“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
We just read Ephesians 4:1-6 for today’s Scripture reading. The Apostle Paul said here in Ephesians 4:1, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
At the time the Apostle Paul wrote this, he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, and so we can easily imagine just how grieved his heart must have been. When Paul was a free man, he was able to freely meet with the saints and share all the fellowship he wanted. But now that he was imprisoned, he could not do what he wanted to do, and his heart yearned even more to preach the gospel. We too should hold the gospel of the water and the Spirit dear to our hearts while we still can serve it. Yet I see that some of us don’t have such zeal, and this saddens me deeply. I am afraid that when the Great Tribulation comes, it will soon be impossible for us to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit anymore. When this time comes, I know that we will regret over not serving the gospel now as diligently as we could have. Although our devotion and zeal for the gospel will be much greater than now, but when the time of the Great Tribulation comes it will be too late.
Just as the Apostle Paul said, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1), it is now that all of us should walk worthy of the calling that we have received from the Lord.
Realizing That the Lord Has Called and Saved Us, We Should Lead a Life That’s Worthy of His Calling
The Apostle Paul admonished in Ephesians 4:2 to walk “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” For us to work with all lowliness before God is to devote ourselves to Him by faith. Because God has called us out of the power of darkness to be His own children and entrusted us with His work, I have no doubt whatsoever that the work we are doing now is God’s precious work.
The tasks entrusted to the righteous are different from one another. Each one of us has a different role to carry out God’s work, and to cherish every one of our workers is to be humble. Humility is not about lowering ourselves just outwardly and pretending to be humble, but it is all about cherishing each and every one serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and faithfully carrying out the task that has been assigned to each of us.
Just as God commanded us to walk with all lowliness and gentleness, it’s imperative for us to respect one another and care for each other. We ought to cherish all who are serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit, recognizing sincerely that without their labor, it would be impossible for any of us to serve the Lord. So even now, all of us should cherish and love one another. Paul often spoke about everyday life in addition to spiritual issues, and his key message for us is to treat one another with all lowliness and kindness.
Among those who are now serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit, can there be anyone who is precious in God’s sight? No, all who have received the remission of sins, defend their faith, and labor hard to spread the gospel are precious in God’s sight regardless of how high or low their church office may be. There is no one who is more precious than these saints. All of us who are serving the righteousness of God are His treasured workers. When God told us to walk with “all lowliness and gentleness,” He was teaching us to cherish one another. True gentleness is not about looking at others’ weaknesses and judging and condemning them. Far from it, it is all about cherishing them for laboring so hard to serve the Lord despite having so many weaknesses. In other words, God is teaching us to understand one another’s weaknesses and share fellowship with each other freely in love.
From his prison, the Apostle Paul said to the saints in the Ephesian Church, “Walk with all lowliness and gentleness. If you really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do not mistreat one another.”
The workers of righteousness abiding in God’s Church are in fact very gentle. But there is a certain order in God’s Church that may be difficult to comprehend from a human point of view. So, because of this spiritual order that’s in God’s Church, it’s actually those who are weak, whether physically or spiritually, who are respected even more in the Church. In God’s Church, the weaker saints with many shortcomings are served even more by their predecessors of faith. And it’s all because of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit that these fragile saints are now protected and served in God’s Church.
Even if you happen to see a fellow saint’s fleshly weaknesses and this saint looks utterly worthless to you, you should have the eyes to see just how precious this saint is in God’s sight. Those who have such spiritual eyes are blessed. All of us have received the remission of sins from God, and all of us are indispensable to one another. If you don’t appreciate the importance of God’s workers and saints and do not forgive their faults, then you will surely be rebuked by the Lord.
Imagine that you were to drive out all the saints, saying that you don’t need any of them, and that you were to worship God by yourself in this big church building. You would then have to do everything by yourself, from cleaning the church to arranging the flowers, managing the sound system, and maintaining the heating system. If you were to do all these things by yourself, you couldn’t do them all even if you spent all your day. So it’s absolutely imperative for all of us to realize that we can spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit and serve God only if we are united together. We should also realize what a blessing it is that we have coworkers. When you look at your fellow saints preaching and serving God’s gospel, do you not see just how precious they all are? There is no reason why we can’t be humble to one another, nor is there anything that we can’t forgive from each other. All the righteous who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must be able to recognize each other’s preciousness and cherish one another. That is why the Lord told us to walk with all lowliness and gentleness.
The believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are gentle and meek, for they are God’s people. Although the righteous may sometimes express their feelings too rashly when they get angry in their flesh, at least their hearts are gentle before God. Young and old alike, there is no one who does not have a temper or self-respect. Likewise, even the righteous can sometimes become quite hot-tempered in their stubbornness. Ultimately, however, they are all obedient to the will of God. Once they realize their mistake, they all submit themselves to the Word of God and follow it in unity. Of course, our human nature is fundamentally evil, stubborn and vile, but the people of God are treated gently all who follow and serve the Lord, particularly the weak. However, as far as those who stand against and blaspheme the gospel are concerned, far from treating them gently, we sometimes change into ferocious lions to stand up to them.
Why do you think the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints from the prison and admonished them to walk “with all lowliness and gentleness” (Ephesians 4:2)? That’s because it’s only worthy and fitting for us to cherish with all humility and kindness everyone who is serving the gospel in the Church, to fill each other’s weakness with our faith, to pool our strengths in the Lord to do good, and to serve His gospel and preach it to every soul. However, if there is anyone in God’s Church who boasts of his fleshly strength or tries to suppress the weak from his position of power, then we ought to stand up to all such people. Indeed, in God’s Church, it’s completely irrelevant how well educated you are or how high or low your social status is. God uses whoever obeys the Word of God by faith as His precious instrument. Once you come into God’s Church, you must cherish your fellow saints in Christ no matter how high your social status or church office is.
However, There Are Some People in God’s Church Trying to Rule Over Everyone Even as They Have Not Been Born Again Yet
Such people should realize just how long we the righteous have been enduring sinners. Even to this day, the righteous have devoted all their efforts to the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to sinners. However, it is in every sinner’s nature to try to destroy others both in body and spirit. Put differently, it is every sinner’s goal to enslave others and destroy them spiritually. Like this, there is a clear difference between the fruit of the born-again and the fruit of those who have not been born again.
Of course, it’s true that even the born-again sometimes succumb to their fleshly weaknesses. However, the righteous still cherish one another, treat each other kindly, and abide by the spiritual order. The righteous know how to love one another. When the righteous get weary, they comfort and encourage one another in every way possible, sometimes breaking bread together, other times taking a rest with some tea; and once their strength is renewed, they all return to each of their positions to carry out God’s work.
However, there are some people who get angry and lash out for no reason from time to time. But even when this happens, we must still try to understand one another, resolve any misunderstandings that we might have, admit each other’s mistake, and reconcile with one another in Christ. Whenever we see in us any weaknesses that we did not recognize before, we should admit them to God, apologize to everyone whom we might have hurt, and tolerate each other’s mistake in God’s love. This is how the righteous should lead their lives, for it is the fundamental foundation of every life of faith for all of us to become one united in the same faith in the righteousness of the Lord.
Even among the righteous, there are some who lead and some who follow. But this does not mean that every sheep necessarily obeys the leader. In fact, there are so many sheep in God’s Church that are so stubborn. Nevertheless, the predecessors of faith patiently endure weaker members, and they also admitted their mistakes whenever they recognized them. Sometimes, even the weaker saints admit their mistakes and humble their hearts to accept the guidance of their predecessors of faith. This is how we come together in one heart by our common faith in our Lord. Indeed, once our spiritual lives of faith mature, we the righteous come to recognize how precious our predecessors of faith are, and at the same time, we also come to cherish those behind us following in our footsteps to serve the gospel by faith diligently despite receiving the remission of sins later than us. In this way, as we come to grasp how precious we are to one another, we are able to serve God in our lives.
It’s for this reason that the Apostle Paul admonished us to walk “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). When we thus understand one another and embrace each other in Gods’ love and with faith, we are all made one. I am sure that you have also experienced this yourself.
The Lord Commanded Us to Defend Our Faith in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
Ephesians 4:3 says, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What binds us to one another to keep our unity of peace? What makes us one is the gospel power of the water and the Spirit through which the Lord has saved us from all our sins. This is how we are able to keep our salvation that’s been completed in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, receive true peace, and enjoy true satisfaction, all by faith. Indeed, if we did not have the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then it would have been impossible for us to enjoy true peace, nor endure with longsuffering, nor be humble, nor be gentle, far less love one another. It’s all because we have the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can patiently endure and bear with all the difficulties of our lives. It’s because the Lord has blotted out all our sins once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Moreover, because our Lord has blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we could not only receive peace into our hearts as His believers, but we could also spread His peace. Thanks to the God-given peace, we have now become one.
Admonishing us all to defend our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Apostle Paul also said in Ephesians 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.”
Is there more than one body of Christ? No, there is only one body of Christ. The body of Christ here refers to the saints who constitute God’s Church. Jesus Christ is the Head of God’s Church, and as the members of this Church, we are the body of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is one body. Thanks to the salvation that the Lord has brought to us, we have all become one. There is also one Spirit, just as Paul said, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4).
