[1 John 2: 12-14], [Romans 12: 3]
[1 John 2: 12-14] “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
[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,
While they live on this earth only for some decades, they work so hard to eat good food, wear good clothes, and to live in good environment.
But even if they toil so much and enjoy such great wealth and fame on this earth, they are only momentary. After our short life, we have death, and everybody will be judged and will go to either heaven or hell.
Once heaven or hell is decided for each person, the decision cannot be changed forever. No matter how much one regrets in hell, he will have no chance of salvation again.
Also, even for those who go to the heavenly kingdom, their dwelling place and glory will be different.
1 Corinthians 15:41 says, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”
In the kingdom of heaven, some get into the most glorious places like the sun, and others will enjoy the glory of the moon or the stars.
Also, as many stars have different brightness, their glory of stars will be different, too. Also, this glory will not change forever once it is decided.
Even if you one regrets saying, “I should have sanctified myself and been faithful a little more and gone into a better dwelling place,” it would be too late.
The kind of life you will live in the kingdom of heave will be decided according to your deeds on this earth.
According to how much you practiced the word of God, how much you cast off sins and purified your heart, and how much you are faithful to God’s kingdom, the kind of heavenly dwelling place and the glory you will enjoy will be decided.
Then, which heavenly dwelling place can you enter with your faith right now? The Final Judgment will be done by strict justice, and God looks at not appearance but only inner heart.
He evaluates each one’s inner heart as to whether or not he has true spiritual faith. But some people overestimate their own faith. It is more likely in cases where they have been Christians for a long time, have many church titles, and teach others knowing much of God’s word.
Matthew 7:22-23 says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ ‘And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
These people who were rebuked by the Lord misunderstood that they had great faith. You shouldn’t be any of these people.
You think you are doing God’s work and you have great faith, but if the Lord says to you at the Final Judgment, “You have such little faith,” how embarrassing it would be!
Therefore, even if you are already saved, you should check the level of your faith and try to have greater faith. This is the fourth session of ‘Measure of Faith’.
I urge you dear members to check at which level your faith is through this message.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will then be able to fill whatever you lack and have perfect faith.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s reading passage Romans 12:3 says, “think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” This clearly tells us each person has different measure of faith.
Some have very great faith, and some others have faith as small as a mustard seed. Many places in both Old and New Testament tells us through various parables that there are different measures of faith.
For example, 1 John 2:12-14 explains to us in detail about the levels of spiritual faith, likening it to the growth of human beings.
“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
Here, ‘little children,’ ‘young men’, and ‘fathers’ are not about physical age but refer to measures of spiritual faith.
Even children can have great measure of faith in spirit. Even grown up adults may have faith of only children in spirit.
First, it talks about faith of little children saying, “your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.”
As said in John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, [even] to those who believe in His name,” the faith to just receive salvation is the faith of little children and comparing it with physical body, it is like a newborn baby.
They do not know the truth well enough nor do they try to live by the truth. But they heard the gospel and accepted the Lord, so they have the faith of a new believer with which they can receive the Holy Spirit and salvation.
Although they are born again by the Holy Spirit, they do not know the Word well. Also, even if they know some of God’s word, they do not have the strength to live by it yet.
Although they profess their faith in God, they still have great love for the world. If test comes, they are apt to fall and get discouraged.
Even if you are saved and have come God’s children, you should not stay at this level.
Just as babies grow very quickly day by day, you should quickly keep the word of God in you and your faith has to grow quickly.
Next, it says that children know the Father. The next level of little children who are just saved is the level of children who know the father.
To know the Father is that those believers who are saved know who the Father is, which means that they know God is their Father.
Those who have faith to receive salvation know that God is their Father, and when they pray, they call Him, ‘Father’. Also, they try to learn the word of the Father and obey it.
But some people say they know about Jesus Christ and God although they do not even attend church.
They mean that they were once Christians before, or heard about Christianity from somebody else. But it is not true that they know the ‘Father’.
If they truly know God, they know that God is the Creator who created heaven and earth and our spirit, and that He sent His one and only Son and saved us.
If they truly know this fact, they obviously have to accept the Lord and attend church.
It is not true if they say they know God without accepting the Lord or living without any relationship with God.
With the faith of children, they know not only that God is their Father but also that they have to obey the word of God the Father.
But sometimes they obey and at other times they don’t. When they are tested and tempted, sometimes they complain, grudge, or get discouraged.
That is why their faith is children’s faith.
Thirdly, about the faith of young men it says, “You are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
‘The word of God abides in you’ means they keep and practice all the words of God. Because God’s word abides in their heart, they have hope for heaven, and so they do not look at the world. Even when the evil ones, the enemy devil and Satan temp them, they can overcome with the word without being deceived.
At this level, they stand firm on the word, so they have the strength not to be shaken in any test.
They overcome the tests with thanks and praising, and praying without ceasing.
Lastly, the faith of a father is the level to know the one who has been from the beginning. Of course, the one who has been from the beginning is God.
