“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.”
This is the 19th session of the ‘God Measures Faith’ series.
In Matthew 22, Jesus explains about the kingdom of heaven with a parable.
Verse 2 says, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.”
But this feast was special in a certain way.
Those who were invited didn’t want to come.
The king sent other servants to invite them again, but only in vain.
They went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business.
And the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.
So the king said to his servants, “Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.”
Only after this was the feast now filled up with guests.
However, because of the way the people were invited, some guests were evil people while others showed rudeness by not having the proper attire.
In this parable, the king symbolizes the Father God.
The son refers to the Lord, who is our bridegroom.
God the Father invited many people to the feast, namely to salvation.
With all His best He prepared for the feast and politely invited the people.
I believe most of you have already joyfully responded to this invitation, haven’t you?
Is there anybody who is delaying your response because you are so caught up in worldly things?
If that is the case, I hope you will respond to this invitation with joy and thanksgiving.
Furthermore, I pray in the name of the Lord our bridegroom that you will later go to the feast wearing beautiful wedding clothes.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, viewing audiences, the tenth sin that deprives of salvation is to deceive servants of God and the Holy Spirit.
Is there anybody who tries to cheat God from time to time?
To this question, I believe all of you will say ‘no’.
But in fact, sometimes you do try to cheat God.
Of course, as Job 13:9 says, “Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?” it is impossible to cheat God.
Moreover, if you have faith that is as little as a mustard seed, you cannot even harbor such a thought.
What I will try to explain today is about deceiving the Holy Spirit by deceiving a servant of God whom God is with.
This is same as trying to cheat or deceive God.
The latter part of Revelation 21:8 says, “…and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Cheating other people with lies will bring about such a fearful outcome, and how much more would it be if you cheat God?
It is a proof that you do not believe that God is surely alive, and that He is the almighty who searches the hearts of men.
Also, I mentioned in the previous session that ‘to stand against a true man of God’ is same as to stand against God Himself.
Likewise, to cheat God’s servant whom God is with and to cheat the Holy Spirit is the same as trying to cheat God.
Here, ‘God’s servant whom God is with’ refers to a servant with whom the evidence of God being with him follows.
The evidence manifested is the power of God.
This power is authoritative power which belongs solely to God.
In the Bible, the prophets and apostles whom God was with manifested the works of power, namely, in signs and wonders.
For example, Mark 16:20 says, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.”
Brothers and sisters, now, why would some people try to deceive God’s servants and the Holy Spirit?
In most cases it is to gain personal advantage or profit, or it is to cover up their iniquities.
Through the two biblical events that I am going to talk about, I hope you will realize how foolish it is to try to deceive God and what kind of outcome could result from it.
In Acts chapter 5, we see a married couple who fell into destruction after cheating the apostles.
They were Ananias and Sapphira.
They vowed to sell a piece of their property and give the sales price to the church, but due to their greed they kept back some of the price.
They brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter rebuked them.
Acts 5:3 says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?”
Latter part of verse 4 says, “Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Verse 5 says that as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and died.
Sapphira came to the apostles later and lied to the apostles just like her husband, and she also fell and died.
To ‘fall down dead’ means they were not saved.
When a saved person dies, the Bible says, he ‘gives up’ or ‘yields up’ his spirit.
Brothers and sisters, if Ananias and Sapphira had a chance to defend themselves, they might have said they were only lying to the apostles who were just men.
But in spiritual sense, as Peter said, their hearts were taken by Satan. Namely they were incited by Satan to harbor greed and deceive a servant of God.
Peter especially was an apostle with God’s power with whom the Holy Spirit worked.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, he immediately sensed that Ananias and Sapphira were telling a lie.
That is why Peter said Ananias was not lying to him but to the Holy Spirit.
Their hearts were so evil that they immediately fell down dead without getting a chance to turn from their ways.
Their action was such an evil act that put them outside the boundary of salvation.
We have to keep in mind that not only greed but also deceiving God’s servant who shows the works of the Holy Spirit is such an evil act.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we can find a similar case in 2 Kings Chapter 5.
It is the story about Gehazi, a servant of the prophet Elisha.
His eyes were blinded by greed and he lied to a man of God, Elisha.
At that time, Naaman, an army general of Aram, Israel’s neighboring country, received complete healing of his leprosy by obeying the word of Elisha.
He was so thankful that he came back to Elisha with the offerings he had brought with him.
Elisha did not accept anything from him and just sent him back.
But Gehazi had greed for those good things. He followed the group of Naaman’s people and asked for some gifts using the name of Elisha.
2 Kings 5:22 says, “My master has sent me, saying, ‘Behold, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothes.'”
He received the gifts by lying to them, hid the things, and pretended as though nothing happened.
When Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” he lied saying, “Your servant went nowhere.”
Elisha knew even the contents of the conversation between the king and ministers of a hostile country that they had in the bedroom of the king.
Gehazi was so foolish that he tried to deceive such a person as Elisha.
Elisha gave him a chance to confess what he did and repent, but he hid his crime.
But Elisha knew exactly what Gehazi did, as if he had seen it with his own eyes.
When Elisha mentioned it and spoke the words of a curse, Gehazi became leprous.
Gehazi was very foolish.
How many great and amazing works of God had he seen while following Elisha?
Nevertheless, he did not revere God or the man of God.
