The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 18 : GENESIS

[Chapter 1-9] (Genesis 1:9-13) To Enter Inside God’s Work

(Genesis 1:9-13)
“Then God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.”
 
 
In the beginning, God created all the creations of the universe, and then created mankind. He had people be born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Then on the third day, God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth,” (Genesis 1:11); and as it became so, God saw that it was good.
Among these works that God did on the third day, what does the earth refer to? It refers to our hearts. Therefore, this passage means that by sowing God’s Word in the hearts of people, God had His Word bud, blossom, and bear fruit inside our hearts. It is telling us the fact that God is speaking to and working in our hearts.
For us to lead a life of faith is to accept God’s Truth into our hearts and to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit through faith. However, the greatest obstacle to the Word of Truth blossoming and bearing fruit in our hearts is our man-made thoughts of the flesh. Human thoughts are absolutely useless for one’s soul to be saved from sin and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. That is why God had told the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place. Through today’s Scripture passage, the Lord teaches us how to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
 
 
God Lets His Word of Truth Bear Fruits in Our Hearts
 
On the third day of creation, God made the dry land appear from the waters, and on this exposed earth, He let all the herbs that yield seeds and all the trees come into existence. What does it mean when God said, “Let the dry land appear”? As I’ve mentioned before, in the Bible, the dry land refers to people’s hearts. Why did God then say here, “Let the dry land appear”?
It is because people have to know what the sins inside their hearts are like in order for the power of God’s Word to be able to work in their hearts. Our God commanded the dry land to appear precisely because He wanted to blot out people’s sins and make them disappear once and for all.
If people’s hearts were fundamentally virtuous, there wouldn’t be any need for salvation. But, because people are fundamentally evil in their hearts, they all need to be saved from such sins. In other words, God is saying here that mankind’s sins must be fundamentally exposed. From the very birth, all human beings were born as sinners, and they cannot help but sin until the day they die. Therefore, people have to be able to see how much of a sinner they are, and just how vulgar and evil they are in essence.
 
 
What Sort of Fundamental Sins Does Mankind Have in Its Heart?
 
In the hearts of people, there are 12 types of sins: evil thoughts, adulteries, thefts, murders, fornications, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these sins, by residing in people’s hearts, have made them commit transgressions and become sinners before God. It means that because of such sins, people have no choice but to go on sinning throughout their lives. It also means that everyone has no choice but to receive God’s judgment and destruction. As such, it is the sins of people that defile them. As Jesus Himself said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23).
Therefore, people must know what sort of evil resides in their hearts fundamentally, and accept the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, which is the Truth of salvation that Jesus Christ has given them, into their own hearts. We must acknowledge the fact that the sinful nature as enumerated in the Gospel of Mark chapter 7 is in our flesh, even after receiving the remission of our sins. It is when we thus admit our sinful nature that we are able to follow, by faith, the Word of Truth that the Lord has given us. We all must accept the Lord’s Word into our hearts, and we must also recognize the fact that there is nothing good in us, and that only God is good. In order for us to receive salvation from all sins, we must know our own wickedness and accept the gospel of the remission of sin that Jesus Christ has given us. Unless these two necessary conditions are met, no one can receive the remission of his sins.
Jesus Christ came to this earth to save those who would otherwise fundamentally go to hell for their sins. Just as Jesus Christ said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance,” (Luke 5:32), Jesus Christ wanted to save from all sins those among the sinners living on this earth who completely accept the fact that they themselves are sinners.
The Bible says that if people do not reveal that they themselves are sinners, they cannot bear the fruit of salvation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. God has allowed only those who perfectly accept themselves as sinners to receive the true remission of sin. In order to receive God’s grace of salvation, one must accept the fact that he is a sinner, but this isn’t done just by saying, “I am a sinner,” without any standards. Rather, it is done through the recognition of the Word of God. Depending on whether we acknowledge the Word of God or not, we either remains as sinners or are made righteous.
All people, as the Lord had said in Mark 7:21-23, must admit that they themselves are an entirely sinful mass, and they need to receive salvation from all sins by believing in the Lord. From the very birth, mankind’s heart is naturally predisposed to commit such sins as murder, fornications, theft, lewdness, pride, foolishness, bearing false witnesses, and so on. Therefore, we all must believe in and follow the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has fulfilled the righteousness of God.
When the Bible says that the dry land was revealed, it implies that a person’s own evil has been revealed. It means that God saves someone who frankly admits his own wickedness by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and through that person, He bears many more fruits of salvation.
However, to those who do not admit their wickedness but instead claim their own goodness, God-given salvation does not affect them, for such people pursue their own righteousness instead of God’s righteousness. Before God, it is wrong for a person to hear others saying, “You are good. You are kind.” If you are reputed to be very kind and virtuous, I hope you realize that you, with your own virtue, have probably become someone who stands against the righteousness of God. Human virtue is hypocrisy, acknowledged by only human beings. As it was said before, the fundamental image of a human being is that of someone who thinks evil and commits murder, and it is full of such sins as fornications, thefts, adulteries, lewdness, bearing false witnesses, pride, foolishness, etc. Therefore, humans are like garbage cans. Otherwise, why would God have said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)?
The problem is that people do not properly know what they themselves are alike. People even deceive themselves. Because people face one another under the mask of hypocrisy, they are seeing each other’s false images. They thus go on concealing themselves to the very end, without accepting their evil true nature. There are many people who do not accept their sinful selves to the very end by deceiving God, as well as themselves. Such are those who do not accept by faith the gospel Truth that the Son of God has saved them from all sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Thus, the most evil are those who try to conceal their evil with hypocrisy. These people become the greatest enemies of God in this world and stand against Him the most.
No one is fundamentally virtuous. That is why it is said in the Bible, “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one,” (Romans 3:10-12).
God is saying to all people, “You are a lewd human being.” Do you think people could lead a holy life by themselves? That is such a great misapprehension. Even so, the world is teaching people that they can live virtuously, and the consequence of this false teaching is that people only become hypocrites, acting as if they were virtuous.
Deceivers in today’s Christianity have scattered the ashes of hypocrisy upon members of the church. Because hypocrites go on living everyday by pretending to be virtuous, they do not know that they are evil beings before God. Why don’t they know that they are evil beings? It is because they do not know their fundamental selves. By nature, all humans were born as sinners from their birth. However, Satan the Devil has scattered the ashes of hypocrisy all over our thoughts and hearts repeatedly, so that we would not know our true existence, to prevent mankind from receiving the remission of sin from God.
In Genesis 6:5, it is said, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” As a result, God brought down His judgment on this world. At that time, only eight members of Noah’s family were saved, and all the rest of the wicked were judged. Noah, by finding the grace of salvation from God, was saved from the judgment of the water.
 
