The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 24 : Sermons for Those Who Have Become Our COWORKERS

[24-28] (Genesis 12:1-5) God Has Already Blessed Us the Believers As He Had Blessed Abraham

(Genesis 12:1-5)
“Now the LORD had said to Abraham:
‘Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
So Abraham departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abraham was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abraham took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.”
 
 
I am sure that most of you are very familiar with Abraham. Today’s Scripture reading is from Genesis 12:1-5, which describes how Abraham left his homeland and went to the land of Canaan as God had commanded him to do. And I would like to share God’s blessings with you from this passage.
 
 
Did God Give Us the Very Same Blessings That He Gave to Abraham?
 
God blessed Abraham abundantly. I am sure we all wish that God would also give us such abundant blessings. But, have we not already received these same blessings that Abraham received? Today, I would like us to consider this question carefully and ponder on whether or not God has given us these same blessings that He had given to Abraham.
To anticipate the conclusion, just as God had blessed Abraham, He has also blessed everyone who genuinely believes in His righteousness. What’s very important here is whether or not we really believe in the righteousness of God with all our hearts. If we look at just our material circumstances, it may seem as though we have not received that many blessings. How can we then say that we have been blessed so much by God? Perhaps some of you are thinking that such abundant blessings are reserved just for Abraham or David and are not really applicable to us.
However my fellow believers, God has already blessed all of us abundantly. You need to realize here that God has given us these same blessings that He had given to Abraham, for God also loves us with all His heart. When we look at our material circumstances and physical situations, we may think that we have not really received that many blessings that are apparent, but once we realize God’s love through His Word, we can see clearly that we have in fact received these abundant blessings.
 
 
We Ought to Realize God’s Heart First
 
God’s heart is full of love for us. It’s absolutely important for all of us to realize that God loves us forever. And because God so loves us, He has a sincere desire to bless us. And He has indeed given us these same blessings that He had given to Abraham. God has bestowed us with these same blessings that He had bestowed on Abraham when He said to him:
“I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Once we realize God’s love for us, we can all trust in Him and realize just how abundantly we have been blessed by Him. This is how God’s blessings come into our hearts. No matter how much a married couple might love each other, unless they express their love to each other, they can’t really appreciate it. If a husband becomes too busy with his work to express his love for his wife or have any meaningful conversations with her, and comes home tired only to eat and sleep as though he was just a boarder, then the wife may very well wonder, “Is this man my husband? Does he even love me?” I am sure that every wife experiences moments like this.
But if your husband seems to be focused like this and comes and goes like a boarder, it’s not because this is what he wants. Rather, it’s because he is too busy trying to support his family in this world. So you should rather try to understand and sympathize with your husband. Newly married couples may not appreciate this, but when enough time goes by and the husband gets overwhelmed with work, he will be so busy that he will find it difficult to tell his wife that he loves her. To be quite frank, many husbands don’t even know what’s where in their homes. So their wives are bound to feel as though they are living with a boarder rather than a husband. You can imagine how frustrating this must be. This is why married couples end up in a fight. But, when trouble arises, both the husband and the wife are prone to blame each other, arguing over who started the fight. If you are having any marital problems, you need to stand back, think long and hard about what’s causing the trouble rather than just blaming each other. You will then realize that your marital difficulties did not arise because of your spouse, but it’s because of your failure to understand your spouse.
If your husband tends to not express himself that well, then you need to help him express himself better. Many husbands feel they are just too busy to tell their wives that they love them as often as the wives would like to hear. So, if you want to hear your husband telling you that he loves you, ask him gently over the dinner table, and never attack him. Few husbands will tell their wives out of blue that they love them without ever being prompted. Of course, there always are exceptions, but that’s just not what most men say. And that’s why many husbands say so few words over the dinner table. I’m saying this to emphasize how important it is for a married couple to understand each other’s heart, as this is absolutely indispensable for them to communicate with one another, find comfort in each other, and ensure a happy marriage. When you know what is in your spouse’s mind, you can draw strength from it, but if this is not the case, then you will be very frustrated and your married life may even feel like a living hell.
The same is true for our relationship with God. If we just look at our material circumstances, then we cannot find the answer to the question of whether or not God really has blessed us, whether or not He loves us sincerely, or whether or not His love abides in us even now. On the contrary, looking at just our circumstances is likely to make us feel as though God has no interest in us, far less any love.
It is therefore very important for us to look at God’s heart rather than our own circumstances. It’s by looking at God’s heart that we can find out whether or not He really loves us. When we look at God’s heart through the Bible, we can see that He loves us so much and is blessing us so abundantly. God’s unchanging heart is full of love for us as before, and He is blessings us abundantly. From His Word we can realize just how much He loves us and how abundantly He has blessed us.
Even as you believe in Jesus, there are times when things don’t go your way and you struggle with the hardship of life, and as a result you wonder if God really loves you or not. Have you not had depressing moments like this, when your heart is troubled and you wonder to yourself, “Has God forsaken me by any chance? Have I done so many wrongs that He hates me now?” In times like this, it is absolutely important for you to confirm from the Scriptures that God indeed loves you with all His heart, rather than mulling over in doubt by yourself.
 
