The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 16 : The Gospel According to JOHN

[Chapter 12-2] (John 12:20-33) Jesus Christ Who Has Solved The Problem of Death

(John 12:20-33)
“Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”
 
 
It is a fact that from the ancient times to now, humanity has been trying to solve the problem of death. From kings to the ordinary people, all human beings have tried everything to solve the problem of their death. There was, however, no one on this earth who could solve this problem, but only Jesus Christ could give the correct solution to this intractable problem.
In ancient burial custom, mummies were quite common. What we can find out from these mummies is that mankind has had a fundamental hope for eternal life. People used to offer sacrificial offerings to such gods of their own making as the sun god, begging for blessings. For some gods, such sacrificial offerings were at times human beings themselves. Why did they do so? Because they believed that there would be glorious life waiting for them in the world beyond their death. They believed, in other words, that there would be their resurrection. People who gave offerings to a god thought that the wrath of this god would end as they gave offerings to him. We can see from this fact just how many people had dreamt of the next world and lived their lives for the purpose of attaining eternal life.
We can see this from the ancient kings of history also. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, was one of those who sought to live forever in this world. He ordered his servants to find the elixir of eternal youth, and many of his servants sent out in search of the elixir were lost in far away places and never made it back. He had made them search for a magic herb that would put a stop to the death of the flesh in this world and enable him to live forever. However, he died at the age of 50 in spite of his desperate endeavors. Like this, it has been everyone’s common hope to solve the problem of death.
Most people believe in their afterlife. We can verify this fact from the discovery of the archeological artifacts of the Emperor Qin, who upon his death had hundreds of thousands of terracotta armies buried along with his own dead body. The Emperor Qin, wanting to be protected by his armies even after his death, certainly dreamt of living and enjoying his power and authority forever. When we see this, we can realize that everyone has this desire to be freed from death and live forever.
 
