The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 23 : The Epistle to the HEBREWS

[Chapter 6-1] (Hebrews 6:1-8) The Gospel of the Water And the Spirit Makes Us Always Perfect

(Hebrews 6:1-8)
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.”
 
 
We have just read Hebrews 6:1-8 for today’s Scripture reading, and I would like us to take this opportunity to examine what the Bible means when it speaks of “repentance from dead works” (Hebrews 6:1).
What exactly does it mean for a Christian to do dead works? It means failing to live by trusting in the righteousness of God. For Christian sinners to return to Christ and live a proper life of faith, they must first know what the righteousness of Christ is, cast away their dead works that are done among the heathen, and come into the presence of God. In other words, they must turn around from their worship of this world, correctly understand who God is and what His righteousness is, and truthfully return to Jesus Christ. To do so, they must realize how God has blotted out all their sins, and what glorious blessing He will give them in the future.
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews is therefore once again admonishing all the Christians who have gone spiritually astray to turn around, so that they would understand the real Truth of salvation and Christ. That is why Paul said, “Let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2). In comparing the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist in the New Testament with the Old Testament’s laying on of hands, this passage implies that the two are the same. It also shows us that we have died with Christ and have been resurrected with Christ, and that whoever does not live by trusting in the righteousness of God will face God’s judgment of wrath.
However, some misguided Christians are prone to misinterpret this passage and as a result fall into great confusion. So they think that there still is another truth that perfects them even more apart from the baptism of Jesus, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection. Consequently they think mistakenly that it is more important to rely on their own piety and devotion to perfect themselves than to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the only way that one can die with Christ and be resurrected with Christ. In other words, they mistakenly believe that they can sanctify themselves to perfection by relying on their own piety and devotion. 
But this is not the will of God. All of us ought to realize here that as Jesus has become our Savior by being baptized by John the Baptist, dying on the Cross, and rising up from the dead in three days, He has already perfected us completely. That is why the writer of the Book of Hebrews is teaching us here that the baptism of Jesus, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection are the indispensable elements of salvation that all of us ought to know and believe in.
In particular, the “baptisms” and the “laying on of hands” mentioned in verse 2 imply that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist for the same purpose as that of the Old Testament’s laying on of hands—that is, it was to bear all our sins. Therefore, as Jesus has saved us by bearing all the sins of this world through His baptism, shedding His blood to death on the Cross, and rising up from the dead, God is admonishing us not to lay again the foundation of the doctrine of resurrection and eternal judgment, but to live by our perfect faith.
The “baptisms” and the “laying on of hands” that the writer of this Epistle spoke of here in Hebrews 6:2 imply the Truth that Jesus Christ bore all our sins once and for all by being baptized on this earth. In other words, he is speaking of the Truth of salvation by connecting the Old Testament’s laying on of hands with the baptism of Jesus. The writer also spoke of resurrection, saying that all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will partake in the first resurrection granted by the Lord. In contrast, those who refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore fail to be born again and instead live as sinners all their lives, will be condemned for their sins when they are resurrected.
We believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is the elementary Truth of the Christian faith. We believe that our Lord has saved us from all our sins in order to give us the blessing of resurrection. Let’s take a moment here and examine the most elementary principles of our faith in the righteousness of God. Jesus Christ is fundamentally God Himself, but to become our own Lord and Savior, He bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. And because Christ thus bore all the sins of this world, He was crucified to death, but He arose from the dead in three days after being buried in a cave tomb. As the God of judgment, Jesus Christ will condemn everyone in this world who does not believe in Him as God and cast all such unbelievers into hell. But for those who believe in the righteousness of God, Christ will take them to the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven and live with them forever. We must therefore believe in all these truths that are found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
We Should Not Misinterpret or Misunderstand Today’s Scripture Reading from Hebrews 6:1-8
 
If people try to understand today’s Scripture passage according to their own interpretation without any knowledge of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they will surely fall into a great fallacy. Yet there are too many Christians nowadays who misinterpret this passage just literally in their ignorance of the righteousness of God. Such misguided Christians ignore the righteousness of God that is at the very core of the Christian faith by saying argumentatively, “Look, does the Bible not say here that we should leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ?” But to do so is to fall into a completely fallacious teaching.
