We Have Met Jesus Christ Our Bridegroom
< Genesis 2:21-25 >
�And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said:
�This is now bone of my bones
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.?
Let us first turn to Ephesians 5:31-32 here: ��For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.?This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.?/i> That a man should leave his parents and become one flesh joined with his wife is the Word that reveals the mystery about the relationship between Christ and His Church.
Marriage is the union of a man and a woman into one body. The Bible says that for someone to leave his parents and become one with Jesus Christ, he must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We believe that we are made God�s children and the people of His Kingdom by believing in the gospel of the water. God�s Church is ?i>Ekklesia?in Greek, meaning the gathering of those whom God called from the world.
Today, I would like to speak to you about God�s Church, but let me first express here just how profoundly grateful I am that I myself have become part of God�s Church by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I am truly happy that I�ve become a member of God�s Church to receive His everlasting grace. Trapped in the middle of the sins of the world, I was about to be destroyed, but through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I was saved and become one body with the Lord by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Now, those who are married to the Lord are happy because they have become members of God�s Church and are now living with the Lord.
If I had not believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and if I had not become God�s child, where would I be now? As I reflect on this again, I cannot help but thank God again and again that I am now living in the Lord. I can�t possibly thank God enough, for I have been saved from all my sins. However, whenever I come across those who still have not met the Lord, I am reminded of the debt that I owe to all those who are still yearning for salvation. I ponder, �If I had no choice but to live only for my own flesh in this world, would my life be worth living at all??One can live in joy only if his life has a meaning.
I can appreciate what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, �For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you?(2 Corinthians 5:13). Paul also said, �Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God?(1 Corinthians 10:31). With this passage, the Apostle Paul taught us clearly what it is that we must live for. So, I could not wish for anything more if I could also live for the spreading of God�s gospel for the rest of my life, however long it might be, and then stand before the presence of the Lord.
When I think about how I�ve now become part of God�s Church, I am simply overwhelmed by gratefulness. Before, my heart had always been sinful, and I remember that my life back then was not upright before God. At that time, it was just a routine to shake hands with the members of my church and greet them after the worship service was over, but sometimes I was so ashamed of myself that I could hardly bring myself to shake hands with them. When I reflected myself upon the Word of God, every passage seemed to point out my insufficiencies, and so I felt all the more ashamed.
I was attending seminary in those days, about to be ordained as a pastor in a little while. But I still had not been washed from all my sins. So I anguished over this, feeling guilty for daring to become a pastor in such a sinful state. My soul was tormented by my sins, and it troubled my conscience that such a man like myself was about to become a pastor, a servant of God. As it is written in the Old Testament, �Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain?(Psalms 127:1). This passage convicted my conscience.
So I thought, �If a pastor ministers just to make a living, he will only become a businessman looking after himself, not a true shepherd.?I really did not want to become such a pastor, preaching the Word of God just to make a living, and pretending to be holy before the congregation. In those days, while attending seminary, my soul was deeply troubled by my sins. So I even thought, �Do I really have to continue ministering like this, even when my own heart is sinful? Shouldn�t I now give up this kind of ministry? Wouldn�t it be more proper if I just quit ministering, and become a fruit vendor in the market trying to make an honest living??It seemed to me that if my ministry were going to be only about feeding my own flesh, it would be far better off to quit and live as a layman.
At any rate, I was deeply distressed by my sins. I thought, �I myself have still not been washed from all my sins before God, and so how can such a man teach and lead anyone else to Jesus Christ??Such thoughts left me hopeless.
At that time, I turned to the Word of God and began to reflect on the sins that were on my heart. That�s because this is what God was saying about my sins: �The wages of sin is death.? If so, then I was to be condemned for my sins and cast into hell, and so I realized that I had to be washed from my sins.
