The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 16 : The Gospel According to JOHN

[Chapter 20-2] (John 20:19-23) Jesus Christ Has Given Us The Hope of Resurrection

(John 20:19-23)
“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”
 
 
As I write this, Easter has come around the corner. By being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus took upon all the sins of the whole world, and He went to the Cross and died there. His death solved the problem of our own death. And His resurrection has given new life to you and me. When Jesus was crucified, we, too, were crucified with Him. That we were thus crucified and resurrected with Jesus Christ means that we have become one in perfect harmony with our Lord by faith. In our thoughts, minds, bodies, and all things, Jesus Christ and we have become one. That Jesus Christ rose from the dead means that He has given new life to you and me.
Having risen from the dead, Jesus appeared before His disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Those who have received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit have peace in their hearts. What our Lord has given us by rising from the dead is this remission of sins. Our Lord has given us new life by coming to this world, taking upon all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, bearing all the condemnation of sin by dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. This Truth is what has completed our salvation. The resurrection of Jesus means the final completion of our remission of sins and our salvation.
This is why the first thing that the resurrected Jesus said when He appeared before His disciples was, “Peace be with you.” This means, “Now that I bore all the condemnation of all your sins, have solved all the problem of your death, and have given you new life, you are able to receive peace. So peace be with you.” Jesus Christ has thus given peace to those of us who believe in Him. The tranquility that is in our hearts is this very peace that comes from the remission of sins we have received.
Because of whom are our hearts tranquil now? It is because of Jesus Christ, and the peace that has been given to us by His remission of sins. In other words, Jesus Christ has given us peace and put our hearts at ease. This is because Jesus Christ came to this earth, was baptized, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby completed salvation. It is from believing this that the peace given by our Lord has now come into our hearts. This is why we have peace in our hearts. Is there this peace in your heart now, the peace that comes from the remission of sins you’ve received? If you really have such peace, then it is truly marvelous.
On this occasion of Easter, we could be considering other things here, but we must think about the peace and new life that the Lord has given us by rising from the dead again. The most important significance that this resurrection entails for us is the fact that the Lord perfectly completed all His works that completely blotted out all our sins, and that in consequence, He has brought our true salvation and true remission of sins to all of us. This is the most important significance and purpose of commemorating Easter.
After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared before His disciples on three occasions while on this earth. When were they? The first time He appeared was in the morning of the first day after Sabbath. After the Sabbath Day, at the dawn of this first day of the week, Jesus appeared before His disciples. As John 20:1-2 says, “Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’” This is when Jesus appeared for the first time since His death.
The second appearance of Jesus is recorded in today’s passage, in John 20:19-23. He appeared in the evening of the same day of the week. At that time, fearing Jews, Jesus’ disciples had locked themselves in a house with all its doors shut. Perhaps they had shut the doors as we do, or perhaps they had even nailed them shut and put up barricades on them. Either way, the salient point here is that having lost the Lord Jesus, His disciples were overwhelmed by fear.
It was under these circumstances that the resurrected Jesus appeared before His disciples. Just imagine: The disciples were gripped by fear, and all of a sudden Jesus appeared in their midst! Making His appearance before His disciples and standing in their midst, Jesus then said to them, “Peace be with you.” In their thoughts of the flesh, this was simply mind-boggling for the disciples, but in their spiritual thoughts, it was an amazing miracle. And in another consideration, it was something that left the disciples speechless from their pure joy and happiness. They had continued to follow Jesus throughout His public ministry on this earth, but one day Judas had betrayed Him to the Jewish leaders and the chief priests who were bent on killing Him. The false accusation based on which they seized Jesus and sought to kill Him was that He had brought confusion and unrest to the nation of Israel. To the Romans, the so-called leaders of the Jewish people falsely accused Jesus of inciting rebellion against the Roman Empire and its emperor, and to the Jewish people, they falsely accused Him of blaspheming God and alienated Him from His own people. Dumping these two crimes on Jesus and ensnaring Him with these false accusations, they killed Him in the end. Jesus’ disciples had truly believed in Jesus and followed Him, but now He was killed under such false accusations. They must have felt a great sense of profound loss and fear with nowhere to turn to.