 
God Loves All of Us
 
God has blessed all of us. He loves us all with all His heart. Love is not something that is expressed noisily and flauntingly. That’s because deep love is not manifested brashly. In many ways, deep love is not easily visible to the eyes of the flesh. However, even though this kind of love is not seen in our eyes, we can still feel it definitely. God’s love for us is like this. Although it is not seen in our eyes of the flesh, it is never-changing and forever-lasting. And even now, God loves us all. Do you believe in this?
It’s because God loved us that He said, “Get out of your country, From your family, And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.” It’s because God loves us that He has purposely separated us from the world. If God did not love us with all His heart, then He would not have cared whether or not we stayed in our country and with our family, or even whether or not we died. However, because God was deeply interested in us and wanted to bless us all, He made us leave our country, our family, and our father’s house and showed us a new land to dwell in.
You and I have been saved by the Lord. And having left our country, our family, and our father’s house, we are leading our lives of faith according to the Word of the Lord. All who are loved by the Lord have left their father’s house to go to God. This is the commandment that God has given us, and this is the first evidence of the fact that God loves us.
 
 
We the Believers in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Are Living a Life Separated from the World
 
Now that you have received the remission of sins, have you really left your country, your family, and your father’s house? This does not mean that you should literally leave your family and parents behind. Rather, it means that you ought to cast away the old ways of thinking and faith that you had before being truly born again by hearing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, rather than setting your heart on the world, you should set it on God, and having cast away your old ways of thinking, you must unite yourself with the Word and live according to the direction as shown by God.
God loved us so much that He separated us from this world and made us depart from our country, our family, and our father’s house. He did this to give us even more blessings. If God did not love us, He would not have done this. This fact alone shows us clearly that God is unquestionably full of love for us. It’s because God so loves us that He has blessed us, and it’s to turn these blessings into reality that He has led us out of our country, our family, and our father’s house to work in our lives. If we believe in this truth, then our hearts will also become full of love for the Lord.
When Abraham heard God’s commandment ordering him to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house, it must have been very hard on him. Since Abraham had to be separated from his beloved family and his support base and go to a completely strange land, he must have felt very hesitant to leave at first. Perhaps he was even resentful towards God and cried, feeling that God was being cruel and heartless by giving him such an order. Even among you, maybe there are some people who think that they’ve come to a church that’s too strict and inflexible when it comes to its guidance. However, just because God had given Abraham a new land to bless him even more out of His love, so will the guidance of the Church bring even more blessings to you. If Abraham stayed in his homeland, he could never have received God’s blessings. So, I ask you to wait patiently for God’s blessings rather than being resentful.
All too often we tend to measure God’s love by our changing circumstances. But God’s love is not something that can be measured visibly like this. If love could be measured by some visible criteria, then it would mean that a husband who showers his wife with expensive gifts loves her, while a husband who can’t afford this doesn’t love his wife. But few men can actually buy expensive gifts for their wives day after day. Can we then conclude that these husbands don’t love their wives? If this were the case, how could any wife trust her husband and share her life with him? A wife shares her life with her husband because she knows his heart, not because of expensive gifts that are visible. Like this, there are times when we try to measure God’s love by our material successes and failures, so when things don’t go our way, we feel neglected by God. However, when we look at God through our spiritual eyes, we can see that He loves us unchangingly. God loves us with all His heart, and He has blessed us abundantly. His blessings are not just future promises, but He has blessed us already.
 
