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Active Faith
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John Lo

What is “active faith”? It is lively faith. Faith that is dynamic. This kind of faith is full of power and strength. The Bible tells us that Jesus is a living rock, the Holy Spirit is a stream of living water, and God is a fiery furnace. So God Himself is very active. As believers we must also he active.

On the other hand, passive faith lacks initiative. It is lukewarm faith. People with passive faith still love the world. Many believers fall have passive faith. If we are not careful we will also become like them.

Read Psalms 103:14-16. The passage says, “For he knoweth our frame; he rein emhereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass : as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth, For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”

Life is very short. When we are young, we are like flowers just blossoming. Youth is called the golden age. Whether a person is successful or not depends very much on what he does or does not do in his youth. Whether he goes to heaven or to hell and whether he becomes a noble vessel or a useless one depend very much on what he does or does not do in the days of h is youth. Many old people shed tears when they reminisce. When they look back they find that many of the paths which they have trodden were all wrong. They say to themselves, “If I can hut live this life once again.”

When I was returning to Los Angeles from Hawaii, I met a seventy-year old woman onboard the plane. She was sitting beside me. I saw that she was very sad so I shared with her the gospel. She told me her life story and then she said, “It is all too late. My husband is dead. All my children have their own families now. I have done them gross injustice. If I could live my life once again, I will help my husband and teach my children.” She was sobbing when she spoke these words.

If you are given an opportunity to live again, you may not live the way you have lived. So why not start to live the way you should live right now? It is when we are healthy and young that we have the ability to serve and work for God. Therefore, we must live an active life of faith right now.

There was a brother who was very zealous when he was studying in university. He got a job after he graduated. lie said to himself, “Right now I have no family and house. Therefore, I must earn a lot of money.” So he took leave from God for ten years to earn big money. During the ten years, he only attended church once a year on New Year’s Day. He became the manager of a big corporation and was sent to the United States. He commanded a very high salary and purchased many pieces of land. After ten years his children have grown up. He said to himself, “1 must return to church. My children requires religious education. I want to serve God. He became zealous again. But, very pitifully, after a while he became ill. He lost his appetite and his belly bloated up. His eyes and skin became yellow. He went for a medical examination and a scanning showed that his liver was not functioning normally. The doctor did a biopsy on his liver and found that 90% of his liver was defunct. He only had 3 or 4 months to live. Lying in bed, he started to think, “I have amassed for myself so much wealth and properties, but what can they do for me now? I am dying!” He was given chemotherapy. His hair started to fall off and he was feeling very ill.

As he had not been to church for such a long time he had little faith left. Faith is something which is built imp gradually. It is not something which can be acquired overnight. Ten years absence front church. It can be said that his faith was covered by three feet of ice. He could not bring out any more faith. His unbelieving relatives came from another place and informed him that doctors have just discovered a new type of drug which was said to he very effective with a success rate of about 50%. Meanwhile, the whole church was praying for him. During these prayers, many brethren received the Holy Spirit and some even saw visions. His condition improved a little. But because of the words of his relatives, he lost his faith and went for the new drug treatment. Many brethren who visited him, advised him not to go for the treatment. They told him not to depend on medication but on God. But he did not heed their advice. That night, after the first dosage, he vomitted and passed out blood about 2000cc altogether. He nearly died that night. When the church received this news the same night, the entire church prayed for him for fifty minutes. There was no service, only prayers for him. The next day, I visited him at the hospital. He grasped my hand and cried so sorrowfully that the bed shook. He said, “1 have never thought that I would die now. Last night, when I passed out so much blood, my tongue cleaved to my jaws like potsherd. I thought of the sufferings of Christ on the cross. It was then that I understood why Jesus had said, ‘I thirst’.” He was actually in agony. “I was really thirsty.” lie said that at that time, he wished that someone could give him a drop of water because a lot of blood was passed out from his body. He cried with Jeep sorrow. He said, “Please pray for me. If Jesus were to give me another twenty years more I would go to Africa with you.” I could not reply because I was crying too. I thought to myself, “Why is it that you have not served God when YOU were young? Why is it that only on your deathbed that you say that you want to serve God ?“ God’s time for him has come. Two months later he died. During his funeral, his body was laid in a coffin. He was aged forty-three. There was a deep feeling in me. I thought, “One day I too will he lying in there. If I do not take hold of my life to love God, to strive for the heavenly kingdom, to work for the Lord, one Jay when I will he lying there, there will be no more chance to do so.” Have we ever thought of this? What is most important to you? It is nor studying, finding a job, earning money or seeking worldly pleasures. The most important thing is to he with God in heaven. So, let us live a life of active faith.

