“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”
What Kind of Faith Overcomes the World?
Our Lord said to His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He also admonished us to live by faith, saying, “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
When we turn to the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament, we see the people of Israel about to cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan after escaping from Egypt. Before the people of Israel entered the land of Canaan, however, Moses first sent out scouts. One man was selected from each of the tribes, for a total of 12 spies. Moses then said to these men, “Draw a map of the land of Canaan, and report everything you see to me.” The twelve men then left for the land of Canaan to spy out the land, they drew a map, and brought a cluster of grapes back with them so large that it took two men to carry it. They then reported to Moses the following: “The land of Canaan is a very fertile and wonderful place to live in. The grapes are so huge that it took two men to carry a cluster like this, and so you can see just how bountiful the land is. But, although the land is very fertile, the tribes there are too big and strong for us. There also are Nephilim (giants), the descendants of Anak. Although the land of Canaan is a great place to live in, we look like grasshoppers compared to its inhabitants. So, if we enter into that land, we will all be killed. Therefore, it would be better for us to pack up and return to Egypt. We will be completely wiped out if we enter the land of Canaan.” Ten of the spies had a report like this. Despite completing their mission successfully, they reported negatively, as they were faithless.
On hearing this report, the people of Israel wailed and blamed Moses and the Lord God, saying, “Was there no place to burry us in Egypt that God brought us all the way here, only to kill us all in this land of Canaan? Why is God ordering us to go into such a land of giants and take it? Surely, this must mean that God wants to kill us all!” Not only did the Israelites blame Moses and God like this, but they even tried to kill their leader Moses.
With the situation deteriorating, two young men among the spies, Caleb and Joshua, stood up and said, "No! God does not want to kill us. Hasn’t He been with us all this time? Whenever we faced danger, God protected us and kept us, even dividing the Red Sea for us to walk across it. He struck down Pharaoh with ten plagues and delivered us from his hands, from the power of darkness. This very God promised to give us the land of Canaan. God did not order us to enter into the land of Canaan just to kill us. Far from it, He told us to enter therein and take the land. No matter how strong the inhabitants of this land are, if God is with us, then we can defeat them all. So let us invade the land boldly. They are our bread.”
The people of Israel then calmed down on hearing these two young men’s faith. They had spoken words of faith, invoking the Israelites to rely on the Lord God, to conquer the land of Canaan, and to take it and rule over it. On account of this event, God allowed only Caleb and Joshua to enter the land of Canaan among all the people of Israel at that time. Everyone else who blamed God, including the other ten spies, all perished in the wilderness of Sinai. They were all put to death for blaming God and not believing in Him.
As we remember, God indeed destroyed the seven tribes of the land of Canaan and allowed the people of Israel to take the land. No matter how strong these giants the Nephilim were, they could not overcome the people of Israel who believed in God. So they were driven out of the land of Canaan. As the people of Israel believed that God was with them, they conquered the land by this faith.
It’s true that this world looks very intimidating and threatening. Sometimes it seems as though all the people in this world are giants like Nephilim. However, as Jesus Christ has become our own propitiation for all our sins, we the saints who believe in the Lord have already won all the battles against this world. God has given us a victorious faith and blessed us all.
When the people of Israel were about to cross the Jordan River, from that moment God used Joshua as their leader. God raised up Joshua and said to him, “Moses is dead, but be strong and courageous, for I will be with you. I am your God, I will be with you all the days of your life, I will keep you and protect you, and I will work with you. Only be strong and courageous.” Just as He promised here, God indeed walked with Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites. So, trusting in God, Joshua ordered the priests to bear the Ark of the Covenant and cross the Jordan River, and when the priests did so, the Jordan River ceased to flow. It had come to pass exactly as God had said to Joshua. On another occasion, when the Israelites were laying siege to the city of Jericho, God said to Joshua to have the priests march around that city once a day for six days bearing the trumpets of rams’ horns, and then to march around the city seven times on the seventh day. The Lord God said to Joshua, “Then the priests shall blow their trumpets, and when you hear the sound of the trumpets, all the people shall shout with a great shout. Then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up and conquer the city.”
