Ezekiel 47: 1-5
“Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.  He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.  When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles.  Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins.  Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Beginning today, I will deliver the sermon series, “God Measures Our Faith.”
To measure is to estimate or appraise by a criterion or standard for decision or judgment.
But faith is not a visible object.
Then, how can we measure faith?
We can measure it with the criterion called the word of God.
On the Judgment Day, each person will receive the verdict about salvation and the rewards.
What if you receive the verdict that you have insufficient faith to receive salvation?
Therefore, we should measure our faith precisely so that we will not be lacking in faith to receive salvation at the Court of Judgment.
Having vague notion thinking, “I guess I will receive salvation”, is not how to meet that day.
Luke 18:8 says, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Now is a time that is ever so near to the Lord’s coming again.
It’s very difficult to find faith that is in accordance with the word of God.
Now, can you confidently show your faith before the Lord, saying you have a certain amount of faith?
You should not just have sufficient faith to receive salvation.
You should have the faith to be able to boldly say that you long for beautiful New Jerusalem.
For this, you should not have an ambiguous attitude about your life of faith.
Many parts of the Bible tell us the standards of salvation.
They tell us the kind of faith that will save us.
Beginning today, we will go over it again once more, and I hope you will check your faith.
I pray in the name of the Lord that in doing so you will have sure faith so that you will go the way of Heaven with hope and expectations and not with fear or worries.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is there anybody who thinks as follows?
“Senior pastor, many believers last year repented of fundamental sins and gained the faith to receive salvation. Moreover, it’s a time of blessing when we have Canaan Sanctuary right in front of us. So why are you delivering this message now?”
We can find the answer in Deuteronomy.
Moses proclaimed the word of God in front of the sons of Israel just before they made their entrance to the Canaan Land.
Deuteronomy 1:5 says, “Across the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to expound this law, saying,” He preached the word of God in the land of Moab.
The record of what he spoke is the content of Deuteronomy.
This was two months before they went to the Canaan Land, just after the army of Israel defeated two kings, namely Sihon, the king of Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan.
The soldiers had high morale and the people were filled with expectations.
At this point, what kind of message did Moses deliver to them?
Did he proclaim blessings saying, “You will go into Canaan Land and enjoy the blessings of God!”?
No, he didn’t.
Instead, he clearly taught them the ways that they could enjoy blessings and the ways that they would receive curses when they entered into Canaan Land.
Looking back on the process of the Exodus, he explained about the commandments of God.
The most important thing at that time was that all the people had the qualifications necessary to be the chosen and holy people of God.
Israel is a nation that was established upon a covenant with God.
God promised them that He would give them the Canaan Land ‘flowing with milk and honey’.
God surely fulfills His promises.
But He could do it only when the people kept the law of God, namely His commandments.
Only then could God acknowledge them as chosen people and fulfill His promises.
Namely, He would be able to give them the Canaan Land as their inheritance and let them reside there enjoying blessings.
Moses knew this fact very well, and with an earnest heart he once again taught the people the many statutes including the Ten Commandments.
Deuteronomy 4:40 says, “So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”
People accepted the message with an ‘Amen’ and eventually they conquered the Canaan Land through the help of God.
And while they kept the Law of God, they enjoyed stability and richness in that land.
Our church is also entering a time of blessing in which the foundations of the Canaan Sanctuary are being laid.
So, I hope you will check yourself once again being on the alert.
Our church, when we go into the Canaan Sanctuary, will save countless souls like a myriad of stars and greatly accomplish the kingdom of God.
We will also receive abundant blessings given by God.
Just like the sons of Israel received their land according to each tribe and family, blessings will go to not only the church as a whole but also to you individually.
God will certainly give you back according to how your soul prospers and how much you have sown and acted before God.
But if you do not have the sign that you are God’s child, namely the faith to receive salvation, what would this blessing mean to you?
In this case, God cannot bless you either, but even if he does, it would only be like a curse on those people.
You might mistakenly think that you have the faith to receive blessings and then idly lead your life of faith without continuing to work at it.
Also, if you receive financial blessings when you don’t have faith, you might even commit sins rather than giving thanks to God and being faithful to Him.
None of our church members should fall into this category.
Last year, many of you were forgiven of unforgivable sins by the limitless mercy and compassion of God.
To my surprise there were many people, including many students, who said they didn’t know the things they were doing were sins leading to death.
They said that they weren’t able to hear the word of God that was being preached while they were committing sins, but now they can hear it from the time that they were forgiven of their sins by God’s grace.
So, I felt a strong need to teach you the cut-off line for salvation as your shepherd.
I hope you will understand very clearly of the qualifications of salvation through this opportunity.
I hope you will cast off all the deeds that are not in accordance with the word of God right now, before we go into Canaan Sanctuary.
I urge you to cast off the unwillingness to obey the commandments.
Of course, while we were preparing for the Canaan Sanctuary, your faith increased very much.
As we now have faith, it’s not difficult for us to build the Canaan Sanctuary, and furthermore, construct the Grand Sanctuary.
We can just keep on marching forward.
But do not relax, but have the sign of being a child of God in you.
That sign is faith.
I hope you will keep the commandments with faith and enjoy complete blessings as we go into the Canaan Sanctuary.
