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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   2010 Prayer Title(2) - The Measure of Faith    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   1 John 2:12-14
Date
   2010-01-03



Passage

1 John 2:12-14
[12] I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. [13] 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. [14] 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.

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are facing a new year, 2010.
Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has given us the faith to come to the church and build an altar before God on this first Sunday of the year.
2010 will be a year in which Manmin will face a new era.
So far Manmin has been sowing the seeds of faith diligently.
The seeds have budded and matured, and now it's time to harvest.
But how are we going to harvest the fruit?
First, we will harvest numerous souls just as farmers harvest abundant crops from the field.
Until now we have been spreading the gospel of holiness and the power of God all around the world through many overseas crusades, broadcasting, and publication.
We will save many souls through these ministries.
In this process you have sown with your tearful prayers, faithfulness, and devotion.
And each of you will reap the blessing for all these things that you have sown.
Of course, God has given many fruits to us already.
But the reaping from this time on will be in a different dimension.
It will be as if we were scooping up countless grains that are as numerous as sand on a beach. It is the blessing of an overflowing harvest with fruit so abundant that they would draw the branches down.
I am so happy and full of excited expectations just thinking about it.
But you should remember one thing at this beginning point of blessing.
It is that the workers can harvest only according to their ability, even though there is so much to harvest.
The bigger the vessel you become, and the more capable you are, the more harvest you can gather.
On the contrary, if you have a smaller vessel and lesser capability, you can reap only to that extent of your limitations.
In spirit, faith is the vessel and the ability.
The greater measure of faith you have, the more fruit you can reap.
Brothers and sisters, even though children want to become grown up adults so much, they cannot become one overnight.
It's the same with the measure of faith.
You cannot have great measure of faith overnight.
Therefore, facing this new year, I would like you to check the measure of your faith.
If you find out that your measure of faith is less than what you expected, I urge you to make a good New Year's resolution to increase your faith.
I pray in the name of the Lord that all of you will increase your faith very much and be able to reap abundant harvests in this beginning of the "Year of Harvest".

[Main]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what do we have to do to cause our measure of faith to quickly increase?
First, we have to correctly measure our measure of faith.
We should not consider outward conditions like the titles or the duties we have, but we have to measure the heart against the scale of the word of God.
When we measure our faith, first of all, we have to check how much spiritual faith we have and not the amount of fleshly faith.
Those who have fleshly faith believe only what agrees with their own ideas and mindset.
So, even though they see so many signs and wonders, they sometimes pass judgment on the preacher who delivers the word.
When faced with difficulties, they do not rely on the word of God but worldly methods.
Moreover they complain and display their resentment before God.
The foremost trait of those who have fleshly faith is that they don't have any changes in their lives.
They attend church for several years or even decades, but they are not much different from the worldly people. They compromise with the world and dwell in sin.
On the other hand, without fail, faith causes changes to occur in a person's life.
Believing in God, and Heaven, and Hell, how could we not change?
We would definitely cast away sins and evil and strive for goodness. We would also be faithful to God.
If you realize that you have fleshly faith, I hope you will consider all your thoughts and knowledge as nothing.
Just try to say only 'Amen' to the word of God.
Then, God will give you spiritual faith.
Your measure of faith will increase to the extent that you act according to the word.
Brothers and sisters, in today's reading passage 1 John 2:12-14, it likens the measures of faith with the little children, children, young men, and fathers.
In spirit, those who have just accepted the Lord are just like new-born babies.
As their faith grows up, matures and reaches the full measure, they are like 'fathers' in spirit.
Then, what kind of person are you in the sight of God?
Are you like a fragile child? Or are you a trustworthy young man? Are you like a 'father' on whom others can depend?