Jesus Christ has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He has now sealed our hearts with the Holy Spirit. In other words, God has sealed with the Holy Spirit each and every heart that has received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit, in turn, has made us live in one hope. In short, God has blessed us to be united in one hope of entering His Kingdom.
Paul then went on to say in Ephesians 4:5-6 that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” There indeed is only one Lord, and this Lord has saved us from all the sins of the world. The one and only Lord who has saved us from all our sins is none other than Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ had not saved us from all our sins through the gospel of salvation fulfilled with His water and blood, then we could never have been delivered from all our sins. Therefore, just as the Bible says, there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Just as there is only one Lord who has saved us, there is only one faith by which all of us have reached our salvation, for we all believe in the same Lord through the same gospel. This faith is shared by all the saints abiding in God’s Church.
There is also only one baptism that Jesus received for us. Is there any other baptism that Jesus Christ received to bear our sins? Or did He take upon our sins through any other way but His baptism? No, there was no other way but the baptism the Lord received from John the Baptist. There is therefore only one baptism that has washed away all our sins. And because Jesus bore all our sins when He received this baptism, all our sins were passed onto Him.
Have you ever unclogged a drain? While I was ministering at Changwon City, the drain in the back balcony of the church building got clogged once and caused so much trouble that I had to call in a plumber to get it unclogged. The church was located on the second floor of the building, and there was a private institute on the floor above the church. This institute had sent down a lot of waste through the drain there until it ended up clogging up the sewage pipes. The stoppage was so bad that I could not fix it myself, and so I had to call in a plumber. But even the plumber had trouble unclogging the system. At first, the plumber was going to charge me $30 for the job, but he soon wanted more money complaining how bad the clog was. So I offered him $50, and the drain was unclogged in less than a minute. I was very happy to see all the blocked sewage was now completely open.
We must constantly listen to the gospel Word teaching us that Jesus accepted all our sins and took them all away by being baptized by John the Baptist. Whenever we listen to this Word on Jesus’ baptism, our hearts are completely unclogged from all the dross that blocks us. Your heart and mine then can share fellowship freely, just as water can flow freely when a blocked pipeline is cleared.
Through what can our hearts share fellowship? It’s through our common faith in the baptism of Jesus that our hearts can commune with one another. It’s when we tell each other that all our sins were passed onto Jesus through His baptism that we can share fellowship with one another and see eye to eye tenderly and peacefully. And we can also preach the gospel to all whose hearts are still clogged, teaching them, “Just as all my sins were passed onto Jesus, all your sins were also passed onto the Lord. After all, your sins also belong to the sins of the world, and so this can only mean that your sins were passed onto Jesus as well. Each and every sin in this world, yours and mine alike, was already passed onto the Lord.” Their hearts will then be unclogged and also communicate with the hearts of all the other born-again saint in one holy community, just as the Bible says that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
What about God’s Church then? Can there be more than one? No, there can’t be more than one Church of God, just as the Bible says that there “is one body” (Ephesians 4:4). That there is one Lord and one God means that since we believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth as our Savior in obedience to the will of the Father, bore all our sins through His baptism, and died on the Cross in our place, there is only one Lord and one God for us. Although people worship many gods in this world, the divine Creator who made the whole universe and its hosts and saved us is the only true God. And whenever we say that this God is our God, it is premised on the fact that He is good and full of love.
The Bible also says that our God is the “Father of all” (Ephesians 4:6). Who created everything in this universe, both visible and invisible? It’s God who made all things. God the Father is therefore above all as the absolute Creator. He is not lowly like us His creatures, but He is our Creator who is more exalted than all, our Savior, and our God, for it is He who made the whole universe and all its hosts.
Paul also said in Ephesians 4:6 that our God is “through all.” When God created the universe and all things in it, man was no more than a lowly creature before God. You and I also belonged to such lowly creatures, but God the Father has made us one with Himself by sending His Son to this earth and saving us through this Son’s water and blood. Put differently, God has blessed us to have the status of His own sons and daughters through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When the Bible says that God our Father “is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6), it means that God dwells in the hearts of all who have received the remission of sins. Some philosophers espousing pantheism argue that everything in this world is a god, claiming that even sweepers, stones, the moon, the sun, and the seas are all divine creatures. But the God who fills this universe and dwells in your heart and mine is the only true God. And this true God is one with us, just as the Apostle Paul said, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). From where did we come? We came from God. All who are born of God are His people. In contrast, those who don’t believe in God exactly according to His work of salvation are not His people, but they are His enemies as the Devil’s servants.
