God Makes Us into Worthy Vessels
< Genesis 1:16-19 >
ďThen God made two great lights: the greater light
to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made
the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to
give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night,
and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was
good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.Ē
God made the stars and placed them in the heavens
to give light to this earth. Today, I would like to speak to you
about the role of the God-made stars. That God made the stars means
that God made His workers on this earth.
In the Old Testament, the people of Israel brought
gold and offered it to God to build the Tabernacle, and some of
this gold was hammered into a lampstand, others into gold vessels
and spoons. Just as the people of God made the articles used in
the Tabernacle with gold, God has given true faith to you and me
who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He
has refined our hearts, so that we may lack nothing to be used as
His servants. As we are now trained with the Word of God, we are
being shaped into the people of faith, into Godís workers.
God wants to mold His children into workers worthy
of using for His Kingdom. So we see how God permits various circumstances
to His people. Through these different circumstances, God is refining
you and me until we are shaped into instruments ideal for His use.
When a sculptor makes a statue, he carves it with
a sculpting knife or chips it away with a chisel. Sometime he glues
different pieces together, other times he breaks them apart, and
through all this process he shapes the mold into the figure that
he wants to make. Likewise, God also shapes the saints in this way.
In order to mold them into His useful instruments, God trains them
through necessary courses. For those who are unable to deny themselves,
God enables them to do so by putting them into a situation where
they are able to deny themselves, and He renews them more for His
use. As God has given us His Word, He is making us follow His Word
by faith. God is training us, fit for each of us.
Each of us must give up our own carnal thoughts before
God and believe in His Word. It is because we have our own thoughts
that we want to preserve our old things, but God wants to transform
our carnal thoughts. That is why God allows us to find ourselves
in various circumstance and face different situations, thus breaking
our flawed thoughts and making us believe and follow the Word of
God. God does not want to use your old selves, but He wants to shape
you into the vessels of His desire and use your renewed selves.
Put differently, our thoughts are different from Godís
thoughts. All that there is to our carnal thoughts is about the
things that we have experienced so far. We try to approach God with
our own carnal thoughts. You try to protect yourselves instinctively,
rather than approaching God with your true selves to be transformed
by faith. However, this is not what God wants from us.
God said, ďLet the waters under the heavens be
gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.Ē
God sows seeds on this exposed land, and He wants these seeds to
sprout, grow, and really bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit that
He desires. God wants all our evil nature to be fully exposed as
it is, and He wants us to see our wicked selves, believe in the
grace that He has bestowed for such wicked people, and live the
life of righteousness.
Like this, God wants to renew us with His Word. In
todayís Scripture passage, that God made the stars means that He
wants to make us, the believers in the gospel of the water and the
Spirit, into His servants and use us as His instruments. That is
why no matter under what circumstances you might find yourselves,
you must listen carefully to what God is saying, and obey it by
faith. Thatís because God is shaping us into His servants in all
circumstances. The Lord says, ďIn all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your pathsĒ (Proverbs 3:6).
God Reveals His Will with
No matter to what kind of circumstances God might
lead us, in the end, it is a process by which God is making us according
to His will, turning us into His worthy vessels. Therefore, the
wise thing for you and me to do is to obey the Word of God in faith
as soon as possible. By nature, you and I tend to dislike it when
our flesh is broken and made new by faith. However, when God demands
patience from us and makes us deny ourselves, we must obey accordingly
in faith. To do so, God wants to fill our shortcomings with the
Word, break the righteousness of our flesh, and mold us into those
who are able to do His work by faith. To this end, we must quickly
confess, ďGod, this is how wicked and insufficient I am,Ē and believing
in the Word of God who has bestowed His grace on such people, become
people of faith. We must stand firmly on our faith in the Word of
God continues to shape us ceaselessly until His will
is fulfilled. If there are carnal impurities in our hearts, He removes
them, and He breaks down our own human righteousness. When God breaks
our righteousness, we tend to think, ďSo my existence is over now.Ē
However, once breaking the righteousness of the flesh, God has given
us the faith of power, so that we may live trusting only in the
righteousness of God. This is the powerful faith that is based on
the Word of God.
It is too difficult for us to try to live our lives
of faith with our own righteousness. Once the righteousness of our
flesh is broken, however, we can experience for ourselves that it
is by the righteousness of God that we are living. In the end, we
are made according to Godís desire and used by Him as His instruments.
