The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 24 : Sermons for Those Who Have Become Our COWORKERS

[24-18] (Matthew 19:16-26) To Those Who Ask, “What Good Thing Shall I Do That I May Have Eternal Life?”

(Matthew 19:16-26)
“Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
 
 
My calling is to preach to all the Christians throughout the whole world how they can receive the remission of their personal sins once and for all. To this end I will continue to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the only true gospel written in the Bible that can bring the remission of all sins, original and personal alike, to all who believe in this gospel. Indeed, it is to bring this complete remission of sins that we are now spreading, the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. Lately we have been getting few visitors to our website from the United States. Why do you think this is the case? What explains this trend? It’s because most American Christians attend church in name only, as they are not really looking for God with a sincere heart.
Another problem is that too many of them, even when they come across such a wonderful gospel of the water and the Spirit, are not introducing this gospel to others. It would be ideal if everyone who reads one of our sermon books would share it at least with those around him, but unfortunately this has not been the case. For another example, it would be so much better if all the visitors to our website would share its web address with their acquaintances, but, again, this has not been the case. If one person were to share this information with just ten people, it would make a tremendous difference. Ironically, this reluctance to share the good news is particularly prevalent among pastors and ministers. What explains this? It’s because such pastors are just interested in borrowing bits and pieces from our gospel books and using them in their own sermons. They take our gospel books, in other words, as little more than reference material. So it’s all the more important for us to publicize our website as widely as possible.
Recently we just published another gospel book in English, titled Wisdom of the Primitive Gospel. I have no doubt that many people will come to receive the remission of sins and be born again from reading this book. There are two more books that are in the works right now. One of them is tentatively titled Are You Still Suffering from Your Personal Sins? This will be followed by another book titled The Change of the Law.
 
 
The Question Raised by the Young Man in Today’s Scripture Passage
 
It’s written in today’s Scripture passage, “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’” (Matthew 19:16). To phrase this question in another way, the man was asking, “What good thing must I do to reach salvation?” The Lord then spoke to him about what he had to do to obtain eternal life, saying, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). The man then asked which commandments he should keep, to which Jesus replied by saying, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 19:18-19). The Bible continues on to say: “The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:20-22).
To the young man claiming to have kept all the commandments of God, our Lord was saying that he should sell all his possessions, give them to the poor, come back, and then follow Him. This young man in today’s Scripture reading did not really understand what the Lord was saying to him. When Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor, the Lord was saying to the young man that far from keeping all the commandments of God as he was claiming, he had in fact failed to keep them. Put differently, this is what Jesus was saying to him: “Did you really love the poor? Did you really love your neighbors as yourself? If you really loved your neighbors as yourself, then you would have sold all your possessions and given them away. Did you not love your neighbors only in words instead of loving them sincerely? Did you not think that just being polite to your neighbors and not harming them was what it meant to love them? But real love is not just doing no harm. Rather, it requires you to sell all your possessions and give them away. This is what it means to really love someone. Honoring your parents is also more than just telling them that you respect them. Rather, if you really honour your parents, you would have given them your most precious treasure. But this is not what you have done. If you really want to be perfect, then you must sell whatever you have and give it away.”
The Bible says that when the young man heard this, he went away worried. He went away troubled because he knew that he just couldn’t do what the Lord was asking him to do. What had the young man asked the Lord at first? He had asked, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16). Firstly, when the young man came to Jesus, he was very proud of himself. That’s why when the Lord told him that he should keep all the commandments to enter into life; he asked rather pretentiously what these commandments were. And when the Lord listed all these commandments for him, the young man was equally pompous in claiming that he had kept them all. It’s to show the young man’s conceit that the Lord said to him to sell all his possessions, give them to the poor, and then follow Him.
Put differently, the Lord was asking him rhetorically if he had really kept all the commandments of God. Too many Christians think that keeping the commandments just means not breaking any of them with their action. So if they have not killed anyone, they think they have kept the commandment prohibiting murder. But the real substance of the Lord’s commandments is all about cherishing and loving one another wholeheartedly. John 1 summarizes the Lord’s commandments as love. And to love someone is to give away one’s most precious treasure.
As mentioned, most Christians think that they just have to keep the Law of God and His commandments by the letter, but God’s commandments are kept not only with one’s action but also with one’s heart. For instance, you may think that since you have never stolen anything, you have kept the commandment prohibiting you from stealing, but God says that anyone who has coveted another person’s belongings has already committed theft. What the Lord wants from you is not to keep the commandments just by the letter, but to actually observe them with both your actions and intentions. Who can then ever do this? This is beyond the ability of all human beings. And this is precisely why the rich young man in today’s Scripture passage ended up simply leaving in sorrow. He had come to ask the Lord what good thing he should do to receive everlasting life, but when he actually heard what the Lord said to him, he left in despair because he knew that he just could not do what the Lord was asking of him. So, when the Lord told him to sell all his possessions, share them with the poor, and then follow Him, the young man just returned home, knowing that he could never do what was asked of him. The young man here was not really keeping God’s commandments. He was not really obeying the Word of God. That is why he left dejected.
 