That is why the Apostle Paul admonished us to “[endeavor] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). What does it mean for us to have the unity of the Spirit? It means that we have become one body. By believing that Jesus Christ was baptized, crucified to death, and resurrected from the dead on this earth to save us, we have received the remission of sins, and peace came into our hearts. It’s because we believe in this Truth that we have become members of God’s Church by being remitted from all our sins. Jesus is the Head and we are the members of His body. We have become one with Jesus Christ. Just as every part and every organ comes together to form one body, from your fingers to your toes, as the members of the same body, we cooperate with one another, complement each other, and unite with one another. In other words, each one of us is indispensible to one another. Although our need for each other may not be absolute, we still feel extremely lonesome when we don’t have each other, and even though we sometimes quarrel amongst ourselves, we still need one another. Whom do we need? We need each and every one of us.
All of us need one another. Each and every one of us has become one body by one faith, for we all cherish the Lord our Savior. In short, we need each other. The Apostle Paul spoke about the Church, about the kind of faith that must be kept by all who have reached salvation by receiving the remission of sins, and about how this faith should be defended. This is an extremely important subject. When the Apostle Paul said that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5-6), he was teaching us that we have become one in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through our common faith in this true gospel.
True Faith Cannot Spring Forth in Us If We Believe in Jesus While Leaving Out the Baptism He Received from John the Baptist
The Apostle Paul and all the other Apostles always bore witness of the baptism of Jesus Christ whenever they preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit, never leaving it out. In spite of this, however, countless Christians in this age are preaching about Jesus while leaving out the baptism that the Lord received from John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
You might know very well that the screen gate of the court of the Tabernacle had to be woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen (Exodus 27:16). Would it then have been lawful if Moses had ordered his craftsmen to weave the gate only with purple and scarlet thread and fine woven linen? The same analogy can apply to today’s Christians professing to believe in Jesus as their Savior. Many of them don’t believe in Jesus’ baptism as one of the pivotal elements that constitute the true gospel. The wrong faith of these misguided Christians is like an unlawful gate of the court of the Tabernacle that is woven only with purple and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. God will tear down such a wrong faith just as He would tear down such an unlawful screen gate.
The Bible clearly teaches us that the dominion of God is the realm of salvation that He has given us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, the Lord told us clearly that we should never leave out His baptism or His blood on the Cross from the work of salvation that He has done for us to deliver us from all our sins. Yet still many Christians don’t even believe that Jesus is God Himself. All such people are no more than religious practitioners.
Religious pluralists claim that there is more than one savior, arguing that Jesus is not the only Savior but anyone can be a savior, from Buddha to Confucius and Muhammad. These people teach their followers, “Reach Nirvana and become a god by yourself. Sanctify yourself to become a righteous person.” But these religious leaders are actually trying to rob our souls of our true faith in God to destroy us. They are nothing more than robbers; how could such liars ever save anyone? These so-called sages of the world and their followers are all nothing but thieves and robbers. Our Lord warned us about these robbers and said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). No religious leader in this world can ever bring eternal life to anyone else; on the contrary, all the religious leaders are teaching their followers to reach their salvation through their own efforts. These people are not the preachers of the true Savior.
In contrast, our Savior not only created the whole universe and all its hosts, but He Himself came to this earth to make us His very own people; He then bore all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, shed His blood on the Cross, rose from the dead, and has thereby become our true Savior. Through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross, Jesus has completely fulfilled our salvation from all our sins, and He has given everlasting life and the remission of sins to all of us who believe in this Truth. He has provided us with the way of salvation to reach our deliverance by faith. As I just made mention of the secret revealed in the gate of the court of the Tabernacle, by realizing and believing in the Truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven line, we have been saved from all our sins.
If we try to receive blessings from God by offering our own accomplishments or merits to Him, we will surely be hated by God. Jesus has already completely achieved our salvation through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that we would be able to be saved from all our sins by believing in the righteousness of God alone. Given this, if we still ignore God’s righteousness and try to come into His presence with our own righteousness, then far from being blessed, we will surely be cursed. None of us should ever behave so arrogantly like Cain. Our salvation is received only through our faith in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is the only faith that’s approved by God. And even though we ourselves are full of shortcomings, the right faith demands us to follow the Lord’s Word in obedience and unite together.