 
What Sort of People Does God Dislike?
 
People whom God dislikes the most are those who rattle on hypocrisy before God. Those who do not acknowledge the fact that they are evil sinners are all hypocrites. Hypocrites are those who do not listen to their own conscience, which tells them that they are bound to hell for their sins, and disregard the baptism of the remission of sin and the gospel of the salvation of the blood given by Jesus Christ. Hypocrites are those who pretend to be righteous people despite the fact that they are such great sinners, and claim to have received the remission of their sins despite the fact that they haven’t really received it yet. Those who act hypocritically before God are those who believe in God without knowing the Truth of being born again of water and the Spirit, and they are those who immerse themselves in the acts of hypocrisy in order to hide their evils.
God dislikes the hypocrisy of humans the most—that is, their false goodness—for their hypocrisy goes against the true goodness of God. Yet, some people criticize us for glorifying only the righteousness of God and denouncing the goodness of human beings. They say that we have greatly erred. It may be a mistake from their own point of view, but if we look from God’s perspective, it is the exact opposite.
People are fundamentally evil, but they still try to carry out virtues in order to disguise themselves. However, trying to cover their evils with a tiny virtue is like trying to cover up the sky with the palm of a hand. Human beings are themselves filthy and obscene, and so how can we say that people are virtuous? What goodness is there in human beings? On the contrary, people have to confess their wickedness and receive the perfect remission of their sins as white as snow by believing in the Word of the Bible, which is the Word of God. And then, after having become righteous by receiving the remission of their sins, they have to pursue the true goodness of God, not the hypocrisy of human beings. They have to throw away all their hypocrisies and evils, and they must then follow the true goodness of God.
How do we know that we are filthy and obscene beings? It isn’t by the fact that we have committed such sins in our own acts, but rather, we realize so by the fact that when we reflect ourselves upon the Word of God, we cannot help but admit that all those evils are indeed found in our hearts. This is the way to become a sinner before the Word—that is, to recognize ourselves as sinners. In order to receive the salvation of God’s grace, we must first become sinners before the Word at least once. Although we are all evil human beings, by accepting the gospel of the salvation of the remission of sin, we have been saved from all our sins and are now living our lives as righteous people. Moreover, all those who have thus received their salvation would discard their hypocrisy from then on and live their lives by believing only in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
God does not put His hopes on the hypocrisy of mankind. Because everyone is fundamentally a hypocrite, God cannot put His hopes on human beings themselves. Also, because hypocrisy is something that is pursued by all the religions of the world, God places His hopes on those who believe in His Word, instead of placing them on religion. Hypocrisy not only brings one’s own downfall, but it also drives everyone into evil ways. Moreover, hypocrisy is an obstacle that blocks God’s blessings, as well as a passage that brings a curse to people. Therefore, regardless of who, everyone must remove the mask of hypocrisy before God and people alike, and return to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Since hypocrisy is something that ruins one’s own soul, people have to follow the Truth.
What, then, is the God-given Truth of salvation? It is the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ. We can all be born again now, for Jesus Christ has saved us from all our sins and trespasses by receiving baptism from John the Baptist and then dying on the Cross.
Furthermore, because of this Truth, it has become clear that there is no virtue in human beings. Whoever you may be, do not deceive yourselves. And do not be deceived by anyone else’s hypocrisy either. No one should regard himself highly.
Before starting to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do you accept the fact that you are evil before the Lord? We must wholeheartedly accept the fact that we ourselves are evil beings. Truly, there is only evil that can come out of human beings, no matter how much effort one might put in. The fact is that only the thoughts of robbery, murder, adultery, lewdness, deceit, rivalry, craze and hindrance come out of the hearts of people. Such evil images are what God refers to as the fundamental evil image of human beings.
Yet despite this, many people in this world go on living without accepting their fundamental evils. As long as their evil acts are not revealed, they do not accept the fact that they themselves are evil and headed for hell. This is the reason why there are so many people who do not accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But because God, who has created us, knows that we are fundamentally evil beings, He goes on to say, “You are such an evil being.” Although God had established the Law in order for us to realize our evil existence, many still continue not to acknowledge their evils. Instead, they try to cover up their blemishes with fig leaves, that is, with their own religious lives. This is the most evil image of human beings.
However, no one can hide his shameful sins with any sort of religion in this world. Anyone who wishes to cleanse his sins must believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth for him, received baptism for him, died vicariously for him on the Cross, and was resurrected for him. Only by believing so can one’s sins disappear. I hope you will also receive salvation from your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ. The Lord wants people to throw away their evils and become those who do righteous works by seeking after His Truth. My dear fellow believers, in order to follow the righteousness of God, one has to believe only in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and follow Jesus Christ.
Today’s Scripture passage said that when God looked at the dry land and the land springing forth fruit trees and herbs that yield seeds, He saw that “it was good.” God has given the salvation of the remission of sin to all those who recognize their evil images, and He has made them bear the fruit of righteousness by preaching Jesus Christ, the fruit that looks so beautiful in God’s eyes.
 
