[Passage]

[Ezekiel 47:1-5]
“[3] 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. [4] 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. [5] 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.”

Introduction

This is the 18th session in the series ‘God Measures Our Faith‘.
There is a story of a dog that missed his master so much he died.
According to a local newspaper in Sichuan, when the dog’s owner, who was an elderly lady, died, the dog began to show some odd behaviors.
He sat next to the bed his owner had been using. His whole body shook as he shed tears. He did not eat or drink for 16 days and eventually died.
Sometimes we hear about animals that devotedly follow their masters with all their lives.
Some people even say animals are better than humans.
Such stories and words we hear about remind us of the trend of people today to so easily forget about grace.
In this message, let us look into the ninth sin that deprives of salvation, which is to forsake the grace received and to betray following after one’s own benefits.
I pray in the name of the Lord that this message will be a blessing for you as you check the inside of your heart with the word of God who is Light.

Main

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, viewing audiences,
The ninth sin that deprives of salvation is to forsake the grace received and to betray following one’s own benefits.
Those who betray usually do harm to those who gave them grace.
This is a grave sin that affects the state of salvation.
Remember what is written in the Bible.
Few of those people who committed such sins were saved.
For example, if I say ‘betrayal’, who does it bring to your mind?
Most probably you will remember Judas Iscariot.
Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, but He never gave up on Judas until the very end.
Judas sold out Jesus for thirty silver coins.
Though Judas had the pangs of conscience and returned the money, he was unable to overcome the suffering in his heart and eventually he killed himself.
Acts 1:18 says, “…falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.”
It was the case with Ahitophel, a counselor to David, too.
He sided with Absalom and faced a tragic death when Absalom rebelled against his father David.
When his counsel was rejected by Absalom and his men, Ahitophel went back to his hometown and killed himself.
Absalom’s revolt also failed.
General Joab betrayed David and he too was brutally killed.
Joab was the General of the Army under King David for a long time and he performed his duties meritoriously.
He also enjoyed authority and honor with David.
But towards the end, he denied the will of David and participated in rebellion.
David wanted to give the throne to Solomon.
There was no way for Joab to have been unaware of this fact.
Nevertheless, Joab renounced the will of David and tried to put another prince named Adonijah on the throne.
His attempt failed, and Solomon ascended to the throne.
Joab became afraid, and he fled to the tent of the LORD, beside the altar.
He was trying to save his life, because a person cannot be killed there.
But Joab was killed without mercy despite all the honor and authority he had had.
There was a reason for it.
Due to selfish motives and against the will of David, Joab shed innocent blood many times.
Even if Solomon had let him live, he was the kind of person who could betray Solomon at any time.
In other words, Joab was not worthy of receiving any mercy.
Brothers and sisters, God hates betrayal and the forsaking trust. It is the evil deeds of paying back grace with enmity.
For example, there are some people who are saved from eternal punishment through the grace of the Lord, but later they forsake that grace and depart from the Lord.
The Lord paid the price with His life to save us from the hands of the enemy devil and Satan.
But there are so many people who betray this Lord and go back to the enemy devil and Satan.
When they are born again by the Holy Spirit, they give thanks for the grace of saving them from the horrible punishments of Hell, and for giving them true joy and hope.
But they look at the world again and then they lose their first love.
They find it difficult to lead a life in faith and eventually forsake the Lord.
To earn more money or to gain more recognition of the world, they turn their backs on the cross.
They feel it is hard to keep the words of God such as ‘do not hate’, ‘do not commit adultery’ and ‘cast away all forms of evil’. They give up on the way of salvation saying it is just too hard to go such a narrow way.
Some of them experience and meet the living God so assuredly and yet they still depart from God.
As you are witnessing, there are so many signs and wonders, wondrous things and extraordinary works in this church that are as those written in the Bible.
Many of the people here were healed of incurable diseases just before death and gained new lives.
Others were saved from a swamp of despair such as financial difficulty or family problems.
Even though you did not receive solutions to your particular problems, you have been able to see and experience so many evidences through which you can be convinced of the living God.