When Joshua obeyed this, the city of Jericho fell down even though it had two walls to protect it. Jericho was conquered by the Israelites. God had been with Joshua and the people of Israel. Like this, as long as the people of Israel were with Joshua, they were never defeated but kept on winning time after time. All these things could be achieved exactly as God had promised Joshua.
Likewise, we have Jesus Christ at our side who is our righteousness. The name Jesus has the same meaning as the name Joshua. The name Jesus means Savior. Joshua also means savior. As Jesus became our own propitiation, He bore all our sins once and for all through His baptism and died on the Cross. Jesus has thereby become the Lord of salvation to all of us. He has become the God of all who believe in the righteousness of this Savior Lord, and He has saved them from all their sins. The Lord has become the Shepherd of all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Having received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has come from the Lord, we are now living in this world as the righteous. Yet, as we carry on with our lives in this harsh world, we sometimes worry about what to do and how to overcome the people of this world. However, as long as we have faith in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross, we can all overcome this world, conquer it, and receive all the blessings of God in our lives. I admonish you all to believe this.
The Lord Said to Us, “You Are Already Clean Because of the Word Which I Have Spoken to You. Abide in Me”
We believe that the Lord has become our own propitiation. And we know that our Lord has given the faith that can overcome this world to all of us who believe that the Lord has blotted out all our sins once and for all. We believe that our Lord has become our Savior; that He has become our true propitiation to blot out all our sins; and that to achieve this, He took away all our sins and bore all the condemnation of those sins. In other words, we truthfully believe that Jesus bore all our sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, died on the Cross in our place, and rose from the dead again. To all such people who truly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God the Father has given them this faith to overcome this world.
How about you then? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your true Savior and your God? Do you believe that Jesus has become your Lord and Savior? It’s absolutely imperative for you to have faith in Jesus Christ and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The most important question is whether you believe that Jesus became your own propitiation to blot out all your sins, that He became the Lamb of sacrifice to bear your sins and die in your place, and that He has thereby become your Lord of salvation. If you have this faith, then you can overcome this world for sure. If you have this faith, then your old self has already died with Jesus Christ your propitiation and risen back to life with Him. When Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, all our sins were passed onto Him, and He was crucified to death while shouldering our sins. At that moment, our old selves had already died and risen back to life.
Therefore, as our old selves had already been dead, our lives are now led by Jesus Christ the living God. We do whatever Christ tells us to do: We go wherever He tells us to go, march whenever He tells us to march, and stop wherever He tells us to stop. All that we have to do is just let ourselves be led by the Word of God and follow Jesus Christ, our Leader and our Shepherd, and His righteousness by faith. Everything will be okay as long as we believe in the righteousness of God and follow it by faith according to what Jesus Christ our Commander-in-Chief says to us. We are more than able to carry on with our lives even in this harsh world if we place our faith in the Word of God as written in the Scriptures, and in the Truth that we hear through God’s Church. We can easily overcome Satan and this world if we fight by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Your heart and mine have already been cleansed, for we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit which our Lord spoke and fulfilled. We have overcome the world by believing in the salvation that our Lord has fulfilled through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross.
Jesus Himself has become our Shepherd and our own propitiation. With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has at once washed away all our sins as white as snow. Our Lord has blotted out all our sins with the water and the blood. By being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, He took away all our sins once and for all. He then died on the Cross to be condemned for all our sins, rose from the dead again on the third day, and thereby has become the Savior of all His believers. Our Lord has become our Shepherd, He promised us that He will be with us until the end of the world, and according to this promised Word, He now dwells in our hearts as the Holy Spirit. The false things in this world are in fact not to be feared. Even though they may seem intimidating in our eyes, as long as we have faith in the righteousness of the Lord, they are actually nothing.
We Can Overcome This World When We Abide in the Righteousness of the Lord
Jesus said in today’s Scripture passage, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). If we abide in the Lord’s righteousness and in God’s Church by faith, then we can always overcome this world. So it’s very important for us to examine ourselves properly to see whether or not we are abiding in the Lord. The Lord said here in John chapter 15 that if we abide in Him, we will be more than able to bear abundant fruit.
