The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 2-9] (Revelation 2:18-29) Have You Been Saved by Water and the Spirit?

(Revelation 2:18-29)
 
The Church of Thyatira served the works of God with love, faith, and patience, and its deeds were getting better with passing time. But at the same time, it was a church that was plagued by an evil prophetess. Its wrongdoing, put differently, was that some of its members were deceived by this unrepentant false prophetess to commit idolatry and sexual immorality. The Lord thus demanded the Church of Thyatira to repent and to hold onto its first faith until the end. The Lord also promised that to those who defend their faith to the end, He would give power over the nations and the morning star.
 
 
Jezebel’s Baal
 
Jezebel was a Gentile princess who brought her pagan god, Baal, to Israel when she became the wife of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). Baal was a pagan god of the sun, an idol of Phoenicians whom people worshipped to wish for prosperity. Images of this god were carved out and worshipped, whereupon its followers prayed for the fertility of their family and land. This was similar to the general pagan practice of worshipping the earth and nature found throughout the world. For instance, conferring deity upon a large rock and worshipping it as a god is a common pagan practice of worshipping natural elements. Such religious practice and faith are held by those who follow pantheism.
With the introduction of this pagan religion by Jezebel, Baal became a great god of idolatry for the people of Israel. King Ahab, who used to worship only the true Jehovah God, came to worship Baal because of his marriage to this Gentile woman. Many Israelites followed his footsteps, abandoning their true God and instead committing idolatry with their Baal worship. They thus brought to themselves the wrath of God.
God rebuked the servant of the Church of Thyatira for allowing the faith of the false prophetess Jezebel into the Church. Commanding Jezebel and her followers to repent, God warned that He would bring great tribulation and destruction upon them if they disobey.
This means that the true church of God cannot allow wealth and material possessions to dominate its concerns. It means that today’s believers cannot worship the world as their god, as the Israelites worshipped Baal, the god of the sun, for fertility and prosperity.
3 John 1:2 states, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” When we look at the Apostle John’s faith, we see that his first concern was spiritual prosperity. Prosperity for all other things followed, not preceded, John’s concern for the souls’ prosperity. How, then, has this faith changed in today’s world? It has been corrupted to a faith that only seeks the blessings of the flesh, putting worldly prosperity at the forefront of faith and disregarding any other concern for spiritual well-being. Many believe in Jesus not to enrich their souls, but only to enrich their flesh first.
There are many religious cults around us, as poisonous as drugs, that claim to give wealth and health to their followers in return for their worship. Jezebel’s Baal-worship was like this. People followed such cults to pursue only the prosperity and fertility of their own flesh.
In today’s born-again churches, some might resort to accommodate the faith of Jezebel to expand their congregations. But its logic is akin to having idols in the Temple of God.
Jezebel brought the pagan god Baal not only into Israel but even into the very Temple of Jehovah. This kind faith that pursues the prosperity of the flesh and worldly gains while remaining oblivious to the redemption of sin in Jesus is as wrong a faith as worshipping idols right before God’s very own eyes.
Today’s churches throughout the world preach from John 1:29 saying, “All your sins have ended, for Jesus took them away on the Cross.” They have turned the baptism of Jesus into a mere accessory, claiming that salvation is attained just by believing in Jesus somehow, even if one does not believe in His baptism. But the baptism that Christ received from John, the baptism with which He took upon all the sins of the world onto Himself, is not something optional that we can arbitrarily include or exclude. Treating and preaching Jesus’ baptism as a mere accessory of the gospel are akin to worshipping Baal.
Why, then, do these people preach the gospel without the baptism of Jesus? They do so because their hope is found not in the Kingdom of God, but in their worldly wealth on this earth. People who have this kind of faith are exactly the same as those who worshipped the pagan god of Baal.
Those who, having believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit before, are now preaching only the blood of the Cross, must realize that they are committing a sin as grave as that of idolatry of Baal-worship.
No one can properly minister by setting his/her goal on the material gains of this world. Were the pastors to leave out the baptism of Jesus and preach only His blood on the Cross, they may be able to accumulate earthly gains of this world. But they must realize that neither is such faith the true faith, nor is such preaching the true preaching.
Looking at the passage of Revelation, we can see that the leader of the Church of Thyatira worshipped Baal in his Church, just as Jezebel had worshipped Baal.
If people do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then the Holy Spirit can neither dwell in their hearts nor work in them. As the Apostle Paul tells us, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His,” whether or not one is the child of God is determined by whether or not he/she has the Spirit of Christ in the heart. The Bible tells us that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ are the abandoned.
 