Nevertheless, some souls leave God saying they do not know the Lord.
How heart-broken our Lord is concerning them!
In Luke 17:11-19, we read about an event from which we can learn a lesson.
When Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, ten lepers came from a village and asked Him to heal them.
It resulted in all of them obeying the word of Jesus and they all received the healing.
All ten of them were healed, but there was only one of them to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you.”
He was the one who came back to Jesus to give glory to God and to thank Jesus for the grace He received.
Then, what happened to the other nine?
Considering the circumstances recorded in the Bible, we can infer that their salvation was an unlikely event.
Let us consider the following things.
For the ten lepers, they must have been suffering not only from the pain of the disease but also the pain of being ostracized and being considered cursed sinners.
Jesus met such people and delivered them from all those pains.
But nine of them neither gave glory to God nor did they go back to thank Jesus.
To my regret, I have seen so many similar cases since I began to minister to this church.
So many people were healed of serious, incurable diseases, but there are so many who also just left without even saying thanks.
If all those who received healing remained in the church, there would now be so many more members.
Of course, some of them tried to be faithful to God for a period of time.
But change came over them and later they left God to follow their own benefits.
They went after the fame, power, and wealth of the world.
Some of them did not just leave but stood against God and caused difficulties for the church.
They did not just forsake the grace they received; they repaid it with evil.
There were many people of this kind especially in 1998 and ’99.
They were saying that they loved the church and the shepherd and they wanted to be faithful to God’s kingdom with all their lives, but they changed their minds and feelings when there were trials allowed for the whole church.
Some of them stood against God while trying to destroy this church and the shepherd who God loves.
As they acted against the church that God loves and caused many other souls to stumble, how can their salvation be guaranteed?
God the Father lamented for these people so much.
He was saying, “Where are the ones who were giving thanks for the grace they received? Where is their faith now with which they yearned for New Jerusalem so much?”
God especially hates the sin of betraying.
The world of evil spirits was also formed through betrayal.
What is the role of the evil spirits?
It is to stand against God during the course of human cultivation.
Considering this, I hope you will realize the great evil that is in the act of betrayal.
If you say you are children of God believing in the Lord and yet do not cast away such great evil but keep on showing these evil acts, we cannot really say that you have faith to receive salvation.
Also, if you forsake the grace of God and betray the Lord, the enemy devil and Satan might again gain control over you again.
The Bible clearly tells us about this.
For example, after being divinely healed, if you befriend the world and live in sins, something worse than before may happen to you.
In John 5, after healing a man who had been sick for 38 years, Jesus advised him as follows:
John 5:14 says, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.”
If you become sick once again, you will have a condition that is worse than before.
It’s because of the accusation of the enemy devil and Satan.
It’s the same when one is possessed by evil spirits and then delivered.
If a person who is set free from demon-possession does not circumcise his heart but keeps on committing sins again, his situation will be worse than before.
In Matthew 12:45 Jesus explained about this saying, “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
If you become sick again after being healed, it becomes more difficult to receive healing than the first time.
Of course, in case of a new believer in the church, God gives them grace for them to be easily healed.
But there are those who have learned the truth and thus they are not supposed to be sinning, and in these cases they have to try harder.
It’s because it is not easy for them to repent.
They can receive the grace of God again only when they thoroughly repent of their sin of betrayal.
If they do not repent but keep on living in sins, they will be eventually cut off from salvation.
Brothers and sisters, if you receive divine healing as well as salvation and then betray God, how foolish it is!
I hope you will all become wise.
Namely, keep the grace once you have received it, and have nothing to do with the sins that lead you to the way of death.
I think most of you who are listening to this message are certain that you will not commit such great sin of betraying the Lord.
But as long as you have flesh in your heart, you must always take caution.
What is flesh?
It is something that changes and perishes as time passes.
