The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 2-7] (Luke 2:1-21) The Lord Who Came Into Human History to Save Sinners

(Luke 2:1-21)
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
‘Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”
 
 
Is Jesus Christ the Master of Human History?
 
Historians determined the Western calendar based on the year when our Lord came to this earth, calling it AD (Anno Domini, in the year of the Lord) and referring to the years before the coming of our Lord as BC (before Christ). Almost all countries of the world are now using this standard. Before the adoption of this calendar, each country in the world had its own calendar. So someone mentioned, “History is His story.” This implies that for this world also, our Lord is its Master. This world was made by Jesus Christ the Creator, and it is also being run and completed by Jesus Christ.
During the reign of Caesar Augustus as the emperor of the Roman Empire, a decree was issued throughout all the nations under the Roman colonial rule requiring all its subjects, men and women alike, to return to each of their hometowns and register for a census. This decree was issued because a census was necessary to enhance the Roman rule and collect taxes more efficiently. In terms of world history, when Caesar August was the emperor of Rome, a young man in Israel named Joseph was engaged to a virgin named Mary. Our Lord had already told Joseph and Mary of the birth of Jesus, and He had also foretold Elizabeth of the birth of John the Baptist. It came to pass that in those days everyone had to go to his hometown to be registered according to the Roman emperor’s decree. So Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, the hometown of Joseph, to be registered. Jesus was then born in Bethlehem just as it had been prophesied in the Book of Micah:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me,
The One to be Ruler in Israel
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
By the time Mary and Joseph arrived at Bethlehem to be registered, the Baby Jesus was already conceived in the womb of Mary and the day of delivery was nearing. So Joseph and Mary looked for a place to give birth to the Baby Jesus. But they couldn’t find any place, as all the inns were filled with the people who had come to their hometown to be registered. They had no recourse but to find shelter in a stable, and there Mary gave birth to her Baby.
When the Baby Jesus was born on this earth, there were some shepherds out in the field tending their flock. As it’s written in today’s Scripture passage: “Behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ Then suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” The shepherds then went to Bethlehem and indeed found the Baby Jesus lying in a manger just as the angel had told them, and they returned glorifying God.
With Christmas just around the corner, it is timely that we should find out the reason why Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and why He was laid in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. With this understanding we should thank God. When our Lord was born on this earth, there was no room for Him at the inn, and He was born in a stable instead. This implies that Our Lord came to this earth to save such lowly people like you and me who were destined to die for our sins, and that is also the reason why He was born in the stable. We all should realize this and believe it.
Our Lord is the King of kings. He is the holy God. Although our Lord came to this earth in the appearance of man, in His fundamental essence He is the holy God, having nothing to do with sin at all. Our Lord is not a lowly being like us humans, but He is the holy, omnipotent, and perfect God of creation. The Lord is the Son of God the Father, and our Savior who came to this earth to save us. In His essence He is the holy God.
Here it’s said that the Baby Jesus was laid in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, and these swaddling clothes refer to white linen. After Mary gave birth to the Baby Jesus in the stable, she cut off the umbilical cord, wrapped Him in white swaddling clothes, and as she couldn’t find anywhere else to lay Him, she laid Him in a manger, a trough used to feed animals. Indeed, a stable is littered with animal waste. No matter how hard you try to clean it, it stinks with the smell of animals. My fellow believers, it is absolutely critical for all of us to realize the significance of the fact that the Baby Jesus was laid in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, as there was no other place to lay Him.
 
 
Our Lord Came to Save Us Who Were Sinners
 
My fellow believers, although our Lord came to this earth in the appearance of man, by no means was He a creature like you and me. He was fundamentally God Himself. He is the very God who spoke, “Let there be light,” and made the light with this Word of power. Yet despite this, our Lord came to this earth in the appearance of man and was laid in a manger, all in obedience to the will of the Father. Our Lord actually experienced everything human, from our weaknesses to our insufficiencies. He knew just how weak and insufficient we humans were, and He knew how we were simply incapable of keeping the Law. Through His 33 years of life on this earth, the Lord had actually experienced all the things that human beings go through. That is why, knowing our insufficiencies, He had shouldered all our sins through His baptism and offered Himself up as the propitiation of atonement in our place. From today’s Scripture passage, we all need to understand clearly why the Lord came to this earth, the purpose of His coming.
 
