The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 16 : The Gospel According to JOHN

[Chapter 14-1] (John 14:1-14) Let Your Faith Be United With Friendly Jesus

(John 14:1-14)
“‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’”
 
 
The Lord, who has saved us from all the sins of the world, said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). He said that He was going to the Kingdom of Heaven to prepare a place for us, and that He will return when this Kingdom is prepared. He then said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The Lord also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25); “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also” (John 14:7); and, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (John 14:11). And He told us, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do” (John 14:13).
 
 
Let’s Think about Our Prayer Asking for the Lord’s Help
 
From today’s Scripture passage that we just read, we can realize that the Lord wants us to pray and that He will answer our prayers without fail. He spoke many things about prayer. He said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do,” and, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” And He told us, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves” (John 14:11). This means that Jesus Christ is coequal to God the Father.
We believe that our Lord took upon all our sins once for all by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. In other words, through the baptism He received from John, Jesus bore all our sins once for all, and He was crucified to death and rose from the dead again. The Lord is saying that He has become the everlasting Savior of all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit today. That we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit means that we believe that Jesus has become our Savior and our God. By being baptized by John the Baptist, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again for us, the Lord has become the Savior of all His believers.
We believe that this Jesus has become our Savior, and that is our unwavering faith. Indeed, Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and He is also the Creator who made us. Having made us, He has become our Savior who has delivered us from the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He answers our prayers without fail.
Let’s then now think about the prayers that we offer to our Lord. We pray to the Lord by faith, trusting in Him who has saved us from the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whom should we really ask for help to find this help? We should pray to the Lord who came to this earth for you and me, was baptized by John the Baptist, shed His blood on the Cross, and has thereby become our Savior. When we pray to our Lord Jesus, we are actually praying to God Himself. When we pray to Jesus, He hears and answers our prayer together with God our Father.
Jesus Christ, God our Father, and the Holy Spirit are the same Triune God. This Triune God is the same God to all of us. Whether it is God the Father or Jesus whom we ask for help, we are asking the same God. Jesus Christ has saved us from the sins of the world, and it is when we ask Him for help that this Lord helps us. We shouldn’t think that our prayer has to have some grandiose request. Rather, true prayer is offered when we pray to the Lord in earnest trusting that He has become the true Savior by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, being baptized by John the Baptist, and going into the Jordan River and coming out.
Jesus Christ is indeed the Savior God who has come to us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We usually call Jesus “our Lord,” and this designation means that He is the Savior God. Jesus is the God of the entire universe and the Savior who has saved mankind from sin. The Lord is the One who created us, and also the One who has blotted out all our sins once for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Moreover, He is the Almighty God who hears and answers our prayer whenever we pray to Him. That is who Jesus is to us. But many people tend to view God as a different entity from Jesus Christ. And too many Christians are prone to use the word “Lord” as a meaningless word just out of habit when they are praying.
Therefore, we need to reconsider how we pray to the Lord. What should be our disposition when we pray to the Lord? As the Savior who came to this earth, the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist in order to take upon all our sins. By being baptized and going into the water, He bore our sins, and He blotted them out by shedding His blood to death on the Cross. It is when we believe in this Savior God and pray to Him—that is, when we pray to Jesus recognizing that He is our Savior God—that He answers our prayer. When Jesus hears our prayer and it is fitting to Him, then He answers it by exercising His power and working for us.
That is why He said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do” (John 14:13), “I am the resurrection and the life,” and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). What do all these passages mean to us? They mean that Jesus has saved us from the sins of the world, and that He is your God and mine. In other words, this Jesus who has become our Savior can hear our prayers and answer them. So we have to pray to the Lord by faith, trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
We Must Pray with a Proper Understanding of Jesus
 