But to know God at this level is completely different from knowing God at the level of a child. to know God at the faith of child is just like children recognizing the faces of their parents and obeying their words.
Children know their parents, but they do not know many things about their parents such their parents’ hometown, what kind of personalities they have, etc. Even if the parents explain to their children what they have in mind in detail, the children cannot understand the depth.
But the faith of a father is the faith to know even the deep things of God, and the origin of God the great Creator.
For example, because Moses knew the origin of God, he received revelations from God and wrote the five books. Moses was at the level of such great faith.
Because Abraham understood the deep heart of God and showed the deeds to please God, he was recognized as a friend of God. This level is to know the one who has been from the beginning.
Likening the measure of faith with the growing process of men, which level of faith does your faith belong to?
Those who are at the level of little children should diligently learn the word of God and obey it to grow up to the faith of children. Also, those who are at the faith of children should quickly come into the level of faith of young men.
If you want to give glory to God in everything and lead a victorious Christian life as children of the almighty God, you should at least get into the level of young men.
Even if you are at the level of young men, you should long for the level of a father, clearly communicating with the Father.
Other than this, in Ezekiel chapter 47, different measures of faith are explained with the depth of water in the vision that Ezekiel saw.
Ezekiel saw in a vision that water was flowing from under the threshold of the house. The water flowed around the house and flowed out to the outside of the house.
Ezekiel 47:3-5 says, “When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water [reaching] the ankles. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water [reaching] the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through [the water,] water [reaching] the loins. Again he measured a thousand; [and it was] a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, [enough] water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.”
Here, water symbolizes the word of God. It was God’s word that came out from the sanctuary going out to the whole world.
This vision implies that God will measure each one’s measure of faith at the Final Judgment, and the judgment will be made without single error.
For example, if the water reaches ankles, it is the faith of little children with which they can barely be saved. The river that could not be forded symbolizes the faith of a father, dwelling in the word of God completely.
God judges everybody according to the measure of each one’s faith.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 also gives us a parable about measure of faith.
“Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is [to be] revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.”
Here, the foundation refers to Jesus Christ.
Each one will build up their faith on this foundation. According to each one’s work, namely the deeds of each one’s faith, the rewards that he will receive will be decided.
The day to show the work will be explained in three aspects. First, it is when we are evaluated for our church duties. At the end of each quarter or year, each one’s fruit will be evaluated as to how he performed his duty with faith.
Those who have done their duties well enough will receive rewards, but those who have not might receive rebukes or they will not receive the duty next time.
Second, it is when we face with fiery test. Even those who seem to have enthusiasm and faith, sometimes find out that they do not have true faith when they face tests.
Third the day to show the work is the Day of Judgment before God on the final day. Everybody’s work will be revealed before the judging throne of God and each one will receive rewards or punishment.
Those who have faith like pure gold will not sway even during fiery tests. They overcome the tests with thanks and joy and receive greater blessings than before.
But as the level goes down to silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw, the strength to overcome the tests decreases. Silver is not burned but is less precious than gold.
Although precious stones are not burned up in the fire, their value decreases drastically if they are broken.
Those at the faith like precious stones usually seems to be doing well, but in tests, their passion cools down and they lose the fullness.
But they still have the faith to receive salvation, and though not as good as the faith of gold or silver, they have heavenly rewards, too.
But wood and hay are burned in fire. It means they have faith to barely receive salvation, but they will be burned up in the fire, so they will have no heavenly rewards.
If one has faith like straw, not only all his rewards will be burned up, but also he will not even receive salvation.
He attends church and seems to lead a life in faith, but in him he has no faith to receive salvation. This is the case of building up one’s work with straw.
I hope none of you who are listening to this message will fail to receive salvation having faith like straw that has no work.
Faith of hay and wood is not enough, and you shouldn’t be satisfied with the faith of precious stones and silver.
I hope you will all have faith like pure gold and receive great honor and rewards when God tests the work of each one on the last day.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we have seen in today’s message, the Bible tells us in many places about measure of faith.
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.” As said, we should have greater measure of faith, up to the measure of the fullness of Christ.
To do this, it says, we have to attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.
It means we should not just hear and know it in our brain but believe it in our heart and accomplish it in our heart.
When you have nothing to do with sins by doing that, you can become true children that God wants, and you can share eternal love with the Lord, walking with Him both on this earth and in heaven.
This is the most important goal in our Christian life.
From the next session, we will divide the measures of faith into five levels and explain them to you from the 1st level. Also, I will briefly talk to you about the heavenly dwelling place and the crown for each level of faith.
When you are on a long journey, if you there is a signpost and you know how much more you have to go to reach your destination, you can keep going with more strength without losing the way in the middle.
In the same way, if you understand the different levels of faith, you can more easily distinguish where you are at now, and you can have greater faith.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will obey the word of God as you understand it, and change your heart into truth, so that you will reach the measure of the fullness of the Christ.