 
Then the Lord Gave Us a Parable
 
After the young man left, the Lord turned to His disciples and said, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24).
Jesus said here it is very hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and that it is actually easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle instead. The disciples were shocked when they heard this. Since it is physically impossible for any camel to go through the eye of a needle, this can only mean that it’s even more impossible for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Who can then enter the Kingdom of Heaven? The disciples were completely flabbergasted by this. After all, it could mean that the disciples could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven either. So they asked Jesus who could then be saved. Jesus then said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mathew 19:26).
What has God done for us? He has saved us His believers and given us eternal life by blotting out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is why Jesus said here that all things are possible with God.
At the beginning of today’s Scripture passage, the young man said to Jesus, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16). Jesus then said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17). In other words, although the young man was implying that he was capable of doing good things, the Lord was saying that no one could be good but God.
By nature, all human beings are a brood of evildoers. Given the fact that everyone is an evildoer, how could anyone dare to ask what good thing he should do to have eternal life? Yet the young man in today’s Scripture reading was convinced that he could attain eternal life by doing good things, and he was also sure that he was quite capable of achieving this. That is why the Lord said to the young man that he could not possibly keep all the commandments even if he tried. And the Lord also told him to sell all his possessions, give them to his poor neighbors, and then follow the Lord.
Human beings are simply incapable of doing anything good. Of course, there are many religious people in this world all trying to love their neighbors as themselves. However, even though countless Christians claim to practice love, they are in fact just lying. How many of them are really willing to sell all their belongings, give them away to the poor, and then follow the Lord? Some of them may pretend to do so, but this is not sincere.
The young man here in today’s Scripture passage pretended to be virtuous before the Lord and thought that he could keep all the commandments of God, but in fact he was someone who could not keep even a single commandment. Whom can we compare this young man to? We can compare him to today’s Christian sinners who commit sin on a daily basis. In other words, the young man in today’s Scripture reading is the same as today’s Christian sinners who think that they can be saved by not sinning even though they cannot help but commit sin everyday. As a brood of evildoers, all human beings commit sin everyday from the moment they are born in this world. Despite this, however, so many Christians nowadays are trying to enter the Kingdom of Heaven by relying on their own prayers of repentance. But how can such misguided Christians ever be saved and receive everlasting life if they keep trying to wash away their sins through their own prayers of repentance?
Can anyone be completely washed clean from all their personal sins by offering prayers of repentance? No, this is impossible. Yet today’s Christians all over the world are trying in vain to be washed from all the sins that they commit day after day by offering their own prayers of repentance. This misplaced belief is based on their misinterpretation of 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It’s because so many Christians have misinterpreted this passage completely that they put so much faith in their own prayers of repentance. As a result, countless Christians have lost their souls. They think that when the Bible says here, “If we confess our sins,” this refers to offering prayers of repentance. They believe mistakenly, in other words, that the Lord would wash away their sins if they just offer prayers of repentance. In rationalizing their own thoughts, they also say, “Think about how Jesus washed Peter’s feet. This, too, refers to offering prayers of repentance. Didn’t Jesus say to Peter, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet’?” As a result of misinterpreting the Word of God like this, many Christians are trying to be washed from their daily sins by offering their own prayers of repentance. They think that when Jesus sought to wash Peter’s feet, He was trying to teach Peter to wash away his personal sins everyday. But such an interpretation is deeply flawed. Yet many Christians think, believe, and act in this erroneous way.
Is it then possible for you to receive the complete remission of sins if you believe in Jesus according to how most Christians believe? If you were to try to be washed from all the daily sins that you commit by offering your own prayers of repentance everyday, would you be able to reach your salvation? No, of course not! This is akin to a rich man trying to enter the Kingdome of Heaven. As the Lord said, it’s more difficult for such a person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of needle. Just as non-Christians commit sin constantly, all Christians also commit sin day after day, and for them to try to be washed from their daily sins by offering their own prayers of repentance is akin to a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle. Countless Christians nowadays are trying to be washed from their sins by observing every Word of God, but can anyone really be saved from all his sins in this way? No, no one can reach salvation in this way. Does this then mean that salvation is beyond the reach of everyone? No, this is not necessarily the case, either, for the Lord said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Put differently, while no one can reach salvation by relying on his or hers own efforts, everyone can be saved by relying on God.
 
