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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Abide in Christ by Believing in the Gospel of The Water and the Spirit

 

< Galatians 5:1-16 >

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

 



Have You Been Brought to Life Again Together with Jesus Christ after Being Crucified with Him?

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

If we believe in this Word that we have been crucified with Christ and that Christ lives in us, (brought to life again with Him,) we are already dead men in Christ (toward all our sins) and the Lord already lives in us. The Lord had taken all the sins of the past, present and the future that we committed on this earth by the baptism received from John the Baptist, blotted out all those sins by dying on the Cross, and resurrected. Now our Lord lives in our hearts and He is leading us with the Holy Spirit.

Our Lord is working in our hearts with the Holy Spirit. And our Lord is saying that He truly blotted out all our sins. We believe in the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. Our Lord took all our sins we committed before and after the remission of sins through His baptism, and blotted them out by dying on the Cross and being resurrected from the dead. He prevents us from falling down from the sins we commit, which are caused by our weaknesses, when we have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is why our Lord saved us from all the sins.



What Do We Need?

Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” This passage means that we need to have only the faith that believes the Lord has blotted out all our sins out of His love. Whether we want it or not, our deficiencies have to be revealed while we are living on earth. So, by seeing our weaknesses, we are prone to tie ourselves up, saying, “I am so far from saving others from sins and even my own faith is unsteady. How insufficient I am to preach the gospel.” When we look at ourselves, we tend to fall down, and we sometimes find ourselves tied up like the enshrouded Lazarus.

However, what did the Lord speak of in this part? Galatians 2:20 states, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” We truly live with Christ by the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You are not your old selves anymore by believing the baptism and the Cross of Jesus. It is because, if we believe that our sins have been passed to Jesus Christ when He was baptized and crucified for us, then we have been crucified with Christ and He lives in us. From now on, we are new creatures in Jesus Christ.

If we truly believe that He blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can also believe our Lord lives in us. Such faith is the very faith that enables us to be born again. If we have this faith, we can also be like the Apostle Paul who preached the gospel of God and took care of the souls. We can be the workers of the gospel. It is written in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” If our Lord has died on the Cross with all our sins that were taken by the baptism, you have also died with Him at that very place by passing all your sins. And let’s say that if He is resurrected from death, we, too, are brought back to life again by the faith of believing in Jesus Christ and that the resurrected Lord lives in us now. Now, we became the ones who were freed from all the sins of the world by the faith of believing in the love of Jesus Christ, who saved us from all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

We are actually committing sins on this earth everyday. It is not possible for even the people who received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit not to have deficiencies. We all have our own insufficiencies. There are always deficiencies, whether we see ourselves or others see us. When we see ourselves, we recognize that we have so many faults. What is worse is that we cannot expect any improvement from our flesh itself. Therefore, we are tied up with our own deficiencies. We are tied up with despair, saying, “It is evident that I received the remission of sins, but when I see myself, I am helpless. It is horrible to feel like this after receiving the remission of sins!” Then, the thick and injurious fogs come out from our hearts, and we fall into doubt, worries, and confusion. Our hearts become void and chaotic as it is written in Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” If we are tied up with our weaknesses and deficiencies, our hearts will be void and without form.

When we profess to believe in Christ, it means that we believe in Jesus Christ who received the baptism, died on the Cross and resurrected, and who now lives in us. When we believe in Him as such, then our sins will surely be blotted out, and the Lord lives in us. The Lord is living in us, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because our Lord came on earth and took all the sins of the world through the baptism He received from John the Baptist and died on the Cross, the saying that the Lord is living in us means that He blotted out all our sins once and for all. Accordingly, we are saved by the love of salvation that our living Lord blotted out all our sins and by believing in Him as our Savior. We are not tied up with our weaknesses anymore, but we live with the faith of believing in the Lord and are liberated from all our insufficiencies. The Lord is living in us. When we conclude that the Lord blotted out all the sins of our lifetime, we can have a concrete faith in this Truth in our hearts. So, the love of the Lord, which saved us from the sins, also liberates us from our deficiencies.

