(1 John 3:1-10)
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 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.”
The Apostle John said in 1 John 3:1, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” Do you know what kind of love God the Father has given us so that we would be called His own children? It’s very important for all of us to truly know what kind of love God has given us to make us His children. God had made us His own children by making us sinless through Jesus Christ. By giving up His Son for us, God the Father passed all our sins to this Son and let Him bear the condemnation of our sins on our behalf. And by resurrecting His Son back to life, God the Father has made us His very own children. This is the kind of love that God has bestowed upon us. God had given up His own Son for us so that we would be called His children. That’s why John the Apostle is exclaiming God’s love here. Just hearing that God loves us might not be enough for us to truly appreciate how great God’s love is, but when we think about the fact that God the Father has made us His own children by actually giving up and sacrificing His only begotten Son, we can begin to appreciate just how unbounded God’s love is.
Can Anyone do what God Has Done for Us?
No human being loves another human being as much as God loves us, nor is any human being even capable of practicing this kind of love. About 60 years ago, when the Korean War broke out, a certain pastor named Rev. Sohn ministering in a southwestern province of South Korea saw his two sons murdered in cold blood by the Communist guerrillas. The two sons were murdered just for being Christians. Yet, despite this, instead of seeking revenge, Pastor Sohn adopted one of the murderers as his son and took him into his home. Needless to say, this is an amazing demonstration of love. Would any of you be able to do something like that? Would you be able to adopt your own son’s murderer, accept him into your home, and take care of him? Very few of you, if any, would be able to do this. So, from our human perspective, Rev. Sohn does deserve a great deal of respect for this remarkable act of love.
If he did this out of God’s love, then all the more praise should go to God; however, if he did it to establish his own righteousness, then nothing would be more hypocritical than this. After all, how could you sit down at the table with someone who shot your own two sons to death and share a meal with him as if nothing had happened? Would you be able to bear watching him eat across the table? Wouldn’t you want to just grab his throat and strangle him right there on the spot? How could you have any warm feelings to the man who shot your own sons to death, especially given the fact that he did so for no other reason than your sons being Christians?
I don’t know about you, but I certainly couldn’t bring myself to do this, except by God’s love. While I am not sure whether or not it was out of God’s love that Rev. Sohn managed to do this, but from a human point of view, he does seem like a better man than me. What kind of love has God the Father bestowed upon us to make us His own children? He gave up His only begotten Son, Jesus for us. Not only did God the Father pass our sins to His Son, but He even made His Son bear the condemnation of our sins in our place by putting Him to death. And by raising His Son back to life, God raised us back to life also. This, my fellow believers, is how great God the Father’s love is. It’s because of such amazing love that we are now called God’s children.
We believe that we have become God’s own children all thanks to the work of salvation our Lord has done for us on this earth, and the love God the Father has bestowed upon us—that is, because our Lord has saved us through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. So, the Apostle John said, “Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1). Since the people of this world do not even know God, how could they know us? Having sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to this earth, God the Father made Him bear all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. God the Father then let His Son be crucified to death, raised Him from the dead again, and thereby gave us everlasting life. Therefore, if people don’t know what God the Father has done for them through His Son Jesus Christ, then these people also cannot know us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit either.
Given the fact that you and I have received the remission of sins by believing in the righteousness of God, how could the people of this world know us? They can’t, just as the Scripture says here. Indeed, the people of the world have no idea who the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are. Why is this so? It’s because they know us only from our fleshly aspect. They are unable to recognize that we have become God’s own children because they do not know that God the Father has washed away all our sins through His Son Jesus, blotted them all out at once, condemned them all, and thereby, delivered us from our death and judgment.
Who Are God’s Children?
It’s written in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God.” Who are God’s children then, do you know? They are all the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have put on God the Father’s love. By believing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, we have become God’s own sons and daughters. Moreover, God has assigned angels to His children. I will address this point in much more detail in one of my future sermons, but for now, let me draw your attention to Matthew 18:10, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” The “little ones” here refer to those who know and believe in God—that is, those who have received the remission of sins. And here Jesus warned everyone not to despise any of them. In other words, no one should dismiss God’s children scornfully as though they didn’t matter, for Jesus Himself clearly said here, “In heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
The Scripture says that when we go to the Kingdom of Heaven angles will serve us as God’s children. Even though right now we the redeemed are still living on this earth, we each have an angel assigned to us. Even now, these angels are working before God the Father on our behalf. They are reporting to God the Father everything that is happening in our lives, including those who persecute them. Whenever the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are despised, the angels assigned to them report it all to God the Father, saying to Him, “Lord, these people are despising our masters, they who are your children.”