 
Do You Believe in the Salvation of Jesus Christ Who Came by the Water and the Blood?
 
The born-again accept into their hearts and believe in the Truth of the baptism that Jesus Christ received at the Jordan River. The reason Jesus Christ was born into this world was to save us from our sins, and as Jesus Christ took upon our sins through His baptism, He was crucified to death in order to bear the condemnation of our sins. After His death, Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day to bring us, His believers, back to life again, and He is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father.
Dear fellow believers, do you believe that Jesus Christ is God Himself, and in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that He has given us? This faith is precisely the faith that lets your souls receive the remission of your sins. Should you not have such faith, you shall only go on living as someone who reeks of a fowl smell, for you would be rotten by hypocrisy. Now, however, we can enter Heaven and live forever by believing in the righteousness of the Lord who came to us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
I admonish you all now to acknowledge your wickedness and be saved from all your sins by believing in the Word of the Truth. As for those who have already become righteous by believing in the gospel, I ask you to spend all your remaining lives as the servants of righteousness by accepting and believing in God’s Word of Truth. The true salvation of God comes to those who discard their hypocrisy and acknowledge their evil existence. To those who acknowledge their true selves, God has given the blessing of receiving the remission of their sins and the Holy Spirit.
God doesn’t work in our carnal thoughts, but rather, He works in our hearts through the Word of Truth. God sows the seeds of His Word in people’s hearts, and has them sprout, blossom, and bear fruits in the heart.
In John 1:12, the Lord said, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” The Lord is saying to us, “I am the gate of Heaven. I have saved you with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread of the screen gate of the Tabernacle.” God has made us His people and His children, and He has said, “I will personally become your Father and Shepherd.” Only when we accept into our hearts the Word of Truth that God has spoken to us, can the flower of salvation blossom in our hearts and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
A true life of faith is possible only when we believe in the Word of God with our hearts. It is by believing in the Word of God with our hearts that we are able to bear the fruit of salvation, and it is when we believe in this Word that we can praise God from the bottom of our hearts, serve Him, and receive all the blessings of Heaven. We must bear in mind what God said here in today’s Scripture passage: “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth,” (Genesis 1:11). I admonish you all to remember that the earth here actually refers to your hearts and mine, and that it is in our hearts that God works through His Word.
If the Word of Jesus Christ were not in our hearts, our hearts would not be able to give out anything. In such hearts, there is nothing beneficial. Such hearts would only be void. They would only be empty hearts. Man-made thoughts lie in the flesh, but the heart lies separately in spirit. A heart without the Word of Jesus Christ is empty, and there is nothing in it. It is when our hearts believe in the Word spoken to us by God that the herb that yields seed and the tree that bears fruit start to grow in our hearts.
We have received salvation and become God’s children by believing in His Word with our hearts, and we have also attained eternal life by believing in this Word of God, who is above in the true Heaven. We have received all the blessings of God into our hearts. Is this indeed the case for you and me alike? If we rely on our thoughts, many odd questions often come up. However, we must drop all such thoughts of the flesh, and rely only on God’s Word of Truth. Where did God perform His work? He worked in our hearts through the Word. In your hearts and mine, God is saying, “I have saved you by the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit, and thus, I have made you My child. You are My child. You are my offspring. You are righteous.”
 
 
The Word of God Is the Gospel Seed That Leads Us to Salvation
 
God speaks to our hearts. He says, “I am your God.” Where does the Word of God land? It lands on those who believe in God’s gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. Here, the water above the heavens falls on the earth, moistens the earth, and lets life sprout from that earth. The Word of God, that is, the water above the heavens, is the seed of life. It is said that God’s seed of life lies in His Word, not the earth. All seeds fall on the earth, and by burrowing into the ground and sprouting the bud of life inside the ground, they grow into grass, herbs, or trees. These seeds grow up to become cabbages, apple trees, or pear trees and bear fruit.
In other words, the earth cannot do anything by itself. It is because God works on the earth with water that His work is realized. Various grass, seed-yielding herbs, and fruit-bearing trees sprouted from the earth precisely because the Word of God fell on the earth and the earth accepted the Word as the seed of life. When we believe in God, how should we believe? To believe in the Word of God is to believe in God. What does God say to us?
God says that He has blotted out our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that He has given us the divine blessings of Heaven. God said that He has made us His children with the fine woven linen and the blue, purple, and scarlet thread of the door of the Tabernacle. And so, we are now the children of God who believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.
Then, what relationship are we in with God? We can call God our Father. And we also call Him our Lord, for God is our Master and the Savior. It is through our faith in this Word of the Truth, which God has spoken to our hearts, that we are now leading a true life of faith. We cannot lead a proper life of faith by following our own thoughts. A true life of faith is possible only when we believe in the Word of God with our hearts. Praising God is also something that we do with our hearts. We must know the fact that it is in your hearts and mine that God works. I ask you all to believe that God has already worked in your hearts through the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
The Gospel of God That Came from Above the Heavens
 
