“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone—however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks—when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You come here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”
Greetings to all my brothers and sisters! I am so thankful to God that we are able to worship Him on this beautiful spring day, when His beauty is manifested in all its glory with the flowers blossoming everywhere.
Today’s Scripture passage also comes from John chapter six. As the people asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may do the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” In other words, God is pleased when we believe in Him whom God Himself sent. This is the core message of today’s Scripture passage.
By blessing five barley loaves and two fish, Jesus had fed countless starving Israelites. So the crowd who ate the bread followed Jesus around. Jesus, knowing that they were about to take Him by force to make Him their king, once again left for the mountain alone, and the disciples got into the boat first and were sailing toward Capernaum by themselves. By the time they reached the middle of the sea, it was getting dark, and Jesus had not come to them yet.
Then the sea arose in a great storm. Water began to pour into the boat. As the disciples were scrambling to bail out the water and trembling in fear, the Lord walked toward them on the water in the middle of the storm. Thinking that it was a ghost that was approaching them, the disciples got even more afraid, but Jesus said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50). As soon as Jesus got into the boat with the disciples, the boat reached its destination right away.
When Jesus and His disciples had crossed the sea to Capernaum, a great multitude came over the sea and found Him there. Jesus then said to them, “Did you follow Me because you ate the bread, or because you saw the miracle that I performed for you? It’s good if you followed Me because you understood the meaning of My miracle, but it’s wrong and meaningless if you followed Me to eat more bread for your flesh.” He said this because the bread of the flesh is all gone once it’s eaten and digested. So Jesus said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life.” The people then asked Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” and Jesus said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
There are times when we, too, follow the Lord to eat the bread of the flesh. However, the Lord told us to labor for the food that does not perish. Even after being saved from all the sins of the world, we still find ourselves at a loss sometimes, not knowing what we should do to do God’s righteous work. But the Lord said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Who is He whom God sent to us? It is Jesus Christ. God the Father loved this world so much that He sent His only begotten Son. God the Father sent Jesus Christ to this earth. Our Lord said, “God the Father has set His seal on the Son of Man.” God the Father has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that the entire human race may receive the remission of sin and become God’s children through Jesus Christ. Our Father sent Jesus Christ as the only Savior of mankind.
People often wonder, “We really want to do God’s work, but what should we do to do His work?” To believe in Him whom God sent is God’s work. In other words, to believe in Jesus Christ is the very work of God. As the Bible says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), there is no other Savior of mankind but Jesus Christ. By sending His own Son to this world, God the Father has made it possible for everyone to be saved and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
For Us to Believe in Him Whom God Sent Is to Do God’s Work
Jesus Christ came to this earth incarnated in human flesh as a man, and by receiving baptism at the Jordan River from John the Baptist, He took upon all the sins of every mankind once and for all. Because our flesh is weak, we commit sin constantly until the day we die, but Jesus Christ shouldered all these sins of the flesh once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist. And by being crucified and shedding His blood, He ended all our sins and saved us forever. He then rose from the dead again in three days, ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the throne of God the Father, and has thus become the Savior of all mankind.
Now, for us to do God’s work is to believe in Him whom God sent as our Savior—that is, in Jesus Christ. And it is God’s work to believe with our hearts in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through which Jesus has saved us. This is the will of God and our salvation. How should we do God’s work? We should believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior—this is to carry out the work of God. What about you then? Haven’t you been working hard on your own, trying to do something for God? Just because you work hard on everything and anything for God, this does not mean you are actually doing God’s work. Rather, to believe in the amazing miracle of God, in His salvation that has made us perfectly sinless, is God’s work. That is why it is we the believers—that is, those of us who have received the remission of sin by believing in Jesus Christ—who are doing God’s work.
Even before I was born again, I was already leading a church. At that time, my plan was to rake in a lot of money and build several big buildings, one to be used as a place of worship, another one for educational center, and yet another building for a recreational facility. I thought this was what I should do to carry out a great ministry, even as I myself was sinful. But this was nothing more than my own greed.
However, as I turned to the Bible after receiving the remission of my sins, I saw what Jesus said here, that to believe in Him whom God sent is do God’s work, and so I changed my mind. That’s because the Bible says that for us to believe in Jesus Christ is God’s work.
