“And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city! Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
Our Lord Who Has Given Us the Power to Heal All Illnesses
Our Lord gave the power to heal all kinds of sicknesses and diseases to His disciples. This then leads us to wonder how come today’s faithful servants of God do not practice such miraculous power. It is not only to the disciples of the Early Church that our Lord gave such abilities. If our God is the God of truth, then these abilities must be manifested by His servants of today also. It is entirely true, of course, that during the Apostolic Age, such gifts were held by all those who had joined the discipleship of Jesus. What is curious here is why this does not seem to be the case today; that is, why is it that we, who after all believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do not seem to have such power today? With the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, let us then shed some light on this issue.
Let me first list some of the key questions that motivate our exploration. Why is it that today’s disciples of Jesus do not seem to have the healing power that our forefathers of faith had in the Apostolic Age? Is it because today’s disciples have not received this healing power? Or is it because they do not pray enough? Is there any difference in the power of the old servants of God from that of today’s servants? If yes, what are these differences? Why, in short, are we unable to exercise the power of God that was so patently manifested in the Earth Church period? Approaching these issues with the light of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, let us now examine these questions in detail and find their clear answers. All these nagging questions can be solved in all clarity when we approach them with the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Before we dive into a full discussion, there is one thing that all of us must do first—that is, we must first clear our confused thoughts beforehand by applying our faith in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The first thing that we must realize is that had Jesus Christ the Son of God not come to this earth and not performed His miracles and signs, no one would have been able to recognize Him as the Son of God, nor as the Savior. The miracles and signs that Jesus performed were in part to show His divinity, so that the people of His time, including His disciples and followers, would be able to recognize Him as God Himself (John 2:11). This is an imperative point that all of us must understand clearly. Had Jesus not performed these miracles and signs, even His own disciples of the Apostolic Age would have found it very difficult to believe Him as the Son of God and the Savior.
What about the power of the disciples then? The same logic applies to their case also—that is, there had to be miraculous signs and wonders seen by people’s own eyes during the Early Church period because without such signs and wonders, the people of that time would hardly have recognized Jesus as the Son of God.
You may then wonder: Since the Apostles had the power to heal the sick, shouldn’t today’s Christians also have this power to heal the illnesses of the flesh? What we must realize here is that the power of God was manifested differently in the Early Church period from how it is manifested today. It was given, in other words, in a different form to the disciples of Jesus from how it is given to us now. As mentioned, miracles were performed during the Early Church period as a sign for its people to see the power of the gospel and believe in it.
But this is no longer necessary in today’s age, because the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, with their faith in its power, can make the Truth of salvation be revealed for all to see without such aids. Put differently, while we may not be able to walk on the water and raise a crippled man on his feet as Peter did, we are still healing the spiritual sicknesses of today’s people, which, after all, was the primary purpose of the demonstration of such miraculous power in the first place. Therefore, there is nothing strange in the fact that these miracles and signs of the Early Church period are no longer performed in today’s Church.
The key to answer our questions, in other words, is the realization that it is through the power of the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God is healing today’s sicknesses. To today’s people of faith who believe in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has given them the power to heal all the illnesses of sin. By giving us the faith that believes in this true gospel, the Lord has enabled us also to heal the diseases of sin. We have to realize that the power of physical healing was not the only way in which the disciples of Jesus exercised their faith during the Early Church period. Rather, we should know that the Apostles’ healing miracles were intended to preach the gospel of the remission of sin (Acts 2:6, 38; 3:19). We need to realize that even now, in today’s age also, our Lord has empowered us to heal others from the sickness of their sins, to perform His miracles and to exercise His power, all through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is our Lord who has given us all these abilities, and it is in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit that His power abides in.
In Matthew 10:7, our Lord said, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” What we need to realize here is that the Kingdom of Heaven has already come into the hearts of all those who believe in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that by this faith we must all preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Kingdom of God is actualized on this earth as everyone’s sickness of sin is healed through the power of faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, we, today’s evangelists, also have to preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand, delivering this gospel power of the water and the Spirit to the lost souls. Just as the disciples of Jesus had healed all the illnesses of the flesh, and preached the gospel of the Kingdom during the Early Church era, today, so must we heal all those suffering from the spiritual illnesses of their sins with our faith in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Truth That We Must Know Clearly in Doing The Works of God
As our Lord had gathered together His twelve disciples and given them the power to heal all illnesses, so has He enabled today’s believers to exercise all power by giving them the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What we need to realize here is that while there was a greater need to heal the illnesses of the flesh during the Early Church era, today’s situation is far different from those days: For the hearts of today’s people, the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that can heal the sicknesses of their hearts is more urgently needed than any such power to heal their physical sicknesses.
Today’s age, in other words, is an age when everyone can be healed from the illness of his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Indeed, this is what we the believers of this true gospel have been practicing by preaching its power throughout the whole world. In fact, there is even a greater need in today’s age for everyone to have this faith that heals all who are willing to hear the gospel and believe in it.