In Israel, there is a peculiar lake called the Dead Sea. No life can survive in that place. The Jordan River that starts at the Lake of Galilee flows into it, and all the water from the valleys of Israel is fed into it. Just the surface of the Dead Sea alone is approximately 400 m below sea level. Because there is no other place lower than the Dead Sea, all the water that flows into the lake cannot be drained to anywhere else, and as the water evaporates rapidly due to the region’s hot climate, the saline level of the Dead Sea water is very high. So there is no fish in the Dead Sea, and no life can survive there. Along the coastlines of the Dead Sea, hardly any grass or trees are able to grow.
The world of human thoughts is like the Dead Sea. The Word of God does not work inside human thoughts. If the Word of God should fall into the seawater, God’s work would not take place. If the Word of God should fall into the sea of our fleshly thoughts, no life would be able to sprout and grow. For this reason, we should lead our lives of faith by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Having faith in the Lord is also realized by believing in the Word of God. We must believe in the Word of God with our hearts.
People have added a title to Hebrews chapter 11 identifying it as the chapter of faith. If we look at Hebrews 11:24-31, it is recorded, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Besides Moses and Rahab mentioned in the passage above, numerous people of faith are also mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. What sort of faith was their faith? Theirs was one that believed with their hearts in the Word that the servants of God had delivered to them. Because Moses and Rahab believed in the Word of God, they were able to live, taste the great work of God, and attain their salvation. We were also able to receive our true salvation by believing in the Word of God with our hearts. Now, we must go on living our lives of faith by trusting in the Word of God with all our hearts.
We must follow Christ by our faith in the Word of God. No matter how much we rely on our thoughts by ourselves, there is no gain. A thought is just a thought. It is nothing more than that. We are able to blossom the flower of faith only by believing in the water above the heavens, that is, the Word of God. This is the true life of faith.
In the past, the predecessors of faith who had lived by faith walked in accordance to the Word of God, believing in this Word above the heavens, in God’s Word of covenant. Joseph was confident that the people of Israel would enter the land of Canaan in the future because he had believed in the promise of God handed down to him by the ancestors of faith. That is why, upon his deathbed, he spoke these last words, “Even if I die, God will have you enter the land of Canaan in the future. When the time comes and you leave the land of Egypt, make sure to dig up my bones and carry them with you into the promised land.” Joseph spoke his last words like this because he believed in the Word that God had said to Abraham—that God would save the people of Israel after 400 years of bondage and lead them to enter the land of Canaan once more. Accordingly, the people of Israel, when they left the land of Egypt, dug up and took Joseph’s bones with them into the land of Canaan where they had buried them. This is what faith is all about. Where did God perform His work? He performed it on the earth. It means that God worked in our hearts.
What is in our hearts? The fact is that faith is there. What is the true nature of faith? It is having faith in the Word above the heavens, that is, the Word of God. That is precisely what faith is. Believing with all our hearts in the Word of God who is in Heaven, the Word that falls upon our hearts, the Word of God that has been granted to us—this is what faith is. We must all know what faith really is.
If we were to say that there is one truly precious treasure in our hearts, then that would have to be our wholehearted faith in the Word of God. A heart that has faith is what is precious, and a heart without faith is merely full of fleshly thoughts. Any thought that comes out of the flesh of mankind is just a thought; it is not something that comes out of the Word of Truth. The sea or the earth itself has no life in it. It is only the water above the heavens—that is, the Word of Truth and the seed of life—that falls down and makes this earth blossom beautiful flowers, sprout out herbs, and bring forth trees to bear fruits. The fact is that all these beautiful herbs, flowers, and fruits came into existence by the Word of God who is in the heavens.
Soil has no other work but to accept anything that it is given. The earth did nothing else but accept the seed when it fell. The point that I am trying to convey to you is that it is not the proper faith to accept into our hearts what we have created with our own thoughts and logic and believe in them. Faith built on top of human thoughts sways back and forth like the waves on a beach, and it creates foams of doubt. It is always shaky because this faith created by human thoughts sometimes seems reasonable, but not so reasonable at other times. Our man-made thoughts as human beings are always like this, wavering back and forth. Isn’t it so? Aren’t fleshly thoughts like that? Yet, if we were to discern everything with the Word of God, everything would become clear.
True faith has nothing to do with the thoughts that come out of the flesh of mankind. God does not perform the work of life upon the thoughts of people. When God’s Word of Truth falls on the earth, the seed of the Truth of life flowers and bears fruit. What has all the power to make the seawater and the earth yield flowers and bear fruit? It is the God’s Word of Truth.
I hope that you shall all now realize that the Word of God has blossomed and worked on the earth. It is not in our carnal thoughts that God’s work of life unfolds, but rather, it unfolds in the hearts that believe only in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God approves our faith only when we believe in the His Word with all our sincere hearts. Yet despite this, there aren’t that many people who believe in the Word of God with their hearts. The Word of God is the Truth, and it has power. It is said, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Faith in the Word of God becomes a powerful weapon that pulls down the strongholds of Satan, and those who have such faith will receive overflowing blessings from God.
A proper faith cannot be grown with fallacious beliefs, accumulated by our attempt to understand and accept the Word of God with our own carnal thoughts. Such faith always sways like a wave, believing one moment, and then becoming faithless the next minute. Our faith must never be merely a religious faith. One can never blossom the flower of true faith by relying on his own thoughts. I want you all to realize that God does not work in our thoughts of the flesh of mankind. Where, then, does God perform His work? He works on top of the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The work of God truly occurs only when we believe in God with our hearts. The fact is, only when we believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, did God give us salvation, make us His children, answer our prayers, strengthen us, and allow us to bear many spiritual fruits.
God has worked in your hearts through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even now, He continues to work in your hearts and mine through this gospel of the water and the Spirit. My fellow believers, do you believe in God with the thoughts of your flesh, or do you believe in God with your hearts, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Is there faith in the Word of Truth inside you? While believing in God, one must forego human thoughts. Let us forego using thoughts in living our everyday life, and let us believe in God by placing our faith in His Word.
It is because God works in our hearts that we believe in Him with all our hearts, praise Him with our hearts, follow Him with our hearts, pray to Him with the full confidence of our hearts, and labor as His workers with our hearts. Because I believe that God is my Father, I am able to offer my prayer of faith with every confidence and say, “Father, please grant me this.”
 
