“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.’ For He said to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit!’ Then He asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’ And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”
Warm greetings to you all!
In today’s Scripture reading that we all read together, it is written that a certain man who was possessed by an unclean spirit was healed and saved from his encounter with Jesus. When Jesus crossed the sea on a boat and arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, He came across a man walking about in amongst the tombs. He was possessed by unclean spirits that is why he was dwelling amongst the tombs. Although he had been bound with shackles and chains several times, he had broken them every time, and so no one could tame him anymore. Protected by no one, this man had been crying out and cutting himself with stones because of the unclean spirits possessing him, but his soul was healed when he met Jesus. Our Lord drove the demons out of him and restored him back to sanity, and making it possible for him to live a normal life. This event does not just show the miraculous power of Jesus to drive out demons. Rather, our Lord is speaking about our fundamental nature.
How Were We in Our Nature?
Now in this world, there are many people who have not been saved from their sins as they do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. As their hearts remain sinful, they are ruled by evil spirits rather than by the Holy Spirit, and because of this they are also facing a great deal of suffering. Like the demon-possessed man in today’s Scripture passage, they commit evil acts against their desire because of the demons in their hearts, and also are bound by false teachings of the many religions of this world, their souls are evermore impoverished. But no doctrine of any religion in this world can drive out these demons and the sins that are in their hearts. No creed, regardless of how impeccably developed, can ever drive out anyone’ sins and restore anyone’s soul. Today, the Lord is saying to us that only the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Him can break the chain of sin. The demon-possessed man lashing out his madness amongst the tombs is a reflection of none other than our old selves, showing us how we had been before we received the remission of our sins, and the account here also demonstrates the Truth that the way to receive this remission of sins is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
While Jesus was on this earth, the Pharisees at that time did not believe that He was the Son of God, but demons knew exactly who Jesus was. Take a look at today’s Scripture passage. When the Lord commanded the demons possessing the man to come out of him, they called Him the “Son of the Most High God” and begged Him not to send them out of the country, but to instead send them into the swine. So once Jesus gave them permission, they entered the swine and the herd then leaped into the sea right away and they were all drowned. And thanks to Jesus, the madman possessed by these unclean spirits was healed and his soul was restored. This reveals the Truth that all the people in this world suffering from their sinful hearts can be saved and receive the remission of their sins if they meet with Jesus.
All the people living on this planet earth, including you and me, were born with a sinful heart by nature. Born with a heart full of sin and greed like a pig, all of us were destined to live like a pig only to enter into the way of destruction in the end. As today’s Scripture passage shows us, the swine that ran into the sea perished along with the demons that possessed them. The same is true for us human beings as well. Unless we receive the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will also hang onto all the sins of the flesh and its greed to our death, unable to throw them away even as we are perishing because of them. Those whose hearts remain sinful are full of greed, and although they keep asking for more and more, their hearts can never be satisfied. An animal is satisfied only when it is fed, but we humans cannot be satisfied even when we live according to our lusts. One has no satisfaction because his soul is ruled by an evil spirit. Because such people have not received true salvation from God and are instead ruled by an evil spirit, they hang onto their sins only to be destroyed for these sins in the end. You should realize here that the herd of swine that leaped into the sea with all the demons inside of them shows none other than our old selves before we were saved from sin.
The demon-possessed man that our Lord came across in the country of the Gadarenes is your own portrait and mine. In fact, from the moment we were born, our lives had been dogged by the greed of the flesh. Moreover, we had believed in many different religions only to surrender ourselves to a hopeless cause and live in suffering, unable to end our spiritual wandering. Just as the herd of swine ran into the sea to perish along with the demons, it was in our human nature to live a sinful life like this and be cursed for our sins to perish along with these sins.
The same applies to all the people living in this world. Born into this world, they continue to live a selfish and desolate life just to fill their own greed. And because they are constantly ruled by their own lust, they have no satisfaction in their hearts and they feel nothing but pain in their lives. Although many of them know God, far from glorifying Him, they actually stand against Him, and having thus rejected God’s love, they are just following their own greed. What do you think will be their end? Just as the herd of swine ran into their own death with the demons inside them, these people will also be cast into the everlasting fire of hell along with their sins and greed. This is a just outcome deserved by all who have not received the remission of sins from the Lord.
