“Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’ So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
Through the work of creation that God did on the fifth day, He is telling us about how the righteous are to live by their faith in God and in His Word.
Why did God say, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth”? Is this just about fish and birds? As we ponder upon this passage, we need to first keep in mind for whom the Bible was given. We can then realize that this passage was spoken to those who have received the remission of sin to live by faith.
In today’s Scripture passage, God had birds fly in the sky; by this, God meant, “The righteous shall live only by faith.” We the righteous should then examine ourselves to see whether or not we are indeed living by faith.
God says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). What is faith? Is it faith for us to just say, “I believe”? There is always hardship in our lives. However, no matter how many difficulties we might face, unless we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit hold onto the Word of God with our hearts and live by faith, even our elementary faith that allowed us to receive the remission of our sins will perish away, and we will end up departing from God’s Church. I’ve seen this happen quite often. On the other hand, if we know what it is to live by faith in the Word of God, and if we apply God’s Word to our actual lives by faith, it will help us immensely, and we will be blessed. The righteous must live by their faith in the righteousness of God. And they must live by their faith in God and in His Word.
You and I are leading our lives of faith trusting in the Lord, but we need to realize what kind of faith is the right faith. Why it is imperative that we should live by faith?
Most of you, even after receiving the remission of your sins, have not really lived by placing all your faith in God. You all have lived by the strength of your own flesh, and you can’t claim to have lived by believing in God. Before we were born again, we had lived trusting either in money or power, or otherwise in the strength of our own flesh.
However, once we were born again, God told us we should live by trusting in Him, and we should follow Him believing in His Word. Since it is only right for all of us to live by placing our faith in God and His righteousness, this is how we ought to live. And since this is written in the Bible, we think that this is right. Yet, while the Word is right, at the same time we’ve come to recognize how hard it is to live like this. However, when we actually encounter trouble, we see ourselves unable to do so.
For instance, let’s turn to the problem of our basic needs for clothing, food, and housing. Before we were born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we had invested the bulk of 24 hours in a day to make money. Once we were born again, however, we came to the gathering of God’s Church and heard the Word, telling us that we should live by faith, serve the gospel, give offerings, live for the Lord, and unite with the Church as well. All these are right. God is now demanding from us a life that is completely different the old one.
Before, we used to live through our own strength, like an ostrich, but now that we are told to live by faith, we find it frustrating because we have little faith. An ostrich is capable of running at 80 km. an hour on its two legs, stirring up quite a dust. Without any assistance from its wings, it is more than able to escape from its predators and find its food just on its two legs. This is how we had lived before, but now, it is no longer possible to live like this relying only our strength. Before, we had the strength of the flesh, but once we came into God’s Church by faith, we realized that our strength of the flesh was completely insufficient. In other words, none of us can live by the strength of our flesh alone. Why? Because we cannot meet all the requests of God with our ability and strength alone. That is why we must live by placing our faith in the righteousness of God and His Word, and because of this, we must change our old way of life.
The Bible says, “The Just Shall Live by Faith Alone.” There is only one way for the righteous to live, and it is to live by their faith in the righteousness of God and His Word. That is why we must cast aside our carnal thoughts. Now, then, let us ponder on how we should live by faith.
In today’s Scripture passage, God said, “Let birds fly in the firmament,” and this passage implies that the righteous can indeed live by faith. This is what it means when it is said that the righteous are to live by trusting in God: They pray to the Lord and ask Him for their needs, and they also believe that whatever they ask from the Lord, the Lord would answer them. We can live by faith when we believe that the Lord is our Shepherd, that He is our God, that He is our Savior, and that He is our Master. In other words, this means that all of us should live by the belief that the Lord would work in our lives as we pray to Him. Placing our faith in God is to pray to the living Lord for help whenever we encounter any difficulty in our lives and to get our prayers answered by Him.
If we are struggling, then we should pray to God and ask for His help. And we should have the belief that the Lord would answer our request for help. This faith, that the Lord would give us wisdom and grace, solve our problems, and respond to our prayers in various forms when we pray, is imperative. That is how we can live by relying on the righteousness of the Lord, and, to be more specific, be helped by Him by praying to Him. This is what it means to live by faith in the Lord.