What, then, does it mean to abide in the Lord? We abide in the Lord when we abide by our faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, which constitutes the righteousness of God. In other words, when you believe in the written Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and being united with God’s Church, it’s then that you abide in the Lord. As long as you have faith in the righteousness of the Lord, you are abiding in the Lord. The Lord said to us that He is the vine and we are the branches. If we believe in His Word, then we are in the Lord and He is in us. And the Lord said that we would then bear abundant fruit. It’s not because we have some abilities of our own that we bear spiritual fruit. Rather, it’s because our Lord strengthens us, and we believe in His righteousness, that we are able to bear the fruit of righteousness. It’s the Lord who gives us wisdom, intelligence, power, and all blessings; it’s the Lord who gives us the strength to fight and overcome all our enemies; and it’s the Lord Himself who defeats them all for us. In other words, our Lord strengthens us so that we can be more than able to overcome any and all trials. Because the Lord gives us all these things, we can overcome the world by this God-given strength. As the Lord strengthens us and gives us all power, we can overcome this world and reign over it by placing our faith in the righteousness of our Lord.
When we first face trials in this world, we actually feel lost. Indeed, there are many things and many places that we have neither experienced nor seen before. So when we face new challenges, we feel lost and helpless. But there is no need for us to fear, for you and I believe in the Almighty Lord. When new trials that we have not dealt with before come our way, and we rise up to the challenge it by faith, then the Lord will enable us to overcome them all.
Because we believe in the righteousness of Jesus, who has become our own propitiation, we abide in the Lord; and because our Lord dwells inside of us as the Holy Spirit and walks with us, we can overcome this world. When we are facing trials, it may seem as though we are all by ourselves, but in reality, our Lord is with us through the thick and thin of all such trials. That’s why we can overcome the world and reign over it. As long as we abide in the Lord and God’s Church, all of us can overcome this world.
When the people of Israel entered into the land of Canaan, they defeated and drove out all the seven tribes of Canaan and conquered that whole land. Likewise, whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can overcome all trials. If we the born-again people of God intend to seize control of any field of this world for the sake of God’s righteousness, it will actually come true. Therefore, all of us must have faith in the Word of the Lord to abide in Him, rather than trusting in our own strength.
Have faith in the Lord, and you will surely overcome this world. The Lord has already saved us and given us the faith to overcome this world. From now on, all of us ought to abide in God’s Church, listen to His Word, and abide in this Word by putting all our trust in it. To believe in the Lord’s Word is to abide in the Lord. It is abiding in Jesus Christ. It’s by believing in the Word that we abide in God, and it’s by this faith that we carry on with our lives. There is only one way we can overcome the world, and it is by believing in the Word of the Lord that He has already become our propitiation. Faith is all about abiding in the Lord and His Word. It’s by believing in every Word of the Lord that we can carry on with our lives in this world. The belief that empowers us to overcome this world is that the Lord is always with us, that He walks with us and helps us. It’s by this faith that we are able to live in this harsh world victoriously. God’s Church provides faith and spiritual nourishments to all the servants of God and His people.
God strengthens the Church. Through His Church, God speaks to us His servants and its people, and He makes it possible for all of us to abide in the Lord. Through the Word of the water and the Spirit which the Lord has already spoken to us, He has cleansed our hearts and enabled us to overcome this world. Our Lord has also blessed us to bear and harvest abundant spiritual fruit in this world. Therefore, we all saints must abide in God as His own people. And all of us must have faith in the Lord, actually live by faith, and abide in God’s Church. Abiding in God’s Church is the same as abiding in God. It’s when we abide in God’s Church that we can listen to His Word, and that’s how we can abide in God by faith.
We have already overcome this world. Our old selves are already dead. We are now new creatures. We are now conquering this world by our faith in the Word of God, thanks to the strength, faith, and Word that the Lord has given us. It’s by this faith in the written Word of God that we are able to conquer the world. This is all that remains for us to do. In other words, the only remaining task for us to do is to conquer the people of this world with the Truth, preaching this gospel truth to them, and ruling over them all. If we the born-again practice our faith and trust in the Word of God that we have heard in His Church, then we will never fall behind in this world. Far from it, we will always be the rulers of this world.
