The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 18 : GENESIS

[Chapter 7-2] (Genesis 7:1-5) To Come into the Ark, You Must Receive the Remission of Your Sins Without Fail

(Genesis 7:1-5)
“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your entire household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.’ And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.”
 
 
In Genesis 7:2-3 God told Noah the exact number of animals that should be brought into his Ark, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.”
We need to know that not just anything could be brought into the ark. God did not tell Noah to blindly take any animal at random into the ark, but He clearly distinguished them into clean and unclean animals, and He also specified the exact number that should be brought into the ark. And He made it clear to him that for every clean animal, seven pairs of male and female should be brought in. The words “Bring in animals” here refers to the salvation of souls.
The ark mentioned here also refers to God’s Church. This passage means that not just anyone can come into God’s Church. Only those who are definitely born again can come into God’s Church. God’s Church can be entered and be dwelt in only by those who are born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit—that is, the saints—and only they are able to be approved as God’s people. Sinners with sinful hearts can never become members of God’s Church. Only those who are clean—that is, the righteous—can abide in God’s Church.
Let me explain this truth by explaining the Tabernacle system to you: At the entrance of the court of the Tabernacle was a hanging screen gate which was woven with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, measuring 20 cubits in width. The inside and outside of the Tabernacle were drawn based on this single screen gate. Who is then qualified to enter into the Tabernacle? They are those who believe in “Jesus Christ who came by the blue, purple, and scarlet thread” as their Savior. In other words, only those who believe that Jesus came by the water, the blood, and the Spirit (1 John 5:6-8) are able to enter into the Tabernacle, the House of God. Those who are able to enter into the Church, that is, God’s House must be perfectly righteous; and the righteous are those who have been truly born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit; and only these people can be drawn into God’s Church.
Christian sinners regard evangelism in the same light as increasing membership of their churches. But these two are quite different from each other. For us to go out and bear witness of Jesus is different from just drawing people into God’s Church and then making them pew warmers. We should not approve sinners randomly as members of God’s Church. Sinners can never abide in God. While they may physically come into the chapel of God’s Church, they cannot actually carry out any work of God with us before they have received the remission of all their sins. In other words, we have to bear witness of the true gospel to them first and ensure that they receive the remission of their sins. To become a member of God’s Church as a true saint, one must be truly born again of water and the Spirit without fail. Anyone who is not truly born again cannot abide in God’s Church.
God said to Noah, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female.” What kind of place is the Church? It’s where two or more people who have received the perfect remission of their sins through Jesus Christ are gathered together to praise the Lord, and where the true servants of God are found who preach His Word. Our Lord said God’s Church is none other than the gathering of those who have been sanctified and called as saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). Sinners can never form God’s Church, no matter how many of them may be gathered together. And the righteous that are in God’s Church should never mix in with sinners. Clean animals refer to the souls that have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By speaking of spiritual matters through the physical realm of this world, our Lord reveals the will of God more clearly to us.
God said that seven pairs of clean animals should be brought into the ark. This was set by God. Of course, He also told Noah that he had to take two of each unclean animal, a male and a female, but these were not for the same purpose. Some people think that anybody can come into God’s Church. In other words, based on the single verse where Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” some people think that they can just come to Jesus unconditionally, but Jesus did not say that just anyone can come to Him like this. This means that no one can just enter into God’s Church unconditionally. God told Noah to take into the ark seven pairs of clean animals and two pairs of unclean animals. Because God’s Church is not some common marketplace, no one can just come and go all on his own regardless. We need to know that those who have not received the remission of their sins are not saints, nor are they our spiritual brothers or sisters. We can never call just anyone our spiritual brother or sister. This means that God has set aside those who are qualified to come into His Church. In other words, God has prohibited us from bringing in just anyone into the ark.