We do not believe in God as if we were believing in some founders of the religions of the world, but we bow down before the Lord who lives now and forever, and who has saved you and me from our sins, and we pray to Him asking for His help. It is then that we meet God in these prayers and are blessed by Him in our lives. When we pray to the Lord, we can have communion with the Lord through our faith, and we can live by faith. We should let Him know our struggles, ask for His help, remember His Word, and believe that the Lord will help us and solve our problems without fail. It is by this faith that we should live. This must be done in our actual lives of faith. Those who live by their faith in the righteousness of God pray to the Lord and have fellowship with Him, and therefore they can live by the power and grace that He bestows on them. This is how they live, having fellowship with the Lord and being answered through their faith, relying on Him and trusting in Him. None other than this is to live by trusting in God.
Countless people in this world claim to live by trusting in God, but that is not actually true. Whenever God’s servants encountered trials, they first asked the Lord for help through their prayers. Didn’t the Apostle Paul pray to the Lord all the time? The Apostle Paul’s faith included the belief that God would infallibly fulfill what He promised. So to us also, he admonished, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).
If we ask the Lord for help whenever we are struggling, each time the Lord will answer our prayers in various forms. We must live by faith, believing that God would uphold us and help us when we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to this world.
To this day, we have lived by believing in God and His righteousness. The Apostle Paul, too, lived by his faith in God and His righteousness. The people of faith appearing in the Bible all lived by this faith in God. The predecessors of faith who are now leading you have also lived by faith until now.
Your predecessors of faith were not free from hardship, but they, too, have continuously faced trials from the very moment they believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They had to stand up and fight against the enemy, they were snubbed, they were persecuted, they were subjected to all kinds of insult, and they lost every material possession that they had.
I myself have also lost much from believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but I have gained even more. After I met the Lord, I was persecuted severely, from outside and even from my own family. I had no material possessions. Was I healthy then? No, I wasn’t even healthy. I was constantly ill. Sometimes my vertebrae were inflamed, and my thickened blood used to make my body rigid. I was near death on many occasions. When we tried to live by placing our faith in the Lord, we encountered countless obstacles, but each time, we prayed to the Lord and our prayers were answered, and this is how we have lived to this day. That is why the righteous should live only by faith.
On the fifth day, God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly across the firmament.”
How can we fly across the firmament of faith? Once we are born again, how can we live the life of the righteous? When we are living on this earth with our flesh still intact, how can we live our lives as the righteous? This is made possible only when we live by our faith in the righteousness of the Lord. And the righteous must live believing in all the Word of God, as they ought to given who they are.
How could we have carried on with our lives when all of us had faced so many trials, and when we had even faced physical death? It’s been possible precisely because we have lived by believing in the Lord’s righteousness alone. Praying to the Lord constantly, we have lived by our faith, believing that the Lord would answer our prayers, and that He has become our Shepherd, our Father, and our Savior. This is true faith.
Our lives have faced trouble at every turn and twist. Even now, we are not free from hardship. However, we know that we will continue to live by placing our faith in the Lord’s righteousness, even if we were to face far greater difficulties. We are such that unless we live by trusting in the Lord’s righteousness, we have no choice but to die in both body and spirit.
The people of faith who preceded us, from John the Baptist to Peter, John, Paul, Mark, and Matthew, all lived by faith. They lived by faith, relying on the Almighty God. They did not live relying on their own strength of the flesh or their material possessions. We, too, have lived by trusting in the Lord’s power to this day. In the Bible, on the fourth day of creation God spoke about how He made His servants, and on the fifth day, He spoke about how these servants should live by placing their faith in the Lord.
When you are facing hardship, how should you resolve it? Should you try to resolve it through man-made means? Even this requires certain conditions, and money; so what can you really do when you have nothing?
