“‘These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.’ Then some of His disciples said among themselves, ‘What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?’ They said therefore, ‘What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.’ Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, ‘Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.’”
Terrible Things Will Happen in the End Times of the World
Do you remember what the Lord said would happen in the last days of the world? He said that when this time comes, the born-again who believe in Jesus would be hated by the world. Just as Jesus was persecuted by the people of the world when He was on this earth, so would His believers be hated and persecuted by the world. The Lord also said that when the end times come, a certain nation or a certain organization would segregate those who have been born again through Jesus. This is described as being driven out of the synagogue (John 16:2). When the hour comes for the Lord to return to this earth, the Great Tribulation of seven years will unfold, and in these days of tribulation everyone who does not receive the mark of 666 will be sought after and killed.
To prepare for this time, our Lord said in John 16:1-4: “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
My fellow believers, it is absolutely critical for us to lead our lives of faith properly. Many Christians lead their lives of faith hidden in the forest of religion—that is, they practice Christianity merely as a matter of religion rather than faith—but such people cannot overcome the end times. The seven-year Great Tribulation is not too far away. The end times will surely arrive within our present age. If you don’t have the real faith and are instead satisfied with a nominal faith to live hidden among the religious people of the world, then when the Great Tribulation comes, you will find yourself among those clamoring to receive the mark of the Beast and you yourself will also receive it. Even worse, you may even take the lead in persecuting and murdering the born-again, as though receiving the mark for yourself weren’t enough. So you must truthfully believe in the Lord with all your heart instead of just pretending to believe. You must live by believing in the Word of God wholeheartedly.
Let’s try to imagine here what might happen when the end times are here. Given how weak we already are, if some officials from a government agency ordered us to receive the mark of the Beast, wouldn’t we consent in fear? Since this hasn’t actually happened yet, you may just shrug it off, thinking that you can just refuse to receive the mark. But imagine that you are dragged by some government agents and asked, “So we hear that you are refusing to cooperate with our global unity organization. Is this true? Are you really going to refuse to cooperate with us? We’ll give you one more chance. Either you receive the mark, or face your death. It’s up to you.” Anyone who doesn’t have faith in the Word of God will choose to receive the mark at that very moment.
So you say trembling, “What should I do then?” “It’s very simple. You just have to receive one mark either on your right hand or your forehead. That’s all. It won’t even hurt. It’s as simple as piercing your ear.” While you hesitate, you see a huge guillotine. “Either you receive the mark, or you kneel before this guillotine and stick your head into it. The choice is yours. Yes or no? Make up your mind now.” The people of the world will be violent in those days. Anyone who disobeys them will be arrested at the spot and executed right away.
My dear fellow saints, the end times will indeed be filled with terrible events. Since this will be the last chance for the Devil to rule over the world, he will not remain quiet. The Devil will put up his last-ditch fight and go berserk until the very end. Not only the born-again but also those who have not been born again will face tremendous tribulations. Fire will rain down from the sky, a pandemic will break out all over the earth, and the world will turn completely chaotic ravaged by all kinds of disasters. In this world the Devil will persecute the born-again and murder them.
Knowing beforehand that the seven-year Great Tribulation will come, our Lord told us to prepare for the hour when the born-again saints are persecuted and killed. So if your faith in Jesus is only a pretension, then you will be snared by the Devil on that day for sure. In these end times, you will have to defend your faith by yourself, for no one else will come to your assistance. Although those who have lived in this world by faith will not renounce their faith even if their lives are threatened, those who have lived only for their own flesh will beg for their lives, asking to be spared just once. There will be no mother’s love great enough to give herself up to spare her child. Everyone, whether a parent or a child, will have to choose to either receive the mark or face certain death.
This is what today’s Scripture passage teaches. It’s written, “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them” (John 16:2-4). As such, if you live like the bat in Aesop’s Fables, saddling on the fence unsure of your faith and swept away by the wind of the world, then your nominal faith will disappear and you will inevitably end up receiving the mark on the last day. And even at the moment of death, such people will beg cowardly to spare them just once and throw away their faith without any hesitation.
The Book of Revelation Speaks Clearly about What Will Happen in the End Times
It’s written, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:9-10). That’s right. Here our Lord said “anyone.” So you must decide now whether you will choose martyrdom or not.
But there is one thing that you have to be careful here. Just because you’ve been asked to make your decision, you shouldn’t determine yourself to embrace martyrdom on your own will. What you need here is not your will of the moment, but true and sincere faith. Whether you truthfully believe in every Word of the Lord is what’s really important. When the hour of the last tribulation comes, you will act according to your faith.