When you measure your faith, you should neither underestimate nor overestimate your measure.
You may mistakenly think that you have a great measure of faith because you are in a teaching position or a leader in the church, or you have been doing many works for the kingdom of God.
Or, you may just forget about your shortcomings and think that you have a great measure of faith as you think about only what you have achieved.
In this case, your spiritual growth will be slow.
Because of the desire to be at ease and arrogance, you may even backslide in faith.
On the other hand, it is also a problem if you underestimate your faith.
If you become passive in thinking that you have a small measure of faith, your spiritual growth will also be slow.
So, let me explain to you briefly the process of the growth of faith so you can correctly discern the measure of your faith.
The measure of a person's faith can generally be divided into five levels.
I have preached this message many times and also there is a book about it, so let me explain just very briefly here.
The first level of faith is the faith to receive salvation.
You realize that you are a sinner and have just accepted Jesus Christ.
We call the first level of faith 'the faith to receive Holy Spirit'.
In case of a new-believer, we can discern whether he has faith to receive salvation or not, by checking whether he has received the Holy Spirit.
In the first level of faith, you do not have much knowledge of the Word, and you don't really know what sins are.
Even though you commit sins, you do not feel the groaning of the Holy Spirit very well.
But there is another case. You may think only new-believers belong to the first level of faith, but it's not true.
Even those who have been believers for a long time may still be at the first level of faith.
If they know the word but do not even try to practice it, it means they have only the first level of faith.
There is yet another case. One who seems to have good faith commits works of flesh.
Then he is also at the first level of faith.
Works of flesh refer to sins committed in action such as lying, stealing, or adultery.
Right after you receive the Holy Spirit, even those at the first level of faith obey all the teachings being full of the Holy Spirit.
So, they may seem to have great faith.
But at one moment, they may look back at the world and lose the fullness of the Spirit. Then, they may follow their old habits and commit sins.
If this continues, the Holy Spirit can even be extinguished.
It is not easy for them just to keep the first level of faith.
Therefore, if you belong to the first level of faith, you should not just stay as you are.
You should attend worship services, prayer meetings, and other meetings to learn the word and practice what you learn.
You should quickly grow up to the second and third levels of faith.
Next, the second level of faith is the faith of trying to practice the word of God.
As you continue your life in Christ, you learn the word of God and come to understand it.
You learn about keeping the Lord's Day holy and giving tithes, and that you have to cast away evil such as hatred, envy, judging, and condemning others.
So you try to practice the word. But you do not practice it completely.
For example, you may sometimes miss the Sunday service because of some occasions.
You may commit works of the flesh, too.
In the second level, the desire of the Holy Spirit and the desire of flesh confront each other the most, so you feel the most difficult times in a Christian life.
But some people who are at the second level of faith think they are in the third level or higher.
They think they attend all Sunday morning and evening services, pray, and fulfill their duties.
But if you look into their lives more carefully, they sometimes get angry and create quarrels.
They tell a lie, but do not even realize it. These people belong to the second level of faith.
Of course, since they do not commit grave works of the flesh, they are close to the third level.
But even though you cast away 99% of the works of the flesh, you are still at the second level of faith for they still have the 1% remaining.
Next, the third level of faith is the faith to practice the word of God.
If you are at the third level of faith, you understand the word of God within the heart and obey it.
For example, you hear that it is a blessing to keep the Lord's Day holy and give tithes.
But in reality, it is very difficult to obey the word.
But those who are at the third level of faith will still keep the Lord's Day and give the tithes.
It's because they believe from heart that it is the way to blessing to keep the Lord's Day and give tithes.
Also, when they receive great blessings and the amount of their tithe is huge, they don't hesitate to give.
At the third level of faith, you do not commit the works of the flesh.
It's because you understand from heart how filthy those sins are.
But you have not cast away the things of the flesh, which are the sins that you commit in thoughts, such as hatred, adulterous mind, passing judgment and condemnation in thoughts.
You are in the process of casting off these things of the flesh to the point of shedding blood.
If you do not commit any works of the flesh but still have some untruthful thoughts like hatred, judging and condemning, you are at the third level of faith.
As you cast away the untruth diligently and reach the 60th percentile of the third level, we say you are 'standing at the rock of faith'.
One of the evidences of standing on the rock of faith is to obey the word in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says, "Rejoice always; [17] pray without ceasing; [18] in everything give thanks."
Therefore, if you do not rejoice or give thanks on some occasions, it means you are not standing on the rock of faith.
Brothers and sisters, if you cast away all things of the flesh, namely sins in heart, then you reach the fourth level of faith.
There is no evil to come out even though you are shaken so much.
So, if you accomplish the fourth level of faith, we say you are a man of spirit. You are a true child of God who resembles Him.
The fourth level of faith is the faith to love the Lord to the utmost degree.
It is the level in which you keep the commandments of God because you love Him.
You do not obey the word just because of some advice or instruction, or just to show to others.
You obey with true love that stems from the heart.
Therefore, if you conduct your religious practices because of other people even just a little bit, realize that you are still a man of flesh.
For example, please check whether your behavior is the same between when you meet with me, and when you interact with a little one.
Some people always appear humble, full of Spirit, and gracious in front of me. And I am thankful for that.
But sometimes I hear of very different behaviors of those persons.
If your behavior changes according to the person who you interact with, you are not acting in true faith.
God is always watching you even though no one else is watching you.
Angels are writing down each of your words and deeds.
Thus, the important thing is to make your invisible heart perfect.
Those who love God to the utmost degree will live within the Law of God.
Whether anybody is watching them or not, they act in the same, gracious way.
Also, they do not practice the truth in an attempt to be recognized and loved, or expecting something in return.
They just work faithfully with their thanks for salvation and their love for God.
Finally, the fifth level of faith is the faith to please God.
It is the faith that goes beyond the level of just loving God to the utmost degree. You understand the deep heart of God and please Him by moving His heart.
It is the level of the faith of Jesus who understood the heart of God deeply and obeyed until death.
Those who have the fifth level of faith do not have any 'self' or 'ego' in their heart.
They only have God the Father, the Lord, and other souls.
Thus, if they accumulate a lot of prayers, they can manifest signs and wonders.
They can perform with the power of God.
Also, they are faithful in all God's household.
They overflowingly fulfill their duties, and they are faithful in all their responsibilities.
I believe the leaders in the church would like to become such faithful workers.
But even though you have such longing, please check whether you just kept quiet in a situation where you had to rise up and keep the church.
Also, leaders are supposed to care for all the church members with generous hearts and take care of various works of the church.
So, I urge you to check whether or not you still have narrow vision, and whether you are staying in a small and limiting framework.
I would also like you to check whether you insist on your own wisdom, your personal ability and your will while you ought to obey as God's workers.
Even though you have such things, God has called you believing that each of you will change.
I hope you will live up to this expectation of God and become faithful and trustworthy servants like Moses.
Brothers and sisters, now, what do you feel as you tried to check your measure of faith?
Was it satisfactory for you?
God lets you check the measure of your faith to increase the faith of each and every individual.
He never wants you to lose heart.
The important thing is the kind of attitude you will have from now on.
Some people try to become sanctified, but if things don't go as they want, they give up trying, thinking they are just fleshly persons, they were born with evil attributes, or they were raised in unfavorable environments.

