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Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Measure of Faith(12) - 4th Level of Faith (1)    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   Romans12:3
Date
   2006-01-15



[Passage]

[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, although so many people accept and believe in the Lord Jesus, the measure of each one's faith is different.

The least level, the 1st Level of Faith, is a level where you just accepted the Lord, received the Holy Spirit and are saved, just like a newborn baby.

The 2nd level, which is higher than the 1st level, is the level where you try to live by the word of God because you believe in Him.

Even if you sometimes do not keep the word, you keep on trying and gain more strength to practice the word. After you get into the third level by trying in this way, you can practice the word with more stability.

As you realize and understand the will and love of God in His words one by one, you don't feel burdensome to practice His word but you will keep it naturally like a habit.

And when those who keep God's word this way cast off sinful natures in their heart, they enter into the fourth level of faith.

If you reach the 4th level, you become a man of spirit, whom God wants to gain so much.

This is the 12th session of the measure of faith, and I will talk to you about the 4th Level of Faith. I hope all of you members will go into spirit and whole spirit through the message preached.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will experience the works of the almighty God in every aspect of you life and manifest the glory of God to the whole world.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the 4th Level of Faith is the faith to love the Lord to the utmost degree.

Of course, we can say you love the Lord at the 3rd level also. John 14:15 says, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." So, since you keep the commands of God, you can say you love God.

But because you have not cast off sinful natures in your heart, you feel somewhat embarrassed and sorry to confess, "I love you, Lord."

If you reach the 4th Level of Faith with a pure heart, you can boldly confess that you love the Lord. God will He will receive your confession with joy. When you confess your love, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Let us compare the 2nd, 3rd, and the 4th levels of faith with one example. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always; [17] pray without ceasing; [18] in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

At the 2nd level, you know these words, but if you face difficulties and trials, you cannot rejoice but complain and sometimes you stop praying. But at the 3rd level, even when you face difficulties, you can rejoice and give thanks as the word tells us.

Of course, at the beginning of the 3rd level, rather than rejoicing and giving thanks from the depth of your heart, if you feel your trials are very difficult you may feel burdened saying, "Why do I have to go through this?".

But it's at the 3rd level of faith you try to drive away this kind of thought immediately and rejoice and give thanks as the word of God tells us. If you pass the middle stage of the 3rd level and stand on the rock of faith, you hardly have this kind of thought and can rejoice and give thanks from your heart.

If you go further and get to the 4th level, you will have overflowing joy from your heart even when you face such great hardships and life-threatening situations.

You can pray to God with thanks and praise Him with joy even though you are thrown into fire or go into lion's den for no reason, just like Daniel and his three friends.

Because you certainly believe the love of God who works for the good of everything, you always feel happy and joyful even though the reality is painful and difficult.

Obeying the word of God itself is happiness and doing the will of God itself is joy. But the joy of a person at the 3rd level and that of a person at the 4th level is different from each other.

Let me give you an example. One may have such great desire to serve that he wants to do anything other people want.

But when the others ask for something that is too much, he does it for them, but he feels it is difficult and burdensome.

But how is it if you love the other person very much? Even if you have to face such great difficulties, you will do anything just to please the other person.

You wouldn't feel giving an expensive present to them is wasteful. You won't feel tired of talking to that person even all night. Even if it is cold, you don't feel cold if you stay with that person. You only have the desire to please the other person.

The difference between the 3rd and the 4th level is something like this.

At the 3rd level of faith, you love God to some extent and can practice His word. But at the 4th level, you love God so much that you practice His words with joy.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, only when you get into at least the 4th level of faith, you can be said to have accomplished the goal of God's cultivation of men on this earth.

You can be called "true children" of God from that point in faith. That is why you try to accomplish the spirit and the whole spirit.

But for some people, their growth in faith is very slow even though they are Christians for a long time.

They do not pass the 2nd level or even the beginning stage of the 3rd level even after many years or even decades. Some people, after receiving the first grace, determine to cast off sins and actually accomplish the heart of spirit quickly.

There are some people who unquestionably obey God and have a full measure of faith like Abraham. There are others like his wife Sarah, who was with Abraham but who did not have great faith even after she had witnessed the works of God.

Where, does this difference come from in people?

One of the most important reasons is that people are born with different hearts, different vessels, and different inner hearts.