 
We Ought to Be Immersed in God’s Love
 
Do you believe in God’s love? Do you believe that God loves you with all His heart? If you believe in God’s love, then your heart will find true satisfaction. That’s because true love and true fellowship with God can be shared when you know His heart and trust in Him. No matter how difficult your circumstances are and how much hardship you are facing, you can still endure through them with perseverance thanks to the Lord’s love. Even if your circumstances are difficult and you are facing financial hardships, or even if God seems to be reluctant to give you material blessings, you can still lead a happy life because you know that God loves you. Like this, it’s very important for our hearts to be immersed in God’s love. The problem, however, is that all too often we fail to do this and instead look at the world with the eyes of flesh. When we set our hearts on temporal and material things, we end up so busy calculating our material gains and losses that we can’t run to the dominion of faith. In times like this, we lose our passion for God and our hearts turn desolate and parched. We end up going through the motions without any faith.
In contrast, if we believe in God’s love and what He has done for us, then even the most desolate heart can blossom the flowers of faith and turn into a rich and fertile ground. When we believe in God’s heartfelt desire to bless us all through His Word, the flowers of Sharon will begin blossoming in our hearts, connection is made between God and us, and true fellowship and love are shared. I believe with all my heart that God loves us. And I am absolutely certain that it’s God’s heartfelt desire to love us and bless us.
The Song of Solomon is the love story of King Solomon and a Shulammite woman. From the Book of Song of Solomon we can realize how all hardships can be overcome by love, and in the same way, we can also overcome all our trials if we know just how much God loves us. Once we realize that God’s heart is full of love for us and that He has blessed us with this love, we can overcome any and all obstacles that we face while carrying out Gods’ work in His Church. What’s more, we will have an increased desire to carry out God’s will even more ardently. If we really believe that God loves us and has blessed us, then we will faithfully fulfill the work that God has entrusted to us even if we are neither rewarded nor recognized for our labor. But when our labor starts bearing fruit, far from taking the credit for ourselves and boasting about it, we come to praise the Lord and thank Him for giving us the opportunity to serve Him.
God has built His Church on this earth, and we are serving the Lord in this Church. Are we then serving the Lord in order to ensure our own material prosperity? Is our willingness to serve God conditional? No, of course not! It’s because our God loved us first that we are trying to serve Him to the best of our abilities despite our inadequacies, and because we know God’s love is for us that we also love Him and carry out His righteous work He has entrusted us with. Whatever is pleasing to God, we are only too happy to do it without any ulterior motives or desires. When the work we do becomes pleasing to our Lord and His will is fulfilled even a little through this work, then we are glad to devote ourselves to this work and entrust its fate to God. The very fact that we are doing something that’s pleasing to God makes our hearts joyous, and so we can all work diligently without expecting anything in return. Therefore, our faith ought to begin from the belief that God loves us so much and has blessed us with all His heart. God has bestowed His infinite love and boundless blessings on all of us, and having come to us in person, He has saved us from all our sins and given us new life. God has given us His everlasting love. And even now, our God still loves us. Indeed, even at this very moment the Lord is blessing us all. It’s just that sometimes we can’t appreciate this. When we seek what our eyes of the flesh can see rather than trying to read the Lord’s heart by faith, we will not be able to see God’s great love and end up failing to understand His mind.
Can any of us deny the fact that God loves us, that He has blessed us abundantly, and that He is helping us at every moment? Can any of us deny this love of God? No, of course not! None of us can ever deny God’s love because He has demonstrated it to us so clearly and plainly. Like this, the Lord has blessed us abundantly and loves us with all His heart.
 
 
We Ought to Have the Same Faith as That of Abraham Who Became the Fountain of Blessings by Faith
 
