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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

“Only Speak a Word”


< Matthew 8:5-10 >

“Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’”

   

Whenever the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit gather together, everyday is a celebration for us. When we think about how God has blotted out our sins and ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit once again, we are all laughing in joy.

As the centurion in today’s scripture passage confessed his strong faith in Jesus, saying, “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed,” there are people of faith in the Bible who also believed only in the Word of God and followed the Lord. Blessed are those who have the true faith in the Word of God. And the faith of this centurion is the same faith of those in our age who believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.

The centurion took pity on one of his servants who fell ill, and he came looking for Jesus and asked Him to heal the servant. And Jesus answered his request. When we examine this passage from the Bible, we can realize that the centurion’s mind-set was one that believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and God Himself as well. We can see that he believed in Jesus to be the very God who brought the dead alive and created the universe with His Word. We can witness here just how great the centurion’s faith was.

The centurion said to Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” Why did he say this? The centurion said this not because he was afraid of Jesus coming to his house, but because he believed in the greatness of God, His holiness, and His omnipotence. If everyone had this mind-set that is ready to revere God and honor Him, he would have received the same blessings from God that the centurion was given. What are these God-given blessings? They are the blessing of the remission of sin and that of faith to live on this earth for the righteous work of God. And all these come from our faith in the Word. This was the faith of the centurion. Though we may have nothing to show before God, if we only have faith in His Word, then the blessings of faith will come to us in abundance, just like what happened to this centurion.

The passage about this centurion speaks to all of us that faith in God’s Word is the authentic faith before God, and that God is pleased with such a faith. This faith comes when we believe in God, who does everything and fulfills everything just with His Word. In other words, the Word of God is the only basis of our whole faith. If we know the Word of God and have faith in this Word, then we will all receive amazing blessings in our lives, just as the centurion did.

That the centurion had such faith was a great blessing in itself. Those who revere God also know the power of His Word, and by believing in this Word of God, they can also be saved from all their sins and receive eternal life. It is by His Word that we are saved from the sins of the world, receive the remission of our sins and eternal life, and follow the righteousness of God in faith. This faith in the Word of God brings a wonderful and blessed life to every one of us without fail.

Our Lord said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). We may not know the entire Word of God in all its profundity, but if we believe in this written Word of God, the Word then works in our hearts tangibly and concretely, transforms our minds and souls, and guides us to know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that the souls that had once been bound to hell would now reach and enter Heaven instead.

If we do not have this faith in the Word of God, then it is completely futile for us to believe in Jesus as our Savior. This kind of faith is no more than believing in Jesus based to one’s own thoughts, something that can only constitute a self-made religion that one practices on his own accord. But unlike this kind of faith, the faith of the centurion was one that believed God’s Word.

The centurion’s faith was like that of Abraham. Our fathers of faith all believed in the Word that God spoke. Abraham followed the Word of God, and Isaac had the same faith that his father had. Abraham believed in God’s Word of promise as it was, that He would give the land of Canaan to his descendents, and he transferred this same Word of promise to his son Isaac. And to his descendants, God has indeed permitted this land that constitutes today’s Israel. By believing in the Word that God spoke, Abraham became the father of faith.

The most amazing work that God has done to us is that with His Word, He has turned sinners into the righteous. What Word of God, then, makes sinners righteous? How can sinners turn into the righteous? Do people receive the faith of power and become righteous just by attending church, giving fervent prayers, speaking in tongues, or believing in the miraculous power to heal illnesses? When people say that they recognize Jesus as the Savior, is this the same as receiving Him? One cannot believe in the Word of God based on their own emotions, their own devotion, or their own thoughts.

One comes to have faith in the Word of God only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that Jesus Christ the Son of God came to this earth to save sinners, was baptized by John and shed His blood, and has thereby delivered them from all their sins. Yet despite this, we see many people who claim that they have become God’s children by their prayers and supplications to Him out loud with all their sincerity in repenting from their sins with their tears. We often see that among the Christians who have been attending church for quite some time, those who shed tears when praying to God are somehow approved as God’s true believers, even as they show no interest in the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit. In this age and time, Christianity has become corrupted into a mere religion of the world that purports to protect all believers with it doctrines.