Itís a blessing for us to become so before God. God makes it impossible
for all of us to live without faith in the righteousness of God:
For those who pretend to be noble like glass vessels, God breaks
down their nobility, and for those whose own will is stubborn and
hard like a rock, God softens them to lose their stubbornness. Also,
God drains the water of this world from those who still have many
attachments to this world even though they believe in Godís Word.
Sometimes God even sends someone who cannot tolerate
heat to Africa as a missionary. We must be able to do Godís work
wherever we might find ourselves, whether in a cold place or a hot
place. The Apostle Paul confessed, ďI know how to be abased,
and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned
both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer needĒ
(Philippians 4:12). From this, we can see how faithfully Paul
was trained by God to be His servant.
What we should all remember is that no matter what
circumstances we might be facing, we must believe in Godís Word
and obey it. If we want to lead a spiritually correct life of faith
before God, then we must accept the Word of God into our hearts.
If we do not accept Godís Word into our hearts and instead try to
live with some type of our own carnal wisdom or righteousness, God
will invariably break us apart. God wants our hearts to have nothing
of our own, but only His Word to be accepted into them. He wants
us to become the kind workers who serve Him with our hearts filled
with His Word alone. That is why even today, God is molding us into
His. So there is no need for us to fear about the righteousness
of our flesh being broken.
Our righteousness of the flesh must be broken before
God, so that we may be able to work according to Godís pleasure.
We should not insist on our carnal stubbornness before God. Instead,
we should believe in Godís Word, fill our hearts with His Truth,
and be transformed into such workers that preach His gospel all
over the earth. To achieve this, we must accept Godís Word into
our hearts by faith. Our hearts cannot change unless we accept Godís
Word. Spiritual transformation is possible for us only when we accept
Godís Word into our hearts, and only when we hold onto this Word
of God. Only when we become people of faith can God use us freely
and entrust us with His work.
While leading my life of faith to this day, and following
the Lord all this time, I, too, have been amazed many times to see
what God has done to me. I am fully aware of just how well God knows
me, and how fittingly He has trained me. God knows all about my
heart, and it is with this full understanding that He leads me.
I have also had many experiences where God rebuked me and pointed
out my failures whenever my heart was misplaced.
My fellow believers, God is molding you into His servants.
When God wants to make you His people and servants, can there be
any objections? Can you really hold a grudge against Him for this?
Of course not! Among our students at the mission school, there are
some married couples as well. Even though a married couple is of
one heart and one body, God molds the husband and the wife separately.
You need to realize that you came here to the mission
school to be made new by God. As a matter of fact, Godís workers
labor hard for His work. We work all the time, day and night. We
also think about tomorrowís work, and we have the overall purpose
of serving the will of God in our minds when we plan and work in
detail. So given this, just how many workers are needed? We came
here to be made into the vessels that are used according to the
will of the Lord. That is why we desire to be used for Godís work,
and for the building of His Kingdom.
While you are being made into His servants, you must
first believe in and hold onto the Word that your old selves had
died. For God to make us His workers, we must have faith in His
Word above all. We should hold onto the Word of God, place our faith
in it, and yearn to be made into the kind of workers that are ideal
for Godís use. Only when we willingly submit ourselves to be made
into the people of faith by God can both our Lord and we be content.
As our Lord shapes us for His use, we should be molded smoothly,
or otherwise it will take more time, and the Lord will not be too
pleased. Since we are to be molded according to the will of the
Lord anyway, we need to obey.
When a craftsman seeks to hammer a nugget of gold
into a spoon, if the nugget cries out, ďOuch! It hurts!Ē and flies
off whenever it is hammered, then the craftsman will obviously not
be pleased. If the nugget refused to be molded and flies off every
time the craftsman hammers it with a certain shape in mind, then
he has no choice but to pound it even more until it is all beat
up. This gold should be molded by the craftsman; how can it fly
off just because it hurts? If the lump of gold is not fit for its
masterís use, then its life is over.
So, when our Master shapes us, even if there is pain,
we should endure it and follow the Lord, contemplating on His will
even more deeply. When we reflect before the Lord, ďWhy am I now
suffering like this, so troubled and agonized?Ē we can realize what
it means to be trained by the Lord, and so we can endure all our
difficulties. The brothers and sisters who are now being trained
in the mission school are different from the ordinary lay believers.