If we were to devote ourselves only to the healing ministry, we would not be able to obey the Great Commission that the Lord has given to His Church, for everyone would be asking us to heal only their physical sicknesses. Such healing ministry, however, is not what fulfills the will of God the Father in Heaven. Like the proverb that says, “Danger past, God forgotten,” if we were to heal only the illnesses of the flesh, people would of course flock around Jesus. But as the above saying illustrates, once they are healed, they would all end up leaving Him. They are also bound to pay little attention to what actually matters, taking scant interests in the work of our Lord that has healed the illnesses of their souls. In fact, among those who seek to get the problem of their flesh solved by believing in Jesus as their Savior, few try to solve the much more urgent problem of their souls, that is, the problem of their sins and of the remission of these sins.
Many people consider it strange that we the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not actually heal the illnesses of the flesh. But what you and I must realize is that by giving us our faith in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has enabled us to wash away all the sins of mankind. Why do people believe in Jesus as their Savior? To be healed from their physical diseases only? No! The first reason they have to believe in Him is to solve the problem of their sins, and to achieve this, they must believe in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit without fail. They must place far greater importance to this task of solving the problem of their souls’ sins than solving the problem of their illnesses of the flesh.
Our Lord told us to rejoice always. When He said this, He meant that we should all rejoice for the remission of sin that our souls have received. We need to recognize that in this age and time, God has enabled those who believe in the power of the God-given gospel of water and the Spirit to wash away even more sinner’s iniquities and do His will. God has given this calling to all of us who believe in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
While the healing power of the Apostles was manifested in the bodies of the sick during the Early Church era, in today’s age, this power is manifested in the gospel of the water and the Sprit that heals the illnesses of sin for all souls. So the difference between the Early Church era and now is that now, it is not so much the sicknesses of the body that is healed, but the sickness of the soul. Nonetheless, we are still speaking of the same power here. In those days, God’s power was made manifest through people’s actual bodies, but today, for those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is made manifest as the remission of their sins. During the Early Church era, to demonstrate that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, it was necessary for the Apostles to show such power that people could actually witness with their own eyes. But in today’s age, the power of God is revealed as the gospel of the water and the Spirit that washes away everyone’s sins, and as the preaching and spreading of this gospel. In other words, it is to the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God has shown the power to wash away mankind’s sins.
Because Jesus shouldered the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross, rose from the dead, and has thereby given the remission of sin to all of us who believe in this, today, God’s power is now revealed spiritually. We are therefore even more thankful. You and I who have been born again of water and the Spirit can heal, with our faith in the gospel power, all sinners’ souls throughout the whole world who are dying from their sins. God has given us, the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in other words, the power to heal the illnesses of sin for everyone.
The Gospel of Life from God
Let me now give you a short testimony about a certain lady who was healed from her heart’s illness that had tormented her by the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
This happened when our students at the Mission School went to a hospital to witness Jesus. There, in a room on the third floor, they met a certain lady who was hospitalized. Sharing the room with a few other patients, she was crying day and night. So our students asked her why she was crying so much, and then all of a sudden she begged them not to send her back to the fourth floor, where the psychiatric ward was located. So they got to hear her story.
This woman had been hospitalized in the psychiatric ward on the fourth floor, and apparently this very fact, that she was put under psychiatric care, was too depressing for her, and so she kept crying day and night. Her doctor then promised her that he would do anything for her if she would only stop crying, and so she asked him to send her down to the third floor where general patients were put. But this lady, even after being sent to the third floor, still kept crying. Hearing this, one of our students prayed for her, and before coming back, left her with a book of sermons entitled, “Receive the Remission of Your Sins.”
But then, something unexpected happened: As soon as the woman began to read this book, she stopped crying. By coming to believe in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit, this lady was washed from all her sins, and there was no longer any sin left her heart. She was remitted from all her sins, in other words. And having thus received the remission of her sins, she then was able to live a healthy and productive life, always thanking God for His abundant grace that saved and healed her from all her sins first and all her diseases.
This was actually the fulfillment of Psalms 103:2-3 on her.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases.”
As this story illustrates, today’s age is the age of grace when everyone can be washed from all his sins by hearing and believing in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We need to realize here that if we had been unable to wash away our sins by not recognizing this gospel power of the water and the Spirit and not believing in it, we would have lost our most important and only opportunity to be remitted from all our sins. Yet among today’s Christians, there are quite a few believers who are trying to heal only the illnesses of the flesh—they need to realize that what they are doing is actually contrary to the will of God.
Our Lord has given us the power to wash away people’s sins by the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It would be nice, of course, if we could heal both the illnesses of the body and of the soul well, but since it is beyond our ability to do the former in this age, we must at least do the latter—that is, we must concentrate our capability to heal the illnesses of sin. This is how we must do the will of God. Had we been able to show the supernatural power of God and heal people from their illnesses of the flesh, we would no doubt have drawn countless multitudes into our fold, but we need to understand that this is no help at all when it comes to obeying the will of God, which, now as before, has always been to wash away people’s sins.
The reason why our Lord had given the power to perform miracles and signs to His disciples and to the saints of the Early Church was so that by seeing such miracles and signs, many would come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior. The actual, underlying purpose behind all those miracles, so to speak, was for all sinners to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby be washed from their sins and become the children of God.
