[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,
Before I became a minister, I visited many prayer mountain locations to fast and pray. One day, many pastors from all over the country gathered at a prayer mountain and I heard their conversations.
The subject of the conversation was whether God’s children are able to keep the Ten Commandments.
What do you think the conclusion was? They concluded that men cannot keep all of the Ten Commandments. They were saying they had to try to keep them, but because they couldn’t cast off the sinful natures from their heart, they couldn’t keep the commandments completely.
For example, about the command, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ they were saying they could keep it with action on the outside, but they couldn’t cast off the adulterous mind itself. I felt so sorry listening to their conversation.
I kept all the Ten Commandments being just a layman believer, but they were saying those things as ministers. I couldn’t understand how they could think like that.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; [that is,] that you abstain from sexual immorality.” Also, Matthew 5:48 says, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
It is the will of the Father God for us to cast off all sins and become complete and perfect. God does not command us to do something we cannot do. God commands us to do it because we can do it with His power by faith, although we cannot do it with our own ability.
But today, even ministers do not cast off sinful natures from their heart not to mention layman members of churches.
Some of them may try to live by the Word and not to commit sins with their actions, but they cannot make their heart itself holy.
They do not progress at the 2nd Level of Faith. Thus, although they believe in God the Almighty, they cannot experience His works that are recorded in the Bible.
Only when we obey His word by casting off our sins and increasing our faith, can God show us His powerful works according to our faith.
But if the faith of believers does not grow up but stays at the 1st or the 2nd levels of faith, God cannot work more than the measure of our faith. But you learned the will of God through these messages.
You should cast off not only sins committed in action but also the sinful natures in your heart. You know your faith grows to the extent that you cast off your sins.
As much as you change yourself after listening to the messages, God’s Word, that is living and active, will work in your lives so that you will be able to experience amazing works of God.
Then, you can reveal the living God who is omnipotent and omniscient, and you can give glory to Him who blesses His children.
I hope you will check the condition of your faith through the message preached today and go into the higher levels of faith more quickly.
By doing this, may you experience God’s works in which nothing is impossible and give glory to God with your lives that become full of testimonies, in the name of the Lord I pray.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the 9th session of the ‘Measure of Faith’, and today, I will talk about the 3rd Level of Faith that is continued from the last session.
I told you the 3rd Level of Faith is the faith to practice the word. When you receive the Holy Spirit and the measure of faith that is as small as a mustard seed and it is sown, you begin your Christian life at the 1st Level of Faith.
The seed will sprout and grow up, so you gain faith to act. Then, to the extent that you understand God’s word in your heart through your effort to practice it, you grow up in faith.
There is tremendous difference between the 2nd level where you try to practice the Word, and the 3rd level where you actually do practice the Word. Up to the second level, you try to practice the Word, but because you do not fully practice it, you may seem to have both the things of the world and the things of the church and the Lord.
But from the 3rd level on, your deeds and actions change. You become the light and salt in your everyday life. So, people around you often say, “A true believer is different.”
Even if somebody curses at you or rebukes you for no reason, you do not fight back but endure it quietly.
Even if you have mountain-like obstacles before you, you do not become irritated or frustrated but try to rejoice and give thanks.
In this world where everybody tries to seek only their own benefit, you try to seek the benefit of others and serve all people.
Thus, concerning those who are at the 3rd level of faith, even the worldly people can say, “He is different, since he believing in God,.”
But to act in this way, you should not just know the word of God as knowledge but you have to understand its meaning in your heart.
You have to understand clearly in your heart that God blesses you when you obey His word, and He keeps and protects you. He remains with you to the extent that you dwell in the light.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, until you realize this in your heart, you have a struggle in your heart.
So, many of you say you feel it is most burdensome when you are at the 2nd level of faith.
It is difficult to quit to drinking and smoking because you still want to like you used when totally in the world. You want to hit someone who angers you, but you would feel guilty about not having the strength to endure it.
And when you commit a sin not being able to endure it, the Holy Spirit groans in you, so your heart is troubled again.
You know you should rejoice and give thanks in tests and trials, but you feel the difficult reality more greatly, so you feel it difficult to pass through each test one by one with faith.
