< Galatians 1:1-5 >
an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the
Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are
To Save Us from This Evil World, the Lord Gave up His Body to Us
In today�s sermon, I would like to focus on Galatians 1:4. It is written in this verse that Christ �gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.?It is my sincere hope here that you would all realize the profound Truth contained in this passage within the bounds of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to thus to gain great spiritual benefits.
This age is an evil age prevailed by sin. To deliver us from this present evil age, the Lord wanted to offer His own body to God the Father as our propitiation. That is why Jesus was baptized, shed His blood to death on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby saved us from all our sins once for all.
To save us from the sins of this world, Jesus completed the gospel of the water and the Spirit and gave it to us. It is our Lord who has delivered us from the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Put differently, it is through this gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has delivered us from such an evil age. Therefore, we cannot but thank the Lord for giving us this true gospel. Indeed, by offering His own body to the Father, the Lord has brought true salvation to all of us who believe in this. Now, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Truth of perfect salvation, we have received the complete remission of our sins.
By taking all our sins upon His body through His baptism and dying on the Cross, the Lord offered one sacrifice for our sins forever. And rising from the dead again in three days, He became our true Savior, and He now sits at the right hand of God the Father. However, countless people still do not believe in this perfect Truth of salvation, and this is why their lives are ending in a failure. It saddens me deeply to see how so many pastors and their followers are still unable to grasp of the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, and, as a result, think that they have to fight and overcome their sins on their own. They are bound to hell even as they believe in Jesus, for they believe themselves to be sinners imprisoned in iniquities, all because of the daily sins they commit.
Although the Lord has perfectly saved everyone through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, what use is it when all these people do not believe in the gospel Truth and still retain their sins? Now, all of us must realize that the Lord has completed our everlasting salvation with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must now come before the Lord with a clear understanding of and faith in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, the gospel that the Lord has given us.
I often see some pastors on TV preaching about Jesus Christ�s work of redemption. Although they begin their sermons with a great fanfare as �evangelical sermons?as if they were the disciples of C. H. Spurgeon, in the end, they always end by concluding, �Let�s live virtuously and faithfully.?In other words, they establish their own standard of Christian ethics and morals, and then sermonize to their congregation, �Let�s not fall into sin, but let�s fight and overcome it.?
The issue here, however, is whether or not you could really fight and overcome the sins of this world. Could we keep the God-given Law perfectly in our lives? No, this is absolutely impossible. The Lord Himself knew very well that you couldn�t possibly fight and overcome this world�s sins, and that is precisely why He took upon all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John, was punished for these sins on the Cross in your place, rose form the dead again, and has thereby saved you from the sins of the world. We must never forget that the Lord has given us no other truth of salvation but the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Of course, all of us who believe in Jesus should indeed fight and overcome the sins of this world, but to do so, we must first be remitted from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is because people do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that virtually everyone remains as a sinner enslaved to sin. We can never overcome sin if we were to fight it on our own strength. Unless we receive the remission of our sins and are born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can never practice the righteousness of God, nor overcome the power of sin.
Can You Win in Your Fight against Sin?
For you to triumph over sin in your struggle against it, you must first believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with your hearts, and thereby become sinless saints. In order to give the gift of true salvation to us, who are incapable of tackling and overcoming this world�s sins, Jesus Christ carried out righteous works. He is the Savior who was baptized by John the Baptist, accepted all the sins of this world once for all, and then shed His blood on the Cross, thereby saving us from all our sins once for all. Even though Jesus Christ has thus saved us from all sins by offering His body to the Father as our propitiation, people still do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is God�s gift of true salvation, and so they are still living in this world as sinners throughout their entire lifetime.
Therefore, those who don�t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit and, as a result, still have sin in their hearts must realize that they are fighting against their sins all in vain. Those who have struggled to this day trying to solve the problem of sin all on their own willpower and piety must now realize their true selves and recognize who they really are. What we must grasp properly here is that we cannot help but sin until the very day we die.
It would be wonderful if everyone could live without committing any sin, but no one can do this. Because we were all born as a brood of evildoers, we can�t bear anything else but the fruits of sin. All humans, in other words, are utterly frail beings that cannot help but continue to sin before God throughout their lives. That is precisely why it is only when we believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit with our hearts, in the salvation that the Lord has given us, that we can receive the remission of our sins and be freed from them all.
