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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

What Kind of Sin Must
We Not Commit before God?

 

< 1 John 3:9-16 >

“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”



To Whom Was the Passage from 1 John 3:9, “Whoever Has Been Born of God Does Not Sin,” Spoken?


What kind of sin do those who are
born of God not commit?
They do not commit the sin of not believing that
Jesus Christ took upon the sins of the world
by being baptized and shedding
His blood for them.

In today’s Scripture passage, 1 John 3:9 says, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin.” First of all, we need to realize here that this passage is spoken to the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Apostle John, in other words, said this to those who believe in the divinity of Jesus our God and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, and those who do not believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, are all turning themselves into God’s enemies. We need to realize that their faith is fruitless and all futile.

Even among today’s Christians throughout the world, there are many who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, that He is God Himself; the world is filled with such nominal Christians. All of them therefore believe in their own thoughts more than in the Word of God, having fallen into the religious world of their own making. Buried in their own thoughts, they are living without the God-given gospel Truth. Their thoughts of the flesh cannot tolerate God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit, thus turning their lives endlessly miserable. Ultimately, they are living their lives as the enemies of God.

The religions of this world may seem attractive outwardly, but the reality is far different. Having fallen in their own religious contradictions, people are all dying, both in body and spirit. The religionists of this world have lost much because of the very man-made religions that they believe in. The high walls of the prisons of their religions have rendered them incapable of meeting the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, and of believing in it.

The worldly religions often make useless and groundless claims. When God says in His Word that human beings are fundamentally incapable of living virtuously (Mark 7:21-23), we see that the religionists, far from adhering to this teaching, instead exhort such people to live even more virtuously. They believe and preach that to do virtuous deeds is the purpose of every Christian life.

In contrast, the real truth of Christianity teaches that our purpose as Christians is to believe in Jesus Christ, who has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby be freed from all our sins, become God’s own children, and receive eternal life. It is my hope and prayer that countless people would come to believe in the divinity of Jesus and the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby become God’s own people.

There are far too many Christians who actually belong to the religions of the world. They try very hard to pile their merits upon their hypocrisy. So such people find it rather easy to make groundless claims to those who are ignorant of the real truth. They say, “Think about the death Jesus who was crucified! Jesus shed His blood and died on the Cross for you. How could you then, having now been inspired and blessed so much, not serve Jesus Christ with your material possessions?” Many Christians, hearing such words, then try to show their devotion with their material possessions.

Such people are emotionally driven people who do not know the real Truth of salvation. But does God accept their emotionally driven faith as the right faith? No, He does not accept this kind of faith. Why? Because God cannot accept those who still remain sinful as His own children.

Today, there are many Christians who, though they believe in Jesus as their Savior, know only half the gospel, and therefore their faith is placed in Jesus Christ only in vain. We often see that such religionists, putting on sheepskin only to hunt down God’s innocent flock, are teaching useless fallacies. It is deeply disturbing that countless naďve souls are being preyed upon by such predators. Here is the reason why all of us must proclaim the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world. This is why we must realize the meaning of the passage that says, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phillipians 3:18). The transgression that makes us God’s enemies is the sin of not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, we must all move away from this placement that turns us into God’s enemies.

The Apostle John is once again admonishing the flocks that have lost their way from their ignorance of the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit: For those who do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, there can be neither the remission of their sins, nor the blessings of eternal life; and to them, only eternal curse and destruction awaits. If we do not believe in the Savior of love who came to us by the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit, we will never again see the Lord for eternity.



Who Then Belongs to God?


Who belongs to God?
They are the ones who believe that Jesus is God
and the Son of God, and that He is the Savior
who came by the gospel of the water
and the Spirit.

The Apostle John said in 1 John 3:10, “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” For those who have become God’s people by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is only instinctive to love their brothers and sisters. Therefore, those who do not love the people of God who have become their own brethren in the Lord do not actually believe in the divine Jesus Christ as their Savior, nor do they belong to God. They are only saying with their words that they believe in the divine Jesus Christ; in reality, they do not believe that Jesus Christ came to this world by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and has washed away our sins.