 
It Is Jesus Christ Who Moves All the History of This World
 
This God, the Master of all history, came to this earth to save mankind and was laid in a manger. We need to grasp here that it was to become our bread of life that the Lord came to this earth and was laid in the manger. A manger is a trough used to feed animals, and they find nourishment to grow from the food that’s put in this trough. The Lord was laid in this manger, a feeding trough for animals, in order to teach us that He had come to this earth to become the bread of life for you and me. In other words, the Lord was born on this earth in order to give Himself up for you and me, so that we would obtain new life. Like this, the purpose for which our Lord came to this earth was to give new life to everyone throughout the entire world. He didn’t come just to manifest that He was God Himself and full of mercy. He came to save us from our sins, who were made in the likeness of the image of God, and to make our dead souls be born again, so that we would all live with God forever with new life. All of us must remember clearly that the only purpose for which our Lord came to this earth was to give new life to you and me. It’s for this reason that the Lord was laid in a manger. He was laid in the manger to give us the bread of new life, to give us His flesh and His blood of life.
From John the Baptist, the Lord received the baptism through which He accepted all the sins of the world to His body. By being baptized by John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, our Lord accepted all the sins of the human race onto His own body once and for all, and giving up His body to be crucified, He shed His blood for us and died in our place. He then rose from the dead again, thus becoming the bread of life for all those who believe in Him as their Savior.
John chapter 6 explains the purpose for which the Lord came to this earth. Let’s turn to John 6:35 here: “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” Further down in verses 47-58, it is also written: “‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.’” It is for this reason, to give us the bread of life, that our Lord was laid in a manger when He was born on this earth.
Perhaps those living in cities don’t know what a manger is. A manger is a trough dug out of a trunk; a device where food is put in for animals to eat. It is, in short, a feeder. Yet when our Lord was born on this earth, He was laid in this manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. This scene speaks volumes about what it is that our Lord wants to give us that He was born on this earth. The reason why our Lord came to this earth was to give new life to you and me. He had come to this earth to give us His flesh and His blood, so that all those who eat them would receive new life.
Our Lord said, “The bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
How, then, can we eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood? After living on this earth for 33 years, and just before going to the Cross, our Lord gathered together all His disciples for the Last Supper of the Passover Day and performed the rite of Holy Communion. At that time, the Lord broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, telling them to take and eat this bread, for it was His body. Likewise, when He gave the wine to them, He said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28).
 
 
How Can We Really Eat the Flesh of Jesus and Drink His Blood?
 