When it comes to praying to the Lord, one important fact that we must remember is that we can offer proper prayers only when we correctly understand Jesus the Savior. What really enables us to ask the Lord for His help is the fact that the Lord, as the Savior who came to save us from the sins of the world, is truly our God. Jesus Christ is indeed the God of all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He is also the Savior who has truly blotted out all our sins. When we ask for His help through our prayers, He answers all our supplications. We have to grasp this truth and understand it clearly before we pray. Only then can our prayers be truthful; only then can our prayers be honest and sincere prayers of faith rather than just outwardly grandiose prayers; and only then can we pray to the Lord properly.
Someone said, “Prayer is the soul’s breathing.” This means that we should pray to the Lord as we breathe. Not praying to the Lord is like ceasing to breathe. Anyone who prays to God the Father with the right faith can make his request known as if he were asking his own father. “Father, please give me some allowances. I need these things. Please provide them to me.” Asking like this is what an upright prayer is all about. In other words, prayer is all about asking the Lord for His help whenever we find ourselves struggling in our lives. It is about making our requests known to Jesus our Savior by faith, trusting that the Lord took away all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River. “Lord, we need Your help on these issues. Please let the gospel of the water and the Spirit be spread. Bless us with prosperity and give us health to serve the gospel even more diligently. I am going to preach the gospel to that person. Please, move that man’s heart and solve his problem of sin as well.” When we pray like this to the Lord who has saved us from sin, He will answer our prayer.
That’s why we pray to God to rule over our translators and co-workers abroad, and we ask God to bless our brothers and sisters to prosper in their businesses. We pray to God to protect our brothers and sisters and their homes, and to help us and keep us all. The basic use for prayer is to ask God our Savior for His help. Honestly asking God for His help is the right faith. When we pray to the Lord, we are praying to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we call God “Father” in our prayers, and so we often pray to God the Father, but mostly, it is the Lord Jesus to whom we pray. Because Jesus Christ created us, because He has the Father, and because this Father is also our Father, we are also able to call God our own Father.
 
 
Jesus Hears and Answers Our Prayer
 
Jesus Christ is not only the Savior who has blotted out all our sins, but He is also the Almighty God who answers our prayer. We therefore have to grasp clearly, as a matter of both faith and knowledge, who Jesus Christ really is to us. Do you ask the Lord to solve the difficulties you face in your life? Or do you pray just to God the Father when you need some help? Of course, praying to the Father is quite acceptable. However, don’t you think that you are setting aside Jesus, who has actually saved us from sin and bestowed His power on us, and perhaps in some ways, even ignoring Him?
Since we have received the remission of sins and become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God the Father is our Father as well. The Father of Jesus Christ is now our own Father, for Jesus and we are the same children before God the Father. When we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit go to the Kingdom of Heaven, we will be brothers to the Lord. That is how it is on spiritual genealogy. But this doesn’t mean that we should think of ourselves as equal to Jesus. Although He wants to call us His friends (John 15:15), He is our Savior and also our God.
Whenever we pray, therefore, we must always pray in the name of Jesus Christ to either the Lord Jesus or God the Father. Leaving Jesus Christ out when praying is absolutely wrong. Here, we need to look more closely at the prerequisites that enable us to pray in the first place.
 
 
The Faith of Those Who Can Pray
 
The Lord has become our Savior by being baptized on this earth to bear the sins of the world for you and me, shedding His blood on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. If we pray trusting that this Jesus is our Savior and our God, and that He is the Almighty God who answers our prayers, then it is not so difficult to pray to Him nor do our prayers fall short. When we have faith in the Lord, who is the same God as God the Father, we can pray intimately and openly to Him. To Jesus who has saved us from sin and become our God and our Savior, we can ask for help plainly and freely without any hesitation or any qualms in our hearts, just like a child asking for his parents’ help.
When praying, it’s okay to leave out ostentatious phrases like “Our God who is holy, merciful, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.” Jesus is your God and mine, He is the Creator who made you and me, and to deliver us from the sins of the world, He was baptized by John, shed His blood on the Cross to death, and rose from the dead again, thus becoming our Savior. This Jesus is none other than your God and my God, and this God is still the living God. There can be no hesitation at all when we pray to such a God. How could there be? It’s impossible for us to feel alienated from God.
If we really understand and believe in the profound meaning of the baptism of Jesus and His Cross, then we have no reason to hesitate or fear to ask Him for His help. This Savior, Jesus Christ, loves us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He loved you and me so much that He shouldered all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, and He was even crucified and shed His blood to death. That Jesus went into the water when He was baptized by John the Baptist implies our death and the eradication of our sins. Jesus is the Savior who took upon all our sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and who died on the Cross for all these sins in our place. Also, that Jesus came out of the water implies that He rose from the dead again to raise us back to life. Jesus came to this earth for you and me, was baptized, went into the water and came out of it, saved us from all sins, and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father.
Therefore, there is no reason why we should feel uneasy to ask for help from the One who has bestowed all such blessings out of His love for us. It is only natural for us to ask God our Savior for help and to rely on Him. Jesus is not someone who is aloof, but He is our Savior who is very close to us, and therefore we can pray to Him intimately as though we were talking with our own brothers or sisters. That’s because Jesus came to this earth for you and me, was baptized, went into the water and came out of it, and has thereby brought true salvation to all those who believe in Him.
 