 
The Problem of Everyone’s Death Has Been Resolved by the Death of Jesus
 
When the Passover approached, Jews went up to Jerusalem where the Temple was located. There were certain Greeks at the time who requested Philip, a disciple of Jesus, “We would like to see Jesus; could you for us ask Him to see us?” When Jesus heard of this request from Andrew and Philip, He said, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.” This means that now the time had come for the Lord to rise from the dead again and reign forever to solve the problem of death, something that all the people of the world eagerly sought after. Jesus had come to this earth to solve all the problems of the death of mankind and the condemnation of sin, and He said here that the time had now come for Him to fulfill this.
Jesus said this to let it be known that the day for Him to be crucified and die was nearing, as He had already been baptized by John and had thereby shouldered the sins of the world once and for all. Our Lord said in John 12:24, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Jesus said this in reference to His own sacrifice. The reason why Jesus was sacrificed was because He had shouldered the sins of the world by being baptized by John.
The reason why Jesus said here that He would become a grain of wheat was because now, once He is crucified and rises from the dead again, He could enable many people to receive eternal life by believing in Him as the Savior, for He had already received the baptism that passed the sins of the world onto Him. He said this because if He does not fall on the ground and die, He would remain as a grain, but once He is crucified, shed His blood and die, and rise from the dead again, He would solve the problem of death for many people and enable them to receive eternal life. Had Jesus who was baptized by John not shouldered the sins of the world, not died on the Cross, and not borne the condemnation of death, everyone’s problem of the remission of sin and death would forever have remained unresolved.
Because Jesus was to reach His death to pay the wages of the sins of all people, He shouldered the sins of the world and was vicariously crucified to death in their place. Therefore, if we do not have the faith that believes in the baptism and death of Jesus, then there would be no eternal life for believers. This is why Jesus said about His own death, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” All of us must realize that Jesus Christ came to this earth to accomplish the task of washing away the sins of the world and resolve the problem of death. Our Lord said, “But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Jesus came to this earth to wash away the sins of mankind and solve the problem of death for them.
Having come to this earth in the flesh of a man and been baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30, Jesus had already accepted all the sins of the world. He therefore knew that if He would only die on the Cross and then rise from the dead again, His mission to wash away the sin of the world and solve the problem of death would all be accomplished. Because Jesus was crucified and bled to death, all those who believe are now able to overcome death and receive eternal life. Because Jesus had taken upon our sins through His baptism, with His death on the Cross He now had to pay all the wages of sin in our place. This is why Jesus gave Himself up to be crucified. The Lord Himself was baptized for us the entire mankind, shed His blood on the Cross, and died vicariously in our place all in accordance to the Law that declares the wages of sin to be death. Jesus has thereby fulfilled His purpose to bring everyone alive.
All people were born into this world as sinners, for Adam and Eve, the ancestors of mankind, had fallen into the temptation of Satan and sinned against God (Romans 5:12). All human beings therefore could not but be conceived in sin from the very moment they were made in the wombs of their mothers and be born in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). From the very birth, mankind could not but die for the sin that they inherited from their ancestors. Once people are born into this world and time goes by, they grow old, fall ill and are visited by death inevitably, and this was a fate from which they could forever not escape. As such, for Jesus Christ the Lord of all humanity, there was no other solution but for Himself to come to this earth in the flesh of a man, be baptized, be hung on the Cross and shed His blood, rise form the dead again, and thereby give us mankind His true salvation, so that He would solve not only the problem of aging and illness, but also to wash away all the sins of mankind, solve the problem of their death, and give them eternal life (Psalms 103:3-4).
So by shedding His blood and dying on the Cross, Jesus has enabled all those who believe in Him to get all the problems of their sins and death solved once for all. By being baptized and shedding His blood on the Cross, the Lord has enabled all those who believe in Him as their own Lord to be washed of their sins, to be delivered from their death, and to receive eternal life, and He has enabled anyone to have the problem of eternal death resolved by faith. As such, our Lord is the very One who has forever solved away the problem of death for us.
The reason why Jesus Christ was baptized by John and bled to death on the Cross was for us to receive eternal life. Our Lord is the Savior who has completely solved away the problem of our sin and death all at once. Because Jesus took upon the sins of the world by being baptized, He died as a result and rose from the dead again. This was the Lord’s righteous judgment, death and resurrection that were fulfilled for us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As Jesus was hung on the Cross and died on it, it is by believing in this fact that we have been delivered from all the condemnation of sin and death.
Jesus said in John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” The Lord said here that this world is now to be judged. This means that because the Lord took upon the sins of the world by being baptized by John, when He dies on the Cross He would be vicariously suffering even the death of all those who would be born in this world in the future for their sins also, and so the power of Satan, who can reign in only where there is sin, would now disappear. As such, because the Lord accepted all the sins of the world through the baptism that He received from John, by being crucified and vicariously suffering the death of everyone, He has enabled all to escape from the condemnation of their sins. It is by believing in this truth that we can solve our problem of sin and death.
Had Jesus not died on the Cross even as He had been baptized, the problem of our death would not have been solved. But because He took upon our sins with His baptism, He shed His blood on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby given true salvation to those who believe. Had Jesus not been crucified to death, the condemnation of our sins would not have been resolved, and this would then mean that we would have to die for our sins. But instead of us having to die for our sins, the Lord was baptized and died for our sins, being crucified and shedding His blood, and He has thereby resolved everyone’s problem of sin.
 
 
Have You Truly Agonized over the Problem of Death?
 