Today’s Christianity Has the Kind of Faith That Has No Correct Answer

Today’s Christianity is drifting away in a wrong current. The sad reality is that many Christians are now following the mistaken faith of the charismatic movement, mysticism, and materialism. Such pagan beliefs have now become rampant in Christian communities. These Christians may all find some comfort and satisfaction for their minds when they are inside such religious communities, but when they return to their homes and societies, they cannot avoid but to return to their old, unbelieving selves and continue to live empty and confused lives, for the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are still missing from their hearts. Although they claim to believe in Jesus, they do not know the authentic gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore they have not received the remission of their sins into their hearts. As a consequence, neither have they received the Holy Spirit nor do they believe in the Word of God, and this is why they cannot outgrow their old selves.

To believe in God is none other than to believe in His Word. Jesus said that the faith of the centurion who believed in the Word of God was great. Those who do not believe in the Word of God cannot understand the faith of those who believe in God’s Word and follow it. In particular, people who follow the charismatic movement claim that those who cannot speak in tongues have not received the Holy Spirit, saying, “What is the evidence that indicates one has received the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to become God’s children? What is the proof of salvation? None other than to speak in heavenly tongues is the proof of being born again and having received the Holy Spirit.” But this is not true at all.

Such people make a huge commotion wherever they pray. But statistically speaking, it is said that over 99 percent of such people are simply uttering pure nonsense. In other words, their weird behaviors are surely from Satan, not from God. What makes this even more troubling and tragic is that these people are sure that they have received the Holy Spirit, and that they are exerting such satanic confusion in the name of the Holy Spirit.

It is by receiving the remission of sin through one’s faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that one receives the Holy Spirit, as the proof of this remission of sin. Speaking in tongues is not a basic gift that everyone who has received the Holy Spirit can exert. It means no more than speaking in different regional languages (Acts 2:8). During the Apostolic age, the disciples of Jesus spoke in tongues to bear witness to the gospel (Acts 2:11), and to have a very close and personal fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 14:2). But in this age and time when the Scriptures have already been compiled, there is no longer any special need for us to speak these different regional languages (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Therefore, even those who do not speak in tongues have now been enabled to speak the truth of salvation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

When today’s Christians speak in tongues, this does not mean that they have received the remission, nor does it mean that they have become God’s children. Speaking in tongues and seeing visions do not mean that one is born again, nor does having the spiritual gift of healing mean that one has faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. In short, such people are holding onto these mystical signs as their salvation because they have no idea how they can be born again.

These are what Satan gives to the sinful. Mystical faith can last only a few years at most. Once they lose their so-called ‘power,’ they make every effort to recover it. So, they look all around for so-called ‘men of power’ to receive the laying on of their hands. But because their faith is all in vain, they ultimately end up becoming Satan’s servants. The fact that they are pursuing such signs and miracles is the proof that they have no faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit in their hearts.

There is a huge difference between the faith of those who believe in visions and supernatural powers and that of those who believe in and follow the Word of God. Compared to the faith of the centurion, the faith of today’s misled Christians who seek after miracles cannot even reach the sole of his feet. Their faith is entirely different from the centurion’s faith that believed in and followed the Word of God.

The faith of the centurion was one that simply said, “Only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” His faith, in other words, was one that believed in the Word of God—that is, in what Jesus Christ said to us. This indicates that faith in God’s Word is the true faith. To believe that everything will be fulfilled exactly according to the Word of Jesus, no matter what He might have said to us, is the true faith. The faith that wholly believes in the Word of God, in other words, is the faith of the centurion.

We, who have faith in the Word of God and thus have received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do not fall into this kind of faith that seeks after signs. Above all, this kind of faith is not compatible with our faith, for we are of an entirely different seed from those who are seeking after miracles. Therefore we cannot work with such people to spread God’s gospel. The faith of the centurion is the same as our faith, which believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we live our lives led by the Word of God, then we come to live the lives of the prophets that went before us. The Holy Spirit worked in these prophets’ lives, and He is equally working in our lives also.

I can only thank God when I think about just how He has given us such a great grace of salvation through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and how He has enabled us, unlike those who are following signs and miracles, to believe in His Word and follow it. That our faith is true, and that we have become righteous, are only because we believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God. Whoever denies his own thoughts, humbly listens to what His Word says to him, and believes in the true gospel Word of God, can indeed turn into a righteous person. This is the power of God, and this is the power of the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. By believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, we can all become God’s own children, enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and live beautiful, happy, and blessed lives.