 
The Word of God Works Inside Us
 
All on His own, God had said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind,” (Genesis 1:11). Just as this Word of Truth that God had spoken all on His own fell to the earth—in other words, just as the seed fell—the earth accepted the seed and fruit was yielded. There wasn’t anything else that the earth had done. The earth did not act frivolously by itself, nor did it sacrifice itself to make water. All it did was to take in the seed falling from above and have the seed of the Truth sprout and flower by gathering up nutrients in the ground around it. Also, if we recognize, the earth is something that God has created. There is nothing that we have done by ourselves.
Therefore, if one had led his life of faith according to what he had thought was good, then it would be all in vain. If he had led his life of faith by thinking, “Would I still be deemed to be principled by others if I were to lead my life of faith like this? What would be an easier way of running my church? What should be done to this Word of God to make it fit into the principles of mankind?” then such a life of faith would have no merit at all. People like this have not been leading a life of faith, but rather, they have been cleverly managing their way of life. To say it very nicely, they have been on a scholarly quest. Such people have been pursuing philosophy that suits them. If anyone has led his life of faith following what is good according to his own thoughts, instead of believing in the Word of God with his heart, then this can only mean that he has not actually led a life of faith, but only a religious life.
God has worked in our hearts. By working in your hearts and mine, God has made us into His children. Is this true or not? Of course it’s true! Now, we have become God’s children. Did we become God’s children by our own thoughts? No, we didn’t. If we had relied on our thoughts to be saved, we would have never become sinless, for it would have been like grasping for the wind.
How, then, did we become God’s children? We have become His children by believing in God’s gospel Word that has blotted out all our sins. In our thoughts, when we commit a sin, we are not entirely sure whether this has disappeared or not. We move back and forth in our carnal thoughts, but our hearts clearly testify to us, “There is no sin.” All the people of faith, whether they were Moses, Joshua, or Rahab the harlot, resolved all their problems by faith.
We are able to lead a proper life of faith by believing in the Word of God with our hearts. If we believe in the Word of God with our hearts, the seed of life that is inside the Word enters into us and works in us. And it sprouts a bud of life. This is something that we can never do on our own, and although there is no such beauty in our hearts, God still brings forth beautiful buds to sprout, flowers to blossom, and fruits to be borne. In other words, God makes us do beautiful works. Who works with what? God works with the Word of Truth. The seed of Truth then enters us, and this seed does beautiful works inside us.
The Truth makes us spread the gospel to other souls, do the work of serving God, do the work of following the Lord by faith, and do the work of fighting against the Devil and winning. It is the Truth that enables us to do these things. We alone cannot do such things. No matter how zealously we may try, we can never do them. In other words, we cannot lead a life of faith based on our own thoughts. You can never receive the gospel of salvation if your hearts are set like the following: “I’ll think about it and if I can understand it, I will believe. But, if I cannot understand it despite having looked at the Word and having listened to it over and over, then I will never believe it. I mean I will believe only the part that I can understand.” If you are bound by such a thought, then you must throw it away quickly.
Faith is something simple. All one does is simply meditate on the Word of God with his heart and just believe in the Word. The Truth is also something simple. The Truth is just the Truth. It is not rendered untrue just because we think so, nor is its validity affirmed by our own thoughts. The Truth is not made true just because we accept it, nor is it made untrue just because we reject it. The Truth is just the Truth. It is something that never changes.
 