There are differences in amount of truth or untruth that people have in their hearts; differences in how good and how great a vessel they are; and how firm and beautiful their inner hearts are.

According to these things, people long to hear the word of God, keep it in their heart, and practice what they heard in different ways.

From now on, before we get into the 4th level in detail, let us first learn about one's heart, inner heart, and vessel that have very close relationship with going into the 4th level.

First, what is heart?

Originally, the heart of Adam was the seed of life given by God, and the knowledge of truth that was covering it.

But after committing a sin, the knowledge of truth began to leak out from the heart and knowledge of untruth, namely sin and evil, began to fill it instead.

The sin and evil contained in the heart was passed down to descendants and each succeeding generation accepted new kinds of sin and evil in their hearts as they were continuing their lives.

Therefore, the heart of man contains the evil nature they inherited from their ancestors and everything that they commit and input as they grow and live their lives.

Those who have little evil in their heart can accomplish sanctification relatively more quickly because they have fewer things to cast off.

Next, inner heart concerns one's foundation. According to each person's inner heart, each one seeks goodness in different measure.

For example, some magnets have strong magnetic power to attract iron while other magnets have less magnetic power. Likewise, those with upright and good inner hearts naturally long for good and perfect things, so when they listen to the truth, they easily accept it with 'Amen' and obey it with all their heart, so they can accomplish sanctification quickly.

Suppose the soil of a field is fertile and good. Then, the seeds will sprout and grow easily.

The seed can bear good, abundant fruit. On the contrary, on barren and infertile land, seeds do not sprout well, and even if you gain fruit, it is not good.

Of course, even good soil, if it is hard packed and full of weeds because it is not plowed, it is difficult to harvest good fruit from that land.

But if the farmer just makes up his mind to plow it, it is much easier for him to pull out weeds and thorns than from barren and uncultivated land.

It is the same with the spirit.

Some are born with good soil but are raised in evil and difficult situations, so they have a lot of untruth in their hearts.

In this case, they are like a field full of weeds. So, they need a refinement process and a way to cast off sins through trials. But because they have good hearts, if they just have determination, they can cast off sins relatively more easily than others who have same amount of evil.

Even though they seem to be rough and evil in the sight of other people, God knows how they can later change, so He uses them preciously as clean vessels after allowing them trials.

This was the case with Peter.

In the sight of men he was short-tempered and very boastful, but Jesus looked at his inner heart and called him. Consequently, Peter became the best of the 12 disciples and he changed to become an apostle with God's power.

Next, the vessel is the container for one's heart and is one's original self.

The inner heart has a deep relationship with the material of the vessel. Namely the vessel can be made of gold, silver, or clay. The size of the vessel has relationship with how much the things of the truth can be contain in the vessel.

The inner heart and vessel are very closely related to each other.

In some cases, a person may have a much better inner-heart than the vessel or a much greater vessel than the inner heart. But in most cases, those with good inner hearts have big and beautiful vessels as well, and those with big and good vessels have upright and good inner-hearts.

If you have a big vessel, you use your heart broadly, so when you listen to one kind of truth, you can apply it not only in one aspect but also in many other aspects and practice it.

As the saying goes, "A word to the wise is sufficient." When the spiritually wise listen to the word of God, they do not stop at the limit of literal meanings but they understand God's heart contained in the word and try to obey it.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when those with big and good vessel listen to the word of God, they accept the meaning in their heart. These people can accomplish the word in their heart and their faith will grow quickly.

But some others do not receive the word in their heart but only in their brain.

First, they think and calculate and try to accomplish in their heart only the things that they can accept with their thoughts. Then, they tend to accept only what is right according to their frameworks and self righteousness, so their spiritual growth is slow.
They accept what they can understand within their own ways of thinking first, and then they consider and try to accomplish only what they can understand in their hearts. They tend to accept only what they understand according to their mental frameworks and self righteousness, so their spiritual growth is slow.
Their heart is lifted high because they feel they know a lot about God's word, and their self-centered frameworks and righteousness become stronger.

Let me give you an example.

There are God's words such as, "Consider others better than you. Humble yourself and serve others." If you receive these words with brain, you will think about many things.

You still feel you are better than others and you can see the shortcomings of other people. But because you heard only the words, "Serve others," you determine what you should do. You just leave the pride in your heart and just try to look for things that you can do outwardly to serve others.