God Has Bestowed His Great Mercy and Love on Such Wretched People Like Us, and He Has Delivered Us through the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
It was our destiny as human beings to enter into the way of destruction because of our inherent sins and greed. However, Jesus Christ, who is full of love, came to this earth by the gospel of the water and the Spirit in order to save us the wretched from all our sins. Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has met us personally, driven out all our hearts’ sins, and saved us perfectly from them all. God Almighty has bestowed such tremendous mercy of salvation on such sinful people like us. He has delivered you and me from all our sins and the pit of destruction and evil spirits, and He has led us to His great love and mercy. Our Lord came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bore our sins by being baptized, died on the Cross while shouldering them, rose up from the dead, and has thereby saved us from all our sins. He has given us everlasting life. On account of our faith in this Lord, our souls have been saved and we have now become the Lord’s perfect children, even though we had been like the demon-possessed man. You and I had to be destroyed for our sins, but we are now able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as God’ faithful children.
Many people unfortunately have still not accepted into their hearts the Lord who has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What will happen to these people? As they have not been saved from sin, they are in the same condition as the demon-possessed man in today’s Scripture passage. Led by the demons, they are all bound to continue to follow just the greed of the flesh. Yet no matter how greedy they get, they have no satisfaction in their hearts and nothing but perpetual suffering in their lives. It is so obvious that these people cannot live a decent life as human beings, and they will ultimately be cursed and destroyed for their sins and their greed.
You Must Know Your End
If you don’t realize your end and just follow the greed of the flesh stirring up in you, you will not be able to find the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the only Truth for your life. What will happen to one’s life if he lives without knowing the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit? This person will have no choice but to face a wretched end in suffering and confusion. Therefore, all of us must realize what awaits us at the end of our lives, meet Jesus Christ through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and be ready to follow Him into the Kingdom of happiness. Jesus the Son of God had come to this earth to save you and me from all the sins of the world and our eternal condemnation, and to give us the gospel of the water and the Spirit that brings life to our souls. And by being baptized, crucified to death, and resurrected back to life, He has at once saved all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Everyone living in this world must believe in this Truth. Jesus Christ had so much compassion on us sinners that He came to see us personally. And through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, He has perfectly saved you and me from all our sins. Our Lord has become our only Savior through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. None other than this is the Truth that all of us must believe in while we are still alive. You must realize that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the very love of God and the gospel of salvation.
All of us must realize here that we have been demon-possessed sinners. This is true not just for me but also for you. Before God, everyone in this world can’t be anything else but a sinner. A certain philosopher once said that human beings are insufficient beings, and everything they do is in vain. But philosophy can only go as far as identifying man’s flaws. In other words, it can only expose that human beings are sinners by nature, while it is incapable of resolving their fundamental problem of sin. Only the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord can make us realize our true selves as sinners and at the same time solve away the problem of our sins to perfection. Therefore, rather than just binding ourselves in some philosophical conjectures about life, we should realize our true selves through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in God’s true love of salvation with all our hearts.
The demon-possessed man in today’s Scripture passage roamed about in the mountains and the tombs, crying out and hurting his own body with stones all the time. Likewise, placing your faith in the wrong religion will hurt your body and soul. Of course, what ruins your soul is not just your misplaced faith in the wrong religion. If you believe in money, you will be hurt by money, and if you believe in your own abilities, you will be hurt by your own abilities. Regardless of what the cause is, if you have sin in your heart, then you will ultimately destroy yourself. You and I were such wretched people by nature. We ourselves were demon-possess people, crying out in the mountains and the tombs, abusing our own bodies, living in madness and foaming at our mouths, only to be cast into hell in the end. All of us must realize that this is our innate portrait. We must all realize that the demon-possessed man in today’s Scripture passage refers to none other than us.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit brings life to our souls, and we should never consider it merely as one of the countless Christian doctrines. That’s because the existing Christian doctrines are completely devoid of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is not a mere Christian doctrine. It is the Truth of salvation with which the Lord has saved us from the sins of the world, and it is the work of salvation itself. Just as Jesus Christ met the demon-possessed man in today’s Scripture passage and actually drove out the evil spirits, so has our Lord saved us perfectly once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, who had been bound by evil spirits, Satan’s curses, destruction, and all the sins of the world. That is why we call Jesus our Savior.