Does one eat the flesh of Jesus literally? No. It is by grace that Jesus has given us His flesh and blood and enabled us to have them, the most precious things. The Lord clearly said that those who eat His flesh and drink His blood have eternal life. It is therefore clear that we must eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood. Anyone who believes in Jesus must eat His flesh and drink His blood.
What, then, is the way to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood? When our Lord came to this earth for the first time, He was born in Bethlehem, and the name of this town meant bakery. Put differently, the Lord was born in a town called bakery and laid in a manger. He gave us new life. He had come to this earth to give us His flesh and blood, so that we may receive new life. The Lord, the Creator and the Savior, came to this earth to feed us His flesh and blood, and we must have this flesh and blood of Jesus. The Bible clearly tells us to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood. Through His 33 years of life on this earth, the Lord gave us His flesh and blood.
The Lord gave us His flesh and blood, that is, the bread of life. That He gave us His flesh means that He gave us His body, but what does this mean exactly? Jesus said that He gave His flesh for the sake of all those who believe in Him. But how did He give this flesh? The Lord came to this earth to save from sin all those oppressed by it under the Law. When He turned 30, He was baptized by John the Baptist.
The Bible writes in Matthew 3:13-15: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” This passage means that from John the Baptist, Jesus received the baptism that fulfilled the righteousness of God. When Jesus came out of the water after thus receiving the baptism that fulfilled the righteousness of God from John, the heavens were opened to Him and God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Just before being baptized by John, our Lord had said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Here, the word “thus” is “οϋτως” (hutos) in Greek, which means “just in this way,” “most fitting,” or “there is no other way besides this.” This word shows that Jesus took the sins of humankind unto Himself irreversibly and most properly through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. The phrase “all righteousness” is “πάσαν δικαιοσύνην” (pasan dikaiosunen) in Greek, means the fairest state that has no defect at all. By this, Jesus meant that it was fitting for Him to bear all the sins of everyone and blot them out by the most appropriate method, by receiving the baptism given by John. In other words, our Lord bore all our sins on His own body by accepting them through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. You need to grasp the significance of this event from the original text of the Scriptures.
At the Last Supper also, just before His crucifixion, the Lord broke bread and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matthew 26:26). When Jesus was born on this earth, the Lord was laid in a manger, which also implies that He had come to this earth to give us life. How did our Jesus then give us His flesh? He didn’t say that we should cut and eat His flesh as though we were eating some steak. Rather, He told us to eat His flesh by believing that He bore the sins of mankind on His own body by being baptized by John the Baptist. In other words, Jesus is saying to us that He accepted all the sins of the world onto His body by being baptized by John the Baptist, the last prophet of the Old Testament and the representative of mankind.
That the Lord gave us His flesh means that He bore all your sins and mine once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist, and that He was condemned on the Cross. It’s when we realize this fact that we can eat the flesh of the Lord by faith. To save you and me from sin, the Lord accepted all the sins of this world once and for all by being baptized. Only when we accept this into our hearts can we eat the flesh of the Lord by faith. Only when we eat the true Word of God by faith do we eat the flesh of Jesus.
Have you had the flesh of Jesus by faith? Do you believe that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River in order to blot out all your sins and mine? In John chapter 6 also, our Lord said, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. The bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
Our Lord was born on this earth in the likeness of man in order to blot out our sins. The Bible says that the Word became flesh and came to dwell among us. At the age of 30, He received from John the Baptist the baptism that blotted out all our sins. My fellow believers, you must realize clearly the meaning of this baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist and believe in it. You shouldn’t interpret it all on your own, thinking that Jesus was baptized just to show His humility or because He was too humble, nor should you believe mistakenly like this.
To fulfill all righteousness, the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist, the greatest of all those born of women, and He thereby accepted the sins of mankind once and for all. By baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist passed all the sins of mankind to Jesus, and by receiving this baptism from John, Jesus bore them all and made everyone sinless. This is the evidence of the fact that the Lord took upon all our sins once and for all through His baptism.
To this day, I’ve been preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to everyone, including Christians all over the world. When some people hear my sermons or read my sermon books, they wonder why I’ve published so many books when there isn’t that much content, thinking that just one book should be enough. In reality, however, all these books are necessary. That’s because all of us must eat the spiritual bread of the Lord at all times. I have never left out the baptism of Jesus from any of my sermons to this very day. The reason is simple: It’s because Jesus accepted all your sins and mine when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. I am always preaching about the baptism of Jesus by faith because it’s my duty to preach this Truth, that not just my sins but also all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus. Through His baptism, Jesus Himself bore all the sins that you and I commit constantly out of our insufficiencies, and that is why I am preaching this Word all the time by faith.
 
 
Salvation That Came by the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
My fellow believers, you must not interpret the Bible all on your own. Every Scripture was written by people of faith who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. As such, you should listen to those who have been remitted from their sins and received the Holy Spirit into their hearts. The Bible should be interpreted as it was recorded. You should make the connection between the New Testament and the Old Testament. It is a mistake to interpret the Bible based on just one passage. In short, you should read the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
God gave the Law to the people of Israel. Knowing that they would not be able to keep it, He also gave them the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle that enabled them to receive the remission of sins. In this God-given sacrificial system, the Israelites were to pass their sins to the sacrificial animals by laying their hands on the animals’ heads, and the priests were to slaughter the animals, draw their blood, put the blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, cut their flesh, and offer them to God on the altar of burnt offering. This was done for daily and yearly sacrifices.
As the Lamb of God, Jesus was the sacrificial propitiation offered in order to save everyone in this world from sin. He was the Savior sent by God the Father to give us new life. Jesus is Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father sent to save you and me, who were destined to die for our sins. He had come to this earth as our own propitiation. Instead of us being condemned to death for our sins, God passed all our sins to His Son through baptism, He let the Son be crucified to shed His blood, and He raised the Son back from the dead, thus restoring everlasting life to us. We have received the remission of sins by believing in this love of God, who took His own Son to be the propitiation for all our sins. In other words, as the Lord Himself became this propitiation for our sins and bore all our sins, He was crucified to bear the condemnation of sin instead of us, thus remitting away all our sins once and for all.
Therefore, whoever wants to believe in Jesus Christ must believe in the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist, and only then can this person be washed from all his sins. When Jesus said in the Bible, “Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), it means that Jesus bore all your sins and mine on His own body once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist. Only once did Jesus receive the Baptism. By receiving this baptism in a form of the laying on of hands, He accepted all the sins of mankind, and He went into the water and came out of it. Baptism is “βάφτισμα” (baptisma) in Greek, which means “being immersed.” The spiritual meaning of baptism is to wash, to be buried, and to pass on. Put differently, the purpose for which Jesus was baptized was to bear all your sins and mine and wash them all away.
Having accepted all your sins and mine through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, Jesus then shed His blood on the Cross in our place and paid off the wages of our sins with His life. It was to save you and me from sin that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and our sins were indeed passed onto Jesus once and for all. This baptism that Jesus received is the same as the laying on of hands done in the Old Testament, whereby a sinner brought an unblemished animal to the Tabernacle and passed his sins onto this sacrificial offering by laying his hands on its head. This laying on of hands in the Old Testament was the method by which one’s sins were passed onto his sacrificial animal.
I’m not advocating Baptist doctrines here. Nor am I saying that one is baptized properly only if he is completely submerged in water. There are many Christian denominations in the world, but all of them are just man-made. Regardless of whether believing in Jesus or not, there are only two types of people—those who have been born again and those who have not. I admonish you all to realize that it was to accept all our sins that our Lord was baptized.
 