God wanted to bless Abraham. It’s because God so loved Abraham that He told him to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house, so that God would bless him to His heart’s content. God gave Abraham such an order in order to bless him not only in Heaven but also on this earth and make him a great nation. It’s to demonstrate this and make us realize that God ordered Abraham to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house. From the blessings that God gave to Abraham, we can see that our God loves us and has blessed us equally. So, the fact that Abraham was blessed is the evidence showing us that God really loves us also.
God said to Abraham that he would be the fountain of blessing. The faith of all who are loved by God is the fountain of all blessings. Who is blessed by God? Although God loves every human being equally, His blessings are bestowed only upon those who accept this love into their hearts without reservation, and only the hearts of those who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them become the very fountain of blessings. Of course, Jesus Christ is the fountain of all blessings, but the hearts of those who truly believe in God are also the fountain of blessings. When we look closely at the heart of someone who believes in God and has been blessed by Him, we can see quite clearly that God’s blessings are indeed found in that person’s heart. Not every heart is the same. Some people’s hearts are blessed while others have no blessing, and when we look at the blessed hearts, we can see that these hearts have been blessed on account of the fact they truly believe in and follow God.
Do you know from where blessings originate? They originate from those who have accepted and have planted God’s love into their hearts by faith. God said to Abraham:
“I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
This means that God, who makes His believers the fountain of blessings, blesses those who unite themselves with this faith and curses those who don’t. God said that those who bless Abraham would be blessed equally, while those who curse him would be cursed. Of course, becoming the fountain of blessings depends entirely on God, but because God said to Abraham, “You shall be a blessing,” whether one is blessed or not depends on whether that person takes sides with Abraham or not. So, taking Abraham as the norm, God blesses those who bless Abraham and curses those who curse him. Since it was God who led Abraham’s heart, to unite one’s heart with Abraham’s heart is to unite oneself with God. So, if you unite your heart with Abraham’s heart, then God will bless you also. That’s because Abraham’s heart is the fountain of blessings. And you can be blessed if you unite yourself with those who have this blessed heart. That’s because God promised that His blessings would be given through those who have united their hearts with Him. Uniting your heart with the people of God is uniting with God. However, if you try to ensure your own prosperity above anything else without uniting with the heart of God, then you will not receive any blessings.
We the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have received God’s love. As those who have received this love of God, in our souls we not only have God’s love but also His truth and blessings. Because we are loved by God, God blesses those who unite themselves with us and curses those who oppose and stand against us. Knowing this, just how much does God cherish us and how much has He blessed us that He would bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us? This is all because we have put on God’s love. It’s because we have put on His blessings. Of course, we are not God, but we have faith in Him and His loving concern is always upon us, and that’s why those who bless us are blessed while those who curse us are cursed. So we ought to think about just how great the love we have received from God is. It’s on account of Abraham that everyone on this earth has been either blessed or cursed. Like Abraham, God has also blessed us. He loves us with all His heart, and He has clothed us in this love. He has given us such great love and blessings that He blesses those who bless us and curses those who curse us.
This is the evidence of the fact that we have put on God’s love. We don’t bless or curse anyone else on our own. Rather, it is God who blesses those who bless us and curses those who curse us, because God loves us with all His heart and has blessed us abundantly. This is how much God loves us all. So how could we ever say that we have not received any blessings from God? Although our acts are no better than anyone else’s and in our outside appearance we may not seem to have been blessed, regardless of how we look we have in fact received God’s love and blessings, for God is holding us steadfast and taking care of us. This is not something that God said just to Abraham or His prominent servants appearing in the Old Testament. Rather, it is what God is saying to us today who are blessed by Him. God will curse those who curse His beloved people, and He will bless equally those who bless them. Why do you think God would do this? It’s because God loves His people and has blessed them. Can anyone object to this? Can anyone dispute what God has done? Can anyone complain that God loves some people but not others? No, God loves every human being equally and fairly. But it is only on those who have accepted God’s love that His special blessings are bestowed.
 
 
As God’s Blessed People, We Are Not Lonely
 
As we carry on with our lives on this earth, sometimes we feel lonely, and sometimes we face various difficult circumstances. In these times how can our hearts be strengthened? It is none other than God’s love. It’s when our hearts are infused with God’s heart that we can find true rest. When you abide in God’s love, your heart is fully satisfied and you are never lonely even if you have nothing special on this earth and even if you are walking alone. You can indeed walk on this road of righteousness in joy. Though you may seem to have nothing, you are in fact rich; and though the world may seem to despise you, you are in fact honorable. That’s because you believe in God’s love. Because we believe in God’s love, we can all be courageous and bold in this world even though we have nothing, bless the unbelievers and lead them to the way of righteousness, and become the fountain of blessings to share overflowing blessings with everyone else in our lives. All of us who have put on God’s love can live like this, and we are in fact living such a blessed life.
Do you believe that God loves you with all His heart? If you do, then have you not been blessed already? You are indeed the very blessed saints. God loves you and me with all His heart, and we have received His blessings. So our hearts are full of God’s love. On account of this faith we have no fear even if we walk in this world all alone. That’s because we are the blessed people living amid God’s blessings regardless if no one ever gives us any recognition, or how many shortcomings we have, or how many people ignore us. Because we have received such blessings from God, no one can harm us. Neither Satan nor anyone else in this world can ever harm us. No one can curse anyone who has been blessed by God, and no one can bless anyone who has been cursed by God. As you have been saved through the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, you have received the same blessings as Abraham’s.
Therefore, it’s very important for all of us to lead our lives of faith by trusting in God who has blessed us with all His heart. We ought to lay the foundation of our faith on the fact that God’s heart is full of His desire to bless us all. When we live out this faith, we can have boldness in our hearts, never to be shaken no matter what kinds of temptations and sufferings we may face, never be held hostage to the whims of the world, but instead run the race of faith to bring joy to God.
 