Church leaders are apt to approve laymen at the slightest
achievement. But itís because these laymen are not Godís workers
yet that they are praised for even small things they have done.
However, you, who are now being trained as Godís workers, should
not even expect to be commended. Is there anything good, were it
not for us to be made into Godís workers? No, there is nothing good.
The saints are mere saints on this earth, not the stars in the sky.
The stars shine from above day and night.
Just as God made the stars in the sky, now we know
that we must be made new by God to become His workers. Now, you
and I are being made into the stars in the sky. God teaches those
who have no faith in His Word to have this faith. So God turns the
lowly into the noble, and the noble into the lowly. That is what
our God does. Thatís because the noble and the lowly are both too
difficult to be used if they remain as they are. That is why God
molds them according to how He intends to use them. Since itís hard
for the lowly to preach the gospel to the noble as they are, they
must be turned into the noble, and since the noble are too lofty
for God to use them freely, He makes them preach the gospel by turning
them into the lowly.
With His Word of power, God is molding both you and
me alike. We may not be aware of all this, but God is shaping us
all. However, if you look back and see how much you have changed
since receiving the remission of your sins, you will acknowledge
that God has indeed changed us in many ways.
God is constantly shaping us into His workers. Are
you unhappy with this, complaining to God, ďI canít understand why
God is making me like this against my wish. He just doesnít know
me at allĒ? But such thoughts are all your own carnal thoughts.
God is not someone who does not know us. On the contrary,
He is the omniscient God; He knows everything about us. The Bible
says that He is even counting the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30).
Such omniscient God is refining us to mold us into His workers.
Are you now facing difficult circumstances and suffering?
If so, then believe that this is all part of the process by which
God is making you into His workers according to His will. It is
because the Lord will ultimately turn you into His servants in the
end that He is now refining you continuously. The vessels that are
promptly made by the Lord will be used preciously for the Lordís
work. In contrast, those who do not relent their stubbornness soon
but insist on their obstinacy will suffer for long.
God trains us in various aspects. He teaches us to
cope with poverty, and He teaches us to deal with wealth as well.
If we do not know how to deal with wealth, our faith will be finished
as soon as we become rich, and so we must know how to cope with
affluence also. We must become the kind of people who do not go
out into the world even when we attain material prosperity.
Everyone thinks that he is the only one having so
much hardship while serving the Lord, but in fact, everyone else
is also facing difficulties. You and I alike go through difficult
trials while doing Godís work. At a quick glance, we may think that
some people are just lucky to serve the Lord in so much comfort,
but when we look more closely, they all are struggling in their
own way. Our ministers keep themselves quiet, but when we look at
them in this light, we can see that they are also struggling with
certain issues and going through a great deal of suffering. Through
all these things, God is molding these servants for a certain end.
You are now being trained in the mission school, but
those of you who have too much of your own things are difficult
to be made into Godís workers. While attending this mission school,
you must wholeheartedly believe in the Word of God preached by His
servants and accept it into your hearts, and only then can you bear
all your hardships and be trained properly. That we can bear all
things and do Godís work is all because of our faith in the Word.
We should not try to do Godís work without first accepting
His Word into our hearts, through the strength or power of our own
flesh, or with the knowledge or experiences that we had before we
were born again. If we try to follow God with our own carnal thoughts
or strength, then we will never be able to follow Him until the
end. It is only when we follow the Lord always with the grace of
God that we can do His Work until the end.
Sometimes, Godís servants deliberately make it hard
for you on certain issues. Long ago, I once asked my congregation
to build walls and put in a heating system for a chapel that was
about 230 m² (2,500 square feet) in size. I knew very well
that the brothers at my church were no experts at this, but I still
called them all and asked them to work. When I asked them to buy
cement in the wee hours, they wondered where they could buy it this
late in night. I then told them to do whatever necessary to get
it, even if they had to pound on a hardware store.