 
Why Did Jesus Have to Die on the Cross?
 
John, who baptized Jesus, is the greatest of those born of women. Matthew 11:12 says that the Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence since the day of John the Baptist, and the violent take it by force. Because the Lord accepted all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist, He had to die on the Cross. The precious blood of Jesus, who became our propitiation in God the Father’s eyes, was to give life to you and me. Jesus was punished for our sins because your salvation and mine could be fulfilled only by such atonement.
Therefore, if you and I believe in Jesus Christ, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we will be saved from all our sins. The Lord has given us His flesh. This means that He was baptized by John the Baptist on this earth. Jesus had to die on the Cross because He had accepted all your sins and mine through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and it is because of these sins that He was crucified to shed His blood and die in our place. It’s because the blood He shed on the Cross atoned for our sins.
Some people receive baptism as a sign to indicate that they’ve joined the church, but one should not be baptized for this purpose. This is nothing more than a religious ritual. When you are baptized, you are testifying your belief that Jesus bore all your sins when He was baptized; when you go into the water, you are testifying your belief that Jesus shed His blood to death on the Cross; and when you come out of the water, you are testifying your belief that Jesus rose from the dead again to become your Savior. In short, with your baptism you are testifying that the Lord is your Savior.
When we receive baptism, we profess our faith as follows: “Jesus bore all my sins and the sins of mankind once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Spiritually, that He went into the water implies the vicarious death He suffered instead of sinners. This means that the Lord became the propitiation for my sins and died in my place. That Jesus came out of the water implies resurrection. To give me new life, Jesus bore all my sins, died, and rose from the dead again. This is how I believe in the Son sent by God the Father. I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I thus believe that the Son of God whom the Father sent is my Savior.” We are baptized as a sign of our faith to show that we believe in Jesus as our Savior and in His flesh and blood. It is by this faith that we are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We also declare our faith before Satan, saying to him, “Look, Devil. As you see, I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit Jesus has given to me. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, He accepted all my sins; He was punished to death on the Cross for my sins; and He rose from the dead again. This is how I believe, you who stood against the righteousness of God! So I have no sin. I belong to God.” This is the faith that we declare before Satan.
Moreover, by being baptized, we also declare our faith before our fellow saints who share the same faith: “Fellow believers, like you, I also believe that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is my salvation. I believe that Jesus bore all my sins when He was baptized. I also believe that the baptized Lord died in my place on the Cross for my sins.” Like this, we bear witness of our faith before the other saints, too.
The Apostle Paul said, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). 1 John chapter 5:6-8 states, “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” The Spirit here refers to the holy God, the water that this God speaks of refers to the baptism that Jesus received when He came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, and the blood refers to the blood that Christ shed on the Cross. These passages imply that all the disciples and Apostles of Jesus believed that Jesus had washed away all the sins of the world with His baptism and blood once and for all.
In the Old Testament, it’s written that General Naaman was cleansed from his leprosy by dipping his body in the Jordan River seven times. In the Book of Joshua, the people of Israel had to cross the Jordan River in order to enter the land of Canaan. It’s written that for the people of Israel to cross the Jordan, the priests stepped into the river first while bearing the Ark of the Covenant, and when they did so, the flooded river ceased to flow and the Israelites were able to cross it on bare ground. All these biblical events occurring at the Jordan River imply that the Jordan River is the place where Jesus would be baptized by John the Baptist.
This indicates that Jesus is the Son of God who would fulfill all righteousness by bearing our sins on His own body. Our Lord has become true bread for those who sincerely believe in His baptism with their hearts. The blood that Jesus shed on the Cross has become true drink for our souls. That’s because the very fact that Jesus was condemned for our sins gives peace and rest to our hearts. Because Jesus bore all our sins through His baptism, He also had to be condemned for them, and He bore this condemnation of sins in our place. How wonderful it is! The flesh of Jesus has given us new life. That’s because Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist. That is why we have received true life by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
What about you then? Do you believe in the flesh and blood of Jesus? Have you had the flesh and blood of Jesus by faith? Do you accept the will of the Lord to be born in this world and become the bread of life for us? It is to give you and me the remission of sins and new life that our Lord came to this earth. He had come to be laid in a manger—that is, to become the true bread of life for us. Having come to this earth, Jesus lived 33 years, and by being baptized on His body, He shouldered all the sins of the world that mankind commits out of its insufficiencies and flaws.
 