 
Those Who Know and Preach the Baptism of Jesus
 
When one believes in the baptism (water) of Jesus, with which He took upon all the sins of the world on Himself, and in His blood on the Cross, then the Holy Spirit can dwell in his/her heart.
But if one does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then even if he/she were to be martyred for Jesus, this would not be the true martyrdom, but only trying to establish his/her own righteousness. Some people, believing only in the blood of the Cross, go to the remotest corner of the world to preach the gospel, spending their whole lives dedicated to mission, and at times even being martyred for their faith.
Inspired by the love of Christ, people can thus be martyred even if they believe only in Christ’s blood on the Cross. But as Matthew 7:23 tells us, what good would it be if the Lord Himself refuses to recognize all their works and sacrifices? It does not matter how eagerly and faithfully they spread the gospel—as, for instance, the Mormon missionaries do. Because they did not preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, their faith and all their efforts would be in vain.
God rebuked the servant of the Church of Thyatira because he had allowed the followers of Jezebel’s faith to spring forth in the Church and tolerated their growth. There are many religious leaders in today’s world who are just like this, who seek to deceive souls. In the birth of Christ, His baptism, His crucifixion, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension—in all these things, the true church of God must have the right faith and spread the right gospel. Their faith would be useless otherwise.
The false prophets claim that to be saved, it is enough to believe only in Christ’s blood on the Cross without realizing the importance of His baptism. Because they left out the truth of the water, Christianity has been corrupted and turned into but one of the many religions of the world. This is why Christianity could no longer bring salvation to all the people of the world.
Without the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross, Christianity has turned into a mere religion that emphasizes the ethics and morals of the world. In Europe and North America, where an absolute majority of the population had been Christians, Eastern religions have now become quite popular. Why? Because such religion-oriented Christianity couldn’t give the remission of sins and true faith in God, and thus many people have been drawn by the mystical nature of the Eastern religions and think that they offer better alternatives to the Western religions. But Christianity is neither a Western nor an Eastern religion.
Now is the time for us to reconsider the gospel of the water and the Spirit and the state of today’s Christianity. We need to ask and ponder why the Christianity of truth has been corrupted into what it is today, and why today’s Christianity has become so worthless and bothersome to so many people’s eyes. The answer is found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Believing in Jesus without knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit is like worshipping Baal right before God’s very own eyes. What is the most evil before God is refusing to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the truth of real salvation.
 Today’s Christianity is mesmerized not by the beauty of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but by the beauty of the world. The seven churches in Asia had served the Lord by believing in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. But, as shown in the Bible, they, too, in part succumbed to the world, as the gospel of the water and the Spirit was increasingly pushed out, and in its place came the world to occupy more and more of the people’s hearts.
What would happen if a church does not preach the truth of salvation, the gospel of being born again by water and the Spirit, and instead preaches only the blood of the Cross? I raise this question because even the church of God, if it pursues the world, will soon be corrupted by the world, and not long after start claiming that it’s okay to be ignorant of Jesus’ baptism to be saved. This is why I am reexamining and reiterating this important point through the Word of God.
  
 
The Difference between the Gospel with Jesus’ Baptism and the Gospel without His Baptism
 