You will determine for each time and situation what to do thinking, "It can be said that I serve others if I just do this, but I don't have to serve more than this!" How troublesome it is doing that all the time!

Even if you serve others in this way, they rather feel burdensome or uncomfortable about it.

Because you do not serve with a truly humble heart, the one who is served cannot feel your true heart, so he rather feels uncomfortable and embarrassed being served. In this case, he cannot dwell in your heart.

Those who receive the word of God in their heart and try to humble their heart itself do not have to worry or think about how to serve others and how much to serve.

If your attitude of heart is humbled, each of your words and actions will naturally come out with humbleness, and you will have the attitude of serving, caring for, and respecting others.

Then, even if you don't worry and try to think about how to serve others, they will be able to have rest and comfort just by interacting with you.

Let me give you an example from everyday life to better understand about inner heart and vessel. When parents say to their children, "Your room is a mess, clean it up, and put your stuff in the right places." Different children will have different reactions to what their parent said.

Some children say, "I didn't mess it up. My brother did" and just keep on watching TV. Still, they think, "I didn't do anything wrong, so I did not disobey my parents."

Some other children, upon hearing their parents tell them to clean their room, just look at the things that are untidy and just put them in corners. Then, they say, "I obeyed my parents."

This case is when they pretend to be obeying their parents, but they do not even think about what the will of their parents is, and they didn't receive it in their heart.

Little better than this are those who tidy up the mess and clean the room. But after some time, their room is a total mess again.

Likewise, in just obeying their parent's words, the deed of obedience can be so different according to the vessels of different children.

If they have inner hearts that want to obey their parents and also have big and beautiful vessels so that they receive their parents' words in their heart, what will they do?

They will not just try to clean the mess that can be easily seen right now, but they will clean every corner of the room.

Furthermore, they will try to keep the room clean. From the word of their parents saying, "Clean the room and tidy it up," they realize in their heart and obey the will of their parents who want them to clean even the corners of the room and to keep the room clean in the future, too.

Moreover, they do not only clean the house but they change their life habits to keep everything clean. It is the same in everything.

I hope you will look back at yourself. Those who can receive other people's words in their heart and act them faithfully and truthfully can receive the word of God in their heart, easily accept God's will, and obey it.

On the contrary, those who just think from their standpoint and those who try to avoid reproach by doing provisional works without substance will do the same with God's word.

Although you are born with your heart, inner heart, and vessel, according to how much you try to accomplish goodness and how broadly you use your heart in everything, your vessel of heart and inner heart can change.

As you change that way, you will be able to accomplish sanctification more quickly.

Let me conclude the message. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 2 Timothy 2:20-21 says, "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. [21] Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."

Certainly the heart, the inner-heart, and vessels are more of inborn characters and according to the difference in them, there is a difference in the ability to accomplish sanctification.

But the reason why God is letting us know deep things such as these is not to discourage you and make you think, "I am born like this, so I cannot help it."

For example, Koryochungja, (Koryo's blue porcelain) is made of clay, but as it is baked by the potter, its value becomes very different. Likewise, if you will just cast off sins and evil through trials in the Lord, anybody can be used preciously.

Whether you have a vessel of gold or silver, or whether a big or small vessel, what is important is you can make your vessel clean though your own effort.

According to how upright and beautiful your inner heart is, you long for goodness and take it as yours in different measure. This inner heart is formed by firming your heart.

Thus, if you pile up goodness upon goodness and pound it as the heart of truth, you will finally have good inner heart.

Also, even though you were born with a small vessel, if you try to cast off sins and evil and try to serve others, and try to embrace more things with the love for God, your vessel can become bigger.

If you do not know these words, you wouldn't even know that you have to cast off sins, and what the inner heart and vessel are, so it will be very difficult for you to advance very far from the Heart, inner-heart and vessel you were born with.

But you have learned through the gospel of holiness that your heart, inner heart, and vessel have to change. You can also realize how those people with good inner heart and vessel will act in particular situations, and try to do it yourself.

Therefore, when you try to choose what is better and more virtuous in every moment you live, you can become sanctified more easily than those who have not heard these messages.

I hope you will long for word of God more earnestly, and enlarge your vessel so that you will be able to understand the will of God completely when you listen to His word.

Then, God will give you grace and strength, and the Holy Spirit of God will help you.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will change into better inner-hearts and more precious and beautiful vessels day by day in the power of the Holy Spirit who is helping us.

 
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