 
We Need to Learn to Pray Truthfully
 
We need to learn how to pray to the Lord by faith. Our lives of faith begin when we first believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, receive the remission of sins, and become God’s people. But given the fact that we still come across so many difficulties and hardships while living in this world, how could we ever live according to the will of the Lord without His help? It is the power of prayer that enables us to shake off all the heavy burdens of life and live by faith. None other than the power of prayer is your strength. All that we do is just pray to the Lord by faith, and then the Lord answers our prayers on account of our faith. It is because the Lord has answered our prayers that you and I have been able to lead our lives of faith, and it is also by our prayers of faith that we can continue to lead upright lives in the years to come.
If our faith and prayers to the Lord were left out of our lives of faith, then there would be nothing remaining. No one can lead a life of faith by leaving out faith and prayer. The prayer of faith is all about asking the Lord for His help. It is about asking Him to help us in all aspects of our lives, both in body and spirit, saying to Him, “Lord, please help me. Bless me, Lord, for I cannot live without Your blessings. I am struggling so much, Lord. Please protect me and answer my prayer.”
You cannot lead a proper life of faith unless you give such prayers of faith. Why? It’s because the life of faith cannot be led on our own physical strength, and it is only by faith and prayer that we can receive blessings. Isn’t it true that our hearts and minds sometimes stumble, slip, and fall while leading a life of faith? If you even can’t pray for the Lord’s help by faith as you are living in such a treacherous world and find yourself amid so much work of God, how could you live in this harsh world? Are we the born-again saints vicious to others? Do we ever harm others with our maliciousness? No, of course not! Our spiritual battle is not fought by relying on our own physical strength, but by relying on God. And that is precisely why, whenever we face difficult and taxing situations, we must pray to the Lord our Savior to help us.
Jesus has delivered us from the sins of the world, and He is none other than our Savior and our God. The righteous ask this God for help, and that is what prayer is all about. When you make your request known to the Lord and ask Him for help, the Lord will surely help you and answer all your requests. Therefore, all of us must know how to pray. Now that we have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have to pray to the Lord constantly.
The prayer of faith is offered to the God of salvation who was baptized for you and me, and who went into the water and came out of it. This is the true prayer. Anyone who has been saved from sin must have the clear conviction of faith that the Lord is his own God. If someone attains his salvation from Jesus but offers his prayers only to God the Father thinking that He is higher than Jesus Christ, then this person is mistaken. If we get the problem of our sins solved from Jesus, but ask only God the Father to help us in our daily lives, then our faith itself may go astray. Even our lives of faith may be over.
Of course, it’s not wrong for us to pray to God the Father. But my point is that Jesus Christ is also the Almighty Lord who answers your prayers. Here in today’s Scripture passage Jesus said, “Pray in My name. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it. If you pray to Me and ask for My help, I will answer you.” To us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are the same God. These three Persons are the same God to you and me. So we have to be intimate with Them all.
Don’t you like friendly people? I like friendly people. I like people whose friendship lasts long. It’s so hard to meet new people and reveal my inner self to them all over again. It’s hard because I have to be very careful about how they may perceive me and I can’t act casually. But what about your old friends? Since you and your friends know each other so well, you can be intimate with them. Because you are close to them, you can talk about anything with them without any hesitation. And since you are so close to your friends, you can share many things with them and you can know at once what is going on in their minds just by looking at them. You can then have fellowship with them, admonish them and pray for them as well. Like this, we must be intimate with God and Jesus in whom we believe.
Jesus our Savior is our God. He is God Himself. We must be close to Him, and we must pray to God our Savior. Jesus said, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Therefore, we must pray to Jesus Christ by faith. We must be able to pray to Jesus Christ like this in His name. So let us believe in all these things and ask Jesus Christ for His help by faith.
Even though this is what the Bible says, there still are some people who keep on thinking mistakenly and doubting, “But still, shouldn’t we pray to God the Father? How does this mean that we should pray to Jesus Christ?” That, however, is not what I am saying. My point is that if you’ve been praying to God the Father until now, you can also pray to Jesus Christ and your prayer will still be answered. Those who think that what the Lord said in today’s Scripture passage means something else should realize that they have not united themselves with the Word of God, and that they are actually dismissing the authority of Jesus Christ.
For a while, I used to also switch from God the Father to Jesus and the Holy Spirit when praying. I used to switch around so much. But do things not go well for you when you pray to Jesus? Does Jesus have no power to answer our prayers because He is the Son of God? Is Jesus weak, while His Father is powerful and almighty? Must we pray only to His Father? Is it wrong to pray to the Father’s Son?
Out of our ignorance, we sometimes waver back and forth, praying to Jesus one day, and when this doesn’t seem to work out, switching to the Father. Also, the Holy Spirit is the closest to us. Does this then mean that we should pray to the Holy Spirit again? Do you pray to the Holy Spirit to help you, then to the Father, and then to the Son again, even as you feel there is something wrong with this? Prayer should be offered to God the Father and Jesus Christ. Of course, the Holy Spirit is also God. However, the Holy Spirit is the Helper God, assisting us in our weaknesses and ignorance, thus leading us to pray to God the Father and Jesus Christ. So it is wrong to pray in the name of the Holy Spirit. Yet even now, nominal Christians who still have not been saved, as they remain ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are praying to the Holy Spirit.
For those who have been saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit also, unless their faith in the Truth is firmly and concretely established, it’s not easy to discern to which Person of the Triune God they should pray. However, though this may seem like a difficult issue, it is actually very simple once you grasp it. Jesus is the Lord who came to this earth for you and me, bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, laid down His life on the Cross, and rose from the dead again. Fundamentally speaking, Jesus Christ is the Savior, the Creator, the Judge, and God Himself. Because Jesus Christ is God Himself, and because He laid down His life for our salvation, when we pray to this Lord who has saved us, He answers us most intimately and compassionately. Sometimes we have to ask our God the Father for help as well.
 
