“‘It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
For what are you and I now living? We are now working not for something that will perish away, but for something everlasting that will never perish. In other words, we are laboring to save the lost souls all over the world, and we are living to revive people’s hearts. We are doing what is only proper.
Are you now really living for what is everlasting? Of 24 hours in a day, how many hours are we living for the imperishable? It may very well be the case that we are in fact working a few hours for what is everlasting. Far from it, aren’t we actually spending more hours for what will perish away? Except for what we do for the purpose of living for the imperishable, everything else is of the flesh. If you are laboring hard for your own flesh that will rot away, then you are indeed wasting your time.
Of course, we sometimes seek what may seem to be of the flesh, as we need them to support the gospel ministry. But if it’s needed for the gospel, then nothing is of the flesh. Whatever profits the gospel is what is truly spiritual. My fellow believers, unless we live for the gospel, we cannot call ourselves the disciples of Jesus. If we are indeed Jesus’ disciples who believe in the righteous acts that the Lord had done on this earth, then we must now know clearly how we should lead our lives. Even though we are in a body of corruption, we can still carry out incorruptible work with this corruptible body.
I often contemplate how much of my life is really devoted to what is everlasting, to what will never perish. So out of 24 hours a day, when I examine myself to see how many hours I spend for the imperishable work, and how many hours I spend for the perishable work, I come to discover that I am not spending that many hours for the work that will not perish. A certain minister from our Mission counted how many hours he was working for the gospel, setting aside the time spent in bed, having meals, using the bathroom, and so forth, and he found out that there were actually very few hours. The hours that people spend to live for the imperishable are very few indeed. Even if we were to live the whole day for what will not perish, it would still not be enough. Even if we were to devote all our lives, we would still not spend enough hours to live for the imperishable. In other words, very few hours are actually spent to live for what is everlasting.
Are You Spreading the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit?
Our Lord says that it is the Spirit that gives life. We need to ponder here how many souls we are really saving. Is there any soul that has received the remission of his sins because of you, as you preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to him? Only this work that saves souls can be described as an everlasting and spiritual work. The Lord is saying that spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit to others, so that they may also receive the remission of sin, is the only everlasting work that does not perish.
In John 6:51, the Lord said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” He then went on to say: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:53-58).
Like this, John chapter six speaks about how the Lord came as the bread of life and has given us eternal life. In other words, this chapter explains that whoever eats the flesh of Jesus and drinks His blood will receive everlasting life. Those of us who first knew this Truth and believed in it prior to others must spread this gospel of salvation to everyone else. Only then do we actually carry out the everlasting work. If we spread the things of our own, they will all perish away. Only when we preach what the Lord has done for us—that is, His flesh and blood—do we labor for what will not perish forever, doing the work that saves souls. To spread what the Lord has done for us is to labor for the food that does not perish.
Just because we spread our knowledge systematically, this does not necessarily mean that souls are saved. Only when we preach the Lord does the work of salvation arise. Therefore, doing only what the Lord has asked us to do is carrying out His everlasting work. In other words, spreading our own message means nothing.
When the Lord said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world,” the Jews gathered around Him could not understand this, and so they murmured among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” (John 6:52) During the age of the Early Church also, Christians were profoundly misunderstood by the unbelievers because of this passage. At that time, as Christians were persecuted, they hid in underground caverns called the Catacombs to worship God, and the people who first came to Church were shocked to hear when a preacher said in his sermon, “Whoever eats the flesh of the Lord and drinks His blood will receive everlasting life.” Some of them misunderstood this and thought, “Are these people cannibals? How can they devour each other, no matter how starved they may be?” As such misunderstandings were magnified, countless Christians were put to death during the Early Church period.
The Catholic Church performs Holy Communion at every Mass. Its followers eat the wafer distributed by the priest. They believe that when a priest blesses the wafer, this piece of bread actually turns into the body of Jesus. They also believe that when the priest prays over the cup of wine, the wine is actually transformed into the blood of Jesus. This doctrine is called “Transubstantiation.” So Catholics believe that they can receive everlasting life if they participate in Holy Communion to eat the wafer and drink the wine, and this is how they practice their religion.
This, however, is completely unfounded. To believe that Jesus came to this earth incarnated in the flesh, shouldered our sins by being baptized, died on the Cross, and has thereby saved us from all our sins—this is to really eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood. Jesus has saved us from our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He has given us God’s life. For us to accept the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit into our hearts is to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood. None other than this gospel is the very bread that saves our souls.