Christians who have sin in their hearts at this point ought to realize just how pitiful their souls are. They are of those whose faith is a legalistic one, trying to be approved by God by doing everything they can to keep the Law and refrain from committing any sins, all because they still remain oblivious to the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. It�s impossible not to describe today�s believers with legalistic faith as fools. They try to be washed from their sins outside the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. These people must realize as soon as possible that no matter how hard they might try to wash away their sins and sanctify themselves with their prayers of repentance, it is completely impossible for them to live freed from sin.
We need to realize here that the Lord is never pleased to see people leading legalistic lives of faith. On the contrary, He wants them to escape from such false, legalistic lives of faith and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit instead. Our Lord knew very well that we could not fight and overcome all these sins, and that is why He took upon all our sins through His baptism, and paid off all their wages by shedding His blood on the Cross to death. The Lord washed away all our sins with the Truth of His water and blood. Therefore, every Christian sinner should believe in the Lord-given gospel of the water and the Spirit right now, and be saved from all his sins to be freed from the enslavement of sin.
My dear fellow believers, could you really fight and overcome all the sins that you commit everyday? Could you live without committing any sin, just by trying? No, it�s impossible! By our basic nature, we are fundamentally too feeble to fight and overcome this world�s sins on our own. We should therefore admit our basic frailty and inherent inability to avoid sin, and we must attain our salvation by believing only in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given us. If we do not recognize even our own feebleness, remain ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has saved us from sin, and just follow the prevailing trend to lead our lives of faith according to how others believe, then we will forever end up as eternal failures.
To Deliver Us from This Evil Age, the Lord Gave up His Body
The Apostle Paul said that the Lord �gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age.? What a truly amazing and blessed confession is this confession of Paul�s faith? This confession proves that just like us, the Apostle Paul also believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The faith of the Apostle Paul was one that believed in the Truth�that when Jesus Christ was baptized, He took upon not only Paul�s sins, but all the sins of the entire human race, and that Christ also bore all the condemnation of the sins of mankind by being crucified. For us as well, it is also because we knew and believed in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that we could be delivered from all sins.
The gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit bestows the perfect remission of sin once for all on all those who believe in it. Our sins do not disappear just because we live virtuously and practice many good deeds. Although you�ve some done good deeds, you yourselves should know better that your virtuous deeds could not free you from your sins. Therefore, rather than trying not to sin on our own, it is much wiser for us to believe that our Lord has completed our salvation with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord is our Savior. He has made us whole once for all, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only when we are freed from all our sins and become sinless through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, can we then truly conquer the power of sin and become victors. Would you not taste everlasting life, receiving your salvation from all sins by placing your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit?
Because we were fundamentally born with sin from our very birth in this world, we had no choice but always be sinful. However, through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has forever saved you and me from all the sins of this world once for all. Although we are indeed living in this present evil age, now, as we believe in Jesus Christ our Savior, we can stand before God without fear trusting in the righteous works of our Lord. I once again give all my thanks to the Lord for coming to this earth to give us the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Now, rather than trying to fight and overcome your sins on your own, you should conquer them by believing with your hearts in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given you. You need to realize here that if you believe in this gospel of the Lord, you will be more than able to overcome the world (1 John 5:4-8). With all our hearts, we must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Truth of salvation that has saved us from sin. Because we have received the remission of our sins and been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is now possible for us to carry out God�s work by faith as the servants of Jesus Christ.
In other words, for those who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, there can be no sin in their hearts. It is by believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that we are made wise, able to overcome our own frailty. No matter what kind of sin you might have committed before God or fellow human beings, once you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you will no longer have anything to do with sin. Standing firmly on this faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, from now on you and I must live for the righteousness of God.
If you have already believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then you now have nothing to do with the sins of this world. Because those who believe in this genuine gospel have nothing to do with sin, they are God�s children, and those who have become God�s children can live most energetically, for they trust in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We must realize that it is when we live in this world by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God�s grace and blessings descend on us in fullness. Those who have become righteous by believing in the righteousness of God can now live by their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, always giving thanks to God everyday, at each and every breath. Through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must pass our sins and weaknesses to the body of Jesus Christ, and, as well, live our lives united with the Lord by faith.