 
What Role Does God the Holy Spirit Play?
 
Who is the Holy Spirit then? The Holy Spirit is our Helper. When we pray to Jesus and God the Father, the Holy Spirit leads us to the right way as He knows God the Father’s heart. This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is somehow lesser than the Lord Jesus or the Father, but it means that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all love us and help us from their respective places. In other words, each Person of the Triune God has a different role. Of these three Persons of God, the Father planned our salvation, Jesus Christ implemented it, and the Holy Spirit is now helping us.
God the Father sent His Son to this earth to be baptized by John the Baptist, and according to the will of the Father, Jesus completed our salvation and the remission of our sins by being baptized, shedding His blood, and rising from the dead again. He then ascended to Heaven. After this, the Holy Spirit was sent to this earth in Jesus’ place. As the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of the saints who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, He helps them to realize the Word of God, to think of what the Father and the Son have done for them, and to believe in this work of salvation. So the Father, the Son, and the Spirit each have different roles. When we ask God the Father for help, we think about Jesus who has saved us from the sins of the world, and when we pray to Jesus, we obtain the same answer for our prayer. Therefore, you should realize here that your prayer is answered both when you pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ and when you pray to the Son. We have to remember whenever we pray that God will answer us whether we pray to the Father or His Son Jesus.
We can pray to either God the Father or His Son Jesus. It makes no difference at all if you pray to God the Father, nor is it wrong to pray to Jesus Christ in His name. What’s important is that we pray constantly at all times, as often as possible. Whether it is to the Son or the Father that we pray, we are praying to the same God. Jesus is equally divine. The Son has saved us from the sins of the world, and His divine nature is the same as that of His Father. That’s why we have to be as intimately close to Jesus as God the Father.
Since Jesus is our Savior God, it is proper for us to pray to this Lord. Whenever we pray, we say at the end of the prayer, “We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and we do this precisely because Jesus has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Why do we pray in the name of Jesus? It’s because He has saved us from all the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We pray in the name of Jesus because He is our God and our Savior; it’s because Jesus made us, He is the Savior who has blotted out all our sins, and He is the Lord who has brought us back to life. That’s why when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, we can come before His presence, and by relying on His work of salvation, we can also come boldly before God the Father. This is an absolutely indispensable faith.
This faith must be clearly understood and we must all have it. There are many times in our lives of faith when we find ourselves confined by our own weaknesses. There are times when we get too tired and weary of God’s work and we feel too frustrated and exasperated to continue on. Hitting the limits of the strength of our own flesh, sometimes we even feel that life itself is too hard to carry on. In times like these, if we unite ourselves with the Lord and pray to Him by faith to seek His help, we will be able to continue to carry on with our lives of faith, for we will receive new strength from the Lord.
 