You must live only by trusting in God, relying on His righteousness, asking for His help and believing in Him. We must learn to live this life that relies on God, trusts in His righteousness, and seeks His help. Even in small matters, we should ask for God’s help, saying, “God, please help me in this.” We must ask the Lord in faith, and live by the belief that He would give us what we ask from Him. We should bring our problems to the Lord and ask Him, “God, please solve this problem and help me. I ask You to resolve it. I ask You to help me. I believe that You will answer me.” We can live by asking the Lord for His help and trusting in Him.
If we ask the Lord by faith, and if our prayer is fitting, the Lord will answer us. God will work in our lives and in our circumstances with His power. So it is through the Lord’s help that we live. You must now learn to live by trusting in the Lord. Most people try to live within the bounds of their faculty and material possessions. However, the born-again righteous, whether laymen or ministers, can overcome all trials if they rely entirely on the Lord and live by faith. No matter what the problem may be, when they bring it to the Lord, believe in Him, and ask Him to help, He will surely answer. None other than this is faith. You should now learn to live by faith, and you must indeed live by faith.
God Has Refined My Faith
There was a time when I faced extreme hardship and yet lived by trusting in the Lord. At that time, at my side there were neither the ministers who are now working with me, nor brothers and sisters of faith, as well as far less material possessions. At the time when I went to a port city called Sokcho, the only thing I believed was that God was my God, that I was His servant, and that God would therefore hear me when I prayed. This was the faith by which I lived.
Trusting in God, I prayed to Him. In my eyes of the flesh, it looked hopelessly bleak, but I had faith, believing, “Without the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this city is a wilderness, but God will surely make me preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit here, and through this He will save many people from sin and raise His Church.” I knew what God’s will sought to accomplish through me. But I had nothing. I knew no one, and I lacked everything.
First of all, I had to find a place to call home for my family of three which included my wife, my son, and myself. I looked for a rental place, and I came across a listing for a rundown unit with one bedroom and a small kitchen, located in a poor neighborhood. The rent was about $30 a month. But I didn’t even have this money. And I did not have any security deposit.
So I prayed to God. As God helped me in this matter, I was able to rent the place and live there. Once we moved in, we now needed furniture and household items. It was a very grim situation for the head of a family to face. In my desperation, I began to walk around the city and prayed to God to find me a job. “God, am I not Your servant? I believe I am. You have saved me from my sins through the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and I have served you to this day, but I am now facing a very difficult situation.”
First, I affirmed by faith whether or not I was a servant of God. Once I was convinced in my heart that I was indeed God’s servant, I asked God boldly, “God, if I am Your servant, then You must help me. If I am not Your servant, You can just leave me alone. But I am Your servant. Now I want to do Your work, but I need to first meet the basic needs of my family. What should I do, Lord?”
There was nothing that I could do with my body. I hung around the market for manual labor, but I couldn’t do it. Just a day’s work would have cost me more on medication than the wages that I would have earned. To find a job, one has to have some sort of skill or ability that is in demand in a given society, but I had no such skills.
Because I had lived in a prayer retreat center all this time, I had had no need to worry about the basic needs of clothing, food, and housing, and because I had no job experience to speak of, there was nothing that I could do once I was left alone in this world. So I began to pray. “God, what should I do? Please uphold me, Lord, and help me find the means to sustain my wife and my son. It’s a very serious problem. I am Your servant, and yet what is this that is happening to me? It’s not because I don’t want to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit that I am struggling like this. Far from it, I have fallen into a great trial. God, I want to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Please help me.” I had to pray like this.
Walking in the streets of the city aimlessly, I prayed and I thought hard, “What can I actually do to earn a living?” At the very moment, a barbershop came to my mind. Long ago, when I was still attending elementary school, my brother-in-law used to run a barbershop. So after I came back from school, I used to do chores at my brother-in-law’s barbershop, wash the customer’s hair, and made some pocket money from this. But it’s not as if I was skilled enough to actually give a hair-cut. So, essentially, I had no skill whatsoever. Even so, I decided to find a job at a barbershop.