Now That You Have Become a Righteous Person, Trust in the Word of God
You have heard the righteous Word of God from His Church. Now, believe in this Word of God. It’s when you trust in the Lord’s Word and hold onto it that you can abide in the Lord. Through His sacrifice, Jesus has already cleansed us from all our sins, and we have been remitted from all these sins by faith. From now on, all of us ought to live by trusting in every Word of the Lord. It’s when we believe in the Lord’s Word that we come to abide in the Lord and live in this world victoriously by faith. So I ask you all to believe in the Lord’s Word and live by faith. I admonish you to abide in the Lord. Living by faith is the only way to abide in the Lord, and it’s when you live by faith that you can prosper. It’s faith that enables you to overcome all your enemies. And it’s also faith that makes you blessed. No blessing is received on account of your own efforts or abilities. God’s blessings are so abundant and infinite that they exceed your wildest imagination, and these blessings are received from God Himself only by believing in His righteous Word; they have nothing to do with your own efforts.
Therefore, it is absolutely important for all of us to practice our faith in the righteousness of God. We must live by this faith in God’s righteousness. And we must wage our spiritual battle by this same faith, by trusting in the Lord’s Word. When you listen to the Word of God and truthfully believe in this Word, this faith of yours is the link to your happiness, safety, and every blessing. It’s when you believe in God’s Word that His blessings are channeled to you. Everything is not over for you when you receive the remission of sins. Rather, there are many more blessings waiting for you, and these blessings are channeled to you to live a blessed life only if you believe in God’s Word. It is on account of our faith in His Word that God blesses us, guides us, protects us, and works in our lives.
The Lord has already made us God’s own people. And God is now asking us, “You have been saved, but are you really living by trusting in My righteousness?” God blesses us on account of our faith, depending on whether we live by relying on our own strength or by trusting in God. We must therefore practice our faith in the Lord’s Word, even if this faith is as little as a mustard seed. In other words, all of us must have faith in the Word of God and confess the following: “Lord, I believe in You! Even though I cannot see You with my own physical eyes, I nevertheless believe in the Word of God that You are speaking to me through God’s Church. You are my Savior and my God, for I believe in You. I believe that You will fulfill everything exactly as You have spoken to me. I believe that You will bless me. And I believe that You are with me always.” It’s absolutely indispensable for you to have this faith to believe in the written Word of God exactly as it is. This faith in every Word of God that you have heard in God’s Church is what brings all blessings to you. For you and me alike, all of us must have faith in God’s Word. It’s by this faith in the righteousness of God that we are able to carry on with our lives in this world. That’s because this God-given faith makes us live by faith. And that’s why we must all believe in the written Word of God. Just knowing the Word of God is not enough; we must not only understand it, but actually believe in it also. When we trust in God, we can lead a spiritual life.
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and made the Garden of Eden, He said to Adam, “Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will die for sure.” This was the only tree that God had forbidden Adam from eating of; Adam was free to eat from every other tree. If Adam had faith in God, then he would not have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Adam had no faith in God’s Word, so he ate from the forbidden tree when tempted, only to face untold suffering. If you believe in God’s Word unlike Adam, then you will be blessed by Him.
All of us can be saved from our all sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, after this, whether we are blessed or cursed by God depends on whether or not we believe in His Word. If we believe in the Word of God, then we will be blessed, but if we don’t believe, we will be cursed. It saddens me deeply to see some people leaving God’s Church even after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people don’t believe in the Word of God. They don’t believe in the Word even when it is preached to them. And because they don’t believe in God’s Word, they will come under God’s curse.
Those who believe in the righteousness of God and His every Word, on the other hand, abide in God’s blessings even though they are powerless and weak in their flesh, or suffer much hardship, because they believe in the Word of God as spoken to them through the Church. Although all that they’ve done is believing in God’s Word with their hearts, they find themselves in a blessed place to experience God’s blessings. Such blessed results depend entirely on whether you believe in the Word of God or not. In other words, being blessed by God does not depend on whether you are wise or not or whether your acts are upright or not. The salvation of the remission of sins is received by faith in the righteousness of God, but God’s blessings are received by believing in every Word of God. That is why it is imperative for all of us to believe in the Word of God. It’s absolutely indispensable for us to listen to the Word of Truth that God speaks to us through His Church. And when you listen to this Word, how much knowledge you have is not what’s important; what is essential is how much you believe in the Word that you hear. What’s really important when you hear a sermon is how much you believe in the Word of God as preached in that sermon. Listening to a sermon only as a matter of intellectual exercise is useless.
