“I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was. I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”
The entire Gospel of John chapter 17 is devoted to and records Jesus’ praying His last prayer before being crucified. The Lord prayed in this way because He wanted something from God the Father. What was this that He wanted?
In today’s Scripture reading we can see it clearly written, “I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was” (John 17:4-5). It is recorded in the Word that Jesus was with God the Father before this world was created. This means that God and Jesus is the very same person, and that Jesus is God the Creator who created this universe and all things in it. Further to this God the Father has commanded something righteous to His Son Jesus, and it is telling us that Jesus glorified God the Father by fulfilling this righteous work. This is the very work of resolving all the sins of mankind. Jesus received all the sins of mankind through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and then He was crucified on the Cross in order to pay the full price for those sins. However, Jesus was resurrected and ascended to Heaven after dying on the Cross, and His prayer in this chapter was with the presupposition of all these things. Jesus was praying and asking God to glorify Him since He fulfilled all these works of righteousness perfectly and through it glorified the Father.
To be glorified through the work Jesus has done is a thing we who have been truly born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit also desire. God will glorify and we will be made glorious when we become the true born-again workers of God by believing in His righteousness and complete all the work of God here and then go before His presence. Not only the workers of God who are born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but also the people of this world live with such a hope of becoming like that by the glory of God. Our Lord prayed with such a heart whilst He was still in this world. We also have this hope in our heart. We have this hope and faith of entering into the Kingdom of our Lord and to live gloriously there with Him after finishing our work here. I believe that God will grant us this glorious life after we have finished the mission God has entrusted us with - that is, to fulfill this task just as our Lord had prayed.
In my message this morning regarding this “eternal life”, I wish to say it is “the life of living eternally without dying.” If so shouldn’t we live gloriously enjoying authority and riches in the love of God, instead of living in eternal misery? Living in eternal misery would be far worse than living a limited lifespan.
What Is This Glorious Life?
You and I must also live with the hope of this glorious life just as our Lord mentioned in His prayer regarding this glorious life in Heaven. We will most certainly go before the presence of God after we finish our life here in this world. The glorious Kingdom of Heaven awaits you and me while the horrifying judgment of God awaits those who do not know or refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
I am so happy about this. The Apostle Paul also said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). He was saying that the suffering of this present time is nothing compared with the glory he will enjoy in Heaven. And the greater the persecution and hardship one suffers due to this faith of believing in God while living in this world, the greater the riches and glory one will enjoy when we enter the Kingdom of God. Beloved saints, even when we feel disappointed and hopeless because of our terrible pain and sadness, we must instead have even greater hope in the Kingdom of God. God actually waits with this glorious Kingdom and blessing prepared for us.
As the Lord said, “I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work you have given me to do,” and then He asked God His wishes, we also have such a heart. We desire to finish the work He has entrusted us with and then go to the Kingdom of God. This winter and spring are especially gloomy and difficult. Even in the midst of these difficult times, I know that we are much happier when compared with other people. How many multitudes of people are dying in the midst of there suffering without even realizing the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Our life is truly a thankful life when compared with those in this world; it seems they have a gloomy and difficult life due to this world becoming more and more difficult and evil running rampant.
However, this is not the end of the world. It’s because the Antichrist has as yet not appeared. The thing we must hope for and do in this world is to finish evangelizing this world with this gospel, and then go to live the life of enjoying and dwelling in the Kingdom of God.
Our Lord said in the Gospel of John chapter 17 verse 6, “I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” This means that Jesus manifested the true salvation according to God’s will.
What then is this true salvation that the Lord manifested? It is the Lord putting on human flesh and coming into this world, and then taking on all the sins of humankind by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, and then He was resurrected from the dead after paying the wages of our sins completely by dying on the Cross. This is the true salvation. The Lord fulfilled our salvation by sacrificing His life and everyone who believes in this fact will have kept the Word of the Father (John 17:6). The Lord has given this Word to us and He has made us keep this faith until the very end by giving us strength to endure.