All those who really believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ can love other souls, but this is beyond the ability of those who do not believe in this true gospel. Someone who grew up with abundant love in his childhood knows how to love others. But someone who grew up without being loved does not know how to love others. When we have received true love from Jesus Christ through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, how could we not love our brothers and sisters? Those of us who have not accepted this love of Jesus Christ are not the people of God. Jesus Christ came to this earth by the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit (1 John 5:4-7).

Now, by believing in Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit as our Savior, we have all received the remission of sin into our hearts and become God’s own children. Jesus has enabled us to believe that He is the Son of God, and that He is the true Savior who came to us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because we have received the remission of our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can now love Jesus Christ as well as those who have become our brothers and sisters in the Lord.



There Are Times When Even the Righteous Do Not Love Jesus Christ. When Are Such Times?


These are the times when we, who have become righteous by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are gripped by our selfish desires such as the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, or the lust of the eyes. Such are the times when our hearts are not thankful for the love of God, for we are living with our hearts trapped in the lusts of the flesh for this world. It is because we love this world more than the Lord that we are rendered unable to love Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, nor to love other souls with all our hearts. So we need to realize here that the Apostle John is teaching us that if we love the things of the world, the love of the Father cannot dwell in our hearts.

What leads us to the world to fall into it is the lust of our flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The desires of the human flesh is manifested when we are attracted by the opposite sex or materials, and when we are led by our emotions and feelings rather than God’s Word. If in our greed we try to satisfy our desires that execeed the boundaries of what is permitted by God, we will end up committing a great sin against God: We will leave God and His Church, and eventually become His enemies just like Lot did. If our hearts have more love for this world than for the love of God, it will be a cause for us to lose the Lord’s love for us. If this happens, our souls will be bound by darkness.

We know very well that our desires alone do not make everything of this world ours. Since we may be prone to commit idolatry before God, we must keep our hearts by faith. Because we live our lives with the pride of life and the lust of the flesh, we are capable of drifting far away from God.

Therefore, placing our faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, we must arm ourselves once again with the love of our Lord. It is when we have this faith that believes in Jesus, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that we can truly love one another. All of us believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that Jesus Christ has given us. We believe that of the prophecies that Jesus Christ spoke to us, those that have not come true will all be also fulfilled without fail.

Those of us who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior will surely receive curses instead of blessings from God. Coming to us by the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, God has saved those of us who believe in this gospel from all our sins. So God does not want anyone to remain unable to be clothed in His love.



We Must Not Be Like Cain


Who is like Cain?
It is he who lives for his lust
even as he believes in the gospel
of the water and the Spirit.

Today’s Scripture passage also says, “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:11-14).

The words “his brother” in the passage, “He who does not love his brother abides in death,” simultaneously refers to Jesus Christ and the born-again saints. Those of us who do not love Jesus Christ as their true Savior and God will perish for their sins. They are either carnal Christians or anti-Christians.

Who are the ones who do not love Jesus Christ our God without change? They are the ones who do not wholeheartedly believe in this Lord Savior who has washed away all our sins once for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Such people’s hearts are fully heaped with their sins. They are therefore unable to move from death to life. Jesus has loved us so much that He has delivered us from all the sins of the world. If we really believe in Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit as our Savior, then He will surely give us the true remission of our sins.

However, those who do not love God are those who do not believe in the baptism of Jesus Christ and His bloodshed on the Cross. The Apostle John is telling us now that those who do not love Jesus Christ are God’s enemies. And he also told us that it is possible for such people, who have turned into Jesus Christ’s enemies, to mingle with the true saints in God’s Church.

It is beyond any doubt that Jesus has saved us perfectly from all our sins with “the gospel of the water, the blood, and the Spirit.” While we sin at all times, our Lord has clearly blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore He is our Savior. We cannot avoid but believe and confess that this Jesus Christ, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, is our Savior. Since this true gospel has delivered us from all our sins, we, too, love Jesus Christ. It is because we believe in God’s love and we truthfully love Him that we have become His true saints.