Sometimes we come across people who don’t believe in God’s Word even as they are inside the Church. That’s because these people still do not realize their evil selves. If they realize that the demon-possessed man in today’s Scripture passage refers to none other than their unredeemed selves, they will be able to believe in the Word of God exactly as it is.
When the kids in our Sunday School reach the fifth grade, we enroll them in the gospel class during the Winter Discipleship Training Camp to teach them in detail about the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We do this so that they would recognize that they themselves are grave sinners before God, and also realize the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. What about you sitting here today? Do you realize that the demon-possessed man is none other than you? Whoever has not received the remission of sins—that is whoever does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit—is mad like this demon-possessed man. Even though I am now preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if I had not met the Lord, then no doubt I would also have gone mad like this. The same wretched thing would have happened to me as well. No one could have tamed me lashing out in my youth. After all, unless I was demon-possessed, how could I have done so many bad things that God abhorred?
Every human being is the same before God. People are willing to risk even their lives for anything that can make them famous or rich. It is in their human nature to pursue fame and greed like a madman without even realizing that their own bodies and souls are damaged in the process. Yet oblivious to this, they live in foolishness only to end up in hell, and that is the very nature of human beings. All of us must realize our fundamental selves. We must realize that because of the fall of the first man Adam, not only did he become a sinner, but every human being also became sinners. We were all born in iniquity, we all live in iniquities, and we are all perishing in iniquities.
However, God our Maker did not abandon us to perish like this. Instead, the Lord taught us that there is a way to escape from our sins, just as the Bible says, “By one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19), and, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). What is this way then? It is to believe in the love of God, in the Truth that out of His compassion for us, God has saved us from all our sins once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even a seemingly innocent child is like the demon-possessed man if the child does not know this Truth.
Take a look at yourself now. See if you are not living without faith in the Truth of God, if you are not risking your life on useless things only to be hurt by them, and if you are not abusing yourself with these wounds.
The Lord loved us so much that when we could not help ourselves but live in sin, He saved us perfectly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus who is God Himself, came to this earth, bore our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, was crucified to death in our place, rose up from the dead, and has thereby saved us all to perfection. Is this somehow trivial to you? No, it is the greatest love of all.
Could you be baptized and shed your own blood for someone else? Could you give up everything you have for others? This is absolutely impossible for any human being. Yet the Son of God the Almighty Father came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, and He spared neither His flesh nor His blood to save us from all our sins once and for all. This act of love is not such an easy one. It is the embodiment of the Lord’s love for us that has brought the true remission of sins to us and saved us, something for which we can never thank the Lord enough for.
Anyone who does not believe in this Truth even as he hears it with his ears is someone who does not realize that he is demon-possessed. Such people do not know that they are actually hurting their own bodies and souls, nor do they realize that they are destined to hell. On the contrary, they are deluding themselves into thinking that just because they have done nothing too bad to others, they are actually quite good and virtuous.
Such people consider themselves virtuous even as they don’t believe in the Lord as their Savior, but are they really virtuous people? Are they really righteous? No, of course not! When their own interests are threatened even slightly, they lash out ferociously and their hearts harbor so much bitterness that they are capable of even murdering. This is true even for young adolescents attending this Winter Discipleship Training Camp. When they are asked to do God’s work, some of them reject this and refuse to do so even as they profess to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though they have God-given bodies, they don’t use them for His sake. Given the fact that even young people still untainted by society are like this, there is hardly any need to comment on the grown-ups.
Human beings are honorable and worthy because they were made as spiritual beings in God’s image, but despite this, far too often we are preoccupied with our flesh, even though it is nothing more than a shell. Of course, it’s in our feeble nature as human beings to kneel before money and power. It’s in our human nature to kneel before our own greed and cravenly bow before anyone who is stronger than us. But God Almighty knew this all along. That’s why, for the sake of such completely useless and wretchedly worthless people like us, God Himself personally came to this lowly earth and saved us. And thanks to this love of the Lord and His salvation, all of us who had no choice but to live a worthless life in cowardice could be born again into the Lord’s perfect children.