Some of the righteous still think that there is something more they have to do other than abiding in God’s Church and having faith in the Savior, but there is nothing else they need to do but have faith in God’s Word, and the only true faith is one that’s placed in the righteousness of God. How about you then? Whom do you believe? What do you believe? Where is your faith placed? We have faith in God and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. To save us from all our sins, the Lord came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, was baptized, died on the Cross, and rose up from the dead. He has thereby saved all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit according to His will. Hence, we are washed from all our sins by believing that our Lord has blotted them all out by coming to this earth, being baptized by John the Baptist, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. By thus believing in both the baptism of the Lord and His blood on the Cross, we are not only washed from all our sins but also delivered from all their condemnation. There can be no gospel other than this gospel of the water and the Spirit, nor can there be any salvation other than the one that’s reached by believing in this true gospel.
A while ago, I received an email from someone in Costa Rica. This man said in the email that he knew a certain Evangelical pastor who had come to his country to preach the gospel there in 1986, and that this pastor’s teaching was almost identical to ours. He then divulged his own opinion and began to argue that the gospel preached by us was wrong. He might have heard from one of the Evangelicals who just say one is made righteous by believing in Jesus without really explaining exactly how the Lord has blotted out all our sins. But you have to realize here that these Evangelicals don’t believe in the baptism of Jesus, and their faith is too shallow. By the way, it was the Costa Rican’s belief that Jesus bore the sins of the world right after He was crucified to death, when God the Father had forsaken Him for three hours while darkness had descended. Of course, this man’s belief is completely wrong, but rather than ignoring and deleting his email, I decided to preserve it as a tool to testify the Truth.
My fellow believers, God abhors the most such people who neither believe in His righteousness completely nor disbelieve completely. Just as it is written, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16), God vomits out such people. If anyone says that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is as right as the gospel of the blood of the Cross alone, then this person’s faith is wrong and preposterous. True faith can never have more than one gospel, just as the Bible says that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
Why did the Apostle specifically say here that there is “one baptism”? That’s because all our sins were passed onto Jesus through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. Jesus could die on the Cross for us because He had borne all our sins in the Jordan River, the River of Death, by receiving this baptism from John the Baptist. That’s because if John the Baptist had not passed all the sins of this world to Jesus through His baptism, then there would have been no reason for Jesus to be crucified to death. Therefore, if Jesus were not baptized by John the Baptist, His death itself would have been completely in vain and meaningless. Just as you can’t obtain any result unless you first understand and go through the process that’s required to produce this result, so long as today’s Christians remain ignorant of the baptism of Jesus and refuse to recognize it, they can never make Jesus’ blood on the Cross relevant to them. So it’s only a matter of course for me to emphasize Jesus’ baptism so much and so often.
Jesus Accepted All the Sins of This World by Being Baptized by John the Baptist
Jesus bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. He then carried all our sins to the Cross and was crucified to death. And now, as Jesus rose from the dead, He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. This is how Jesus has become our Savior. He has become our true Savior testifying our salvation, for He is alive even now. It was to bear all our sins by being baptized that Jesus was born on this earth incarnated in the flesh of man for our salvation. And because Jesus was indeed baptized according to this purpose for which He was born as a Man, He could die on the Cross, rise from the dead, and become our Savior according to the plan of God the Father.
Jesus had actually planned to do this work of our salvation long before actually carrying it out, and He implemented it according to His plan. He had promised to come to this earth as the Seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14), and just as He had promised, He indeed came to this earth incarnated through a virgin named Mary, bore all the sins of the world by being baptized, and shed His blood to death on the Cross. Like this, just as He had promised us, God Himself was baptized by John the Baptist, shed His blood to death, rose from the dead again, and is alive now and forever. And because Jesus is alive even now, everything He did for us is real and effective forever, and He has become our true Savior.
Just as the Apostle Paul said that there is one Lord, so is there is only one Savior for us. That’s why Jesus alone could save us from all our sins. Is there any sin in your heart then? No, there is no sin at all. Did your sins then disappear by believing just in Jesus’ blood on the Cross? No, all your sins were blotted by believing in both the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. It was only through this faith placed in both the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross that we could wash away all our sins. Even now, there is only one faith and one gospel that can deliver everyone from all his sins, not two, and this gospel is none other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
How about you then? Do you have the gospel of the water and the Spirit that can save you from all your sins? Is your faith otherwise different from the rest of us? If your faith is different from ours, then it can only mean that you have sneaked into God’s Church without the right faith. Which faith stands against the righteousness of God? Who can be described as someone who has sneaked into Christ? They are those who believe in something else rather than believing only in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as their salvation. These people will therefore bear the fruit of destruction, for their hearts remain sinful.
