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   Justice and Mercy and Faithfulness(2) - Justice and Mercy and Faithfulness (2)    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Matthew 23:23


[Matthew 23:23]
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others."

Lastly, 'faithfulness' refers to our faith towards God.
Hebrew 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
In keeping the commandments of God, we first have to believe that God is living.
We also have to believe that God rewards us when we keep His commands.
The Pharisees and scribes thought they believed in God, but they did not truly believe.
Colossians 3:22 says, "Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord."
The Pharisees and scribes kept the commandments, but they only had external service to be recognized by others.
Namely, they did not acknowledge God who was searching the depths of their hearts.
If they really acknowledged the living God, they would also have believed in judgment.
They would also have feared God, who would destroy the evil people and pay back unrighteousness with punishments.
If they really believed in God from the heart, they would have believed in God, who rewards good deeds, and they would have practiced righteousness with hope.
Brothers and sisters, you are conducting a 'New Jerusalem Campaign' to really live by the word of God.
It is important to participate in such a movement, but something even more important is the kind of heart you have.
You should have the hope that you can also go to New Jerusalem.
God allows for better heavenly places to those who will take hold of them by force.
That being when you try to cut off the worldly things, learn the word of God, pray, and look up to this God.
Believe in God who will reward you when you practice the word.
Then, you can cast away sins and work faithfully with joy.
It's because you know your place is being constructed in a better heavenly place and there are more rewards being stored up.
I hope you will keep all the commands of God with faith and joy that tell us to do, not do, keep, or cast away certain things.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Now, I explained justice, mercy, and faithfulness are important. But, does that mean the deeds are not important?
As Jesus said in the reading passage, we have to do these things, namely we have to cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness, without neglecting the others, namely without neglecting the deeds such as giving the tithes.
If we cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness in our hearts, we will naturally have the deeds of following and keeping the commandments.
We will worship and pray with all our heart.
We will give proper tithes and offerings and work for God faithfully.
You can keep on practicing the word of God with your heart even though you have not yet fully cultivated justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
God will see your heart and guide you to quickly cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness in you.
Namely, your faith will increase quickly.
On the contrary, you should not mistakenly think that you are living by the word just because you have outward deeds.
If that's the case, your faith might even stop growing.
From Isaiah 1:11-14, we can see how earnestly God wants us to cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness in our heart.
I want you to feel God's heart from the passage.
"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them."
Namely, even though you give so many offerings and perform holy rituals, God is not pleased at all if you practice evil at the same time.
God says those things have become a burden to Him and He is weary of bearing them.
Therefore, you should remember that everything you give to God will be pleasing to Him only when you cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Now, what do we have to do to cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness?
We have to circumcise our heart.
Jeremiah 4:4 says, "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem."
Here, to remove the foreskins of heart means that we have to wash away our heart that is stained with sins and evil.
In the Old Testament circumcision was physically done to the body.
Circumcision is to remove the foreskin of men's penis.
The Old Testament is the shadow for the New Testament.
In the New Testament, we do true circumcision, which is not the circumcision of body but of the heart.
It is said in Colossians 2:11, "And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ"
It was not easy to circumcise the heart in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament we can do it because we have the help of the Holy Spirit.
In the above verse, the removal of the body of the flesh is to cast off filthy flesh from our heart.
We can cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness when we fundamentally remove the dirty sins and evil, which is the perishing flesh, by circumcising our heart.
But today, even among the believers in God, there are many people who do not circumcise their heart because they do not know the truth correctly.
Some people even believe that their heart is completely circumcised the moment they accept the Lord.
But how can it be said that the heart is circumcised while it has a foul odor coming out?
We have to keep on circumcising our heart until the filthy things are completely removed, namely until the root of sins are completely pulled out from our heart.
Also, we must not stop the circumcision of the heart midway.
Some people have a stoppage in their faith.
They have been believers for a long time and have fulfilled many duties, but at a certain moment they stop circumcising their hearts.
Unless we circumcise our heart, we cannot learn the word, pray, or work faithfully with all our heart.
We can just do them as a duty or a habit.
We cannot communicate with God clearly either.
We cannot receive answers to our prayers, and in performing our duties, we do not have any spiritual power or authority.
Namely, we cannot keep the command with justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Why is it, then, they stop circumcising their hearts?
The greatest reason is because they look back at the world and take it in again.
Of course, some people have a stoppage of faith when their faith has reached a certain level, even though they do not look back at or take in the worldly things.
What is the reason for this case?
It's because they have not become spiritual children.
They have to be humble and simple before God, but because they have some experience in the faith, they come before God with the attitudes of 'grown adults'.
At the bottom of that attitude is arrogance.
Acts 7:51 says, "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did."
Namely, they go against the Holy Spirit because of arrogance.
They do not obey God.
For example, consider the case of the sons of Israel at the time of the Exodus.
The sons of Israel had experienced so many signs and wonders of God through their leader, Moses.
Nevertheless, they stood against Moses and kept on disobeying him, although God was with him.
This resulted in the anger of God, and they could not go into the Promised Land of Canaan.
If you have stopped circumcising your heart from a certain moment, I hope you will start it again.
Brothers and sisters, God is full of compassion.
He gives us so many chances.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 says, "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God."
The history of Israel in the Old Testament can be summarized in two words.
They are 'judgment' and 'salvation'.
The sons of Israel forsook God and committed sins repeatedly.
God judged them according to justice.
God put them in the hands of the Gentiles or gave them diseases or natural disasters came upon them.
Nevertheless, if the sons of Israel repented and cried out to Him, He saved them again and again.
God judged according to justice, but if they repented, He forgave them and saved them with His mercy and love.

God is love itself, and He is our father.
As you witnessed on December 25 last year, God has given us so many chances.
Even right now, He is pouring down His grace so the believers who committed sins can turn from sins and completely remove the foreskin of their hearts.
He is awakening those who have been in spiritual slumber for a long time.
He is melting the arrogant and hardened hearts with the power of the Holy Spirit and the original lights.
I hope you will circumcise your heart to cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness completely as He is giving you these chances.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As you remove the dirty skin from your heart, a new flesh would replace it.
The new flesh is soft and mild and is sensitive.
So, your heart that has the new flesh will more easily feel the love of God and His grace.
So, if you circumcise your heart, you can live in overflowing joy every day.
Also, because you have cast away dirty things from heart, the fragrance of Christ will be spread around you.
2 Corinthians 2:15 says, "For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." As said, the fragrance of Christ will naturally come out from your face, words, and actions.
Furthermore, whatever you give to God, the beautiful aroma from the depth of your heart will be offered up to God.
The outward deed of practicing the word may look the same but the aroma will be much thicker and concentrated.
According to this extent, the love and blessing of God will be given in a different dimension.
Therefore, quickly circumcise your heart to cultivate justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
I hope you will become true children who can be praised that you are beautiful and proper in whatever you do, so that you can give great joy to God.

===[For the Korean Thanksgiving Holiday]============
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be prosperous on your trips to and from your hometowns.
I also urge you not to bow down before idols in any case.