The righteous should never stand against the leaders of God’s Church. The least you can do as a righteous saint is not to stand against the servants of God and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even if you feel injured by some of your church leaders, you should try to be understanding and remind yourself that even your church leaders can sometimes be just as weak as you are with as many shortcomings. You will then realize that God is actually trying to break down your own righteousness, and you will come to thank God and once again put all your trust in His righteousness. It is through such trials and tribulations that you come to trust in the righteousness of God even more. If you unite yourself with your predecessors of faith, then you will be united with God’s Church, and you will also be able to live the rest of your life as a soldier of Christ. No matter how many shortcomings you might have before God, as long as you believe in His righteousness, you have absolutely no sin. All of us who have become righteous by believing in God’s righteousness have received the remission of sins from the Lord, have become God’s own children and obtained the blessing of everlasting life.
Nothing can bless us but the righteousness of God that the Lord has given to us. It’s on this righteousness of God that the foundation of our faith is laid, and therefore we should never try to lay another foundation of faith. If we were to minister without understanding the righteousness of God revealed in the Scriptures, then it would not be a true ministry. God has appointed us as His servants so that we would preach His righteousness. He has not appointed us as the servants of His righteousness for any other purpose. Do you think that God has somehow placed us in this world for no purpose at all? No, of course not!
Our purpose on this earth is to set free all who are bound by false religions and liberate them from all their sins, not to bind them with the Law even more only to make them perish. Yet we see too many pastors insisting on their congregations to keep the Law of God blindly, even as they themselves cannot observe every commandment. In reality, these pastors are not ministering to serve the righteousness of the Lord. The Word of God has clearly told them not to do this. But on the contrary, God admonished us to save sinners by preaching the elementary principles of Christ. That is what the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had in mind when he said, “And this we will do if God permits” (Hebrews 6:3).
 
 
The Punishment That Is Rendered on Those Who Betray the Righteousness of God
 
All of us must believe that the Lord bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist on this earth, was crucified to death while shouldering each and every sin of this world, arose from the dead after being buried, and has thereby become the living Savior of all who believe in this Truth. Whoever does not believe in this Truth of salvation is a sinner to be condemned, and whoever betrays the gospel of the water and the Spirit after believing it once will also face condemnation. This is explained clearly in today’s Scripture reading.
Let us now turn to Hebrews 6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” Here the words, “those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift” (Hebrews 6:4) refer to those who at one point in their lives, heard and believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The “heavenly gift” that is mentioned in this passage refers to the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ has given to us by fulfilling the righteousness of God.
The Bible says clearly here that those who fall away even after tasting the salvation that has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit cannot be renewed to repentance. Since these people end up betraying the gospel of the water and the Spirit even after believing in it once, it is impossible for them to receive the remission of sins again. It is written clearly that such people who betray the righteousness of God can never again receive the remission of sins. This is because they openly put the Son of God and His righteousness to shame. In other words, they betray and stand against the righteousness of God that Christ has fulfilled for them.
I have preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to countless people. Some of them believed in this gospel at first, but ended up betraying it later on. What happened to these people? None of them could be admonished into repentance. Even when I tried my best to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them again, they refused to accept it anymore.
All these people will be justly condemned for their sins, for they no longer believe in the righteousness of God. Whose fault is it then? Is it God’s fault or their own? Every fault lies with those who refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even after hearing it. Jesus Christ loved us all equally, and He bore all our sins once and for all through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. He carried all the sins of this world to the Cross, and He was justly condemned for everyone’s sin by shedding His blood. The Lord then arose from the dead, and He has thereby become the true Savior for all of us who believe in God’s righteousness.
If Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead after being crucified to death, He could then not really have become our Savior, we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This righteous work of salvation was not done according to Jesus’ own wish but in obedience to the will of God the Father, and therefore it was more than enough to enable us to be saved by faith. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit had consulted one another and planned our salvation in unison, and they accomplished this work of salvation to adopt all who believe in God’s righteousness as His very own children. Therefore, whoever believes in the righteousness of God is saved, but whoever does not believe in this righteousness of God, or whoever betrays it after believing in it, can never escape from the punishment of hell.
Through today’s Scripture passage, the Lord is warning us to never betray the righteousness of God, for anyone who betrays God’s righteousness will be destroyed forever without fail. Whoever refuses to accept and believe that the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross constitutes the righteousness of God will be justly destroyed for his sins. Such people can never be saved from their sins. No matter how ardently they might believe in Jesus as their Savior and how diligently they might serve Him, they can never be saved from their sins. This is why our Lord admonished us in today’s Scripture passage to never betray His righteousness.
It’s written in Hebrews 6:7-8, “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.”
The “earth” here refers to the human heart. Every true preacher bears witness of the baptism of Jesus Christ, His blood on the Cross, His death and His resurrection, and His divinity as the Son of God and God Himself. And when those who hear this Word of God accept it into their hearts and believe in it, the fruit of faith is then born in their hearts. When you believe in the Word of God, you are compelled to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world, and you will live the rest of your life as Christ’s soldier. But what would happen if you refuse to accept God’s Word of righteousness into your heart? When you thus stand against the righteousness of God with your own fleshly thoughts, you will surely be destroyed.
Anyone in this age and time can now hear the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but whoever does not believe in this gospel even after hearing it will be destroyed. We have been working very hard to teach people about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but if they don’t believe even as they hear it, they will face their condemnation. In contrast, all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will ultimately receive everlasting life from God. No one in God’s Church should ever scorn this salvation that Jesus has fulfilled through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross, which together constitute the righteousness of God.
But some people say, “I wish Pastor Paul C. Jong would preach something else instead of just preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit everyday.” This is wrong because when the Lord’s Prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread,” our daily bread here is none other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What would this bread be if it were not the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The very fact that the Lord has saved us, we the believers in the righteousness of God from all our sins by coming to this earth, being baptized, shedding His blood to death on the Cross, and rising up from the dead—this is indeed the bread that the Lord has given to us, and it is surely our daily bread.
The Lord’s Prayer also teaches us to pray like this: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Many Christians nowadays take this teaching as the basis of argument that one has to receive the remission of sins by offering prayers of repentance, but this is completely wrong.
The Apostle Peter made it unmistakably clear that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in order to take upon all our sins, stating plainly in 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God).” It was to enable us to come into the presence of the Holy God with a clear conscience that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and shed His blood. It is because the Lord took upon all our sins by being baptized and bore the condemnation of all our sins by shedding His blood on the Cross that we have now been saved from our each and every sin through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whoever believes in the righteousness of God is saved from all his sins. And we believe in this righteousness of God.
The Word of God that we read today in the Epistle to the Hebrews says, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2). If we just glance over this passage heedlessly, we may end up misinterpreting it to mean that we should cast away our elementary faith. But that is clearly not what this passage means. Rather, it teaches us that we ought to ground our lives of faith in Jesus Christ and plant them in the unshakable foundation that through our faith in the righteousness of God, we were baptized with Jesus Christ, had died on the Cross with Jesus Christ, and have now been brought back to life with Jesus Christ.
The Word of God teaches us everything about our faith. None of us therefore should ever preach about anything that is not in the Word of God. Nor should we bother to discuss such non-existing issues. Are we God? No, of course not! Why then should any of us try to speak about something that God never revealed in His Scriptures? This is not tenable.
When we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, many people nowadays ask us, “So many people in the past never heard of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so what happened to all these people?” But one should know that God is just. Everything that has ever happened all happened according to God’s providence. The fact that God has given us the gospel of the water and the Spirit through His Word is a truly amazing blessing. Yet, far from believing in the righteousness of God, too many Christians today exhort human ethics, trying to prevent these misguided believers from hearing the genuine gospel. These Christian sinners are prone to ignore the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist and just emphasize His blood on the Cross and His resurrection.
