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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Test the Spirits Whether They Are of God

 

< 1 John 4:1-6 >

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”



We Should Beware of False Prophets


The Lord is telling us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

A person is composed of three components: one’s spirit, flesh, and soul. The soul, which is in a person, is lacking among animals. That is why the Scripture tells us to test the spirits whether they are of God or Satan. We have to test whether someone’s spirit belongs to Jesus Christ or not by testing whether that person believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In order to do that, we have to also test whether that person truly acknowledges Jesus Christ as God.

Those spirits, which are not of God, do not accept the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts. As a result, they are ruled by evil spirits because they are not cleansed from their sins. That is, since they reject and do not believe in the Truth of the God given gospel of the water and the Spirit, they cannot be seen as spirits belonging to God.

Although it first appears that those whose spirits are ruled by the evil one do not dislike being cleansed of the sins in their hearts, they hate to be cleansed from their sins in actuality. They hate to be washed of all their sins because they reject to believe in the God given gospel of the water and the Spirit, although that would cleanse them of all of their sins. Unfortunately, this kind of people belongs to Satan the Devil. This kind of people still remains as Christian leaders, ministering to others.

1 John 4:2 tells us, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”

This Scripture passage describes a person belonging to God. That person believes in the Truth that Jesus Christ came to this world in the flesh of man, received the baptism from John the Baptist to take on Himself the sins of the world, and received judgments of sins in our place as He bled on the Cross. Jesus Christ is our Savior who came on this land in the flesh of man to blot out all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and the blood on the Cross. Those who believe in this gospel Truth belong to God.

In today’s Scripture passage, those who “are of God” are the ones who believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ has come to this world and delivered them from all the sins of this world through the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus Christ, He is the true Savior to all of us.

Therefore, “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” is the one who believes that Jesus Christ is God, that He, coming to this world in human flesh, took on Himself the sins of the world by receiving the baptism by John the Baptist, and that He bore the judgment of all our sins by shedding His blood on the Cross. As such, our true faith lies on believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Jesus, the eternal Savior of humanity, is the heavenly High Priest, King of kings, and the Prophet to come. Jesus Christ in His fullness of these three offices has delivered us from the sins of this world at once.

Jesus Christ had temporarily abandoned the glory of Heaven in order to complete the works of redeeming sinners from their sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord, once for all, transferred the sins of this world onto Himself by receiving the baptism by John the Baptist. And, giving away His body to be nailed on the Cross, He saved us from the sins of the world by receiving judgments for our sins.

In this way, He wholly saved those, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, from the sins of this world once and for all. Just as He said that, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ is the Savior, who gave us the Truth that leads us to the true remission of sins through the belief in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Hence, ‘to confess that Jesus Christ came to this land in flesh’ entails believing in our hearts the Truth that He has delivered us from all our sins by receiving the baptism by John the Baptist and by shedding his blood on the Cross. In short, everyone who is of God believes in the God given present of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. To all of us who believe in the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Jesus is the Son of God who came to this world as the true Savior. Jesus sufficiently satisfied the role of the eternal High Priest by offering His own body as the propitiation in front of God the Father, allowing us into heaven.

The Apostle John now proclaims Jesus Christ as the Savior who came to save us from the sins of this world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit (1 John 5:4-7). What I am asking is whether you believe in this Truth? Those, who belong to Jesus, believe in the Truth that testifies Jesus Christ, who descended into this world in human flesh, has saved the sinners from their sins by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist and bleeding vicariously on the Cross.



Those Who Don’t Confess That Jesus Christ Came in the Flesh to Save the Sinners from All Their Sins


They are the people who don’t believe that Jesus is the true God and the Son of God, and that He took on Himself the sins of the world by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist and by bleeding on the Cross. People, who doubt the divinity of Jesus Christ, do not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and, hence, they cannot be called to belong to God.

Dear fellow believers, there are many Christians around the world, who do not see Jesus’ baptism and blood as the Truth of salvation for the sinners. They live in doubts, questioning even now whether Jesus is truly the Son of God and whether He is truly God. Yet, Jesus is the Son of God. He is also fundamentally God. Thus, He is the Almighty God, cable of delivering all sinners from their sins. Jesus Christ is King of kings, who has established the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we have to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the Truth of salvation. Unless we do so, there is not a single body in this world that can attain salvation from one’s sinfulness.

Jesus is fundamentally the Creator God, who created the universe. The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” As Jesus, who in His essence is God, said, “Let there be light,” then there was light (Genesis 1:3). Consequently, the Bible records that, “the world was made through Him” (John 1:10). The world has come into existence through Jesus, who is God. Although Jesus is the Son of God, His divinity is essentially identical to the Father God. Jesus is also our Savior, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As an illustration, if your parents are humans, you are also humans by heritage. Similarly, because Jesus Christ’s Father was God, Jesus our Savior is also God.

