What is True Faith?
"True Courage, True Faith"
Sermon by Rev. Young Tack Yang on January 21, 2018
Bible reading: 1 Samuel 17: 42-49 (NIV)
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
True Parents' Words from "The Way of God's Will"
- Time and effort are what determine success or failure at a turning point. Courage is necessary to do so. Strong and bold courage comes from conviction, and conviction can never be maintained in an irresponsible position.
- The greater you become, the more you have to watch your step. The smaller you become, the more you have to look to God.
- Don’t have a sad face, but always keep a cheerful heart. When you have a peaceful and truthful heart, peacefulness and truth will begin.
- When your faith is big, reality seems small. But when your faith is small, reality looms awesomely before you.
Sermon "True Courage, True Faith"
Happy New Year! I am so happy to see you again.
As you heard, True Mother changed the structure of our church in Korea, Japan and America. These countries now have 5 sub-regional systems. According to True Mother’s expectation, each sub-region should develop up to a national level and these 5 sub-regions have to compete with each other and bring in more results. So, we are sub-region number 5 which is District 10, 11, 12 and Hawaii. And Rev. Larry Krishnek was appointed to be the Director of sub-region 5.
So next Sunday, we will have Rev. Krishnek’s inauguration ceremony here at LA family church. (You know, LA is the biggest community in the West Bloc.) [Inauguration Ceremony was held on January 28, 2018 at L.A. Family Church.]
And thanks to True Mother’s kindness, during the trip in Korea I had a chance to visit Yong Pyeong Ski Resort which is one of the important venues for the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympic 2018 with other American leaders. I visited True Parents’ residence there and many places which True Parents visited. I heard that True Parents visited there 26 times. Now, they are so busy preparing for the Winter Olympic games.
Last Thursday, True Mother led Africa Summit in Senegal with many African heads of state and religious leaders successfully. True Mother had a victory celebration there with African members, our international leaders and young 2nd Gen. who went there to support this event from Europe and America. I could see our young 2nd Gen. sister, Jasmine Santoro on the screen. I heard that our 2nd Gen. worked so hard there to support this event despite the poor African environment. You know, in Senegal there is no man power and no church foundation. But it was so successful. Please give a big round of applause to our beloved True Parents and our 2nd Gen.! So, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude for your prayer and cheong seong for the success of the Africa Summit.
Today, I’d like to share some words with you on the title of “True Courage and True Faith”. As you know, courage or bravery is one of the most important virtue that has been pursued for a long time in human history, in both the eastern and western world.
In the eastern society, courage is one of three basic virtues of a true gentleman. These three are: intelligence, benevolence and courage(知, 仁, 勇). And in the western world, Plato, one of the greatest western philosophers and authors, included courage among his 4 major virtues, I mean, wisdom, courage, moderation and justice (智慧, 勇氣, 節制, 正義).
Yes, courage! This is an essential, indispensable, and very precious virtue for a human being. Then, what on earth is true courage? In my English dictionary courage means a strong and brave spirit. But you know, in this meaning there is no value judgment.
In that sense, strictly speaking, I think that this is not a correct answer. Because simply a strong and brave spirit itself cannot be courage. Apparently, even brutal and cruel violence also sometimes looks like strong and brave.
We don’t call such a violence courage. That is none other than mean and outrageous behavior. I’m sure nobody wants to call this courage. Why? Because this is false courage and recklessness under the mask of courage. Usually, recklessness is not listening to the voice of conscience and justice. As we often heard, in order to get good evaluation from others, stupid people jump into new challenge recklessly.
Through today’s Bible reading we read the story that David, a handsome rosy-cheeked youth defeated Goliath, a gigantic champion and hero of Philistine. According to the Bible, Goliath’s height was six cubits and a span. One cubit is the length between one adult’s elbow and the middle finger’s fingertip. So, if we convert 6 cubits and a span into inches, it is around 9 feet 5 inches. (2 meter 87 centimeters) Can you imagine?
He had a helmet of bronze on his head and he was armed with a coat of mail. The weight of the coat was five thousand shekels, (it is around 126 pounds) and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels (this is around 15 pounds).
Even though we consider some exaggeration, we can understand how dreadful Goliath was in the Israelites’ eyes. Then, who was David who fought against the big giant, Goliath? Actually, he had never have had any experience of war. He was not a soldier who had received special military training before.
At that time, only men over 20-years old could be a soldier. Then, we can guess his age was less than 20, at most 16 years old at that time. King Saul said, “You are just a boy”. You know, he was no more than an ordinary young shepherd.