God gave us a free will when He created us, and He has enabled us to reach our salvation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that “He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” (Ephesians 1:10). And by saving us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has made us God’s own children. This is the faith that enables us to be truly united with God. Our Lord said to all of us, “It is My desire to save you all from your sins and make you My children, so that you would enjoy the glory of Heaven as My sons and daughters.” This, my fellow believers, is the very plan of God and the ultimate fulfillment of His goal.
The Lord Dwells in the Hearts of All Who Believe in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross as our salvation from all our sins. We can share fellowship with one another only through this common faith. We should never emphasize or stress just the blood of Jesus. If anyone in God’s Church teaches anything else other than this faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must put a stop to all such people. If they still continue to hang on to their mistaken beliefs despite our admonishment, then we must break our relationship with them. If such people are ever found in God’s Church, we must either turn them around to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit just as we do, or otherwise ask them leave God’s Church.
It is entirely appropriate for us to stand against anyone who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the very gospel of God. If anyone does not believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit even though it is through this gospel that the Lord has saved us, then this person is standing against the righteousness of God with his own righteousness. The Lord also commanded us to “[endeavor] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). So we can’t just watch idly if anyone in God’s Church does not actually obey this commandment and instead torments his fellow saints, insisting that he has been saved by believing in Jesus anyhow. We should find out such wobblers and teach them to stand firm on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If they don’t obey us to the end, we have to cut them off from God’s Church boldly even though our hearts will be grieved.
Because so many people nowadays are so ignorant of the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, they do not even know who is saved and who is not. It is therefore crucial for us to draw a clear boundary line of faith with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and testify to everyone that salvation can be reached only inside this boundary. Whoever wants to come into this God-made boundary of salvation must go through the gospel gate of the water and the Spirit by faith. Anyone who does not come through this gate is not saved. All of us must believe in this God-established law and practice it by faith.
As we carry on with our lives of faith, it’s also necessary for us to record every testimony of salvation and every experience of faith to verify whether one’s faith is true or false. There are some people who dwell among us even though they have neither become one with us nor share with us the common faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and these people spread around so much wickedness. We have seen and dealt with many such people. That is why it is necessary to record and document their testimonies for verification. While we can tolerate and bear with just about any fleshly weaknesses, we can’t overlook anyone whose faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is unclear and ambiguous. It’s absolutely indispensable for us to teach all such mistaken believers to believe firmly in the true gospel one by one or expose their true colors. Only then can we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit walk with Christ without stumbling.
Everyone in God’s Church must live by the same faith of the true gospel, and therefore anyone whose faith in not placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit cannot help but reject the righteousness of God. If there are such people in God’s Church who don’t believe in His gospel of the water and the Spirit, then the right thing for us to do is either drive them out of God’s Church or make them have the same faith as ours, no matter who they are. We should never tolerate so lightly anyone who has sneaked into God’s Church without actually believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. On the contrary, we should do everything possible to prevent such people from coming into God’s Church.
The Apostle Paul admonished us to “[endeavor] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). What did the Apostle Paul tell us to keep? He told us to keep our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not anything else. God is teaching us here to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and defend this faith of ours. Some of you may then wonder, “Where did the Apostle Paul say here in this passage to defend the gospel of the water and the Spirit? There is no mention of water or the Lord’s baptism anywhere.” But I am not speaking of the gospel of the water and the Spirit here according to my own interpretation, but I am talking about it because God Himself is speaking about this true gospel to us. Is the gospel of the water and the Spirit nowhere to be found in the Bible? No, it is written everywhere in the Scriptures. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is not just something that I advocate in whatever way I see fit. It’s only because so many people are spiritually blind that they can’t understand this true gospel even when they see it.
When we look at our society, we see that it is sustained by the rule of law; likewise, in God’s Church too, there clearly is God’s law that sustains His Church. Moreover, as God’s law is different from any man-made system of law, it is forever in force. Although God tolerates all our weaknesses and bears with them patiently, there is one thing that God absolutely does not put up with. This is accepting another gospel other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, unless we defend our faith in this gospel of the water and the Spirit that has brought to us the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, both our salvation and our peace will disappear from our hearts.
To Defend Our Faith in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Is to Keep Our Hearts’ Peace
I am sure that you all know what peace is. Our Lord has given us peace just as He promised us. And because our God has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have received this true peace. However, even though God has given us peace, we will lose this peace if we fail to defend the gospel. So once we receive peace, it’s absolutely imperative for us to also defend this peace forever. That is why, to keep this peace until the end, we must have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Anyone who wants to come into God’s Church must at least have this faith in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only such people of faith are recognized as our brothers and sisters. However, no matter how powerful anyone is, if this person does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then he is a spiritual Gentile inevitably destined to be cast into hell. We ought to treat such people like any other Gentile and regard them as the lost sheep to whom we have to preach the gospel with patience and longsuffering. But if these people ever try to reign over us even as they don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we should never allow it. Such people should all be cut off and never be allowed to serve the gospel along with our brothers and sister and God’s servants. Since this is what God told us to do, that is what we must do not just for your sake and mine but for the sake of God’s Church also. We should all realize here that anyone who rejects the gospel of the water and the Spirit will be punished by God for sure.