God the Father sent Jesus Christ and John the Baptist to this earth. We know very well that God the Father sent Jesus to us. But did God really send John the Baptist as well? We need to confirm this from the Bible.
John 1:6-7 say, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.” In other words, God the Father sent His Son and John the Baptist to this earth for a special purpose. So, God’s work is to believe in what these two did. God does not want us to do just anything arbitrarily, but He wants us to be saved by believing in Him whom God sent. That is why God said, “To believe in Him whom I sent is to do My work.” Put differently, rather than believing on our own without even understanding God’s desire and instead of letting our own zealousness overtake us into volunteering, evangelizing, and sacrificing ourselves, to believe in Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, those whom God sent, is to do God’s work.
God said the following about John the Baptist: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe” (John 1:6-7). Whom did God send? They are Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. John the Baptist was sent to this earth to bear witness of the Light, Jesus Christ, and as the representative of mankind and the last prophet of the Old Testament. Referring to John the Baptist, the Bible says that he was the greatest of all those born of women (Matthew 11:11).
John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. This was to pass the sins of the world to Jesus. And the following day, John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). By this, John the Baptist meant, “He is the Son of God, the very Savior of mankind. When I laid my hands on His head and baptized Him yesterday, all the sins of the world were passed onto Him.” John the Baptist thus testified here that he had baptized Jesus, and that all the sins of the world were now passed onto Him, so that many would believe in Jesus as their Savior.
Those whom God sent to this earth are two; the first one is Jesus, and second one is John the Baptist. Therefore, to do God’s work is to believe that God the Father sent Jesus and John the Baptist, and to believe in what they did. Is this how you believe? Today, many Christians do not believe that God sent John the Baptist to pass the sins of the world to Jesus, and instead believe only in Jesus’ blood on the Cross. This kind of faith is not the faith that is based on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The adherents of this faith do not believe in those whom God the Father sent. If anyone believes only in Jesus’ blood without believing in what John the Baptist had done together with Christ, then he is not doing the work of God. So when we preach the gospel, we must preach what Jesus Christ and John the Baptist did as those whom God sent. Therefore, those who believe in the true gospel must preach, along with Jesus’ death on the Cross, how He took upon the sins of the world through the baptism that John the Baptist gave Him. To preach like this is to preach none other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Thirdly, those whom God sent are His servants. To believe in the servants of God is to do His work. In the Old Testament, God sent many servants. There were countless servants in the times of the Old Testament, from Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Habakkuk, Nehemiah, Malachi, and so forth. In the New Testament, there were the twelve disciples of Jesus, and there also were other servants under them. We call the disciples of Jesus “the Apostles.” The word “Apostle,” which is “Apostolos” in Greek, means “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.” Therefore, to believe in the Apostles whom Jesus sent is to do God’s work. To believe in God’s servants of this age sent by Him is also God’s work. In other words, if we can’t believe in the servants whom God raised, then this means we don’t believe in God Himself.
Do you believe that I am a servant appointed by God? In human terms, I can’t ask you to believe in me. Yet when people like Sun-Myung Moon or Paul Yong-ki Cho tell others to believe in them, many actually do trust them. But unlike them, I have no confidence to say, “Believe in me.” I am a man of many shortcomings. I also have many selfish desires. I’m such a man that when I sit around the table with my brothers of faith and I see something tasteful, I want to get it before my brethren, and when there is something good, I want to make it mine.
When I went to Chuncheon City for the first time, I wanted to have some sea squirts. I remembered how I had enjoyed sea squirts when I used to live near the sea long ago. So I bought some sea squirts with the brethren, but there weren’t that many to go around. Wondering to myself how to share such a little amount with them, I asked one of the brethren, “Have you had sea squirts before?” When he told me that he never had them before, I told him that I was going to teach him how to eat them. I said to him, “This sea squirt tastes better the longer you chew on the shell. So you should eat the shell first.” While I ate several pieces of the flesh, he kept chewing on the shell. When there weren’t that many pieces of the flesh left, I felt bad in my conscience, and so I told him to spit out the shell and eat the flesh. After he had a couple of bites, they were all gone.