What mankind must actually be most agonized about is the problem of death. Isn’t there a way for humans to live forever? How wonderful would it be if there were no death for everyone living on this earth? There are countless people who die without solving the problem of death, but the Lord has solved all these things for us. Given this, how could we not thank Him and believe? We can only thank the Lord, for He became a grain of wheat and fell on the ground, solving all the problems of sin by being baptized and dying on the Cross. Jesus our Lord solved our problem of sin and death once for all by being crucified. Now, those who believe in this will take part in the resurrection of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:22-23). Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are, by believing in this gospel, now washed of all sins, their problem of death is resolved, and they have thereby received eternal life.
Our Lord said, “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Being “lifted up from the earth” here mean none other than the death of Jesus on the Cross. When Jesus was crucified to death while shouldering the sins of the world, His feet did not touch the ground, as His body was lifted up from the earth. This clearly tells us that the death of Jesus has solved our problem of death. People who think about their death and sins come to thank God, for they come to realize that Jesus Christ has solved all their problems of death by taking upon their sins through His baptism and dying on the Cross in their instead. This is the faith that believes in the truth.
Unless the problem of their death is resolved, people cannot avoid but be constantly worried. But to solve the problem of death in our lives, Jesus Christ came to this earth, was baptized, died on the Cross, and has thereby saved us mankind from sin and solved our problem of death. We must realize that the Lord has given new life to those of us who believe in His life-giving ministries. We can attain this new life only when we believe in this truth. Yet most of today’s Christians believe in Jesus without knowing this truth, a situation that is deeply saddening and disturbing.
This morning, I visited the tomb of Deacon Kim, who passed away a few years ago. I went there with a few colleagues of mine to know whether the tomb was well maintained; I wanted to check if the grass was growing well, whether or not there was any risk of landslide with the coming Monsoon season, and various other such safety issues. We didn’t pour drinks and bowed down before the tomb like the people of the world do. Instead, we just meditated once again on how the Lord has solved the problem of death for us, and we gave thanks to God. We prayed for a while before his tomb, and we ruminated on our faith again, that the Lord would raise him and us to live and see one another once again.
Because the Lord has solved our problem of death once for all with the baptism that He received from John and the blood of the Cross, it is by believing in this that the problem of sin and death is resolved for us (Romans 8:1-2). When our Lord makes His angels sound the last trumpet, we will once again come face to face to those with the true faith who had fallen asleep in their tombs (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18).
Through the baptism that Jesus Christ received and His bloodshed, our problem of death has now been all solved. That Jesus died on the Cross was because He had shouldered our sins through His baptism. Therefore, His death is our own death. And His resurrection is the resurrection of us who believe (Romans 6:3-6). This is not just a doctrine, but it is the actual truth of salvation.
Everyone must think about death, though at different depths. Why? Because the Bible tells us that it is appointed for men to die once, and the more serious problem is that this would be followed by the judgment of their sins (Hebrews 9:27-28). That people, once born in this world, must die once for sin is utterly true. It is only a matter of course for us to die once, but we must think about how we are to solve the problem of the second death that follows the first death. This second death is none other than the eternal punishment of hell for our sins. The problem of this second death had been like a great task assigned to the entire mankind, but now with the coming of the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this problem has been all resolved. All of us know very well that because Jesus was baptized, shed His blood on the Cross, and rose from the dead again, all these problems of death and sin have now been resolved for us, and that there will be resurrection for us. I give my thanks to the Lord, for by believing that Jesus has solved our problem of eternal death by dying in our place, we are now able to follow God by faith, no longer burdened by our worries about our own death.
 
 
Do You Know That Jesus Christ Has Solved the Problem of Death for Everyone?
 