In today’s age, medical skills are highly developed and advanced. Since God has given mankind such well-advanced medical facilities so that they may treat and cure their illnesses of the flesh, we need to let the medical experts and professionals take care such sicknesses of the flesh. Therefore, our duty as Christians in this age and time is not to heal the illnesses of the flesh, but it is to heal the illnesses of the soul, and it is to this that we must devote all our efforts. Put differently, we must preach the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that holds the righteousness of God. If there are those in this age who are poor in spirit, who thirst for the true remission of sin, and who are seeking for God to be clothed in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God will surely enable such souls to know this gospel power of the water and the Spirit, to believe in it, and thereby be healed from all theirs sins.
But if people just want to be healed from their illnesses of the flesh alone, then in the end, the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit will ultimately remain out of their reach. If you and I refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the end, we will never be able to wash away our souls’ sins. Anyone who does so is actually committing the sin of blasphemy.
Even as many Christian loudly proclaim that they believe in Jesus as their Savior, many of them seek after not the gospel that washes away sins, but their own carnal lusts, and trapped by Satan, they are actually being devoured by him. Despite professing to believe in Jesus as their Savior, all their faith is in vain, for they have completely misunderstood the will of God (Matthew 7:21-23). This is why so many of today’s Christians, misunderstanding the will of God, are pursuing obsessively the healing power, seeking after signs and miracles. But before God, such faith is all in vain and completely useless. This kind of faith can be found in any religion of the world.
Those whose faith is truly right before God can defeat the works of Satan by believing in the power of the Truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and wash away people’s sins with the Word of truth. But if they were to devote their efforts only to heal the illnesses of the flesh, what benefit would this bring to their souls and the souls of others? This would bring absolutely no benefit at all. Rather, what is really important is for them to heal the sicknesses of sin in the heart, to help others so that they, too, would come to accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit into their hearts and be delivered by God from all their sins.
More often than we realize, the Devil deceives many people by actually giving the power to heal the sicknesses of the flesh to those who do not know the gospel power of the water and the Spirit. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 makes it clear that Satan deceives people with such false miracles and signs. You might as well go to one of these false prophets claiming to be able to heal the sicknesses of the flesh, and test their power. And then, you can see for yourselves whether it is real or not. Would you really be healed from your illnesses? You may feel briefly as if you were healed, but you’ll realize in no time that you were not actually and wholly healed.
Nor would you be washed from your sins by such means, for in today’s age, as it has always been the case from the very beginning of the Church, it is only through the gospel power of the water and the Spirit that one can wash away all the sins of his heart. God has ensured that no one would ever be washed from his sins unless he has this faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, for those who do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, there can be no true remission of sin.
However, even as we speak now, those who claim to be able to heal the sicknesses of the flesh perform countless false miracles and deceptive signs throughout the world. Such people have turned into Satan’s servants, and all that they are trying to do is to rob many souls and their material possessions. They lay their hands on their poor, misguided followers and pretend to pray for them, but the fact of the matter is that they are only seeking after their ulterior purpose, which is to steal their souls and raid their pockets. Just how often so many people around the world have been deceived by them? What we need to remember here is that it is not just the deceivers that will be judged by God, but the deceived as well, for God will treat them both equally. Deceived or deceiving, they will all end up in hell.
The Servants of Satan
As Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:21-23, when the Judgment Day comes, many Christians will claim to have cast out demons and done many wonders in His name, but our Lord will neither approve nor acknowledge the works of such people. On the contrary, He said that He would rebuke them and cast them out for having practiced lawlessness. Those who seek to heal their sicknesses of the flesh in the name of the Lord, as well as those who try to exercise such a power, all have no interest whatsoever in the real faith—that is, the faith that believes in the power of the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. Each and every one of them is doing in fact no more than practicing lawlessness before God.
What is this lawlessness before God? It is the very act of ignoring the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and of not believing in it. Such people who practice lawlessness are living their lives of faith all in vain, trying to heal only the sicknesses of their flesh in the name of Jesus Christ. But anyone who fails to wash away all his sins by not believing in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit is actually committing the greatest sin of all against God, the sin of blasphemy that rejects His love.
What we must actually do, in contrast, is to glorify God, and we can do so only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby being forever washed from all our sins once for all and becoming God’s own children. The right thing for all of us to do is to dedicate all our remaining lifetime to God and live our lives for the spreading of the gospel. Healing the sicknesses of the flesh, speaking in tongues, seeing visions, or otherwise claiming to have the same supernatural power that the Apostles of the Early Church had shown—these are all indicators of false faith that is fatally flawed before God. To have and cling to this kind of faith, in other words, is to be deceived by the evil schemes of Satan, and to ultimately end up turning into his servants.
We have many partners in Christ throughout the world. One of them recently told us that the pastor of his church proposed to teach his congregation how to speak in tongues, telling them to follow his instructions and imitate after him. So, he could no longer remain in such a church, and could not but left it, because he had already read our books and knew that this kind of faith that only sought to speak in artificial tongues and heal the sicknesses of the flesh alone was wrong. He did the right thing, for it is indeed gravely flawed for any Christian to seek after such a supernatural power only. The purpose of our Christian faith is not to speak in tongues, nor to heal our sicknesses of the flesh, nor to see vision and hear the voice of God in our dreams, but it is to wash away all our sins and attain our salvation.