 
When You Ask for the Lord’s Help in Your Prayer, You Must Be United with the Lord by Faith
 
The Bible says in Galatians chapter 2, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Many Christians can cite this verse from memory. Sometimes they sing praises that contain this verse. Yet even though they pray and praise like this, they sometimes lead a life of faith that is alienated from Jesus and is not united with Him. Even though every Christian should pray to the Lord who has blotted out all sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and every Christian’s faith should be united with the Lord when asking Him for His help, many Christians actually lack this faith.
Ignorant of the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, some Christians confess just with their lips, saying, “I have been crucified with Christ.” But they have not been able to unite themselves with the Lord. They are leading their lives of faith alienated from the Lord. We have to grasp that Jesus was condemned and crucified for your sins and mine because He had borne them all by being baptized. In other words, He had shouldered all our sins by being baptized first before being crucified in our place. So it is by believing in this Truth, that the Lord bore all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist and was then crucified to death in our place, and that we were crucified with the Lord. And because the Lord rose from the dead again, we have also been brought back to life by faith. In short, it is by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we had died once and lived again.
It’s written in Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3). Jesus Christ is the very God who created the heavens and the earth. As God made man out of dust and blew the breath of life into his nostril, man became a living creature and an immortal being. The Lord became God to all creatures. It’s also written, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). The Bible says that everything in the world was made by Him. It says that nothing could have exited without Jesus Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit that constitute the Triune God.
The name “Jesus” means the “Savior,” and the name Christ means the “King of kings.” This means that Jesus Christ is the Absolute God. To save us from sin, the Supreme God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, and He has saved us according to His will. He is the God who created us and made all things, and He is the God who answers your prayer whenever you ask Him for help.
All of us must have the faith that’s united with Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I, too, sometimes find myself reaching my limits while leading my life of faith. I come across many things that are beyond my reach, and I sometimes feel too weakened to continue on. There also are times when I feel acutely how I am incapable of helping our struggling brothers and sisters, and how there is nothing I can do on my own to help them. In times like these, I ask my Lord for help. Because I believe that I had died with Christ and have been brought back to life with Him, with this united faith, I request the Lord’s help trusting in Him. For the Lord is my God, my Father, and my Savior, every time I rely on God and ask Him for His help, I can plow through and overcome all my difficulties.
This is true even now. Even now, there are many tasks that I am struggling with and many occasions when I have to push the limits of my own strength, but every time, I overcome all my challenges by believing that I had died with Christ. This world is full of difficulties that I cannot bear on my own, and so what do I do whenever I come across hardship? I bear it by believing that I am someone who had died with Christ and has been brought back to life with Him. That’s because I believe that Christ rose from the dead again. It was to bring you and me, who believe in Jesus Christ, back to life that the Lord rose from the dead again. In other words, because I believe that I have been brought back to life with Christ, and united myself with the Lord by this faith, the Almighty God is more than able to solve all my problems, and therefore there is no problem that I cannot confront.
None of us can ever lead a proper life of faith alienated from Jesus Christ. We live out our faith by uniting with Jesus Christ. Whether it is about reaching salvation or asking for God’s help, everything comes about through Jesus Christ, and it is also this God who helps us.
 
