“There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the LORD appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, ‘She is my sister’; for he was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife,’ because he thought, ‘lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.’ Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife. Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, ‘Quite obviously she is your wife; so how could you say, ‘She is my sister’?’ Isaac said to him, ‘Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.’’ And Abimelech said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us.’ So Abimelech charged all his people, saying, ‘He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.’”
In today’s Scripture reading Abraham’s son Isaac appears. And God appears to this Isaac and speaks to him. In the Bible we find many cases where the people of faith suffered famine. Abraham went down to Egypt because of famine, and Naomi as well as Lot also went down to the Moab region because of a severe famine. And as you can see today in the Book of Genesis chapter 26, Abraham’s son Isaac is said to have also gone down to Abimelech because of famine.
God Tells Us Not to Go Down to the Land of Egypt
In the Book of Genesis chapter 26, verses 2 and 3 we read, “Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”
So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. I don’t know just exactly where this Gerar region is. But regardless, I am sure that this Word from God where He says not to go down to the land of Egypt just because of a famine is also directed towards all His servants and people living in this current day and age. Our God clearly spoke to all the ancestors of faith as follows: “Even if under a severe famine, dwell in the land of Canaan. And do not go down to the land of Egypt. If you obey this instruction, I will carry out all the promises I have made with Abraham, the man of faith. My dear servants do not ever go down to the land of Egypt even during a severe famine. Dwell in the land that I have shown you.” God said that Abraham had fully kept all the commands and laws of God. And this was the reason why God had promised to carry out all the promises He had made with him and upon his descendants.
As I was reading this Word I came across the following thought. “Regarding Abraham, God says he had obeyed all His commandments, statutes, and laws. But did Abraham not sell off his own wife? Would that be a part of him having kept the statutes and the commandments of God?” God did not look at those fleshly deeds of Abraham. When God says Abraham had kept His commandments, statutes and laws, He did so because He saw the faith by which Abraham believed in God and obeyed and followed those commands He had given him. No one can say that Abraham had fully kept the ways of God. Even God Himself can never say so just by having looked at the deeds of Abraham. The important thing here is that even though Abraham had staggered at times, his heart resided in the perfect faith located in the righteousness of God and he went forth chasing after God with that faith.
The Righteous Must Look at What God Wants, Rather than Looking Only at the Present Situation
Rather than looking only at the present moment, we the righteous must think about “What is God telling us? And what is the will of God towards us?” And as we do this, we must examine the will of God and concentrate on finding out that will. And by realizing that will of God and by wholeheartedly believing in it, we must follow after that will of God. In following the righteousness of God, we must first wait to find out what the Word of God really means rather than caring about our acts. Even as we lead a life of faith, there often comes a time when we sway because of having been tied up in fleshly situations and adverse circumstances. And there are many occasions where we even lose our judgment. Even so, we must not be governed by our thoughts and judgments. We must keep our faith perfectly by believing in the righteousness of God as we think what God is telling us only.
We have read today where God said, “Live in the land that I have shown you. If you do, I will give you all the fortunes and blessings that I had bestowed on Abraham.” You and I must be able to hear this Word of blessing that God has spoken to us. Only then can we go on living out our faith as we follow after the Word of God, just like Abraham, by faith of believing in the perfect righteousness of God.
Take a look at the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants of faith. The blessing of God came to them when they all dwelt in the land of promise believing in God’s Word of promise. Today we saw God speaking to Isaac—God told Isaac that he must never go down to Egypt because of a famine. And we must understand that this Word from God was intended for you and me today. Yes, it is true. We must never allow our hearts to dwell in the land of Egypt just because our situations seem difficult. This is because it is not the will of God. When a famine reared its head for the second time, Isaac then had it in his heart to go down to Egypt, and for this reason God appeared to him and told him not to go down to that land.
We should not follow this example of Isaac. There will surely come a time when we face fleshly hardships. There will be times when the Church experiences difficulties and also times when your hearts will come across hardships. In such times, we must know what God is telling us. And we must also pay close attention to what God says to His Church. So what does He say to us, His Church in such hard times? He is telling us not to go down to Egypt. I sincerely hope that you will come to know the will of God through this Word and go on living by faith enjoying the power within the will of God.