When we bear witness to people about the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we often encounter those whose minds are possessed by demons. Such people invariably reject the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and refuse to believe in it. When do they do this? More often than not, they refuse to hear the gospel Word when they are told about the passage from Matthew 3, about the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist. We can see that the Devil confuses their minds and incites them to stand against the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
For such people, it may seem like it is impossible for them to accept the gospel Word of power into their hearts, no matter how much we preach to them. However, no matter how obstinately they might stand against the true gospel, we should not stop witnessing Jesus to them. Rather, we should preach the gospel more powerfully by believing in the invincible power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we persist in patience, at least some of them will eventually come to believe in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Our first attempt is often not enough to elicit their response. But if we fail the first time, then we must try again for the second time, and if we fail the second time, then we must try again for the third time, and on and on until they finally come to believe in the true gospel. Once someone comes to understand this gospel of power, Satan can no longer reign over him, and as soon as he is born again. The devil is constrained to leave him alone, for he cannot be with anyone who believes in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
So when the preachers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit stand against Satan in the name of Jesus Christ and continue to spread the gospel, Satan is bound to flee and souls are to be washed from all their sins. So long as people understand and believe in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, from this moment on, Satan will lose all his strength. But if they do not accept God’s gospel until the very end, then ultimately, they can never escape from Satan’s trap. Also, those who are not interested at all in being remitted from their sins end up rejecting the remission of sin that the Lord has given them freely.
Sometimes, they seem to be healed from their diseases through their charismatic faith, but they become mired in a more serious situation later. The Bible says, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26).
Such people are pitiful souls enslaved under the yoke of Satan, and yet despite this, they even laugh at those who hear the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit and believe in it. They say to us, “Dream on! Do you think I’ll ever listen to what you are saying to me? You are all foolish buffoons!” This is because in the hearts of such people who have not received the remission of their sins, it is evil spirits that reign them.
My dear fellow Christians, if you want to be washed from all your sins by God, then you must believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. And if you want to believe in the power of this gospel of the water and the Spirit and become God’s children, you must first fight against the evil thoughts that arise in your minds, overcome them all, and surrender yourselves to God. You must fight your own spiritual battle; this battle is not waged by anyone else but yourselves. Fight against evil spirits in you. Only then can you avoid ending as Satan’s servants, be freed from his trap, and become God’s people. But those who are seized by Satan do not fight against their evil minds and surrender themselves to God. Therefore, they end up turning against God. They may not actually want to stand against God, but influenced by Satan’s evil schemes, their hearts are hardened against God, rejecting His Word and standing against Him. With reason, we must overcome the evil thought that is originated from Satan, and obey the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, which is none other than the very will of God.
In the hearts of those who have received the remission of sin, it is the Holy Spirits that is found, but in the hearts of those who have not done so, there is only their sin of standing against God. So whether one is ruled by Satan or not entirely depends on whether or not he believes in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit.
This is why when our Lord spoke about the eight blessed, he spoke of those who mourn: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We must mourn over our disobedience to God’s will and our failure to surrender ourselves to it. Our Lord also said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Our hearts must truly thirst after the Word of God and want to know His gospel truth of the water and the Spirit, and if we indeed want this, then we must stand against the reign of Satan. Because Satan rejects the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, people should have the more strong faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When they have chance to hear the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, they must all believe in it.
We must stand against Satan positively. It is then that we can believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit before God. But when someone does not reject evil spirits, then no matter how a spiritual man comes to him and preaches the gospel power of the water and the Spirit to him, all such efforts are in vain. This is because he is more obedient to Satan’s words than to the Word of God. This explains why some people’s hearts react so strongly against the gospel power of the water and the Spirit and reject it, while others accept it willingly. Therefore, one must reject evil spirits himself and prepare his heart to accept the Word of God as the absolute truth. To each and every man, it is to his own free will that God has left the decision as to whether to receive the Word of God or reject it, giving him the right to make this decision.
What we must do then is to accept the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, believe in this gospel of power, and thereby receive the remission of our sins. This God-given remission of sin is brought about by one’s own will to believe in the gospel Truth. But if someone rejects the Word of God on his own and instead accepts the thoughts of Satan, then he cannot receive the gospel power of the water and the Spirit, nor can he obey it.
There are many people in this world who are possessed by evil demons. Even among the ministers, there are many who are demon-possessed. The same prevalence is also found among other church leaders such as elders and deacons.
But to the true disciples of Jesus, our Lord has given the power to cast out demons. In what has He given this power? He has clothed us with such power in the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we continue to preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit, and if those who hear us try to understand and repeatedly hear us, even if this is hard for them, then the evil spirits in them are all bound to leave. So if one accepts the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then he is bestowed with God’s blessings of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
To those of us who believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, God has given us the power to heal all kinds of spiritual illnesses and all kinds of diseases. We who believe in the power of this gospel have received the power to save the souls that are dying from their sins and spiritual illnesses, and to heal them from all the weaknesses of their hearts. When we preach the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit to people, they can be freed from all the hazards of the evil spirits. For enabling us to do this, I give my boundless thanks and all glory to God.