You may think now that you will never accept the mark, but we all know just how weak man’s willpower is and how easily it can be broken at some prodding. Even among us, I am sure that there are some people who, despite being so determined, will end up receiving the mark when their lives are threatened. Such people will choose to receive the mark rather than facing execution right away, and thus try to survive even for just ten more days. However, in no time fire and hail will rain down from the sky, making it impossible for them to live anymore. Or perhaps they will come down with some incurable disease and live a wretched life until the day the Lord returns. Unless you have the faith to believe from the depth of your heart that the Lord has clearly saved you with His water and blood, the consequences are as predictable as the scenario I just outlined here.
Seeing our faith, the Lord has already accounted us to be sinless. Now we must choose between two choices, whether we would embrace martyrdom at the last hour of tribulation according to our faith or receive the mark instead. Those with a strong will, who swear that they will never, ever receive the mark, will actually end up receiving it faster than anyone else. Just as Peter had betrayed Jesus despite having sworn to never betray Him, your own willpower is bound to be broken. Man’s willpower is nothing. Even when it comes to those with a strong determination, if enough pain is inflicted on them and inducements are offered to them, most of them will crumble in no time. The determination of man cannot last even a month, far less a year. That’s why referring to the willpower of man, a proverb in Korea says that resolutions last only three days. Most people see their resolution last three days; for the stubborn, it may last for two months; and even for those with a remarkably strong willpower, it will last no more than a year. What’s the same for everyone, however, is that all will surrender sooner or later.
We Prepare Our Faith for the End Times Not by Strengthening Our Own Resolve, but by Solidifying Our Faith in the Word
You must never trust in your own human determination. No matter how resolute you may be, there is no one who can stand up to violence to the end. If you’ve been to a psychiatric hospital, you may have seen the demon-possessed going berserk, screaming, rolling on the floor, and shouting out all kinds of nonsense. But even the demons in them tremble and stop their seizure at the first sight of the hospital workers wielding batons to subdue them. Even when someone is demon-possessed, he is subdued into silence when violence is inflicted on him, and that’s because everyone is fundamentally afraid of pain. This shows just how weak man’s determination is.
Therefore, whenever the Word is preached to you in these ordinary times, you must believe in this and live out your faith accordingly. Even though your acts are insufficient, if you have a strong faith, then this in itself is sufficient. But if you don’t believe, then everything is futile. Unbelief renders everything useless. It is now at this very moment that you must believe. When the day comes for your martyrdom, it is the very faith you now have that will enable you to overcome your fears. The Holy Spirit will remind you of the Word that you had heard before, and He will strengthen you and embolden your heart with resolve so that you may boldly choose martyrdom over the mark of the Beast. At that time the Holy Spirit will also put words to your lips to speak out your faith.
However, if you don’t believe in the Word of God, then it’s all useless. You can never overcome the Devil by relying on you own human strength. Through the Word, we must reach a clear understanding of what will happen on the last day, and we must believe in the Word of God now to prepare for that day. When the end times come, the Devil and his followers will seize the born-again and force them to receive the mark, and they will surely kill whoever refuses to receive the mark.
However, God also said that He would provide a way of escape to those who have truly lived by faith. It is therefore absolutely indispensable for us to live by faith. I admonish each and every one of you to lead your life of faith not by your own willpower, nor by your own stubbornness, nor according to your own circumstances, nor by your own tact, but by genuine faith.
My fellow believers, when the last day comes, the born-again will be clearly distinguished from everyone else who has not been born again. Those who have not been born again will take the lead in arresting and murdering the born-again. The born-again will not try to escape from them. The faithful will not succumb to cowardice but defend their faith even if they are beheaded, and they will face their end boldly by this faith. The faithless, in contrast, will struggle cowardly to save their lives, only to die a wretched death in the end.
We must lead our lives by the right faith. We must live by faith this very moment and also in the future. Let me reiterate once more here that your own human will and resolve are ultimately useless.
When the Holy Spirit Comes, He Tells Us Three Things
When our Lord told His disciples that He was going to His Father, the disciples were grieved. But the Lord said to them, “It is for your own good that I go to the Father. I will send you the Helper when I leave. I will send you the Holy Spirit.” And the Lord said that the Holy Spirit will speak to us of three things when He comes: It is written, “When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).
Let’s look at each of them here. First, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin. What then is sin before God? The Bible says that none other than unbelief is sin: “Of sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:9).
Unbelief itself is sin. Unbelief in what then? It refers to unbelief in what our Lord said, in the Word of God. Although people wrong each other and commit sin against one another, in God’s sight, there is a distinct, fundamental sin that sends one to hell. This offense that leads one to be cast into hell is not believing in the Word spoken by our Lord. Refusing to believe that God was conceived in the body of the Virgin Mary to come to this earth as a Man, that He took upon all our sins and washed them away by being baptized, that He atoned for all those sins by being condemned in our place on the Cross, and that He was resurrected in three days to accomplish our salvation—this is the very sin that condemns one to hell.