Jesus Christ is the Creator, the King of kings, and the true Savior for us. Because we believe in the love of Jesus Christ and the gospel of the water and the Spirit that He has given us, our hearts are filled with joy. We are even more joyful when the will of the Lord is fulfilled one by one. We are not exalting the status of Jesus Christ arbitrarily, all on our own. We just want to believe Him as He is and as He has done. After realizing and believing that Jesus Christ our God is the Savior, there is nothing better for us to do but to continue to live for His glory. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we give our thanks to God and glorify His name. He is our true Savior and the King of kings.



We Must Not Commit Spiritual Murder


1 John 3:15 says, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

Whoever hates his brother is a spiritual murderer. He who hates Jesus Christ is God’s own enemy. If we do not believe that Jesus Christ has saved us from all our sins, and if we instead reject all His love, we will end up as God’s enemies. The enemies of God are the ones who reject the love of Jesus Christ and of God, and who do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. For us to reject the love of God is to commit the sin that would merit us to be treated as someone who stands against God.

It is written, “You know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” There is no one among us who can be saved without believing in the gospel works of the water and the Spirit that Jesus has fulfilled for us. Jesus Christ is the true God for us, and He is the true Savior who has saved us from the sins of the world. Jesus Christ is the God who has saved us perfectly by being baptized by John the Baptist, shedding His blood on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. Even though Jesus Christ was fundamentally God Himself, to save us from our sins and our destruction, He came to this earth by lowering Himself, and fulfilled all the righteousness of God through His baptism and crucifixion by suffering persecution and contempt.

How could we then not love Him? We absolutely cannot do this to Him! If we indeed recognize this Jesus Christ who took upon our sins with His baptism as our own Savior, then we cannot reject His love.

Even if the end times come in our lifetime, when we are handed over the Antichrist and suffer all tribulations, we will gladly lay down our life for Jesus Christ, for we will never be able to depart from our faith, that He is our Savior. Because Jesus Christ loves us, we, too, can be martyred for Him by faith. It is not because you and I are physically strong or have a strong will that we can do this, but it is because we all love Him that much. It is because we cannot deny that Jesus Christ is our King and our God. It is because we love the Lord that we show this love to suffer our own death of the flesh.

We believe in the love of Jesus Christ because we cannot reject it. What the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ compels us,” is none other than this love. Just as Paul testified, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35), no one can separate any of us from our faith in Jesus Christ and from His love toward us. Because our Lord has thus loved us with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, we cannot help but confess that we love Him also and practice this love. For Jesus Christ, we can bear any and all tribulations in joy.


Who is a murderer?
The Bible says that whoever hates
Jesus Christ or the brethren in
Him is a murderer
(1 John 3:15).

For us to hate our brothers and sisters who have received the remission of sin is to commit spiritual murder. We, who have really received the remission of sin into our hearts by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, cannot hate anyone in Christ no matter how insufficient or foolish he might be. If you and I, as the born-again who have received the remission of sin and serve the gospel in God’s Church, still harbor hatred in our hearts against one another, then we are clearly committing grave mistakes before God. If the righteous harbor hateful hearts against their fellow saints, then such people are committing the sin of murder before God, and they should first examine themselves to see whether or not the Holy Spirit is really in them. The believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit cannot help but understand each other and love one another.

This is not because we have generous hearts, but because there is the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts. This is how we the righteous are more than capable of loving one another. If we have wronged each other, the means of settling the trouble is already prepared in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because we have been saved from all our sins by believing in Jesus Christ, and because we love Him, we the believers can love one another.

Our Lord said to us, “A tree is known by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). It is true that there are times when we are bound by the lusts of our flesh in our lives. But I want all of us to realize that God is pleased when we practice His righteousness in our lives. The Lord said, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

He is admonishing us that if we really believe that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us and has given us new life, then it is only proper for us to also lay down our life for the righteousness of God. This is how the Apostle John reaches the conclusion of the love of God: He is telling us that it is only fitting for the righteous who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to live for the spreading of this gospel.