If your recognize your true self as someone born in sin and destined to destruction, and realize that God has saved you from all your sins, then you will be able to carry out the Lord’s work and follow His righteousness in your life even though you are full of weakness as a human being. You will never think that this is somehow against your own interest. Following the Lord seems against your interest only when you don’t realize who you really are. But once you realize just how worthless and sinful you are, then far from considering it a burden, you will be utterly grateful for the very fact that you are used for God’s work. The very fact that the Lord is protecting you from evil alone will be counted as a tremendous blessing.
What glory would we get if we were to leave God’s Church and go out into the world? Even if we worked ourselves to death, we would be lucky to barely make our ends meet, and even if we somehow managed to amass a fortune, we would still not be able to find true peace of the mind. Outside God’s Church, we are destined to live a wretched, cowardly, and worthless life.
But God is full of love, and He does not look down on any us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Far from it, God cherishes us as His very own precious children and bestows His great love on us. The evidence of this love of God is none other than the work of salvation He has fulfilled to save us from all the sins of the world. Therefore, all of us ought to serve the Lord in our lives out of gratitude, thanking Him for saving us once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who are not grateful to the Lord, resenting when God’s work is entrusted to them instead of rejoicing, are yet to acknowledge this salvation of the Lord. They still have not realized their true selves as a demon-possessed man.
Just as you saw in today’s Scripture passage, the man possessed by evil spirits was restored thanks to the Lord’s salvation. With his madness gone, he was able to speak and act like a normal person. When Jesus was about to leave for another region after healing that demon-possessed man, he said that he wanted to follow the Lord also. But Jesus told him to preach to everyone what He had done for him instead of following Him. In other words, Jesus had commanded this man to proclaim exactly who the Lord was and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is what Jesus said to you and me also. Put differently, if you have now realized your true self through Jesus, and if you have been saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit thanks to Jesus, then it’s time for you to preach this gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit to everyone else.
Do Not Reject the Righteousness of Jesus
For those who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord, their souls are like that of the demon-possessed man. If you still have not accepted the gospel of the water and the Spirit into your heart, and you have no gratitude for God’s great love of salvation, then you must wake up right now. Whoever has not received the remission of sins yet has unclean spirits and has useless greed in his heart, and therefore such people are bound to reject Jesus and denounce His believers. If they don’t realize this, they cannot help but be cursed and destroyed forever, just as the swine into which the demons moved ran into the sea and drowned. The sea in today’s Scripture passage refers to this world that’s filled with iniquities. Unless you realize your true self and accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit into your heart, you cannot dwell in the Lord’s arms, and you will have no choice but to go into this filthy world only to be cast into hell along with all the worldly people steeped in wickedness.
When the Lord came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man to blot out all your sins and mine, He bore them all by being baptized by John the Baptist, was crucified to death, and rose up from the dead, thereby saving us to perfection. The Lord loved us so much that He took away all our sins through His baptism and bore the condemnation of our sins in our place. All of us must believe in this Truth. How should we believe in the Lord then? We should believe in the Lord out of gratitude for His amazing salvation, realizing fully what kind of sinner we had been and what kind of love the Lord has bestowed on us to save us. Only those who believe in this Truth can avoid destruction and be freed from their hell-bound destiny. Put differently, only when you believe wholeheartedly in the abundant love of the Lord and His work of salvation can you live on this earth as God’s child to carry out His righteous work, receive God’s help and blessings in both body and spirit, and ultimately enter His Kingdom of Heaven.
All of us may know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but if we were to believe in this gospel without realizing our sinful selves, then this faith would also be in vain. Why is this the case? It’s because someone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit without realizing what a grave sinner he is does not need this gospel. Such a person believes in the gospel but without even realizing that all sinners doomed to hell are saved through the baptism of Jesus and the blood of His sacrifice, and consequently, this person is not included in God’s plan of salvation. That’s because the Lord said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). He made it clear that He had come to save the sick rather than the healthy. You must therefore admit that you are a sinner and sick. Only then can you receive your true salvation from God, who had come to this earth to save all of us. So you must first realize that you are doomed to be destroyed and thrown into hell forever to suffer in its everlasting fire, and then receive the Lord who had come to this earth to save you through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Only then is the Lord’s salvation finally made yours. If you otherwise do not recognize your true self and think that you are a righteous person and perfectly healthy, then you cannot receive the Lord’s perfect salvation.