But despite this there are people who think that anyone can come into the ark. But the Bible tells us that only Noah’s family of eight entered into the ark. These eight souls were all righteous people who had received the remission of all their sins. And even when it came to animals, they were divided into clean and unclean animals, and only a set amount as specified by God made it into the ark, with the rest unable to come in. Now the question, could God’s will be fulfilled had every member of only one species come into the ark? No. On the other hand, if too many animals came in, could Noah’s family have taken care of all those animals? No, this would have been impossible. That is why our God specified the exact kind and number of animals that could be brought into the ark. God is not just a good-hearted neighbor next door. He did not say that anyone could come in unconditionally. Just because you beg Him desperately, does not mean that He would accept you; you must first be examined before coming into the ark. Therefore, to become a member of God’s Church, you must first become a saint. Furthermore, not just anyone can become a saint. Anyone who wants to marry Jesus Christ must put on the love of God first, and his spirit must be cleansed through Him. This cannot be done in the flesh, but in the heart. Only those who can accept the Groom wholeheartedly, who love Him with all their hearts, and whose hearts are clean, can become the bride of Jesus.
God set the number of animals that could come into the ark. This implies that He has ensured that only those who are clean would come into His Church, and not just anyone. It is the will of God to call sinners and make them righteous. Is there anyone then who is clean from the beginning? No, everyone is a sinner from the very moment they are born. That is why our Lord told Noah to take two pairs of unclean animals, and seven pairs of clean animals. The seven pairs of clean animals here refer to those who have received the perfect remission of their sins from God; and when God mentioned here that two pairs of unclean animals should be brought into the ark; it means that we should bear witness to sinners and enable them also to enter into God’s salvation. All sinners, in other words can be made righteous if they hear and obey this gospel of righteousness through our witness. We have to realize that our Lord has set the number of people who can come into the ark, and we have to know who these people are whom our Lord would lead into His Church. Put differently, we have to know those who can come into Jesus Christ and abide in His Church as its members and be our true spiritual brothers and sisters. These are none other than those who have received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and God has set it like this that only these people would be able to come into His Church and become His children.
But despite this biblical truth how do worldly churches propagate their faith these days? They call just anyone who attends church regularly a saint. If anyone would just come into their church, they would accept this person as their brother or sister. They just ask whether they believe in Jesus or not, and if the answer is ‘yes’, then they just approve this person as a saint.
However, someone who is not truly born again cannot become a saint. If anyone who is not born again were to become a saint, then this would mean it would be possible for many sinful saints. This is complete nonsense. We have to realize that God requires all those who come into His Church to be truly born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit without fail. Do you now realize that God specified this important requirement to Noah long ago? I admonish you all to realize this, that God had set ‘this requirement’ a long time ago for those who would constitute His Church.
God spoke to Noah in such concrete and concise detail. So every time I turn to the Word of God, I am amazed by its preciseness and attention to detail. Yet even though God had set this requirement for membership to His Church a long time ago, many Christians still continue to plant churches on their own regardless and commit countless blunders, all due to their total ignorance of the Word of God. God has spoken clearly of exactly what kind of place His Church really is, and yet despite this, many just put up a church sign and call it a church. Just because people put up a cross and call on the name of the Lord, would this constitute a gathering of God’s true Church? Do Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and so on all constitute the Church? Do you need the backing of some orthodox denomination for your gathering to be recognized as a church? No, that is not the case; but we should know that wherever born-again saints are gathered together with an appointed spiritual leader, this would be a Church of God.
All of you here have been born again and become God’s people by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Yet despite this, per chance, would there be some of you who still think that it’s okay to attend just any church, not knowing where God’s Church is found? Many Christians blindly think that any place with a decent chapel building in close proximity to their home is a church, but this is not what God is saying. Viewing from its outside appearance, some people may then ask in return, “That church building is so big, and so how can it not be a true church? It is a huge church, with a long history and tradition, and its choir sings like angels during its service. It even has a large pipe organ, and the praise is just so beautiful. You have to experience it by just joining the choir. There are many professors, judges, prosecutors and even cabinet members attending that church. So how can you say that this church is not God’s Church?” But despite this, the truly born-again would say that such a church is not God’s Church. Why then is it not God’s Church? It is because those who are gathered there have as yet not been born again.
What about our church then? Is our church a biblically sound church or not? Of course it is. Are we then praising ourselves and just boasting to each other? No, we are not saying that we alone are right. If you knew what a biblically sound church was, then you would realize that this is not just self-praising, but ours is a church that fits correctly to the pattern of the Word of God.