The Righteous Must Live by Faith as Instructed by God
Dear fellow believers, if we quietly and confidently go on living in the land of Canaan as instructed by God, that is, if we quietly dwell within God’s Church, He will give us all the blessings He had promised to give Abraham. We must believe in this. You must have such faith for sure. At any time and at any moment, you must have such a clear knowledge of this will of God.
In the Book of Genesis chapter 26, verse 7 we read, “And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, ‘She is my sister’; for he was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife,’ because he thought, ‘lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.’”
What does this passage mean? Some Philistines asked Isaac about his wife. And Isaac lied to the king saying that his wife was his sister. Of course, she was his half sister (Genesis 20:12). In truth, Isaac was a second cousin to his wife Rebekah. So actually she was his kin-sister. Because they were married, they were considered a married couple. But being afraid that he might be killed because of his beautiful wife, this Isaac told them that she was his sister, instead of saying that she was his wife. Because of this King Abimelech and his subjects all coveted Isaac’s wife. But then one day King Abimelech looked through his window and saw Isaac showing endearment to Rebekah.
The next passage seems difficult to understand. Was King Abimelech not an enemy of the nation of Israel? But after he saw Isaac hugging Rebekah affectionately, what did he say? In Genesis 26:10 we read, “And Abimelech said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us.’” Even though he was a sinner, he said to Isaac that he had almost brought guilt on him. He was originally a lump of sin, and the work that he habitually did was just committing sins. Yet that King Abimelech said to Isaac, “Because you said your wife was your sister, one of my people could have committed a sin by sleeping with your wife. Thus, you could have brought guilt on us.”
Of course if he had really been a holy man and a believer in God, his words would make sense. But this Abimelech was someone who did not believe in God and committed all kinds of sins everyday. Therefore, it was unreasonable for him to make such accusations against Isaac who received the blessing of God. To put it this way, his accusation was simply ridiculous.
This King Abimelech then declared a royal order, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death” (Genesis 26:11). Dear fellow believers, there is one thing we have to know clearly here. Those words spoken by Abimelech are precisely the Words spoken by God that are directed towards you and me. Yes, this is true. Through this event, God is now speaking to us spiritually. In other words, these words are telling us that people who touch Isaac or his wife will die because of that sin.
We Must Never Mingle with Those Who Do Not Believe in the Righteousness of God
What does this mean? People who have not received the remission of sins for not knowing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must identify themselves clearly as sinners. Many of them however tend to say that they are also the descendants of Abraham, that is, people who have received the remission of sins. People who have not received the remission of sins must remain in their sinful state in order to be saved from their sins. But what would happen to these sinners who try to lead a life of faith along with the righteous claiming that they have also received the remission of sins when they have not? Although it might seem ironic, people who have received the remission of sins will not be able to preach to such pretending Christians. The Church of God should rather preach the gospel of the remission of sins to such fake believers who have not been properly born again yet, but the reality is that we the born-again cannot do this. These words might be difficult, but I think you can follow me.
Yes, this is true. Even though someone who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit begins to attend God’s Church, he must confess that he is still a sinner. But if this sinner were to sleep with the people of God and they become a single family, then it would bring about a big problem. If a born-again person were to become family united with the flesh with someone who has not been born again, we would lose the opportunity to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to such a person later on. Why? It is because the sinner misunderstands that he is also a descendant of Abraham from a fleshly perspective. If Abimelech were to sleep with Isaac’s wife, such problems would arise spiritually. It is because Isaac was clearly a descendant of Abraham. Therefore, if people who have not received the remission of sins were to become descendants of Abraham, they would never again be able to have a poor heart that can hear the accurate gospel of the water and the Spirit and receive the remission of sins. I am saying that if people who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit were to engage in a physical marriage and become united as one with those who have received remission of sins, they would forever lose the opportunity to receive the remission of sins before God.
In today’s passage of Scripture, Abimelech king of the Philistines said, “He who touches Isaac or his wife shall surely be put to death.” This means that the saints of God’s Church must never mingle in with those who have not received the remission of sins and the righteous must never accept the faith of such sinners. The Bible is telling us that people who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must never mingle spiritually with those who have not received the remission of sins. God said, should there be such an occurrence, He shall surely kill. When something like this actually happens, all would be put to death, in spirit and in flesh.