You and I, we have received the remission of all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Lord’s truth, while the baptism of Jesus, His blood on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit are the evidences of our salvation.
1 John 5:5-7 and 1 Peter 3:21 tell us that the “water”—baptism, that is—is the mark of our salvation, and this is the same Word of salvation that appears in Matthew 3:15 where Jesus took upon all the sins of the mankind on Himself with His baptism. When Jesus’ baptism is this important, how can ignoring Christ’s baptism and preaching only His blood on the Cross lead us to the whole and perfect salvation? Those who are delivered from sin must draw a clear line of salvation by believing in the Word. They must remind themselves over and over so that this line would become even clearer.
If one cannot draw the clear line of demarcation for his/her salvation, then this can only mean that the person has not been saved yet. It is wrong to think that our deliverance from sin is only an advanced stage of our faith. Deliverance from sin is not a stage of spiritual confirmation, but it is the very foundation of our faith, the most important step in building our house of faith on the rock.
Also, we must not think of the issue of salvation merely as a matter of “doctrinal positions” of different denominations. Doctrines may differ from denomination to denomination, but the truth of the Bible, the truth that Jesus took upon all our sins on Himself with His baptism, cannot differ from faith to faith. This is why we cannot leave out the crucial importance of Jesus’ baptism when we are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We cannot leave out the baptism of Christ and only preach Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” or to preach that people can be saved by believing in just the blood of the Cross. We must receive the remission of our sins by believing in both the baptism of Jesus Christ and His blood on the Cross. How could anyone have all his/her sins disappear just by believing in Christ’s blood on the Cross without also believing in His baptism? When people believe only in the blood of the Cross, do the sins of their conscience disappear also? Of course not!
Through the Bible, Jesus bears witness to the righteousness of God, our sins, and their judgment. The true faith that we must have is the faith in this true knowledge of Christ’s testament. What do I mean by true knowledge? I mean having a clear understanding of what are our sins to be judged by God, what is His righteousness, and what is the kind of faith that is doomed before God. Only by knowing these can the true faith spring forth from our true knowledge.
If, in preach the gospel, we leave out either the baptism of Jesus or His blood on the Cross, then what we preach would not be the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we treat the truth of God in our own human terms and preach that everyone can become sinless just by believing in Jesus, then both those who preach and those who hear it would all remain as sinners. The difference between whether we preach the baptism of Jesus or not makes all the difference in saving souls.
When we look at the apostles’ faith, we see that they did not preach only the blood of the Cross. They all believed both in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross as a single work of salvation. Arguing that Jesus took care of all our sins on the Cross without believing that He first took them upon Himself with His baptism is not only illogical in human reasoning, but it also does not fit into the truth of the water and the Spirit. Those who believe in such half-filled gospel cannot be delivered from their sins.
 
 
The Works of the Preacher of the Gospel
 
Biblically speaking, the spiritual matchmakers are those who preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The matchmakers of spiritual salvation must mediate between the Lord and His brides. First thing that they must do is preaching to the sinners what the Lord has done for them. They must teach them that Jesus was baptized to take upon their sins on Himself, and that He was judged for all these sins on the Cross. They must also discern accurately whether or not the brides believe in this, and when the brides do believe, then the matchmakers’ role is all fulfilled.
To achieve this, it is very important for the matchmakers to explain to the brides who the bridegroom is and what He has done for them, so that the brides may easily understand it. When the hearts of the brides realize what the bridegroom has done for them, then the matchmakers must teach them the fact that the bridegroom has taken away all their sins with His water and blood.
When the brides thus accept all the things that the bridegroom has done for them, then they become and are called as the brides of Christ. Those who have become the brides of Jesus Christ must realize that the bridegroom bought them with the ransom of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They must realize that, to make them His, the bridegroom has cleansed away all their sins with His water and blood, turning them as white as snow, and accepted them as His brides.
Only then can the brides respect and recognize the bridegroom forever. Those who have received the remission of all their sins are the righteous, the righteous are sinless, and the sinless are the brides of Jesus Christ. When the brides have such faith, they can be married to the bridegroom, and the bridegroom can accept them into His arms. As such, only when the spiritual matchmakers prepare the brides with the Word of truth can they successfully arrange their wedding.
To be successful, the matchmakers of spiritual salvation must know what kind of brides the bridegroom wants. Jesus, our bridegroom, has no sin. He is holy. This is why Jesus wants sinless brides without blemish. And this is why the matchmakers use the bridegroom’s works to clean and adorn the brides. This adornment of the brides means that they would be brought to the bridegroom only after their sins are completely cleansed away by the gospel of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by the bridegroom. If they were brought to Him when their sins are only half-cleansed, the bridegroom would not receive them, for He wants His brides to be completely sinless. The servants of God who play this role are the matchmakers of spiritual salvation.
The servants of God, therefore, must continue to prepare the brides for their spiritual salvation. At the same time, we must also realize that in today’s Christianity there are many matchmakers of the flesh who exploit and extort for their material gains everywhere. These matchmakers of the flesh will be stricken by both Jesus Christ and the rejected brides. We must not become the matchmakers of the flesh.
 
