.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the third level when you find out your shortcomings and go through the refining process in your heart, you may be disappointed in yourself and use more of your fleshly thoughts.
So, sometimes, you cease to pray and even stop performing your God-given duties.
But in case of men of spirit, even though they find out their shortcomings and mourn so much, they overcome until the end, so they do not break God’s heart. But it does not mean that the trials for those at fourth level are easier than those for the people at third level.
Just as the exam questions for college entrance and middle school entrance will be completely different, obviously, the trials for people at the fourth level are much more difficult than those for those at the third level of faith.
At the fourth level, they love God more, so when they find out their shortcomings, they feel more pain to the same extent that they love God.
“How come I have accomplished only this much before my dear Father?” “Only if I have more perfect and greater power, I can accomplish God’s kingdom more greatly. I can give glory to God more greatly.”
Unless you come into spirit and experience it, it is very difficult for you to understand the magnitude of pressure coming from these concerns.
Their hearts will be so much pressed, much more than having to go through any kind of disasters or physical pains. Yet, they do not get discouraged or disappointed, but they cry out more earnestly and endeavor more to devote themselves more.
In 2 Corinthians 11:28, the apostle Paul, after listing the various sufferings that he had gone through, confessed as follows. “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”
The sufferings that the apostle Paul had to go through in the process of spreading the gospel were by no means easy. Even though the sufferings that Job had to go through were great, the apostle Paul had to go through so many more sufferings that were much greater.
But he was saying that even more than all those sufferings, he had pressure on him over his concern for all the churches.
Just by seeing this confession, we can imagine how heavy the trials in Paul’s heart were. But no matter how great the trial for the fourth level people, they themselves do not consider it difficult.
To the extent that they have no evil in their heart and they love God, they have the strength to overcome any kind of difficulties.
Even though they have to mourn so much and take such a heavy burden because of trials, they have unending and overflowing joy and thanks from the depth of their heart.
Now, what do you worry about? Do you worry about what to eat and what to wear?
Or do you have concerns and cry out to cast off sinful things such as hatred, envy, jealousy, anger, and adulterous mind?
Do you pray with tears because of difficulties or persecutions in your life?
But if you truly love God the Father, nothing will be a heavy burden for you. You will quickly cast off those fleshly things. You will worry about understanding the deep heart of God and pray for it.
I hope your faith, love, and hope will become greater and you will win the victory in all the days of your life with only joy and thanks.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will love the Father and please Him so that you will dwell in the love and comfort of the Father that He is giving back to you.