The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 21 : The Gospel According to MARK

[Chapter 1-1] (Mark 1:1-11) Do You Know The Ministry of John the Baptist?

(Mark 1:1-11)
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, ‘There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
 
 
From Where Does the Gospel of God Begin?
 
In continuation from this morning’s sermon, we will look at the Word from the Gospel of Mark chapter 1 this evening.
The beginning of this passage states, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And then it is followed immediately by the account about the ministry of John the Baptist. The thing we all must know and absolutely be sure of is that the gospel of God begins from the ministry of John the Baptist. Although the ministry of John the Baptist cannot be compared with the importance of the ministry of Jesus, the authors of the Four Gospels shows us that the Kingdom of God starts from the ministry of John the Baptist before speaking about the ministry of Jesus. It’s because the gospel of God started when the Lord took all the sins of this world at once by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist; only after that did He complete His gospel by carrying those sins to the Cross and being resurrected from dead.
Therefore, the authors of the Four Gospels are saying that there was the ministry of John the Baptist before Jesus began the public life of His ministry. The ministry of John the Baptist is significant in that it ushers in Jesus Christ as the beginning of the gospel of God. John the Baptist who appears in the Four Gospels is the one who passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus by baptizing Him, and he is also the person who was prophesized about in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah.
It is written,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God’” (Isaiah 40:3).
The main character mentioned here is John the Baptist. Elsewhere in the Scriptures, the Lord said, “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me” (Malachi 3:1). And here ‘My messenger’ also denotes John the Baptist.
And as is recorded in today’s Scripture passage which states,
“‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.’
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:3-5).
John the Baptist is the one this Word is referring to and witnessing about. We can see that the ministry of John the Baptist is to lead the people to Jesus Christ. Six months before God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to this world, He sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for His Son. We can see here that John the Baptist is “the one who prepares the way for the Lord.” In other words, it was necessary for our Lord to come to this world and receive the baptism from John the Baptist in order to save us from the sins of the world.
The Lord said that John the Baptist who baptized Him is the Elijah that He promised to send in the Old Testament. The ministry of John the Baptist was in “preparing the way and making His path straight.” John the Baptist was the person God sent to do the work of passing the sins of the world onto Jesus Christ by baptizing Him (Matthew 3:15). It’s because Jesus was able to receive the sins of this world at once through His baptism given by John the Baptist. This baptism was an absolutely necessary ministry to fulfill all the righteousness of God. The main ministry of John the Baptist was to pass the sins of this world over onto Jesus Christ by baptizing Him. This baptism of Jesus Christ was the real substance of the act of passing the sin of a sinner over onto the sacrificial animal in the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament. Just as the sacrificial animal took the sins of a sinner and died in the Old Testament, the Lord carried the sins of the world to the Cross and paid off the wages of the sins of humankind by shedding His blood on the Cross because He took over the sins of this world once and for all by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. It means that all these works of Jesus Christ—His coming to this world, receiving the baptism from John the Baptist, and being crucified on the Cross—constituted His salvation that saved us from the sins of this world.
Therefore, God the Father sent John the Baptist to this world first prior to sending His Son to this world and made him do God’s work. God the Father made John the Baptist baptize Jesus so that Jesus Christ could take all the sins of this world at once by receiving the baptism from him and received the judgment for all our sins on the Cross. God the Father sent His only begotten Son to this world and prepared to fulfill all righteousness by receiving the baptism of taking all the sins of the world upon Himself from John the Baptist. Therefore, God the Father made Jesus Christ fulfill His ministry perfectly through John the Baptist.
We can confirm that John the Baptist is truly a servant of God when we see that he did his ministry in obedience and in unity with the will of Jesus. We can understand that God worked together with John the Baptist when we see that he baptized Jesus to fulfill all the righteousness of God and that Jesus Christ fulfilled all the righteousness of God by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist.