Our resurrection is both physical and spiritual. As we believe in the righteousness of God, our souls had died once and have now been brought back to life, but the resurrection of our bodies still remains unfulfilled. It is not something that has already happened. But this imperfect body of ours will also be transformed when either our lives on this earth are over or the Lord returns even before this. The body that we are in now is yet to be resurrected by our Lord.
We should never call anything other than the God-spoken gospel of the water and the Spirit as His righteousness. The gospel of the water and the Spirit constitutes the righteousness of God, and if we have really been saved from all our sins by believing in this true gospel, then we ought to plant our hearts firmly on this Truth and live out our faith according to this Truth. It is absolutely imperative for all of us to realize just how important this faith is. Nowadays there are many Christians claiming to be sinless even as they believe only in the blood of the Cross while rejecting the gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people are often called “Evangelicals.” But if they are the real Evangelicals, then they should believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Yet those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit preach only the blood of the Cross, and they still call themselves Evangelicals. They even attack the true believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whenever I face such an attack, I am determined to wage a spiritual battle to settle once and for all exactly whose gospel is more powerful, whether it is the gospel of the water and the Spirit or the gospel of only the Cross. There are so many people all over the world whose faith is misguided like these so-called “Evangelicals.” Wherever you go, from Europe to the Americas, most Christians believe only in the blood of the Cross. They all confess that they are sinners in their souls. Whenever I see such people suffering from the burden of sin, I always offer them one of our books that hold the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and I admonish them to read it and consider carefully what the real gospel is.
We have shared our gospel books with countless people all over the world, and many who read them have reacted with astonishment. Many of them have sent us their testimonies of salvation, telling us that the Christian doctrines they had believed in for decades had all been lies, and that they have now found the true gospel of the water and the Spirit. Did we ever force them to write such testimonies? No, of course not! They have sent us these testimonies willingly out of their own volition because they now believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit with all their hearts.
The work that’s unfolding in God’s Church is done by God Himself through those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in these end times. This is the evidence of God’s amazing work of blessings. The Apostles preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit and recorded their footsteps in the Acts of the Apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And in this age also, God’s work of spreading the gospel continues on through those who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Today, many Pentecostals seek to speak in tongues or see visions while praying, but this is neither believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit nor seeking the real Truth. Those whose faith has truly matured are those who use their reason to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and discern the righteousness of God from the righteousness of man. They can discern what the adherents of a false gospel say from what the Word of God actually says.
Now that you are being trained in the Mission School, you must have a clear understanding of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in it unwaveringly. Rather than leading an unstable life of faith from an incomplete understanding of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you must firm up your faith in this gospel now when you are being trained, believe in this gospel until the end of the world, boast of God’s righteousness alone forever, and live as a solider for Christ forever.
Some of you may say when admonished to live for the righteousness of the Lord, “I have too many shortcomings in my acts to do that.” But who does not have any shortcomings in his acts? What matters is not your own acts, but whether or not you decide to believe in the righteousness of God which was fulfilled by Christ, for this decision determines whether or not you can become a solder of Christ and a child of God, receive His blessings, deliver others from all the sins of the world, and walk with the righteousness of the Lord until the end of this world. The true gospel of the remission of sins is the gospel of the water and the Spirit; it is not the gospel of only the blood of the Cross. The power of this gospel of the water and the Spirit knows no bounds. After all, if the power of the water and the Spirit were not so great, then we could not have preached it with so much confidence. The power of this true gospel is indeed unsurpassed.
My fellow believers, a single worker of God who believes 100% in His righteousness can save the entire population of a country. There are about 250 countries in this world, and if we have just 250-300 truly faithful and dedicated workers of God, we can transform the whole world with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In the Old Testament, for instance, Gideon was able to defeat countless enemy soldiers with just 300 warriors. Those 300 warriors of Gideon prevailed like this because they had forsaken their own carnal thoughts, trusted in God’s servant and His Word in obedience, and boldly charged into the enemy camp by faith. Likewise, it is by faith that we boldly preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, just as it is by faith that we prevail over all our trials, save countless souls, strengthen our hearts, and follow the righteousness of Christ.