This king of the Philistines was an enemy of the nation of Israel. Therefore it does not make any sense that he took Isaac’s side and said such a right thing. But the Bible says God allowed those words to be spoken through his mouth. Even through the mouth of a Philistine man, God declares that only the descendants of Abraham are His people. What we must understand here is that “If we are the descendants of Abraham, we must dwell in the land as set by God and we must never live out our lives being mingled in with worldly people.” It means that we must surely keep our faith that believes in the righteousness of God. God is telling us that we who have received the remission of sins must never admit those Christian sinners’ faith just because they are good towards us. Yes, this is correct. If we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit were to go on living being mingled in with those who have not received the remission of sins, then in the end, we will all die.
God speaks to us through this that we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can bring guilt on sinners. If we lead a life of faith with those who have not yet received salvation from their sins, we will be bringing guilt upon them and they will end up suffering death for sure. This is why I implore you not to live out your lives by uniting with those who have not yet been truly born again spiritually. If we are those who genuinely believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and also if we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham, then as his descendants, we must live out our faith by believing in the righteous God, even if we face difficult times from time to time. When we do this, God will surely carry out those promises of blessing He had promised Abraham upon us. God clearly promised us as follows: “I will curse anyone who curses you and bless anyone who blesses you. I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of the heaven.” This means that when we dwell in God’s Church with the same faith as that of Abraham, God will make the descendants of faith arise in this world in great numbers. These are Words spoken by God for us.
We must realize the fact that we can hinder those people from receiving the remission of sins because of their spiritual ignorance. We must never bring guilt on them. I am saying that we must never lead a life of faith by admitting their faith and mingling in with them. We must never say, “They are not that different from us. They are like us, and therefore they are also correct.” If we were to admit and recognize their askew faith, then it would be the same as us recognizing that their sinful state does not matter. The reality is that they will surely go to hell by their sins. Dear fellow believers, please keep this in mind.
Even if those who have not received the remission of sins try to take sides with us and preach this true gospel in a similar way as us, we must never be deceived. There is a definite difference of faith which we possess when compared with the one of a sinner. God saw this very faith in Abraham and said that he obeyed His statutes and commandments. This means that he obeyed God’s righteousness by faith. But it does not mean that Abraham obeyed God’s Word only by his acts. We who have received the genuine remission of sins by believing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ are the spiritual descendants of Abraham who share the same faith with him. Therefore, we should not admit any false faiths and fake salvations that the false religions of this world propagates and preaches. God told us to keep the faith of believing in the pure gospel of the water and the Spirit until the very end. Only when we keep this faith, our Lord will carry out and pour out His blessings He had promised Abraham upon us.
God Promised to Bless Jacob
Dear fellow believers, when we read the following chapters after the passage we have just read today, we will find out what happened to Jacob after receiving the prayer of blessing from his father. Having received this entire prayer of blessing from his father, he incurred hatred from his older brother Esau because of it, and he then went to the house of his mother’s brother to take refuge. What is unusual about this is that when the righteous people flee they usually head to their relatives on their mother’s side. Anyhow, as he was heading towards his uncle’s house, he fell asleep in the wilderness. He took a stone and put it under his head and fell asleep. In his dream, he saw a ladder set up on the earth reaching up to Heaven. And at the top end of that ladder, he saw the angels ascending and descending.
In this dream, God appeared before him and spoke to him. In the Book of Genesis chapter 28, verses 13-16 we read, “And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’” Our God spoke the words of blessing to Jacob like this. God promised that Jacob’s descendants would be numbered as the dust of the earth and that He would be with him and keep him. The Bible continues, “Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously” (Genesis 28:18-19). Here the word “Bethel” means “the house of God.”
In Genesis 28:20-22 we read, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.’”
God appeared in Jacob’s dream and told him personally that He would become his God, and so from this time onwards all Jacob had to do was to just believe in this Word of God. For your reference, our God who appears today through the written Word had often appeared to people of faith like this through dreams during the days of the Old Testament. This very God who had spoken to the ancestors of faith during the Old Testament times spoke to Jacob in his dream promising him, “I will give to you all the blessings I had bestowed upon Abraham. Wherever you go, I will keep you and bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Now that God has spoken to Jacob like this, all he had to do was to thank God by saying, “Amen,” and accept it all by faith. And as he did this by faith, all these blessings would become his. If the righteous wait for God’s blessing to be fulfilled by faith, all the promises God had promised Jacob would surely become fulfilled in their lives.