Although Jesus Christ was the One and Only Son of God, He was scorned for a short while. However, God the Father in His intention to adopt us as His children and make more Sons of His, God sent His only begotten Son by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whoever believes in this true gospel also becomes a child of God.

John 1:10 states, “The world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” The pronoun “Him” is used as a reference to Jesus. The term “Him” signifies that the world was created through the One and Only Jesus Christ and no one else. That is, Jesus Christ created the world and the universe with His Word.

However, this awe-inspiring Being in obedience to His Father’s will came to this world in the human flesh as the Savior. Jesus Christ, He came to this world wearing human flesh in order to save humanity from its sins. He received the baptism by John the Baptist and, bearing the sins of this world, died on the cross bleeding to death. However, on the third day since His death, He resurrected from the dead, delivering all believers from the sins of this world.

Despite all this, there are those who believe in half the Truth, discrediting the saving merit that is composed of Jesus Christ’s baptism and His blood on the Cross. These people have to reconsider why Jesus Christ received the baptism from John the Baptist and believe in the real Truth. Only if they do so will God be satisfied. Right now, there are many Christians who still do not believe in the Savior, who grants us the salvation from the sins of this world through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Even in the Early Church period, there were pathologically skeptical people.

“Is Jesus truly God?” “Is He merely the Son of God?” Or, “Is He just a creature?” In asking these three questions, some have believed in the false teachings of the unfaithful and have ultimately perished. Since they lacked the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts, they neither knew nor believed in Jesus Christ as God. They were like those who scorned Jesus crucified on the Cross by saying, “If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Matthew 27:42). Even now, numerous people do not believe Jesus Christ as their true Savior, who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I cannot hide my astonishment at the fact that there are still many skeptics of Jesus’ divinity, even among Christians all around the world.

We have to believe that Jesus was born to this land, wearing the human body while temporarily abandoning His throne in Heaven, so that He could once and for all save all of humanity from all of its sins. To save us from the sins of this world, Jesus Christ abandoned His throne and came to this world, temporarily wearing the human flesh. So, the Bible states, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23).

This is the fulfillment of the prophecy by the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14), which was spoken some 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus Christ took place according to God’s promised providence. As the time for His promise to be kept arrived, God borrowed the body of a virgin named Mary to give birth to the Son, who was to be called Immanuel.

Then, who are the people that do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior? How do people think of Jesus and believe in Him? There are people who do not believe that Jesus Christ is the true God. The consequential difference between those who confess that Jesus came to this world in human flesh and those who don’t is whether they have sins in their hearts or not. That is, the hearts of the people, who believe that Jesus came into this world by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are cleansed from their sins. On the other hand, sins still remain in the hearts of those who do not believe so.

The Truth of salvation is this. That Jesus came to this world in the human body and took the sins of the world onto His body by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. And He truly became our Savior by bleeding to death on the Cross and by resurrecting from the dead. However, those people, who do not believe in this Truth of salvation, can never be cleansed from their sins. Therefore, one cannot be of God, if one does not have in one’s heart the belief in Jesus who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Therefore, the righteous and the sinners are distinguished by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. A person is determined as either a righteous or a sinner, depending on whether that person believes our savior Jesus Christ to be essentially God, who came to this world to save us from all our sins. That is, people who acknowledge that, through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, Jesus Christ has abolished all our sins possess the Spirit of Truth, whereas those who deny it lack the Spirit of Truth.



Who Are the Enemies of God?


1 John 4:3 states, “And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” The statement, “every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God,” is referring to the people who do not believe that Jesus Christ came into this world by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

What does the phrase “every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” mean? This Bible phrase is referring to those who fail to believe in the Truth that Jesus Christ has become our true Savior by coming to this world in human flesh, receiving the baptism by John the Baptist, redeeming the sins of this world once for all through the death on the Cross, and resurrecting from the dead.

The name of Jesus entails the meaning ‘Savior’ in it. As the meaning of his name implies, Jesus as our true Savior has saved all sinners from the sins of this world by means of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As a result, those who do not acknowledge nor believe in the Truth of the water and the Spirit will receive God’s judgment. Those people, who fail to acknowledge Jesus as our true Savior and also the perfect God, possess the spirit of the Antichrist rather than that of the Spirit of God.