Betrayal comes from this nature of flesh, the changing of mind.
Though it might seem trivial, if you do not cast away changing nature but keep on piling it up, you might commit great betrayal one day.
Therefore, it is important to thoroughly check yourself and cast away such evil.
I want you to think about the following, too.
For example, even after receiving great grace, some people do not really have or express thankful hearts.
If you cannot feel so much thankfulness in your heart, you should know how hardened your heart is. This means you cannot really find the reasons to give thanks.
Also, when you receive the grace, you are thankful and you express it well, but soon you forget about it.
You might even say you will never forget that grace and continuously pay it back, but you forget that grace after a year or two.
Also, you try to live by the word of God with thanks for His grace, but when you face tests or trials, you soon lose your joy and gratitude.
You begin to complain with your lips.
Namely, you change according to your situations and circumstances.
If you have such deeds, I hope you will realize that you have changing mind.
God the Father sometimes allows tests or trials so that you can realize such evil and get rid of it.
This does not mean God intentionally gives you tests.
It means you commit sins or violate the rules of justice, and God does not protect you from tests.
If you realize that you get disheartened or begin to complain in the tests, you should consider it an opportunity that has been given to you.
If you give thanks, rejoice, and pray more fervently than before, you can more quickly cast away the nature of changing mind.
Of course, it does not mean you cannot be saved just because you change your mind in different situations.
But just understand that changing nature can become the root of betrayal, which is such great evil, and remove it quickly from your heart.
Brothers and sisters, if your gratitude and love for God is true, it will not change easily according to situations.
It’s the same in our relationships with people.
If somebody did a really big favor for you, or if you have a friend with whom you can share your deep heart, your trust or friendship that is shared will not easily be swayed.
For example, if you hear unfavorable rumor about that person, you will not easily believe it.
You will first believe him and try to verify the facts.
Even if that rumor is true, if you shared true love and trust with that person, you cannot hate him, though you might hate what he did.
You will pray for him earnestly and help him so that he will turn from the wrong way.
David acted in this manner.
Saul tried to kill David many times due to his envy towards him, but David never betrayed Saul.
It’s because David’s faithfulness for God and for his King Saul was true.
David let Saul live two times and he tried to persuade Saul not to commit any more evil deeds.
1 Samuel 24:14-15 says, “After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, a single flea? The LORD therefore be judge and decide between you and me; and may He see and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
Saul was touched by such good deeds of David.
And he said as follows:
1 Samuel 24:16-17 says, ‘”Is this your voice, my son David?’ Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you.'”
Of course, Saul could not control his evil and did not stop his efforts to kill David.
But God considered the good heart of David and blessed him greatly.
God made David the king of Israel.
I could understand how David must have felt about twenty years ago.
Some of the members of the denomination I belonged to excommunicated me without a proper reason.
Some of the other pastors in the same denomination knew what was going on and advised me many times.
It was that I had to just submit no matter what, or I had to leave the denomination.
But I could not say what was not right was right.
Also, I could not betray the denomination where I learned theology and was ordained as a pastor, although I knew it meant I had to suffer wrongfully.
After all, I had to suffer the dishonor of being excommunicated from the denomination.
But of course, God the Father knows the truth and He blessed us to form a new denomination based on the fivefold gospel.
He also let us grow up as a mega size denomination having more than 10,000 branch churches worldwide.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and viewing audiences,
Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God.”
As said, God the Father is faithful.
Just remember the Bible.
Whenever the people sought, God met them.
And His faithfulness is unchanging.
But the people commit sins and forsake God, and they doubt whether God is living and whether He has forsaken them.
But those children who have true faith do not have such doubts, nor do they turn their backs on God saying, “I’ve done enough to pay back His grace. I got what I wanted, so I will enjoy my life now.”
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will cultivate truthfulness in the depth of your heart and offer up true thanks to God until the Lord comes back.

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