Whenever I meet someone, I always ask them first if they have sin in their hearts. And if they confirm that there is sin in their hearts, then I tell them then that they are not saints, regardless of how long they might have been a Christian. When I first planted a Church of God, there were hardly any members, but even so, I always said, “If you want to attend the Church I am ministering in, you must first be born again.” Even though no one liked hearing this, I was absolutely convinced that I had to make this point very clear. That is why even though not a single person came to my Church for the first two months, I nevertheless did not go around begging people who were not born again to attend my Church. Whoever wanted to come into our Lord’s Church had to first be cleansed of all their sins without fail. I never called anyone a saint if they were not born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I addressed these people politely only as Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so. That’s because these people were not my true brothers and sisters who could work with me. Unless one has been washed from all his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he will never be a saint. In other words, anyone with sin will never be one of God’s people. I cannot ask for spiritual blessings from Heaven for anyone who does not belong to God’s people. I can only pray for their peace, but cannot bring myself to approve such a person as one of the true people of God.
In a worldly church, anyone who enters is welcomed with open arms, with the pastor going to a great deal of length to please them, lest they leave for another church. These new comers are treated so well that they are called saints immediately, even though they are attending the church for the first time. But we need to know this that without first putting on the grace of the remission of sins, it would be impossible for any sinner to turn into a saint right away.
In contrast, God’s Church is where the gospel of the water and the Spirit is preached, and is a place where the truly born again are gathered together who all believe in this gospel to praise God and thank Him. Yet despite this it is not so easy to lead people into God’s Church, for this present age is such a dark evil age where everyone is perishing away from spiritual corruption. In Noah’s time God saw how everyone’s thoughts and plans were constantly evil, and because of this He planned to destroy the world completely. However, even among these evil people, there were a few who deserved God’s salvation, and these few were Noah and his family, who were blessed to be able to enter into the ark on account of their faith.
We need to know that not just anyone could come into Noah’s ark. This means that only those who have been born again through Jesus Christ are qualified and approved to enter into the ark, that is, God’s Church. The place that has the power to save everyone on this planet earth, the place that is the true refuge for all souls, is none other than God’s Church. Without God’s Church, everyone will be cast into hell. Without God’s Church, no one in this world can be saved. God will surely bring down His judgment on this earth, but there is a place where we can escape from this awful judgment. Where is this place? It is none other than God’s Church. Indeed, there is no other place to escape from God’s judgment but His Church. You can escape from this judgment only if you come into God’s Church, listen to His Word, obey and be truly born again by believing in it. We must realize clearly what kind of place God’s Church really is.
Even though there were countless people on the face of this earth, God spoke only to Noah to build the ark. That’s because only he was a man of faith. Because God’s Church is the only place on this earth that can lead people to their salvation, God wants to establish His Church through His children who have become sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Church is where God’s Word is preached and sinners are enabled to be truly born again and become God’s people, and it is also the place that nurtures them to believe in the Word of the Lord and follow it by faith. That’s because faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.
Why did God command Noah to build an ark? Why was it an ark instead of a flying saucer? God could also have said to the clouds, “Take Noah’s family and carry them around forever, feeding and supporting them. Do this for eternity.” This would then have come to pass, but rather than doing this, God told Noah to build an ark. God is Almighty. God judged this world with water, and He told Noah to build an ark to save his family from this pending disaster. What does the ark signify here? The ark which floated on water implies the very standard of salvation for those who are saved based on the Word of God. Also, the water here implies the Word, and so this ark of Noah foreshadowed our salvation that is reached through faith in the Word of God. Noah had faith in the Word of Truth. That is why God had told him to build the ark, on account of his faith.
In the days of Noah, our God looked down from Heaven and saw how mankind had become completely hopeless, and because of this He decided to destroy them all. However at the same time God delayed His judgment for a further 100 years and made Noah preach the Word of Righteousness, so that these people could be saved. Even now, God desires to save sinners through His Church. That is why God’s Church is so indispensable in this world. My fellow believers, you have to grasp just how important God’s Church is. Few Pastors actually take spiritual care of God’s Church. Even though there are many pastors whose ambition in life is to build huge church buildings, draw in large congregations, and turn each church into their own chiefdom, but there is hardly anyone who desires to establish God’s true Church and serve His will. My fellow believers, I admonish you all to realize that God has permitted His Church only to those who have found His grace of salvation. And I also ask you to realize that without God’s Church in this earth, judgment would come to all, everyone would perish, and everyone would be bound to hell.