 
John the Baptist, a Servant of Jesus
 
Six months prior to coming to this earth, the Lord had sent John the Baptist to this earth as the representative of mankind, and He Himself came six months later. The Lord came to this earth in order to save you and me from the curses of the Law, the persecution of Satan, and all the punishments of sin. He has saved you and me from all our sins. It is to blot out all your sins and mine that the Lord came. Without the flesh and blood of Jesus, we can never become completely sinless people. How can anyone become a sinless person when all people are so lacking that they cannot help but sin everyday? However, Jesus the Lord of life came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, accepted all your sins and mine onto His body all at once by being baptized, and bore the punishment of all these sins in our place. Thus the Lord completely took away your sins and mine, washed them away once and for all, bore all our condemnation, and thereby saved us all. By taking away all our sins through His baptism, the Lord fulfilled the righteousness of God to us. It is because God has fulfilled all the righteousness that blots out all our sins that we have become sinless by believing in this righteousness of God accomplished by Jesus.
For three years after being baptized until His death on the Cross, Jesus traveled wide and far to preach the gospel of Heaven. In other words, Jesus did not begin to preach the gospel of Heaven until after He was baptized. After being baptized by John, Jesus Christ ministered on this earth for three years: He brought the good news of the remission of sins to countless people, from the woman caught in adultery on the spot to the lepers, and the woman who was suffering from hemorrhage. He declared that He is the Way and the Light, saying, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. Believe in Me, for I am the way to Heaven. I am the Truth. I am God. I am the Savior who gives you life.”
The Lord gave us everlasting life. He has given new life to you and me. He has blotted out all your sins and mine. It is by being baptized that Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, thus making everyone sinless. In John 1:29, when John the Baptist saw Jesus on the next day after His baptism, he bore witness of Him, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Since Jesus accepted all the sins of this world from John the Baptist when He was baptized, all the sins of this world were now placed on Jesus. That is why later on Jesus went to the Cross while shouldering all our sins on His body. That is why John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus by saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
 
 
What You Need to Become a True Disciple of Jesus
 
According to the Book of Acts, after Judas hung himself, the eleven Apostles and the other disciples selected Matthias as the Apostle who would take the place of Judas Iscariot. The Apostle Peter said, regarding the eligibility of the Apostleship, “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22).
What’s the standard that qualifies one as a disciple of Jesus? Two candidates were selected to replace Judas among those who had witnessed Jesus’ ministry from His baptism to His death on the Cross, His resurrection, and His ascension. In other words, only those who believed that Jesus bore all the sins of this world by being baptized, dying on the Cross, rising from the dead again in three days, and ascending to the Kingdom of Heaven were eligible for the Apostleship. To become a true disciple of Jesus, one had to believe in His baptism, His death on the Cross, His resurrection in three days, and His status as the Son of God and God Himself. Only such people could be selected as the true disciples of Jesus. Only those who know so and believe so can become Jesus’ disciples. It’s those who believe like this that can become witnesses preaching the righteousness of God. Those who know and believe so can receive the Holy Spirit by grace.
The Bible says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). My fellow believers, the baptism of Jesus washes away all our sins. Without realizing this fact, our sins are not washed away just because we are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ; they are washed away only if we know and believe in the reason why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and why He died on the Cross. That’s because it is such people’s faith that God approves and it is such people’s sins that God washes away. In short, it’s because Jesus is the Savior of those who believe that when He came to this earth, He washed away all their sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, was punished to death in their place, and rose from the dead again. It is to those who believe in this that Jesus has become their Savior and given them new life.
That is why we call our Lord our Savior. Our Lord is Christ the Lord. The word ‘Christ’ here means the anointed One. Who is then anointed? Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed in the Old Testament era. Jesus held these three offices while on this earth, and the Lord is also the Son of God and our Savior. The Lord is the King of kings, the Priest of Heaven, and the Prophet to come. As the High Priest, He took away all the sins of mankind and was condemned in our place. It is those who believe in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross like this that can become His true disciples.
 