Jesus has truly solved our problem of sin and death. He has permitted new life to us who believe to live forever. If we believe in Jesus and in His ministries of the water and the Spirit that He fulfilled for us, we can receive all these blessings by faith. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In John 11:25-26, He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Those who believe in Jesus Christ will live even as their bodies die, and those who live and believe in Jesus will forever not die. If we are still alive when the Lord returns, we will really come before God without ever tasting death. If we believe in Jesus and have been resolved of this problem by faith, then we will live again even as our bodies die. And if we live through the coming Great Tribulation without being martyred by the Antichrist, then our bodies too will receive eternal life without tasting death. We must thank the Lord for thus giving us eternal life also.
When we believe in Jesus, we must get the problem of death resolved along with the washing of sin. All these things are resolved by believing in the true gospel of the water and the Spirit. Think about it yourselves. How has your problem of sin and death been resolved? As Jesus was baptized, was crucified to death, and rose from the dead again, it is by believing in this truth that our problem of death has been resolved. The Cross where Jesus died is not just symbolic, but it is the place where Jesus actually solved the problem of our death. The baptism of Jesus solved our problem of sin; His blood on the Cross solved the problem of death; and His resurrection from the dead, by giving us new and eternal life, solved our human desire to live forever. For us, Jesus Christ is truly the Savior, our resurrection and life, the Lord who has enabled us to be resolved of the problem of sin, the problem of death, and the problem of eternal life once for all. We must therefore believe that the Lord is the Savior who has solved away the problem of eternal death for us.
Our Lord said, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” It is because people do not believe in the truth of life and remain unable to solve the problem of their eternal death that they are all facing the condemnation of their sins. Their life of flesh will end up dead while not being able to solve their own problem of sin. We all received this first life, the life of the flesh, from our parents. It is God’s providence that this first life is appointed to pass away once. However, because people love this first life so much, they cannot avoid but end up losing the second life that would have enabled them to live forever. But those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that Jesus Christ has saved us from sin and solved the problem of death and eternal life, love everlasting life. They will receive eternal life afterwards, which is more precious than the first life that is to die and disappear.
All must believe in Jesus the Savior as their own Savior. When they acknowledge by faith that they are bound to hell and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, by this faith they will be able to get the clear answers to all the problems of sin, death, and eternal life. It is because some people love themselves too much even as they are inevitably bound to die that they cannot receive by faith the remission of sin given by Jesus. They therefore reject the gospel that has resolved everyone’s problem of death and eternal life through the baptism that Jesus received and the blood of the Cross. Because they raise themselves up too high, they cannot receive the salvation that God has given them. Representative of such people is Buddha, who said, “Holy am I alone throughout heavens and earth.” Such people never give up their endeavor to solve the problem of death by themselves. Put differently, each of them is trying to become his/her own savior. They will therefore end up being condemned to hell to be punished for their sins forever and lose their real life.
We all love ourselves more than others, for we are selfish by nature. However, there is someone whom we must love even more than ourselves. This someone that must be the object of our true love is Jesus Christ the Son of God. He has given new life to you and me by sacrificing His own life. We must believe in Jesus Christ who has solved all our problems of sin, death, and eternal life by giving us His own life. We must believe in our Lord who is greater than us. This is the right faith.
In these days, however, many people on this earth do not know and cannot believe that Jesus has solved their problem of sin and death, even as they wish eagerly to get this problem of death resolved. How many people actually know and believe that Jesus bore all the condemnation of their sins? Even such famous people of the ancient times as Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar all failed to find the way to solve the problem of death and ended up dead. Though they wielded immense power and accomplished many great achievements on this earth, they all ended up dying in a relatively young age only to be buried in history. Like this, for everyone, the problem of death could not be solved by anyone. Countless philosophers have tried to resolve this problem of death, but none realized the truth.
Today, however, through the baptism that Jesus Christ received and His death on the Cross, you have realized the truth that these people had sought after so much, the truth that enabled one to be resolved of the problem of death. What an amazing truth this is? What a truthful way of faith? What an eternal life? If we know that our problem of death has been resolved by believing in Jesus Christ’s righteous acts for our salvation, we can then follow the Lord freely, without worrying over the problem of our death. Is this not the case? Through His baptism and resurrection, Jesus Christ has solved our problem of sin and death. What else is this but a truly amazing blessing?
When Jesus was praying to the Father in the Gethsemane Garden, He said, “Father, save Me from this hour.” Jesus Christ knew very well just how painful His death on the Cross would be. Imagine yourselves that you yourselves are to be crucified to death for your sins. Just how painful it would be? Would you not try to avoid this, if possible at all? Jesus had to die on the Cross because He had shouldered our sins through His baptism, but because He also was in the weak flesh of a man, He wanted to avoid the punishment of Cross if possible. Being treated like some worm below a human being, ridiculed, and dying in great suffering were what this punishment of Cross entailed. Our Lord bore such a punishment for us.