The Commandment That Jesus Gave to His Twelve Disciples
Matthew 10:2-4 lists the names of the twelve disciples. As it is written, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.”
Who is the disciple that is most familiar to us? It’s probably Peter. The second disciple mentioned in the above passage, Andrew, was Peter’s brother in flesh. The next two disciples mentioned, James the Son of Zebedee and John, were also brothers. And the list continues: Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, who wrote the Gospel of Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot. Notice that Peter was also known as Simon, and yet there was another disciple whose name was Simon as well. Simon was Peter’s original name, and the name Peter, meaning “rock,” was given to him by Jesus. At any rate, the reason why when our Lord called Peter He addressed him as “Simon the son of Jonas,” is because there was another Simon, Simon the Cananite, among His disciples. The same was true for James as well; there were two disciples whose names were James, and they, too, were called by attaching the names of their fathers to differentiate between the two.
We do not know everything about all the twelve disciples of Jesus. We know very well of some disciples, but for others, our knowledge is quite limited. Everyone, of course, knows Peter, since he is so famous and widely mentioned in the Bible. His brother Andrew appears in the Bible passage that describes the miracle of five loaves and two small fish that Jesus performed. The one who brought the boy’s lunch was Andrew. And it was this Andrew that first led Peter to Jesus.
We can find out about John by reading, of course, the Gospel of John, which he wrote. We are also familiar with the name Thomas, since his name has become synonymous with doubters—he couldn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead until he actually put his hands on Jesus’ hands and see the holes that were made from His crucifixion. The name Matthew is another name that is quite familiar to us; he was a tax collector before he was born again as a disciple of Jesus. However, our knowledge of other remaining disciples such as Bartholomew and Thaddaeus is still limited. We know they were also Jesus’ disciples, but we know very little about what they actually did, as not much is written about them in the Bible.
At any rate, in today’s passage, we see that Jesus had called all His twelve disciples to Him, and sent them all out to preach throughout Israel. He commanded them, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6).
What is meant by “the way of the Gentiles” here? It means not to go to those who worship idols and believe in other false religions. It is quite useless, in other words, to preach to those who are entrenched in their idolatry.
Jesus also told His disciples not to “enter a city of the Samaritans.” Why did He say this? The Samaritans were a mixed race, descendants of intermarriage between the Israelites and the pagan tribes around them. When Jesus told His disciples to avoid Samaria, He did not say this because of this mixed racial quality of the Samaritans, for such a thing is no basis of judgment at all, but because their religion was a mixture of various different religions of the time. Spiritually speaking, in other words, the Samaritans here refer to those whose religious beliefs are all mixed up with all kinds of different religions, and to whom, as a result, the gospel power of the water and the Spirit cannot enter. Like the Gentiles that Jesus mentioned first, the Samaritans are also saturated in their idolatry. And like the Gentiles, it is hard for the gospel of the water and the Spirit to make its way into such people.
To whom, then, did our Lord tell His disciples to go? He told them to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Who are the lost sheep here? They refer to those who do not know the true gospel of the water and the Sprit. They can be found among the Gentiles, the Samaritans, and the Israelites. The lost sheep of today are none other than the Christians who, though they professing to believe in God, have lost their hearts and despair from their failure to encounter the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and who, despite this, are still trying to find the truth. It is to such people that God has told us to go. It is to these people that He has told us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
If we were to preach the Word of God to someone who already is a devoted and faithful believer of a worldly religion that is different from the true faith in God, our lips would only tire and our hearts would only be frustrated. They are not the souls that are looking for God, for if they were such souls that are truly looking for God, they could not find relief in such an untruthful religion. This is why we must preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel of salvation, to the truth-seekers. And when we do so, they will be remitted from all their sins by their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, be healed from all his spiritual illnesses, and be blessed abundantly by God.
Through today’s Scripture passage, our Lord is teaching us not to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to just anyone. For instance, the Samaritans, who believe blindly and arbitrarily in the teachings of any religions they want to find relief in, will not believe when the gospel power of the water and the Spirit is preached to them. To such people, we must first try to help them realize how empty their lives are, what the reality of their sins is, and what the consequences of these sins are. Put differently, before we sowing the seed of the true gospel, we have to plow the field of their hearts sufficiently. The gospel should be preached to them when they ask us to help them to be delivered from their sins, or at least when there is some indication as to how ready they are to accept the gospel. Preaching to them blindly is of little use.
On the contrary, such a blunt strategy is bound to backfire, leading them away from the truth even more. Today’s Samaritans will simply say, “I see what you are saying. Maybe I should believe then. After all, I believe in no less than five religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, and so I suppose it wouldn’t hurt me to add another religion.” It is not to such people, in other words, that we should preach the gospel. All that they would do after listening the gospel is treat it as worthless.
To whom, then, must we approach to preach the gospel? It is to the lost sheep of the house of Israel that we must go. And when we go to them, we must preach to them, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We must preach to them that this world is not everything that there is, for the Kingdom of God will come to this earth also, telling them, “If you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then you will be remitted from all your sins and enter the Kingdom of God. How long would your life on this earth last? Wouldn’t it last only 70 or 80 years, at most 100 years? Wouldn’t even this pass away in no time? So don’t you have to prepare now for the next world to come?”