We will all die one day. When death comes it does not always give prior warning. I had a nephew who was only ten years old when he died. He was very mischievous. No matter how he was coaxed he refused to go to church. One day, his mother sent him to visit his father who was working in another place about one hour’s journey by plane. Before he hoarded the plane he told his mother that he was afraid. H is mother told him not to be afraid because in one hour’s time he would be able to see his lather. The plane took off. In less than 15 minutes it exploded in mid-air killing all the passengers on board. When I heard the news I could not sleep that night. In fact I wept throughout the night. I wept not because-he died but because he was not baptised! The grave yard in which he was buried contained not only the aged but also the young.

When I was at a cemetary in California I met an American woman, who is 101 years old. I asked her why she was there and she pointed and said, “This is my daughter and this is my grandchild.” So let us he active in our faith.

John 4:35-36 records, “Lift up your eyes and look at the field.” The harvest is ripe. We must evangelise. Time is too short. We must propagate the gospel far and wide. We need many servants to work. We need full time preachers, literary ministers, broadcasting evangelism, religious education teachers, people who are talented, and many others to do the work of God. We must have publication houses, TV stations, broadcasting stations. We should have them long ago, But we have none of these. Why? Because we do not place emphasis on evangelism. Some spent so much just on one meal. The cost of that meal could actually establish one chapel in some places. The cost of that one meal can be salaries to a number of preachers. The cost of a car can build a chapel in Africa. Our believers in Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom have been blessed by God. They have so much money and do not know how to spend wisely. They have been wasting a lot of money. They always want better, more luxurious and enjoyable things. If all these monies were accumulated and used for evangelism, many more souls would he saved. In the Philippines, a chapel was built with a sum of US$20,000. This chapel has a seating capacity of 200 people. Many were saved as a result of attending services there. Do you know that the money that God has blessed us with is very useful if we apply it on the work of God. Today, how many of us actually earn for God? We need to mobilise the force in the church. We need more people to dedicate their lives to God, especially youths in Singapore. You have received so much theological training, what is your knowledge for? Why is it that there are SO few youths who are doing that? Is it that God’s love lacks motivation? Can it he that we are still not clear about our goals iii life? I believe that many has this calling to work for God. We must pray and think. A man’s life lasts only for several decades. It you do not spend your golden age in doing work for God but keep delaying and procrastinating until you grow old, then you will realise that you have become old and weak and God can no longer use you.

Our body degenerates. Just like the sun rising from the east. Those who are ten years old are like the nine o’clock sun, full of vigour and hope. They do not know what death is, neither do they think of what old age means. After a while they arc thirty or forty years old. They have established their career, married with children and have a house. Yet a while later they are over the hill. The evening sun is so beautiful hut it is nearing dusk. They are about to finish. We find that old people tend to keep silent. Why? Because they are about to leave this world. They think about a lot of things. “How am I to face God? I have not done my share of divine work. I have earned so much money hut have not offered accordingly. Can I he saved?”

A seventy-year old brother was sick. I visited him and he asked me, “If I were to die now, can I he saved?” I could not answer him. I told him, “Only you and God know, hut I do not know. How could I know whether you can he saved. if you want to he saved, repent quickly. You are not dead yet. You still have time. You can make your final dash.” This is true. So, let us all come out to do God’s work. Many preachers are required in the United States, Africa, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sabah, etc. There are too many souls to save. There is a famine of preachers in the entire world right now. Who wants to offer himself? Those who can speak many languages - Mandarin, English, French, Spanish, etc. We must also study for the Lord. Do not just do engineering, accounting or medicine hut choose more language courses. Because we need a lot of such skills in world evangelism. To be able to read, write and speak foreign languages. We must equip ourselves now. We must have a goal . Without a goal we can never improve. We must set a goal for our own life. For example, in five years time what am I going to achieve and if God allows it after ten years what will I do. In order to achieve our ten-year goal to be used by the Lord, engage ourselves in the work of world evangelism. We must now resolve to study the Bible every day, pray half an hour to one hour daily. We must learn different languages. If there are no challenges, no goals, we will never improve. “The Lord has need of it” (Lk 19:31), This is a precious saying. We must be a vessel of God. As long as we are willing to dedicate ourselves, God will use us. Aaron’s rod was actually dried up. It budded and blossomed. This is called spiritual rejuvenation. By placing ourselves in the hands of God, we can become a rod of God. That ass on which the Lord rode was the most blessed ass in the world because it was ridden by Jesus. Similarly, it we, foolish, useless as wild asses, are willing to he ridden by the Lord, then our lives will become valuable. The greatest achievement in life is to be used by the Lord. When Jesus uses you and sends you out to work, He works with you. Through your sermons many are moved to receive the salvation of the Lord. Through your prayers many are healed and received the Holy Spirit. Lives are changed. The reward we get is even better than being able to earn a lot of money. This is spiritual joy. Some people ask how I feel as a preacher. I could not explain it. There is a hymn that goes, “The longer I serve him the sweeter it goes”. This is the only thing I can say. The more I serve the happier I am.