Across from a wedding hall in that city, there was a tiny barbershop. Now, I had nothing but only my faith in God. There was no other means or course of action to take. When I entered into the store, I saw that the owner was working all by himself.
So I asked him, “Would you hire some help?” When he told me that he would, I told him that I would like to work for him. The owner asked me how long I have been working at this job, and I let it slip off my tongue, saying, “I’ve been working for 20 years.” I said this by faith.
He then asked, “Where are you from?”
I said, “I am from Busan.” Busan is the second largest city in Korea.
He then asked again, “Where in Busan did you work?” and so I answered, “I used to work in the downtown.” I was from Busan anyways, and so I said that I used to work in the most thriving part of the city for 20 years. Hearing this, the owner asked me to start working beginning the next day.
So, the next morning, I went to the barbershop to work. But the owner did not show up early. As I opened the store and cleaned the place, the first customer stepped inside. Holding a pair of scissors for the very first time, my hand was trembling. I could mimic to give some sort of a haircut, since I had seen my brother-in-law cutting the customers’ hair long ago, but my hand kept shaking since I actually did not have any real skill. If I gave up there, I would have been fired, and so I began cutting the hair, all the while praying in my heart. “Lord, give me the strength.”
The scissors seemed to have its own mind, trying to cut the customer’s ear instead of his hair. But, even as I was trembling, I made it through and finished cutting the customer’s hair. I also shaved him, but by then I was trembling even more. I could not but pray desperately because it would be all over if I were fired. “Lord, I don’t even have the strength to pray anymore. Please keep me, Lord, and please help me to do what I am now doing.”
Placing my faith in the Lord, I gave the customer a shave. His face bled all over. I put a piece of facial tissue on his bleeding spots time after time, and yet the customer remained still and said nothing. The owner also pretended not to see this, and didn’t say anything. The customer asked how much he owed, and I received his payment. With that level of skill, it was clear that I could not continue to do this work.
But I had a firm resolve within myself, thinking, “All that I can do now is to believe in God. This is the only thing that I can do, and now it’s a do-or-die situation.” And I prayed again, “Lord, please don’t let me get fired from this place.” However, a couple of hours later, the customer came back from his home and wanted to get a new hair-cut, saying that his wife complained of a botched job. So this time the owner himself gave him another haircut. What was strange, however, was that the shop owner didn’t say anything to me, and he let me continue to work at his shop.
The money that I made at that time from working for 8 hours was not that much. But later, I got a small raise. I made about $50 a day later; of this, $20 would cover the living cost of my family, and I gave the rest to my wife to be saved. At that time, I was praying to establish God’s Church and preparing the necessary financial means to do so. Since there was no one to make any donations to me at that time, I tried to save to find a place of worship, so that I could preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Whenever I had time, I looked for someone who would believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even as I held a job at my workplace, whenever I had some spare time, I went out and put up some handwritten posters that said, “If you would like to hear the gospel of the water and the Spirit, please contact us at this phone number.”
From time to time, people actually called from reading the posters. Once, a man attending a seminary called me and told me that he did not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and so I met him and preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to him. As a result, he came to receive the remission of his sins. A number of people actually came to receive the remission of their sins in joy. But there was no place, not even a room, where we could hold our gatherings. People were disappointed to hear that there was no place of worship. Although they heard the gospel, they saw how sad my situation was, preaching the gospel without even a proper place of worship, and so they all left me.
So I prayed, “Lord, please send me coworkers with whom I can serve the gospel.” According to how I prayed to God, I was able to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to a certain mission organization, and once its members heard the gospel, they cast aside their old, mistaken faith, and they were able to found God’s Church with me.
At that time, as I began to minister at God’s Church that preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I opened a mission school to nurture God’s workers to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world. Some married women came to class to hear the lecture, and about ten young brothers and sisters registered at the mission school as the first term students. This is how I was able to start the mission school.