While Jesus was alive, He had brought the dead alive, made the deaf hear, opened the eyes of the blind, and performed the miracle of feeding over 5,000 in men alone and countless women and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish, and still leaving twelve baskets of leftover.
The disciples had witnessed such amazing miracles and works of Jesus and lived under His protection, but one day He was accused of terrible crimes all of a sudden and was crucified to death. All these things, of course, were done for you and me. But for the disciples, how terrified must they have been on that evening, when they returned home after seeing the body of Jesus being buried in a tomb carved out of rock?
The one who buried the body of Jesus in this tomb of rock was a disciple called Joseph of Arimathea. And Nicodemus, who had come to see Jesus before, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. He is the Jewish leader that appeared in John 3:1-5: “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” It was this Nicodemus who took it upon himself to bury Jesus when He died. His status as a Jewish leader enabled him to say, “I am a believer of Jesus. Now that He died, let me bury His body properly.” Actually, this in itself is an indication of Nicodemus’ great faith. He could bring himself to take care of Jesus’ burial because he had met Him before and was born again by His Word of Truth.
Joseph of Arimathea had prepared a luxurious tomb for himself, but he used this new tomb to bury the body of Jesus. And by doing so, the Old Testament’s Word of prophecy was fulfilled (Isaiah 53:9).
It was on the third day since His death that Jesus was resurrected. In today’s term, Friday and Saturday had gone by, and Sunday had come around. When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early Sunday morning, she met the resurrected Jesus and told the disciples about His resurrection.
Jesus then appeared before His disciples, and He said to them, “Peace be with you.” Because Jesus Himself was baptized, died on the Cross, and even rose from the dead again, He has not only remitted us from all our sins and condemnation, but He has also given us new life. There is therefore peace in the hearts of all who believe in the Lord. In other words, because Jesus has washed away all our sins from our hearts and remitted us from all our iniquities, the true remission of sins and peace have now come into the hearts of all His believers.
 
 
Our Lord Has Entrusted His Work to Those Who Have Received Peace
 
We have received peace because of our Lord. Verses 20-21 in today’s Scripture passage say, “When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’” Put differently, Jesus was saying, “I have now solved all the problem of your sins. There is nothing for your hearts to fear or to cower. You are now sinless. I have blotted out all your sins.” This peace is what our Lord has implanted in our hearts.
Just as God has revealed His providence to us and saved us by sending Jesus Christ to this earth as the Father’s ambassador, so, too, has Jesus sent us to this world, saying to us His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” The disciples actually fulfilled the work entrusted to them by the Lord, and today, this work has been passed onto us, and God has given us the strength to fulfill it all.
Our Lord then said to His disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Because the Lord came to this earth and completed all His work to blot out all our sins, each and every person who believes in this Truth can now receive the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said here that His believers should receive the Holy Spirit.
In fact, when Jesus turned 30 on this earth, He bore all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist, and three years later, He ended all our condemnation by dying on the Cross. However, had Jesus not risen from the dead again, there could have been no peace for us, we could not have become God’s workers, nor would it have been possible for us to have the Holy Spirit. Because the Lord completed our salvation from all the sins of mankind not only by being baptized and shedding His blood, but also by rising from the dead again, anyone can now receive the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When people misunderstand what Jesus meant by saying to His disciples here to receive the Holy Spirit, they tend to think that the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit are received separately. But this actually is not the case. See what the Lord said to His disciples after His resurrection. He said to them, “Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit.” In other words, because He had completed every work necessary to blot out all our sins, He could now give us true peace of mind and the Holy Spirit. And we can receive the Holy Spirit simultaneously when we receive the remission of sins by our faith. It is because the Lord has given them to us that we are able to receive them.
The Master of this salvation is not we, but Jesus Christ. It is because our Jesus is the Master of salvation that He has done all these things for us. Any given party always has a host and invited guests. Just as the person who is throwing the party is the host overseeing the party, our salvation was planned and given to us by the Lord. It is because the Lord has blotted out all our sins that He could have brought peace to our hearts and given us the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit. This is why the Lord is telling us to receive them.