Later on, we had another chance to eat sea squirts, but this time I broke into laughter at the table remembering the episode. I said to him, “Actually, I told you before to eat the shell first so that you wouldn’t eat too much. Are you going to eat the shell first this time again?” And from then on we shared the flesh of the sea squirts together.
As you can see from this little episode, there is really no ground for me to actually ask you to believe in me. In human terms, I am not trustworthy, but the one thing that I ask you to believe is that I am a servant of God. While I may not be believable when I am kidding around with food, you have to believe that I am someone who believes in Jesus and His messengers, and preaches the Truth. And if you believe in what I am saying, you will attain eternal life, receive the remission of your sins, and prosper in both body and spirit. While it is I who speak, it is not my own words that I preach, but I believe in Jesus Christ and preach His wisdom, understanding, and faith. That is why I ask you to believe in the servants whom God has appointed. And it is God’s work to believe in them like this.
To believe in the servants of God is to do His work. It is when you obey the servants of God that you can receive the remission of your sins, and be led with their guidance in your everyday life. And you can carry on with your life of faith properly and will be blessed for your faith. However, what happens when you don’t believe in the servants whom God has raised? You end up departing from God’s Church unable to believe in God either. When God wants to do something, He does not work unless it’s through the servants whom He has established. God first teaches His servants the gospel that brings salvation and how to live by faith, and then He speaks these to all His believers through those servants. That is why you must trust in God’s servants.
My fellow believers, do you believe in God’s servants? To believe in those whom God sent is God’s work. Some people do not believe in God’s servants even though they have been saved from sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Such people say that they can lead their lives of faith quite well without the servants of God, but that is not actually the case. In other words, unless you hear the Word through the servants of God, you cannot lead your life of faith properly. If you don’t believe in the servants raised by God, and if you are not led by them, then no matter how you might have received the remission of your sins, you will just turn into a couch potato, carrying out the works of the flesh that you shouldn’t, and get into fights with others. In contrast, when you really listen to the Word through the servants of God, you can believe in God Himself and carry out His work faithfully.
The same principle applies to me as well. If I am a saint, then there must be someone who preaches the Word to me also. Without someone preaching the Word to me, I cannot carry on with my life of faith properly. I’ve done everything. I’ve served the Lord as a layman, and I’ve also held a secular job. I’ve done pretty much everything there is to do. So I know your mind very well. I know very well how you should serve the Lord. I am sure that God has trained me in every aspect so far to establish me as one of His servants.
God Has Raised His Servants for Us
To trust in the servants appointed by God and be led by them is to do God’s work. We must understand and believe so. If you can’t recognize the servants of God whom He sent, then you cannot recognize Jesus Christ either. If you don’t recognize John the Baptist whom God sent, then you cannot understand the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And therefore you cannot be saved from your sins and receive God’s blessings. How can we be led by God? We can be led by Him when we believe in the servants whom He has raised.
Yet some people do not trust in the God-established servants. Such people’s faith will wither away soon. The very foundation of their faith is wrong. They say to God’s servants to listen to their own words. So when there are too many self-claimed instructors in the Church, God’s order begins to break down and the spiritual power of the Church disappears. This may sound a bit exaggerating, but the Bible says that there were ten thousand instructors in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 4:15). This means that there were that many people who tried to teach on their own while ignoring Paul, a servant raised by God. How was this church of Corinth then? It was an utterly disorderly and licentious church.
To those who do not believe in the servants raised by God even as they come to God’s Church, and instead think in their minds, “Are you the only servant of God? I am also a servant of God,” I have the following words to say: “You are out of your mind. You are so reckless that you are asking for your own death.” Korah conspired with 250 leaders of other tribes and rebelled against Moses and Aaron, whom God had raised (Numbers 16:1-3). What happened as a result? The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. (Numbers 16:32).
The Bible says, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Even though this is what is written in the Bible, are you still not going to believe in those whom God sent? If so, then it can only mean that you are out of your mind. You will then face spiritual death.
When one first believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receives the remission of his sins, he is healed from his spiritual and bodily illnesses as a matter of course, as he finds peace of mind and overflows with joy. Most illnesses of the body and the mind are healed on their own. When one really believes in the Lord’s gospel with his heart, then this is actually what happens. Those who are physically weak become strong. They become much healthier. It is by listening to the Word of God from His servants and feeding on the spiritual milk in God’s Church that your faith grows and you can enjoy God’s grace and blessings. This is the normal life for anyone who has come into the Church.