As I looked at these saintsí hearts, I could see that
they had just labored continuously without folding away their carnal
minds. I needed to break down their minds. Once I even told the
saints to take out the heating system that they had put it, and
replace it with a new one. So after Sundayís worship service was
over, I gathered them all together and told them to take apart the
chapel floor again. In the afternoon, after the morning worship
service was over, another round of construction began. Some of them
came to me to voice their objection, saying, ďWhy do you want to
take it out? Itís all finished nicely. You should have told us what
you wanted to do from the beginning. How can you do this, after
we put so much effort into it?Ē
Regardless of how high or low oneís position might
be in the world, before God, his thoughts must be broken for him
to be used as a worker. As I trained the congregation for a year
like this, from then on, they all obeyed me the moment I spoke.
They were all properly trained. From then on, no matter what I asked
them to do, they obeyed without any grumbling. After this, on my
part, I also became reasonable in my request.
Our ministers get together to play soccer once in
a while. As a player dribbles the ball, sometimes it would go out
of bounds ever so slightly. The opposing team would insist that
the ball is out of play, but the other team would insist that itís
not. It all gets quite noisy and the game would be stopped for a
while. Like this, if one does not break his heart and does not deny
himself, then God cannot entrust His work to him. If there is ďselfĒ
before God, then we cannot do His work.
Do the saints in our church have ďselfĒ in them? No.
God trains all laymen and workers alike. As God leads them, if any
of them disobeys His will, then God will train him more. God shapes
us like this, by making us go through various experiences in church.
When we fulfill what has been entrusted to us by faith, God will
entrust us with an even greater task.
God does not want to assign just one task of His work
to one person. When we do Godís work well by faith, He entrusts
us with more work. If I am unable to fulfill what has been entrusted
to me, then God assigns it someone else and redirects me toward
some other task. None of us can please the Lord with the strength
and power of our own flesh. It is only by the spiritual power given
by God, and by the power of our faith in His Word, that we can serve
Him. This is the faith of Truth.
In general, when a married couple is going through
a spiritually tough time, the wife would nag at her husband, and
the husband would be annoyed by his wife. The husband would blame
his wife for his troubles, and the wife would blame her husband
for her troubles. This is how most couples tend to think. So the
wife thinks, ďIím sure itís all because of my husband that Iím having
so much trouble, and no one respects me,Ē and the husband, in turn,
thinks, ďThis is what I am all because of my wife.Ē Clearly, most
people think like this at the beginning.
However, once time goes by, they come to realize that
whatever situation they might be facing, itís not because of their
husband or wife, but all because of themselves. But, at the beginning,
people invariably snap at their partner who is closest to them.
Are you not like this also? Instead of blaming your partner and
complaining, ďI have to go through this hardship all because of
you,Ē I admonish you to believe that all these things are actually
part of the process by which God is molding us.
Having shaped us into His workers, God uses us as
the right instruments in the right place. When you are faithful
to a certain role, God will use you for another role; in this way,
God wants you to be able to do all things. God wants you to reign
over the whole Garden of Eden. How would you feel if you were sent
to a place that you did not want to go? ďWhy did God send me here?
Why must I be here, when someone who is even less talented than
me is over there?Ē Wouldnít you conclude like this in your own way,
and think that God is not fair?
But God always works in a fitting way. You were sent
to where you are now because this is what you need. Just because
it doesnít quite fit in with your own thoughts or fails to meet
your own expectations, this does not mean that the circumstances
and conditions are bad. I admonish you all to realize that God permitted
such circumstances in order to use you as His workers. We can see
how God trains laymen like this.
God makes the stars. God makes His servants into the
people of faith. It is for this purpose that God made the stars
in the sky. Those who have no faith in material affairs, God makes
them get their financial problems solved by placing their faith
in Him. Also, those who have no faith in planting church or preaching
the gospel to souls, God makes them fulfill this task by faith,
by relying on Him and trusting Him. Everyone else is all like this.
God trains us so that we would pray in faith for all problems and
get them solved. God molds us into the people of faith, into His
useful instruments, and into His blessed servants. We cannot train
ourselves to be Godís servants on our own. It is God who shapes
us. Even at this very moment, He is molding us all. And He is using
us as His instruments. God is turning you into His workers.
I believe that God is molding our ministers, as well
as our brothers and sisters, into His workers. When we are too weak,
He opens a way for us to find some rest, and when we are too strong,
He breaks us. God works like this in His power. We may not have
realized it all this time, but we now know that we have been made
by God. Once we go through this process, we come to realize that
God has shaped us. And we can also appreciate just how easier it
now is to work, once we are shaped by God. If we have little faith
in God, He addresses our faithlessness and makes us have faith.