God’s method of salvation is truly just and beautiful. John the Baptist fulfilled his ministry faithfully without lacking because he passed the sins of this world over onto Jesus by baptizing Him. Therefore Jesus was prepared fundamentally for the work of blotting out the sins of humankind by becoming the Lamb of God. By the baptism the Lord received from John the Baptist, He at once sufficiently became the sacrificial offering as the Lamb of God that carried away the sins of the world. In order to confirm what he knew, what he saw and the ministry of passing over the sins onto Jesus Christ by baptizing Him, John the Baptist witnessed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John the Baptist witnessed that Jesus is the Lamb of God and that, because of this, He is the Savior who shall save humankind from its sins by both His baptism and the Cross. John the Baptist was sent to this world and he passed over the sins of this world onto Jesus Christ by baptizing Him. Therefore, John the Baptist was a servant of God who was more than sufficient to witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of this world.
Spiritually speaking, our work of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit has been made possible because of the ministry of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus Christ. God the Father wanted His Son Jesus Christ to fulfill the righteousness of God by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. Therefore, Jesus Christ received from John the Baptist the baptism of fulfilling the righteousness of God. The work of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ in this world was the work of fulfilling all the righteousness of God.
The sins of this world would still remain intact if John the Baptist did not baptize Jesus in the Jordan River. If He was not baptized, how would it be possible for Jesus to blot out the sins of this world just by hanging on the Cross? Therefore, God sent John the Baptist already six months prior to Jesus, and he did the work of passing all the sins of this world over onto Jesus at once by baptizing Him. Hence, it became possible for the people who believe in this fact to receive salvation. And John the Baptist spoke about himself, “It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” John the Baptist witnessed everything about who Jesus Christ is and that He is the Lamb of God who takes away all the sins of the world once and for all by receiving the baptism from him. He thereby leads people who believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood of the Cross that fulfilled all the righteousness of God to salvation from sins in the future. Now, the people who follow the righteousness of God accept as their salvation the witness of the ministry of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus Christ. The evidence of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ made it possible for us to believe that Jesus Christ became the Savior that took all our sins upon Himself by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist.
 
 
Are We Also Doing the Righteous Work?
 
We who believe in the gospel of God, that is, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are doing God’s work in various forms and in various places, and we are doing all such works in order to fulfill the righteousness of God. Like John the Baptist, we are also the people who are preparing the ministry of the Lord and preparing the work of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world. As I look at the works John the Baptist had done in this world, I believe that in order to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world, we must preach the works of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and Jesus taking all the sins of the world upon Himself by receiving the baptism and being crucified on the Cross.
John the Baptist also did the work of admonishing the people to throw away their idols and return back to God. John the Baptist pointed out the sins of the people worshipping idols and made them repent and return to God by saying, You must return to God and you must know and believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior who fulfilled the righteousness of God. However, you and I cannot do the work now like John the Baptist did at that time. But we are witnessing that John the Baptist passed the sins of the world over onto Jesus once and for all by baptizing Him. I think someone would have to witness the work of God if we do not actually witness such righteous works of God. Therefore, the Lord entrusted the righteousness of God to you and me who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and made us preach this gospel.
The Word in the Book of Genesis records genealogies of who begot who and so forth. It says that the servants of God had walked with God for so many years and begot so and so, and speaks about the descendants of faith. God was manifesting His will through His servants. For example, when we look at the faith of such people like Noah, Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, we can see that God manifested His will and fulfilled His will through such men of faith. God had done His work through His servants like this at that time and He is doing the work of righteousness even in this time through you and me who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Jesus sent John the Baptist first and then He came to this world and began the work of the gospel of salvation especially by taking the sins of this world upon Himself by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. Therefore, Jesus obeyed the will of God the Father and gave us salvation that fulfilled all the righteousness of God which was for everyone by carrying the sins of the world by receiving the baptism and going to the Cross. Even now Jesus is doing God’s work through you and me. It means that the Lord makes us evangelize the gospel of the water and the Spirit in order to make so many people repent truthfully.
