“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.”
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is the fourteenth session in the series ‘God Measures Our Faith‘.
Most people have a fear of the water when they first learn how to swim.
But as they get used to the water and their skills improve, they can enjoy the fun of swimming. They can swim even in deep water.
It’s similar to being immersed in the water of God’s word.
If a person has little faith, he is more familiar outside the water of God’s word, namely being in this world feels more comfortable to him. He feels awkward if immersed in the water of God’s word and he might even feel afraid.
But as he practices the word of God and becomes accustomed to living by the word to some extent, he can have the freedom of truth.
How deeply are you immersed in the water of God’s word?
Some of you have just your feet in it, while others could plunge their whole body into the water if they tried a little harder.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Now, not just myself but many others have come into spirit and whole spirit and they testify to the joy of swimming in the sea of truth.
Are there any of you who still have the shackles of sin and live in the pain and fear of not being able to even put your feet in the water of God’s word?
Today, let us delve into the evident works of the flesh continuing from the last session.
They are the sins that deprive of salvation.
From now on, I hope you will lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and enjoy true freedom and peace in the truth, like fish in the water.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will vigorously march on in your race of faith hoping for the peace and rewards that will be given in New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and viewing audiences, today, let me continue to talk about the evident works of the flesh, which are the sixth among sins depriving of salvation.
In the last session, through King Saul and Absalom who stood against David, we learned about enmity, jealousy, outbursts of anger, and disputes.
At the bottom of these works of the flesh lies hatred, which is spiritual murder.
There is also greed.
It is the same with dissensions and factions, which I am going to explain now.
Dissension is to separate oneself from a group or organization to follow personal desires.
Those who separate themselves in such a way usually create a faction or dissenting minority of conflict.
So, creating a faction is also an evident work of the flesh.
Factioning is to make a group within a group, because of difference in ideas.
This is not just about having closer fellowship among those who have similar viewpoints.
It is to pass judgment and condemnation on, and to slander and gossip about the leader of the larger organization.
This does not happen only among the unbelievers.
This can happen in a church, too.
For example, some people make factions just because they have different ideas from the pastor, or because of different opinions among the church members.
In some cases, they create factions to groundlessly accuse the pastor of the church just to cover up their faults.
Such groups are synagogues of Satan, which is an evil act of creating factions.
The church is the body of the Lord, and the members are His body parts.
Therefore, to separate themselves and create factions to pursue individual benefits is to tear apart and divide the church, which is the body of the Lord.
How evil an act this is!
Of course, the head or the leaders of the church might have been clearly practicing untruth.
But if the believers truly care for the church of the Lord and the members, what should they do?
Before they judge anything and make divisions, they would first kneel before God to pray.
They will humbly wait for the judgment of God and His works.
If that particular worker is not proper in the sight of God, God will take care of that matter Himself.
Absalom rebelled against his father following his own evil and benefits.
But in his view, he had reasons that were acceptable.
He thought it was not right when his father King David did not punish Amnon, who had committed a great sin.
Amnon raped Absalom’s beautiful sister and just deserted her.
Along with the resentment caused by this incident, Absalom had arrogance in his heart.
He thought it was proper that he had to be the king for he was worthy to be loved by the people.
Of course, he was also power-hungry.
But God raised the hands of David.
He did not say Absalom was right.
Absalom sought his own personal righteousness and benefits, and not God’s righteousness.
He forsook his position of a prince and separated himself from his father, King David.
At that time, many people including Ahitophel who was David’s counselor, separated themselves from David and followed Absalom.
As we can see here, dividing and making factions is caused by evil such as hatred, self-righteousness, individual moral frameworks, and greed.
If you do not just harbor such evil in the mind, but actually put it into action, and especially if you stand against the leader whom God loves, how can you expect to receive salvation?
Brothers and sisters, in addition to these, there is also heresy among the evident works of the flesh depriving of salvation.
Simply put, heresy is to deny Jesus Christ, who is our Savior.
2 Peter 2:1 says, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”
The Bible says that those who deny the Lord Jesus Christ who bought us with His blood and bring swift destruction upon themselves, are heretics.
Through this verse, we can understand that heretical belief will lead a person to destruction.
Along with this, there is another fact that we have to keep in mind.
That is, without knowing correct biblical definition of heresy it is also a great sin to recklessly condemn others as heretics.
Those who commit such sins easily judge and condemn some of the churches and believers as heretical, with standards other than the Bible, namely with their subjective standards.
This is also to stand against the Lord.
Especially, if you recklessly condemn a church that shows the works of the Holy Spirit as heretical, it is to add the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit on top of passing condemnation.
Therefore, we have to discern heresies based on the Bible.
1 John 2:22-23 clearly gives us the standard to discern between true Christians and false Christians.
It says, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”
Namely, we must not condemn a church that believes in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, namely God the Trinity and admits and confesses Jesus to be our one and only Savior.
But today, there are so many people who judge and condemn other churches with subjective standards.
Also, as the world is so spiritually corrupted, and as people’s ideas and philosophy develop, some people deny truth and are deceived by heretical ideas.
We have to discern such heresies with the word of God.
1 John 4:2-3 says, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
Here, to confess Jesus is not just lip service saying, “I believe.”
It is to have the deeds in our lives that follow according to the teachings of Jesus.
For example, our church members live by the words of the Lord, and God has given us His power as a result.
You always try to live by the word of God in everything, and you experience His power.
Also, you yourselves show the power of God through the handkerchiefs and sweet water that contain the power.
Psalm 62:11 says, “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that those of you who have the true evidence will firmly stand on the rock of faith and not be deceived by falsehood in any case.