When our Lord was in this world, He often mentioned that He and God the Father and His authority were the same. The Triune God allowed us to be born into this world, and then He sent our Lord to save us from the sins of the world with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God the Father sent His Son into this world to fulfill His salvation plan for us. And then God made us to have God’s Word through Him, and then made us know and believe in God through Jesus Christ who is in fact God. Jesus the only begotten Son of God the Father came into this world according to the plan of God. Jesus Christ came into this world like this and saved us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have received the remission of our sins by believing in this Truth through the Word. Dear fellow believers, do you really believe in this fact with your heart?
The ministry of Jesus and our ministry, in other words we who have been truly born again, are actually the same. As the Lord entered the Kingdom of the Father after completing His ministry here in this world, we will also likewise go to this glorious place where God dwells after preaching His gospel and fulfilling and completing the mission God has entrusted to us with. But in spite of this evil people will always harass ‘the righteous’ who have been born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They appear as if they are helping others who have as yet not become the people of God, but the reality is they are harassing them instead of helping them. It’s because their souls are different from the souls of the righteous people who have been truly born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When I look at these things, I feel truly fortunate that we who serve God by faith are blessed, but despite this we are reminded that we are still clothed with weak flesh.
As our Lord prayed to God the Father by fulfilling the ministry of saving mankind from sin with the gospel of the water and the Spirit before ascending to Heaven said, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was,” so we must also hope that God will make us glorious after we finish our ministry here in this world. It’s because our hope of eternal life by living and enjoying the riches and the glory in the Kingdom of God lies deep in our heart. We must not only have such a hopeful heart, but we must work hard and hope sincerely to receive this blessing from God. I believe that our Lord will personally make us glorious after we finish this ministry here because I sincerely believe that God has this plan and the heart to make us the true believers live gloriously together with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven. I feel so very happy, and am peaceful when I think of this wonderful glory we will soon be receiving. Living in this world would be very difficult if we did not have this hope of eternal life that will give us riches and glory. We can thus be patient and endure even though we face many difficulties.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is now being spread effectively regardless of how the world develops. Some incidents happen occasionally in our Church, but I know that you and I can overcome all these things and fulfill the righteous work if we work united with one heart and one will. That is why we must always think about the will of God and do His work. I know without a doubt that this is the righteous work in God’s sight.
People usually think differently depending on what position they find themselves in. The heart of a born-again layperson changes when he becomes a true worker of God. And then his heart changes once again when he takes charge of some task in God’s Church.
The prophet Ezekiel illustrates this very well. When the King of Babylon invaded Jerusalem and took many young men as prisoners including Ezekiel. Ezekiel then became a prophet during this time and encouraged his people with hope who were suffering from this life of slavery. If Jeremiah was the prophet of tears and Amos was the prophet of justice, then Ezekiel was the prophet of hope.
Then one day a tragic thing happened. The Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem again and completely demolished the City. They burned the Temple and captured Zedekiah the king of Judah and took his eyes out and then tied his hands and feet to a horse and dragged him around the city like a dirty rag and left him on the dusty ground to die. Because of this the Israelites lost there country and did not have any land of there own to go back to. As a result of this the people lamented and cried in sorrow. To crown matters, Ezekiel’s wife also died during this terrible time.
What do you think happened to Ezekiel in the midst of this calamity? Even in the midst of such great pain and suffering, Ezekiel did not become discouraged but instead encouraged his people by saying, “We must have hope especially in these hard times. We must hold onto one another. We must be courageous and we must live here without giving up our hope. We must believe in the Almighty God Jehovah and depend on Him.” The people who were stubborn and obstinate began to listen to these sermons of healing by the prophet Ezekiel as he was pleading with the people without losing sight of the hope and the love of God.
Some of these messages were of solace, encouragement and hope as a result of a vision God had showed him: Ezekiel went into the Temple as the messenger of God. As he was standing there he saw water starting to fall inside the Temple and this water began to flow from under the threshold of the Temple towards the east. The bible says, “And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed” (Ezekiel 47:3-5).
The water that poured down like this went around the Temple once and flowed into the desert and then flowed down all the way into the Dead Sea. When this water poured into the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea became alive and fish jumped and swam playfully there. Furthermore, where ever this water flowed lush bushes and fruit trees grew and bore clusters of precious fruit. This was the very promise of God for the recovery of Israel.