 
Human Thoughts: Barriers to a Life of Faith
 
Through the work of creation, God revealed the work that He wanted to perform on us humans. On the first day, God spoke of the work of salvation. On the second day, He spoke of the work of separation. On the third day, He spoke of how one is to become a person of faith. Nonetheless, there are many people whose faith hasn’t reached the third day. In order to become servants of God, they have to accept this work of God done on the third day of His creation. On the fourth day, God created the stars in the sky. Then, on the fifth day, the work of flying about to one’s content and swimming underwater by faith, reigning over everything by faith, and enjoying everything to its fullest becomes realized.
What is the greatest obstacle to the work of the third day being realized in our hearts? It is our fleshly thoughts. It’s not just any kind of thoughts. It is the thoughts of the flesh. Many people are leading their lives of faith by their own thoughts of the flesh. Since that is the case, one’s life of faith is at the beck and call of thoughts, and lest it should not be so according to one’s thoughts, then it is the case that the life of faith becomes discouraged. No matter how much one pledges by thinking to himself, “Alas! This seems right. So, let’s believe. I believe,” if this faith isn’t based on the Word of God, then, when some hardship approaches, everything gets blown away in a single shot. His faith would die.
For example, when a typhoon lands on a shore, it wrecks havoc on the shorelines. It is like a tidal wave sweeping by all at once, flooding out houses near the shore and wiping out the beach and the breakwater without a trace. It is the thoughts of the flesh that eats away faith. As one thinks more and more of his own flesh, his faith would disappear accordingly. In time, his faith would completely disappear without even a trace. When one is drawn more and more to his own carnal thoughts, it would blow away even those things that he had believed of in the first place, and, eventually, whatever little faith that might be left would be completely wiped out.
There are two types of people: people who believe in the Word with their hearts and people who lead their lives of faith according to what they think is good. As for those who go on leading their lives of faith with their own thoughts, they still do not know where God had worked on the third day. My fellow believers, we must believe in God’s Word with our hearts. We must meditate on it with our hearts, and believe in it with our hearts. It is with our hearts that we must believe. And it is with our hearts that we must follow. Only then will the work of God unfold.
For those who take the Word of God only at the level of their thoughts and not believe in it with their hearts, when they listen to the Word, they tend to listen as if they were listening to some history lecture, thinking to themselves, “That’s not the main theme of that passage… Hmm, he’s speaking about faith today. I suppose the passage could be interpreted like that.”
I am not lecturing on history now. I am not saying, “The time of Moses was some years B.C., and the culture at the time was so and so. In that culture, Moses became the leader of the nation of Israel in such and such ways. It was great. Let’s all be like Moses.” Rather, what I am saying to you is that all the faith of the people of God, whether it be the faith that Moses had, the faith that Rahab had, or the faith that Joshua had, was based on believing in the Word of Jehovah with their hearts. God is saying that this is the realm of faith.
When you read this sermon, if you were to try to accept it after having understood it, then all you would be doing is just probing. Do you know so much as to accept the Word of the Bible only after having understood it? It would be too late if you were to try to understand it, assess it for yourselves, and then accept it with your own thoughts. You would only be able to understand what is being said now after 10 years, no, perhaps after 20 years. It may very well take 20 years for you to come to say, “Alas, this is why Pastor Chang had said so back then.” Maybe, if you were to continue leading your lives of faith with your own thoughts, then this realization may not come even after 20 years have passed. Perhaps you might have already died before you are awakened to such an understanding. Your thoughts are your enemy.
As we carry on with our lives of faith, while it’s acceptable for us to think about the Word of God with our heart's faith, if we were to judge God’s Word, nurture our faith, and plan our future all with our own carnal thoughts, then our very thoughts would be our own enemy. We must not lead our lives of faith with our own thoughts. We must believe in what God has told us, that a life of faith that is led by one’s own thoughts, where he tries to understand the Word and plan ahead all with his own thoughts, is no life of faith.
     
 
Where Does God Work?
 
On the third day, God commanded the earth to bring forth the herb that yields seed and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind. God did not say this to the sea. For us, the first day of God’s creation has passed. The second day has also passed. The water above the firmament was divided from the water of this earth. Do you now know what is the Word of God and what are the words of the Devil?
Now, we are faced with the third day. When the second day passes, the third day will certainly arrive. Indeed, the third day has already come to us. On the third day, two phenomena occurred. God gathered together the waters that were covering the earth into one place, and called them the seas. And He called the exposed dry land the earth. This means that God divided the seas from the earth perfectly. Between the two that were divided, on which one did God perform His work? He worked on the earth. It was to the earth that God said, “Bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind,” (Genesis 1:11). God sowed the seed on the earth, and through the earth, He brought forth fruits. He revealed His glory by doing so. That is why it was said that God saw it to be good.
Then how did God work on us? He worked in our hearts. He performed His work in the hearts of those who believed. We have received our salvation by faith. We have become children of God by faith. We have been saved from the judgment by faith. By faith, we call God as our own Father. By faith, we go on leading a life of faith. By faith, we follow the Word of God. Everything is done by faith.
However, what we must know is that there still are some brothers and sisters, and even some servants of God, who haven’t yet passed the third day. They judge the Word with their thoughts, even now. The Word of God is an object of faith and the Truth, not an object of our judgment and analysis. No matter how much we might analyze the Word of God with our own human minds, no fault can ever be found in it. As such, we must give up this futile attempt at our own understanding and start believing with our hearts. We must believe in all the Word that God had promised us and completed, and in all the remaining promises that He will no doubt fulfill for us.
How have you led your lives of faith until now? When you listen to the Word of God or when you read the Bible, do you perhaps put it on hold because you can’t quite grasp it, neither believing in it nor accepting it, until you are finally able to understand it?
When we go to an office, we would see filing trays marked ‘decided,’ ‘undecided,’ and ‘reserved,’ lying on top of the desk of someone in high position. What does the ‘decided’ tray hold? It holds documents on which the final decision has already been made. What about the ‘undecided’ tray? It contains documents on which no decision has yet been made. Items in the ‘reserved’ tray are issues that one has reviewed favorably, but hasn’t been able to make the final decision yet.
We may also describe someone’s faith as decided, undecided, and reserved. Among these different types of faith, the one that God hates the most is the reserved faith. A reserved faith is a faith that is neither hot nor cold, but just lukewarm and halfhearted. Although the Word is true, one puts it off for now because it does not agree with his thoughts, so that he would be able to believe it later when it does suit his thoughts. If one were to thus put off his life of faith indefinitely, wouldn’t it seem ridiculous and completely unreasonable in God’s view?
Perhaps God would say, “Hey! Are you that smart so as to say that you will judge My Word on your own, and believe it if you can understand, but not believe it otherwise? How have I saved you then? Were you able to receive salvation because you had understood? Hey! You are trying to lead your life completely with your own thoughts, even though you have received salvation by grace. You are trying to live your life of faith only with your own understanding.”
This thing called faith does not presuppose understanding. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. The Bible says that the elders of faith in the past knew that God had built this whole world not because they understood every aspect of God’s creation, but because they believed in the Word of God (Hebrews 11:1-3).
My fellow believers, were we there when God was making this world with His Word? Did we see it? Did we witness God creating the seas? Did we see when God was creating the earth, mankind, and our grandfathers and grandmothers? No, we saw none of them. Yet how do we know that God created the whole universe and everything in it? I am saying that we know of it by faith.
In the beginning, God created the entire universe. We know this fact by believing in the Word of God, which says that God created the heavens and the earth. The fact that we have received salvation is something that also came by faith. The fact that God has become our Shepard is something that we know by faith as well. Everything is by faith. Going to Heaven is also something that’s accomplished by faith.
  