Having met our basic needs for food and housing, it is only proper for us to then devote all our remaining time to live for the Lord, for the salvation of other souls, and for our brothers and sisters. It is only natural and most fitting for all of us to live for the gospel of the water and the Spirit. For us to serve the Lord is not something that is coerced out of us. While it is only proper for the righteous to live for the Lord, and this is a calling and a duty that they must all fulfill, when they indeed practice the righteousness of God, the Holy Spirit rejoices in their hearts.

The Apostle John is telling us several things about those who do not love Jesus Christ. He is telling you that those of you who do not love Jesus Christ and do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are murderers before God, and that such people, to put it more bluntly, belong to the Devil. If there is anyone in God’s Church who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he is a liar before God. But whoever believes wholeheartedly that Jesus Christ came to this earth, took upon the sins of the world by being baptized, and bore all the condemnation of sin by being crucified, can receive the full remission of sin. Whoever has received the love of Truth from God can love Him and practice the righteousness of God.


Who loves Jesus Christ?
It is those who wholeheartedly believe that Jesus
Christ came to this earth by the gospel
of the water and the Spirit.

That Jesus Christ is so lovely for you and I, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, is because He has become our propitiation by being baptized by John and shedding His blood for us. But for those who do not wholeheartedly believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, their lives of faith are bound to drift away from Jesus as time passes by. This is how they end up being separated from the love of Jesus Christ. Many Christians profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior at the beginning, and they say that they are willing to lay down their life for Him, but as time goes by, their love for Jesus cools down, and they eventually end up drifting away from Him. This is because they do not believe in the Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

The righteous who believe in the divine Jesus Christ can never drift away from Him. Rather, the more time we the righteous spend living in the love of Jesus Christ, the more we do the works of the Lord. For us not to recognize Jesus as our God and our Savior is to stand against God. The righteous who believe in this Jesus Christ the true God as their Savior cannot commit the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. But those do not believe in Jesus Christ as their true Savior cannot love Him.

Like this, there are such extreme differences between the believers and the unbelievers that they are essentially standing at the opposite ends from the beginning. We the righteous cannot help but love Jesus, but in contrast, those who do not believe in this Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit are fundamentally incapable of loving Him. So the wheat and the chaffs, the believers and the unbelievers, are clearly separated.

Even among Christians, there are those who have made Jesus Christ their enemies. They are the ones who do not love the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Some may stand againt God by claiming that the Apostle Paul only mentioned “the message of the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18)” as our salvation.

Do you know what “the message of the Cross” is? You have to know that Paul was emphacizing the final stage of Jesus’ righteous act for the salvation of all humanity in this passage. Therefore, “the message of the Cross” is the very gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that we now believe. For you and me, Jesus Christ was baptized, bore all the condemnation of our sins by shedding His precious blood on the Cross, and has thereby become our Savior—this is “the very message of the Cross.”

When the Truth tells us that Jesus our God took upon the sins of mankind once for all by being baptized by John, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby saved us from all our sins, where is the reason for us not to believe in this Truth? We, too, had not known the love of Jesus Christ our true God, but as the Truth revealed to us that Jesus accepted all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, we finally came to know and believe in this.

If you had believed in your hearts that only the blood that Jesus shed on the Cross is your salvation, then the Jesus whom you had known before was a misunderstood Jesus. If you still do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and as a result still believe only in the blood of the Cross, you must now turn around and believe in the Truth. You should now put down the foolishness of professing to believe in Jesus Christ and yet believing only in His bloodshed on the Cross as your salvation, and accept the Truth that Jesus took upon all the sins of the world once for all by being baptized in the Jordan River.

Yet, many people still remain ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore they still believe only in the blood of the Cross. So they say, “The gospel of the water and the Spirit is not the Truth.” When Jesus Himself, who loves them, is telling them that He has washed away all their sins by being baptized by John the Baptist for them, they still believe only in the precious blood that Jesus shed on the Cross as their remission of sin—what could be more frustrating and tragic than this? The sad reality is that these people truly have confidence in their salvation relying only on such religious dogma. So how foolish is this?