That’s why God works in your life. Why does He do this? He does this to break your ego. Put differently, God breaks your willpower and stubbornness rooted in your fleshly strength so that you would believe in the righteousness of God, and He guides you to put your trust in Him instead. When you find yourself running into an insurmountable wall in your life while trying to accomplish something on your own, you should examine yourself to see if you are really able to go through these trials without trusting in the Word of God. When your life is in trouble, it’s not because God is not helping you. Far from it, God allows such trials because you are relying only in your own fleshly strength. So you must realize here that through such trials, God is actually teaching you to live by placing your faith in His Word rather than relying in your own strength.
Once you are saved from sin, living by faith is absolutely crucial. Although the difference between believing in the Word of God and not believing in the Word may not seem obvious at first, it is in fact huge. This difference between faith and unbelief is made all too clear later on. Therefore, all of us must believe in the Word of God with all our hearts. If we believe in the Word of God, then we will not only overcome this world but also rule over it; and we will not only receive God’s salvation but also His blessings. It is by believing in the Word of God that we can triumph and receive glory from God. It is therefore absolutely indispensable for all of us to have faith in the Word of God.
Faith is all about recognizing the written Word of God, assenting to this Word with a “Yes,” and believing in this Word exactly as it is. True faith is all about relying on the Word of God which says, “I am sure everything will come about as it is written in the Word.” In the past, some of you might have had a hard time to have complete faith in the Word of God, but sooner or later this faith will come to you. If you choose to have faith even a little, true faith starts to work in your heart. For example, let me assume that I have set up a stick here on this pulpit and keep it upright with my index finger resting on top of it. But what will happen if I lean it left and take my finger away? The stick will fall down over in no time and stay there. Faith is like that. So, the Bible says, “And if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie” (Ecclesiastes 11:3). Faith is all about planting your heart in the Word of God, saying, “Lord, You are right. I believe that everything will come about according to Your Word. Everything You say is right, and I believe in Your every Word.”
Every Word of God that we have heard is right. Each and every God-spoken Word is completely flawless. I am absolutely convinced that every Word of God will be fulfilled exactly as it says, for it is God who spoke it. When the Word of God was spoken to the Virgin Mary through an angel, Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). And this Word of God was fulfilled exactly it was spoken. None other than this is what faith is all about. Faith is all about believing in the Word of God even when facing a seemingly impossible thing, saying to God, “Lord, since You’ve promised me this, I believe that it will come about exactly as You’ve promised. I believe in Your Word.” For God has promised to be with us, we believe that He is indeed with us. And we also believe that God will bless us, for He has promised to bless us. In short, true faith in God is to believe in His every Word. We believe in all the blessed Word of God. And that’s what faith is all about.
My fellow believers, as you carry on with your lives on this earth, I am sure that you will face many new challenges and difficult burdens. In times like these, you must abide in the Lord by placing your faith in God above all else. You must stand firm by the belief that you have already received the complete remission of sins through the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit as spoken by the Lord. And by this faith in the Lord’s Word, you must abide in the righteousness of God. It is by believing in every God-spoken Word that you can pray for His work and ask for His help. If you tackle God’s work with this kind of faith, God will make it possible for you to fulfill all your tasks, He will protect you, and He will bless you abundantly. Put differently, God will bless and strengthen you so that you would be able to carry out every task that He has entrusted you with.
I admonish you all to have such faith. And I ask you to believe that the Lord is guiding your life to a better and more blessed way. Faith not only brings salvation to us, but it also brings everlasting life and happiness. That is why faith in God and His Word is so indispensable. It is therefore absolutely imperative for you to have the faith of knowing God’s Truth and believe in His Word as spoken to the people of God through His Church and His servants. It’s through His servants that God reveals His will and plans for each of us, and to believe in His every Word is what faith is all about. True faith is all about believing in what God is saying to us through His Church.