Our Lord exists in us as the Holy Spirit. Does the Lord dwell in you, or not? He is alive. Are our old selves dead, or not? Your old selves are already dead, and you are brought back to new life in Jesus Christ. The Lord is alive in the hearts of those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and our old selves are completely dead (to perfection). When we are saved by the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are liberated from the sins of our whole lifetime as well as all our deficiencies and flaws. This truth is evident. Therefore, we cannot thank the Lord enough for blotting out all our sins once and for all with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we believe that our Lord lives in us, then we are saved from all our deficiencies. So, we become the workers of God by believing in Him.



We Are the Ones Who Belong to the Lord

Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Because the Lord lives in our hearts, our desire to live according to the Holy Spirit arises in our hearts. This is called the lust of the Holy Spirit, that is, the desire of the Holy Spirit. “I want to work for the Lord, I want to preach the gospel, and I want to serve the Lord.” These desires occur in the hearts of those who have received the remission of sins. For our Lord lives in us, He provokes the desires of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to the hearts of the people who received the remission of sins; this Holy Spirit provokes the desire to serve the gospel of the Lord, to love the souls, to preach the gospel to other souls, and to serve the gospel in several aspects. Then, we come to walk in the Holy Spirit. This is why today’s Scripture passage says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Remembering this passage, we have to believe that our old selves have already died on the Cross with Christ. We have to believe that the Lord blotted out all our sins. He blotted out all our original sins; the sins we commit during our whole lifetimes, and the sins caused by all our deficiencies and flaws. And now, the only thing left for us is to live with the faith of believing that the love of God has saved us, as it is written, “Only faith is working through love.”



What Is the Right Faith Like?

What is the outline of today’s Scripture passage of Galatians chapter 5? The Apostle Paul preached the gospel in the Galatia region. But the believers of this place were bounded by themselves. When the believers of the churches in Galatia saw themselves, they became heavy-hearted because they felt so deficient, saying, “I surely believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior, however, I am too weak to follow Him.” Hence, they came to make up their minds to receive the physical circumcision to finally be accepted as God’s people. They also wanted to be circumcised physically after believing in Jesus Christ. They might have thought, “I will have a firm belief in my mind by being circumcised.” Thus, the believers of the churches in Galatia volunteered to be circumcised because there were people who lured them into physical circumcision.

This made the Apostle Paul distressed. “You were supposed to die for the sins that you committed according to the Law, but Christ has saved you from all your sins by taking them through the baptism and being crucified and resurrecting from death. So don’t you know that you saved by believing in Jesus Christ? Are you tied up again by the rituals of Old Testament?” The Apostle Paul was so distressed that he changed his tone with them. Changing tone here means that he thought, “I respected you as the people of God, but you are not the people of God anymore. You are now the people of Satan.” Put differently, he thought, “I cannot trust you anymore. I have doubts about you.”

Now the Apostle Paul continued to admonish them saying, “Every man who becomes circumcised is a debtor who keeps the whole Law. You who attempt to be justified by Law need to keep the Law 100%. Well, try it. For in Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but only faith works through love. We are truly saved by the good love of God through the water and the blood. Then we are saved by believing that Jesus Christ is in our hearts. Since faith is the only thing needed, what is the importance of circumcision or uncircumcision? What’s the use of performing the rituals following the Law?”

For that reason, the Apostle Paul said to the Galatian saints, “For I have been crucified with Christ, aren’t we dead with Christ? Do you really believe in Jesus? If you really believe in Jesus, believe that you have been already dead when Jesus had died for your sins instead of you. I have been dead, and so have you. Have we truly been dead with Christ or not? If you say yes by believing in the Truth, then, Christ now lives in you. You don’t need to be under the Law if the Lord has died, been resurrected, and lives in your heart as the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to be bound for what you have done. Your old selves have already died. All the sins are remitted in Christ, and all your sins and deeds are already judged with Christ. You are saved. Therefore, do not be entangled with your weaknesses. The only thing you need is the faith working through love. Do you really believe in the Lord? Do you really believe in the Lord as your Savior?”