Jesus Christ has saved us completely. However, if God’s Church were not on this earth, no one would be able to receive the remission of their sins. Has Jesus Christ blotted out everyone’s sins? Of course He has. But we need to know that all those who do not come into His ark of salvation will be destroyed.
My fellow believers, do you know what God’s Church is? And do you realize how essential it is? I realized the importance of God’s true Church, and so I tried to find it in this world by every means possible, to say nothing of Korea. Because His Church could not be found anywhere, I decided then to establish God’s Church in each metropolis in Korea. At the beginning people said to me, “You don’t have any money, and so how are you going to plant any church?” Nonetheless, because people could be saved only if there was a Church of God, I desired earnestly to establish it, knowing that this was the most important work.
Without the Church, no one ever can be truly saved. Even though Jesus has blotted out all the sins of the world, but without God’s Church, no soul can ever hear this beautiful gospel, and so no soul could truly be saved either. So I prayed earnestly to God asking for the resources necessary to establish His Church, and to draw souls to me. I carried out His work with prayer by asking, “Lord, please help me plant Your Church throughout Korea, and throughout the whole wide world.” I prayed every day riding my bicycle, “Lord, send me souls so that this salvation by the gospel of the water and the Spirit may be spread in this region. Allow me to meet co-workers and establish Your Church.”
My greatest desire was to establish God’s Church from the very beginning. That’s because souls could receive the remission of sins only if God’s Church was planted. Just because Christians are gathered in a beautiful church building, this does not mean that this gathering is the true church. For a church to be a true Church, it must preach the pure Word of God as it is, enable souls to be freed from their sins, and lead them on spiritually. So with this in mind I rented some space, and from there I preached the Word of God clearly to whoever attended; and when someone was born again, I taught them that they had to unite with other born-again saints like them. It is when people are born again and unite together that God’s Church can be established. When God’s Church is formed, He will work there for sure. There were many to whom I preached the gospel on an individual basis. But it would have been of no use if they did not unite with the Church and decided to return back to their old faith. So, I had to earnestly pray to God so that they would unite with me and follow His Word, for only then could God’s Church be established.
I devoted all my heart and all my efforts to establish God’s Church simply because it was the will of God. So I prayed earnestly to the Lord for the establishment of God’s Church. God then gave me the financial means. He opened up a way for me to secure more financial resources than I could ever have imagined. I had prayed to Him like this, “Lord, I have nothing, but I still have to establish Your Church. So please give me the necessary resources, and give me a suitable building to start Your Church.” Whenever I came across a good building, I took a closer look at it, and when I found a really worthwhile building, I prayed to God, “Lord, give me that building. You are more than able to give it to me. Please, give it to me.” God then gave me everything I needed to establish His Church.
Even people who did not believe in God trusted me. God had made them think, “That man doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t lie either; he’s a decent fellow.” It’s because I had prayed earnestly that God answered all my requests. As God provided financial resources, I was able to find a house, secure a church building, purchase and put up the necessary equipment and preach the Word from a pulpit. Even though I preached the Word by myself and did everything alone, it was so gratifying to carry out God’s work.
It was my biggest chore to clean the church building after work each day. That building was an old wooden building which was constructed during the Japanese colonial period, and it was so filthy that I felt there were bugs crawling all over my body. So the first thing I did after renting this building was to thoroughly clean the floor etc and I had to continue to clean it every evening. The building was located near the sea, and because of this much dust blew into the building overnight and it would simply be covered in dust by the next morning. So I had to constantly sweep and scrub the floor clean. While seeing how this black dust was cleaned, I used to hope for people’s sins also to be washed away. So I thought, “If people would come here, I would be able to cleanse them and take them to Jesus Christ to be His brides.” Cleaning this chapel room was then no longer a hard task, but rather a joyful work that I did whilst singing praises. Every work that I did to establish God’s Church and lead even just one person to be born again was itself all worthwhile. My fellow believers, someone who lives only for himself is not a servant of God. While anyone can preach the gospel, not just anyone can establish and take care of God’s Church. Indeed, this is something that can only be done by God’s servants.