“God, I will preach the gospel to the world. And I will plant Your Church in each region in Korea. Please help me, Lord. I believe that You will make me raise Your Church, and I believe that You will allow me to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” I believed in the Lord, and I prayed with this faith. And I prayed for my insufficiencies. I did everything by trusting in God. That I did everything by faith means that whenever I faced hardship, I bowed down before the Lord and prayed earnestly for His help time after time, and whatever I did, I did trusting that the Lord would indeed help me without fail.
And just as I believed, God allowed me to achieve all these things.
I nurtured God’s workers also by this faith in the Lord. Although my brothers and sisters of faith had received the remission of their sins, in their hearts there still remained many things of the world. Their hearts, in other words, could easily revert back to carnal minds at any time. Because such hearts could not be transformed just by teaching with my own words, I had to remove the wickedness of their hearts with my faith in the Lord. And I had to lead them to the Lord.
Whenever I testified the Word of God, I also bore witness by faith. Because they had so many questions about the Word of God and myself, I had to teach them many aspects regarding the Word by faith. When I testified to them with the Word of God, their hearts’ unbelief was removed one by one. So through the mission school, I yielded the Lord’s workers and raised them as preachers. God’s Church, too, was built in this way.
Faith in the Lord is to believe as the following: “God is my God, the Lord is my Savior who has blotted out all my sins once for all, and He is my Shepherd who helps me. If I live according to the will of the Lord and follow Him by faith, then no matter what circumstances I might face, even if I am near death, the Lord will help me for sure, for He is my Shepherd and my Savior. I believe that the Lord will give me whatever I ask from Him, and it is precisely by this faith that I became a servant of God. Even now, it is by this faith in the Lord that I am working.” Sometimes, even my coworkers find it hard to understand my actions, but it is actually by my faith in the Lord that I am doing the Lord’s work.
I live by faith even under difficult circumstances. I work trusting in God. The Lord saves me and raises me up when I believe in Him. If you are facing any trials, you, too, should ask the Lord to solve them. If you ask and really believe that the Lord will answer you, then He will indeed answer your prayer. When you serve the Lord in this way, you will be able to solve all the problems that you are facing one by one. It is by your faith in the Lord that you can overcome countless difficulties.
Are there trials and tribulations before your eyes? Of course there are; no one is trouble-free. How, then, should you solve them? You should resolve them by placing your faith in the Lord. You must resolve them by faith, by praying to the Lord and getting His help. That is precisely what faith is all about. I believe that if you pray about your trials, trust in God, rely on Him, and live by faith, and then God will resolve all your difficulties. This is the real faith. It is not a hypothetical notion.
A certain leader at a mission group constantly claims to be living just by faith. He claims, “In my wallet all that I have is only $10 for emergency. Even though I am only paid $300 a month to cover the living expenses of my family, because I pray by faith, I am provided for by God, and so I lack nothing to make ends meet.” But he is actually deceiving his congregation. As far as I know, he actually has several credit cards. And whatever expenses he puts on the cards, they are all covered by his mission organization’s finances. So when this pastor claims to spend only $300 for his living expenses, he is only raising his own righteousness before God.
In contrast, my living expenses are well over $1,000 a month. How can anyone get by on just $300 a month? To host some guests for 2-3 days at my home would alone cost more than $300. Is it faith not to spend money? If it is for the Lord, and if it is necessary, then I spend all the money that has to be spent. But I pray when I have no money. It may even require millions of dollars, but if it’s for the Lord, then millions of dollars are spent.
To live before the Lord is to live by placing faith in Him. Whoever is righteous must live by faith. It is all because of the lack of faith that the righteous stumble, and it is because of the lack of faith that their lives are miserable. But if they live by faith, then they can overcome all their weaknesses, and they can accomplish everything. For us to make money also must be done by trusting in the Lord. It is through serving the Lord that we receive monies. There is no shame here, since it’s not for ourselves that we are receiving monies, but it’s for the Lord. That’s why we sometimes ask the Lord for even more money.
As the Lord approached Jerusalem, where He was to be eventually crucified, He reached Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, and He sent out two disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me” (Matthew 21:2).