We should only answer by saying, “Yes, I do believe.”

“Do you believe that the Lord has taken all your sins? Do you believe all your sins passed onto Him when He was baptized? Do you believe that Jesus has died on the Cross bearing all the sins of mankind which have been taken through the baptism and that He resurrected?”

“Amen. I do believe so.”

We have the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is right. This faith brings you to new life, enables you to be liberated from your deficiencies, and allows you to win the praise of God. This is the true faith, the genuine faith!

The Apostle Paul cried this out. How about you and I? We do not always follow the flesh. We sometimes follow the flesh, and sometimes the Spirit. Then, how about you? Are you entangled in your deficient parts when your deficiencies are revealed while following your flesh? You might entangle and judge yourself like this: “It’s been so long since I’ve received the remission of sins, and I am still the same. Oh, how foolish I am! You fool! Stupid! That’s wrong.”

Dear fellow believers, we swing between the work of the flesh and the work of the Spirit: I mean to say that we are strolling between the lust and the Spirit in our daily lives. This is always true.

But then, there are people who constantly stay on one side. The people who lack faith live constantly in the lusts of flesh as the ones who are not related with the Lord, but the righteous usually swing between the Spirit and the flesh. Do you offer prayers of repentance everyday in order to cleanse your daily sins? Like the Galatian saints who were circumcised to feel convinced that they were God’s people, according to the rituals of circumcision in the times of the Old Testament, are you trying to remit your sins by offering prayers of repentance? It is like going back to the bondage of the Law.

Dear fellows, the Lord said that what is needed for us is the faith working through love. We are saved by the faith of believing in the fact that the Lord has taken all our sins, died on the Cross, and resurrected. How, then, are you still trying to be sinless by offering prayers of repentance?

We need to admit our original nature when our deficiencies are revealed before God. You have to show your nature as it is, instead of saying, “I am not like this by nature.” Because the nature of the flesh is like that, we cannot but do act in certain ways. You would feel undeserving because you might think that you are not like that by nature, when in actuality, you were always like that. You would feel mortified by thinking, “I am not like this by nature, and this is just a mistake, but they all regard me as such a person.” However, that is your true selves and your real nature.

I hope you admit your true nature, which is a bit different from your self-evaluations. Dear fellow believers, we receive salvation and become new creatures by being liberated from all our present deficiencies and admitting our evil natures. By believing that we have died with Christ and He now lives in us, He has blotted out all our sins and liberated us.

How then do we have to live if we are liberated from all our deficiencies? Now, it is needed to live in accordance with the desires of the Spirit. As I mentioned earlier, this desire of the Spirit is the holy will of God. The more we work for God, the more desire we have to work for Him. Those who are serving the Lord feel like serving Him more and more. It is difficult for them to serve the Lord at the beginning, but they feel the desire to more. It is difficult for the evangelists to preach at first, but while preaching the gospel, the desire to evangelize rises. This is called the desire of the Holy Spirit. We need to live in accordance with the desires of the Holy Spirit.

From now on, we don’t have to be entangled in our sins and deficiencies. We are saved by faith. It is written, “Only the faith is working through love.” What is left for us to do if we are saved by faith? Living in accordance with the desires of the Holy Spirit is the only thing left for us to do.

Circumcision is the ritual of cutting off one’s foreskin. Can you become a child of God and be a righteous person by cutting off your foreskin? Try to cut as much skin as you can. You would not be a righteous person even if you cut all your fingers, toes, and ankles off. Even you put yourself into a fire, your soul would not become righteous.

Then, how can one be a righteous person? We can be righteous by believing in the salvation that Jesus Christ, who works through His love, has fulfilled with the water and the Spirit.

That is why Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). And He told us in today’s Scripture passage, “Walk in the Spirit.” You might think that there is something extraordinary when you are told, “Walk in the Spirit,” but, that’s not the case.

