“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’ So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’”
Today I would like to speak to you about how you ought to live out your faith as someone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Let me first begin by raising a couple of questions first. What trials and tribulations do we face in our lives? Is it really impossible to overcome these trials unless we have faith in the righteousness of God?
I raise these questions first because it is most crucial for all of us to live by our faith in God. It should be our heartfelt desire to live the rest of our lives by placing our faith in God’s righteousness, and to serve this righteousness by faith. Otherwise everything we do will be completely meaningless, no matter how virtuous our deeds may be. Any faith that is built on one’s own work is not true faith.
We Need to Reexamine Our Faith Carefully
All of us should examine our faith carefully here and reflect thoughtfully on the question of whether or not we really trust in God and His righteousness. If your answer is no, then you must turn around. And whatever you do, you must do everything by trusting in the righteousness of God. Only then will the Lord walk with you.
When we carry out God’s work, whether or not we are physically devoted to it is not what’s really important. What’s truly important is that we do God’s work by placing all our faith in His righteousness. If we sometimes don’t experience the true fruit of faith born out of our work even as we carry out God’s righteous work, it is because we do not completely trust in God. As a righteous saint, you are expected to bear spiritual fruit as a matter of course. If you have failed to do this, then this can only mean that you have a serious spiritual problem. And your problem really is trying to carry out God’s work by relying on your own fleshly strength. Then, ask yourself if you are really carrying out God’s work out of your heart’s desire, or just out of some vague sense of duty.
As we have been saved from all the sins of the world by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit which the Lord gave to us, we are now abiding in God’s Church and living by faith. Although we have been saved from the sins of this world and we all have faith in the righteousness of God, but with the passing of time it is possible for us to find ourselves following the Lord just out of habit. Anyone can easily learn all the rituals of worship which are used in God’s Church given enough time. So even if some righteous saints fail to actually live out their faith in God and His Word, they can still make themselves look as though they are leading an exemplary life of faith. As a result, they end up being incapable of bearing any spiritual fruit. It is therefore very important for us to examine our faith carefully and ask ourselves if we have not fallen into complacency to follow the Lord rather thoughtlessly.
Are You Really Walking by Your Faith in the Righteousness of God?
Only when you walk by your faith in the righteousness of God does the Lord’s work arise in your life. Your heart can find peace only if you live by faith. Faith in the righteousness of God is absolutely indispensable to all of us. Only when we have this faith is it possible for us to carry out God’s work out of our own volition.
In capitalist societies around the world, one must work hard for his own success. In contrast, under Communist societies, people work passively rather than actively, and as a result, low productivity is the result. Productivity is bound to fall under a Communist regime as all economic gains are distributed collectively. This is why there are hardly any Communist countries left anymore, as most of them came to realize that they simply could not compete against this market economy. There is a lesson for us here as well, and it is that God’s work must be done out of a willing heart.
It is very important for us to actually apply our faith in the righteousness of God to our lives. That’s because if we try to carry out God’s work by relying on our own strength rather than trusting in the righteousness of God, we will invariably fail every time. To try to do God’s work without trusting in His righteousness is to commit a terrible sin. If on the other hand we have faith in God’s righteousness and walk by this faith, then we will be approved by God. The Lord has blotted out all our sins and all our curses, and having entrusted His work to us, He helps us to bear the fruit of righteousness. And the Lord helps us like this when we do God’s work by trusting in the righteousness of the Lord. All of us should therefore live out our faith by trusting in God’s righteousness and glorify Him in our lives of faith.
If we really want to glorify God in our lives, then we must abide in His Church and live by our faith in His righteousness. Indeed, everything we do must be done for the preaching of the Lord’s gospel, regardless of what and where. Even your job should be done to preach the Lord’s gospel, and whenever you preach this true gospel, you must serve it by trusting in the righteousness of the Lord. Only when we live out our faith in the Lord’s righteousness like this does His work arise in our lives. Not only is our Lord pleased when we do this, but we can also follow in His footsteps. Unless we have this faith in God’s righteousness, we can never follow Him.
At the same time, however, it’s inevitable for you to face both physical and spiritual hardships while serving the gospel of the righteousness of God. It’s in times like this when you must examine yourself to see if you really are walking by faith and living out this faith in the righteousness of God. When your faith is young, you can nurture it under the guidance of the leaders of the Church, but in time, you must start learning to live by trusting in God’s righteousness. What God demand’s from us is to place all our faith in His righteousness in our everyday lives. To repeat, now that you have received the remission of sins, you must do everything by trusting in the righteousness of God. God will then abide with us the born-again and work in our lives no matter what.