But rather he harbored greed in his heart and after all, he deceived a man of God, and in doing so he tried to deceive God.
He was cursed for this reason.
He was also separated from God.
Brothers and sisters, those who fear God will not disregard anything that is related to God, such as the church, and things in the church.
They cannot deal with them at their personal discretion.
How will such people treat God’s servants who clearly communicate with God and who manifest works of the Holy Spirit?
They should love them with the love of God and they should cherish them as they cherish the Lord.
How could they ever think of deceiving them?
They could never do so.
As we’ve seen from the previous events, both the Old Testament and the New Testament explicitly tell us about the consequences of deceiving God’s servants and the Holy Spirit.
Even if their sins are not revealed before people on this earth, all their actions will be revealed at the court of the Final Judgment.
They will certainly receive the punishment.
I hope you will surely remember this, learn the lessons from Ananias and Sapphira, and Gehazi, and be cautious of such evil.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, viewing audiences, the 11th sin depriving of salvation is ‘not to wash our robes’.
In the Bible, many times we encounter passages that liken our heart to garments.
Revelation 3:4 says, “But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.”
Revelation 22:14 says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.”
Here, the garment and robe refer to the hearts of men in a spiritual sense.
Therefore, not to soil their garment means that they did not stain their heart with sins after they received forgiveness by accepting the Lord.
To wash our robes symbolizes cleaning out the stains, namely the evil of our heart to make it clean.
Another expression for this is to ‘circumcise our heart’.
Jeremiah 4:4 the first part says, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem…”
Circumcision was a ritual to be set apart as God’s people by cutting off the foreskin of a man.
It was a ritual to make themselves holy in outward deeds, by cutting off the foreskin that can easily become contaminated by urine.
But God tells us to accomplish circumcision of our hearts.
This means we have to cut off the part of the skin of our heart that is stained by sins and gives out foul odor, to make our heart clean.
Jeremiah 4:4 the latter part says, “Or else my wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”
Easily stated, without the circumcision of heart, we have to go into the fire and burn with nothing to quench it, which is in Hell.
Of course, this does not mean we have to circumcise our heart perfectly to receive salvation.
Even if it is a little slow, as long as we circumcise our heart to sanctify it, we can receive salvation even though it is not perfectly completed.
To the extent we have accomplished circumcision of the heart, we can go into the different levels of the heavenly dwelling places such as the Paradise, the 1st kingdom of heaven, or New Jerusalem.
Here, not to circumcise one’s heart means to cease to circumcise it over a long period of time.
Also, reversely, it is to stain the heart with sins again.
Brothers and sisters, as I mentioned in the beginning of this message, Matthew Chapter 22 also talks about how important it is to wash our robes.
The king went to see the guests at the feast and saw a man who did not have proper attire.
The king asked him, “Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?”
And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Why don’t you reason about this?
When you go to a feast, it is proper and within decorum to wear at least neat and clean clothes, though they might not be so fancy and luxurious.
Not preparing the wedding clothes means this guest was very discourteous by going to a feast without having the most basic preparations.
And who is the host of this feast?
It is the king!
And he is a king who loves his people.
God the Father also invited us to a precious feast which we could never begin to dream about.
Namely, God gave us the right to take part in the feast by sacrificing Jesus on the cross.
And what if we just wear dirty and shabby clothes that we always wear and go to the feast without making any preparations?
Can we say we value the invitation at all?
Such people should realize that just because they are invited to the feast, they cannot be chosen as the guests, as said in Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Brothers and sisters, today, many of those who go to church lead a life in faith just in formality without having an understanding that they need to circumcise their heart.
They might focus on external deeds such as worship service, prayers, and social service, but they neglect to cast away evil from their hearts.
And when they face a problem, the evil in their heart is agitated, and eventually they leave the Lord or the church.
Or, they just remain as the scribes and Pharisees who were hypocritical.
Even though we strictly keep the law in outward deeds, we should remember, that it is very difficult to receive salvation if we keep committing filthy sins and inputting evil in our hearts.
It’s because we are saved by spiritual faith that comes from the heart and not by outward deeds.
What do we believe?
We believe that the Lord took the wretched cross for our sins.
If we believe this fact from the heart, we will try not to commit sins any more.
We not only stop committing sins in action, but also we try to pull out the roots of sins and evil from our heart.
Of course, some people might say they certainly believe in the Lord while not casting away sins.
But if their faith is not accompanied with deeds, we cannot say they have true faith.
Today, when we put the focus on the deeds of faith, those who do not understand the truth properly might accuse us saying it is legalistic.
But legalism is to regard only the outward deeds without having any love for God.
There should not be any misunderstanding about this.
Also, it is very biblical to put our emphasis on the deeds of faith.
James 2:22 says, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.”
Therefore, I hope you will quickly wash your robes, namely circumcise your heart and keep the word of God, thereby preparing beautiful wedding clothes.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will definitely participate in the ‘feast of salvation’ to which God the Father has invited you.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Revelation 22:14 says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.”
But Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”
What a contrast they are!
I hope you will not just diligently wash your robes, but also try not to get anything dirty on them again.
In doing so, I hope that you will pass through the gates of the Paradise, 1st kingdom, 2nd kingdom, and third kingdoms of heaven, and enter into the city of New Jerusalem.
I urge you in the name of the Lord that you will be invited as honored guests not just for the wedding banquet in the air but also to the banquet in New Jerusalem!