But although it is hard, because you know you have to live by the word and you can go to heaven by doing that, so you keep on trying to practice the word.
As you keep on trying in this way, from a certain moment, you come to understand the meaning of God’s word and you can believe in your heart that it is blessings to live by God’s word. This is the beginning of the 3rd level.
In the 3rd level of faith, practicing God’s word becomes more natural and more habitual. Of course, as explained in the last session, even at the 3rd level you have to struggle against the things of the flesh and you have to struggle against sins up to the point of shedding blood, you may feel it is difficult.
But even in those struggles, it is very different from the struggle of a person at the 2nd level of faith who struggles against the works of the flesh. Especially, if you get to 60% of the 3rd level and can stand on the rock of faith. Then most of your sinful natures are cast off, so you won’t find it difficult to practice the word.
You do not just try to endure and not to give out evil, but you can actually cast off the sinful natures themselves from your heart, so you don’t show any evil. If you get into the 3rd level where you can understand in your heart and practice the word, your Christian life wouldn’t be difficult, but rather, each day will by joyful and glad.
Let me give you an example. In a boxing match, the fight is very fierce when the two players are equally matched.
If one hits, the other one also hits. If one hits five times, the other one also hits five times. After a fierce fight, either one might win or lose.
This is the 2nd level of faith. You sometimes win or lose struggling against the enemy devil and Satan. But, if one of these two boxers trains very hard, and if his skills become very different, the situation between the fighters also becomes very different.
One may be able to hit ten times while his opponent can hit only five times or even just one or two times.
The number of blows one receives may be different. But, the harder he trains the more successful he will be against his opponent in the game. To the extent that his skills are better, he feels it is easier since he receives fewer numbers of punches.
This is the 3rd level of faith. Within the 3rd level, as you get closer to the 4th level, you receive few blows, so you can win the battle more easily.
No matter how much another person gives you a hard time, though you may not love him, at least you do not hate him.
Let’s say you are badly in need of money, and picked up a wallet on the street. You no longer have conflict whether to return it to the owner or not. You naturally try to find the owner. Even if somebody tells you he will give you a million dollars for violating the Sabbath just once, you won’t be tempted.
If you are at the beginning of the 3rd level, you may think, “Can I not violate it once? A million dollars is a big amount,” but you eventually drive that thought away and keep the Sabbath since you are at the 3rd level.
After you get into the 3rd Level of Faith, to the extent that you cast off things of the flesh one by one, and the closer you get to the 4th level, and you feel it increasingly easier to lead a life in Christ.
Also, to the extent you cast off sins, you can communicate with God more clearly and feel His love more deeply, so that you will be filled with joy and happiness deep in your heart.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the later part of 1 John 2:14 says, “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.”
The faith of the young men here represents the 3rd Level of Faith. Because God’s word dwells in them, they could act by it, and with the sword of God’s word, you can overcome the evil one, the enemy devil and Satan.
Thus, if your face is dark and worrisome continually in a difficulty, you cannot be said to be at the 3rd level of faith.
At the 3rd level of faith, even if worries come into you mind, you soon change your thought and try to rely on God offering prayers of thanks.
You ask for the power of God who works in all things for the good and changes misfortunes into good fortune.
Furthermore, if you stand on the rock of faith or above that level, you keep the commands of God, so you have the confidence that God the almighty is listening to your prayers.
Because you dwell in the light, you do not fear the devil and you have confidence that you can overcome it. You may feel it is difficult if you try to solve problems all by yourself, but if you rely on God’s power, there is nothing difficult.
David was just a young boy when he fought against Goliath. But, did not fear anything.
He confessed, “and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands,” and bravely defeated Goliath.
If you dwell in the word of God if the word of God dwells in you, you can confess as boldly as David did and win the victory with the power of God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when you lead a Christian life for a long time and gain experiences you are likely to receive church titles. You may become an elder, a senior deaconess, or a cell leader or a small group leader to take of souls.
But if you become a leader among the members, you shouldn’t just lead a life in Christ for a long time, but you should be at the 3rd Level of Faith at least.
If you do not practice the Word and are not able to make your own faith stand firm being at the 2nd Level of Faith, you cannot really guide other souls.