Seeing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, those who truly know and believe in Him profess, “Jesus is truly the Son of God as He said, and He is our Savior. Just as He said, He is indeed our Savior who has delivered us from sin and given us new life by rising from the dead again.” All who know this and believe it have been saved and received the Holy Spirit. This is why Acts 2:38 says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, when we receive the remission of sins, we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as well.
All the Apostles believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and they all believed that the Lord had accepted all their sins by being baptized and died on the Cross for them. And it is with this faith that they spread the gospel. They preached that because Jesus had accepted everyone’s sins by being baptized, died on the Cross, and thereby saved every sinner, whoever believed in this gospel of salvation given by our Lord could now receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
My fellow believers, the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit are not received separately. It was because our Lord was baptized, crucified to death, and resurrected that He told us to receive the Holy Spirit by faith. The resurrection of the Lord means the final completion of our salvation. It was because the Lord thus completed our salvation that He told us to receive the Holy Spirit. And the Lord has actually given us this gift of the Holy Spirit, and by receiving the remission of sins, we have indeed received the Holy Spirit.
Have you received the Holy Spirit? Is there anyone who thinks, “I think I have received the remission of sins, but I’m not sure that I have received the Holy Spirit”? Do you truly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do you believe that only this gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth? Do you really believe in this Truth from the depth of your heart? If so, then have you been washed from all the sins of your heart, and is your heart now absolutely clean? That your heart is now perfectly clean is the very evidence testifying that you have received the Holy Spirit into your heart. Unless your heart is clean, the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in you. This is why the Lord told us to receive the Holy Spirit.
 
 
This Truth Was Spoken to Those Who Believed in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
In verse 23, our Lord continued to say, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” This is the privilege that God has given to only those who have received the remission of sins. Having received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is our privilege and duty to spread this gospel to others. These people will then also come to receive the remission of sins by believing in this true gospel. But there is a precondition for this to come about: People can be remitted from their sins only if we spread the gospel of the remission of sins to them. If we do not spread this gospel, then there is no way for them to receive the remission of sins. Their remission of sins therefore depends on us.
That the gospel that can remit sin has been given to us does not mean, however, that we can wield it in our own carnal ways. This privilege is not a right for our flesh, but it is a spiritual right. If we have received the remission of sins through the Truth of the water and the Spirit by believing in this God who has saved us, then it has now been proven that others can also receive the remission of sins through this gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are spreading. And by believing in this gospel, people throughout the world who are suffering from their sins will infallibly receive the remission of their sins. Because you and I have received the remission of sins, if we spread this faith that has brought us this remission of sins to others, then they, too, will clearly be remitted from their sins also. Because our faith is flawlessly correct, so would others definitely receive the remission of sins.
The resurrection of Jesus written in the Bible holds a profound spiritual significance. But if not approached carefully, it is possible for people to misunderstand it, and when this happens, it will bring grave fallacies to their faith. Also, if one finds it hard to believe Jesus’ resurrection, even as he finds other aspects quite believable, then this is also a serious problem. Such people must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over again from the very beginning. That Jesus rose from the dead again means that He has given us new life and brought us alive again. His death on the Cross, on the other hand, means that He died vicariously in our place. That Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist means that He accepted all our sins passed onto Him through John. That the Lord was born unto this earth means that He came to this earth to save us as our own Savior. And that Jesus Christ is God Himself, finally, means that He is the Creator who made us all.
As such, there can be no speculation on this gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, people will surely receive the remission of sins by hearing and believing in this gospel that we are preaching. From Cambodia to France, England, Nigeria, Brazil, and Russia, people throughout this world are receiving the remission of sins. Through our books and our website, this gospel is being spread all over the world, in all its five continents and six oceans, from Europe to Africa, Asia, Americas, and Oceania, and now if only people would believe in this gospel with their hearts, they will receive the remission of sins invariably and surely. They will also receive the Holy Spirit without fail, and they will truly attain peace in their hearts. All who return from the false gospel will receive the genuine Truth.