Why did Jesus then say in the Bible, “Of sin, because they do not believe in Me”? After all, there are many other sins than just the sin of not believing in the Lord, from murder to adultery, theft, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, and so forth. Why is it then written in the Bible that not believing in the Lord is sin? Actually, because the Lord took away all the sins of world—that is, all the sins of mankind—the sins we commit out of our weak flesh have nothing to do with whether we go to Heaven or not. In other words, no matter what kind of sin we may commit in this world, our sins can still be remitted away as long as we believe in Jesus as our Savior and in the gospel through which He has saved us, the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, there is one sin that cannot be forgiven, and it is the sin of rejecting the God-spoken Word of salvation. The Bible defines such a sin as the very sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-29). While the sins that are committed out of human weaknesses can be remitted through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven by any means.
Some people say that although every sin can be remitted away, the sin of adultery cannot be forgiven, for it is committed in one’s body, which is God’s temple. But this is complete nonsense. It is also contrary to the Word of God to say that the sin of murder cannot be remitted, or that while small sins can be remitted, great sins cannot be remitted. Our Lord blotted out even Hitler’s sins. He had shouldered even such atrocious and perfidious sins in this world.
Why, then, do people still go to hell for their sins? In God’s sight, the sin that disables them from entering Heaven and instead condemns them to hell is the sin of not believing in the salvation of Jesus and all the Word spoken by Him. The Lord said, “Of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” He said that when the Holy Spirit the Helper comes, He would convict us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
Through the Church, the Holy Spirit therefore says to everyone: “What is the sin that dooms you to hell? It is the sin of not believing that Jesus has remitted away all your sins through His water and blood. That’s the sin that condemns you to hell. That’s the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Although you can be remitted from every other sin, this sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven.”
Anyone who blasphemes what God has done for the salvation of all human beings can never be forgiven. As it is written, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), the Lord is the God of the Word who came to this earth in the flesh of man. He then accepted all our sins through His baptism, was condemned to death on the Cross, rose from the dead again in three days, and ascended to the right hand of the throne of God the Father. He has thereby saved us perfectly. Anyone who doesn’t believe in this has no choice but go to hell. God said that if anyone adds anything to this Word or subtracts from it, his name will be erased from the Book of Life and God will pour down all the curses written in the Bible. Therefore, we must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by Jesus exactly according to the Word.
God the Holy Spirit has clearly spoken through His Church: Jesus the Son of God came to this earth as a Man, washed away all the sins of mankind by being baptized at the age of 30, was condemned by shedding His precious blood on the Cross, rose from the dead again in three days, and is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. Whoever believes in this Jesus will be saved and enter the gates of Heaven instead of hell. God the Holy Spirit bears witness of this Jesus. He has spoken clearly about the sins of mankind and about those who are doomed to hell.
Second, the Holy Spirit bears witness of righteousness: “Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more” (John 16:10). This righteousness refers to the righteousness of God, and it implies that God has completed our salvation, and the Lord has accomplished the work of salvation to deliver us from sin once and for all. When our Lord came to this earth, He accepted all the sins of this world through His water baptism at once, died on the Cross once, rose from the dead again, and thereby blotted out our sins all at once. The resurrected Lord is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. Faith in this God is what saves us.
The Lord has fulfilled our salvation perfectly and completely without any inadequacy. There is nothing inadequate to God’s salvation. It is perfect. It needs no further work. To believe that the Lord has saved everyone through the water and the Spirit is to believe in the righteousness of God, and none other than this is salvation. Believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in the salvation of God, is what constitutes righteousness for those who believe in this Truth. Abraham was approved as a righteous man by believing in the Word of God, and on account of this faith he was approved as a son of God, one of His people, and the blessed father of faith. Likewise, so do we also attain righteousness from God all at once by our faith in Jesus as our Savior, by believing that God Himself came to this earth as a Man, was baptized, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, ascended to the right side of the throne of God, and is still alive. Whoever believes in this gospel of salvation fulfilled with the water and the Spirit has now become God’s own child.
It is written, “Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more” (John 16:10). Salvation has already been completed. In other words, the righteousness of God has already been fulfilled. Therefore, there is nothing lacking for us to become righteous by believing in Jesus. Having completed our salvation, our Lord ascended to Heaven and is sitting at the right hand of the Father. Our Lord has made us righteous people. This is what the Lord meant by saying, “Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more” (John 16:10).