We are God’s children, for we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Right now, when we hear that we are God’s children, we may not fully comprehend it. However, when the time comes, we will all be honored as God’s own children. Today, I watched a movie called The Day After Tomorrow on TV. I came across this film accidentally, taking a short break from working on my manuscript. I didn’t get to watch it from the beginning, nor did I actually finish watching the whole film. I just watched some parts in the middle. At any rate, the movie’s plot was centered on extreme climatic changes associated with global warming. The melting of the polar ice results into a series of catastrophic natural disasters, ranging from massive tsunamis to violent tornadoes and blizzard like superstorms that destroy whole cities, capped by the arrival of a new ice age.
In not too distant future, such disasters will actually happen in this world. This is not just something that you see in a sci-fi movie, but it is what will actually happen in this world. However, when such disasters strike, there will be a way out for those who believe in God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit, for they have become God’s children. When the world is destroyed, the righteous will have a place to go and live forever with God. They have a place prepared just for them apart from this planet earth.
This is why, in saying that the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are God’s own children, the Apostle John also said, “It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure”- 1 John 3:2-3. Here, purifying oneself refers to purifying one’s heart by faith by ruminating on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s also written here that even though it has not yet been revealed what we will be, we know that when the Lord is revealed we will be like Him. Why? It’s because we will see the Lord exactly as He is. So, it’s an amazing blessing that we have become new creatures.
It’s said that a cicada has to live underground as a nymph from five to seven years before it actually turns into an adult cicada. When the time comes, the nymph surfaces from the ground, moults for one last time, and emerges as an adult cicada. Like this, all of us who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will also be transformed one day. Although we were born on this earth through our parents of the flesh, when the time comes, we will all be transformed and go to the Kingdom of Heaven and live there forever.
This, my fellow believers, is not some fairy tale. God’s blessings are real. Sadly, the problem with many Christians is that they accept this Word of God only as a mere religious belief. They believe in Heaven only vaguely, not because they have any assurance of faith, but because this is what they are taught to believe as a tradition. As a result, many Christians today have only a vague idea of Heaven. In contrast, all of us who have become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are absolutely convinced that we will actually go to the Kingdom of God. And we are equally certain that we will see God face to face just as we can see one another face to face now in the living years. Moreover, we also know that when we enter God’s Kingdom, we will actually be served by angels. This is not just some make-belief, but it is what the Word of God actually says will happen to us.
Who Commits Lawlessness?
It’s written in John 3:4-5, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” This passage tells us that those who have become God’s children do not commit lawlessness. In other words, it means that we do not give up our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has saved us perfectly. Some of you might be wondering, “The Bible says here that ‘whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.’ Does this then mean that the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit don’t commit any sin in their flesh?” The answer is, No! Although we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we still have many shortcomings in our flesh, and therefore, we also commit sin in our lives. However, even though we still commit sin in our flesh, we do not commit the sin of rejecting the God-fulfilled gospel of salvation. That is why the Bible says that the children of God who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not commit lawlessness. Put differently, whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit do not commit the sin of breaking God’s law of salvation.
Through the work of salvation fulfilled by His Son, God the Father has saved all of us who believe in this work from all our sins. He has established for us a law of salvation to deliver us from the sins of the world. This law of salvation planned by God the Father was designed to save us once and for all by making His Son Jesus Christ be baptized by John the Baptist, letting Him be crucified to death, and raising Him from the dead again. This was the law and method of salvation established by God the Father.
It is by believing in Jesus according to this God-established law of salvation that we can reach our salvation. Therefore, as those who have become God’s own children, we do not commit the sin of not believing in the righteousness of God. On the contrary, we believe that God the Father has saved us from all our sins through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. If God says that He has planned our salvation in this way, we simply believe this according to His plan. In contrast, those who commit lawlessness do not believe in God’s plan of salvation for their deliverance from sin, nor in the salvation fulfilled by God’s love.
In other words, the gravest sin committed by those who practice lawlessness before God is none other than refusing to believe in God’s plan of salvation exactly as it is. Believing in whatever way one wants according to his own thoughts is the gravest sin of all. None other this is the lawless faith in God’s sight. Anyone professing this kind of faith is sinning against God. Such people are committing the very sin that disables them from being saved from all their sins.