God will use you greatly. To use your hands to do a lot of work. To use your mouth to speak lots of powerful words from the Bible. Your life would he meaningful. If a person refuses to be used by God, no matter how he lived his life in the end it is hut vanity. When you were a child you had toys. After a while, you threw them away and wanted electronic ones. But before long you got tired of them. When we grow up, we go about looking for sports cars. After having them for about 6 months they become like any other cars. Then you would look at the houses of others and start to think that if you were to live in a great mansion how good it would be. But even if finally you have purchased a mansion, you could only stay in one room at a time. Even if you live in a luxurious mansion, but do not work for God you will not have the peace of God and the Spirit of God in you. Everything is vanity. Look at Elvis Presley. He died of an overdose of drugs. How pitiful! Look at the time when he sang the song in his last concert before he died. He actually shed tears while he was singing. He said, “Jesus, where are you?” He was so empty. He had earned so much money and cut so many records. When he gave gifts to friends, he gave them expensive cars. But he had no joy. When you are young you like toys and when you grow up you like sports cars and houses. When you have everything you still ask whether there are more things to go for. You must have the sense of real values. If you have the correct sense of values only when you have grown old, then it would have been too late. Many people look for Jesus only when they have retired. If you are already 70 years old, how many more years do you have? How much rime do you have to work for God?

Elijah put his cloak on Elisha. Elisha was the son of a rich farmer with 12 pairs of oxen. He was a rich man’s son hut he had perception. When the cloak was placed upon him, he immediately killed the oxen and used the yokes to burn as fuel and invited people to eat of the oxen. He left his job as a farmer. He went for a higher calling. His great aspiration was revealed when he prayed to God, asking for the spirit that was upon Elijah he given to him in double portion. Elisha could see why Elijah was successful. It was the Spirit of God in him. God actually blessed Elisha with double portion of the Spirit. He performed 16 great miracles as recorded in the Bible, which is twice the number that performed by Elijah. He became the chariot and horseman of Israel. Today, we need a lot of Elishas in church to he the horsemen and chariots of Israel. We need more people. The harvest is already ripe. We have too few workers. Everyday I pray, “Oh Lord, please raise more workers. I have hut only 2 hands. I hope there are 100 more to be used by the Lord. I am too limited.” When clod move many people so that all of them become horsemen and chariots of Israel, our world evangelism will have hope.

We must live a life of active faith. Christ died on the cross for our sins. We owe God a debt which we can never repay. Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, hut Christ liveth in me: and tile life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” This was the realisation that Paul had. When a great light shone upon him, he fell upon the ground. Jesus spoke to him personally. It was then he understood that the person he was persecuting was the Messiah. He thought he was gaining God’s favour when he slaughtered the Christians because he did not know that Jesus was the Christ. Now he knew that the person whom he was persecuting was the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for him, and suffered for him. He was in deep sorrow. He asked the Lord penitentially, saving, “Lord, what shall I do, Lord?” In Africa, there was a sister. In a vision she saw how Jesus was crucified and all the blood that was shed. She cried sorrowfully. She said, “Lord, what can I do for you?” Jesus said to her, “You must preach for me.” In Ghana, a brother also saw a vision. He saw the Lord bleeding all over his body. He asked the same question, “What can I do for you Lord ?“ Jesus said, “You must keep my commandments.” Today, we have received God’s love. Have we ever thought of the agony Jesus went through for our sins? He has given us all. What have we given to Him? Many love the world and do not love Jesus. They seldom come for services. They love the enjoyment of the world — dancing, parties, drinking, socialising with the opposite sex. They put aside God’s work and His church.