Tormented by my sins, I often used to pray, �God, before You, I am not a clergyman, but only a sinner.?If there was one thing that was fortunate, it was that my heart at least acknowledged the written Word of God. After a while, thanks to the grace of God, I was able to realize the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Through the passage from Matthew 3:13-17 in the New Testament, I came to realize the real Truth of the washing of sin, and I could be freed from all my sins. In all those years until that time, I had lived covering my heart with fig leaves tying to hide my sins, but now this was no longer necessary.
Through both the New and Old Testaments, I was able to realize that the problem of all my sins was completed solved away as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and I experienced for myself how all the sins in my heart were blotted out. �Oh! It was for me that the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist. This is what it means! It was to take upon the sins of mankind that the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist!?I realized the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the Truth that would enable me to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
While reading the written Word of God, I was able to grasp that all the sins in my heart were washed away once for all. I saw for myself how I no longer had any sin. After comprehending the meaning of the passage from Matthew 3:13-17, I was so shocked initially that I was even worried for a while. I wondered, �What would then happen to all these countless Christians? Don�t they also have to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to be washed from their sins and be born again??
I realized that my faith was made truly whole through the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist and the blood the Lord shed on the Cross, and that all other gospels other than this gospel of Truth were false gospels and lies.
It is written, �Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, �I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me??But Jesus answered and said to him, �Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.?Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, �This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased�� (Matthew 3:13-17).
This Word of Truth accomplished and completed all the Word of promises in the Old Testament, and it was the link connecting the Old Testament with the New Testament. In short, it was the Truth of salvation and the key to Heaven.
I then turned to John 1:29. �Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!?/i> The Bible said that the Lord was the Lamb of God who accepted and took away the sins of the world through the baptism He received from John. In both the New Testament and the Old Testament alike, it is testified that all the sins of mankind were passed onto Jesus Christ through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. I discovered that all the Word of God, from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, was testifying that the Lord took upon mankind�s sins through this baptism and bore the condemnation of sin on the Cross.
I now realized that all my sins were finished. Yet as I did not know this Truth until then, I had lived my life of faith in vain for all those years. And I realized that it wasn�t just I who was ignorant of this Truth, but countless Christians also did not know it, and therefore they, too, were still bound under sin. So their plight saddened my heart deeply, for I now knew what they did not know, the real Truth: �Jesus Christ came to this earth incarnated in the flesh, shouldered all the sins of everyone in the world by being baptized by John, carried them to the Cross, was crucified and shed His blood to bear the punishment of sin, died in our place, rose from the dead again, and has thereby become our Savior.?All that they now needed to do was just hear this Truth and believe in it.
�Ah! Jesus is indeed my Savior!?It was after I believed in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit with my heart that I realized that my heart was now truly sinless. Only then did I come to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with all my heart.
The problem of our sins was already solved long ago, as Jesus came to this world 2,000 years ago, took upon all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30, and died on the Cross at the age of 33 and rose from the dead again. In other words, everyone who now believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can be freed from all his sins by faith. Jesus has become the Savior of all those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By being condemned on the Cross, our Lord solved away the problem of all our sins in the past perfect tense, and therefore it is now impossible for our sins to exist any longer. By being baptized by John and shedding His blood on the Cross, the Lord solved away once for all not only the problem of my sins alone, but also the sins of everyone else in this world.
Just as the Lord said, �You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free?(John 3:32), when we know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, all our sins are finished. It is because we did not know the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that we had lived as sinners until now. What a needless tragedy is this? However, it is now in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we abide, and as such, we are no longer sinners. Our Lord has blotted out our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because we did not know this gospel, we had lived our lives of faith in vain as sinners for all those years despite believing in Jesus. But now we are no longer sinners, but we are righteous people. We are God�s people. We are God�s own children.
Since not only my sins but also everyone�s sins were all passed onto Jesus when He was baptized, there can be no more sin—not mine, not yours, not anyone else�s sin at all. Because Jesus shouldered the sins of this world by being baptized and was condemned for them on the Cross, there can no longer be any condemnation of sin. If today�s people in this age properly know and believe in the truly faithful Savior Jesus Christ, then they will all be saved from all their sins. I thank my God for making me realize the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I am so rejoiced that all my sins were blotted out by this gospel.