 
To Become a Disciple of Jesus, You Must Pass All Your Sins to Him
 
Jesus said in John 6:53, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” Yet many Christians today say that they believe only in the blood of Jesus. Can they then have life just by drinking the blood of Jesus alone by faith? No, that is not the case. They have no life. No matter how ardently they may believe in the blood of Jesus on the Cross, their hearts still have sin. Even if they confess to believe in Jesus and thank the Lord, their hearts still remain sinful. The Lord said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). If one just drinks the blood of Jesus and does not eat His flesh, then there is no Holy Spirit in his heart. He cannot receive new life. You must therefore believe in both these two things.
Having come to this earth as the Savior, Jesus accepted all our sins through His baptism. He accepted all our sins onto His own body through this baptism. Therefore, we must also believe in the baptism of Jesus. We must believe in all these things, that Jesus personally accepted all the sins of the world through His baptism, and that He was condemned for them on the Cross once and for all. Unless you believe like this, you have no life in you even if you believe in Jesus. In other words, there is no Holy Spirit in your heart even as you wholeheartedly believe that Jesus is your Savior.
The Bible says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5). And it is also written, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). Jesus came to this earth to give us true life, and He was baptized to become our true Savior. To become our true Savior, Jesus was punished on the Cross in our place. By doing so, He has washed us from all sins and enabled us to escape from the condemnation of our sins.
You and I must believe in the baptism of Jesus Christ and His blood without fail. It is by this faith that eternal life is received. Only then can you go to Heaven by believing in Jesus. You become God’s child only if you believe in the flesh and blood of Jesus, in His baptism and His blood on the Cross. The life of Jesus comes into you only if you believe in His baptism and His blood on the Cross; in His water and blood. Only when you believe like this are you made relevant to Jesus Christ. Our Lord took away all the sins of this world. He Himself shouldered them all by being baptized.
However, there are many Christians who, deceived by the Devil, believe that when the Bible says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” it means that Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away only their original sin. They interpret the Bible on their own, thinking to themselves, “I commit sin everyday in this world, today and tomorrow, and so how could Jesus have taken away all these sins? That’s just too unbelievable! Jesus took away only my original sin. All the personal sins that I commit are remitted away every time I offer prayers of repentance and beg for the Lord’s forgiveness. I will then be sanctified eventually and enter Heaven.”
Such people, however, have been deceived by the Devil. One is born again of water and the Spirit not in a series of steps, but it is done all at once. As our Lord Himself was baptized, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, through His 33 years of life on this earth Jesus has become the everlasting Savior of all those who believe in this salvation fulfilled by Him. However, having learned erroneous theology, many Christians try to change the Bible by interpreting, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away original sin!”
My fellow believers, would you rather corrupt the Word of God with denominationalism? Would you dismantle it and rewrite it all over? We must believe in the written Word exactly as it is. If the Bible says that Jesus took away the sins of the world, then Jesus indeed took away the sins of the world. Is there then any sin left in this world? No, there is none! Since Jesus took away all the sins of the world and blotted them out, there is no more sin. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River for sinners, and He was punished on the Cross in their place. This means that Jesus has blotted out all the sins that you and I commit throughout our entire lifetime.
The Bible says that Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. What is the coverage of these sins of the world then? They cover each and every sin ever committed from the beginning of mankind to its end. No one knows when this world will disappear. We don’t know when new heavens and a new earth will arrive. In other words, we don’t know exactly when our Lord will return. However, what is clear is that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and it is our Lord who made this earth, created mankind, and blotted out all the sins of this earth. Hebrews chapter 9 says that when the Lord returns, He will take away all those who have nothing to do with sin (Hebrew 9:28). The Lord will come for the second time to take us away, who are apart from sin, for we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Bible writes clearly that Jesus took away the sins of the world.
However, in their carnal minds many people interpret this to mean that Jesus took away only their past sins, not their future sins, wondering, “How could Jesus have taken away all the sins of the world when I commit so many sins like this?” But this is a carnal interpretation. The Bible should be interpreted spiritually from God’s perspective.