Jesus continued to tell His disciples, “Heal the sick.” My dear fellow believers, just how many people are suffering from the illnesses of their hearts? How many people are saturated in their sins and living their lives as servants of Satan? Such people whose hearts are weighted down by their sins are none other than the sick that Jesus spoke of here, the ones who are spiritually ill. We must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them and deliver them from all their sins. By what can we deliver them from their sins? We can deliver them by the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Our Lord also told His disciples to “cleanse the lepers.” Because people are bound to continue to sin, they are constantly tormented by their sinful acts and deeds, which is beyond their ability to control on their own. We must help them to be cleansed from this leprosy of sin once for all by clothing them with God’s righteousness, which is in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit. Turning the sinful into the sinless is the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Countless people are suffering from the spiritual leprosy, the illnesses of sin that cannot be cured by themselves, and to those among them who want to be healed from such illnesses, it is our calling to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
“Cast out demons.” When we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, wicked demons are cast out from people’s hearts.
Jesus also said, “Freely you have received, freely you give.” By believing in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit, we have been delivered from our sins freely. Since we have received this power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit freely from our predecessors of faith, we, too, must give it freely to others. Our own selfish interests should not be what motivate us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
I was told that, especially in the churches of the Evangelicals, many church leaders are seeking their own interests and gains when they are about to preach ‘their gospel.’ In fact, their gospel is different from the true gospel. By the way, for some of them, for instance, the first thing that they want to find out from a new member in their congregations is how rich—or poor, for that matter—this new member is. If he is poor, then they just let someone else preach the gospel to him, but if he is rich or powerful, then they want him all for themselves, saying that they will personally explain the gospel to him and no one else should interfere. Why do they do this? Because they want to maintain their control over him and exploit him for his money. Simply put, they are preaching their gospel for their own gains.
But what did our Lord really say to such people? He told them, “Freely you have received, freely you give.” Through our Lord, we heard the gospel of the water and the Spirit freely, and by believing in it, we have received the remission of our sins and the gifts of God, all freely. The Lord has taught us the gospel power of the water and the Spirit freely, and when we believed in this power of the gospel, He has freely clothed us in His grace that has turned us into God’s own children.
Now that we have received this powerful gospel of the water and the Spirit freely from God, our Lord is telling us to give it to others freely. To those who are truly in need of this gospel, we must indeed give this gospel power freely. After we do so, in some cases, they may want to give us something in return or do something for us to thank us for telling them about the true gospel. This could be a simple invitation to dinner, a gift, a favor, or any other such token of thanks. Yet we must be careful in how we respond to this. They may do this thinking, “Since I heard this amazing truth from you, I’ll treat to something nice in return.” This may be another way of saying not to interfere with them anymore, since they paid us back. “You have given me something good, but didn’t I also give you something good in return? So don’t interfere with me anymore and don’t show off yourself at me.” If this is what they are thinking, then this only means that they do not want to be nurtured in faith.
However, even if someone heard and believed in the gospel, if he is not continuously nurtured by the predecessors of faith, then his faith may wither away. What is important is that we have to nurture continuously such people freely, just as Jesus told us to give freely, as we have received freely from God. All that we have to do is obey this command—once we do so, we can all realize why this is the case. So if someone thanks us for helping him understand the true gospel, then what we should say to him is, “See you again; we will share the gospel with you and teach you more about the true gospel,” as we must indeed meet him again and continue to nurture him in faith. In other words, we must lead them continuously so that their roots can be firmly planted in God’s Church and be nurtured by the predecessors of faith, for only then can his soul live.
And we must do all these things freely, without expecting anything in return. If we otherwise accept something from him without any careful consideration, then when he wants to leave the Church, he will do so with little hesitation, saying to us boldly, “Since I have both received something good from you but also given you something good in return, I’ve fulfilled my moral obligation to pay you back.” We must not permit this to happen. This is why we have to give freely, for we have received freely.
We are spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world. Because we have received the power of this gospel from our Lord freely, we are fulfilling our duties as His servants and sharing the power of the Holy Spirit with others as a free gift for them. That we are giving freely is the right thing to do. Even though our Lord said that a tree is known by its fruits, it is tantalizing to see that some registered partners of our mission have asked us too much money for their services. Surely, they can hardly imagine how faithfully we, the staff workers of The New Life Mission, are devoting ourselves to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But we are different from them. Since we have received freely from the Lord, we do not ask for money, nor do we demand anything in return, but we give freely, serving the gospel day after day in complete obedience to the Lord’s command.
In verse 9, Jesus said, “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.” The money belts here are today’s wallets, and gold and silver mean money. In the old ages, there was no paper money; it is only relatively recently that money began to be printed on paper. In the ancient, primitive times, shells were used as currency, and later on, in Jesus’ time for instance, coins made of precious metals were circulated as money. So basically, here in verse 9 Jesus told His disciples not to carry any money in their wallets. He also told them not to carry bag for their journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs. What we would consider to be essential needs for any journey, in other words, were not to be carried by the disciples.