Some of them even cause difficulties for others saying, "I am like this because I am flesh."
They have ill-feelings and recklessly utter harsh words if others do not please them or meet their expectations.
But you should never act this way.
This is something that is foolish. It results in hardening yourself with flesh more and more.
It is a rule of the spiritual realm that you will 'reap the fruit of your words'.
It is more difficult for them to change because they speak out negative words being discouraged and this accumulates more flesh.
Even though you are born with some evil attributes or raised in unfavorable environments, you can surely change by the love of God.
The important thing is your faith and the profession that you can accomplish change.
You must also expend the effort to practice goodness as best as you can.
Therefore, facing this new year, I urge you to make up your mind once again and begin to store up goodness and have the desire to please God. In particular, you have to guard your mouth.
Your lips have to express only words of goodness.
If you continue to pray fervently you can cast away sins and evil that seemed to be impossible to cast away. You can change.
Be on alert and always pray having hope, faith, and love.
I also urge you to diligently pile up good heartedness and deeds of goodness such as reading and hearing the word to find out what you need to change yourself, and to be of service to others and the kingdom of God.
As you keep on doing so, you will certainly see the changes in yourself towards the end of this year.

[Conclusion]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, one of the easy ways to check one's measure of faith is to see whether or not you are at peace.
Please try to discern whether you make people happy or you give others hard times making them uncomfortable.
Then, you can understand what kind of faith you have to some degree.
Hebrews 10:22 says, "let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Workers who have peace with everyone and anyone; workers who do not change in any situation; and workers who can say 'Amen' from heart for any words spoken to them are the workers who have true hearts and perfect faith.
I hope many of you will become such workers and create the waves of changes, being a positive influence to one another.
You will have to take care of countless souls who will come soon.
So, your level of faith should be at a minimum of the third level where you don't commit any works of the flesh.
Also, leaders should at least stand on the rock of faith and accomplish the fourth and fifth levels of faith.
Above all, you have the duty to help fill the large city of New Jerusalem.
In fact, one of the core reasons why you have to reach the full measure of faith yourself is this very reason.
Thus, I hope you will quickly achieve a grown up measure of faith and give glory to God greatly through the ministries we have for this New Year.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will participate in the greatest glory both on earth and in New Jerusalem.

[Amen]

 
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