In Elgin, a town in Scotland, a youth seminar was held there a few years ago. Preacher 5K Yang and I were sent there by the church. I was talking to about 20 university students. It was the last lesson and I did not know how to encourage them. So I decided to tell them the most important lesson - the crucifixion of Jesus. It was an old, old story hut a very important one. I told them how Jesus died. I had read a hook named “The Shroud of Turin”. The Catholics claimed to have the shroud which was used to wrap the body of Jesus. Scientists have taken this shroud and examined it. At first these scientists did not believe but after having examined it, they could not hut believe that this shroud actually wrapped a man whose sufferings was like that of Jesus. I thought to myself, “This shroud need not be the one that wrapped the body of Jesus, hut the person who was wrapped by this shroud really suffered the same sufferings as Jesus.” So I told them how He died. His face was bruised by hearings. There were holes on the head and the Roman whip with two hooks were used to whip the hack. All were on the shroud. There was internal bleeding and he died when he breathed his last. It was clearly stated. The sufferings of Jesus. The place that the nails went through was both the wrists. You can see a lot of blood on the part of the shroud which wrapped the wrists.

When I said that the nails were nailed through the wrists of Jesus, a brother named Tommy Chan fell from his seat. He was trembling and I saw that something was wrong. So I went over to him and everyone gathered round him. Nobody could revive him despite applying different kinds of ointment on him. I tried to rake his pulse and there was none. When I put my finger near his nose there was no breath. His hands became stiff and cold. I have touched a dead person before and he was exactly like a dead person.

I was very afraid. Everyone knelt down to pray for him. They all prayed in tears. Many did not know what was happening. After about ten minutes he started to move and sweated profusely. Then he knelt down and cried very pitifully. Then he told me that when he heard that the Roman soldiers nailed the nails into the hands of Jesus, he felt a nail going through his own hand. The nail went in and in and he could feel his bones breaking. He said that the pain was beyond description. From the waist, the pain spread to his entire body. His flesh was trying to resist the pain but it could not. Then a power filled his whole body, his spirit left his body and went to heaven. In the wink of an eye, he went to a very bright and glorious place. He saw his body in the classroom. He told me, “I am sick of the world!” A first -year university student, and he was sick of the world! Why did he hate the world? Because he has been to heaven. He did not want to come back but a voice told him, “You must go hack. There is still a lot of work for you to do.” Then he felt as if he was like a leaf floating down. 11 is soul entered his body. He heard everyone praying for him. Then he woke up. He was very afraid. He said, “I was crucified, died, went to heaven and returned.” He shivered and sweated cold swear. He knelt down to pray. He cried out loudly. Why did he cry? He told me he cried for two things. One, he had returned to this sinful world to stiffer. Two, He cried because of the Lord’s love. One single nail killed him. His bones were broken and the pain was beyond hearing. But Jesus had three nails nailed into Him. Flow did He bear with them? When he said all these, he cried again loudly saying, “In the past I did not love the Lord. I was cold in faith towards Him. I loved rock music and dancing.”

After this, we returned to Edinburgh and I invited him to bear testimony there. There were a number of prodigal sons and daughters, who loved rod music, going to casinos, to dance, and to drink. When they came to church they would not go into the church hall during services but stayed in the car and listened to rock music. Many believers had exhorted them to come ft church .They prayed for them but they did not turn back from their waywardness. That day God brought them back to the church. After listening to the testimony of the brother, they were moved to tears. The more they listened to his testimony, the more they became afraid. I said to them, “Those who want to pray for the Holy Spirit or to he filled with the Holy Spirit, those who want to repent, come to the front to pray.” All the prodigals came before the pulpit and prayed. Some have not been to church for a long time. When they knelt before the Lord, they cried sorrowfully in tears. They confessed their sins and repented. There was one who had not been to church for ten years. He received the Holy Spirit. Then there was another who had lost the Holy Spirit for eight years, he received the Holy Spirit again. Another one was greatly filled with the Holy Spirit, his legs were moving and his hands stretching out, and he kept crying to the Lord, “Lord, where are you?” They resolved to love the Lord. Why? Because they understood the love of the Lord. During the farewell service, I invited them to say a few words. The person who had not been to church for ten years, asked me a question. “Can you tell me why the Lord Jesus still love me so much?” Every one cried. Even today, many of these people are still very zealous. If we have not been really moved by the love of the Lord, we can never have an active faith. So may the Lord fill our hearts with His love.

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Author: John Lo