Yet today’s people of this world are only trying to aggrandize their own power by interpreting this passage from John 20:23 on their own. For instance, the Catholic Church believes that the Pope has the authority to remit sin. Its priests teach their congregations to make confessions to them, believing that they have the authority to forgive their sins. “Confess your sins to me,” says the priest, sitting across a dividing wall that separates him from the confessor to ensure his anonymity. “I will hear you from here with my ears; you should confess from there with your lips what sins you have committed.” The Catholic believer then makes his confession. Hearing this confession, the priest says, “I forgive you your sins. Now do your proper penance and sin no more.” The confessor then thinks that he has somehow received the remission of sins. It is said that this priest, in turn, is supposed to receive the remission of his sins from another priest senior to him, this senior priest from a bishop, the bishop from an archbishop, and the archbishop from the Pope. From whom, then, must the Pope receive the remission of his sins?
I am raising this issue not to criticize another religion, but to remind you to be spiritually discerning. The remission of sins does not depend on man, but it depends entirely on God. The Lord accepted all our sins by being baptized, was crucified to death to bear the condemnation of sin, and rose from the dead again in three days. This is the gist of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can receive the remission of sins, not by any other man-made methods. If one cannot discern this clearly with his faith, then it can only mean that this person is spiritually blind.
My fellow believers, Jesus has risen from the dead again. His resurrection is a marvelous event that has brought new life to us. If we had died with Christ and yet there had been no resurrection that brought us alive again, we would indeed be the most pitiable. If all that our faith can reach is just dying with Jesus for our sins, then we can only be pitiful, for with this dead faith we can do no spiritual work whatsoever. We can move freely only when we rise from the dead again, and it is indeed only with our living faith that we can do all God’s works.
Metaphorically referring us to the seed, the Apostle Paul said that the body of the grain is determined by the seed that the farmer sowed. Also, speaking of the glory of resurrection, He said, “There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies” (1 Corinthians 15:40). He also said we are sown in weakness, but we are raised in power. It is not only the Lord who has risen from the dead again, but you and I have also risen. Our bodies will live again. Just as Jesus died on the Cross, but His body rose from the dead again, our bodies will also live again. As the Lord is sinless in His heart and is the perfect Son of God, we, too, are the perfected souls who are sinless in our hearts, who have become God’s children. Our bodies will not live again as they are now. Instead, we will be transformed into a new body. If everything were to end with our physical death, then our faith would all be meaningless. If you and I are not to live again, then it makes no difference whether we believe in Jesus or not.
But as there is an order in everything, so is there an order for our resurrection. There are two resurrections: the first resurrection and the second resurrection. And the first one is the good resurrection that we will partake in. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ has become the first fruit of resurrection by rising from the dead again. Those who have received the remission of sins and new life by believing in Jesus Christ, and who believe in His resurrection, have been brought to life again. And as the Bible also tells us that our bodies will be resurrected when the Lord returns to this earth, you and I will indeed be raised again. This is the first resurrection of the saints.
The second resurrection follows after a thousand years from the first resurrection. Having taken part in the first resurrection, the righteous will reign in glory for a thousand years, and when this Millennial Kingdom is over, God will raise sinners with the second resurrection. In other words, the Lord will bring alive again those who died without believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and without being saved. Raising these sinners for the second time, the Lord will then cast them into the everlasting fire of hell. This is the second resurrection for the sinners.
Many non-Christians also believe that there will be resurrection after death. So what is critically important for us is whether or not we are able to participate in the first resurrection. This question is as important as the resurrection itself, for those who participate in the first resurrection are the blessed who will live forever with God, but those who participate in the second resurrection are the accursed who will be punished forever with the judgment of fire.
My fellow believers, the fact that we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that God is using us as His workers despite our insufficiencies, that He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that He has given us the right to decide whether people have eternal life or not, to send their souls to Heaven or hell—all these things entail grave responsibility, as well as great authority and blessings at the same time. So we have indeed been blessed greatly, so much so that there is no one else on this earth who is as blessed as we are.
Our Lord has already given us salvation. By rising from the dead again, our Lord achieved the final completion of our salvation, and by doing so He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, made us God’s own people and His workers, and bestowed on us the right to save other souls. This is why when Jesus appeared before His disciples the second time after His resurrection, He said, “Peace be with you; receive the Holy Spirit.”