God told Noah to build the ark, and for us this means that He has told us to build His Church. Do you know just how hard it is to build the Church? Think about how Noah built the ark for a hundred years, even while the sky was blue. Furthermore, Noah did not just build a small little boat; but he built an ark as big as a large building. What would people have said when they saw him building this huge ark not just for one or two years, but a hundred years? They would have said to him, “Something is wrong with you man! Why are you building such a large ark, when the sky is so clear? What is more, you are building it on top of a mountain!”
Would you like to put yourself into Noah’s shoes? Let’s imagine that you began to build an ark at the age of 15 and carried on doing this until now, fifteen years later. After a year goes by since you began building this ark, people would try to understand you, thinking that you would eventually quit. If you continued to build the same ark at the same place for a further two years they would then ask you, “What are you doing? You have been building that ark for two years now; why are you doing this?” You would then say to them, “God will judge the world with water in the not too distant future. We can be saved only if we go into this ark when it is completed.” Let’s say that five years have now passed since then. Would the people not begin to call you crazy? They will surely say that you have gone completely mad. Yet Noah built the ark not just for one or two years, but for a hundred years. So, when we consider this, can you imagine just how many people ridiculed him?
But despite this, Noah continued steadfastly to build the ark with faith. And he simultaneously preached the Word of righteousness to these people: “God will judge this world with water, but you will be saved if you are on this ark on that day. When God judges this world with water, even though everything else will be submerged under water, but this ark will float above it all. So those who are on this ark will be saved. Our God will judge this world with water, but you will be saved if you come into this ark. So why don’t you also come on aboard?” Noah would have preached this for a hundred years while building the ark. In other words, God built the Church and worked through Noah.
In like manner, the servants of God carry out His work with faith. They nurture you in obedience to God’s commandments, sometimes rebuking your mistakes, then they pray for you, and they always carry out the work of the Church together with you. God’s Church is very indispensable and it is the only source of salvation that can deliver people on the Day of Judgment. That is why God’s servants are establishing the Church with much effort. It is only through His servants that God establishes His Church and works. He wants them to raise His Church, so that He may work through it. Were it not for God’s Church, there would have been no way for you to live for the righteousness of God after being saved. Far from it, it would have been next to impossible for you to be saved in the first place.
It’s nearly impossible to be saved by hearing the gospel just once; and it may actually confuse you even more. So if God’s Church is not there to enable people to listen to the gospel repeatedly and answer all their questions, there can be no way for them to be saved. That is why God told us to establish His Church and to appreciate its importance.
Why then did God tell Noah to build the ark by himself? Had God built the ark instead of telling Noah to build it, then his family of eight would have easily been saved, and so the question is, why did God make Noah build the ark? The Word given to Noah’s family was the Word which was necessary for everyone all over the world. It is the Word of God commanding us the truly born again saints to build God’s Church for everyone today who can be saved by entering into Jesus Christ. This Word is the Revelation of His Church. It has been given to you and I so that we would hear the Word through God’s Church and receive the remission of all our sins, abide in Jesus Christ, believe in God, and be completely saved and avoid the judgment. You must realize just how important God’s Church is. You have to know what kind of place it is. Just because people call their gathering ‘a church,’ put up a cross with attractive signage, and call on the name of God, does not mean that such a gathering is the real Church. God’s Church is absolutely indispensable.
There is an appointed leader in each of God’s Churches, and these leaders stop new comers and examine them first before letting them in. People can come into God’s Church only after they have been cleansed without fail by believing in Jesus Christ. No leader should accept just anyone just because the congregation is too small, thinking that more is better. “I have only a few members in my church, and therefore I should just welcome everyone.” If this is how you think, it will lead you to a disastrous situation. Your gathering will then not be a Church of God, but instead will turn into a synagogue of Satan (Revelation 3:9). I admonish you all to realize that if the born-again worship and work with those who have not been born again, then this gathering itself will no longer be God’s Church. While individuals who have been truly saved among the congregation will go to Heaven, this place is clearly not a Church where God works. God’s Church is entered only by those who have been truly born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If someone who has not been born again and as a result remains unclean wants to come into the Church, this person must first hear the gospel of the water and the Spirit, obey and believe in it, and then be truly born again.