Because of David’s victory, so far, we have praised his courage. But at least if people who understand about basic knowledge and fighting skills in a war, anybody would have scolded his recklessness. When we look at his situation objectively, David did not objectively consider his fighting power at all.
Moreover, he just chose five smooth stones from the Wadi to prepare for his fight against Goliath. If we only look at these factors, David’s courage that we praised is recklessness itself. The, why do people praise his courage? For what reason? Consequently, because was he a winner? No! We must not overlook his hidden, unseen preparation. Young David had a strong and unshaken belief that the living God was really working with him. I’m sure at that time there must have been so many shepherds who were able to strike Goliath on his forehead with a stone like David. Because it was very natural that every shepherd should learn how to sling to protect his sheep in his daily life.
Then, why didn’t they dare to come forward in front of the big giant, Goliath? And what about King Saul’s soldiers? Compared to young David, they must have had more abilities and skills for fighting. Then, why couldn’t they fight against Goliath?
Because they completely forgot the existence of God who has been working with them and they tried to solve their problems with only their own human thinking and abilities. But young David was different. He had a strong belief and hoped that God would save his nation and people from Philistine.
He had no doubt that God would work with him even though David himself was young and small. Then, why did God choose young David above all others? In the Bible, “God choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
However weak he maybe, if he unites with God 100 %, he can match anybody who is strong in the secular world. The most important thing is my faith and that the living God is with me and he is working with me.
When young David stood in front of Goliath, what kind of mind did he have? If he had some vague expectation and hope for his victory, he could not have won over Goliath. And this is not true courage but false courage and recklessness.
When he saw the fate of his nation hanging on by a thread, he must have prayed like this, “My Lord! I will give my life for you to save this nation. Through this servant please save your chosen people and nation!” If David had stood in front of Goliath with a mind of being afraid of death, God could not have worked with him. If I do not risk my life, Satan cannot be separated from me and God cannot dwell in my body.
Apparently, it may be difficult to tell the difference between true courage and recklessness. But the fundamental difference between the two is what the starting point is. A brave spirit that started from my profit and greed is cruelty and recklessness.
But a brave spirit for the purpose of the whole is true courage even if it seems to be reckless. Joan of Arc, as a young girl, she saved her nation from crisis. And so many independent fighters dedicated themselves for the liberation of their country. Even though their behavior seems to be reckless, we do not call this recklessness.
Then, what is true faith? In the Medieval Age, one of the most famous theologians and philosophers, Tertullian answered that question like this, “I believe because it is absurd.” Because of that, some people say, “To believe unbelievable thing is true faith. In our faith, we don’t need reason.”
At first, when I heard this answer, I had a strong anti-feeling about it. Because it drives us to blind faith. Actually, when we look at the Bible, there are so many unbelievable things. There are so many miracles and wonders in the Bible. How can we explain these things with human reasoning? Only solution is just to believe, and to have no doubt!
In the ancient times or up until the Medieval age, these answers may have worked. But in this modern age, science and human technology are highly developed and these answers cannot satisfy people’s mind any more. So, in the beginning I thought they were absurd and stupid. But later I came to realize that this answer might be right.
What do we believe in the Bible? Now, I’m not talking about incredible miracles and wonders in the Bible. These are merely the products of one faith. The most important point is that we don’t believe the miracles themselves in the Bible but we believe that the living God is with us and the living God is working with us. This is a real unbelievable thing!
Last Thursday, True Mother proclaimed her Identity and testified herself as the only begotten daughter of God to all the participants in the Africa Summit. You know, in Senegal over 95 % of her population is Muslim. In Islam, there is no such a concept of the only begotten son or the only begotten daughter. When I heard that True Mother’s proclamation, I was so surprised at her boldness. She reminded me of True Father who had never compromised in truth. Where did her courage come from? This means that True Mother has no doubt about her mission as the True Mother and she felt that God is with her and working with her.
True Parents said, “When your faith is big, reality seems small. But when your faith is small, reality looms awesomely before you.” Now, we just started the New Year 2018. Everybody wants to have a hopeful new year with great fortune. But unfortunately, nobody can guarantee that. Perhaps more difficult challenges and difficulties are waiting for us even in this new year.
But courageous people don’t worry about the challenges and difficulties in front of them. Their only concern is to unite with God and not the challenges and difficulties themselves. Now, we need True Courage and True Faith that the living God and True Parents are with us and working with us. God bless you all!