God’s Work Is Not Done Alone by Oneself
We are not living in this world by ourselves, nor do we do anything alone. Rather, we walk with God by faith and work with our Lord by trusting in Him. This is what it means to work with God by placing all our faith in the Lord. You and I are not living alone by ourselves. We are living together with the Lord. In the past, we had labored all alone, but now, as you and I have received the remission of sins, God is with us all the time. Jesus is now inside you and me. You are not alone, for the Lord is with you. As you believe in the righteousness of God, you are never by yourself. You are no longer alone but the Lord is with you, as long as you believe that Jesus has become your own propitiation; that He bore all your sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and bore all the punishment of sin on the Cross; that Jesus has become your Savior; that you have received the remission of sins; and that all your sins have been blotted out thoroughly. The Lord is inside you, you are in the Lord, and you have thus become one with the Lord. Although you still retain your ego, the Lord dwells in you and therefore you are one with the Lord. The Holy Spirit dwells in every born-again saint.
It’s in the heart of someone who has received the remission of sins that the Holy Spirit comes. He is therefore with all of us. It’s when we believe in the Lord with all our hearts that the Lord works in our lives; and it’s when we rely on the Lord that He protects us. When we lean on the Lord, He lends His shoulders to rely on, and when we thus rely on our Lord’s righteousness, He becomes our Shepherd. And it is when we trust in our Lord that He works in our lives according to our faith. Therefore, it is absolutely indispensable for all of us to stand firm in our faith in God. If you have no faith in God, then even now you must have this faith. All that you need is faith, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, and say to God, “Lord, I believe in You. I believe that You have saved me. I believe that You have become my Shepherd. And I believe that You are with me.” This kind of faith is all you need.
On the other hand, if you alienate the Lord even as you have received Him into your heart, and do everything on your own without even consulting Him, then the Lord will be disappointed. Although you should do everything that you can, what’s important is that you do it according to the Lord’s desire. You must live by relying on the Lord, by your faith in His righteousness. This is absolutely indispensable. God will then bless you abundantly. If you trust in God, you will bear abundant spiritual fruit. God will make sure that this comes about. And when you thus bear abundant fruit by trusting in God, not only will the Father be glorified, but you will also be glorified. This is the fruit of faith.
As You Carry on Your Life in This Harsh World, You Should Have Faith in the Lord’s Righteousness
Is it not by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that you have received the remission of sins? Have you not abided in God’s Church to this very day by believing in His righteousness? And is it not on account of this faith that you have received God’s blessings until now? Yes indeed, it is by faith that you have led your life all this time. You must then continue to trust in God. Let us all live by faith. We will be blessed if we live by faith. As this world will turn even harsher in the years to come, we must rely on God and trust in Him even more. We must listen to and believe in the Word of God even more.
All who have not received the remission of sins yet must listen to the gospel to be saved from sin. Everyone must know the Truth. As the Bible says that faith comes from hearing, you must listen to the Word of God as often as possible. Instead of just reading the Bible by yourself, you should listen to the Word of God as preached in God’s Church. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s wrong for you to read the Bible by yourself, but it means that you also need to listen to the Word of God as preached in God’s Church. It’s by hearing God’s Word that you can receive all the blessings and riches of faith that God is pouring down from above. It is written,
“It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments” (Psalm 133:2). These blessings flow to you through your predecessors of faith ministering in the Church as God’s servants. As these servants’ faith flows to everyone in the Church to reach even the youngest believer, everyone in the Church receives these same blessings.
It’s by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we receive God’s blessings. And it is by believing in God and His Word that we can overcome this world. I am absolutely convinced of this. So I ask you to trust in God, believe in His every Word that you’ve heard through God’s Church, rely on it, and practice this faith. See for yourself what happens when you live by faith. You will then see that God is indeed with you, and you will see your life filled with God’s blessings. Even if your faith in God is as small as a mustard seed, He still wants to nurture and grow this faith of yours, and He wants to bless you. So I ask you to believe in God. Repeat after me: “I believe in God. I believe in every blessed Word that God has spoken to me.” Do you believe in every Word of God that you’ve heard? That’s what faith is all about.
