Measure of Faith(10) – 3rd Level of Faith

[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,

When you look into a mirror after working very hard with sweating, you may get surprised. Your hair became untidy or something is on your face, but you didn’t realize, and only after looking into mirror you realize it.

In your Christian lives also, you may face a similar situation. You are working hard for God on the outside, but for your inner being, you may not have a chance to look into yourself deeply.

If you stay with those with good faith, you may not be able to discern your measure of faith correctly, and you vaguely think you are at similar level with those people.

For example, although you are at the 2nd level of faith, if most of the people around you are at the 3rd level, you think you are at 3rd level, too.

And at one point in time, listening to the message, you get surprised because you thought you were good, but your actual deeds were far away from the truth. But it is God’s grace to realize yourself like this.

Revelation 3:17-18 says, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, [18] I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”

Just as you put eye salve by the grace of God, when you listen to God’s word and open your spiritual eyes, you can find out your shortcomings, and then you can be rich with the faith like gold.

This is the 10th session of the measure of faith, and I will talk to you about the 3rd level of faith. Through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will accomplish holy heart without any evil and possess faith like pure gold.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the 1st level of faith is the faith of receiving the Holy Spirit and salvation. The 2nd level is the faith to learn and practice the word of God. But because you cannot practice it fully, sometimes you keep it but at other times you violate the word and commit sins.

If you reach the 3rd level of faith, you understand the meaning of God’s word and believe it so that you can actually practice the word.

So, you won’t say, “It is burdensome to keep God’s command.” “Christian life is difficult.” You will rather confess, “I am so happy that I came to believe in the Lord. I am thankful. I am happy that I keep God’s commands in my life.”

If you pass the 3rd level where you practice the word and get into the 4th level, you can go into the level of spirit that you are longing for so much.

But some people pass the different levels of faith quickly and get into the level of spirit quickly while many others don’t.

They pass the 1st level and get to the 2nd level quickly, and also from 2nd to the 3rd, but at the 3rd level, they spend so much time.

Namely, in order to get into the 4th level, they have to cast off sinful nature itself from their heart and become sanctified, but it takes so much time to cast of sinful natures in heart.

For example, because God says, “Do not hate but love your enemy,” they try to understand and embrace even the one who gives hard time to them, but they still have the sinful nature of hatred in their heart.

They rejoice always, give thanks, and pray continually, but it’s not that the root of complaining and resenting itself was pulled out from their heart.

At this time, knowing that they know they have the sinful nature in their heart, because of laziness or indecisive characters, they cannot cast it off powerfully.

But what is more sympathetic is when they do not realize the sinful natures that are remaining in their heart. In order for men to cast off their sins, first of all, they have to find out and realize what kinds of sins and evil they have in their heart.

Unless they find them out, they will just stay having the sinful natures, so they cannot progress. Nowadays, some college students postpone their graduation and try to stay with their parents since it is difficult to get a job, and this is becoming a social problem.

It’s the same in spirit. If you get into the 3rd level, the time of young adult in faith, you have to grow up quickly and get into the 4th level. If you don’t, and if your faith stops growing, there is a problem.

You will lose the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and you will feel something uncomfortable or stuffy. You may think you are doing well, but you are not really acknowledged by others. You don’t have the authority and power over your words, so you may get discouraged and suffer from pain.

If you went into spirit leading a good life in faith, your heart will always have the fullness and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and you can hear and receive the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit correctly.

Also, the evidences that God is with you will be shown in every aspect of your life. If these evidences do not follow, no matter how much you think you are doing well, you should realize you have forms of evil that you have to find out and cast off.

Then, how can we quickly go into spirit from the 3rd level of faith without any stoppage in the growth of faith?

The first thing you should remember is that you shouldn’t stop struggling against sins. 1 Timothy 4:5 says, “for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

There is no easy way in becoming sanctified. You have to listen to the word, realize the untruth in you, and pray to receive the strength from God so that you can cast off what you have found out.

This is not just listening to message, receive grace, and pray continually and habitually in a casual manner. If you are at the 3rd level, all of you will enjoy listening to God’s word do not stop praying habitually.