God Himself came to this earth to blot out all your sins and mine. Would Jesus then take upon Himself our sins and die on the Cross again every time you and I commit sin? Dying just once was terrible enough that Jesus asked God the Father to take His cup away if possible. Would He then die again and again? The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, and that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission. Through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, Jesus bore all the sins of this world once and for all, including all the future sins you and I will commit until we die. He was condemned once, and He has saved us once and for all. He doesn’t wait until we commit sin and then say to us, “So you’ve committed sin. I’ll blot it out again for you.” If this were true, Jesus would have to die for our sins every day. So those who believe in Jesus but not in His baptism and His blood on the Cross—that is, those who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit—bow down every day and ask the Lord to wash away their sins. This, however, is akin to crucifying Jesus again.
Let’s say that your son sacrificed himself for someone else. How would you feel if this person undervalues your son’s sacrifice and keeps on asking him to die one more time, saying that dying once is not enough? My fellow believers, do not underestimate the righteousness of God who has saved us, His love, and the just salvation of His water and blood. Do not despise them. For you to ask God to forgive your sins every day is akin to asking Jesus to come down to this cruel world again for your sins, be baptized again in the Jordan River, die on the Cross again, rise from the dead again, ascend to Heaven, and then return to do all these things all over again every time you commit sin. My fellow believers, the Lord says that He has made you perfect once and for all. The correct knowledge and faith are indispensable to hearing any sermons, understanding the Bible, and studying theology. A half-baked approach is not acceptable. Those who really know what theology is all about do not speak of it much, because they know that theology is good for nothing when it comes to the truth-seekers.
The Bible itself says that there are matches in the Old and New Testaments, as it is written, “Search from the book of the LORD, and read:
Not one of these shall fail;
Not one shall lack her mate.
For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them” (Isaiah 34:16). As you know, God gave the sacrificial system to the people of Israel through Moses. They had to lay their hands on their sacrificial animals to be remitted of their sins in the Old Testament age. In the New Testament, Jesus bore all our sins by being baptized. In other words, Jesus has saved us according to the sacrificial system established by God. In the Old Testament, sin was passed onto a sacrificial animal by laying one’s hands on its head. Then the throat of the burnt offering was slit, its blood was drawn and sprinkled, and its flesh was cut and burnt to be offered to God. In the New Testament, Jesus accepted our sins by being baptized, and He was condemned on the Cross in our place. Jesus came to give us new life through His baptism and the shedding of His blood. Don’t these two sacrifices match each other?
Jesus is the Savior who has delivered His people from their sins. He came to this earth to blot out all our sins by being baptized and by shedding His blood. In this way He has indeed eradicated all our sins. As Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, bore the punishment of sin on the Cross, died and rose from the dead again, He has become the God of salvation for all those who believe in Him. No passage in the Bible should be read on its own divorced from the rest of the Scriptures. The whole Bible is all about salvation. The New Testament and the Old Testament are all connected to each other.
Do you believe that the Gospel of John is the Word of God? In John chapter 6, Jesus says that whoever eats His flesh will receive everlasting life. He says that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood will receive eternal life, but those who don’t do so have no life in them. When one believes in Jesus, it is when he believes in His flesh that this person is saved—that is, you must believe that Jesus bore all your sins when He was baptized. Those who don’t believe in both the baptism of Jesus and His blood cannot be saved no matter how ardently they may believe in Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead again in three days, and He is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. If anyone believes in Jesus while leaving out either His flesh or blood, then his faith is false. It’s a fake faith.
Born on this earth, our Lord was laid in a manger. Why was He laid in a manger used for animals? The Lord was born as the Baby Jesus and laid in a manger in order to become the bread of life for His believers. Jesus taught the chief priests of Israel and the great scholars of the Law when He was only 12 years old. On one occasion, when Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ parents in the flesh, went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, they returned home without Jesus, thinking that He was following them somewhere in the traveling group. When they discovered that He wasn’t in the group, they went back to Jerusalem looking for Him and found Him sitting with the chief priests and discussing the Law of God with them. The chief priests were marveled by Jesus’ teaching. This means that Jesus is the Savior of those who believe in the will of God the Father in obedience. He has become everlasting salvation and eternal life for you and me. By coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man and being baptized, Jesus accepted all our sins and washed them all away. By giving up His body on the Cross to be punished in our place, and by rising from the dead again in three days, He has become the true Savior of all who believe in Him.
 
 
Do You Believe That Jesus Bore the Sins of the World When He Was Baptized?
 