To follow the desire that arises in your mind for the gospel is none other than “walking in the Spirit.” That is the lust of the Spirit. The desire of the Spirit is not a grand greed, but a mere wish to live for God. Then, it is just enough for you to follow that greed. Christians who live in accordance with the desires of the Spirit for God and live spiritual lives will be A+ Christians. God approves such believers. Despite the fact that we are swinging between the Spirit and the flesh, we will be perfect Christians if we live in accordance with the Spirit by believing that our Lord has saved us from all our sins. This is what Apostle Paul is saying.

That is why you have to cast away your wrong thoughts. Do you worry like this? “How can I live for others, for God’s Church, and for the gospel while my situation is this bad?” Do you worry about yourself, thinking, “I cannot even take care of myself”? But, you would see that your son is doing well even if you were thinking, “How can he cope with his life in the military when he does not even know how to clean his room?”

You are the same way. Even though you are that insufficient, if you acknowledge your fundamental nature as it is, and if you believe that the Lord has blotted out all the sins of the world, then you can do well in your life of faith. The Lord knew beforehand that you were going to sin, and He blotted out all your sins. If the Lord took only the original sin or some amount of personal sins, He could not be the Lamb who took the sins of the world. And He would not have been able to say, “It is finished.” However, John the Baptist left a very specific testimony in the Bible about Jesus saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” By believing in the written Word as it is, our sins have passed onto Jesus through the baptism, and He died on the Cross and resurrected. We are the righteous who have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Do you have sins, or not? No, we do not have sin. How do you feel when you believe that you have passed all your sins onto Christ, have died with Him, and been brought back to new life with Him? There are no sins, but the faith working through love. My fellow believers, we now became the children of God by faith, and we are sinless by faith. Because we do not have sin, we want to do the works of God by faith. So, from now on, you have to be liberated from all the bondages by realizing and believing that there is no sin in your heart. You have to walk in the desires of the Spirit even though you are deficient. It is not possible for us to follow the desires of the Spirit all the time, but we can follow Him with our hearts. As a dog still follows its master while turning its attention to the garbage on the way, we are the saved people who follow the Lord to the very end, even though we frequently swing from here to there.

We have to live in accordance with the desires of the Spirit as sinless people even though we are deficient. If you are faithful in a very little thing for the Lord, or if you are faithful with the works that the Church entrusted to you, the Lord will give you more desire to work for Him. I said earlier that if you have your mind set to serve in this way, and if you live in accordance with that mind, you will be right Christians before God.

My beloved brethren, people who are not born again do not understand these words. "What does that mean on earth? It sounds useless. It's ridiculous." It is nothing special that they talk this way.

God gave us freedom, not the yoke of bondage. The Lord made us follow Him voluntarily, joyfully, and serve Him with joy by liberating us from all bindings. He saved us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that we would not be entangled to sin and judgment. I am going to conclude my sermon with this last point.

People of Paul's days tried to fill their deficiencies by being circumcised. As such, believers of this present time try to remit their sins by offering prayers of repentance. Is this faith right? It is not a true faith in Jesus if we do not believe that the sins of the world have passed onto Jesus through His baptism, that we died with Jesus when He was crucified, and that Jesus died for us. If we truly believe in this Truth, we would not try to remit our sins by offering prayers of repentance. Among today's Christians, those who try to receive the remission of sins by offering prayers of repentance are the ones who have become estranged from Christ and shall be judged under a curse. They are the ones who do not believe in Christ. If you are true Christians, you would thank God in spite of your deficiencies because of your faith in the Lord. We have to admit ourselves as it is and be thankful to God.