I once saw a TV documentary called In the Footsteps of Christ, which traced Paul’s missionary journey through Asia Minor to Macedonia including the regions of Ephesus and Philippi located in what is now Turkey and Greece. Is there anyone there today who has the gospel of the water and the Spirit? No, there is no one. Why did this happen? It happened because once the Apostles in the Early Church era passed away, the gospel of the water and the Spirit was no longer testified by God’s servants, and therefore no one could prevent it from being corrupted.
The Apostle Paul admonished us all, “That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (2 Timothy 1:14). Here, Paul called the gospel of the water and the Spirit as “that good thing” rather than mentioning it directly. The Lord also told us to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and this also refers to the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Bible is the Word of God written by the Apostles chosen by Him and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Bible is not only priceless as a literary and historical writing, but it is also absolutely flawless as the Word of Truth that gives the right faith to the soul. Even the most renowned writers and poets in this world cannot ever come even remotely close to the beautiful Word of God written in the Scriptures. The gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit has made us one and enabled us to live by faith, and all of us must believe in this wonderful and priceless Truth.
Nowadays it’s quite common to come across movies depicting Jesus’ life, but most of these movies end with a predictable lesson extolling virtue and condemning wickedness, propagating the notion that whoever believes in God is blessed while whoever does not believe is cursed. But who could ever receive the remission of sins by watching such a movie? It would have been so great if at least one of these movies provided a more accurate and fuller account of Jesus’ baptism and explained what Jesus meant when He said to John the Baptist, “It is fitting for Me to be baptized by you to accept all sins and fulfill all righteousness.” People could have then received the remission of sins just from watching this one movie.
There is a passage in Proverbs that says, “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty” (Proverbs 10:15). People don’t believe in what the poor say no matter how vocal they are. But when one’s words are accompanied by concrete material benefits, these words are more easily accepted. That’s why we are giving away our books freely to people all over the world to share our love with them and preach the gospel throughout the whole wide world. And this is how these people all over the world can receive the remission of their sins just by reading one of our gospel books.
It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to not only continue to carry out this work of spreading the gospel, but also defend our faith until the very end. We must defend this faith until the end at all costs because the crown of victory will be awarded only to those who do so. Even if you have preached the gospel all over the world, but if you’ve lost your own faith, you then have lost your peace; if you’ve lost this peace, then you have lost your life; and if you’ve lost your life, then you have nothing to look forward to but curses. It is therefore most important for you to defend your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the very end. You and I must realize just how truly precious and wonderful the gospel of the water and the Spirit is, and we must all defend our faith in this gospel.
Let me also add here that I love you all. There is no one whom I don’t love. I love not only you, who are gathered here right before my eyes, but all our ministers and saints throughout God’s Church all over the world, and even those who are standing outside the Church. Indeed, it’s precisely because we love all these lost souls that we care so deeply about them and sometimes feel so frustrated by their stubbornness. For us to defend our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the end, we must have mercy on all such non-believers and consider them as the pitiful souls that desperately need us to preach the gospel to them. At the same time, we also need the faith that can help us stand up to anyone who has sneaked into God’s Church with a false gospel.
Do you believe unwaveringly that there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, just as the Apostle Paul taught us here in today’s Scripture passage? Indeed, all of us gathered here believe so, for we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We Must Believe in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit and Defend This Faith Until the End of the World
We spent some time today to reflect on the faith that Paul taught us. We could see clearly from today’s Scripture reading that the Apostle Paul preached nothing but the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaims the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. It is based on this gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Apostle Paul preached the Word of God. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth of salvation that Jesus has given us personally. Jesus Himself said that no one can see the Kingdom of God far less enter it unless he is born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:5).
Like this, the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has taught us is undeniably from the Word of God. So how could anyone claim to have received the remission of sins without even believing in this genuine gospel of the water and the Spirit? If we assume that there are around 1.5 billion Christians around the world, more than 1,499,990,000 of them now believe in Jesus without any understanding of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And since these misguided Christians do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they have not actually been saved from their sins. I’m not saying this because our gathering is somehow picky, but only because God Himself has decreed that one shall enter His Kingdom only if he is born again of water and the Spirit, and I’m just applying this law of salvation to today’s Christians. Only when we actually apply the law of salvation concretely can we really discern those who have truly been saved from so many nominal Christians who just call on the name of the Lord and profess to believe in Jesus without true faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. After all, the Lord Himself said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). This means that although anyone can believe in Jesus, not just anyone can actually receive salvation by calling on His name.