But what did Jacob do here? Again he offered a prayer of pledge to God. He vowed, “If you do so and so for me, I will surely build a church here.” What kind of a prayer was that? It shows us that Jacob’s faith of believing in the Word of God was still lacking. Like this, we the righteous need to have the kind of faith that believes in God and His Word wholeheartedly.
When We Wait for the Fulfillment of the Word of God by Faith without Caring for Our Current Situation, Those Promises Will Surely Be Fulfilled
Often our hearts of believing in the Lord sway to and fro, and also our hearts are prone to fall into a state of weakness. In short, our hearts falter easily. What do you think the reason behind our hearts is swaying so often? The reason for this is that our faith is weak. Dear fellow believers, God has saved us from all our sins by His righteousness. Therefore, we should possess the faith of believing in the Word of God where God says He will surely guide us to the right path as long as we dwell inside His Church only. When we await the promise of God by having faith in His Word, the very promise He made with us will be fulfilled. Do you believe this?
But our faith is prone to sway according to the changing of a situation. This is not true faith. If this happens it will be like Jacob offering a prayer of pledge to God due to his weak faith. But God declared the promise of His blessing to Jacob one-sidedly. And so now, all he had to do was to believe in the Word of God saying, “Amen,” and by that faith, everything would have been fulfilled. But he said, “If God has me come back, then right here, I shall build God’s house.” Truly, if he had been a man of faith who believed in the Word of God, then he should not have offered such a prayer of pledge. If God said He would surely be with Jacob and have him come back to this place, then God would surely had him come back to this place safely. If God says He will give you this land, then God will give it to you. If God says He will multiply your descendants, then your descendants will be multiplied as you wait patiently with faith of believing in it. This is precisely the correct faith of believing in the Word of God.
Dear fellow believers, what does Satan do when he tries to sway our hearts? He makes us look only at our surrounding situations again and again. Take a look at Abraham’s nephew Lot. When he saw rich green pastures down to the south, he left the side of God and went down to that land of Sodom, thinking, “Wow! It will be good to go down there.” Dear fellow believers, we should never follow the currents of this world with unbelieving hearts. We should only be following after God and His Word with faith of believing in His righteousness. What I am saying here is that we must follow the Lord God through faith of believing in His Word deep inside our hearts. Dear fellow believers, we have embarked upon a life of faith by the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the righteousness of God. Now we can lead a genuine life of faith for having been saved from all our sins and for having received the remission of these sins. God speaks to those of us who are like this. He says to us, “Do not go down to Egypt because of famine. Rather dwell in the very land I had promised Abraham.”
What does this Word mean? He is telling us that as long as we dwell in this very land He had promised Abraham, He will bless us and personally fulfill the very Word of promise. Because God said so, you and I must now believe in it and have faith in it. As we dwell inside God’s Church by faith of believing in His righteousness, God will bestow upon you and me all the blessings He has promised us, including the precious task of spreading this true gospel all over the world through us. We must come to understand this will of God very well.
Of course because of our current situations, our hearts cannot be at ease, not even for a single day. Over just one year many happenings occur, and even in one single month, many events and incidents occur, and our hearts are prone to sway because of them. But in it we must maintain an even stronger faith in the Word of God. If we dwell inside God’s Church with our firm faith of believing in God’s righteousness and if we unite our hearts with the Church, God will give us all the blessings He desires to bestow upon us and to fulfill all the work He desires to carry out through us. Dear fellow believers, do you believe in this?
While I perform ministries inside God’s Church, there are many occasions when my heart gets swayed greatly due to the change of some situation. And on these occasions my heart falters, thinking, “Should I carry out this task this way or that way?” But even in times like these, I find answers to these questions through the Word of God by asking myself, “What is God trying to say to me about this situation? What did He say to the ancestors of faith in times like this?” In this way, I gained wisdom, far sighted judgment, and rest for my heart through the Word of God. In doing this, I eventually found peace in my heart.