 
Let Us Have Spiritual Faith in God’s Sight
 
What your eyes see is not everything that there is. Of course, there are many wonderful things in this world. Take a look at the flowers. Are they not all beautiful? But there is no flower that can lasts for more than a week or two without its life support. Even the most beautiful flower will wither away without fail. Nor are our fortunate circumstances forever-lasting.
So, rather than looking at our immediate circumstances, we ought to look into our hearts. God loves us with all His heart, and this love with which He has blessed us is in your heart and mine. It is this love that gives us the strength to overcome all our adverse circumstances. That’s because God’s love abides in our hearts always and forever. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have God’s love in our hearts all the time.
Therefore, as we carry on with our lives in God’s sight, we must have spiritual faith. We are at the greatest risk when the things that are visible to our eyes go well. When you and I measure everything by our eyes of the flesh like this, we are actually putting ourselves at great risk. What we see with our eyes is not everything that there is. We must follow the Lord with our hearts in our lives until the day He returns and takes us away to His Kingdom. We must follow God until the very end with all our hearts, trusting that God’s heart is full of love for us.
I ask you not to waver by your circumstances. That’s because circumstances change all the time. When Abraham’s nephew Lot saw the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, it looked like the Garden of Eden. Lot followed what his eyes were pleased to see, and as a result, he was almost destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. He barely managed to save his life. Just because your circumstances are good, this does not mean that everything else is fine. Even though we have faced many difficulties in our lives of faith until now, throughout the whole time we always had God helping us at our side. Although we have sometimes stumbled and faltered on our way to where we are now, we do not think that this road has been nothing but a struggle because God has always been with us. If our circumstances had been good, we could not have felt God’s help. Of course, we all know how hard and painful it is to stumble and falter. But all of us must realize that this is God’s guidance and His love. In other words, we ought to cast aside the conventional notion that only the good things that happen in our lives are God’s blessings while hardships and difficulties are not God’s blessings.
To bless Abraham, God told him to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house. Even though the way to the land of Canaan was extremely difficult for Abraham, he still had God’s guidance and help whenever he struggled. And ultimately, Abraham became a blessing just as God had promised, and the nation of Israel was born from him.
God has also given us this very same promise. He has called us to lead us to a blessed way and to turn us into the fountain of blessings so that everyone would be blessed to make a great nation out of us. It’s for this purpose that God has told us to leave behind all our carnal thoughts and wishes to seek after the comfort of our flesh. How do you feel now that you have embarked on this journey with Abraham? Is it just too hard on you? If God had not blessed Abraham, he would not have left when God said to him as follows:
“I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
It’s because God had blessed Abraham with His Word that Abraham left with all these promised blessings of God in his heart. If God had not thus blessed him, he would have had no reason to leave. After all, he was already living a comfortable life, and so why would he have left for a completely strange land?
My fellow believers, it’s because God has blessed you and me already that we can all live out our faith, serve the Lord, and follow Him. We took the first step in our lives of faith precisely because God loved us with all His heart and gave us all His blessings. We are following the Lord because God has already made us His blessed people, not because we want to be blessed sometime in the future. If you are thinking mistakenly that you would be blessed if you live out your faith, you need to wake up from this misconception. Are you still following the Lord so that you would be blessed in the future? But how do you know whether you would be blessed or not? Do you think God would bless you only if you do something meritorious?
If that were the case, then none of us could have believed in the Lord, nor would any of us have had any assurance in the Lord’s Word that He would bless us. Take a closer look at our acts and our weaknesses. Even if we have accumulated many blessings, isn’t it likely that we would ruin them all? Yes, of course. This is because we are full of mistakes and shortcomings. So, even if we do something worthy of being blessed, we commit so many more wrongdoings right away that whatever merit we might have built up is all rendered obsolete. That’s how weak we all are. Given this, if we had to do something meritorious to be blessed, then none of us would receive any blessings from God. If God had said to us, “Follow Me faithfully, and I will bless you; I will cherish you if you do something meritorious,” then right away all of us should just give up on receiving any blessings. That’s because no matter how hard we try to be good, it is much more probable for us to fail than succeed at this endeavor. That’s how weak our flesh is.
However, God has already blessed us wholeheartedly. It’s because God had already blessed Abraham that he could leave his homeland with assurance. God has given us the same blessings also, saying to us, “I will curse those who curse you, and I will bless those who bless you. I will make you the fountain of blessings.” Indeed, God has blessed us already. Because the Lord already bore all the curses that we should have borne, we have nothing but rewards and blessings to receive in the Lord. None other than this is God’s love.
 