 
True Faith Is Putting All Your Trust in the Lord
 
As you carry on with your life of faith, it’s absolutely indispensable to grasp just how important it is to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. When we first believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we only knew that we were sinless. But as we have continued to lead our lives of faith after being born again, we must now realize that we are not only sinless, but our flesh and our emotions were also crucified.
Didn’t Jesus bleed when He was crucified? Don’t you die if you shed all your blood? When Jesus was crucified to death, so did you and I also die. And Jesus Christ rose from the dead again in three days. On that day we were also brought back to life together with Jesus Christ. He had come to this earth for us and taken up all our sins once for all by being baptized by John the Baptist. The Lord had shouldered all our sins, and He was crucified to death instead of us to bear the condemnation of our sins. He then rose from the dead to make us immortal. This, my fellow believers, is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We were crucified to death with Christ, and we are now alive with Him. You and I must have this kind of faith in our hearts.
To completely trust in Jesus Christ is to recognize that our old selves had died with Christ, and that we have also risen from the dead through the resurrection of Jesus, all by our faith in Christ. Through the baptism He received from John, Jesus Christ shouldered the sins of the world, and He also went into the water and came out of it. His submersion into the water clearly denotes His death, and His emersion from the water clearly signifies His resurrection. To believe that Jesus was baptized and died on the Cross for us and that He rose from the dead again to bring us back to life—this is the faith by which we are united with Christ. It is by this faith that we can unite ourselves with Christ to walk with Him and live with Him. We all need to deepen the dimension of our faith by uniting ourselves with Jesus Christ in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
It is written, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). I understood this passage from long ago, believed in it and preached it. I preached this passage whenever I faced hardship or temptation. As we carry on with our lives of faith, sooner or later there will be times when our physical strength is exhausted. If we keep following the Lord by relying on our own inherited physical health, material possessions, circumstances, or wisdom, then we will run out of these things eventually and no longer be able to follow the Lord. Our own strength, health, wealth, and knowledge are all bound to be exhausted.
How can we then follow Jesus when all these things are exhausted? When we run out of our own strength, can we really follow God as He commanded us? If we follow God with our old selves remaining very much alive, we will only get exhausted even more and it will be impossible for us to really follow God. Even if our hearts desire to do so, because our flesh is weak, we cannot follow God. If you try to follow Christ by trusting in your own strength and based on own your own inherited circumstances, material possessions, knowledge, or health, you will then not be able to follow Him to the end. Those who are foolish will then end up giving up their lives of faith.
Some people, even as they believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, still say, “Although I’ve been saved, I can’t do the rest. I really can’t lead a life of faith properly. So I give up!” In times like this, you need the faith that you were actually crucified with Christ. When Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, the sins of the world were passed onto Him, and Christ carried them to the Cross and bore all condemnation by being crucified. At that time it was not just Christ who died, but you and I also died, and when He rose from the dead again in three days, you and I were also brought back to life. It is when we believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior who has saved us from all our sins, and when we believe that He is the God who always answers our earnest prayers, that we are able to live by faith united with the Lord. Just as Christ lives forever, so will our bodies be resurrected from death and enjoy eternal happiness with Him. To believe in this is what faith is all about, and this faith is the real faith.
You may have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but unless you actually realize that you were crucified with Jesus Christ, you cannot live by faith. What will happen if your old self does not die? It’ll be impossible for you to live out your faith. After all, how could we ever lead our lives of faith if we were not crucified with Christ by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? This would mean that we are still bound by our sinful past, unable to separate ourselves from our old selves and old friends.
From a spiritual point of view, if I have really united with Christ by faith, then my old self is dead. If my old self is dead, are my old friends real friends? I am sorry to say this, but they are no longer my friends, for I had died with Christ. They may still think that I am their friend looking only at my outward appearance, but in reality, they are not my friends. That’s because my old self had died and I have become a new man.
The Apostle Paul said, “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Our old selves are dead and we have now become new creatures. Yet even though we have become new creatures, we seem to be unable to actually live as new creatures. So what did God say? He said,
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Why did He say so? Because even though you have become a new creature, if you stay in your old hometown, your past acquaintances will all treat you as the same, old self and do not recognize that you have been born again and become a new person. That’s why God said,
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house.” This is what God had said to Abraham, and Abraham obeyed the Word of God. Like Abraham, we must also believe that we have become new creatures, live by our faith united with the Lord, and follow the Lord every day with His help.
  