My fellow believers, if someone who has not been born again comes into our church and tries to take a high church office just because he gave lots of offerings, and if I were to allow this, then our gathering here would not be God’s Church any longer. It’s imperative for you to grasp that any place that entrusts a church office to anyone who has not been born again is not a real church.
In the genuine Church of God, it is clear who the leader is. Noah carried out everything the Lord God had instructed him to do. In God’s Church also, there must be servants that carry out His pure Word exactly as it is, and there must be leaders present who can enable people to be born again and come into God’s Church, and can guide them to be honored as saints, and be able to praise God.
My fellow believers, God’s Church cannot be found just anywhere. Even if it’s a gathering of the born-again, if it’s mixed in with those who have as yet not been born again, then God does not work there. God’s Church is where only the truly born-again are gathered together, and God works only in that kind of Church. Do you now realize just how important it is to establish the Church with only those who have been truly born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit? God’s Church is not built on guesswork.
A while ago a certain member of our Church said to me, “Salvation is found in any other church, and I was saved in a Presbyterian church five years ago.” So I said to him, “There is no salvation outside the gospel of the water and the Spirit,” with this, the young man replied, “Such a claim is heresy.” At that very moment I told him clearly, “God’s Church does not accept anyone except those with true faith, and therefore you should not come to our church anymore.” If you return to your sinful state after tasting the Truth once, there is no longer an offering that can remit away your sins (Hebrews 6:4-6). If you deny that Jesus Christ has blotted out all your sins, then there is nothing waiting for you but only curses. While we are more than able to tolerate people’s weaknesses, we cannot tolerate anyone who denies the Word of God and insults Jesus Christ by refusing to accept this Truth that has blotted out all our sins with His water and blood, and tramples on the Son of God as if He were a dirty rag (Hebrews 10:25-26). Such people will be cut off from God’s Church. While we may tolerate everything, we can never tolerate such wickedness.
Did Jesus fail to blot out all our sins? Is there still sin in your hearts? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? We must never allow anything to weaken our faith. Even though we who have been truly born again have many shortcomings and weaknesses, at least our faith must never be shaken. God said, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3). God wanted to make ‘this mystery’ of being truly born again known to all through His born-again saints, and for their seed to be spread all over the world. In other words, God wanted to proclaim His will over the face of the whole earth through His Church. Therefore, not just any place is the Church of God. Not everyone who calls on the name of Jesus is saved. Yet despite this, the many flawed churches in this world continue to claim, “Good Christians are those who offer prayers of repentance every day.” But we need to know that anyone who says that he has been made sinless by offering prayers of repentance according to his own man-made thoughts, and not the Word of God, is not a man of God.
My fellow believers, we must build God’s Church. God’s Church is the same as Noah’s Ark. The ark, into which Noah took seven pairs of clean animals and two pairs of unclean animals, male and female, refers to none other than God’s Church. This implies that the sinful should be brought into the Church ‘only’ after they have been born again by listening to and obeying the true gospel. This message is spoken to us today. It tells us that this is the very Church of God.
How do you understand the Church to be? Most people think that certain physical places are where the Church is found. Where there is a building used for gatherings, a cross on the roof, and many people and friends gathered there to call on the name of Jesus, receive the remission of sins by offering prayers of repentance every day, and just speak about God and Jesus — do you think that such a place is the Church? But this is not the Church. Such gatherings are no more than religious groups.
Let us turn to Genesis 7:3: “Also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.” This passage tells us clearly to send saints all over the world to preach the gospel to every corner to pass down our faith. It implies how sinners could be saved through us, and also how this faith of ours would be testified through them.
Genesis 7:4 says, “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” God said here that He would bring down rain on this earth and wipe out all living creatures from the face of the earth. This earth had to die once. As the Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), born once on this earth, you and I must invariably taste death at least once. The first world had to taste death by water without fail. This shows us so clearly the baptism of Jesus Christ, as it is written, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). There are two kinds of death for us, physical death and spiritual death. But for those who taste death ‘once’ with water, there is no second death. But those who do not taste death with this water will for sure taste the second death; these people who cannot taste the first death are those who do not or refuse to believe in the baptism of Jesus; they will surely taste the second death, and will be cast into the everlasting fire of hell and will suffer forever.