Here, the Antichrist indicates the enemy who stands against God. Unfortunately, many Christians are living their lives as enemies of God. Even among those who have acknowledged and accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, there are people who possess the spirit of the Antichrist, refusing to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

1 John 4:3 also states that, “you have heard [that the Antichrist] was coming, and is now already in the world.”

These days, many people do not acknowledge Jesus as God, though He surely is God. Many say that they agree to the extent that they can acknowledge Jesus as the Savior. Yet, the same people will not acknowledge Jesus our God as the true God. Moreover, there are very few people that are aware of the fact that in this world there are many people, who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and who do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and to us God Himself. Our Lord proclaims that any spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God.

Our profession of Jesus as our Savior entails that we also acknowledge that He is fundamentally God, and that He came on this land by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and has blotted out all our sins completely once for all with this true gospel. Therefore, those people who do not accept this Truth are antichrists. Many people these days, even though they believe in Jesus as their Savior, do not believe in the Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And what is worse, many of those people do not realize what great sin it is not to believe in Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

There are many people in this world that do neither acknowledge nor believe in Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Rather, most Christians are following the religious dogma of this world by believing in only the blood of the Cross as their salvation. They do not acknowledge that Jesus came to this world with the gospel of the water and the Spirit in order so that they may be saved from all of their sins (1 John 5:6-8, John 3:5). What I am trying to say is this: there are too many believers in Jesus the Savior, but they become enemies of God because they don’t know Jesus who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Yet, even they would be unable to deny the gospel of the water and the Spirit once they see it through the records in the Bible.

I believe as a matter of fact that our Lord came on this land by the gospel of the water and the Spirit to deliver all sinners from all the sins of this world. That is why I have been preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is a shame that many people still confess Jesus as their Savior with their mouth but fail to realize the real Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul said that any spirit that is not of God is, in fact, the spirit of the Antichrist. Antichrist is one who walks as an enemy of God. In Revelation, the Apostle John says that the Antichrist will appear and harass the saints. But in today’s Scripture passage, he defines the antichrists as those who do not acknowledge Jesus as God and their Savior, and do not acknowledge the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the Truth of the real salvation. Therefore, those who do not acknowledge that Jesus came to us by the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit and delivered us from our sins become enemies of God. They have made God into their enemy.

We also sometimes call those who make our lives miserable, “You are no different from my enemy.” Isn’t that true? We should not become enemies of God by not believing in Jesus Christ, who is our God and Savior. Jesus has already taken the sins of the world onto Himself through the baptism received from John the Baptist. We must not become enemies of God. To do that, we have to believe Jesus’ baptism and His bloodshed on the Cross as the Truth of the remission of our sins

Should believers in Jesus Christ ever become enemies of Jesus Christ? Absolutely not. However, unfortunately until now, many Christians are walking as enemies of Jesus Christ. They are the ones who do not believe that Jesus is God, and neither do they know the importance of Jesus’ baptism given by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:15). They have not yet received the remission of sins, because they only believe in Christ’s blood on the Cross. They are the religionists who know Jesus as their Savior somehow, but do not know that He is their Savior who came by the gospel of the water and the blood and the Spirit. Thus, the salvation of God that is in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is lacking in their hearts.

They belong to the world and, thus, speak the words of the world, as it is written in 1 John 4:5, “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.” Although they profess Jesus as their Savior, they are not interested in being born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Instead, they are interested only in the sanctification of the flesh, and therefore are saying, “Be nice.” “Stop drinking.” “Quit smoking.” “Live virtuously.” “It’s all alright as long as you are sanctified, even if your sins remain intact in your heart.” Because they do not belong to Christ, they speak as of the flesh that is of this world.

But the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is saying that God the Father had sent His Son to this world to save all sinners from all their sins, and that whoever believes in this true gospel will be cleansed of all his sins. However, in the hearts of those who do not believe in this Truth is a misconception that not committing sins in the flesh is the mark of a true believer, regardless of the remission of sin in their hearts. The purpose of their faith is to become outwardly transformed persons: One who curses a lot believes in order to reduce his cursing; one who is near an alcoholic believes in order to abstain from alcohol; one who smokes excessively believes in order to quit smoking. Once they succeed in their goals of behavioral changes, they fall under the illusion that they have become good Christians. Such people also wrongly believe that they will be sanctified perfectly when they die, but such a faith is not the faith that leads people to the salvation by believing in Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Today’s Scripture passage says, “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them” (1 John 4:5).

These days, preachers say that believing in Jesus is good for their health, that clapping their hands while praising is good for their health, and that the morning prayers are good for their psychological health. Also, swelling up with tears when thinking of Jesus is understood as good faith among Christians. People are motivated to say the prayers of repentance because they believe that such experiences of catharsis reduce their stress level. Although some psychiatrists agree that crying is good for psychological well-being of a person, those activities are far from knowing the truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. While repentance and tears of true remorse are good in themselves, they can easily become selfish tools of releasing one’s own stress leading to foolish religiosity. What is the relationship between prayer of repentance and the belief in the gospel of the water and the Spirit?