 
Knowing the Depth of Satan
 
Even among the servants and people of God, there are many who do not know the depth of Satan’s trickery. There are many, in other words, who do not realize just how hard Satan tries to stumble us. Too many servants of God have failed to realize how Satan has changed and corrupted the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and how he has tricked believers into following his false faith. As a result, many believers in Jesus have ended up with a corrupted gospel instead of the true gospel of the water and the Spirit, and their souls, contrary to God’s wish, have also been destroyed.
God tells us, “Do not follow the doctrine of Jezebel. Believe and preach steadfastly your gospel of the water and the Spirit until my return. I will then give you power over the nations.” But those who are deceived by Jezebel’s faith, God also tells us, He will throw them into tribulation and forge them again.
When the time of Christ’s return comes, we will see those who had believed in and preached salvation by just the blood of Jesus betray their faith. These people are prone to boast of their faith, always feeling superior to the rest whose faith differs from them. But God distinguishes and discriminates between their faith and the faith of those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels’—as I also have received from My Father.”
When our Lord returns to this earth, there will be many Christians who would have to meet the Lord without having been born again. Because they did not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they will meet the Lord with sin in their hearts. But those whose hearts have been forgiven of theirs sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in contrast, will be transformed with the coming of the Lord, and reign with Him. As it is said here, the power of the Lord and His people is like the power of an iron rod shattering the potter’s vessels.
God will most assuredly give power over the nations to those who defend their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the end. Our Lord tells us that this power is the same as the power that He has received from the Father. We must fight against and overcome the false prophets like Jezebel and Balaam, so that we would reign eternally with this power over the nations that the Lord would give us.
 
 
The Clear Salvation of Truth!
 
To save the sinners, our Lord had to come to this earth, and to take upon all the sins of the mankind on Himself, He had to be baptized by John. Because the Lord was baptized to take upon our sins, He could carry these sins to the Cross, die on it, and rise again from the dead. He had done these righteous acts for us, because He could no longer bear to see the mankind continue to commit and struggle with their sins. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the truth that can deliver you from all your sins.
And our Lord could become the Savior for all those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because the Lord had to be baptized by John, He could bear fruit to this amazing result testified in John 1:29 and John 19:30: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” and “It is finished!” Those who have the conviction of their redemption through this Word of God are able to have strong faith in Him because they know that Jesus took care of all their sins with His baptism. We must sincerely look into our own hearts, for if we do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our sins are bound to continue their presence in our hearts.
When we take a close look at the hearts of those who ignore the baptism of Jesus and believe only in His blood on the Cross, we see that the existence of sin in their hearts cannot be denied. We must pay particular attention to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and believe in it even more strongly, for we cannot add or subtract our own thoughts to the Word of God. We must all fight the false gospels, as they can destroy the faith of those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Jesus Himself has told us, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” The “leaven” here does not refer to the kind that is used to make liquors or bread, but to the gospel that does not have the baptism of Jesus. We must know and believe in the fact that Jesus carried the sins of the world to the Cross by taking them upon Himself with His baptism, and that He has become our true Savior by being crucified on the Cross and rising from the dead again.
On His part, Jesus received all the sins of the world with His baptism by John, and made them all disappear with His blood on the Cross. But on the people’s side, because they do not believe in the baptism that Jesus received from John, their sins can only continue to exist. Without believing in the truth that Jesus was baptized by John to hand over all the sins of the world onto Himself, their sins cannot fundamentally be blotted out. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gospel of power that cleanses away all our sins and makes us as white as snow when we believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross in one.
 
 
Let Us Be Those Who Overcome
 
From this main passage, we have seen the Word of God spoken to the Church of Thyatira. God promised to the servant of the Church of Thyatira that He will give him power over the nations. Every born-again saint lives on a spiritual battleground engaged in a spiritual battle. We must always triumph in this spiritual battlefield with our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This spiritual battle begins from the very moment one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must overcome Satan in their struggle against him. Some of us fight against Satan and will overcome the false gospels until the very day they stand before God. Those who overcome believe that our Lord has taken away all our sins by coming to this earth, being baptized, dying on the Cross, and rising again from the dead. No matter what others say, they are unwavering in their faith that the place of the cleansing of their sins is the Jordan River, and that all their sins were handed over to Jesus through the baptism that He received from John.
Our Lord has commanded us to fight and overcome Satan. Our flesh may labor hard and tire at times, but our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can never lose its war against the false gospels.
The Lord tells us, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The Old Testament’s Prophet Elijah fought and won over more than 850 priests of Baal.
The Apostle Paul also said that there was no other gospel but the one that He spread (Galatians 1:7). This gospel of Paul was no other than the faith in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. Those who believe in this gospel, while they may still have some shortcomings even after they are born again, forever have no sin whatsoever in their hearts. Our Lord has cleansed away all our sins with His water and received all judgment for them with His blood. The baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross have brought eternal redemption to those who believe.
To those who are saved, the Lord gives the power to defend their faith, to fight and to overcome to the end.