These days we have been publishing sermon books on the Book of Genesis to propel our literature ministry forward. We have finished translating chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis and it will probably be uploaded on our website as an electronic book this week. We will now work on chapter two and upload it shortly as an electronic book. I don’t have much time to preach these days, but I have so many sermons that I had preached before. We will produce one book from the Book of Genesis chapter two, another book from chapter three, and another book from chapter four as well.
I am not saying that it’s great that many books are published from my sermons. What I am saying is that it’s wonderful that we can preach God’s will through the Word of God in each chapter of the Book of Genesis. It’s because we can preach God’s will in various accounts from various parts of the Bible. We are taking out sermons that we had shared before from the warehouse of truth and producing electronic books and evangelizing with them. And the content of these books focuses on the very gospel of the water and the Spirit. Evangelizing this gospel of God’s righteousness is witnessing the ministry of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus. All God’s works become fulfilled when we preach the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit through the Word of God little by little.
We have tried hard to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to many people until now, but there are still so many people remaining who shall receive the true salvation by reading our books on the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believing in it with their hearts. The time has now come for all people to know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receive salvation from all their sins. In order to do this, we must work hard and witness even more about the ministry of Jesus and the role of John the Baptist through the Word of God.
The literature ministry you and I are doing is absolutely necessary. The work of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the entire world is wonderful. John the Baptist passed the sins of this world over onto Jesus by baptizing Him, and God gave the true salvation to people who believe in the righteousness of God through his work and the righteous work of Jesus that took the sins of the world upon Himself at once by receiving the baptism and paid them off by shedding blood. We must know that we are the righteous servants of God and carry out God’s work by faith. As John the Baptist prepared the path of the Lord, you and I also must work hard to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. We must always be ready to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and preach it by faith. There is no cleansing of sins in people’s heart without the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The entire world will not be evangelized without this gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves even more by faith if we want to spread the gospel of the righteousness of God. We must do this like the way women prepare many things to give birth to a child.
Preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit is precisely what the Lord wants us to do. How worthwhile would this work of God be if we did God’s work in the state of knowing the righteousness of God and having absolute conviction in it? We must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and pray to God for this task. The more we take up this challenge the more God fulfills all these works, therefore what work can give more happiness than this? Who actually is the happiest person in this world? We are the people who have received the remission of all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and we are the people harvesting spiritually according to the efforts we put forth for the work of the righteousness of God. These are the reasons why we are the happiest people.
It is a blessing to be able to harvest and eat the things we worked for. We would be satisfied if all the things we have prepared for were used for the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and many lost souls receiving the remission of their sins. We are the people who have received blessings from God. We are the truly blessed people before the presence of God. You and I must live for this work if we are doing the work of God and if we are absolutely sure that we have received blessings from God. The works you and I are doing now is preparing for the Kingdom of the Lord. Such work is making straight the way of the Lord.
How difficult is it to do the ministry of Jesus Christ in this world these days? The truly difficult ministry is witnessing the ministry of John the Baptist and also witnessing that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. Therefore it is written, “Make His paths straight.” This tells us that “the way of the Lord” is a very difficult path. The Lord has infinite ability, but Scripture is witnessing that the ministry of John the Baptist was necessary for Jesus to take the sins of the world upon Himself to save us from the sins of the world. The Lord does not force us to do God’s work. He has accomplished the work of saving all humankind from the sins of the world and wants to use us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the instruments of His righteousness. So we have become the truly happy people.
Therefore, we must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit with firm conviction of faith. The ministry of John the Baptist was absolutely necessary in fulfilling the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are preaching now. We send out books that contain the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but we have been unable to send out much more these days. Therefore, we have continued to upload electronic books on our website to preach the genuine gospel by internet.
Many people living throughout the entire world do not know what the gospel of the water and the Spirit is yet. And there are so many people who have not even heard of this gospel yet. Even when we try to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have to ponder on how many books we must publish to accomplish this mission, and how many more times we must preach this gospel. We have to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and root out false teachings of tares by distributing many books. Because Satan has planted many false gospels of tares, we have had to first pull out these tares and then plant the seeds of the true gospel of the water and the Spirit in its place.