We the born-again realize that we have the responsibility to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all the Christians throughout the whole world. My fellow coworkers and I constantly pray to God as the following: �God, make us preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world.?
I can tell how everyone in this world can receive the remission of his sins. God has given us the gospel Word of Truth. If only we know that we have been saved through the gospel of the water and the Spirit; if we really know this, and if we really believe in the Word of salvation that Jesus has blotted out all our sins by coming to this earth, being baptized, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again; and if we know and believe that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, the Creator who made the world, our God and our Savior—then all our sins will be finished.
That is why the Lord said to us, �You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free?(John 3:32). All of us can now realize that Jesus?Word of promise has been fulfilled to us, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, exactly as it is.
What is important is not how the so-called eminent Christian leaders interpret God�s Word, but what the Word of God actually says about the remission of our sins. The Word of God records the Truth of salvation exactly as it is. If only people know the Word of God itself and accept His will as it is, then anyone can be saved from sin, for the works of salvation that our Lord did long ago when He came to this earth are all written in the Bible.
Jesus said, �If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7). If you and I accept our Lord�s Word, this Word can solve away all our sins, for it has all power and authority. Indeed, we believe in the Word of our Lord exactly as it is written. All those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will receive the remission of their sins and become part of the Church.
My fellow believers, to become part of God�s Church, you must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God put Adam to sleep, took one of his ribs, and then made a woman out of the rib and brought her to Adam. It is written, �And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: �This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.?Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh?(Genesis 2:21-24). God made the woman to help the man (Genesis 2:18). This means that God�s Church is used as His instrument to fulfill His will.
Why Did Jesus Christ Have to Die on the Cross?
Jesus Christ could be crucified to death because He had taken upon all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. There is nothing difficult about this Truth. That a man should leave his parents and become one body with his wife joined together implies that human beings should receive the remission of their sins and become one with the Lord by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If a man does not leave the place of his birth—that is, his parents of the flesh—and still clings to his mother like a mama�s boy even after getting married, then it�s all but guaranteed that his marriage would fail. Spiritually speaking, such people refer to those who are still bound by this world even after being born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must cast aside their carnal thoughts. Before we were born again, you and I had thought that just believing in Jesus and living virtuously were all that there was to God�s will, and we had walked according to what our own thoughts deemed to be right. However, now that we have been born again, we must throw away our carnal thoughts.
From the very moment you and I were born into this world, we were all born as sinners. Since we were all born as the descendants of the fallen Adam, we were all born with every sin by nature. We inherited the sin of Adam and Eve intact through our parents of the flesh. So regardless of whether or not we practice virtue before God, we are already sinners, destined from our birth to be cast into hell for this sin.
We can never shed the label of a sinner with our good deeds. No matter how virtuously we might live, no matter how we might lay down our lives for the Lord, and no matter how hard we might labor for Jesus, we simply cannot blot out our sins by ourselves. Therefore, we must understand how God has blotted out our sins all on His own, and we must believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. You and I must realize just how much God loves us. We must examine in detail what specific method God used to blot out our sins out of His love for us, and we must believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.
For us to be washed from our sins, we must cast aside all the thoughts that stem from our flesh, and we must believe according to the Word of God. Only when we cast aside our own thoughts and accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the God-given Word of Truth, can we then attain our salvation. �Who is God? God decided to save us through His Son, but exactly by what method has He saved us??#8212;we must discover the answer to these questions from the Word of God.
Incarnated in the flesh of man, Jesus Christ came to this as the One who would save His people from their sins. It is written, �She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins?(Matthew 1:21). The name Jesus means the Savior.
How did this Jesus Christ take upon our sins when He came to this earth? He bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30. It was because Jesus had to take upon our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist that He came to John to be baptized, and the Bible writes that Jesus did in fact receive baptism from John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-15).