The Lord revealed Himself to us to blot out our sins, just as it’s written here in 1 John 3:5, “You know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” The Apostle John said to us here that we know that Jesus Christ was manifested to take away our sins. But, exactly how do you know this? How do you and I know that Jesus Christ has saved us from all the sins of the world? How do we know that our Lord has blotted out all your sins and mine? We know it from the gospel of the water and the Spirit. From the gospel of the water and the Spirit we know that our Lord God has saved us perfectly by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bearing all our sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, being condemned for all them by being crucified to death, and rising from the dead again. We know that this is how the Lord has revealed the way of our salvation to us. In manifesting Himself to us like this, our Lord sacrificed Himself in order to blot out all our sins. In other words, Jesus revealed His unending love towards us by taking all our sins upon Himself through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, being crucified to death, and rising from the dead again. The very fact that the Lord has become our Savior manifests God’s love.
That is how we know the Lord’s love. That is why we believe in Jesus Christ exactly according to the work of salvation He has done for us. And that is how we have reached our salvation by faith. Tragically, many people still do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even as they know it. All of us must believe exactly as the Word of God says, that the Lord bore all our sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist on this earth in order to blot out your sins and mine. All those who do not believe in this Truth of salvation exactly as the Scripture says is sinning against God and practicing lawlessness before Him.
In Matthew 7:23 the Lord said that He will declare to all such stubborn people, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Therefore, committing lawlessness in God’s sight constitutes the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. Breaking the law of salvation through which God has delivered us is the gravest of sin, the very sin that results in hell for anyone who commits it. While all other sins can be remitted away, the sin of practicing lawlessness cannot be remitted. If one breaks the God-established law of salvation out of ignorance, then this person may still have a chance to be saved; however, if one breaks this law of salvation despite knowing about it and intentionally refuse point blank to believe in it, then this person is practicing lawlessness. There is no argument that the Lord came to this earth to save us. There is also no argument that the Lord bore all our sins by being baptized or manifested this to all mankind. And the Lord has also revealed to us clearly that He carried the sins of the world to the Cross, was condemned for them by being crucified to death, and rose from the dead again. If people still do not believe in the law of salvation despite all of these truths, then they will all be condemned without exception. That is why we should never allow ourselves to commit lawlessness by refusing to believe in God’s law of salvation.
My fellow believers, God has no sin, just as the Bible says here, “In Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have absolutely no sin. God neither lies nor commits any transgression. He is completely sinless, perfect in every way. Yet, some people in their own human thoughts engage in all kinds of ridiculous speculations about Jesus, positing, for instance, that Jesus had a physical relationship with Mary Magdalene and they bore an illegitimate child out of wedlock. This is a preposterous lie, defaming God and false to the uttermost degree! People talk about such preposterous ideas because they have no idea who Jesus is. They see Jesus, who is divine, as a mere mortal man. Jesus is God. He is the Creator. He is our Maker who created everything in this world and gave us life. He is the One who made all the stars in the universe. Yet, people scorn Him thinking that He is just a mere fallible man just like us. These people are committing the grave sin of blaspheming God.
The president of your country is the president regardless of what you think of him. Just because you don’t like him, it doesn’t mean that he is not the president. He is still the leader of your country, and you ought to recognize him as such even if you don’t like him. In a similar vein, God is not made any less divine just because you think of Him differently. Far from refusing to recognize His divinity, you ought to recognize God as God. The Scripture says that in God there is no sin. He is completely sinless. That is precisely why we can receive the remission of sin from this perfect God, and when we do, we are made His own children.
Only when we ourselves become sinless can we also become God’s children; anyone who has any sin at all can never become a child of God. Therefore, it is absolutely indispensable for all of us to become sinless first of all. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit exactly according to the God-established law of salvation, we must first receive the remission of sin and then become sinless. Only then are we made into God’s own children. That is why the Apostle John said in verse 6, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin,” meaning that the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are sinless.
In our fleshly thoughts, it is hard to imagine how anyone could possibly not sin. After all, everyone commits sin as fallible human beings. However, those who have come into Jesus by faith do not sin. What kind of sin do they not commit then you may ask? They do not commit the sin of denying the Lord’s work of salvation by saying, “The Lord has not blotted out all our sins. He failed to blot out all sins once and for all with His baptism and blood on the Cross. While He did take away our original sin, but when it comes to our personal sins, we can receive forgiveness only if we confess and offer prayers of repentance whenever we commit them.”