Let Us Examine Ourselves to See How Much of Our Present Lives We Are Indeed Living for the Lord
Why do you live in this world? Are you living only for material prosperity? No, you are not. It is to work to save other souls that we are living on this earth. The Bible says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This passage means that we should live for the work that saves souls. In other words, rather than living on this earth for what will only perish away, we should live for the work that saves dead souls.
My fellow believers, what is it that makes us keep on living? If your life is completely meaningless, then this can only mean that you are dong something wrong. You have to know why are you living, realizing exactly for what purpose you are carrying on with your life. Only then does your life have a meaning. You must set your mind, knowing that the purpose of your life is to obey the Word of God and carry out the work He has entrusted to you, and you must live by faith according to the will of God. There is nothing more meaningless and tiresome than working without any purpose, not knowing why you are doing what you are doing now.
For our sisters, are you living just to take care of your children so that they would grow up to be successful? But what happens if you live for such a purpose? After looking after your children all this time, you will only die, and your own children will also end up repeating after you, taking care of their children only to perish away like yourself. What is this? This is not the kind of life that is truly lived for what is everlasting. While you are still alive, you must first meet Jesus and receive the remission of your sins. And then you must labor to save other souls. You must charge toward the goal, to the everlasting work. If you don’t know why you are now living—that is, if your life is purposeless—then you life is a completely worthless life.
Yet despite this, most people in this world do not know why they live. So many people fall into alcoholism or drug addictions, as their hearts are empty. Precisely because they do not know why they should live, they spend meaningless days on the treadmill going round and round endlessly until the day they die. The Bible says that such a purposeless life is like that of the beasts that perish (Psalm 49:20).
What about you then? Why do you live? Do you live just because you can still breathe and your heart is still beating? You must have a clear direction in your life, as to why you live, and for what you should live. Our lives are different from that of a beast not just in how we eat, reproduce, and sleep. We don’t live only to accumulate more wealth to live the good life, nor do we live just to take good care of our own children. If these were our purpose in life, just how hollow would our lives be? When we nurture our children to grow up to be successful, they all think that they grew up on their own. It’s so empty and meaningless.
From the very moment you are born, your life is nothing more than a series of steps taken toward your own tomb. How futile is this? What hope do you have in such a life? Our Lord said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). In other word, He told us to labor for what is everlasting. He also said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Our Lord came to this earth to save us and give us eternal life. And He told us to live for what lasts forever. He is saying to us, “You should also live like Me. Live for the gospel, proclaim My name, and carry out the work of the Father that enables everyone to receive the remission of sin. And after you have done all these things, come to Me.”
As Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry by performing the miracle of five loaves and two fish, tens of thousands of people gathered around Him immediately like a cloud and followed Him everywhere. Although they were following the Lord out of a carnal motivation, Jesus actually wanted to give them spiritual blessings. That is why Jesus said to them, “My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed,” telling them that they had to receive everlasting life by believing in His work. He also said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing,” but when the people heard His Word, they all went away. Even many of His disciples left Him then, as it is written, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
In other words, although countless people had received the food of the flesh and were healed from their illnesses while following Jesus around, with His last few Words, Jesus threw cold water on their hearts, who were seeking only the things of the flesh. He said to them, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. I did not come to this earth just to give you bread. I will not give you bread again in the days to come. My desire is to save your souls and give you everlasting life; I am not working just to fill your bellies.” When the people heard this, they left Jesus, thinking, “Well, I guess that’s it; I won’t get any more benefit from Him again.”
Among today’s Christians also, there are many who believe in Jesus only to prosper in their flesh. In other words, many Christians believe in Jesus hoping that their family would be in harmony, their spouses would succeed, and their children would go to a good college—in short, they believe in Jesus only to prosper on this earth materially. However, Jesus came to this earth to save people’s spirits, not to bring prosperity to their flesh. Right now, countless Christians are completely disoriented in their belief.
It is to blot out people’s sins that Jesus came to this earth. He came to revive people’s hearts that were bound in sin. Therefore, if you believe in Jesus just to satisfy your worldly desires, you are committing a grave sin now. It’s a serious sin to misbelieve in Jesus (John 16:9). So, if you believe in Jesus just to prosper on this earth, then you should pack your everything now and leave Jesus right away. You would be better off to just live out in the world industriously and diligently. If you live like this all your life, you will then at least be able to buy a house to put a roof over your head and save enough money to last to your retirement.