But for some people, as time goes, their previous effort to cast off sins even to feel wretched cools down.

When they struggle against sins fiercely, if they find out the slightest form of evil, they tear their heart and fast and pray to cast off that sin.

If your effort like this doesn’t change and continue until you pull out all the roots of sins, it will be so good, but it’s not the case with most of the people. They try to have some rest in the battle against sins, and get into the state of armistice.

In actual battles, if you begin to win, you should drive out with that force and completely destroy the enemy force. If you stop, you are giving time for your enemy to recover their strength and attack back. So, you may advance and then retreat, and the war doesn’t easily end.

In your spiritual battles, for you to pass the 3rd level quickly, you have to be cautious about spiritual laziness thinking that you have accomplished to some extent.

You should not stop struggling against sins until the moment you pull out all the original roots of sinful natures with the word and prayer.

Secondly, to pass the 3rd level quickly, you have to demolish your fleshly thoughts. Fleshly thoughts are the opposite of spiritual thoughts. It is when the untruth in you comes out through the operations of soul.

Romans 8:6-7 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, [7] because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.”

If you have only truth in your heart, you will have thoughts of truth and spirit only. You will not commit the things of the flesh, and you won’t have any fleshly thoughts.

But if you have untruth in you, when you have thoughts through your soul, you will have thoughts of untruth.

For example, when you use computers, even if you have a very good calculating program, you will get only wrong answers if you input wrong data.

Thus, those who have fleshly thoughts cannot obey the word of God. For instance, God says, “One who serves is a great man, and it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

But if you have pride and greed in your heart, when you listen to these words, the untruth called pride and greed makes you have fleshly thoughts.

If you just keep on giving without receiving, you will only suffer a loss. How can giving be more blessed than receiving? It’s difficult to be recognized even if you reveal yourself, and how ridiculous will I look if I just serve others and humble myself all the time?”

Because of these thoughts, you cannot either serve or give. You cannot understand the will of God nor can obey His word, so God says fleshly thoughts are against God.

But you members have been listening to what fleshly thoughts are through many sermons, and you have actually cast off quite a bit of fleshly thoughts since you witnessed numerous signs and wonders.

You know and believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient, only God’s word is the ultimate truth, and that obeying God’s word is blessing.

You hear so many messages and your knowledge increases very much. But when you do not accomplish as much as you know, you somehow combine the word of truth with your own evil and have new kinds of fleshly thoughts.

With the word you hear, you have to find your sins and evil, but you rather judge and condemn others with it, or you apply the truth in a wrong way to give excuses for your wrongdoings.

The representative forms of that kind of fleshly thoughts are the self-righteousness and self-frameworks. I explained in detail about self righteousness and self-centered frameworks.

So, in this session, I will just briefly explain to you how these self righteousness and self-centered framework disturb you from going into spirit.

First, “Self Righteousness” is to insist that you are right. Those with strong self righteousness will demand other people to follow his own righteousness and give hard time to other people.

For example, that person loves God so he tries to care for the flock and to be faithful in God’s kingdom, but another person doesn’t seem to be caring for the flock very much.

Here, those with strong self righteousness will fret over the matter thinking, “A person who received God’s grace should never be that lazy,” and try to teach that person a lesson.

So, he may go to the other person and directly point out that person’s shortcomings saying, “How can you be so lazy as God’s worker? Aren’t you sorry before God?”

Or, when many people are present, he says, “I saw somebody around me was very lazy. We should never be like that.”

At this time, he reveals whom he is talking about so that if the person himself or other people around him hear it, they can just notice it is about him.

Of course, we should endeavor in God’s work and be faithful, and if the person can receive grace through this advice and repent, it’s good.

But rather, it is more likely that this person will not receive this word and there will be negative reactions.

“That person is giving me a hard time.” He would think in this way and suffer even more, losing the grace. He may even get offended thinking, “How can he embarrass me in front of so many people?”

Even when we advise somebody, if we receive wisdom from above with longing heart for sanctification, we can have good ways to move the other person’s heart.