As the Scripture says, whoever abides in the Lord does not commit the sin by not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. All of us who abide in Jesus by faith believe that the Lord has blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that He has eradicated each and every sin of ours with God’s love and righteousness. In short, we do not deny what the Lord has done for us. Instead, we believe in everything Jesus has done for us to deliver us from our sins. This is why the Apostle John said, “Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 John 3:6). When so many people don’t even know that the Lord has blotted out all their sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, how on earth could they not commit sin?
While those who abide in Jesus may sin in their flesh, they do not commit sin in their spirits. They can never agree with any claims that denies the Lord as their Savior. In contrast, those who are not abiding in Jesus are apt to say as follows, “The Lord has saved us by coming to this earth and dying on the Cross. So, we can be remitted from all our past sins if we believe in Jesus, but, when it comes to the daily sins that we commit from then on, we have to obtain forgiveness by offering prayers of repentance every day.” We can never agree with such absurd claims. This is a false claim to us. We agree only with the Truth of salvation proclaiming that the Lord bore all our sins when He was baptized by John the Baptist, that He was crucified to death, that He rose from the dead again, and that He has thereby become our Savior. Like this, we agree only with the Word of God and disagree with any and all claims that are biblically unfounded, for such false claims are made by sinners who have neither seen the Lord nor known Him, just as the Bible says, “Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 John 3:6).
Why Is It That Many People Today Cannot Receive the Remission of Sins?
It’s because they do not know that Jesus Christ has saved them by bearing their sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. The Scripture says that faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. Therefore, we can understand the Word of God correctly only if we hear it correctly, and we can believe in the Word of God correctly only if we know it correctly. This is how we come to have the right faith. Faith is not about just believing blindly, but it is based upon the knowledge of the fact that the Lord bore all our sins by being baptized, just as Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”- John 8:32. And it is also by realizing that the Lord took all the sins of this world to the Cross and bore their condemnation by being crucified to death that we are wholly saved from all our sins.
This is the Truth of salvation revealing to us that the Lord has become our Savior, nd it is with this clear understanding of the Truth that we believe in Jesus. We reach our salvation by knowing and believing that this Truth has made us free. Therefore, we should never believe until we reach a clear understanding of the Truth. If you have any questions in your mind, you ought to get them resolved or keep on asking until they are solved. You need to ask why the Lord had to do what He did. Whoever has not received the remission of sins yet is someone who does not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Such people do not know God. They do not know how much God really loves them. They don’t realize that God the Father loved them so much that He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. Nor do they know that the only begotten Son of God bore all their sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, and that He was condemned for their sins by being crucified to death.
Therefore, such people still have not reached their salvation. Only someone who knows the Truth of salvation can be saved by faith. This means, crucially, that salvation is not reached by everyone just professing to believe in Jesus, but only those who have the correct knowledge of Jesus, understand the true gospel of salvation, and believe wholeheartedly in this gospel.
When we turn to Matthew chapter 20 we see Jesus giving the parable of the workers in the vineyard. In this parable, Jesus said that a landowner hired workers for his vineyard at different times of the day, some early in the morning, and others on the third, sixth, ninth, and the eleventh hours. At the end of the day, the landowner gave each worker one denarius equally. So the laborers who had been hired earlier complained to the landowner, saying, “We came here earlier and worked so much more than these last workers, so why are you paying us the same wage as theirs?” The landowner then said to them, “I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?” (Matthew 20:13-15).
Although some people in God’s Church believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as soon as they heard it and reached their salvation right away, there also are others among us who took a little longer before coming to realize the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believed in it. In other words, there are many people who don’t understand the gospel of the water and the Spirit right away just because they heard it a few times, so they need to hear the gospel repeatedly for a long time before they can reach their salvation. A lot of people don’t realize until later on exactly how God the Father has saved them and made them sinless—that is, it can take a long time before they grasp clearly that God the Father has delivered them from all their sins by sending His only begotten Son to this earth, making Him bear their sins through His baptism, letting Him be crucified to death, and resurrecting Him from the dead. Like this, many people don’t receive the remission of sins until later on when they finally realize the Truth of salvation.