Also, if you have been a Christian for a long enough time to become a leader, you should have come into at least 3rd Level of Faith.
You have listened to so many messages and if you are still at the 2nd level, it means you have missed the meaning of all the words, you have not paid attention, and how embarrassing it is before God?
The time to go into the 3rd level from the 2nd level won’t be long if you just try.
Of course, if you do not try for a long time, you will still be at the 2nd level or you may even backslide to the 1st level. In the worst case, you may not even receive salvation.
That’s why Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Of course by saying, ‘neither hot nor cold’, God does not mean you should be cold in your faith. It means if you are rather cold in your faith, you may receive punishment and turn back.
But if you are lukewarm and your faith stopped growing up, you do not realize your problem and at a certain point, the Holy Spirit may be extinguished.
But if you have a church title, you should obviously try your best and change yourself to be at least at the 3rd Level of Faith.
In other words, if you are at the 3rd Level of Faith, you should take care of those who are at the 1st or the 2nd Level of Faith so that they can also go into the 3rd Level of Faith.
If you truly have faith to practice the word, you can never forget our Jesus’ plea saying, “I am thirsty,” on the cross.
You don’t think it’s sufficient just to keep your own faith, but you will want to share the gospel and take care of other souls to pay back the price of the blood of Jesus. You should become a cell leader or a small group leader and take care of souls with the heart of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 5:2-3 says, “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to [the will of] God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”
When you take care of the flock of God, you should do it voluntarily with your love for God. You have to serve them without selfish motives and set the example according to God’s word.
Some people who have been Christians for a long time say they cannot do any church duty because they are busy struggling against their sins and are involved in the process of refinement.
But this is not right in the sight of God. As God tells us that we have to pray for His kingdom and righteousness when we pray, we have to try hard to accomplish the kingdom of God even while we struggle against sins.
When we do our duty of caring for those with weak faith and praying for them, we can understand the heart of the Lord and of your shepherd more deeply, and you can accomplish sanctification more quickly.
You could have grown up to be used as God’s workers because there were people who took care of you and guided you when you had only little faith.
In the process of paying back that debt of love, you should be able to endure and love in the caring for the flock who have no faith and give you hard times.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I told you passing the 1st and the 2nd levels and going into the 3rd Level of Faith can be done quickly. It’s because you can obey “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of God’s words only if you just make up your mind.
But to go into the 4th level from the 3rd level, it takes more time. In order to understand the will of God and cast off sins in the deep heart, you need a lot of prayer and time.
But this can also be done quickly according to how much you try. If you long for it earnestly and ask for God’s grace and strength, you can go into the 4th level quickly.
But the problem is with those people who love God, keep His commands, and are faithful before God in their efforts, but feel somewhat uncomfortable or reserved in the heart because they do not go into spirit even after a long time.
They stand on the rock of faith and are at the last stage of the 3rd level, so they want to go into spirit quickly, but they have stopped. I will explain to you how you can overcome the stoppage of your faith and go into spirit quickly in the next session.
Let me conclude the message. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when they see poisonous snakes, ordinary people hate them and try to avoid them and not be bitten. But snake catchers do not run away but with sharp eyes approach the snakes to catch them. Then, the poisonous snakes get afraid.
When a bloodthirsty tiger is about to attack, ordinary people will get scared, but experienced hunters will say, “I am lucky today for I am going to take big game.”
Do you understand why I am saying this? The enemy devil and Satan prowl around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and give them tests and trials to lead them to death. That is why in this world, there are disasters and pains and the worldly people always have to worry about the future.
They do regular medical checks and apply for insurance to deal with unexpected problems. But if they face hardships that cannot be handled with men’s ability, they can only lament in pain.
But those with faith do not even face misfortune, and even when they face some tests, they do not fear but just ask for God’s power.
As Joshua and Caleb confessed, “they shall be our prey,” you can consider the tests you face as a chance to receive blessings so that you can overcome them and defeat the enemy devil and Satan to give glory to God.
James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” As said, I hope you will submit to God’s word and dwell in light completely.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will resist the devil bravely and win the victory all the time so that you will become spiritual warriors who glorify God and guide many souls to God.