Let’s assume here that you make about $2,000 a month from your job. Even if you only spend $1,000 on living expenses and save the remaining $1,000 every month, to purchase a decent apartment in any metropolitan area, you would have to save for at least 30 years. Moreover, if you get sick or injured, then you will end up spending all the money that you had saved for several years. Even if you save for your entire lifetime, all that you will have to pass down to your children as an inheritance would be no more than a house and a car. After dying and leaving this inheritance to your children, what will you then have to show to God? You will have nothing to show to Him. Would you be able to say to the Lord, “Well, I made half a million dollars while on earth”? No, you won’t have anything to show to Him.
The Lord said, “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Mark 9:41). The Lord will remember how you labored for Him. Few people actually do the everlasting work that does not perish. Among the countless pastors in this world, it’s rare to see anyone who leads even one person to be born again. The vast majority of them do nothing in their entire lifetime. Because these pastors themselves live for the perishable, and make others live for the things that perish as well, when they die, they all will be sent to hell to rot away forever. I admonish you to remember what our Lord said, that “it is the Spirit who gives life.” He has entrusted us with this work that gives life.
Let us together turn to John 6:67-68: “Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” Jesus said to the disciples, “If you want to go also, then go. It is the Spirit who gives life. I’ve come to save everyone’s soul, not to heal your illnesses.” We can see here that Peter was born again. When Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” he was confessing the following: “Your Word is the very Word of everlasting life, the Word that saves us. Your Word is none other the Word of God. It is according to Your Word that we have come to live forever, and it is according to Your Word that we have received the remission of our sins. Our happiness and eternal prosperity are all because of Your Word.” That is why Peter confessed, “We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69). What Peter believed in was the very Word of eternal life.
We must know and believe in what our Lord has told us, and we must live properly according to it. I ask you not to waste away your life in vain, living like a pig obsessed with what to eat and drink, only to die meaninglessly. Of course, before we were born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we could not but live such a life. Why? Because we did not know what was the right life. However, now that we have become born-again people, we know that the Lord has placed us on this earth so that we would live for what is worthwhile, for what is everlasting, and for what saves people from their sins. This is why God has given us His Church, our families, and our jobs as well. I admonish you all to believe that God has permitted all our circumstances to make us carry out the work that saves souls. We must indeed have the right spiritual understanding of this issue and live by faith.
Are you still spiritually too immature that your mind is set on the things of the flesh? “How could I succeed and live well on this earth? Now that I have no sin, what should I do to live happily with my family?” Is this not what you want by any chance? I beseech you to realize that we are not on this earth for such perishable things. We exist on this earth for the work that saves other people’s souls, for the work of testifying the Word of God, and for the work of spreading the gospel. You must grasp that it is to entrust us with the Great Commission called the spreading of the gospel that God has made us be born again and placed us on this earth. We must live for the work of saving people’s souls. And we must know that the flesh profits nothing. Apart from the work of proclaiming the gospel of God, everything else will all disappear. It is our spirits that are saved by believing in Jesus. Even though our outward beings are perishing, our inner beings are renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). We must live for the work that saves other souls. We must live the rest of our lives for the treasure that will never disappear forever. Whether at work or at home, we must do everything for the work of saving other souls, and we must concentrate our everything on this purpose. Whatever we do, we must do the work of the Spirit. My fellow believers, whether you eat or drink, I want you to live for the work that the Lord has entrusted to us.
Why did God save you and me? If all that you want from your life of faith is to become rich in the flesh, then leave the Church quietly. If, on the other hand, you want to live all your life spreading the gospel and helped by God, then you should unite with the Church. If someone who has been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit lives only for his own flesh, his heart will never find any satisfaction. Nor will God leave him alone to live like this. If any of God’s beloved ones ends up falling in love with the world, God will infallibly make him return to Him by whatever means necessary.
My fellow believers, our Church is not a worldly church. If you want to live happily in the Lord, then you must live your entire lifetime carrying out the work that saves souls. If this is what you want, then you should stay with us, but if this is not what you want, then you should pack up all your belongings and just leave.
Of course, it’s true that we sometimes find ourselves pursuing worldly things. However, our purpose must still be clear. Even though we cannot always live according to the will of God, let us at least know what the right goal is in our lives. The fact that we still have some insufficiencies is completely different from not knowing the purpose for our lives. It is to save souls that we are praying, preaching the gospel, and expanding the Kingdom of God. We have no other purpose than this. The just must believe only in the righteousness of God, and they must live for this righteousness alone.