The born-again must now gather together in God�s Church and live their lives united with the gospel and serving God�s righteousness. For us to gather together under our common faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and live to serve the gospel is what pleases God. That is why the Lord said, �How good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!?(Psalms 133:1). The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the greatest gift that God has given us. The Lord has bestowed us with this precious gift from above. From now on, it is only proper for us to live inside God�s Church, within the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Indeed, we know that it is most appropriate for us to live by faith, lead our families to God�s Church to be saved, and to also take others into our family of faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should not try to please God by sanctifying ourselves or doing some sort of good deeds on our own. That is the way of Cain. We should abide only by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and serve the Lord with this faith.
What Does It Mean to Follow a Different Gospel?
To us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, what is the other gospel? It is the legalistic gospel that throws us into confusion. What, then, is this legalistic gospel that troubles us? Today�s legalistic gospel is one which claims that people can be washed from their sins as white as snow by offering prayers of repentance. Such a claim is fundamentally different from the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth proclaiming that Jesus Christ has saved us from sin through His baptism and His blood on the Cross. The problem, however, is that among today�s Christians in this world, few actually believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, while there are too many who believe in the groundless, legalistic gospel. Those who now believe in such a legalistic gospel are devoted to their own prayers of repentance, all in a futile attempt to wash away their sins. It is such people�s faith that is causing so much trouble to the Christians of this world. So many Christians believe in their own thoughts as the Truth, rather than in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that is why it is such a serious problem.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is clearly distinct from any other legalistic gospel. And only the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gospel of Truth that the Bible speaks of. It�s unmistakably clear that our Lord has saved us from all the sins of this world by coming to this earth, taking our sins upon His body through His baptism, and dying on the Cross.
Tragically, however, mainstream Christianity does not believe in the true gospel, but it only teaches that while original sin is forgiven when one first believes in Jesus, he must still seek the remission of his personal sins by offering prayers of repentance everyday. It also teaches as the following: �While we are now considered righteous for believing in Jesus, this does not mean that we have no sin. It only means that God calls us righteous on account of the work of Jesus, even though we are still sinners. Therefore we should try our best not to commit sin. Since the Bible says, �Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?(Philippians 2:12), we must repent everyday and embark on the way of sanctification.?
My fellow believers, could anyone really be saved from his sins by believing like this? How could we fight and overcome sin on our own? Of course, we should indeed fight and defeat sin, but how could we achieve this unless we have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Could you battle and overcome the sins of the world just by resolving yourselves on your own will, �I�ll never commit any more sin,?and trying?
No, you could never accomplish this. The Bible declares, �Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil?(Jeremiah 13:23). The more you try not to fall into the sins of this world, the more you will discover your fundamental selves falling even deeper into this world�s sins.
Some people then worry, �If it�s definitively true that the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are sinless even if they sin, then wouldn�t they commit even more sins in the future??Such a worry, however, is only a product of your disbelief in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There is absolutely no need to worry like this. Between someone who is in clean clothes and someone who is in dirty clothes, who would be more careful not to soil his clothes?
Since the believers the gospel of the water and the Spirit have no sin, and since they have been saved from the sins of the world, they have all the more reason to loathe to live their lives following sin. From the perspective of someone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even if he commits sin, the Lord has already solved it away, and so his desire to commit sin itself is significantly reduced. When one remains sinless even when he commits sin, there is neither any thrill nor any excitement in committing sin, and therefore he naturally distances himself from sin.
The Apostle Paul said that he was astonished to see the Galatian saints following a different gospel so easily, and he further declared that there could be no other gospel. Moreover, he also made it clear that anyone who preaches another gospel will be accursed, even if he were an angel from Heaven. As such, God will actually curse those who preach the legalistic gospel that throws people into confusion and unsettles their hearts. All that awaits them is God�s curse to be cast into the raging fire of hell.