God spoke to us, His saints and servants. The very God who saved us from all our sins and granted us all the blessings made a request to us, saying, “No matter what happens, even if a severe famine should fall upon the Church, never go down to Egypt. If you do not go down to Egypt and stay where you are, that is, if you dwell inside the Church of God without fail, I will surely fulfill what I have promised to you.” Therefore, dear fellow believers, we all must lend our ears to this Word. We must believe in this Word and set our hearts clearly.
Dearly beloved, what will happen to us if our situations become difficult? And should we then start thinking, “Isn’t there any other way besides this faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? There must be another way other than believing in the righteousness of God.” If you do this you will start looking towards other Christian groups, and as you do this, your heart will soon depart from the presence of God and die. And when this happens will you be able to lead a better life of faith by leaving the Church of God and going somewhere else? Will sermons delivered there be different from those here, and will they be better? Will the Word of God be different and will the guidance be different also? No, that can never be. If that place is where guidance is given according to the Word of God, then wherever it may be, it will all be the same. And if they were to give guidance not according to the Word of God and if they were prone to resort to human methods and ways, then it will be very different of course. But if they are those that move forth according to the Word of God like us, then they are also the descendants of Abraham spiritually speaking.
As you lead a life of faith inside God’s Church and when things become difficult, you then are likely to go to another denomination and try to start a new life of faith there. Then you must bring to remembrance and understand one thing clearly. You and I must not leave the very land God has ordered us to dwell in. The righteous must never depart from God’s Church and go down to the land of Egypt. I am saying that even though your heart suffers difficulties and there seems to be a place for your flesh to take refuge in any other place, you must not go to that place. Clearly by faith, we must be dwelling in the very land that God has promised.
Then, just exactly, where is this land? Long ago in the days of the Old Testament this land was the land of Canaan, but in these days that land of Canaan refers to the Church of God spiritually. It refers to God’s true Church. In other words, if we dwell in the land of Canaan, that is, if we stay inside God’s Church, God will surely realize all these promises He gave through us the righteous. Do you believe this? So it’s important to live by faith of believing in the Word of God. This is the core issue God is teaching us in the Book of Genesis chapter 26. These things God has made plain to us through this chapter are as follows: (1) Do not make the people of the world commit sins; (2) if you are the descendants of Abraham who possesses true faith, then do not mix that faith with false faith of the people of this world; (3) do not acknowledge their faith; (4) guide them one by one to Jesus Christ so that they can receive the remission of sins by the righteousness of Jesus Christ; (5) and have them become the people of God. All these things are possible only when you dwell in God’s Church.
You the Righteous Must Never Leave God’s Church, No Matter How Difficult Your Situation Is
Dear fellow believers, what has God told us in today’s passage of Scripture? He has told us that we should never ever leave God’s Church just because we are facing severe difficulties. Dear fellow believers, do you understand this? If we stay and do not leave God’s Church, God will guide us to the right path. From a certain perspective, there are instances when we sway much as a human being, but true faith is clearly found in a relationship between God and man. As we lead a life of faith, what we must keep firm and unshakable is a faithful relationship between God and us humans. A faithful relationship is established when I chase after God’s Word of righteousness and when I concentrate on what it is that God has promised me, what it is that He has blessed me with, and what it is that He will be fulfilling through me. No matter how my real situation may change, regarding my relationship with God, I must follow the righteousness of the Lord by faith. Dear fellow believers, do you understand this?
God promised that He will save all sinners and bless them through you. He has promised, saying, “Inside the Church of God, I will guide and bless you. Through you, I will save countless people. I promise you these things for sure, and I will clearly fulfill these promises.” If this is what God has said, then all we can do now is to follow the Lord quietly by faith. If we follow the righteousness of God like this, the will of God will all be fulfilled. To have thoughts dictated by circumstances, for example, “Is this place better to dwell in or is that place better?” is to follow after circumstances. This is not following after the Word of God wholeheartedly. True faith is to trust in the Word of God’s righteousness despite difficult circumstances and to follow the Church of God by sharing a relationship with God in the genuine gospel.