Yet despite this, some people still stubbornly refuse to listen to the servants of God. If you do this, your life of faith in His Church will be all over in no time. No matter how great your individual faith might be, God has raised His servants so that you would hear His Word through them and be led by their guidance, and so those who ignore this and try to do God’s work all on their own come before God’s presence with a legalistic faith that’s oriented toward their own works. They are satisfied when the result of their diligent service is good, but when this is not the case, they get all sulky, falling into the merit-oriented life of faith. In other words, they once again fall into legalistic faith even after being saved. In the Book of James, of course, there is a passage that says that faith without works is dead. But, this means that true faith is followed by practice.
To believe in those whom God sent is His work. It is when we first believe in what was accomplished together by those whom God sent, Jesus and John the Baptist, that we are saved from sin and also receive the blessing of everlasting life. Because we have been saved and blessed by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is from here that our works of faith springs forth. You believe that Jesus took upon the sins of this world and follow this Truth precisely because you have come to believe in what was done by John the Baptist, a servant of God, and his witness. That is how you do the works of faith, showing that you have indeed been saved. This is what the passage in James really means.
However, many people don’t believe in God’s servants. Instead of believing in the servants of God, they actually scorn them inside.
My fellow believers, to believe in the role of John the Baptism and that he is a servant of God is to do God’s work. If you want to mature spiritually, grow in faith, be led by God, and live the rest of your life blessed by Him, then you must believe in John the Baptist, a man sent by God. There are others whom God sent as well. God sent His servants to sinners. The people of God must believe in the witnesses of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Sinners should trust in the words of the righteous. That is doing God’s work. Jesus told us to labor for the food that endures. It is when sinners listen to the gospel from the servants of God that they obtain incorruptible, everlasting life.
I admonish you to mature in your life of faith. You have been saved by believing in Jesus Christ and what was done by John the Baptist. After this, you must believe in the servants whom God has raised. Whether a servant falls or rises all depends on God. During the reign of King David, a man named Uzzah drove a cart with the Ark of Jehovah on it, and when the oxen stumbled and the Ark seemed to teeter, Uzzah put his hand on the Ark and was killed right at the spot (2 Samuel 6:3-7). God killed him instantly. Uzzah had grabbed the Ark of Jehovah in panic because it was about to fall. Why was this so wrong? Should he have not held the Ark, even as he saw that it was falling? We may think in our human perspective that Uzzah didn’t really deserve to die here, but breaking the statutes established by God cannot be tolerated.
God Himself made us, and to turn us into His people, He sent His Son Jesus Christ. And God also sent John the Baptist, and these two did the great work of salvation together, with one passing our sins and the other taking upon these sins. We cannot judge what was planned and achieved by God Himself.
Can God’s servants do anything willfully? No, of course not. While I, too, sometimes go on my way, in the end, I subject myself to the will of God. You may think that I can do everything arbitrarily, but I cannot do anything on my own will to the end. God Himself speaks to His servants when they go against His will, saying, “I’ve told you time after time, and yet won’t you still listen to me?” He doesn’t actually say this to their ears, but He convicts their hearts. Once God controls the servants’ hearts, they can’t just do whatever they want to do.
God’s servants do not just do everything according to their own wish. Do not think that the servants of God can do whatever they want to do, simply because they are not controlled by anyone else. They can’t do this. As they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He speaks to them whenever they go astray. They are completely beholden to the Holy Spirit. God is absolute. God speaks His Word and does everything according to this Word. You have to realize that even His servants are not free to do whatever they wish. Once you realize the fact that God rules His servants, you will be able to trust in them.
How about you? Can you do whatever you want? No, absolutely not. Those who have received the remission of sin are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That’s why when they hear the Word of God, they are joyful, their hearts can believe in the Word, and they desire to follow it. Faith springs forth in them.
In contrast, try doing whatever you want to do, and see if you can get away with this. The Holy Spirit will discomfort your heart to suffer in pain and grief. Unless you listen to the Word of God and follow it, you can’t live as your heart is too tormented. The Holy Spirit makes it impossible for you to do anything other than to follow the will of God. He leads you into the Church and makes you listen to the words of God’s servants.