If this is what the Bible says, then we must believe so accordingly. If our Lord says to us, �The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth of salvation,?then you and I must understand and believe accordingly. Regardless of how you and I might think and feel, only when we cast aside our carnal thoughts can we comprehend the gospel of the water and the Spirit that our Lord has given to us and believe in this gospel, and only then can we receive the true remission of our sins. This is how we can become God�s own people and part of His Church. That we have become part of God�s Church means that by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have become the people of the Kingdom of God, His own children.
If we insist on keeping own emotions, our own stubbornness, or our own thoughts, then we can never become God�s children, nor can we ever comprehend the gospel of the water and the Spirit, far less can we become part of God�s Church. As long as we are bound by our own thoughts, none of us can ever know the righteousness of God, nor the gospel of the remission of sin. We have to believe in the Word of God exactly as it is written: Jesus took upon the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist; He was crucified and died on the Cross, saying, �It is finished!? He rose from the dead again; and He has thereby saved us from our sins.
Since this is what God is saying to us and this is what He is telling us to believe, we must believe in God�s work, in His power, in His love, and in the salvation that God has given us, with an innocent heart like that of a child—this is how we are saved. We have to realize that as far as our salvation from sin is concerned, there is absolutely no need for our own carnal thoughts.
Many people have interpreted God�s Word all on their own, saying, �This is probably what the Word means,?all based on their knowledge of Christian doctrines. Now, however, you should realize that such interpretations are absolutely useless to your souls?salvation. Sometimes, even you and I also err by judging God�s Word based on doctrinal beliefs made of man�s own thoughts, without looking at the written Word of God.
However, when we turn to the Bible, it says, ��For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,?says the LORD?(Isaiah 55:8). The Bible is full of passages showing that God�s thoughts are completely different from our thoughts. So it is when we read the Word of God that we can realize just how flawed our thoughts are. By turning to the Word of God, we came to know the gospel of the water and the Spirit; as we came to know this gospel, our thoughts were changed, our faith and our hearts were transformed, and our souls were saved from sin; and as we were thus saved, we became God�s children and part of His Church.
My fellow believers, it is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have become part of God�s Church. It�s no small blessing that we have become members of God�s Church. Far from it, the power of the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit is a tremendous blessing. That we have become God�s people, that we have left our parents and become one body with the Lord joined together, that we have become part of the Church—all these are the exact fulfillment of what God said in Genesis: �They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed?(Genesis 2:25). That�s because we have become God�s own people by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It�s because we have now become one family with God. None other than this is God�s blessing and the right that God has given us.
You and I have received amazing blessings from God. We should therefore know God�s Church well. We should grasp that we have become God�s people, we should know what kind of rights we have received, and with this realization, we should have a high self-esteem and truly follow the Lord out of our thankfulness.
What we need to do now is to leave our own thoughts behind and unite with God by believing in His Word. Have you ever united with God�s Church, leaving your thoughts behind? Have you ever become one with Jesus Christ? Have you ever believed in the Word that God spoke to us, uniting your hearts with this Word? We must now leave our thoughts behind and believe that Jesus Christ indeed loves us, that He was baptized to take upon our sins, that He carried the sins of the world to the Cross, that He shed His blood and died on the Cross, that He rose from the dead again, and that He has thereby saved us all.
It is faith that makes us blessed by God. Our Lord is saying to us that because He truly loved you, because He loved me, and because He loved the entire human race, He came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, took upon our sins by being baptized, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again—all for us—and has thereby saved us all. So God is telling us that we are now sinless, but do we really believe in this? Is this how we really believe?
It is only when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can receive the remission of our sins and become God�s people by His grace. Only when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can answer God�s love and believe in it. Unless we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with our hearts, we would be betraying God.
At the beginning of the Book of Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus Christ is listed. All those who were included in this genealogy of Jesus Christ could be listed by their faith. You, too, can be added to this genealogy by giving birth to Jesus Christ in the hearts of those who are yearning to be saved. You can do that because you have become His bride, who can give birth to the born-again saints for Him.
I give all my thanks to God.