In whom did God choose us? He chose us in Jesus Christ. How has Jesus Christ saved us from all our sins? He has saved us through His water and blood. Is it then right to say that Jesus bore the sins of the world right before His death on the Cross, when darkness had descended and Jesus had been forsaken for three hours, as the Costa Rican man that I told you about earlier in my sermon argued in his email? No, that is not right at all.
If you still do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then I ask you to believe in this gospel even now with all your heart. You can enjoy peace in this true gospel only if you believe in it, defend it, and preach it until the end no matter what. Indeed, even though most people don’t realize it, this gospel has in fact brought true peace to all of us. How could we have ever obtained this peace without the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Could we have ever found any peace anywhere else but this gospel? No, of course not! On the contrary, you should realize here clearly that if you ignore this gospel and fail to keep it, then you will not only lose your peace but also be cursed for sure.
If we don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, or if we fail to keep this gospel until the end even after believing it, then we will all surely face eternal death. That is why we should never let it slide by if we see anyone in our Church advocating any other faith than the one that’s placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must do this for the sake of each and every one of us, so that none of us would ever perish but all of us would defend our true faith until the very end. It’s because we ourselves would lose our peace and perish for sure if we tolerate such faithless people to stay in God’s Church. What would happen if someone here stood up now and said, “Jesus’ baptism isn’t that important, since it’s just by dying on the Cross that He has saved us perfectly”? Wouldn’t it shatter our peace? Of course it would! As we all know, it’s because Jesus was baptized in the first place that He could also shed His blood on the Cross. So, if we neglect such people saying nonsense out of their sheer ignorance of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then countless people will end up falling into destruction as a result. The consequences of this neglect are as predictable and devastating as the consequences that you would face if you kept on drinking and smoking without a care even as it is killing you.
My fellow believers, I cannot emphasize enough just how absolutely important it is that you defend the faith you now have in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You must defend your faith for no one else’s sake but yourself. And to do so is how you can help other souls, and it is also how you can serve the righteousness of God. So it is absolutely imperative for you to keep the right faith you now have, which is another way of saying that you must defend your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you instead look down on the gospel of the water and the Spirit that you now have, just as Esau sold off his birthright for a mere bowl of lentil stew, then you will also end up losing all the blessings of God. Would you then say like Esau, “Since I am the first son and the eldest brother, it’s in my birthright to inherit all the wealth of my father? But I will give it all up to you if you just give me a bowl of lentil stew”? When Esau returned from hunting, he was so hungry that all that he could think of was food, and when he came back home, he saw his little brother Jacob cooking lentil stew. Esau lunged at this like a starving beast, sold off his birthright to Jacob for just a bowl of lentil stew, gobbled up the stew, and along the way sent his own birthright down the drain. I am sure that you all know what happened next: Because of this, Esau lost all his blessings to Jacob. Just as Esau was cursed for despising his birthright, you will also receive nothing but every curse of God if you despise the gospel of the water and the Spirit and end up forsaking it.
Because we believe in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can inherit all the blessings of the Father and all His power, and we can also inherit faith. Given this fact, how foolish would it be if we were to sell off our birthright just for a bowl of lentil stew like Esau? So we can never give up the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, just because someone tempts us with some worldly values. And that is why we are preaching this gospel even now rejecting all social values as mere rubbish, just as the Apostle Paul had done. And we will never give up the precious treasure that we have in our hearts.
We are about to go through some reorganization once more and make some changes, but regardless of these changes we will continue to serve the gospel no matter what. We have to do our best to fulfill the responsibility that the Lord has entrusted to us, and to do so, we must unite ourselves with one another by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We cannot therefore afford to tolerate anyone who causes God’s saints to stumble by teaching them anything other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If there are such people among us, then we must point out their fallacy for everyone to see and prevent the true gospel from being corrupted.
The Truth cannot be stopped even if someone tries to force me into silence. Regardless of what happens to me, our gathering will continue to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit ceaselessly. So I am determined to denounce even more loudly everything that’s false and fallacious. Just as an even greater flame of the gospel was ignited in the Church of Jerusalem after James was martyred, I believe that when we face trials and tribulations, our faith will be strengthened even more and the gospel will work even more wondrously. So let us all give thanks to God, defend the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the end, and faithfully carry out the gospel work united by our one common faith.