You and I had also lived among such people. But now you believe in the baptism that Jesus received from John, and that He carried the sins of the world to the Cross and shed His precious blood as the condemnation of your sins, and have accepted this Truth into your hearts. You have thereby been remitted from all your sins and become the workers of the righteousness of God—what a breathtaking joy is this? We need to realize that because Jesus Christ shouldered all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, and because He shed His blood on the Cross, we have now been saved from all our sins by believing in these works as our own salvation with all our hearts.

There is no doubt that anyone who does not believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is someone who ultimately does not love Jesus. Because such people do not believe in Jesus as God, and because they also love themselves more than they love God, they have become His enemies. Since they love themselves more than they are pleased to love Jesus and follow Him, they do not believe in His love as it is.

God the Father loved you so much that He sent His own Son to this world, made Him receive baptism from John the Baptist and die on the Cross, and resurrected Him from His death. Yet there are still some people who do not believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit with their hearts, nor thank for it, and as a result stand against His love. The reality is that there are many such people even among those who profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior. They have overlooked the baptism of Jesus and just clinged to His blood on the Cross out of their own stubbornness. If we do not believe that Jesus Christ is God Himself, and if we do not love Him, who has saved us from our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we are clearly of those who stand against God.

If we really love Jesus, then there is no reason why we would not be able to believe that He who loves us took upon the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist for us, was crucified while shouldering these sins of the world, and has thereby saved us. If the Lord Himself is telling us that He has saved us from all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and bearing His suffering on the Cross for us, then we should believe in this just as He is telling us. We must believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and wholeheartedly say amen to what He is telling us, that He has saved us from the sins of the world.

When we are so insufficient, why not believe in Jesus Christ? When Jesus Christ Himself is telling us that He has still saved us from all our sins once for all with the gospel of the water, the blood, and the Spirit, there is no reason why we should not believe in this Truth with all our hearts. Because our Lord loves us, He has saved us from the sins of the world once for all, and He has made us God’s own children. Our Lord has given us His love, and promised us that we would enjoy everlasting splendor and glory. We believe in all the Word of the covenant that the Lord has promised us. We cannot help but believe in Jesus Christ as our true Savior and give all our thanks to God.

Who is it that loves us? Is it not the Triune God―the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Who abandoned the glory and splendor of Heaven, took upon the sins of this world by being baptized, was accursed by shedding His blood on the Cross, and has saved you from all your sins? Who loved you this much? If there were someone who loves us this deeply, we would live for him. If he tells us to kiss the ground, we would not hesitate to do so. What would we not do for him who loves so much us? There has been no other one who has become our propitiation, except Jesus Christ. When the love that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us is so great, how could we not love Him? Though our flesh may falter before God, our hearts still love the Lord.

In the Old Testament, when sacrifices were offered in the Tabernacle, the High Priest had to lay his hands on the sacrificial animal to pass his sins and the sins of his people. We know and believe that it was through this laying of the High Priest’s hands on the head of the sacrificial animal that his sins and the sins of his people were passed on. And we believe that because hands were laid on this sacrificial animal, it had to shed its blood.

As such, now in this age also, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior also believe in the laying on of hands and the bloodshed of the sacrifice in the Old Testament’s time as the Word of the remission of sin. The gospel Truth of water and the Spirit, with which Jesus Christ has saved us from the sins of the world, is forever unchanging.

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The First Epistle of John

All of us must never become God’s enemies by refusing to accept the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Instead, we must all love Jesus Christ consistantly. He who loves the gospel of the water and the Spirit unwaveringly is one who loves Jesus. If we do not love Jesus Christ, then we do not believe in Him.

When we believe in Him, let us first think about just how much Jesus Christ has loved us, and how He has blotted out our sins. You must all become such people who know Jesus Christ properly and love Him. I believe that when you continue to love the Lord, the day will come when you will enjoy all the splendors that He will give you.

Jesus Christ is the God of salvation for you and me. Our Lord is our Savior, the very God who has given us new life. By giving us the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this Lord has enabled us to receive the remission of our sins.

Placing my faith in the love of our Lord, I give all my thanks to Jesus Christ who has become our Savior.   Hallelujah!

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