We, the true believers also say to the Lord, “Only speak a word.” Because our Lord has spoken the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit to us, the remission of all our sins has been fulfilled with the Word of God, for this is the very truth of the water and the Spirit.

Seeing the faith of the centurion who believed in His Word, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” There is nothing that a paralyzed person can do on his own. Nor can a spiritually paralyzed person make his sins disappear by his own will or prayers. This is why God spoke about the faith that enables one to receive the perfect remission of sin only by the Word of God.

We have received the gift of the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in His written Word. For all people, their sins can be washed away only by believing in the Word of God. It is because the centurion believed in the Word of Jesus that he said to Him, “Only speak a word, and my servant will be healed,” and it is because of this that Jesus approved his faith.

No effort of our own can ever blot out all our sins. Only by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit written in the Word of God can we be washed from them. It is only by believing in this Word of God, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that we can be saved from all our sins. Anything else cannot lead us to salvation from all our sins. We can never receive the remission of sin and be born again apart from the written Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The salvation that is received in dreams or visions is not salvation at all.

However, there are still many Christians who are becoming even greater sinners after believing in Jesus. Is it natural that a believer in Jesus should become more sinful as time passes by? The Bible states that the Lord had purged our sins with the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Then, what is the Word of His power? It is none other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, those who ignore the Word of His power cannot but remain as sinful Christians no matter how earnestly they believe in Jesus. As all that Jesus has done for us is written in the Word of God in detail, it is by believing in this Word of God that we can become righteous, and it is by this faith in God’s Word that the righteous can live under God’s blessings.

For those who do not believe in the truth of the remission of sin contained in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, any and all of their experiences are simply false. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life for all genuine believers. No matter how ardently one may give his prayers of repentance during worship services, if he leaves out the Word of His power, then his sins just cannot be washed away. It is not by the prayers of repentance that one can receive the remission of his sins and enter Heaven, for our own devotion, efforts, and works cannot blot out any of our sins. Any faith that is not based on the Word of God belongs to Satan. No doctrine that came out from the thoughts of man, not the Word of God, can ever wash away our sins. Without faith in the Word of God, no soul can be saved from his sins, no matter how he might have the power to drive away demons, or even if he is martyred. The remission of sin that we receive on our own based on our own thoughts is all bound to change, for it is not based on the true faith.

The Bible also states that we cannot be born again of blood, or of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man (John 1:13). Some people boast of the rich tradition of their faith by saying, “I have believed in Jesus since when I was in my mother’s womb.” Some others would say, “My family has believed in Jesus for 5 generations.” Can these people be born again by such sense of superiority? No, these people cannot become God’s own people.

The Lord tells us that He will test such people’s faith, and cast them away for their lawlessness. Their pride per se might not be the problem here, if they believe according to the Word of God. Rather, it is because they believe in Jesus according to their own thoughts instead of His Word of Truth that God said that He will cast them out into darkness, saying, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23) What is meant by “lawlessness” here? It refers to the lawless acts of those who claim to believe in Jesus as their Savior and to exercise all God’s powers even as they do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit.

God’s Church is the gathering of those who have been born again of the water and the Spirit. In other words, It is the gathering of the sinless, who are called to be the saints of God (1 Corinthians 1:2). The place that enables people to put down their own thoughts, believe in the Word of God, and receive the remission of sin, is God’s Church. Going to church does not mean going to the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet there are people who say that because they believe in Jesus and are members of the so-called ‘orthodox’ church, they will all go to the Kingdom of God even if they still have sin. Those who take pride in such so-called orthodox denominations of this world identify themselves boldly as the redeemed sinners.

Everyone claims that his denomination is orthodox. But did God say that He would take to Heaven anyone who just professes to believe in Him even if there is no authentic faith in his heart? Nowhere in the Bible is this written. You might as well look for yourselves and see if there is any such suggestion written in the Scriptures. You will surely discover that nowhere is this written.