What would the owner say, if some stranger took away his colt? Wouldn’t he say, “Why are you taking away my colt?” and take him to be a thief? The Lord, however, told the disciples that if the owner asked them this, they should answer, “The Lord has need of them.” So the disciples had no problem bringing the colt. Exactly as prophesied in the Word, the Lord entered Jerusalem on a colt (Zechariah 9:9).
We must have faith, that whatever is the will of the Lord should all be fulfilled without fail. For us to work and earn our living properly before the Lord, and to rise to the challenge of spreading the gospel of God—to live like this is to live by faith. As it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). It is by faith that we live.
There is so much disbelief about the Lord in your thoughts. Satan tries to sow disbelief in us and prevent us from living by faith. In times like this, we must defeat the Devil by faith, saying, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command you, get behind me Satan!”
A while back, I traveled to a certain city to plant a new church. I went there with several fellow ministers to look for a place of worship. While staying at a motel over night, suddenly I came down with an excruciating pain in my stomach. So I wondered, “Lord, I didn’t have anything bad for dinner, so why is my stomach hurting so much?” At that time, I thought that Satan was trying to undermine my will, because I was supposed to sign the lease with the landlord the next day, and it was a crucial first step toward preaching the gospel to that region.
The Devil cannot enter us, but he can still pressure us from the outside. So, I shouted out in my mind, “Devil! I command you in the name of Jesus Christ, get behind me Satan!” Like this, I commanded Satan to go away, and I prayed to God. The pain in my stomach was so overwhelming that it even spread to my head, but if I were to call an ambulance this late in the night, it would have caused so much trouble for us, as we had to sign the lease with the landlord the next morning. So I prayed to God all night long. And I defeated Satan by faith. As the sunrise approached, all my pain was gone. I woke up in the morning, had breakfast, met the landlord, and signed the lease.
As a result of following the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I even became estranged from my own parents and brothers. Not only this, but while serving the Lord, I even lost my own son. At that time, I was attending a church gathering elsewhere, and I had entrusted my small children to a fellow co-worker to baby-sit. He forgot to close all the windows, and my second son fell through an open window to his death from the fourth floor. Every window in every church that belongs to our mission now has a safety mesh. I had it installed because of this painful memory, and also because safety must always be put first. I didn’t blame the coworker who was baby-sitting my children. I gave the police a written notice saying, “I will neither raise any objection nor seek any responsibility from anyone for this accident,” and I dispensed all of any consequences right then and there. My wife and I scattered the cremated remains of our son over a river.
Before my son’s death, I had constantly held him in my arms and taught the gospel to him, as I didn’t know when the Lord might take him away. I had told him countless times, “My son, you know that I love you, right? God also cherishes you in this way. Your wrongdoings are sins. But Jesus Christ came to this earth, shouldered all these sins and took them all away by being baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist, and blotted out these sins by being crucified.”
I had told him about the gospel of the water and the Spirit as many times as I could. Some people might wonder how a small child could comprehend all this, but I believe that the child can understand his parent’s heart. When the parents teach the gospel to their children with faith, the children will also accept it. I had taught the gospel of the water and the Spirit to my son. But my son went to God. “Farewell, my son.” I scattered his cremated remains over a river.
That evening, I still preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There were those who received the remission of their sins from attending the gathering on that day. I lost my own son, but the Lord gave me another spiritual child that day.
I said to my wife, “If our children were to grow up and prosper, wouldn’t we have placed our hope on them? I think God took away our son first, so that I wouldn’t place my hope on anything on this earth. So my dear, you should take the loss as I do, and let us cry no more. Wouldn’t God have a certain purpose for us in taking away our son? God will relieve us in time. This all happened while I was away to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit; it’s something that happened with God’s permission.” I got back on my feet placing my faith in God.
Since I, too, am only human, if my sons were to prosper in this world, I would also have come to rely on them. However, I have overcome everything by my faith in the Lord. Whatever I did, I did it all by faith. You, too, must solve everything by faith, no matter what trials you might be facing, and no matter what it is that pleases God. Without faith in the Lord, we cannot actually carry on. We cannot do God’s work.