Will there be difficult times as you lead a life of faith? And do you not grope around for human solutions in such times, thinking, what can I do to be better off? Also, do you not at times hold such thoughts, even though you have not yet made them a reality inside your heart? But to seek human ways like this is not true faith. All that God promised will only be realized if we think about what He has told us; remember that Word from God, hold onto that promise and wait patiently by faith, rather than seeking human ways that will lead us into destruction. We do not get blessed by doing something well. The will of God will surely be realized as we believe in His Word, wait patiently, and carry out the righteousness of God by faith. In the Book of Genesis chapter 1 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Light came to be because the Almighty God said so. If we were to believe in that Omnipotent Word of God and go forth by faith, His Word will actually be fulfilled upon and in us. Faith by believing in this is what true faith is all about.
Hence, the starting point of faith must be set on the Word of God. This is extremely important. To follow the righteousness of the Lord by basing our faith in this is very difficult at first. But when our faith clearly stands firm with our belief in the Word of the righteousness of God, then even amidst any kind of difficulties within our life of faith, this faith of ours which holds onto the Word of God inside our hearts will always be victorious in every battle situation of own lives. When we hold onto the Word of God like this, then this very Word of God will actually reign over our lives and bring His blessings into our lives. Therefore, we all personally need this faith of believing in the Word of God’s righteousness. I am saying even within the Church of God and from our personal aspects, we are in need of such faith that enables us to follow after the righteousness of the Lord absolutely. Also, we need to have this faith that enables us to unite with the Church of God. Truthfully, you and I are in need of these two kinds of faith. Those who believe in the righteousness of God will become as they believe, but those who do not will fall into the world because they would be swayed by human situations.
No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, if we have this faith that believes in the righteousness of God, God will surely guide us to the righteous path in the Church of God. But what will happen if we were to follow after our circumstances rather than believing in the righteousness of God? Because of such faithlessness that has been formed by following after those circumstances, we will suffer many disappointments and hardships. Dear fellow believers, do you have the faith of believing in the Word of God inside your hearts? Just as God promised Abraham, many nations and individuals will receive and enjoy the blessings of salvation because of us who believe in the gospel of the righteousness of God. Do you have the faith that God will make our descendants multiply as the stars of the sky? If so, then all you have to do now is to possess that faith and quietly wait. If we spread the Word of God with that faith and continue to believe in His promises despite our difficult situations, all will surely be realized according to that faith.
There are many occasions when the faith of saints begins to sway. When does it sway? It happens when they are not holding onto the Word of the water and the Spirit through which God has saved them and the Word of all blessings which God has promised them after having saved them; their faith will surely sway, and they will turn their eyes on the circumstances they are in and eventually chase after the world as that situation presses on. Furthermore, having been pressed by circumstances like that, they will only be faced by frustrations and disappointments. Indeed, there are many such saints in such tantalizing situations. People who are not standing firm on the gospel of the water and the Spirit which holds the righteousness of God do not understand at all about the fact that every Word of God is the very Word given to them personally. With this Word God spoke to Isaac is directed towards none other than you and me. It is obviously given to you and me. Therefore, if we believe in this Word, we will be able to possess the conviction that this Word of promise will fully be realized, confessing, “No matter what kind of situation I am in, as long as I don’t leave God’s Church, God will surely fulfill what He has said to me.” And because we have this faith of having conviction in such a will of God, we will be able to wait quietly. Like this, when we properly understand the will of God, we are able to just wait quietly even under difficult situations. But what will happen to us when we do not understand that will of God? We will be seeking various ways, thinking whether to do this or that, unwilling to believe in the Word and unable to hold onto the Word. We are prone to seek human ways because we cannot hold onto the Word of God and because we ourselves do not believe in it. Who is the representative of such people? It is none other than Abraham’s nephew Lot. What was the end result of Lot’s ways? Because he did not hold onto the Word of God and His promises, he sought human ways, and in the end he was cursed for leaving the righteousness of God.
Yes, this is true. If we go on depending on circumstances, then we will be swayed by those circumstances. However, if we believe in the Word of God, a change will surely come amidst those difficult situations. It is because the Word of God is the Truth, the standard and the rock. If we genuinely believe in this Word of God, bad situations will turn good, and eventually it will completely turn into such a blessed environment. But what would happen if we were to seek human ways and means to change that environment itself without knowing this truth? If we do certain things through human means without believing in the Word, then that situation might change for a short period of time, but when time passes and you look at its results, you will find yourself trapped in that same situation once more.
Why Must the Faith of Believing in the Righteousness of God Come First?