My fellow believers, we should live a thankful life of faith by believing in Jesus Christ. We should not be like the pitiful people who are entangled in their deficiencies and end up dying. It is your true nature that wishes eagerly to go out into the world, buy nice dresses, see fun things, and so on. If you can’t bear it anymore, try to buy a new dress. Is it a sin to buy a new dress? I just hope that you will not fall into fleshly desire, and that you will not believe it is the whole you. That is just a part of you. Deep inside your heart, your wishes are to follow the desires of God. You are the righteous though you are deficient. I hope you are the children of God who know their identities and live with faith. You are the children of God who are saved by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even though you are deficient. I wish for you to praise the Lord by believing that you are righteous before God, the holy saints, the possessors of eternal life, the workers of God’s righteousness, and His precious people. We have to truly believe in this.

In fact, the messages of Galatians must be applied to every Christian of today. People who are not born again consider this Galatians very difficult. But for the people who are born again, Galatians as well as Hebrews and Leviticus is considered as the Word of easy and clear truth. People who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit comprehend the Word of God easily, accept it as the truth, and make it as the bread of faith.

Some theologians speak on the Word without a clear understanding of it, saying, “There were circumcisionists in the churches of Galatia, but who were they?” But it is not important what the definition of a circumcisionist is. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians that people cannot become righteous because of their physical circumcision, but instead, they become the children of God by the faith, which works through love.

For God so loved us, He sent His Son to this earth, let Him to take all the sins by receiving the baptism, and had Him die on the Cross instead of us. So, if we profess to believe in Jesus, we also believe that all our sins have passed onto Jesus when He was baptized, and that we have died when He was crucified, and that we have been brought back to new life when He was resurrected. For God so loved us, He gave His Son to be judged for all our sins. We are saved by believing in Jesus Christ. We can follow the will of God by faith from now on because our souls are saved by the faith. Our insufficient behaviors are no longer problematic.

At this present age, there are many Christians who are like those of the churches in Galatia, who compelled the Galatian saints to be circumcised. We are the righteous whose sins are remitted. Then, do you still think that you need to offer prayers of repentance whenever your deficiencies are revealed? Those who have not yet been born again pray, “God, please forgive me. I have committed a sin. Please cleanse it.” Whenever they commit even small mistakes, they offer prayers of repentance because they feel an irresistible impulse to offer such prayers. But you cannot be remitted of your sins no matter how fervently you ask for the clearance of your sins. You can be remitted of your sins by believing in the salvation of Jesus, which was fulfilled about 2000 years ago. There was the salvation that Jesus saved you with the gospel of the water and the Spirit about 2000 years ago, and because the Word of Truth is in your hearts, you are without sin, even the sins you just committed. You are even saved from your future sins.

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The book of Galatians

The worldly pastors just keep on saying in strange tones, “Do you believe? Hallelujah!” if they run out of their sermons. There is no other way but to make it loud if they have no content. To collect more money without really preaching, the make people lose their minds by inspiring their emotions. They shout incomprehensible sounds like, “Fire-fire-fire-fire! Hallelujah-lelujah-lelujah-lelujah! Assarubijah!” They make people give offerings while they have no ability to reason because they are so inspired. The believers who are so inspired do not hesitate to offer all their money, along with watches and even jewelry. The truly born again Christians are led by the reasonable desires of the Spirit and think, “Ah, I want to serve the Lord like this.” But the worldly Christians do whatever the swindlers make them do, not according to their reasons, but to their emotions.

We are the righteous, though we are deficient. We have been crucified with Christ, and brought back to life again. No matter how deficient we are, we are the children of God, the righteous, and the workers for His righteousness. We only need to live in accordance with the desires of the Spirit. The desires of the Spirit arise when you work for the Lord. The desires of the Spirit arise when you stop living in the flesh and listen to the Word at the Spirit-inspiring place, and although you are in unity with the work of God, you are still a bit deficient. If you have even the tiniest desire to work for God, do not ignore it. Continue to follow that desire while uniting with the church of God and His servants, and that tiny desire toward God will increase steadily like a big snowball. You will then get to work more and more, and you will be a great worker of God without even noticing.

God has given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and He became our Savior by dwelling in us. He gives us the desires of the Spirit to do the blessed works, no matter how deficient we are. I thank God for allowing us that kind of mind. I wish for all of you to live in accordance with the desires of the Spirit.

 

 

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