But those with strong self righteousness think the truth he knows is correct, so even though his action was not right in the sight of God because of that the other person was offended, he still thinks he is right and the other person is evil.

Namely, because he only thinks about the contents of his word that it is right, he does not realize that his method was wrong.

So, even when he hears God’s words that tell us, “Pursue peace. Serve others. Do not judge,” he only thinks about what he has done well thinking, “I love God and I am faithful. I love other people, and I gave the correct advice.”

This thought thinking that you are right is the self righteousness, and because of this, you cannot find your evil, and you cannot quickly progress to the way of sanctification.

Also, you think you are very correct and good, but in reality you become a person who give hard time to other people and whom they want to avoid.

Next, selfish framework is the framework that you made by defining the truth about what is right, thinking, “This is absolutely right.”

For example, when you try your best in your Christian life after beginning to attend church, your parents or husband may feel that you love only God and you are getting away from family members.

At this time, while you are being faithful in God’s kingdom, you should think of the heart of your family members, too. You have to serve them and love them to move their heart.

But if children make their selfish frameworks, they disappoint and offend their parents saying they are trying to treat their parents in spiritual ways.

Listening to the messages saying, “You have to cut off worldly affection and desire and accomplish spiritual love. When you pray for your family’s salvation, you first have to please God so that His heart will be touched and He can work more quickly,” you make your own framework and apply the truth in a wrong way.

For example, you don’t usually serve your parents well nor do the duties as a child, but you say, “God is more important than you parents. Please do not expect any fleshly love from me.”

On your parents’ birthdays, you don’t give the presents that can move their heart, but you just give

Of course, those parents who have faith or good heart will try to understand you, but they will still have some kind of disappointment.

You hurt your parents’ feelings and close the door of evangelizing them this way, if you have self-centered frameworks, you don’t realize this situation.

Although you know God’s word that tells us, “Respect your parents. Be faithful in all God’s house,” you think, “I serve my parents spiritually. I do God’s work diligently and serve my parents, so I am faithful in all God’s house.”

You cannot get away from your own frameworks that you made thinking, “This is truth and spirit.”

But if you truly have heart of spirit, anything can be OK for you within the limit of truth. Even if you are more right than other people, you should be able to consider their faith and conditions.

Like the apostle Paul who preached the gospel to the Jews being like a Jew himself, and to the Gentiles being like a Gentile himself, you should receive good wisdom.

But those with strong self-centered frameworks insist on what they think is the truth, so they break peace here and there.

Because of that other people may say they are self-centered or narrow-minded, but they themselves think, “I am not breaking the peace. I am just following the truth.”

Because they stay in this kind of framework of flesh, they cannot realize themselves. Thus, their growth in faith stops.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, self righteousness and self-centered frameworks seem to be very similar, but they are clearly distinctive. Some have strong framework but they stay only within that framework and do not give hard time to other people.

Their strong framework is not broken easily, but they do not insist on their own righteousness.

In another case, there are people who have strong framework and try to act within that framework, and at the same time force other people to do the same. if they don’t, they judge these people and give hard time to them.

This is the case of having both strong self righteousness and self-centered frameworks. But anyway, both self righteousness and self-centered frameworks were made with your own untruth.

I hope you will keep in mind that only when you demolish all the fleshly thoughts that come from your own self righteousness and self-centered frameworks.

Let me conclude the message. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, I told you about two aspects in going into spirit.

First, you should not become lazy in struggling against your sins with word and prayer.

Second, you should cast off fleshly thoughts, and especially you should cast off self righteousness and self-centered framework that you made by combining your evil with the word of truth.

Only when you cast off these things can you realize your spiritual state correctly. Once you find yourself correctly, now you only have to cast off that part.

James 1:23 says, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror.”

Looking into your mirror, if your hair is untidy, you should comb it, and if you have dirt on you, you should wash it. if you found yourself through the mirror of God’s word, I hope you will not miss this chance to receive God’s grace and change yourself quickly.

I pray in the name of the Lord that, by doing so, you will accomplish perfect heart that has no blemish or spot, and become God’s children who are pleasing and acknowledged by God.

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