In leading a life of faith we must realize the fact that faith of holding fast to the Word of God, believing in that Word, and dwelling inside that very Word of promise should come first. When you possess this faith of believing in the very Word God has promised in the Scriptures you can become a man of great wealth like Abraham and gain descendants of faith numbering as much as the stars of the sky. Dear fellow believers, do you believe in this?
Yes, this is true. We must first believe in the Word of God. No matter what the world says and no matter what someone else says, if we go on believing in every Word of God firmly and resolutely, even if someone should attack us suddenly with an iron mace, that person will never be able to defeat us because we believe in the Word. Also, regardless of whatever rogue wave that may crash upon us, we the people of faith will never falter. This is why in the Scriptures we read that Jesus Christ, as well as being the righteousness of God, is the Rock. We must believe in the Word of the righteousness of God. And when we the saints and the servants of God, believe in the Word of God and stand firm with that faith, all the promises God had promised Abraham and all His workings will come true through us. If each one of you were to dwell firm inside the Word of God by faith of believing in that Word, all those Words of promise will fully be realized upon you. And then just as today’s Scripture passage shows us, your environment will also be changed.
But what would happen to you if you do no believe in this Word from God? You will then be prone to try to change your circumstances under the pretence of manifesting your own wisdom. Then you will continue to be trapped into those circumstances, and in the end your faith will falter. Thus, as soon as you are saved, you need to possess this faith of holding fast onto the Word of God. We are clearly in need of such faith of holding fast to the will of God, and carrying it out while waiting quietly and patiently.
It is written, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This is the conclusion drawn up in the Book of Hebrews regarding this faith. If we believe in the Word of God and hope for and believe in the promises spoken by God, then those promises even though they cannot be seen with our eyes right now will actually become a reality before our eyes. I believe in this Word for sure. No matter what someone else says and regardless of whatever waves that may suddenly crash upon me, if this is what the Bible says, then I believe in this Word in the Bible just as it is. I am saying that when I look at the Bible, I know that all those Words are spoken by God and are directed towards none other than me. Many Christians practice QT (Quiet Time), and even when they practice QT, they do it conventionally as a ritual. But what is clear is that these Scriptures are what God promises to each one of us, to the saints and the servants of God alike. God is our God and God is my God. The Word of God is the Word directed towards me and promised to me. Furthermore, it is the Word directed towards God’s Church where you and I are gathered together.
Dear fellow believers, the situation for the Church of God has become difficult right now. With what can we overcome such a situation? It cannot be overcome with our human ways. But only by faith of believing in the righteousness of God can we overcome this difficult situation. Only this kind of faith will allow us to overcome and conquer all these difficult conditions. Dear fellow believers, do you desire to lead a whole life of faith? If you do, believe in the Word of God. And then, wait patiently. Just continue doing the work that the Lord asks of you to do and just follow the flow of the Church. As you reside inside God’s Church, just continue following single eyed after the Lord. Thus, if you believe in the Word wholeheartedly and follow the lead of God’s Church, this Word of God will actually come true in your lives. God will make it to be realized in our lives. This is precisely the true life of faith. However, once saved people tend to try to do thing on their own accord. Seeking human ways, they go on calculating, “Shall I do it this way or that way?” But you and I should not be like that. Do not seek after human ways and means. Possess only the correct faith.
Dear fellow believers, you believe in the Word of God don’t you? If we truly believe in the Word of God and do not go down to Egypt, I believe God will make all the Words He had promised Abraham to be realized upon you and me. Anyone can possess this kind of faith. Dear fellow believers, do you truly believe in this truth? Despite this truth you can’t imagine just how many people suffer loss for not having such a faith. Faith is to arrive at having faith by believing. If you believe, God works in your life, but if you do not believe, He does not work at all. If you have faith in His Word, your heart will feel secure, and this kind of faith will actually manifest in your life and come true in reality. On the other hand, if you live out your life not believing in His Word, you will suffer many hardships. Everyday you will only be lamenting your hard life, saying, “Why did I ever receive this salvation? How come it’s so hard and difficult to lead a life of a saint?”