How much more work the servants of the righteousness of God must go through to accomplish this? If it was a field that has been farmed continually, then they could just till the land with a plow or something and plant the seed quickly, but this field for the cultivation of the gospel throughout the entire world is a field that has not been farmed for a very long time. For example, in the case of a field that has been left idle for hundreds or even thousands years, you probably know how much effort would go into the work of plowing up such a land and planting seeds and making crops grow there. Such works cannot be done by anyone except the farmers of the righteousness of God.
Genuine Christianity began when John the Baptist and Jesus Christ came to this world and fulfilled the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And it had lasted until the Apostles and the disciples of Jesus were alive in this world and a little while longer thereafter. But unfortunately Christianity was under terrible persecution until when Christianity was announced as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Afterwards this Christianity turned into Catholicism and was shrouded in darkness for over 1000 years. After this period, Martin Luther started the religious reformation in early 1500s AD unintentionally. And in the mid 16th century, John Calvin and the other religious reformers joined this movement. Many religious leaders manifested from Europe. And apparently they say that today’s Christianity has come about as a result of this.
However, this is not altogether true. When we search through the history of the world and the history of Christianity, we can see that Christianity began 2000 years ago when Jesus came to this world and saved sinners from their sins by taking all the sins of the world through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the precious blood He shed on the Cross. Christianity began from that time, but people who had shared this faith of the Apostles begin to disappear from this world around 313 AD when the Edict of Milan was issued. After that the seeds of the false gospel have been sown in this world. This was the gospel without the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist. Since then, the true gospel of the water and the Spirit has not been discussed even as knowledge. But only a deteriorated gospel has been sown in the field of the hearts of people and that gospel has been spreading like a thorny shrub. Even in this world, such things like weeds and thick thorny thickets grow when we do not plant good seeds, and it is the same in spiritual matters as well.
We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are preaching this genuine gospel throughout the entire world even under such circumstances. We are now sowing the seed of the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout this world. But in order to plant the seeds of the gospel of the water and the Spirit on uncultivated land, we have to first remove many weeds from that land, but we cannot wait until we have taken out all the weeds for the soil to be prepared for sowing of the seed of the genuine gospel. Therefore, we are doing both the work of pulling out the tares that have covered the whole spiritual world and also the work of planting the seeds of the gospel throughout the entire world at the same time.
With a small number of workers, we are now preaching to the world the gospel of the water and the Spirit which is the Truth of salvation. We are preaching the gospel of God by literature ministry, that is, through the internet and through printed materials. Most workers are now working to earn money in order to support the ministry of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the entire world, and such devotion is blessed.
Even when John the Baptist came to this world, people did not recognize who he was. But nevertheless, John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ and witnessed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John the Baptist witnessed, “He is the Lamb of God. He is Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world by receiving the baptism from me. He is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen.” He lived in the wilderness and preached God’s Word to the Jews and many of them returned back to God. Even now, many people have come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior after hearing about the witness of John the Baptist. They see the ministry of John the Baptist and believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior.
Because John the Baptist did the work of baptizing Jesus, the Lord then was able to complete His mission. Because He received the baptism from John the Baptist, He could die on the Cross efficaciously, and was resurrected from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. Since then, all people living throughout this entire world are now able to receive salvation from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because the ministry of John the Baptist was absolutely necessary in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the people who can witness this work arose and preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit and made many people in the entire world believe in this Truth. We are fortunate to witness both the ministry of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus Christ in this world in this time. We must witness the ministry of John the Baptist with faith of believing in the righteousness of God and the love of God. John the Baptist cried out, “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight,” and we also likewise must support the preaching of the gospel faithfully as servants of God in order to make the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit spread widely in this world. Furthermore, we must work hard to make the will of God be fulfilled in this world. You and I must pray to God our Savior and fulfill the ministry of the righteousness every day. Is this true or not?