There are many Christian leaders these days that are not of God. Because they themselves do not belong to God, they teach their congregants with their knowledge of the world. At last, they have come to understand Jesus in the worldly religiosity, belonging not to God but to the Devil. Since those who belong to the Devil speak as of the Devil, they can have fellowship with each other.

However, 1 John 4:6 goes on to say, “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

You have to realize that you have become of God with your belief in the God-given gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. As in the Scripture, those who have known and accepted the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit hear the messages given by the servants of God with comprehension. On the other hand, those who do not know this true gospel cannot hear the messages given by the servants of God with comprehension, and they reject the messages instead.

1 John 4:6 says, “We are of God. He who knows God hears us.” People who know God hear the message that Jesus Christ came to this world in flesh, abolished our sins once for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and received the judgments of our sins on our behalf.

However, those who do not belong to God cannot understand the words of God’s servants, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When the servants of God preach the divine gospel, those who don not belong to God reject the faith in this Truth. This phenomenon enables us to discern who is of God and who is not by their capacity to hear and comprehend the messages of God’s servants, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is why 1 John 4:6 continues to say, “By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” The spirit of error lies within a disbeliever of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

It is easy to misunderstand the words of 1 John 4:2, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,” to mean that anyone who merely believes in Jesus as one’s Savior can receive salvation. Yet, those whose spiritual eyes are open know well that this passage implies those who believe in Jesus as the Savior who came by the water and the blood, and the Holy Spirit. They say that the Bible is a secret or a hidden treasure. The gospel Truth of the water and the spirit, which was revealed in the Bible, was not accessible to just anyone. But, we, who believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, can know precisely what the Holy Spirit speaks to us.

1 John 4:4 states, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them.” Because we belong to God, we can overcome the evil ones with our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If the righteous live by the faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they can live more prosperously than those who don’t believe in this Truth. The righteous can enjoy happier lives in their bodies and spirits by uniting with Jesus Christ instead of the people of the world.

The believers in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit overcome the world. It is because the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we believe in is in fact God’s Truth. There is no one that can be defeated by Satan among those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We may intentionally yield to them from time to time, but that is not because we lack might.

Again, there is no one that can be defeated by Satan among those who believe in the true gospel. Those who are defeated do not believe in Jesus Christ as God and, hence, fundamentally belong to Satan. But, we believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. And with this Truth, we can also overcome the antichrists and the world.

In fact, the religious beliefs of worldly people cannot be compared to our faith in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. If God permits, we who believe in this true gospel can do the same works as Jesus’ disciples did. It is because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The Holy Spirit is within us. The Holy Spirit is that is in you and me who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is greater than the world. The Holy Spirit that dwells in your hearts also enables you to maximize your potentials.

Although it seems that the worldly people possess a great deal of power, the truth is far from it. The world cannot cope with our words of faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But, many more people still have to become people of God through accepting the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We overcome the world by believing in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Our Lord within our hearts is greater than the world.

The dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is proof that the sins of our hearts were blotted out through our faith in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Do you have the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit in your heart? The Holy Spirit dwells now in the hearts of those who have received the remission of sins by their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By sealing them with the Holy Spirit, God protects those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, because they are of God. The only way to be God’s people is to believe in our hearts the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Whether we are well behaved in front of God or not has nothing to do with becoming a citizen of His Kingdom.

Does your spirit belong to God right now? Or, do you still not belong to God? Do we have in our hearts the divine love, which is the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit? In us who believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, God’s love and the Holy Spirit dwell abundantly. Our Lord has blotted out all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that we may become God’s children only though our faith. Now, we have hope of eternal lives in the Kingdom of God. God’s love is embodied in us through the Word of Truth in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

God has given us, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, abundant grace that transforms us as of God. God has adopted us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as His eternal children. God has blessed us with prosperity in the eternal Kingdom that is to come. We have to be always grateful to God because He already poured so much blessing on us.

Sometimes, we go awry in front of God. Still, we can follow our Lord with our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Although we are living in this world, it is nonetheless important to examine ourselves, whether we are of God or not. Who are the most fortunate and unfortunate persons in this world? Those people who are of God are the most fortunate of people. On the other hand, spirits that are not of God are unfortunate.

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If we are to become people of God who fundamentally know God’s love, we have to first have strong faith in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. We have to empty our hearts and believe in the Truth in order to respond to God’s love compelling our hearts. We have to live by faith until the day our Lord returns to us in His glory. Even if you have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you have to keep faithfully the faith in the gospel in order to please God.

I am eternally grateful to God for the abundant grace and mercy that He has prepared in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.

I believe that God the Father has granted us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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