Our Lord has risen from the dead again. Have you received new life by believing in this resurrection? Do you really believe in the resurrection of Jesus? Our Lord’s resurrection is not something that should just end with our Easter celebration, but it is a profoundly significant event that has actually brought new life to us. In one way or another, our bodies will surely die. But when we so die, the Lord will bring us alive again. Our souls have already been brought back to life, but the Lord will also raise our bodies again. Therefore, we must have a clear understanding of the true significance of Easter, and we must be able to discern the spiritual meanings that it holds. And we must believe in the gospel Truth with our hearts and thank the Lord. “The Lord has given us new life”—this is what we should be thinking when Easter comes around the corner.
I have received everlasting life from God. Before I came to know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I had found it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. But now I believe it. I believe that I was crucified with Christ and was brought back to life again with Christ, and I believe that Jesus gave me new life when He rose from the dead. I also believe that the Lord will raise my terrestrial body into a celestial body. What about you then? Do you also believe this?
This is the power of God that is found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because God has come to us and dwells in us as the Holy Spirit, and because God Himself is the Lord of life, He will surely fulfill everything that He has told us. We can believe this because the Lord has given us faith. At the beginning of this sermon, I spoke of Jesus as the Lord of salvation. Jesus is the Lord and Creator of not just you and me, but of this world and the entire universe. Insofar as our salvation is concerned, and as far as our new life is concerned also, Jesus is the Master of resurrection. It is because He is mighty that such works of salvation were all made possible. And it is because He is so powerful that we are able to believe in this Truth with our hearts.
What would it be like if we were not to live again? It’s all well and fine to receive the everlasting remission of sins, but if there is neither new life and nor everlasting life for us, then how pitiable would we all be? There are so many things in this world that we would like to do, yet we have forsaken them all to follow Jesus and have instead done all things only for Jesus Christ. When this is the case, how resentful would we be if there were no resurrection waiting for us? While it may not be such a big deal to do the things of the world, we would still be truly pitiful if there were no way for us to be compensated for forsaking them all.
My fellow believers, if there is no way for us to be brought back to life again after our physical death, then we would indeed be pitiable. No matter how much wealth and splendor one might have enjoyed while in this world, it would all be utterly futile and completely meaningless, since everything he enjoyed would end with his death. Even you and I, who are helping other souls to receive the remission of sins, will also die once. If our bodies were not to be brought back to life again in celestial bodies and live forever in glory, and if we were to believe and spread the gospel to others only to see our lives ending with our death and withering away forever, then from a carnal point of view, you and I would be truly wretched.
To be sure, even if there were no glory awaiting us, the fact that we have lived on this earth for the Lord is enough reason for us to be thankful. But because we will surely live again, reign for a thousand years, enter the eternal Kingdom of God, and enjoy His splendor and glory forever, we are even more thankful for our lives. The condition for us to enjoy all these God-given glory and splendor has all been met, for you and I have been saved by God. Because God has brought our souls back to life again, our bodies also will live again. It is because we will live with God forever that the resurrection of Jesus is so important and profoundly significant.
Resurrection is not just a religious doctrine. Christians generally tend to think of resurrection merely as a doctrine and remember it only when Easter is around the corner, but for the true believers, the resurrection of everlasting life will come to them without fail.
Our Lord shouldered all the sins of the world by being baptized, died on the Cross, and was brought down and buried in a tomb. But after all these things, He rose from the dead again in three days, ascended to Heaven, and now sits on the right hand of the throne of God the Father. This is why Jesus appeared before us and told us, “Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit. Anyone whose sins you forgive will be forgiven. I, too, send you out to this world.” Our Lord has indeed brought the final completion of salvation and all its blessings to us.
Our faith must not end with death. Rather, it must begin with the fact that we have received the remission of sins and new life, and that we have become new creations. Faith must begin from this. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” we have become new. Our Lord has given us new life, and He will raise our dead bodies back to life again as well. He will let us live in the everlasting Kingdom of God and enjoy all its glory and splendor. I, for one, believe this. But what about you? Do you also believe?
How meaningful was this year’s Easter for you? Was it as profound as it should have been? Perhaps some of you have heard of a famous actor from Hong Kong who killed himself not long ago. Having died once, he is now waiting for the second resurrection. Regardless of how popular and world-famous he might have been, he will not be able to take part in the first resurrection but only in the second resurrection, for he had not received the remission of his sins while he was still alive.