 
 
We the Servants of God Aim to Preach the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit above Anything Else
 
How could we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have any other purpose? We must be faithful to the Word of God telling His servants to make His path straight. We cannot aim for the things of this world after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whether we eat or drink, we must live for the glory of God. Whatever we do, we must do it for the glory of God. We must work with faith of believing in the righteousness of God although we are lacking. Do you also believe like this?
Dear fellow believers, those who believe and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the servants of God. We must work with a clear faith in this. Instead of just knowing and believing the ministry of John the Baptist, we must preach by faith that Jesus carried away the sins of this world at once by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. We are in the midst of faith that believes clearly in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. And we must therefore preach the righteousness of God. We must really have faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the righteousness of God, instead of just believing blindly in Jesus because everyone else believes in Him. And we must do the work of God by faith. We must know how precious this work we are doing really is and we must know that the Lord’s will is fulfilled through our endeavors.
 
 
We Must Do the Spiritual Work
 
The Lord’s will is fulfilled in this world as we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must do this work with a heart of faith that we are being used by God and that we are making straight the way of the Lord. We gain strength spiritually when we do God’s work by such faith.
There are times when we feel drained even though we are doing God’s work. It is the same as when we used to think that we were working only to feed our physical body. How draining is that? Let’s say that you went to work for someone for 7 hours or 8 hours and got paid 50 dollars a day. And so let’s assume you took that money and lived only for your physical body. What joy could be in such a life? One becomes exhausted when one manages to get along such a life. This is why Europeans are willing to go away on a trip for a few weeks by working very hard for an entire year. Many Brazilians, though not everyone, work for a year and use their money all in the Samba Festival that is held for about one or two weeks.
Of course, that would also be fun in a fleshly sense. In their conditions, they probably live like this because of the climate, and the natures of their countries are so great while they are enjoy an opulent lifestyle. But we cannot live like this in a country like ours. It is difficult to make a living even if we work so hard every day, and what satisfaction would there be even if we could live like that? What satisfaction would there be especially for us the righteous? The Lord would rebuke us if we lived like that.
I truly give thanks to God for entrusting such works to you and me. I give thanks to the Lord for entrusting the same role as that of John the Baptist to us like this. You and I are doing the work of the righteousness of God together, and I feel truly worthwhile doing this work. I feel truly worthwhile as I see your donations are used for the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Do you also feel worthwhile that the work you are doing is beneficial to spreading the gospel?
We can work like this because we feel it is worthwhile, otherwise we would not be able to work until we are exhaustion like this. How could we do this work if we did not feel worthwhile from this work? It would be worthwhile even if we could reap fruit only as much as we worked, but God returns the worthwhile harvest to us thousands and tens of thousands times although we did only a little work for God. It would also be nice to work for the things we like to do in this world, but the work we are doing now is truly worthwhile. This work of serving the gospel of the Lord is a truly worthwhile work. It is truly priceless. It is truly worthwhile for us all. It is truly worthwhile for me, and I enjoy doing it. Why? I do this work because it is worthwhile spiritually. What other reason could there be? We do God’s work because it is worthwhile. We do this work because we see people receiving the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Dear fellow believers if this work benefited people even in a fleshly way although it was not the work of saving a human soul and if they could really live prosperously and become happy because of the work we do, then even that would be worthwhile. Even the virtuous works for people’s flesh are regarded as worthwhile, but we are doing the work of saving souls? Therefore how worthwhile is this? It is a truly worthwhile work. What work in the world could be more worthwhile than this? If there was a more precious work than this, we would do that work. I would take up the challenge of doing that work. If that work was more worthwhile than the work of God, for example, if the work of making a rocket and launching it and surveying the world from space extensively and finding out what is happening in certain places was more worthwhile, I would have jumped into such works. But it is not worth much even if one did such a work. Even that is merely a work of satisfying one’s ego, that is, a work of seeking one’s own fleshly desires.
We are now doing the work of saving people’s lives and making them receive the remission of sins and eternal life. This work is so wonderful that I feel in my heart that the ministers and workers who are doing this work of literature ministry must thank God, as I think, “I am thankful, but you also must be thankful to God. How grateful it is that we could do such a work after being born in this world.”