However, regardless of when this understanding is reached, all those who know God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ invariably know what the Lord has done for them, and that is how they are saved. Those who remain ignorant of this salvation cannot be saved. That is precisely why our literature ministry is so important for us to spread the gospel to all those who still have not been saved. It is absolutely critical for us to continue publishing our gospel books to explain the true gospel of salvation time after time, so that whoever reads our books can finally understand this Truth of salvation.
Genuine Learning Requires Repetitive Instruction
We must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit continuously until everyone understands and believes in it. This is what is meant by Christian education. Preaching the Word of God doesn’t just end with one of our sermons, but it must be done repeatedly until the listener really understands the Word. How about you, do you know the righteousness of the Lord? Do you know God the Father’s love? Do you believe in this love? Do you believe that our Lord God has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit just like everyone who said, Yes here, I, too, also believe?
The Apostle John said in verse 7, “Little children, let no one deceive you.” To be deceived is to be confused. It is to be shrouded in a cloud of uncertainty and opacity, lacking clarity and transparency. So, when the Bible tells us to let no one deceive us, it is admonishing us to have a clear, unmistakable understanding of the Truth of salvation. Some people say that while salvation is reached through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, one can also be saved just by believing in the blood of the Cross. This, my fellow believers, is absolutely false. It is only through the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has saved us.
Therefore, whoever does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is leading a false life of faith rather than the true God approved life of faith. The problem, of course, is that there are many false prophets in this world deceiving countless number of people by invoking the Word of God. This world is full of Christians professing to believe in Jesus, but many of them are little more than sweet-talking liars. They are all just leading a mere religious life rather than a genuine life of faith. They believe in the Jesus of their own making, claiming to have reached salvation all on their own. Such people do not know who God really is. They also have no idea who Jesus is. They don’t know what Jesus has done for them. That’s why they have become so deceptive.
Nowadays, many Christians with a mistaken faith are doing a lot of volunteer work evangelizing the less fortunate. While this may seem like something worthy of praise, it is in fact extremely deceptive. That’s because these misguided Christians are speaking to others about Jesus even as they themselves do not know Him. To put it bluntly, they are committing spiritual fraud. They are preaching to others something that they themselves do not fully understand. All they are doing is throwing many more people into confusion. This is utterly harmful, for they are not only deceiving themselves, including others.
Having become slaves to the Devil, they are planting hectares of tares. It would be better if they would just leave the non-believers alone, as they might then get a chance to hear the real gospel, believe in it, and so, be saved. At first, tares might grow resembling similar to the wheat, but once they are fully grown, they won’t have any grain or fruit. They will have nothing to offer but bone dry chaff. They do not produce edible seeds. Edible grain such as rice, barley, and wheat can only come out of good wholesome seed. It’s the grain that’s edible, not just tares bone dry from the field. That’s why the Apostle John said, “Little children, let no one deceive you.” Some deceivers even claim to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit just like us, yet, in time they reveal themselves and begin tormenting and hating the saints.
How, then, can we discern these tares? It’s written in verse 7, “He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.” Put differently, those who have received the remission of sins carry out God’s righteous work. They do what is right, they please God, and benefit others. In other words, they serve the gospel. In contrast, tares do not carry out God’s righteous work even while claiming to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and, such people are not God’s children.
The Lord said that a tree is known by its fruit, not vice versa. This means that we can discern whether someone is a true child of God or not by just looking at how this person is walking, what fruit he or she is producing, and what he or she is seeking. Just as the Lord has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit by fulfilling the righteous work of salvation for us, so we the righteous also serve the gospel. We offer ourselves to serve the gospel; we are united according to the spiritual order in God’s Church; and, far from hating one another, we understand and care deeply about each other. All the while, we pool our strengths together and do everything possible to serve the Lord. None other than such people are God’s children.
The Apostle John said, “He who sins is of the devil.” Those who love the world, seek after the things of the world, but they detest, even loathe anyone who serves the gospel of the righteousness of God, they reject the unity of God’s Church, and blaspheme its work. They are indeed from the Devil. The Scripture also goes on to say, “The devil has sinned from the beginning.” The Devil is indeed a sinner. The Devil has indeed sinned from the beginning by standing against God, and those who are of the Devil are also God’s opponents trying to detract us from doing the work that’s pleasing to God. It’s by looking at such things that we can discern who God’s children are or not.