  
How Has God Blotted Out All Our Sins?
 
As we all know very well, God has blotted out all our sins once and for all with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Even though all human beings are born as a brood of evildoers and commit sin until the day they die, our Lord lacked nothing to become our Savior, for He bore all their sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist, carried each and every sin of the world to the Cross, was condemned for all those sins by being crucified to death, and rose from the dead again. As our Lord blotted out all our sins with the water and the blood like this when He came to this earth and became our Savior, we could reach our salvation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel of Truth through which God has delivered us perfectly. This is the true gospel that Jesus had in mind when He said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Today, countless Christians say that they have been saved by offering their own prayers of repentance after believing in the blood of the Cross alone. But how are such Christians any different from the young man in today’s Scripture passage? This man had come to the Lord and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16). Today’s Christians are no different from this young man in that they are also trying to obtain everlasting life through their own good works. But could these misguided Christians really enter the Kingdom of Heaven by professing to believe in Jesus and observing God’s Law? Is it possible for anyone to enter the Kingdom of God just by believing in Jesus’ blood on the Cross and doing virtuous things? Is it feasible for anyone to be saved from their sins by believing in the blood of the Cross alone? Is shedding His blood on the Cross the only thing that Jesus did on this earth to save us from all our sins, without being baptized by John the Baptist? No, it’s because the Lord bore all the sins of the human race by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River that He could die on the Cross in our place. Without bearing all our sins by being baptized, the Lord could have neither borne all our sins nor blotted them out just by shedding His blood on the Cross.
The young man here in today’s Scripture reading claimed to have kept all the commandments of God. The Lord then told him that if he wanted to be perfect, he ought to sell all his possessions, give them away, and then follow the Lord. Do we then have to live according to the Word of God if we want to be saved perfectly? Is salvation reached only if we literally sell all our possessions and follow the Lord? Is anyone who can’t do this a sinner?
Many people actually think so. Such people are often found among Catholics. For instance, Catholic monks often sell all their belongings and give them away to the poor before they go into a monastery. But can we really receive the remission of sins through our own piety even if we were to dedicate all our lives to God? No, it’s impossible for anyone to receive the remission of sins by relying on one’s own piety.
Tragically, however, most Christians are leading their lives of faith in precisely such a way. Their faith is the same as that of the young man in today’s Scripture passage, wondering, “What good shall I do to have eternal life?” But can anyone be saved by God just by living virtuously? Can anyone be completely washed clean from all sins just by offering prayers of repentance? No, of course not!
Then by what faith can you be washed from the sins that you commit after believing in Jesus? Only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can you obtain the washing away of all your sins. The problem for today’s Christians is that most of them believe that Jesus would wash away their sins if they believe in His precious blood on the Cross, and they add their own works on top of this.
However, you must realize here that if you try to add something on top of God’s perfect salvation, this only means your destruction. Genesis chapter 40 provides such an example. The chief butler and the chief baker of the king of Egypt offended their king Pharaoh, and were imprisoned in the same prison where Joseph was confined. And one day, they each had a dream and asked Joseph to interpret their dream. In the chief butler’s dream, he saw a vine with three branches full ripe grapes; Then Pharaoh’s cup was in his hand; and he took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. Joseph’s interpretation on this dream was that within three days Pharaoh will lift up his head and restore him to his old office. This implies that when we go before God with the pure Word of God, that is, the Word of the gospel of the water and the blood, and the Spirit, we will be blessed with eternal life.
Seeing that the interpretation was good, the chief baker also asked Joseph to interpret his dream. In his dream he saw three white baskets on his head with all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, and he also saw that the birds ate them out of the basket on his head. When Joseph heard this dream, he prophesied to the chief baker that he would be killed and hung on a tree in three days. Why was the baker killed like this? He was killed because he tried to bring something of his own making upon the pure white bread. This implies that whoever tries to add something to God’s perfect salvation will be put to death. We must know that those three white baskets denote the water, the blood, and the Spirit, which constitute God’s perfect salvation.
If we were to make up our own salvation according to our own thoughts, and believe in ourselves that we have been saved from all our sins, would we really reach salvation? Could we be saved by believing in Jesus’ blood on the Cross alone? No, this is not possible. After all, did the Lord not say in 1 John 5:6-8 that He has washed away all our sins with the water, the blood, and the Spirit? Just relying on man-made doctrines instead of having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit means practicing lawlessness. If you still believe that you can be forgiven from your sins by offering prayers of repentance, then you ought to pay attention to what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
 