Before God, saints are those who are sinless; that is, those who have become righteous. People who boast about the orthodoxy of their denominations say, “We are sinners, but because we believe in Jesus, God considers us as righteous. So this is why we believe. Believing in Jesus does not mean we are sinless. How can we say that we are sinless, when in fact we commit sins everyday? But because we believe in Jesus as our Savior, God considers us to be sinless. This does not mean that we have been saved because we are sinless. Though we still have sin even after believing in Jesus, thanks to our faith in Jesus, we have been called as God’s children, and we can therefore enter His Kingdom.”

Those who have this kind of faith only believe in their own thoughts; what they have is not the salvation that is received by believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. As such, all that they are doing to God is merely confessing their unrequited love for Him. Such people have not been saved from their sins. Those who have not been saved from their sins testify themselves that their hearts still have sin. This is the proof of the fact that they are sinners. Though they believe in Jesus as their Savior, anyone who has sin written in the tablet of his heart is bound to hell.

Having blotted out all the sins of this world with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Jesus told us to receive the remission of our sins by believing in this true gospel. God is pleased with those who have been freed from their sins and become righteous by believing in Jesus as their Savior. This is why God has prepared Heaven for these righteous people. But the religionists who have not become righteous cannot please God. They confess, “Lord, I believe that you took away all my sins. But please wash me from my personal sins that I continue to commit everyday. Please forgive these sins.” If this is what your faith is like, then you are someone who does not know God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit, nor believe in it, someone who is actually committing the sin of turning God into a liar.



Christians throughout the World Must Kneel before the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit

There are people who accuse the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit as being heretics. Of course, the faith of the sinless may seem to be rather strange in their biased eyes. But according to the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit, it is they who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and whose hearts therefore still remain sinful, that are heretics who will ultimately perish. Heretics are none other than those who are warped and sinning, being self-condemned before God (Titus 3:11). Those Christians who say that they still have sin before God are actually committing sin before Him. If you still have not received the remission of sin owing to your ignorance of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then repent now and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is never too late. True repentance means turning back from the wrong way and having faith in the truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Those who condemn themselves even as they believe in Jesus are the very heretics. There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1). We must reach the proper understanding of this truth by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who have sin before God cannot lead other sinful souls to the Word of God, and all that they can bear are just sinners who believe in vain according to their man-made thoughts.

But those who have received the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can help others who still remain sinful become without sin by the written Word of God, for it is by faith that they have received the remission of their sins. Therefore, those who meet the righteous who have been remitted from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, can hear the Word of being born again from them, come to believe in Jesus, and be also turned into the righteous.

Those who have become righteous by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are not heretics, but they are true believers. They are the blessed who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The most blessed way to the born-again is to follow and unite with the leaders of God’s Church, and to preach the true gospel of the water and the Spirit to all the sinners of the world. Christians who still remain as sinners should come before the righteous who have received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and they should accuse us openly that the righteous are heretics. For them to throw such accusations behind our backs is only foolish and cowardly.

What kind of faith is the right faith? The centurion was a Gentile, but he believed in the Word of God as it was. Because he thus believed in this Word of Jesus, his faith was approved. But those who boasted of their orthodoxy, that they were the true followers of Judaism, were all abandoned. The Pharisees were sinners, for they failed to recognize Jesus properly as the Savior.

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Faith in the Word of God leads us to the faith that saves us from all our sins, and it is by believing in all the Word of God that our lives are blessed. True faith is to believe in the Word of God and to obey it. And to such true believers, the Word of God is fulfilled as they believe. It was because the centurion had this faith that God said that his faith was great.

God has given us this faith with the grace of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And we also have personally experienced that the Word of God was fulfilled according to the written Word. Yet it saddens us when we see that few people have this kind of faith that centurion had. They must believe in the God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit. When they believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, then they will be healed all at once from their spiritual leprosy according to this faith. The faith that is most approved by God is none other than the faith that believes in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that He spoke, as it is.

The faith that believes in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that has made us sinless is the faith of the centurion that God approved. To the righteous who believe in His Word, God has given the blessings of the remission of sin, and of becoming His own children, and I thank the Lord for this. Having become sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have now been qualified to do the righteous works for the sake of others. Just as our Lord says that the righteous shall live only by faith, let us forever believe in Him in our lives.

May the Lord lead you also. Amen. Hallelujah!

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