When I met a group of believers, who became the founding members of our mission organization, they invited me for the first time as a speaker at an outdoor retreat, but the timeslot allotted to me was at 11 PM. It was very late, but I didn’t care, and so I preached the Word even at that late hour. As always, I preached by faith at this time also. I could not help but pray to God for His help. Before preaching, I had gone into my tent and prayed to God, “God, if there arises no soul from this gathering that receives the remission of sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit in this retreat, then the gospel will fail to be preached to this gathering. So God, this retreat is very important. Whether or not this gathering is used by You depends entirely on this occasion. Souls must be saved.”
At the retreat, the afternoon hours were reserved for group fellowship. Some people went swimming, while others went fishing. This was an official part of the retreat. So, as I preached the gospel late in the hour, the audience was already too tired from the day’s program and many dosed off, making it difficult to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit properly.
The road ahead me was long and there was much that I wanted to talk about, but since I was in no position to preside over the gathering, I couldn’t lead them as I wanted, and so I climbed up the mountain every afternoon by myself. After praying, I came back to the camp and saw the fish they had caught were put on the dinner menu. All that I could say was, “Thank you for all your effort. Let us eat.”
Anyways, after the retreat was over, I was waiting for my bus to arrive and was having a small chat with some believers. Then I was approached by a few young men. God had prepared the time for me. At that time, I was able to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them once again: “What is mankind’s sin? It’s like a wave. It keeps coming as the tide moves in. People continue to sin until the day they die. The wave continues to crash down time after time, no matter how they might try to block it. This is the nature of sin. Jesus Christ accepted all these sins by being baptized.”
It was at that time that our brother Wonki Choi, who is now a pastor, accepted the gospel. And several other young brothers and sisters also received the remission of their sins. That is how the work of the gospel arose.
When I preached to Missionary Yonghwa Lee, who had been the leader of that congregation, I also did so by faith. At that time, I was visiting his home, and after exchanging greetings I sat down on the sofa. He said to me, “Let me ask you just one thing.”
I said, “What is it?”
He said, “Why did God hate Esau while He loved Jacob? I just can’t understand it.” So I told him, “Bring your Bible,” and opening it to chapter 9 of the Book of Romans, I began to speak.
“It says here, ‘The purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.’ Whom did God call? He called people like Jacob. He calls those who are inferior, cowardly, and contemptible, those who, though they believe in God, have nothing of their own to boast. It is these whom God calls and saves. God loved Jacob but hated Esau because people like Esau are too strong for their own good, as they stand against God instead of relying on Him.”
Missionary Lee then said to me, “I’ve studied a lot and learned a lot all this time, but you are the first to address this issue so clearly. What books have you read?”
As I took a look around his study, I saw that he had many books, but I said to him, “You should take all these books over to a recycling depot. I mastered them all a decade ago. But there was no truth in them, but only leaven that corrupts the soul. If you are too attached to them to throw them away, then keep them for now, but when you realize how they are useless, throw them away.”
The situation of the Church at that time was such that we had to ordain Missionary Lee as a pastor. Only then could the church order be established. But could we raise someone who was not born again as God’s servant? So I prayed, “God, as I preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit to him, at least he has to believe in this gospel. Only then can I avoid committing sin before You. Only then will Your work be accomplished properly.”
Praying to God like this, I preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith. Missionary Lee was not made whole by the gospel on that day, but still, I decided to take some time and wait, and so I proceeded to explain the gospel step by step. Like this, I preached the Word to Missionary Lee directly. He had so many other questions that I had to untangle and explain the Word of God to him in detail by faith. So in the end, Rev. Lee was finally saved, was raised as a servant of God, served the gospel with us by faith, and went to the Lord before us.
It also takes faith for you to trust in your preceding servants and follow them. There is nothing in the lives of the righteous that does not require faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. To obey as directed by the predecessors of faith also takes faith, and to follow them requires faith as well—indeed, everything requires faith. When the predecessors of faith ask you to do something, wouldn’t you be unable to obey their words if you have no faith in the God-established order?