How can we know for sure whether a person really believes in the gospel or not even as they profess to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? After all, all that we have is this person’s word as he hides away behind his computer. For all we know, he or she could just be saying this even as they don’t believe wholeheartedly. The Lord teaches us that we can know this by their fruit. In other words, we can discern whether someone is God’s child or not by looking at how this person is walking. Is this someone who is abiding in the Church? Has this person united his heart with the Church? Has he made it his goal in life to serve the Lord? Is he living accordingly to this purpose? Is he overjoyed when the Lord’s work is flourishing and sad when it stagnates? These are the questions that enable us to discern who exactly God’s children are. Even in the days of the Apostle John, there were many false prophets sitting in the Church. We can see from 1 John that there were many liars and cheats in those days also.
So, as it’s written in 1 John chapter 2, these liars also went out from us because they were not like us. The Scripture says that the Lord, the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the Devil. This means that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from all the sins that destroy our souls, kill our lives, and make our flesh become accursed, inflict suffering on us, and ultimately, cast us into hell. It’s all because of our sins that we are thrown into hell, destroyed, and inflicted with suffering. Yet, the Lord bore all these sins on His own body in our place as our propitiation. He shouldered all our sins by being baptized, and He was condemned for all these sins by being crucified. That is how the Lord has saved us.
It’s to destroy the works of the Devil like this that the Lord came to this earth. And the Lord has indeed destroyed the works of the Devil with the water and the Spirit. That is why the Lord cried out on the Cross, “It is finished!” Because our Lord destroyed the Devil’s works completely, Satan cannot do anything to us as long as we believe in this Truth of salvation. If, on the other hand, you and I refuse to believe in this Truth, as fulfilled by the Lord, then the Devil will continue to torment us.
Do you suppose the Devil actually cares about those who belong to him and listen to him obediently? No, of course not! Satan is just using them like pawns, and once they are no longer useful to him, he will surely cast them away, utterly destroying them. The Devil came for no other reason than to rob them of everything, kill them, and destroy them. So it’s very important for you to realize here if anyone seems to be flourishing now even as he belong to the Devil, this person will not continue to be so prosperous. In the end, all these people will be ruined, this is why they must all turn around from this foolish path that leads to destruction.
It’s written here in 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him.” Just as the Scripture says here, whoever has been born of God indeed does not commit sin. The Apostle John makes this point repeatedly, emphasizing that those born of God do not sin. Who are those born of God then? They are those who truly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Do these believers then commit no sin? While they may still sin in their flesh, but in their spirits they do not commit sin. In other words, they do not deny the Truth of salvation that the Lord has blotted out all our sins. Could any believer in the gospel of the water and the Spirit deny this Truth? No, of course not! Even though we may go astray in many ways, when it comes to the Truth of salvation, none of us can deny that the Lord has blotted out all our sins.
After all, hasn’t the Lord saved us all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit? If this is true, how could we say that the Lord has failed to blot out all our sins? Yet, as you carry on with your life, there are times when you get so discouraged by your shortcomings and weaknesses that you begin wondering if you really have been saved. Whenever such doubts arise, you must reaffirm your faith that the Lord bore all your sins when He was baptized by John the Baptist, affirming to yourself, “The Lord indeed shouldered all my sins and all the sins of this world through His baptism. He bore each and every one of my sins when He was baptized. So, even though I have many shortcomings, I have no sin, for I believe in this Truth of salvation.” It’s when you renew your faith like this that you are freed from the sins you commit in your flesh.
My fellow believers, the Lord has made us the light of the world. It’s all because of the Lord that we have become light, not because of our own efforts, for this is simply impossible on our own. It’s the Lord who has made us light. As such, we cannot sin in God’s sight because His seed remains in us. Because the Word of God dwells in our hearts—that is, because God’s righteous gospel Word of the water and the Spirit is planted in our hearts—we cannot sin. We cannot sin because we have been born of God. This applies to everyone who has been born of God.
Let me finally turn to verse 10 here before concluding my sermon. It’s written in 1 John 3:10, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest.” How are the children of God and the children of the Devil manifested? Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, who live for this gospel of God, and who obey this gospel are born of God are manifested as His own children. In contrast, those who love the world so much that they end up going out to the world all the while professing to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are manifested as not being God’s children.