My fellow believers, do you believe in the salvation of Jesus who has come by the water and the Spirit? There are many biblical scholars and theologians in this world, and on this Christmas, the Lord is asking them whether they really believe in Him or not, how many of them actually believe in Him, and if they have indeed had eaten His flesh and drank His blood. When Jesus came to this earth, the chief priests, the scribes, and King Herod all knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But none of them believed that the Lord was born in a lowly stable.
Who believed this then? It was the lowly shepherds and the wise men from the distant countries in the east who believed in this. What kinds of offerings did the wise men from the east bring to Jesus? They offered frankincense, myrrh, and gold. The gold here symbolizes the belief that Jesus is our Savior and that He took upon all our sins through His baptism, and the frankincense means that we pray to Jesus, God Himself, believing that He is our Savior. The myrrh here symbolizes the forever-unchanging and immutable Truth that has come by the water and the Spirit. Jesus is the God of the real Truth. It was with this faith that the wise men, who were actually Gentiles, believed in Jesus as their Savior.
However, when it actually came to the people of Israel, neither the biblical scholars, nor the Pharisees, nor the chief priests believed in Jesus. The same is true in this present age also. In this age, it is pastors, ministry workers, and theologians who don’t believe in the baptism and blood of Jesus. They refuse to believe that Jesus bore all the sins of the world by being baptized. Theologians do not believe that all the sins of this world were passed onto the head of Jesus when He was baptized. They interpret Jesus’ baptism on their own, saying that He was baptized because He was humble, and in doing so, they deny the baptism of the remission of sins that Jesus received.
The Bible is the written Word of God. Jesus Himself fulfilled all righteousness through the baptism He received in the Jordan River. So what else and what other interpretations are needed? Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus was baptized to show His humility. What does “all righteousness” mean? It means “everything that is right.” You need to realize here that even though Jesus is our Lord who has become the bread of life for us, in this present age, it is actually pastors, church officers, and theologians professing to believe in Jesus that are rejecting His baptism, the water that enables everyone to be born again. Although this gospel is being preached everywhere, it is actually those who are completely ignorant, rather than theologians, that are being saved by hearing and believing in the Word of Truth proclaiming that Jesus bore the sins of mankind by being baptized.
However, the so-called “good” Christians who have believed in Jesus for a long time do not believe in His baptism and the gospel that enables them to be born again. This is nothing less than rejecting Jesus. In contrast, those who do not know the Bible well actually believe in the Word exactly as it is, and it is these people who are saved. However, those who have learned the Word of God mistakenly through man-made doctrines, and those who are steeped in the leaven of man, do not know what Jesus has really done for them, although they may be able to speak of Him in doctrinal terms. So they can’t really believe in Him. The Bible is the Truth. The baptism of Jesus is the Truth of salvation. There is no truth apart from this Word. Just because you’ve believed in Jesus for a long time, you shouldn’t think that you know all about His baptism.
The Bible says that when Peter preached the Word of the Scriptures to those around him, the Holy Spirit descended on them. Likewise, if people today hear the gospel and believe in this Word, then the Holy Spirit will also descend on them and their faces will light up in joy. These people confess with their tongues that there is no more sin in their hearts. When they are asked after a long time if they have kept the gospel, they say that they still have this precious treasure. They say that they can’t remember all the things that they had learned before, but only this precious gospel. Even though Jesus came to this earth as the Savior of all people, extremely few people actually accept the gospel of the baptism of Jesus that enables everyone to be born again. Scholars, the powerful, and the arrogant have rejected Jesus. However, the lowly who know their own inadequacy accept the Word of the Lord and thereby reach their salvation.
In God’s sight, everyone is the same no matter how meritorious or wretched one may seem. When Jesus came to this earth, it was the lowly shepherds who met Him. The Lord is now saying to you, “Do you believe that I have saved you by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, being baptized, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, all for your sake?” If you indeed believe in the gospel of the baptism of Jesus and His blood, the gospel of being born again, then the Lord will be pleased with you. God the Father will be glorified.
It’s written, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Peace comes to those who have received the remission of sins into their hearts. This means that you will become a sinless child of God by believing in Jesus. The Holy Spirit will come into your heart. Our Lord was laid in a trough. He has given new life to you and me. Our Jesus has become the bread of life for you and me, for all of us who believe in Him. I give Him all my thanks. It’s because the Lord loved you and me that He came to this earth in the lowly body of man, so that He may save us all, give us new life, and prevent us from going to hell. How could we ever thank God enough for His grace? Despite His holiness, the Lord was wrapped in swaddling cloths and humbly laid in a manger. The holy God Himself personally came to this earth in the image of man in order to save us lowly people. How could we ever repay Him for this grace? I give all my thanks to Him!