Do you really want to live faithfully before God? Do you want to do His work? Then believe in those whom God sent—none other than this to do the very work of God.
Some People Are Teaching That Jesus Saved Us from Our Sins by Dying on the Cross
Most Christians do not believe in John the Baptist, a man sent by God. In other words, they don’t believe in his ministry and witness. And they only believe a half-gospel that claims Jesus has remitted away our sins just by shedding His blood and dying on the Cross. However, they can’t really receive the remission of their sins by believing like this. Far from obtaining everlasting life, what results from this kind of faith is that they end up being bound by the Law. Such people cannot escape from the yoke of the Law, even though God has given them the Law so that they would realize their sins through it and receive the remission of their sins by believing in Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind sent by God.
Some people, even after hearing the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receiving the remission of sin, go to their former churches that preach only the gospel of the blood of the Cross alone and continue to lead their lives of faith there. These people are not doing God’s work. To believe in the Word of God is to do His work, even if we were playing soccer. God’s work is to believe in the servants raised by God, to also believe in John the Baptist whom God sent, and to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. In other words, it is by faith that we labor, not with our own toil.
Does this then mean that no work is needed once we are saved? No, that’s not the case. We labor precisely because we believe. It’s because we believe that we work voluntarily and joyfully. It’s because we believe that we come to the Church. And it’s because we believe that we serve the Lord.
What is doing God’s work? It is to believe in those whom God sent. God has sent His servants to us on this earth. Believing in the Word of God preached by His servants is to do His work. It is when we believe in God’s Word that He works in our lives and He is pleased. Do you think that it’s God’s work to live a godly life all by yourself and commit no sin? When you go out to the streets, you often come across people shouting out on the mike, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will then be saved!” While these people think that they are doing God’s work, they are not actually doing anything for God. God’s work is to believe in those whom He sent.
Whom did God send? He sent Jesus and John the Baptist. God also sent His servants. Therefore, to trust in these servants raised by God, and to believe in His Word preached by them, is to do God’s work. That is why when we read the Word of God, we must believe in what Jesus has done for us together with John the Baptist. It is when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit preached by the servants of God that we do His work. When we believe in the role of John the Baptist sent by God, and in the fact that Jesus Christ has become our true Savior by taking upon our sins through His baptism, bearing our condemnation, and rising from the dead again—this is when we are doing Gods’ work.
As such, we must turn to the Word and believe in it. We must listen to the Word. God said, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). It’s when we hear the Word that faith comes to us, and it’s when we believe in the Word that we do God’s work.
My fellow believers, have you been saved by faith? If you have indeed been saved by believing in the Word, then you should now trust in God’s Church and be united with it. You must unite yourself with the Church, and you must unite yourself with the servants whom God has raised. You must trust in the words of the servants of God. You must accept the gospel preached by God’s servants. You must share fellowship with your fellow saints. And you must follow the Word of God in obedience. This is doing God’s work.
We should be rejoiced to do God’s work. To carry out His work, we must believe in those whom He sent. Rather than trying to do God’s work by ourselves, we must believe in those whom God sent. This is how we can obtain everlasting life, follow God, and receive His abundant blessings. To believe in the Word is to believe in God, and to do His Work.
I give my thanks to God. God said, “To believe in those whom I have sent is to believe in Me.” Do you believe in God? Do you believe in those sent by God? Do you believe in His Word? Do you believe that the saints whom God has placed on this earth are His own people? I believe that God has raised His servants in His Church. I believe that the saints are righteous people. I believe that all of us are God’s own people. It is God’s work that we are now doing.
We are able to live a wonderfully blessed life by faith in God. By believing in what are we blessed? It’s by believing in what Jesus Christ and John the Baptist did, and in the servants raised by God, that we receive all the blessings of Heaven. When we believe, our illnesses will also be healed. We receive the remission of our sins by faith as well. When we believe, we will be made the servants of righteousness like Abraham. When we believe, we will prosper in both body and spirit. I admonish you all to follow by faith the servants whom God has raised.
I give all my thanks to God for giving us the faith to believe in those whom He sent.