 
Jesus Is Our Closest Friend
 
As we are living by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if our old acquaintances are stumbling blocks to us, then we must be able to boldly cut them off. The moment we are born again of water and the Spirit, sinners are no longer our friends. You may wonder how you could forsake your best friends. But once you are born again, your old friends are not your real friends anymore. I, too, had many friends before I was born again. Young and old alike, everyone I knew in my town was my friend. When I was with kids, they were my friends, and even when I was with hoodlums, they were my friends. I liked socializing with people so much that I considered it a joy of life to hang around with my friends. However, once I believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and received the remission of sins, and I came to abide in Jesus Christ, old things all passed away.
Jesus Christ is your God and mine, but at the same time, He is also our closest and most intimate friend. After all, He has saved you and me from death, sin, destruction, and curses. So is there any other friend who is as true as He is? A true friend should be willing to lay down his life for you. How can anyone who abandons you at the first sign of trouble claim to be your real friend? Jesus Christ is your true friend and mine. He is our everlasting friend. He is the friend who even laid down His life for us. He is the faithful friend and our God who shouldered the burden of our sins, died in our place, and rose from the dead again by His own power in order to bring us back to life.
Our faith must be united with this Lord, and we have to live by this faith. My fellow believers, you’ve lived to this day trusting in Christ, but do you now find yourself running out of your own strength? Then ask the friendly Lord for His help. We should entrust what we cannot bear in our flesh to Jesus by faith. We can then follow the Lord to the end. We can live a blessed life. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). We can do all things through the Lord, our most faithful friend found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
My fellow believers, have you received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist for you and me. We believe in this. Did He end everything just by being baptized? Did He end just by bearing our sins? No, that is not the case. He also laid down His life for us to save us! Because He is our everlasting friend, whatever we ask, He never refuses but always helps us. The Lord said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do” (John 14:13). I believe that whatever you do, whether it is taking care of your business or living in this world, everything must be done in unity with Christ.
 
 
The Power of the Almighty God Knows No Bounds
 
I’ve preached on many occasions about how God has saved us, and how great His power is. Is there anything that cannot be achieved if God says that He will do it? Aren’t we spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit all because it is God who is carrying out this work? If we look through the eyes of faith trusting in God, we can see all about what kind of work is arising in which country. In time, we can indeed see God’s work unfolding everywhere with our own eyes.
What happened when God said to let there be light, and let the earth bring forth seeded plants and trees that yield fruit? Plants and trees, from apple trees to pear trees and palm trees, all sprang forth. What God said at that time still has its power to bring plants and trees to continue to spring forth from the earth pushing up the rocks. Grass continues to grow unyieldingly as it was told by the Lord. Since the plants are frozen in the winter, get trampled on all the time, and often are buried under concrete slabs, they should be all dead, but amazingly, these plants keep growing.
The following story happened somewhere in China when a very old shrine was dismantled and rebuilt on higher ground as it was about to be submerged in water with the construction of a new dam. While dismantling, workers found in this historic site some grain stored in a clay jar. Upon close investigation, they found that the grain was from over 3,000 years ago. Even more incredible was the fact that although so much time had passed by and the grain looked too dry to be alive, when it was watered, it sprouted.
So what God said at the beginning, to let the earth bring forth plants, still remains effective, and that is why everything grows. Don’t the grass and plants that seemed to be all dead in the winter grow once again when the spring comes around to show their resilience? That is God’s power. It is the power of the very God Jesus who was baptized for you and me. This God is your friend and mine. Because the Word He spoke still has power, even now it is working through our faith. And as He is alive, He helps those who seek His help. It is by believing in this God that we have received the remission of sins, and it is when we believed completely and were united with Him that we can see amazing works arising.
The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). What a disaster would it be if we were to fail at our ministry because of our lack of strength? That is precisely why the Lord gives us new strength. My fellow believers, when you are too weary, when you get too discouraged that life is no longer exciting for you, look toward the Lord, trust in Him, and let your heart be united with Him. You will then be blessed to find new hope, receive new strength, attain the joy of the heart, and be restored once again. It is none other than Jesus Christ, God Himself, who gives you these blessings. None other than He is your friend and mine; and He also is your God and mine. It is by trusting in this Lord that we carry on with our lives.
We pray to our Lord Jesus. It’s by praying to this friendly God who has saved us that we are helped. Do you believe this? You must have this faith.
We must not believe in Jesus as our Savior only formally, without the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When the Lord’s Day comes around, you may go to church with the Bible tucked at your side, greet everyone, and worship piously shouting out, “Hallelujah to the holy and merciful God of grace!” But once you return home, don’t you just throw the Bible aside and go back to seeking after the things of the world, and doesn’t your fervent love for God all disappear?
Even if your circumstances make it difficult for you to attend God’s Church as frequently as you would like to, your faith should at least be wholeheartedly united with the Lord. Your heart must believe in Him, confessing, “The Lord is my Savior, and it is for me that He was baptized and went into the water and came out of it. He is my friend.” Our Lord is our friend and our God who kindly extends His hands to help us whenever we ask Him for help. We must have such united faith. Today also, we are living by this faith trusting that the Lord is strengthening us.
My fellow believers, we are carrying out world mission through our literature ministry. We are distributing Christian books and e-books that contain the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I would like to publish a commentary book on Romans to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to Christians all over the world and make them believe in it. It was about 400 years ago that the Protestant theology sprang up around the world. And you have to clearly understand what the true gospel of salvation is and believe in it through the gospel of the water and the Spirit written in the Bible, rather than believing in fallacious doctrines and creeds.
When I decided to publish a commentary book on Romans, I thought I should clarify its passages with exegesis lest it turns into a dogmatic book propagating just my own arguments. I felt that a clear, Biblically sound exposition was necessary to turn around today’s misguided Christians back to the real gospel Truth. There is no reason why we can’t preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just because some passages are hard for some people to understand, it doesn’t mean that we can’t explain it. Whenever we open the Bible, we can explain each and every verse correctly. There is no passage that we can’t explain. Why? It is because the Bible is the God-spoken Word. Since He is now in our hearts as the Holy Spirit, we can explain every Word of God.
In some ways, spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit all around the world seems simple enough if we are doing it by faith. That’s because if we write a few books and share them with others, everyone can come to know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and those who surrender to it by faith are saved. If anyone does not surrender to the Word of God, such a person is someone who is not surrendering to God Himself.
Would you then still stubbornly refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even though this true gospel has now arrived? If you give up your obstinacy and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you will receive everlasting life.
Now, it is when we live by faith united with Jesus Christ that we gain everything. The Lord is Christ, He has saved you and me from all sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He is the God who helps us. Do you believe that the God who helps us every time we ask for His help is Jesus who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit?
 