I have the faith that God will fulfill for you and me all the promises He had made with Abraham as long as we do not go down to the land of Egypt despite the hardships we experience, and therefore, do not make the people of the world commit sin. Do you also believe thus? If you do this, it will be the same for you to have been blessed by God. Think about it. We have believed in His Word wholeheartedly like this. If so, will our environment change, or will it not? Won’t the environment change in various ways? Also, won’t circumstances unfold in various ways? Despite all that, will our hearts be swayed, or will it not be swayed? As long as we have faith, our hearts will never sway. If we truly believe, we will not be swayed. Instead, when we face difficult work and unfavorable situations we will be thinking while going through them, God will give me something much better. If we think like this by faith, we will actually gain something much better. And we will not be swayed. Our faith will not sway. No matter what kind of situation should suddenly arise, even though we may stagger for a moment, as long as we continue to hold onto the Word, we will be able to speak out boldly, “Let the typhoon blow. But all will unfold according to His Word. So you just challenge me.” And as we continue to do this, the environment will change in the other direction, and bad things will turn into something much better. Such changes will come about.
Dear fellow believers, take a look at the starting points of Abraham our father of faith. He went out chasing after the Word of God. He held onto the Word and went forth even though he had no idea where he was going. This is why we call Abraham “our father of faith.” Even though Abraham came under many difficult situations during his entire lifetime, he went forth to the very end holding fast to the faith. And for this reason God goes on to say that Abraham is the father of faith. Furthermore, God blessed Isaac due to the faithfulness of his father Abraham, saying, “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:4-5). Abraham is referred to as the father of faith and the man of faith because he had gone forth holding fast onto the Word of God and because even though he had gotten swayed under certain circumstances, at least his heart had dwelt inside that faith, that is, the Word.
It is the same for you and me as well. Our circumstances might change in various ways, but if we were to also hold onto the Word of God and go forth by believing in it in any circumstance, God will call us the people of faith and bestow His blessings upon us. God will work greatly in our lives. God will say to us, “You are indeed the people of faith. You are worthy. You have passed.” And once we get our faith acknowledged by God, He will then change our situations and work in our lives as He has promised us in His Word. Through us He will carry out all His works. Dear fellow believers, do you believe in this?
I am saying it more than anything else that faith of believing in the righteousness of God should come first. Regarding what we believe, faith of believing in the Word of God is first and foremost. If we have faith in God’s Word, the situation will change and He will work in them according to that faith. Today God speaks to us, “Do not bring guilt on the people.” Indeed God’s Church should never bring guilt on those who have not received the remission of sins. We must not let them go to hell. And even if our circumstances are difficult, we must quietly and patiently dwell in the land promised by God, the land He had promised Abraham, that is, the Church of God, by uniting with His children. If we thus dwell in God’s land and believe in and follow after the Word of God like Abraham did, then God will surely make our spiritual fruits multiply as the stars of the sky, just as He had promised Abraham countless descendants as many as the stars of the sky. We must believe in that promise and be holding fast onto it. We must believe that the God of Abraham is none other than our God, your God and my God. We must believe that the Word promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the very Word promised to none other than you and me. And for this reason, that very God who had worked through the life of Abraham will also work through us. Dear fellow believers, do you believe this? We must work by faith.
We are currently pioneering churches all over Korea, but how are we experiencing it? Are these situations not difficult? Pastors and evangelists as well as their wives are going through many hardships. Even though our faith is clear, situations keep changing, and things just seem difficult. However, even so, if we continue to wholly possess the faith that holds fast to the Word of God and if the predecessors of faith quietly wait with such faith, God will surely change those circumstances. All we have to do is to live out our lives with this faith of believing in the Word of God in this manner.
By holding onto and believing in the Word of God, focus our strength on dwelling inside the faith in His Word. Circumstances bring us hardships, but faith enables us to live. Faith saves servants of God and His saints. Also that kind of faith will surely bring about a change in that environment. Of course, much time would be needed. Just as children need time to grow, all the saints who have received salvation as well as the servants of God need much time to have even stronger faith. However, if we wait quietly in His Church, our souls will grow into maturity during that time. If we do not go down to the land of Egypt, that is, as long as we stay inside the Church by faith without seeking human ways, our spiritual fruits will grow. God will allow them to grow. Because of God, they will surely grow.
God is none other than your God and my God. He is our God. I praise God for having become our God. I give thanks to Him.