God judged the first world with water. He destroyed everything alive. You should realize that God killed every living creature that did not come into the ark, even the birds in the air. The water mentioned here refers to the baptism Jesus received in the Jordan River (1 Peter 3:20-21). God says in Romans 6:3, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” By believing in Jesus’ baptism, we had died ‘once’ with Jesus Christ. This implies that our old sinful selves were put to death ‘once and for all’. It means that we had died once.
Everyone who is not truly born again must die once. Where must he die? He must die in the Jordan River. The Jordan River which also means “flowing fast,” empties into the Dead Sea. Therefore the Jordan River was called the ‘River of death’. Born as a sinner, everyone must infallibly die ‘once’ in this River of death. Everyone should die once by believing in the baptism that Jesus received in the Jordan River. Jesus took all the accursed sins of everyone in this world upon Himself through His baptism in the Jordan River, and then He died on the Cross to pay off all the wages of our sins ‘once and for all’. He wiped out this world once with water, and this also refers to the burial of our old selves. In other words, our old selves had died. Our lives must be put to death at least once. It’s not our bodies that must die, but it is our souls that must face this death. My fellow believers, you must die once by being baptized into Jesus Christ without fail. You must die into His baptism.
When Jesus Christ was baptized, He was indeed baptized in water. By being baptized in the water of the Jordan River in a form of the laying on of hands, Jesus Christ took upon all the sins of mankind. That He went into the water implies the remission of our sins and death, and when He came out of the water - implies His resurrection. We must invariably die at least once through the Word of God. If you understand God’s Word, and look at yourself with this understanding, then you will realize that you are nothing more than a pile of sin destined for hell. In other words, if we were judged according to the Word, we must unavoidably die for our sins, but we have been exempted from such judgment because Jesus Christ bore all our iniquities and died in our place once.
So far we have looked into Genesis 7:1-5, and from this Scripture passage we must realize clearly that our old selves had died; they are no longer alive. I admonish you all to realize that when Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, we too were baptized with Him, and that when He was crucified and died, we also were crucified with Him. In the First and Second Epistles of Peter, the Lord spoke of the revelation hidden in the account of Noah. Through the baptism of Jesus Christ, everyone all over the world can now be truly born again. Jesus Christ shouldered everyone’s sins, and He died in everyone’s place. That is how we are now able to be born again. But sadly most people neither know this fact nor believe in it. These stubborn people, who do not or refuse to believe that Jesus took away all the sins of the world when He was baptized, will all be destroyed.
We can be born again only when we die once. We can become God’s children only if we are truly born again. Our old selves can never receive the remission of sins nor become God’s children no matter how hard we try. But Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the sins and blemishes of our old selves. However, just as God had judged this earth and destroyed all its living creatures by covering it with water, those who do not or refuse to believe that Jesus Christ took all the sins of their old selves upon Himself, was condemned for them, and died on their behalf, will be put to death. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must die once and be born again through Jesus Christ. You should realize that God spoke of this through the account of Noah’s Ark. Today’s Scripture passage speaks about God’s Church, explaining what it means to be truly born again, and what kind of people may enter into God’s Church. God had set this foundation a long time ago.
Did you die once? And were you truly born again? This is the precondition to reaching your salvation. Noah was also born again like this. Exactly how was he saved? When the whole earth was submerged under water, Noah was saved by entering into the ark. The ark here refers to God’s Church as well as Jesus Christ. Is the head of God’s Church not Jesus Christ? Of course it is! Therefore, that one has come into the ark means that he has been completely saved by believing in the Word of Jesus Christ. Noah, who was saved by entering into the ark, represents those who have been truly born again by believing in the Word of God.
When the first judgment came upon this earth, Noah was as good as dead like everyone else. If he had not found grace from God, he would have been destroyed along with all the other people of his time. But he was born again by finding God’s grace of salvation. That “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8) means that he found grace of being born again by believing in the Word of God. The Bible says that Noah was a just man, perfect and blameless in his generations. This means that just like us he also was born again by believing in God’s Word. Abraham was also born again by believing in the Word of God.