It was to resolve our problem of sin and death that the Lord died on the Cross. Our Lord knew very well that He had to be crucified because of our problem of sin and death. This is why the Lord said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Do you believe that Jesus Christ has solved our problem of sin and death by being crucified, and that just as He rose from the dead again, He has also raised us from the dead through the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The Lord has given us the blessing of eternal life. The truth that Jesus has solved our problem of death is the truth that everyone, young and old, must all believe in. Human beings are mortal beings: Once they are born as sinners, they inevitably grow old, fall ill and eventually die once. And after that, they cannot but face God’s eternal judgment for their sins. That’s why all sinners must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When I was at the cemetery today, I saw how the funeral business is booming. Before, there used to be some desolated fields all around the cemetery, but these were all overturned and tidied up as nice tombs now. But regardless of how the tombs were nicely arranged and their surroundings were beautifully adorned, how many of them do you think really had solved their problem of death by faith before passing away? How many of them, in other words, would receive new life, live again, and ascend to God when the Lord returns to this earth? How many would have carved out the word “a righteous person” before his or her name in the tombstones that stand before all those countless tombs? But in the epitaph of Deacon Myungchan Kim, who had believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it was written, “Deacon Myungchan Kim, a righteous man, sleeps here waiting for the return of the Lord.” Brothers and sisters, if I die before you while serving the gospel, I, too, want my epitaph to be written in this way: “Rev. Paul C. Jong, a righteous man, sleeps here waiting for the return of the Lord and his resurrection.” Behind my tombstone, I would like it to be written, “Waiting for the people and servants of God to do their works and return soon,” and on its sides, “Everyone, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and you will then be washed from your sins.”
I thank the Lord with my faith for allowing my name to be written in the Book of Life in the Kingdom of God, and for resolving the problem of death and sin. All must now get the problem of their death resolved by believing in the baptism and death of Jesus. As I write this, it is April, with the Passion Week about to pass and the Easter to come. There are many Christians who fast during the Passion Week. Would you also like to fast, so that you yourselves may experience some aspects of the suffering that Jesus endured? However, what is more important than this is to believe that the Lord died to resolve the problem of our death. It is because we believe in this that we have thankful hearts.
Now, no matter when we die, we will go to the Lord. We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not care exactly when we will go to the Lord. Why? Because the problem of death has already been resolved by faith. All that we have to do is just go to the Lord whenever He calls us, for we have already received eternal life by faith. To us who believe in the life-giving gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has given eternal life. Because our resurrection is already given to us, far from worrying or agonizing over the problem of sin and death, on the contrary we give instead thanks to God.
Our Lord said, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (John 12:26). Jesus said that His Father would honor those who serve Him. Moreover, as He said that those who serve the Lord would also be where He is, if we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and serve it, we will all go to where the Lord is. This is why the righteous do not care when they die as long as they have spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit fully. If the righteous are too lazy and not faithful enough to bear many fruits, even as the Lord has enabled them to do the works of God, then His heart can only ache. When it comes to spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we serve, if we only pay enough attention, we can all fulfill such works well. We only regret that we had not dedicated all our hearts and been faithful to them. I want to serve the Lord faithfully, but it is my regret that I have not been wholly faithful. Are you not like this also?
I know that many regrets can arise when we are doing the works of God. But whenever such regretful thoughts come to our minds, wondering how things might have turned out if we had done certain things differently, we are still determined to please God by boldly and vigorously spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the end. If we want to have no more regrets later by not being faithful to the works of the Lord now, then we must serve the gospel even better, until the day the Lord no longer permits the gospel to be spread on this earth. I want you to do the works of God now, when you are able to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit to your hearts’ content, without any regret. It is my hope that you would not regret when the time set by the Lord comes and He tells us to stop spreading the gospel.
As for myself, I think I will end up regretting if I am not faithful right now at this very hour. Even if I regret when the time of tribulation comes, it would only hurt my heart, for all my regrets would be in vain, and I would be able to undo none of them. Though my heart is content for receiving the remission of sin, I want to spread the gospel as much as possible when the Lord has permitted me the opportunity, ability, and time to serve the works of God, or else I would end up regretting. I do acknowledge that I am somewhat insufficient, but I still do not want to live a regretful life. Having lived my life to meet the Lord and serve and follow Him, I have decided not to become someone who regrets. This is why I do the works of the Lord, though I may be insufficient. And there indeed are many insufficiencies in me. But because I really want to become someone who has no regret, I am trying to do what I have to do, regardless of my shortcomings.
The problem of death for you, for all the saints and servants of God, has now been resolved because of the Lord. Believing that the Lord has resolved our problem of death, I thank Him once again. I am so thankful that such precious meaning, glory, and blessed fruits are held in the fact that the Lord was crucified. Because Jesus Christ fell into the ground and became the fertilizer that resolved our problem of death, you and I who believe have born the fruits of having all the problems of death resolved.
I give my thanks to God. Our hearts are sometime saddened, they struggle, and they are at times even captured by carnal thoughts. But by believing in the Lord who has solved away our problem of death, we must overcome all these things. With our faith in the Lord, we must overcome all the weaknesses that bind us. By believing that the Lord has completed His mission to resolve all the problems of sin and death, we can become victors. Though our flesh is insufficient, we can still triumph with the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have all become holy.
Now that we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must live following the Lord. Believing that the Lord has resolved our problem of death by being baptized and bleeding to death on the Cross, it is only proper for us to never again be troubled by our problem of death, but to give thanks to God, on the contrary, for resolving the problem of sin and death and giving us eternal life. I hope that you would all believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and live the rest of your lives without having any regrets before God.
I pray that you would live your lives by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the day you stand before the Lord. To those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I believe that God has given the remission of sin and eternal life. Amen! Hallelujah!