 
Reserved Faith Is a Fearful Enemy
 
To our faith, a reserved faith is the most fearful enemy. An undecided faith actually has fewer problems. Because it is a faith held by those who haven’t yet met the Word, all one has to do is to tell them of the Word of the Truth and then guide them. However, when it comes to the reserved, no one knows when they would take the final decision that was put on hold. We may hold off on the things of the world, but there is no need for us to face a loss by stubbornly taking the reserved faith. Indeed, it is far better and far wiser for us to be made into the blessed light by believing in the Word of God. It would be truly foolish if one were to accept the Word of God only as a matter of knowledge and to keep it buried under his clouded thoughts. Here is a sumptuous meal prepared for you to eat, but if you were to just gaze at it and not eat it despite being hungry, then all that deal would just be a pie in the sky. A reserved life of faith is just like this.
The biggest stumbling block for the born-again is the fact that they wish for God to work in their thoughts, not believing in the fact that it is in our hearts that God works, just as He worked on the earth on the third day of creation. This is wrong. It has been laid down that when God works, He works on the earth, in our human hearts. He has established His rule of work, saying, “I will continue to work forever in your hearts, even in the future.”
However, many people still expect something preposterous. Those who try to lead their lives of faith according to their own thoughts are all confused, thinking, “This seawater is also water, so God should work on the seawater also. Ah, my head seems to be blocked. It’s too difficult to understand.” Just as the waves constantly splash at the beach, when they stand before the Word, they hastily try to understand it beforehand by thinking on their own. The Word of God is something that simply has to be believed.
When we play soccer, it’s all clear what we are supposed to do. Once we know to which team we belong, we know instinctively that we should pass the ball to players on our side and shoot the ball into the other team’s goal. When we kick the ball, we don’t mull over what to do, thinking, “To whose side should I pass the ball?” Since I know clearly on which side I am playing, I am able to play the game with thorough consistency. However, if I were not sure of even this basic rule, that is, if I were not certain whether I was on this team or that team, then I could very well be scoring against my own team.
The Word of God is something that one has to simply believe like a young child. If we were to hold off placing our faith in the Word of God, then this Word of God cannot be made ours, but if we accept it by faith, then God’s Word will be all ours. Yet despite this, many of you don’t realize just how much loss is incurred because of your reservation, holding off your final decision to place all your faith in the Word of God. In the past, my fellow believers, I was also like you, unwilling to take the leap of faith to completely trust in God’s Word.
People try to understand the Word of God with their own thoughts, again and again. Looking at Jesus Christ washing Peter’s feet in John chapter 13, one may think, “People wore sandals at that time, and so their feet must have been covered in dust and they would have had to wash them everyday. I suppose that is why such an incident occurred.” Of course, this take isn’t completely off the mark by 100%, but that isn’t why Jesus Christ had washed Peter’s feet. Because these people think too much while they listen to the Word, they go on listening with their arms crossed, as if to say, “Can I trust that servant of God? What is that person saying now? I’ll listen for now, but only once.”
We have to listen to the Word with our hearts, once we know that the servant of God preaching it is saying God’s Word, not his own words. For many people, however, nothing is set in their hearts by faith precisely because they listen without discerning whether what they are hearing is indeed the Word of God or someone else’s own words. If these people were to listen to my sermons, perhaps they would say, “See him talking about soccer! Isn’t everything about himself?”
Truthfully, the soccer story told in this hour was also from the Word of God. Isn’t it so? But those who lead their lives of faith based on their own thoughts love to pick and choose when they listen to the Word. On their own, they decide some to be the Word of God, and others not be so. It is because they pick on the Word like this that many of them are holding off, refusing to believe in the Word in its entirety. And as they put off their decision, faith doesn’t get to take root and grow in them. Other people grow in faith rapidly every day, but those who have many thoughts about their own growth see hardly any growth at all. And, even at that, their faith grows just a little bit after having suffered to a great degree as if trying to remove porridge from a bowl.
The Word of God works in people’s hearts. We must believe in this Truth. The Word of God never works in our thoughts. If you were to say to God, “Dear God, I think it’s this way. What do You think, God?” then He would answer, “Oh, yeah? Forget about Me then! Since you think you know it all, do whatever you want to do. You are all on your own now.”
God wants to share communion with us through our hearts, and He wishes to share love and play together inside our hearts. He wants the flower to blossom. God wants to enter into the earth, plant flowers, herbs, and fruit trees on this dry land, and show us His mysterious ways.
The fact is that God wants to root the true gospel in our hearts, and to blossom the flowers of the gospel and bear the spiritual fruits through us. You must know this. Do you understand? You must renounce your past lives of faith that were lived just by your own thoughts. Even if you were to think for hundreds of days, nothing would come from it. It would all be nothing more than a waste of time and energy.
 