We must live by placing our faith in the Word of God and in our Lord. “It is God’s will for the gospel to be preached throughout the whole world. We must therefore preach the gospel, and the gospel will indeed be spread without fail” When we thus believe, such acts of faith are bound to come out of us. Even if we just can’t understand what the predecessors of faith are asking us to do, if we have faith, then we shall unite our hearts with them and obey with a “yes”. Faith is what makes it possible for us to do whatever it is that serves the benefit of the gospel, even if it does not fit our standards and bruises our ego.
Christians know very well that they have to preach the gospel to the world, but they can’t quite bring themselves to actually do it. With the usual method of evangelization, all is in vain no matter how hard they might try. If a missionary goes to some country, learns its local culture, builds a church, opens a community service center like a hospital or a school, and manages to draw a number of congregations, then this missionary has achieved a spectacular success. The missionary works of William Carey, who went to India and preached the gospel there, and of Hudson Taylor, who went and preached the gospel to China, remain as groundbreaking milestones in the history of the Christian mission.
But what about us? We are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world through our literature. If Jesus were to take slightly more time to return, we would go down in history as those who fulfilled a landmark ministry in the preaching of the true gospel. Even though people might take us lightly, they will come to realize that we were people of tremendous faith. It is by faith that we are now living. We have served the Lord by faith to this day, and we will continue to do so in the days to come. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
God’s work can be done only by faith. The Devil is also defeated by faith, our enemies are also vanquished by faith, and everything is done by faith. To live is also done by faith. We must live by believing in the Lord. We must unite with the Lord by faith, and we must follow Him by faith. You can come to live by faith only when you are powerless. You will not rely on your faith as long as you have your own strength.
Ostriches have huge wings. If they were to fly with these wings, they would be able to fly faster than even an eagle. They are also stronger. Even with a man sitting on their back, they can run like a horse. This is how big and strong ostriches are. They are capable of running at 80 km. (50 miles) an hour. But since their legs are so strong, they don’t try to fly at all. That’s because they see no need to fly.
However, even an ostrich will use its wings once its legs are cut off. Pursued by a predator like a lion, it will flap its wings trying to escape death and its body will fly. “Wow, I didn’t know I had such nice wings.” The ostrich can beat the eagle only if it will fly. To make an ostrich fly, we must cut off its legs. We must cut them off when it’s asleep. Then, it will fly in a month, if we feed it and take care of the wounds for a while. A chicken, too, can fly once its legs are cut. Chicks can be made to fly in no time. If their legs are cut off as soon as they are born and heal their wounds, they will fly, since they can no longer walk.
Do you know why you are unable to live by trusting in the Lord? You can’t live by faith because your own strength is too strong. It’s because you have something else on which to rely. As for me, I have nothing else of which I can rely. I’ve been driven away from my home, from my friends, and from my former denomination.
If your character is unimpeachable, if you are quick-minded, or if you are strong enough on your own, you are bound to rely on these things. But once you realize that all these things are nothing, you will come to trust only in the Lord’s Word and live by faith. The just shall live by faith alone. It is not when everything is going well for us that we live by faith, but it is when the going gets tough that we live by faith. It is then that we come to pray to God.
You must believe that God allowed your difficult circumstances in order to give you faith, and you must pray to God and follow Him, believing that He shall answer all your prayers. I have nothing to expect from myself. I’m foul-mouthed and short-tempered; I’m not well-educated and I’m not strong; I’ve got all kinds of health problems; and I’m short and fat. Who would like such a man as myself? What do I have to rely on? There is nothing of which to rely.
Are you still relying on something of your own? You must realize that the things of the flesh are nothing. You must realize that man’s achievements are nothing before God. If we have enough bread right now, we won’t pray for our daily bread. But when there is no bread, we will come to pray for it. It is when we realize our insufficiencies that we come to pray to God and ask Him for our needs. It is when we realize how important God’s work is that we come to pray. This is faith.
My fellow believers, when you realize how precious it is to serve the Lord, you will all come to live by faith.