In the old days before I was born again, I used to go from one revival meeting to the next, and I heard so many times that unless I came into that church, I would be cast into hell. In those days when Pastors spoke like that, I became so afraid that I could not help but listen to them. I often saw them saying, “Come into the church; anyone can come in,” while they handed out all kinds of gifts to their congregation, from umbrellas to television sets as a reward for bringing in new members. I was very afraid of these pastors back then that I did everything possible to bring new members with me, and was happy to receive an umbrella as my reward. When new Christians begin to attend church, the first thing that such worldly Pastors teach is that they must faithfully attend all worship services which was on the Lord’s Day. Once they begin to attend these worship services, they were then instructed to give tithes. And when they faithfully attend worship services and gave voluntary offerings, deaconships or elderships were handed out to them. Is there anything more in worldly churches besides this? Are these pastors ever able to lead these congregations to be truly born again? All that one has to do is just attend church, participate in every worship service and faithfully offer tithes. Even now, these false pastors are still lying in the same way to their many pew warmers.
My fellow believers, you must realize that there is a gatekeeper at the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is written, “I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them” (John 10:7-8). Jesus is the gate to Heaven, and He is its gatekeeper. No one can enter Heaven unless they come through Jesus. I heard on Christian TV channels the other day that nowadays some mega churches in Seoul receive as many as 230 new members in just a single week. It is reported that dozens of them have never believed in Jesus before. If all these people were taught correctly, they would all receive the remission of sins, but no one teaches them the pure Word of God just as it is. To be more exact, most churches of this world are really incapable of teaching God’s Word properly. Why is this? It is because they do not know the Word of God. How difficult is it then to actually be able to lead just one person to receive the remission of sins? Yet in worldly churches, anyone who comes in is soon called a saint, and people are told that all that they have to do is just believe in Jesus. So while it is very easy for anyone to become a saint in such churches, it is actually impossible to be truly born again, which is what really matters.
We must die at least once. God told Noah to build the ark, but now in this age God’s Church is so hard to find. There is hardly any church that preaches the pure Word just as it is. Is there anyone among us who became a saint as soon as they started to attend just any church other than God’s Church? Did we not become saints only after we entered into God’s Church and learned about being born again? Were we not all born again by hearing the Word of God and believing in it? If anyone still has not received the remission of their sins even after coming into God’s Church, they must again hear God’s Word and obey it. All these people must realize that Jesus Christ is their Savior.
I would like to repeat exactly what the Church is all about, and what it must do. Like Noah, the Church must divide clean animals from unclean animals—that is, the redeemed from the unredeemed. It must make this differentiation very clearly. Anyone who wants to enter into the Church must clearly believe in this gospel, and the Church must discern sinners from the righteous. And the Church should never accept just anyone who wants to join. Even among those who they have seemingly entered God’s Church, there are unfortunately some people who must be driven out. We should never approve such people who do not know how to be born again even as they profess to believe in Jesus, and yet still say blindly, “I have been born again.”
Those who do not acknowledge the Word of God until the end will be driven out of God’s Church. Do you realize what it means to be driven out of God’s Church? It means that one is cast out from the presence of God. It’s all over then. To say that salvation is feasible even if there is sin in one’s heart is likened to asking for one’s own destruction. If a Christian has sin in his heart even if he believes in Jesus, then this person is clearly a sinner before God. God’s Church never teaches like this. God will outright trample on misbelievers and cast them into the everlasting fires of hell.
You have to realize what a tremendous blessing it is that you have now come into God’s Church. Without God’s Church you would not be able to enter the Kingdom of God, nor receive the remission of all your sins. Your redemption from sin would be completely impossible. It’s because God’s Church exists that you can believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and be truly born again. We must believe that this gospel Word that we believe in is indeed the Word of God, and we must make this faith clear for all to see. That is why we are testifying about the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we believe in to everyone and anyone. And that is why we are publishing our gospel books for everyone to read, asking all our readers to see for themselves whether what we are saying is biblically sound or not.
I give all my thanks to our Lord for teaching us through His Word about how we should take care of His Church.