 
The People of Faith Who Believe in the Word of God
 
We must carry out our lives of faith with the believing heart. Take a look at all these people in Hebrews who had lived by faith. One of them, Rahab the harlot, heard a rumor saying, “To the people of Israel, who had traveled across the Red Sea, there is a divine being, God, who is called Jehovah. Because God was with them, they were delivered from the tens of thousands of the Egyptian army, and this God named Jehovah wiped out the entire Egyptian army by drowning all of them in the sea. Such a great divine being is with the people of Israel.”
Though the harlot was a stranger, she had believed in her heart, saying, “If such a divine being should exist, then I will believe. I believe in the divine being who has saved the people of Israel as my God.” Eventually, when the time came, scouts from the people of Israel came into the city of Jericho in the land of Canaan where Rahab was living.
Historians claim that the walls of the city of Jericho were so wide and strong that two 8-ton trucks could have been driven back and forth at the top. Because the walls were built in two layers, inside and out, it is said to have been very wide. So the walls were perfect for a defense. To human thoughts, these walls could never be crumbled. At the time, when the city was attacked, the invading army used battering rams to break down city gates and storm into the city, but because even the gates of Jericho were so enormous and the walls were so impeccable, it was widely believed that the city of Jericho could not be taken down, and no army would be able to penetrate it. At the top of the walls, a harlot named Rahab was operating a tavern. Rahab had set up a tavern on top of those walls, and her family had been making a living by selling wine.
However, this harlot Rahab, who had heard about Jehovah, the God of the people of Israel, believed in God with her heart, saying, “If God were like that, I would also believe in God,” and when the scouts came, she hid them with such faith. These scouts had come into her tavern and, in order to spy, they were eavesdropping on what the people were saying while they drank. But the harlot Rahab knew that they were Israelites. However, another man at Rahab’s tavern also realized that some strangers had come into his city, and he went off to inform the king. In the meanwhile, the harlot Rahab took the scouts into hiding.
As she was hiding them, she asked, “Are you people of Israel?”
“Yes, we are.”
“I heard the news about your God, Jehovah. I heard that this God is the God who had saved a nation from the Red Sea. Is it true?”
“It is true.”
“If that is true, and if God wants to take this city, then this city will fall. In that case, I have one condition. I will hide you, but when your people take down this city, I want you to save me and my family.” The scouts then made an agreement with her that they would save her family.
Rahab hid them under the stalks of flax she had laid on the roof and told them, in full detail, how to escape safely. The harlot Rahab had sent off the scouts by believing in God, Jehovah. And, when the people of Israel came to invade, the harlot Rahab, according to the agreement, bound a scarlet cord outside the window. The Bible makes a record of the fact that all the lives of Rahab’s family were spared in accordance with the order issued by Joshua, “Kill not even a single person inside the house that has a scarlet cord.”
What sort of an act was Rahab’s act? Was it something done in her own thoughts? No, it wasn’t. It was done by faith. Although Rahab’s thoughts may have splashed like the wave, unsure of what she should do, she still had faith. If there were no faith in her heart believing that the truly divine being was the Jehovah God who had saved the people of Israel from the Red Sea—that is, if she had not believed in God with her heart—then she could not have been able to do such acts.
The faith by which the harlot Rahab was saved is the same faith that allows everyone to reach his salvation by believing in the blood (red thread) of Jesus Christ, who was baptized at the Jordan River in order to take on our sins. As for us, it is also by the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we attain our salvation.
Even for Moses, it was by faith that he led the people of Israel out of Egypt, and it was by this faith that he became one of the people of God. Moses threw away his rights as a king as if they were worthless. He believed, “I am not the prince of one single nation. Instead, I am a part of the people of God, and a son of the King of kings. I am not a prince of this world. Instead, I am a prince of the Kingdom of God.” Because he had such faith, he was able to throw away the power and the glory of a prince.
My fellow believers, because this Moses believed in the Word of God with his heart, and because he believed in the Word of God spoken to his ancestors, he was able to share joy and sorrow with the people of Israel and live together with them. All this was because he had believed with his heart. Where in the people of faith did God perform His work? It is in their hearts that God performed His work.
Where, then, does God work on us the saints? He works on the earth. He works in your hearts and mine. God has already worked in your hearts and mine. However, as if trying to find a place with a wrong address, there are many occasions when we try to do the work of God at sea. Even now, some people try to understand the Word with their thoughts, but God has already performed His work in their hearts.
We must throw away our own thoughts, and by believing in the written Word of God with our hearts, we must receive salvation and lead a life of faith. This is what a life of faith is. My fellow believers, do you believe in this? When we sing praises, we should sing by believing in God with our hearts, and when we lead our lives of faith, we should lead by believing in the Word of God with our hearts. This is what faith is all about.
It is my hope and prayer that you would all lead your lives of faith by believing in the Word of God with your hearts, and thus receive all the blessings that God has given you.