Only when we are trained properly during our stay
at the mission school can we adapt ourselves to continue to serve
the Lord into the future. If there are ministers who have not been
trained in faith, God will train them again. Thatís because I, too,
used to be like this once, and even at this moment, I am still being
trained continuously. If hardships still come your way, I admonish
you to believe that itís because you need such training that these
things are permitted. Even though itís hard to do Godís work, all
of us must go through this process. We may be struggling, but we
must still accept the Word of God and fulfill our task by faith.
That is why we are now being trained at the mission school.
We, too, had a very tough time when we first opened
this mission school in 1991. We even had to pray for daily bread.
When the church had some offerings, we could eat on that day, and
when there was no offering, we could not eat. Since it was such
a tough time, when someone in the congregation invited us to dinner,
I along with the trainees ate so much on that day. We ate as much
as we could, since if we did not fill ourselves now, we would regret
it tomorrow when hunger returns. But now, weíve disciplined even
in our eating habits so that we donít succumb to gluttony.
When we plant a new church of God, itís the best time
to be trained spiritually. Faith is most needed when we try to implement
faithfully what Godís Church has entrusted us. You all know how
financially challenged a new church can be, right? To put up even
a window in the nursery requires financial means, and so all that
we can do is pray to God for help. So we put in the window piece
by piece, when we had just enough money to pay for it. Words cannot
express all the difficulties that we have faced while serving the
When I was ministering at my church in the beginning,
I faced tremendous hardships. However, through such difficulties,
God made me into His worker. He made me serve the gospel of the
water and the Spirit, and do the work of this gospel. Who knew that
we would come to do Godís work like this?
Ever since I began to minister as a servant of the
Lord, I have preached this gospel of the water and the Spirit. However,
the ministers who were working me at the time had a different faith
from mine. Hearing what I said when I preached the gospel to souls,
they used to say, ďHuh? Heís different from me, isnít he?Ē Countless
pastors in this world do not know the gospel of the water and the
Spirit and do not believe in it. Their ministry, in other words,
has nothing to do with Godís gospel of the water and the Spirit.
However, I was completely absorbed to gather together
souls and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When I
had an argument with my wife and got into a bad mood, I picked up
my Bible briefcase and went out to preach the gospel of the water
and the Spirit.
Itís impossible for a married couple to never get
into a quarrel. Itís only natural for them to squabble when times
are rough. This was the same for me as well. When I quarreled with
my wife, I used to go to a hospital, and preach the gospel of the
water and the Spirit to the patients. Whenever a soul received the
remission of his sins after listening to the gospel of the water
and the Spirit, I got so elated. So after preaching the gospel,
I would come back home filled with the Spirit. And I talked to my
wife about what had happened. As I shared Godís blessings with wife
like this, we both felt gratified, and so we forgot all about our
fight and were reconciled in no time. We then prayed together for
Itís not that I donít realize how tough it is to serve
the gospel. Rather, itís because this gospel is so precious, and
because it is the work of life that saves souls, that I am doing
this work, having accepted the Word of God in obedience. Even though
itís hard and difficult, we labor in joy, all the while admitting
our own insufficiencies. Even if it is too hard, itís because we
believe that the Lordís work is too precious that we are still doing
The servants of God may look cold-hearted in human
eyes. People who knew me before often say that Iíve changed because
I used to be very compassionate. I couldnít turn my attention from
the poor and needy, and tried to take care of them as much as I
could. I used to live like this before, trying to take care of everyone
else. But now, I canít do this anymore. Why? Because Iíve come to
know that to save peopleís souls is far more precious than to help
them in material matters. Because this work that saves soul is so
precious, I am willing to do anything if it would be beneficial
to preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Our God has called us as His workers. I thank Him
for calling us as His laborers. As we preach the gospel of the water
and the Spirit, sometimes we struggle with hardships and difficulties,
but it is still a blessing for us to live as Godís workers.
If you are struggling while following the Lord, I
admonish you to accept the Word of God even more. In times of struggle,
it is this God-given Word that enables us to overcome our hardships.
When we accept Godís Word into our hearts, faith will spring forth.
God will make us overcome our difficulties. For us, the Word of
God is our life. We will live when we have the Word of God, but
we will die without it.
Hallelujah! God has become our strength and our Shepherd.
God has shaped us into His workers.