But what about us? In which resurrection will we participate? We will take part in the good resurrection—that is, the first resurrection. What is the difference, then, between one who participates in the first resurrection and one who participates in the second resurrection? The difference lies in whether they have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit or still remain as sinners from not believing in this gospel Truth. Because of this difference, one will enjoy glory and splendor forever, while the other will be accursed and destroyed forever. By whom is this fate determined? It is determined by God.
The fact that I believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit is truly amazing even for myself. Does it not also amaze you that you believe in this Truth of resurrection? You, too, are probably amazed by this. When did we ever think that we would live forever? Who among us ever thought that we would come to believe in this Truth? Did we even desire this, know this, or seek after it? We were only tormented by our sins. Yet not only have we been remitted from these sins, but just when we thought that everything was over with our remission of sins, there were still more blessings to come. The remission of sins was only a beginning. We have not only become God’s own children and received all the rights that accrue to our new-found status, but the glory of the Kingdom of God also awaits us.
Having received the remission of sins, you and I are now serving the gospel on this earth. Do you think anyone else can do this? This is not something that just anyone can do. Do you think anyone can receive the remission of sins and serve this gospel? Not everyone who hears the gospel can serve it. Those who seek after their own small desires and leave God only as their secondary concern will all drift away, and only those who truly follow God can be used by Him as His precious vessels and serve the gospel. This work that has been entrusted to us and we are doing now is of utmost importance.
The Bible tells us that for us to enjoy the glory of Christ to come, we must spread the gospel with Christ and we must also suffer with Him. The suffering that you and I are now enduring is a suffering that we bear for others. Before, our suffering was only for ourselves and our own survival, but now, it is as the servants of God that we are suffering, and this suffering is a beautiful suffering that we bear for others. It is truly blessed that God has entrusted this work to no one else but us.
This work is indeed a glorious work. Why? Because this work will be rewarded when the Millennial Kingdom comes. Some people might say, “I’d rather live comfortably in this world now than be rewarded in the Millennial Kingdom later.” But do not think like this. I beseech you to not to take this path. To not live for the gospel and the Father is to disobey Jesus. Telling us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you,” our Lord has placed us in different parts of the Church and sent us to work for His gospel. But if we refuse this work and say, “No, I don’t want to,” where would we end up? Such people are bound to end up not in this Church, but in a place of sin. They can never serve the Lord’s work, for as they are increasingly tainted with sin, they will become distanced from God more and more. This work of the Lord is not something that can be done by just anyone.
My fellow believers, are you happy to do God’s work? Of course you are happy! We are all so happy to serve our God. Though there might be times when we get bound by the weaknesses of the flesh, and as a result forget our happiness and walk back and forth restlessly outside our proper places where we belong, fundamentally speaking, we have already been born again and become God’s laborers to serve His cherished work. It is an extremely high honor for us to serve the gospel. The Lord has given us even more strength, power, and faith to enable us to bear more fruit than our labor, and so we are now winning many souls for Him and leading them to everlasting life. Whenever Easter comes around the corner, let us all remember that we have been born again as God’s servants, and, being filled with the Holy Spirit, let us all exercise this right to forgive anyone’s sins. And let us remember that it is because we are doing the Lord’s work and serving His gospel that all these things are being accomplished.
From each of our assigned places, we are all serving the gospel. From our elders to our Sunday school teachers, there is no one in our Church who is not a servant of God. All of us are faithfully carrying out every work that has been assigned to each of us by God. From what place and with what entrusted task are you now working? What task has been assigned to you to carry out the Lord’s work? Whatever your task may be, brothers and sisters, be faithful to it. Only then will the Lord entrust you with even more precious work.
Do not think to yourself, “I am going to quit this work. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to do something else better than this.” Rather, be faithful to what the Lord has assigned to you and work diligently, and it is then that your harvest can be even more abundant and more fruit of joy can be shared. The next time Easter comes around, let us all remember that we have been born again, and with this remembrance let us all renew our hearts. We will then be able to live our lives with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
I give all my thanks to God. Halleluiah!