Furthermore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will enjoy eternal blessings in the heavenly kingdom in New Jerusalem.
Brothers and sisters, the book of Ezekiel is the book of prophecy that Ezekiel recorded after seeing visions and hearing spiritual things.
God showed Ezekiel the things to come for Israel and its neighboring countries.
So Ezekiel prophesied the punishments that would be inflicted upon Israel and the neighboring countries for their sins.
He also prophesied the recovery of Israel.
From chapter 40 of the book of Ezekiel, it records in great detail about the temple that Ezekiel saw in a vision.
Today’s reading passage is the water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple.
Ezekiel saw the water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east and flowing down from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.
He was guided by way of the north gate and led around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east, and water was trickling from the south side.
Water spiritually symbolizes the word of God.
Therefore, the water coming out from the temple means that God’s word preached in the temple goes out to the outside of the temple to the whole world.
Today, temple is the church that is body of the Lord.
God’s word is preached in the church.
God’s children gather in the sanctuary, listen to the word, and worship God.
When God’s word does not remain in the church alone, but flows out to the world, changes take place in the world.
Therefore, the believers must not just keep the word to themselves as knowledge but deliver it to the world.
Also, they should not just practice the word in the church but also in the world, namely at home, schools, or workplace.
Then life is able to sprout in the world that is like a parched desert.
The word delivered by you believers is the light in a dark world.
To fulfill the word in Isaiah 11:9 that says, “For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea,” the believers have to cover the world with the water of life, namely the word of God.
In order to do this, you first have to be completely immersed in this water of life, the word of God.
I will explain the meaning in detail later, but it means that our faith has to grow up to the full measure of the Christ.
From verse 3 of today’s reading passage, we see that the water gets deeper and finally becomes a river.
Here, someone with a line in his hand measured a thousand cubits, and he led Ezekiel through the water.
When Ezekiel first crossed the water, it reached his ankles. Then the man measured a thousand cubits once again and led Ezekiel through the water, and it reached his knees.
Next, the water reached his waist, and finally, it became a river that Ezekiel could not ford.
What is the meaning of this scene?
This scene symbolizes the Great White Throne Judgment where the Lord will measure the faith of each one and give the judgment.
Here, the man with the line in his hand refers to a messenger of the Lord.
Measuring the thousand cubits with a line is the act of measuring the faith of each believer.
The messenger of the Lord will measure the faith of each one accurately and without any error.
The depth of the water that Ezekiel forded after the measuring of the messenger of the Lord symbolizes the measure of faith.
The ankle height is the first level, the knee is the second level, and the waist is the 3rd level of faith. The river that has risen above the head is the level of spirit, fourth level of faith or higher.
Why does God categorize the levels of faith according to the depth of the water?
We can see a clue from the fact that water spiritually means God’s word.
The reason is God’s word is the standard of measure by which each one’s faith will be measured.
John 12:48 says, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
Everything Jesus said on this earth is the word of God.
John 12:49 says, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” As spoken, he proclaimed only the word that God commanded Him to speak.
He delivered to the people only the will of God.
On the Judgment Day, everybody will be judged according to the word of God.
The Judgment Day is the day to settle the account on the measure of each one’s faith.
And the standard to measure each one’s faith is the word of God.
A good conscience, morals, or other theories or philosophy cannot become the standard.
We have to be very clear on this.
We have to check our faith solely according to the word of God.
Then, what did Jesus preach to us while He was on this earth?
John 12:50 says, “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
As recorded, He talked to us about the way to eternal life, the way of salvation.
He clearly stated that there would be the Final Judgment and Heaven and Hell.
He taught us exactly how we can be saved according to the word of God.
He taught us in detail about what sin is, and that we have to cast off sins and become holy children who resemble God.
He proclaimed only the word of truth and goodness.
Those who believe in the Lord believe that all His words are true.
They also follow them because they believe they are true.
As James 2:22 says, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected,” faith is accompanied by deeds.
For this reason, for the Final Judgment, God measures how much each person has lived according to the word of God.
The extent to which one has practiced the word of God and cultivated the heart of God is the standard by which faith will be measured.
The scene in today’s reading passage tells us that the word of God is the standard to measure our faith.
The river is the level of faith to live by the word of God completely, which is the full measure of Christ.
Each one will receive judgment of either salvation or death, and either reward or punishment.
God measures each one’s faith accurately.
We can see this from the fact that the messenger of the Lord measured one thousand cubits before Ezekiel was led through the water.
I will explain the meaning in this in the next session.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Philippians 2:12 says, “Just as you have always obeyed …… work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
Therefore, until we get to Heaven, we constantly have to work out our salvation.
Of course, if you go into spirit and have faith like pure gold, you don’t have to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
But until then, the enemy devil, Satan, will try to stop the believers who are marching toward heavenly kingdom.
They will try to lead them to the way of death, and not the way of salvation.
Now, are you on the right path, which is the path of salvation?
As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” only the word of God can become the lamp and light that will lead you to Heaven.
Therefore, I hope you will listen to the word of God accurately and run your march of faith relying on the word.
Then, you will go beyond the measure to receive salvation and quickly reach the full measure of the Christ.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will reach New Jerusalem with perfect faith, receiving glory and rewards in full measure.