No one can have faith by himself, for the Bible says that faith comes by hearing. It’s when you hear the Word of God that your heart comes to have faith. By yourself, you can never have any faith even if you spend your entire lifetime trying to believe. It’s absolutely imperative for you to listen to the Word of God as preached by His servants and ruminate on it, for it is only then that you come to have faith in the Word of God. It’s then that you can receive the remission of sins and realize that all your sins have been washed away to make you sinless. And your faith also grows step by step when you hear the blessed Word of God as preached by His servants and believe in this Word, trusting that just as God’s Word was fulfilled to His servants, it will also be fulfilled to you. It’s always by hearing the Word of God that faith springs forth, as it is written, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). That is why God’s Church is absolutely indispensable for you. Even though we face many difficulties while living in this world, but because we are God’s people, we must live by faith all the time. And as God’s people, we must always abide in the Church and live together. What you must remember clearly here is that you should never be alone.
Just as our Lord said here in today’s Scripture passage, He is the vine and we are the branches. If any branch falls off the vine, it will wither away. The vine here refers to Jesus. Jesus is the Head of the Church and it’s Master. That every branch should abide in the vine implies that as you have received the remission of sins by believing in the Lord, you must abide in the Church. Therefore, you should never decide anything on your own but instead seek counsel from the Church, discuss your issues with your church leaders, ask them to pray for you, and accept their guidance. It’s then that faith springs forth, and it’s also then that everything goes well.
Therefore, the people of faith abide in the Church. They consult the Church for everything. No man of faith practices his faith on his own. Nor does he decide everything on his own. When the people of faith faces any problem, they seek counsel from the Church, tries to find a solution together, trust in the Church’s advice, and follows its guidance. Although such people of faith also have their own thoughts, they still consult the Church to see what the Word of God says. Through the Church and by believing in the Word of God, these people of faith overcome their foes, are blessed, walk on the right path, and conquer this world. That’s why everyone living by faith always abides in the Church.
In contrast, anyone who does not abide in the Church cannot maintain his faith nor hang onto it. Such people are bound to perish. In today’s Scripture passage, what did our Lord say would happen to the branch that does not abide in the vine? He said that it would fall off and wither away to perish. This is the God-spoken truth. No matter how gifted and strong anyone may be, if this person falls off the vine, then he will perish for sure. And those who fall off the vine do so because they have no faith.
Once you receive the remission of sins and become mature spiritually, you will realize just how blessed it is to come to God’s Church and listen to His Word. The greatest blessing of all is to come to God’s Church, abide in it with His people, and listen to the Word of God coming through the lips of His servants. When you reach spiritual maturity, you will realize that it is by listening to the Word of God that your soul is enlivened and your life is enriched.
So, you should never allow yourself to fall off the vine. Even if you have the greatest faith among all the saints and have the zeal to lay down your life for the Lord, if you leave the Church and cut yourself off from its fellowship, then you will inevitably go astray to turn into a monster in just a year or two. The Church is akin to a body. Everyone in the Church is all connected. So if you cut yourself off from the Church, you won’t get the necessary spiritual nourishments and perish as a result. That is why we do not leave our workers by themselves for too long in a mission field. We make sure that all our workers return home regularly to partake in fellowship so that they won’t go astray. If you leave the Church for too long, you will perish for sure.
Therefore, all of us must trust in God and believe in the Word that we’ve heard through the Church. It’s then that we can walk on the cutting edge of faith. Faith is not something that you can build by yourself. Faith springs forth by hearing the Word. So I ask you to believe in the Word that you have heard to this day and live out your faith. And I admonish you to continue to listen to the Word and live by trusting in this Word. You will then prosper for sure.
Live by trusting in God. As you are too weak by yourself, you must have faith in God and pray to Him. All of us must pray to God for the growth of our faith, asking the Lord to work in our lives and bless us as much as we believe in God, and to give us faith so that we would stand unwaveringly on our faith. So let us all live by faith and receive God’s abundant blessings.