 
Those Who Practice Lawlessness
 
Jesus said here in today’s Scripture passage that the rich cannot enter the Kingdom of God. What does this really mean? It means that no one can reach salvation by relying on his or hers own human efforts. Put differently, you can never wash away all your personal sins just by offering your own prayers of repentance. If God had established such a simple formula for human beings to wash away their personal sins by offering prayers of repentance, then you should indeed offer prayers of repentance every time you commit sin. But God never spoke of such a formula. He never said that you could wash away your sins by offering your own prayers of repentance. If this is how you think, it can only mean that you’ve come to accept a completely groundless notion. Think about how many sins you commit in a month or even a day, and then think about how often you offer prayers of repentance. Your sins outnumber your prayers of repentance by a mile. It’s simply impossible for you to offer prayers of repentance each time you commit sin.
What about your virtues then? You may think that you have to do virtuous things to receive everlasting life, but how virtuous can you really be before God? Even if you have done volunteer works at a refugee camp in one of the many troubled parts of the world, does this make you truly virtuous? Our Lord told us to sell everything we have, give it all away, and then follow the Lord empty-handed. Can you then sell all your belongings? Can you sell your house and everything you own, give them all away, and then follow the Lord? After all, this is what the Lord said to us, commanding us to deny ourselves and follow Him.
No one can ever enter the Kingdom of Heaven by relying on his own efforts. Human beings are a brood of evildoers and for them to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, there must be a Savior. This Savior is none other than Jesus Christ. To blot out all your sins and mine, Jesus Christ came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man and bore all the sins of the entire human race by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. He was then crucified to be condemned for our sins, rose from the dead again, and has thereby become our Savior. It’s because God Himself has saved us in this way that we have reached our salvation by believing in what this God has done for us. No matter how ardently today’s Christians believe in the blood of the Cross, and no matter how many prayers of repentance they offer, they can never be saved from all their sins by relying on their own human efforts or strength. They can never be delivered from their sins in this way. Jesus Christ, the Savior of all humanity, is the one and only true Savior for you and me.
Unless we believe in the baptism that Jesus received on this earth and the blood He shed on the Cross, unless we believe in the righteous work that God has done for us, and unless we believe in the salvation that God has fulfilled out of His love for us, none of us can ever be saved from any of our sins. Without faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, no one can enter the Kingdom of God. This is why Jesus said that while with men salvation is impossible to reach; with God all things are possible. It’s precisely like this because no one can reach salvation by relying on one’s own human efforts, but only God has personally saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God Himself has made us completely sinless once and for all.
However, the vast majority of today’s Christians, not to mention non-Christians, are the same as this rich young man described here in today’s Scripture passage. Even though the rich young man claimed to believe in the Lord God and to have lived piously according to God’s commandments, in Jesus’ sight he was actually a hypocrite. So this young man was still a sinner destined to hell. He was someone who desperately needed to realize God’s work of salvation.
When Jesus Christ came to this earth, He bore all our sins on His own body by being baptized by John the Baptist, the representative of the entire human race, so that He may perfect us. Having thus borne all the sins of the world on His body, He was then condemned for all these sins on the Cross. In this way, to make us perfect, the Lord has saved all of us who believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. This is the very love of salvation that God has shown us. This is the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord has saved us once and for all with the water, the blood, the Spirit. He has saved us not just with the water, but with the water and the blood (1 John 5:6). All of us must grasp the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in it wholeheartedly. We must believe in what God has done for us. We must believe that even though salvation is impossible with men, with God all things are possible; and we must believe that God has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only then can we be saved from all our sins.
To the Christians all over the world, I’d like to say the following: You can never be saved by relying on the legalistic faith that you now have. There is not a single person who can enter the Kingdom of Heaven in this way. So long as you keep clinging onto such a flawed faith, not even one of you can be freed from all sins. No pastor, regardless of how famous he might be, can enter the Kingdom of Heaven in this way. It is through the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has saved us, not just with His blood on the Cross. No matter how virtuously you might lead your life, your own virtuous works can never save you from all your sins. Nor can you be saved from your sins by relying on the blood of the Cross alone. Rather, you can reach your true salvation only if you believe in the love of God, trusting that God has saved you through both the water and the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, only those who believe that salvation is reached through the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross have no sin.
You and I now have the true bread of life with us. Just as the Lord said, it is absolutely true that while salvation is impossible with men, with God all things are possible. It is God Himself who has saved us. Whereas we could never obtain the remission of sins through our own efforts, the Lord has given it to us and saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Thanks to this love of God and the Truth of His salvation, we have become perfect in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Trusting in this gospel of the water and the Spirit, we give all our thanks to God.
Halleluiah!