Is there anyone among you, by any chance, who is looking for another teaching other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit? God�s Church is a place that treasures and preaches the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. But some people take this gospel too lightly, and say to themselves, �Uh-oh, there he goes again, saying the same thing over and over. He makes me so sleepy!? Such people would be happier if they were just to go to some revival meetings, where praises are sung in fits and sermons are preached fanatically. Or otherwise they would be happier if they were to hear a legalistic gospel emphasizing ethics and morals, and extolling them to live virtuously. However, any gospel other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit is a false gospel that came from the Devil himself.
We should therefore realize how wonderful it is that God�s Church is preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Indeed, it�s such a marvelous blessing to accept this gospel into our hearts and believe in it, for we will find peace of mind. All the teachings of the Bible are properly established as correct teachings only when they are interpreted and applied within the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you begin to understand God�s Word within this gospel of Truth, then the Word will plant itself deep in your hearts, and you will discover an even greater joy. If, on the other hand, your hearts do not clearly believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and you do not hold fast to the Truth, then you will only live as sinners to the end.
Those who stand against the gospel of the water and the Spirit the most are sectarians and charismatics. Yet right now it�s such people who form the mainstream of Christianity. In reality, they are only preaching a different gospel. Charismatics believe that if they throw themselves into fits with the deafening sound of a rock band and pray to God fervently, God would somehow give them the Holy Spirit and His gifts. They have no interest in the remission of sin, but only in material blessings, healing, or speaking in tongues. And so even as they profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior, their sins still remain in their hearts. When someone with sin exercises the gifts of the Holy Spirit, isn�t this itself practicing lawlessness? Those who practice lawlessness before God are those who prophesy even though their hearts still remain sinful (Matthew 7:23).
In addition, evangelicals are also found among the ferocious opponents of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people teach that if anyone just believes in Jesus as his Savior, then he is sinless unconditionally. They blindly believe themselves to be sinless even though they actually remain sinful. They all have nothing more than false beliefs. This age has now turned into an age when even the other gospels other than the genuine gospel of the water and the Spirit are losing their steam and withering away, but the problem is that their advocates have made people sick and tired of Christianity with their false gospels. In short, they are making people stay away from Jesus.
In other words, what the Bible says has now come to pass: �For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables?(2 Timothy 4:3-4). People listen so closely whenever they hear something that is beneficial to their flesh. As materialism has come to rule supreme on this earth, so many people are so bitterly obsessed with money that even churches teach that one would become rich if he gave a lot of offerings.
My fellow believers, would your sins disappear if you were to offer countless prayers of repentance? Would you receive the Holy Spirit if you were to pray fanatically? No, that is absolutely not true! When you offer prayers of repentance, your hearts feel peaceful just for a short while, only as a matter of self-induced placebo effect. How can anyone who has sin in his heart dare to try to receive the Holy Spirit? You must grasp that the Holy Spirit is not received in this way, just by insisting on it. That�s because God the Holy Spirit is not One who comes and goes on your command. Anyone who has not received the remission of his sins can never receive the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if someone who has sin in his heart claims to have received the Holy Spirit, and goes on to cause all kinds of racket, speaking in tongues and pretentiously praying to heal others from illnesses, then there can no doubt whatsoever that what he has received is not the Holy Spirit, but an evil spirit.
The Bible says, �Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?(Acts 2:38). In other words, the Holy Spirit is the gift of God bestowed on those who are washed from all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and whose hearts are therefore completely sinless. Accordingly, unless one is washed from all his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he cannot receive the gift of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the holy God Himself who cannot abide anywhere there is sin. That is why one can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit only if he is washed from all his sins.
Although the legalistic gospel is now prevailing over Christian communities in this evil age, we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must never tolerate such a gospel. So, I am even more grateful to God that He has delivered me from such an evil age. We had been deceived by a different gospel, false and confused, but by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we have come to do God�s work and follow His Truth and righteousness.
My fellow believers, are you joyful that God has entrusted you with the task of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Or do you find it too hard to carry out what has been entrusted to you? Although there are times when we get weary, we still thank God for the salvation that He has given us, and for allowing us to live in His Church.
It is my sincerest desire that both you and I would continue to believe in and proclaim the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the end of the world, and to live by God�s grace in hope.