How, then, must we understand this passage? Does this mean that today, as we preach God’s gospel throughout the world, we should carry neither money nor any essential needs of our journey? This is not what Jesus meant. Rather, what He meant is that if we are indeed God’s workers, and we are indeed entirely devoted to serving Him, then it is a foregone conclusion that we should preach the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit freely without expecting anything in return, for it is God Himself who provides for our needs. It is only natural, in other words, that the servants of God would be fed and clothed by God Himself, and that all their needs would be met by Him. It is not for us to seek these things and take them for ourselves from others, but it is for God to feed and cloth His workers. This is what is meant by verse 9.
Those who want to devote their lives entirely to the spreading of the gospel can preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the world from their own resources, just as Paul did so—Paul, being a tent maker, financed his ministry from his own labor and sweat. What Jesus said in verse 9 is that if we boldly and entirely devote ourselves to do the works of God and live for His righteousness, then it is only right for God Himself to feed us, clothe us, and provide us with a roof over our heads. We can live entirely for God, for the Lord will provide us with all our needs on His part. He is not telling us here not to even carry extra tunics when we are witnessing the gospel, but to devote our lives and commit ourselves entirely to Him, for He will fill all our needs if we do so. Put differently, He is saying to us, “If you devote yourselves entirely to My works, I will feed you and clothe you, and all your needs will be provided by Me. So live your lives like this—to serve God, to preach the gospel, and to devote yourselves for the spreading of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Find out Who Is Worthy to Be Preached of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
In verse 11, Jesus said, “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.” In the past, not a few went on evangelical tours audaciously without money by relying this passage. Of course, it would be not bad as a training course for God’s workers, because they come across many affairs and needs to experience His help.
In today’s context, this passage is telling us that we need to find those who are worthy to be preached of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should not approach just anyone and start preaching the gospel to him. Indeed, anyone who preaches the gospel must be able to discern people, above all other circumstances. The first question that we should ask ourselves is, “Is this man really someone who would accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Or will I just end up wasting my time?” The gospel needs to be preached, in other words, to those who are worthy of being preached at.
The needs of the disciples were also met through such worthy people. Because the disciples were sent out empty-handed, they would have starved to death had no one provided them with a shelter and food. But God promised that He would feed all those who do His works. This is why He told them to find those worthy of preaching the gospel to, as it was also through them that their needs were provided for.
Jesus continued to say, “When you go into a household, greet it.” The Lord commands us to pray for peace over the household you come to visit to share the gospel. If our greetings of peace are rejected, then this peace that we wished for others will come to us. If the household is worthy to receive it, God will bless this household and protect it. This passage is the Word of promise, that if the people and servants of God come to a household, pray for it and its peace, and its members accept it in faith, then God will indeed bring peace upon the household.
Jesus also said, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” If you talk to someone about God’s Word of truth and yet he does not accept this, then our Lord is telling you shake off the dust from you feet and leave him. There is no need for you to say any more words to such people who simply refuse to accept the Word of God into their hearts. For them, there await disastrous plagues that are so terrifying that the last judgment day of Sodom and Gomorrah would be more tolerable in comparison. Such people will inevitably and surely be condemned for each and every one of their sins.
Sending out His disciples to bear witnesses to the gospel, our Lord also said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Our Lord said this because He was sending out His disciple into such a wicked world. This is why He added, “Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We can now understand what our Lord meant when He said these things. The people of God are truly pure and innocent, but this world is filled with the wicked, robbers, liars, and evil ones. We must therefore pray at all times. You, too, must pray, and the elders of faith must also give their prayers of faith for the flock. This is the basic principle for the nourishment of faith, and the guidance that we must provide for the younger believers.
Do you have many worries and concerns? Are your hearts burdened by them? Then pray to God. To pray to God is to ask our Lord to take away all our worries, and to be freed from all such concerns by believing that the Lord will indeed take care of all our concerns. The Bible promised us that if we pray to God ceaselessly and at all times, His peace, which transcend all understanding, will indeed keep our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7).
If We Trust in the Lord and Pray to Him, We Can Overcome All Problems
If we have any worries, we must pray to God by trusting in Him. The Lord will surely answer our prayers, give us peace, and solve whatever problems we may have. This is why we must pray at all times without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit is not such an easy thing to do. The ability to articulate the gospel alone is not enough, but one must live wisely and by faith, and devote himself as an ornamental knob of the gospel, all of which make it that much harder for us to fulfill our duties to spread the gospel. If we the righteous do not pray to God, it is more than likely that we would lose our strength, our God-given power would wither away, and everything would just decay. We must take care of each other, help each other, and pray for each other, so that we may serve the gospel faithfully. When we live our lives by trusting in God and fulfilling our role as the ornamental knobs of the gospel, our prayers must accompany us at all times.
My dear fellow Christians, now that you have been remitted from all your sins by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, do you still worry about how you would make a living, and how you would meet the ends? Then what I would like to say to you is to think about Lazarus the beggar. Lazarus was a destitute beggar who lived at the gate of a rich man’s house, so that he might eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Though this beggar believed in the Lord, while on this earth, he lived as a beggar, surviving on the table crumbs of the rich man. But although he had lived such a wretched and miserable life in this world, when he died, he was embraced into the arms of Abraham and was welcomed into Heaven, all according to his faith. In contrast, all that awaited the rich man who had lived in luxury while in this world was everlasting sufferings, mourning forever from such a terrifying thirst that he longed for even a drop of water.