After witnessing such an incredible vision, Ezekiel’s faith became certain and strong that Israel would indeed recover and said to them, “We will surely rise up again although we are now suffering. The bright morning sun will most certainly visit us again and illuminate its light on us although we are walking in a dark tunnel right now. Our people will rise up again although we have fallen. We will definitely become successful and be victorious although we have failed to do so thus far. Therefore we must depend on the Almighty God especially in these hard times instead of being depressed by this miserable situation we find ourselves in. God will definitely heal our people and make us rise up again if we pray and do not lose hope.” The Israelites who heard his sermons received great comfort from it and came to have hope for this future recovery.
The Lord Also Said That the Predecessors in Faith Should Serve Their Followers
This principle does not change. Although it might seem like the predecessors of our faith are ruling over there followers, they are actually serving them more and consequently are living with the younger saints. I know there are some of them who do whatever they feel what is good and do not serve the Lord by faith, and when I see this I become so sad. When this happens I think to myself, “It would be so much better if they did the work with active faith since they are going to do it anyway. Why then do they do it like that?” And I also want these people to work diligently with the desire to be helpful for the gospel even if it’s a little.
In today’s Scripture reading the Lord manifested His faith by praying, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” The Lord said this in the hearing of His disciples because He was God who enjoyed the same glory as God the Father. Therefore, even though someone who believes that Jesus received the baptism, died on the Cross, and was resurrected from the dead and ascended to Heaven, will possess a wrong faith if he does not know who and what kind of Person Jesus really is.
Therefore we need to know that Jesus is the Son of God who was with God from the time even before the creation of the universe. Although He was the Son of God, He is exactly the same God to us. Such faith is truly important. Jesus created all things in this entire universe. Jesus created the entire universe and all things in it including the things that are not visible to our eyes.
These days we occasionally hear about reports of scientists who have discovered new stars that are some hundred million light-years away. So we see that the world that Jesus created is so much greater and immense that we cannot measure it correctly by human capabilities. This Jesus, the Great and Almighty God, has prepared the Kingdom of Heaven for us and waits for us. He waits for us to make the people who have been truly born again by the water and the Spirit to live there gloriously. Every time I think of the fact that God gives us eternal life and makes us live eternally, I become overwhelmed with such great happiness and joy that it makes me even happier to know that this is guaranteed by the Word of God, and not by our own thinking or imagination. Because no lie will ever be found in the Word of God, therefore I believe our life will become exactly like that according to His Word. We are so happy and joyful because everything will be fulfilled exactly as it is written in God’s Word. You and I must think regularly about the Words of blessing that God has promised to us as we live in this world. When I think about this eternal life in Heaven for a while, I experience such great blessings even in the midst of extreme difficulties. Although perceiving living eternally might be difficult, one thing is abundantly clear that being, people who really believe in such a life by the faith will most certainly receive great blessing in Heaven.
When common people visit the Blue House where the President of Korea resides, they buy new suits and shoes and spruce themselves up before they go there. They do not know how to conduct themselves when they dress up like this. This is because the Blue House is splendid, gorgeous and huge even though it looks like a simple house with blue tiles on the outside. Living in that place can be more uncomfortable.
However, we who have been born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit are prepared in our hearts to live gloriously in the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, we can live peacefully with no problem at all when we do eventually go there. We the righteous will enter the Kingdom of God and have a noble meal listening to fantastic music. And we will throw big parties and preside over the heavenly meetings. You also have already been prepared with such ability. The spiritual mature believers of our Church will do well when they are given such responsibilities. I am also prepared for such things in my heart. It will be even better if a field is prepared for us to play soccer there.
It makes me happy just to think about it and I look forward to it. Hence, dear fellow believers, let’s speedily finish the mission that has been entrusted to us so that we can go to Heaven together. Do God’s work faithfully in this world and do your best in your life and also enjoy the joy God gives you. Many of our saints do not eat much because they are on a diet, but nevertheless let’s eat delicious healthy foods to strengthen our bodies for this task. Children should ask their parents to buy them delicious things and workers should also buy delicious food and share it amongst each other and live a happy and worthwhile life.
As the Lord prayed to God to fulfill His ministry and to glorify Him, let’s also pray that we will work diligently until the Lord’s return, and live a life of fulfilling this great mission, and let’s pray that we will enter the glory of God when the Kingdom of Heaven arrives. I have a heart like this and I know that you too have such a heart.