While all of us may go astray from time to time succumbing to various temptations and weaknesses, in the end, we cannot sustain our lives unless we carry out God’s righteous work. The righteous cannot live without hearing the Word of God. This is simply impossible. The Apostle John said here in 1 John 3:10, “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” Just as the Scripture says, anyone who, despite claiming to have received the remission of sins, does not practice righteousness, does not love his brothers and sisters, and instead holds a grudge against them in hatred, is not of God. Those who are of God love all the members of God’s Church as their spiritual brothers and sisters, and they continue to work hard to spread the gospel. Because I am preaching the Word of God, I can’t help but emphasize this point to you whenever I have a chance. It’s because this is what it means to practice righteousness. That’s why we are spreading the righteousness of God in every way possible, through our testimony and through our sermon books alike. And we are carrying out this righteous work together in unity.
From reading 1 John, we can grasp who among all the countless people in this world belongs to the Devil, and of course, who sins against God. We can discern such people even if they don’t say anything, for they are known by their fruit. Anyone who cares only about himself wants nothing else but a bigger more extravagant church for himself, thinks of the saints as his own slaves, enriches himself by whatever means, and seeks to domineer over the congregation—such people are not of God. Even in God’s Church, we find some people who try to rule over the born-again saints, taking advantage of them and exploiting them for their own selfish gains.
Surprisingly, there are quite a few people like this. For example, consider Jinhee Lee. Lee tried to lord over and exploit the workers of the Church and its members, thinking of them as little more than his own tools. He preferred for the congregation to bring offerings to him rather than to drop the offerings into the collection box. Even as he was a minister, he didn’t even give a tithe. While many saints give a tithe individually, each branch church also offers a tithe to the New Life Mission to fund its gospel-preaching activities. Yet, wherever Lee went, he didn’t even make this contribution.
Whereas the New Life Mission keeps its finances completely transparent, Lee was far from being transparent. At first, we gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought that it was just a minor oversight resulting from forgetfulness or a busy schedule, but soon it became a routine for him. In contrast to all the other ministers who were making sure that their church finances were transparent, Lee would not disclose any financial information at all until he was prodded about it, and even then the disclosure wouldn’t last long. What was at issue was not the amount of money involved, but rather, it was a matter of principle. We tried to admonish him on numerous occasions and patiently waited for him to change his way, but he just refused to listen.
I am not speaking of Lee here because I somehow hold a personal grudge against him as a person. Rather, I am using this example to show that there are some people in the Church trying to lord over the saints even while professing to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is how those behave who do not practice righteousness nor serve the gospel. So, we can clearly discern God’s children from the Devil’s children by looking at how they walk. Consider someone who does not love his brothers and sisters but instead hates God’s people. Is this person of God or the Devil? This person clearly belongs to the Devil. Has this person been saved from all his sins, or is he yet to be saved? He has not been saved yet. Is this person light or darkness? He still has not become light, for there is no Holy Spirit within him, therefore, he is still darkness.
At the time the Apostle John wrote his epistles, he was ministering in God’s Church. According to oral tradition, near the end of his life the Apostle John became so fragile in his old age that he couldn’t preach while standing up. So, the members of the Church carried him to the pulpit on a stretcher, and he preached while lying in that stretcher. He didn’t talk much either, just admonishing the congregation to love one another. That was it. All that he said in his sermon was asking the congregation to love one another, to encourage each other, and to live for the righteousness of God and the spreading of the gospel. The congregation all understood the Apostle John’s message and lived out their faith as taught and admonished.
It’s only after the passing of this John that deceptive false prophets belonging to Satan slipped into the Church and began corrupted the Word of God with the things of the world, all the while professing and pretending to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As a result, of this deception unbelievers came to outnumber the true believers, and these false believers ended up usurping the Church. Even though they claimed to preach the Word of God, they were actually preaching a corrupted version of it rather than the pure gospel of the water and the Spirit. Eventually, these false prophets erased the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that it became little more than a faint memory, dismissing it as being too elementary. In its place, they began preaching only about the righteousness of man. This is what led Christianity to degenerate into such a sorry state that it finds itself in today.
My fellow believers, I consider it God’s special work, that today, you and I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and are spreading this gospel to the nations of the world. Do you also think so? It is indeed a miracle. We believe in the same gospel as believed and preached by the Early Church, and we are now preaching this gospel all over the world. Our Church is the greatest church in the world. While its number may be small, its quality is peerless. Can you think of any church in this world that has so many people who have become God’s own children by hearing and believing in the gospel wholeheartedly? Is there any other church filled with so many redeemed saints who received the forgiveness of sins? No, of course not! Indeed, we know that our Church is a truly amazing work of God and a marvelous miracle.