My beloved brothers and sisters, it is only natural for us to worry about what we would eat and how we would be clothed even after receiving the remission of our sins. To us, the Bible says, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:8). If you decide to live your lives for the Lord, and trust the Lord that He will provide you with all your basic needs, then you have nothing to worry about. However, when you attempt to live your lives on your own, you will come across many worries. It is because of our worldly greed that we have many worries.
But, once we abandon our greed, once we decide to be satisfied with what the Lord provides us to enable us to serve the gospel, once we dedicate our lives to serve the works of God without being distracted by the glittering materialism of this world, and once we decide not to compromise with this world for a few, spiritually meaningless gains, then we can actually live our lives freed from all our worries. But if our hearts lust after the things of the world, we cannot live our lives of faith properly, for we will be filled with worries. So what would happen if we continue to worry about what to eat, what cloths to wear, and how our needs would be met? Our worries will grow more and more to eventually quench our faith, and we will end up leaving the Church.
My dear fellow Christians, I cannot emphasize enough just how important it is for us to pray at all times. There are so many things to pray for, and there are so many things that we must do for God. Is this not the case? It may seem that once something is done, that would be the end of our work, but there continues to arise more things to do and more tasks to complete. Accompanied by our constant and ceaseless prayers, each of us must faithfully carry out all these works.
For instance, the publication of our books is an on-going, continuous process of works that require the dedication of not just myself, but of many others. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is not preached by just one person, but by all those who believe in it and are faithful to our Lord’s command to spread it throughout the ends of the earth. For me to write these words and put them in books, there must be people behind the background who pray for this ministry, financial resources to meet the required expenses, and the dedication of a great number of people. We must pray for all of them, for their health, for their well being, for their faith, for our God to keep and protect them all, so that the gospel of the water and the Spirit may continue to blossom around the world and reach all its corners. We must pray for our partners, for our brothers and sisters, for our workers, for other souls, for our circumstances—there are so many things to pray for and so many needs that must be met by faith that we cannot count them all here. What is clear is that all these needs must be met in God through our prayers and by the power of our faith.
If only we could preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and serve it while on this earth, and if only our basic needs are met, then there is nothing more that we can ask for. It is with such a content heart and firm faith that we must live. That we have received the remission of all our sins, and that all our basic needs have been met—this alone is enough reason for us to thank God over and over again. If we do not lust after the things of the world, and if we are contented with having food and clothing, then this world is more than livable for us, the workers of God.
What we need to remember here, in addition, is that our Lord said, “A worker is worthy of his food.” This means that if we devote our lives to the works of God, God Himself will feed us and clothe us, and He will meet all our needs. It is only proper for us to receive and feed on what God provides us. This is what is meant by the passage here.
If you have any worldly worries, what may explain this? Why do you worry about the things of the world? You worry about them because you do not want to be laughed at by others. But this is only a reflection of your carnal lust. In other words, it is because of the lust of your flesh that your souls are burdened with all these worldly worries. You worry because you want more than what is required to sustain your lives—when, in fact, all that you have to do is meet your basic needs, carry on with your lives of faith, and serve the gospel. This, the lust of your flesh, is the root of all your worries. If you insist that you have to be better off than your friends, that you have to be higher than someone else, and if you constantly compare yourselves to others, then isn’t it only a matter of course that so many worries would continue to arise? One falls into such worries, fretting over what to eat, what to wear, and how to meet the ends, because he maintains his lust for the things of the world.
Quite frankly, I myself have no such worries about what to eat and drink. But this was not who I was before. Before, I, too, was someone who had so many worries about the things of the world, but now, my mind has been transformed completely. My worries have changed. Before, it was about myself that I worried, but now, it is for someone else that I worry. I have become such a happy man due to the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The workers of faith who serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not worry about the meaningless things of the world. Actually, those who lived the lives of faith in God lived for His righteousness only.
And when we preach the gospel to someone, we have to see if this person is really looking for the truth, and if so, then we should tell him that all he has to worry about is for him not be prepared for the future life. And when we precede our explanation from the topic of the vanity of our lives to the eternal judgment, the truth seekers would probably listen with strained ears to our witness. Then, if we preach the gospel Truth to such prepared souls, they would accept it by faith and become God’s own children.
When you preach the gospel to a person, don’t deliver it all at once. Of course, sometimes, we cannot but do so inevitably, but doing so is not good for common people to be saved. Wisdom is essentially needed in preaching the gospel.
Today’s Scripture passage of Matthew 10:1-16, which was spoken to His disciples when Jesus sent them out to bear witness to the gospel, is now fulfilled over us by faith.
Do you have any worries or anxieties? Then, pray God with the faith that believes in His Word. Worries or anxieties arise when we do not pray to God for help. Just believe in Him while praying with faith. Then, He will surly answer your prayers.
We have to live by faith in God’s Truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And I cannot thank God enough that He enables us to heal the spiritual diseases of people by giving us the gospel power of the water and the Spirit. Hallelujah!