Even at this very moment, I ask you to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with your heart. Do not think that you are good enough, that you are not such a bad person. The demon-possessed man, who roamed in the mountains and the tombs naked crying out and cutting himself with stones, is none other than your own self-portrait and mine. Yet even as we were all destined to live like this, the Lord had so much compassion on us and loved us so much that He blessed us with the remission of sins and brought His perfect salvation to us. With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has blotted out all our sins and saved us, making us God’s blessed children to enter His everlasting Kingdom. Even though you and I could not help but live possessed by demons, Jesus Christ has saved us from all our sins, all demons, and all destruction. None other than this is the salvation of love God has granted us. And this is what all of us must believe in with all our hearts for the rest of our lives.
We Must Now Follow the Lord by Our Faith in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
As you and I have received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, all of us should be thankful to the Lord for blessing us to be able to enter the Church and continue to abide in Him. However, if you are not grateful to the Lord and don’t follow Him despite receiving the remission of sins, then even more demons will visit you and torment you. If this happens, you will suffer even more than before and be destroyed in the end. This is true for everyone in the world. That’s why we must always be grateful to God for His salvation. We ought to thank Him and praise Him in our lives for saving such worthless and wretched people like us. Without the Lord’s salvation, we are nothing. Once born on this earth, everyone must meet the Lord, or otherwise life is worthless. All who fail to meet the Lord are just destroying themselves with their sins and greed, and in the end, they will be cursed and will be cast into hell along with these sinners. However, the Lord knew this fate of ours, and He was so full of love and had so much compassion for us that He bestowed His abundant mercy on us. By saving us completely from our sins when we were drowning in them, the Lord has given us the glory to enter the Kingdom of God.
Now then, I ask each and every one of you to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as your salvation. Whenever you hear the Word of God, do not just hear it with your head but accept it into your heart, reexamine your heart before God with that Word, and confess your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Although countless people all over the world attend church and profess to believe in God, few of them have actually accepted His love of salvation into their hearts with a clear understanding of the gospel of the water and the Spirit which was given by the Lord. You do not have that many opportunities left. Do you think God’s Church will be here forever? Do you think that the servants of God whom you see now will always be with you like this? No, that’s not the case. So I ask you to believe in the Word of God right now at this very moment, when God’s servants are still before your eyes, and when the will of God and His Word are preached through these servants.
Now is the time of your salvation. Believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit right now. There may not be another chance. If you think that you are not such a worthless person or if you think that you were saved even though you were not actually such a bad person, then turn around right at this very moment and look into yourself honestly. And admit that you are the demon-possessed man according to today’s Scripture passage.
All of us, my fellow believers, are fundamentally a brood of evildoers. We were indeed doomed to be demon-possessed throughout our entire lifetime and follow only our own greed, only to enter into the way of destruction. We were completely unqualified to receive any blessings from the holy God. Yet despite this, God had compassion on us and bestowed His love on us, thereby saving us perfectly from all these sins that we could never escape from on our own. We must believe in this Truth. And we must serve the Lord our Savior and the gospel which He has given us. Living our lives like this in thanksgiving is the only way we can repay the Lord for saving us.
Think about it. Do we have any merit at all? No, we have no merit at all! It’s pointless to compare ourselves to each other, for we are all the same before God, devoid of any merit. That is precisely why we must meet the Lord. We are so full of sin that unless we meet the Lord and are saved by Him, we are destined to be destroyed in the end. Can any of us then afford not to believe in the Lord? Can you still refuse to follow the righteousness of the Lord by faith despite this?
Because we were all born as a brood of evildoers, even if we have received the remission of sins, unless we follow the Lord and serve Him, we are bound to act atrociously like the demon-possessed man. If we don’t serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will actually end up practicing wickedness even more than before we received the remission of sins. It’s written in Luke 11:24-26: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” If we go out into the world once again after meeting the Lord, then even more evil spirits will come into us and we will serve them even more than before, and therefore we will ultimately end up living as the Devil’s slaves. We would be in a far worse state than before believing in Jesus.
I’m not saying this to scare you, but because many people actually succumb to this sorry fate. I have every confidence that none of us gathered here will end up like these types of people. So let us always thank the Lord for coming by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and saving us, and let us all carry on with our lives in this world by our faith in the Lord, serving and following Him for the rest of our lives.