 
He Who Is Almighty and Friendly Helps Us
 
As Jesus Christ helps us, you and I are living by His power, yesterday, today, and tomorrow alike. I admonish you all to realize this. And I admonish you to have the real faith. The real faith is one that’s united with the Lord. It is about leading your life of faith by trusting in Christ rather than your own strength. We live out our faith by believing that Jesus bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, that He was crucified to death to be condemned in our place, that He rose from the dead again in three days to bring us back to life, that He is still alive, and that He is offering His help to all who seek it. In short, we live by trusting in Christ, and this is the faith that enables us to be united with Him.
Until now, perhaps you’ve had a faith that’s a bit distanced from Jesus. But now, you must have the faith that is united with God. That you should unite yourself with God by faith means that you should be united with the Church. I can say this directly and unambiguously to all who know that uniting with the Church is none other than uniting with God. It is when we believe in the Word of God with our hearts and live united with His Church that God helps us. Uniting yourself with the ministry of God’s Church to spread the gospel is uniting with God Himself. You should all grasp this. Only when we are united with Christ by faith can we realize that what God’s Church is doing is God’s work, and also realize that the proper life of faith is led when we believe so.
My fellow believers, let us live by faith united with Jesus Christ. Let your faith be united with Jesus Christ. You can unite with Him with your heart and believe in Him with your heart. Live by your united faith. God will then bestow on you abundant grace, many blessings, and great power and strength; He will embolden your heart. This is something that’s reserved only for those who are united with the Lord. Anyone who is not united with the Lord is someone who is living on his own strength, and as such, when he runs out of his strength, he cannot avoid but be cursed and destroyed.
My fellow believers, don’t just trust in your own strength, but trust in Christ. Be united with Him. Have you really united your heart with Christ? Even though your acts may be lacking, at least in your heart you must be united with the Lord. I am no different from you; I, too, am struggling with many difficulties and obstacles, but I am admonishing you like this because I have united myself with Christ and the Church.
Recently I’ve been trying hard to get into a better shape and improve my health. So I pray to God, “Lord, please renew me. I can’t be so feeble like this every day. Please restore my health and strengthen me to feel as energetic as in my youth.” I pray like this because health is so indispensable to serving the gospel. So every morning I wake up, I run around a playing field ten times. And thanks to God, my health has improved remarkably.
Although I have many shortcomings, because I believe in the Lord, He is my strength, and He gives me even greater powers. He helps me every day. Because you are one of God’s people, our Lord also strengthens you every day.
I believe that God is helping you in all aspects of your life, whether you are facing difficult circumstances or your heart is troubled, and He is taking care of all your problems. I give all my thanks to Him for this. This is the God in whom we believe.
Praise the Lord!