 
The Beginning of Our Faith
 
Abraham followed the Word of the Lord God because he believed in His blessed promise. Like this, faith begins with the concrete Word of God. That’s why we follow this Word. Because the Word of God guarantees us clearly that He has already blessed us wholeheartedly, we can follow God and begin to live out our faith unwaveringly. Every life of faith begins based on this assured Word of God and grounded in His love.
What is the starting point of your faith? Is it the fact that God has blessed you with all His heart? Or it is your own carnal thoughts, thinking vaguely that you would be blessed somehow down the road if you follow the Lord long enough? The people of faith believed that God had already given them blessings and began their lives of faith based on their unwavering faith in this concrete Word. We can realize this from the Scripture. It’s because God had already blessed the people of Israel that He told them to follow Him. Rather than saying that He would bless them if they followed Him, God told them to follow Him because He had already blessed them. However, as the people of Israel did not realize this providence of God, they tried to establish their own righteousness through their own works, and when they failed to do so, they blamed God, worshipped idols, and kept on going astray time after time.
Far from hearing the voice of God calling for them, the people of Israel actually stood against Him even in the days of Jesus Christ, as it is written, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37) As a result, Israel was ultimately destroyed, and having lost their land, the Israelites were scattered all over the world. Their curses had begun all because they did not believe in God’s love. From where do blessings begin? They begin from the belief that God has blessed us wholly and that He loves us with all His heart. It’s when we realize God’s love as revealed in the Word that His blessings begin for us on account of our unshakable faith in this Word. It is when our faith begins from this faith that our blessings also begin.
 
 
We Need to Check and Rearrange Our Faith
 
Even though we are full of shortcomings, God still loves us. As the Apostle Paul said, God loves us no matter how lowly we are. If we were to look at just our acts, how often have we really led a godly life? We would not deserve to be loved if the measuring rod of the Law were to be applied to us strictly; we could not possibly be loved by God, nor even expect Him to love us. However, despite our wretchedness, God still loves us and has blessed us with all His heart. It’s because God loved us first and blessed us that we can trust in Him and follow Him despite our shortcomings. It’s from here that faith begins.
Because we trust in God’s love and believe that He has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can always turn around from our wrongdoings despite our shortcomings. We can always live a blessed life by faith. If our faith were dependent on our acts, then the very moment when our acts go astray, we would not be able to come to the presence of God. Whenever we do anything evil, we would not be able to come out to God. There would then be more and more days when we find it impossible to come into God’s presence, and in the end, we would be irreversibly estranged from God.
But is this what God wants for us? As the Bible says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 John 4:10), it is God who loved us first. And perfect love casts out fear, just as it’s written, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Who fears God? Those who don’t even know whether or not there is God don’t fear Him. On the contrary, God is actually feared by those who believe in Him but cannot believe in His love and instead try to be born again through their own acts. Such people do know just how terrifying hell is, but since they cannot wash away their sins no matter how hard they try, they are afraid that they would end up in hell. However, if these people cast aside their own acts and accept God’s love into their hearts instead, they can all be liberated from their fear of hell. God loves us all and He has already blessed us wholeheartedly. If you believe in this love of God, all fear will recede away. All your shortcomings and all your sins that have condemned you until now will disappear. If you believe in God’s love, abide in it, and thank Him for it always in your life, then the very fact that you are abiding in God’s love will bring you joy and fullness even if there is no reward in this world.
God has blessed us to live in joy. He has blessed not only the descendants of Abraham but also all His people and the descendants of faith. I am absolutely sure of this, just as you believe in this wholeheartedly. And that’s why we can never forget God’s love. God loved us so much that He bore all our sins through His baptism and remitted them all away by being crucified to death. We can never forget this love. Of course, because we still have many shortcomings, we still stumble, make mistakes, and sometimes even disown God as the Apostle Peter once did. However, God blessed us even as He knew all about such weaknesses. We could reach our salvation precisely because God loved us unconditionally rather than being contingent upon our acts.
Abraham entered the land of Canaan as God had promised. Because of Abraham, countless people were blessed for generations to come, and everyone who emulated his faith put on the love of God. Don’t forget the fact that all of this came about because Abraham obeyed the Word of God commanding him to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house.
 