The Fruitless Fig Tree Was Dried Up from Its Roots
While Jesus and His disciples were passing by the fig tree that Jesus had cursed earlier, they saw that it had dried up from its roots. Remember what had happened before, Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The Fig tree which you cursed has withered away” (Mark 11:21). Jesus answered and said to His disciples, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).
This account teaches us that so long as we walk by trusting in the Word of God, every wish we have will be accomplished. We should therefore do everything with the realization that God is pleased when we carry out His work by placing all our faith in His Word. We ought to examine our ministry first to see whether or not God is really pleased by our endeavors to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. And once we have this conviction, we must carry out our gospel ministry by faith, trusting that God will help us and accomplish this work for us. It’s when we live out our faith in God that His work arises in our lives.
It would be a great tragedy if we still have not learned to live by trusting in the righteousness of God even after being born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But if we trust in the righteous work of God and work by this faith, then we will have boldness in our hearts and we will also bear much good fruit. Our hearts will therefore be overjoyed and delighted. In contrast, if we just work halfheartedly and go through the motions without really believing in the righteousness of God, then we will not be able to bear any fruit.
Do you believe that God is pleased when we abide in the Church, the body of Christ, and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do you have the belief that when we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, countless people will be saved from sin? If your answer is yes, then live out this faith of yours. Believe that many people will receive the remission of their sins without fail if you preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them.
As we carry on with our ministry to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we sometimes come across difficult obstacles that can bring God’s work to a standstill. Various problems arise, and even spiritual confusion may visit us. However, as long as we live out our faith in the righteousness of God, countless souls will be saved from sin. When we walk by the belief that our Lord will deliver these souls from all their sins to reach salvation, we can overcome every obstacle and prevail over every difficulty. And every soul that hears the gospel of the water and the Spirit from us will be saved by faith without fail. In short, everything will come to pass according to our wishes and our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
What would happen to our ministry if we were to work without having any faith in the righteousness of God? Even as we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world, we may call this ministry to a halt when facing certain obstacles. Whether one has the real faith or not is discerned by the fruit of that person’s faith. If you were to stop God’s work in the middle, then this can only mean that you do not really have this real faith. On the other hand, if you really believe in the righteousness of God and carry out His work by this faith, then you will overcome all obstacles no matter what and accomplish every goal without fail. So long as you have faith in God, and you are walking by this faith, God will achieve His work through you. If you have true faith, you will do God’s work unwaveringly to the end. That is the defining characteristic of all who have faith in God.
Even as we strive to live a spiritually upright life by trusting in the righteousness of God, there may be times when we find ourselves disappointed from the lack of faith. However, whatever we do by our faith in God and His Word will infallibly bear fruit, and this work will be accomplished without fail. In contrast, whatever we do without placing our faith in God’s righteousness constitutes a sin in His sight. That is why the faithless stop carrying out God’s righteous work in the middle without giving much thought to it; this is because these people do not have this true faith.
Is there anything in God’s work that is not challenging to us? No, of course not! Even God’s work entails challenging difficulties and vexing problems. That is why it’s all the more necessary for us to ponder and ask ourselves whether we are carrying out God’s work wholeheartedly by trusting in His righteousness, or just going through the motions merely out of a sense of responsibility.
My fellow believers, all of us must do everything by our faith in the righteousness of God. If your heart lacks this faith in God, then you ought to reexamine yourself, pray to God, reestablish your relationship with the Lord, and put all your faith in Him. It’s absolutely imperative for us to trust in God completely, and by this faith to carry out every work God has entrusted to us. Only then can we see the helping hand of the Lord. This is how we are able to come into the Lord and abide in the true faith all the time. Are we all walking by trusting in God? Or are we instead just going through the motion and drifting around in self-complacency without any clear sense of purpose? This is the question that all of us must ask ourselves as often as possible.
My fellow believers, each of us must have faith in the righteousness of God. All of us must believe in God wholeheartedly. If you indeed have received the remission of your sins, then from now on you must carry out each and every work that God has entrusted to you, preach the gospel by faith, and serve and follow the Lord and His Church by faith. Moreover, this requirement is not limited to just your spiritual life; rather, your everyday life must be led by faith regardless of when and where you are. Otherwise your soul will perish and you will end up destroying yourself. Faith is absolutely indispensable to every aspect of your life, for nothing can be accomplished without it.
Examine yourself honestly to see whether or not what you are doing is really right, whether or not your life is really on the right path, and whether you are really walking by faith or just going through the motions. If your answer is the latter, then you must have faith in God and walk by this faith. I hope and pray that all of us would realize clearly here that we must do everything by our faith in God, and live our lives accordingly.