I don’t know what the brothers, sisters and ministers working in our Mission throughout the entire country are thinking. They might think they are going through such hardship throughout their lives because they have met someone like me. As I am doing literature ministry overseas, I think, “When this book is sent out, this book will have a great impact on the readers spiritually.” Therefore, I feel happy in my heart although my body is exhausted because of this work. Our ministers who are translating or editing the documents, all the saints who are sitting in front of their computer now and those workers who are earning money to support the preaching of the gospel, and all our brothers and sisters who are ministering in various parts and various forms ━ they are all doing a very worthwhile work.
And so I encourage them with these words, “We must be thankful to God instead of just thinking about difficult things we face. Where would we go and do God’s work except in His Church?” And sometimes I rebuke them when they complain and say that they cannot do the work anymore because it is so difficult. Then you would think, “This little guy is just becoming more stubborn. Stop that boasting now when we are having such a hard time because we do not even have enough workers of God.” Actually that is true. It is true, but I ask you to do a certain work because it is doable, and I tell you to do it because it must be done, and I am saying that we should continue doing this because we are happy with the work. Otherwise, I would not have asked you to do His work if this work made us unhappy and it did not benefit anyone at all.
That is why I tell them in my heart, “Give thanks to God. Give thanks to God.” There are times when it feels so difficult because we have a physical body. However, we must still give thanks in the righteousness of God. Where can we go and do such work of God? When we look at today’s Christian community that has not been born again yet, they are unable to save even one soul even if they work so hard for it. But we do this work and make so many people receive the remission of their sins. And how thankful is this? The work we do at home and all the work we do in God’s Church are all God’s works. I feel really proud about this. I think and believe that the work we are doing is a truly great work. I believe that God has entrusted a great work to us and that this work we are doing is the way to prepare for the evangelization of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
I feel really worthwhile and happy about this. I sometimes feel frustrated when I am sick physically or when the work of God does not go well, but I think and tell myself, “I am happy. I am really happy.” There is a hymn that goes, “The Lord watches over the sparrow and He watches over us,” and we are truly happy people. You and I are happy people. We are truly happy. How happy are we that we have met the Lord after being born into this world; and how happy are we that we are doing the work the Lord is pleased with. Is this true, or not? How worthwhile is it although it is difficult.
John the Baptist was born to this world and began the work of God at the age of thirty, and although we do not know until what age he lived, we know that he died at the age of thirty something. He then was martyred. Put simply, he lived a short and full life. And so how happy John the Baptist must have been!
How happy we must be that we are doing this work after meeting the righteousness of the Lord. We are really happy. We are happy people. Therefore, the thing I want to tell you is that you must all do the Lord’s works with firm conviction that you are doing a very happy work regardless of what work you are doing. You must do the Lord’s work with sureness, rather than doing it nonchalantly. Even if the work is not being completed quickly, we must really do at least a little bit at a time. One of the renowned sages from China said that his tongue broke out when he skipped to read books even for a day, and so likewise, we must do this worthwhile work even a little each day.
We cannot do so much work in one day, and the work can be tedious and tiring. However, we must know in our heart what blessed work we are doing and really know that we are the people who are preparing the way of the Lord and the people who make His path straight. When God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to this world, He said to His son, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.” I told you that “My messenger” here denotes John the Baptist, but this Word applies to us as well. We are grateful and thankful because of that.
Jesus came from Nazareth, a little town in Galilee, and received the baptism from John the Baptist in the Jordan River, and it is written, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17). When Jesus came up out from the water, the heavens were opened and then the voice of God the Father came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus fulfilled the will of God the Father. The Lord came to this world to do this work. The door of Heaven opened for the Lord to do this work. The Lord came to this world to take the people who believe in Him to Heaven.
Dear fellow believers, I want you to return the glory to God by living a life of bearing witness of Jesus like the ministry of John the Baptist by faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.