 
Cast Away Your Own Ephemeral Righteousness
 
Do not lead your life of faith based on your fleshly merits or virtues. I have many shortcomings. Nonetheless, I still have the conviction that I am leading my life of faith to follow the Lord because I believe that God loves me and has blessed me wholeheartedly. No matter what anyone says to me, so long as God blesses me and loves me with all His heart, I will always abide in God’s love, be free in this love, and spread my faith amid all these God-given blessings.
I admonish you to not rely on your transient acts to be blessed. It’s because God loves us and has already blessed us that we can and must live a godly life. We must serve the Lord and live a godly life in this world not because God would bless us only then, but because He has already blessed us wholeheartedly and we are grateful for such wonderful blessings. Therefore, as you carry on with your life on this earth, you have the duty to do what is right in God’s sight, but you should not expect to be rewarded for this. If this were tenable, it would make God indebted to us. If we were to say to God, “Lord, I’ve done all these things for You, and so You should reward us in this way,” it would be akin to saying to God that He is indebted to us rather than the other way around.
But is God indebted to us in any shape or form? No, of course not! Not only is God far from being indebted to us, He would never allow it. That’s because God loved us first sufficiently and abundantly. Even if we were to devote the rest of our lives to the Lord, there is nothing that we can demand from God in return. What we have already received from God is enough to overwhelm us with gratefulness, and so how could we ever repay Him for His love and blessings? This is simply impossible. And that’s why Psalm 116:12 says, “What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me?” There is nothing that we can demand from the Lord. Yet, when our faith goes astray, we sometimes insist on God to reward us for doing Him some favors. When we do this, we end up turning our relationship with God into a debtor-creditor relationship. What joy could we ever find in such a relationship?
God loves all of us and He has blessed us with all His heart. He has clothed us in His true love. He has blotted out all our sins, made us His brides, and glorified us. Given the fact that you ought to be grateful enough that you have received the remission of sins, would you still turn your relationship with God into a debtor-creditor relationship?
Our God has blessed us with all His heart, and His heart is full of love for us. We are God’s people who have received such great love. When I think about this love, I am so overwhelmed by gratefulness that I don’t know how I can ever thank God enough. What is so special about us that of all the countless people in this world, God would love us and clothe us in His infinite love? So many people considered to be so smart and bright in this world are heading straight to hell because they have not accepted God’s love. In contrast, we have come to enjoy everlasting life by accepting God’s love even though we have nothing to boast of and are full of shortcomings. This is such a wonderful blessing that all that I can say to the Lord is, Thank You.
 
 
Let Us Praise the Lord for His Love with Our Faith
 
We are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world because we are so grateful to the Lord for His love. All that we can give to the Lord in return is thanksgiving and praise, not our own righteous acts. Therefore, all of us ought to abide in the Lord’s love by faith and praise Him in our lives. The exact starting point of our faith begins from the knowledge that God has blessed us wholeheartedly and loves us with all His heart. So I ask you to abide in this love by faith and praise the Lord. God has blessed each and every saint in His Church across the whole wide world. It’s because God has blessed us wholeheartedly that we could have come to where we are now. Now that we have been saved and become God’s own people, we will all enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I ask you to be grateful for this and praise the Lord for such a wonderful blessing.
Faith must not be conditional. If your faith is even slightly conditional, you must cast away any and all such beliefs. Have unconditional faith in God and live in complete obedience to the Lord. Confirming this love of God from time to time, I ask you to do everything to repay the Lord for His love until the day He returns. I also ask you to practice the Lord’s love and serve Him for the remainder of your life.
In not too distant future, you will enter the Kingdom of God. The Lord promised us that He would return to this earth soon. So let us all live the rest of our lives in gratefulness and praise the Lord even when we go to Heaven, remembering that even such filthy and wretched beings like us could become God’s own people because He loved and blessed us first.