In contrast, those who advocate that the blood of the Cross alone constitutes salvation have nothing but sins in their hearts. Such people are incapable of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to any sinner they meet.
Too many Christians nowadays are so enchanted by these false prophets claiming to exercise supernatural powers that they flock to these spiritual charlatans and beg them to lay their hands on their heads. But this is utterly wrong. When a demon-possessed person lays his hands on another person, the latter also ends up being demon-possessed. The Bible says that if a demon is cast out falsely from a person, this demon would come back in a short while and enter into this same person’s heart again with even more demons. So this person would end up being possessed by a legion of demons instead of just one demon.
What is it that everyone really needs? It is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What exactly does this gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaim? It proclaims that Jesus Christ bore all the sins of the entire human race by being baptized by John the Baptist when He came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. Just as the Old Testament’s sacrificial animal bore the Israelites’ sins through the laying on of the High Priest’s hands, Jesus the Son of God shouldered all the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist, a descendant of Aaron the High Priest. He then bore the condemnation of all our sins by shedding His blood on the Cross, arose from the dead, and has thereby become the Savior of all who believe in the eternal righteousness of God. This is what the gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaims, and to believe in this Truth is the only way for us to be saved from all our sins. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the perfect gospel, and our faith in this gospel is the very faith that perfects us. How about you then? Do you believe in God’s righteousness?
No matter how many shortcomings you might have in your flesh, so long as you believe in God’s righteousness, you can become a completely sinless child of God. Just as even the hardest piece of iron melts away when it is put in a blast furnace, if you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with all your heart and hang onto it with every ounce of your strength, all your sins will disappear and you will become a new person. This is how you are made into someone who can live for the righteousness of God, someone who is completely sinless, and someone who can carry out God’s righteous work. Whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can become such a wonderful person thanks to God’s grace. And all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will be commended by God for their unwavering faith in His righteousness.
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews bears witness of the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and testifies that Jesus Christ is the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven. Who is Christ? He is the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven. Who is Christ again? He is the Son of God the Father, but He is also the Creator who made this whole universe and all things in it. Just as every house was built by someone, this world did not come into existence by itself, but it came into existence only because there was a Maker who created it. This Maker of the whole universe and all its hosts is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the Creator who made the heavens and the earth. And this Creator, the Son of God and our Master had so much compassion for us His creatures that He personally came to this world in obedience to the will of God the Father and endured unimaginable humiliation and suffering to save us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
It would be so wonderful if every Christian were to believe in the righteousness of God, but sadly this is not the case. In fact, most Christians do not believe in God’s righteousness, and all of them will be destroyed for their unbelief. A while ago, a famous Korean comedian named Juil Lee passed away after battling with cancer. One of his punch lines used to be, “I am sorry for being so ugly.” But this time, before passing away he said, “I am sorry for not getting back on my feet again,” apologizing to his fans for succumbing to cancer. Lee had so many fans that countless people came to his funeral to pay him respect. But in a televised interview before his death, Lee said, “I have never done anything wrong to anyone, nor have I committed any sin. So I just cannot understand why I have been afflicted with cancer.” Lee had not known his sins. And he had not known the gospel of the water and the Spirit either.
All human beings were created by Jesus Christ, yet many of them neither recognize nor believe in this Creator who not only made them but also blotted out all their sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This comedian that I told you about had many Christian friends in his life, but none of them had preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to him. This shows us just how important it is for us to pray for everyone in this world and preach the gospel to everyone.
As you and I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are the truly happy and blessed people in both body and soul. Our Lord God has delivered us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and has made us completely sinless, and words cannot express just how grateful we all are for this wonderful blessing. So let us give all our thanks to the Lord for blessing us we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and appointing us to be His perfect witnesses. And let us all praise God for bestowing us with His righteousness.