Third, the Holy Spirit speaks of judgment: “Of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:11). The ruler of the world here refers to the Devil. It refers to the fallen angel, the arrogant one who stands against God, whose name is Satan the Devil. Jesus Christ judged him when He came to this earth. Through the High Priest named John the Baptist, Jesus accepted all the sins of mankind in the Jordan River, and He was condemned on the Cross. And when Jesus Christ was condemned, He judged the ruler of this world.
We Are No Longer Sinners
Satan had tempted Adam and Eve and made them fall into sin. Having led Adam and Eve to fall into sin, the Devil then became the ruler of mankind. He was the king and ruler of this secular world. All human beings became the Devil’s people and had to obey him. Satan reigned over the human race.
However, when our Lord came to this earth, He accepted all the sins of mankind by being baptized, and giving up His own body, He was crucified. In this way Jesus crucified the sins of mankind to death. Having shouldered all our sins on His own body, our Lord then surrendered His body to the Roman soldiers to crucify Him. He was punished for the sins of mankind by shedding His own blood while shouldering all the sins of the world on His body. Satan therefore could no longer reign over the human race.
Human beings are now no longer sinners. They are no longer doomed to be condemned, nor are they destined to hell anymore. There is no longer any condemnation waiting for them. This means that they have been restored to their original innocence. When God first made man, He had made him in the likeness of His image, and now man has been once again restored to this original state. Actually, the change was even better, for human beings were elevated to be God’s own children and immortal beings never to be destroyed.
Satan was judged at the moment Jesus was condemned on the Cross. The Devil is no longer the ruler of this world nor its master. It is now Jesus Christ who is the King of this world and of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus recovered all the authority of the earth and Heaven from Satan when He came to this world. And He became the King of kings. Having fulfilled all our salvation, Jesus then ascended to Heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit in His place.
The Spirit of Truth Has Come to Us
It’s written, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). The Lord said here that when the Spirit of truth comes, He would lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit the Helper has indeed come into the hearts of all of us who have received the remission of sins by believing in Jesus Christ. Where does this Spirit lead us then? He leads us to the Truth. Put differently, He leads us to all that is true and veritable. This means that the Holy Spirit teaches us about who God is, how we can live an upright life, and what the Truth is. It is the Spirit of God who teaches us about all these things.
Jesus Christ is our Savior, and God the Spirit is our Helper who assists us. The Holy Spirit awakens us from our ignorance and teaches us everything, from who Jesus Christ is to how He has saved us, and who His Father is. So as God the Holy Spirit is with us, He leads us to the Truth, teaches us, and drives out all that is not true from our hearts. Therefore, those who are dwelt by the Holy Spirit do not listen to anything that is not true. They cannot tolerate to hear any falsehood, as it is disgusting to them. They can discern the Truth from the false precisely because the Holy Spirit teaches them.
The Bible says that God the Spirit “will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). Our Lord had His Word written down through the Holy Spirit. This Word was written by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. And today, when you read or hear this Word, the Holy Spirit in your heart comes to you and teaches it to you, so that you would understand what the Word is saying to you today. God the Holy Spirit speaks to you about faith at that hour. Not everyone may be aware of this, but when I read the Bible in my sermons, God the Holy Spirit clearly speaks to me about what He will say today and what truth He wants me to teach you. In other words, it is God the Holy Spirit in me who interprets this Word for you. Therefore, the Holy Spirit does not speak on His own, but He speaks according to the written Word. That He speaks whatever He hears (John 16:13) means that He speaks according to the written Word.
God the Holy Spirit approves us when we believe according to this written Word exactly as it, and He seals our souls as righteous people. I believe that when Jesus was baptized, all my sins were passed onto Him at that moment. I believe that Jesus was condemned on the Cross in my place. I believe that He shouldered all the sins of this world for me and was condemned for everyone in this world! When we believe in the Word of God like this, the Holy Spirit inside us seals us with His approval and assures us of our salvation. That’s why Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper.
God the Holy Spirit never speaks on His own. It is according to what’s written in the Word of God that the Holy Spirit speaks to us, convicts us of sin, saves us, gives us the confirmation of our salvation, teaches us about righteousness and judgment, and rebukes us and commends us accordingly. Like this, God the Holy Spirit fulfills a very important role. This present age is the age of the Holy Spirit.
If anyone just acknowledges the written Word of God exactly as it is, then the Holy Spirit will come into him and seal him with His approval. That is why people come to believe in God. That is why they come to call themselves righteous people. And that is why they have the sure conviction that they will indeed enter Heaven. This is never achieved by our own human willpower or wisdom. Rather, it comes by the assurance of God the Holy Spirit, His wisdom, and His will. God the Holy Spirit says to us, “Surely, you have been saved.” He gives us assurance. He says to us, “You have been saved for sure.” Like this, God the Holy Spirit helps us. We must therefore believe in God the Holy Spirit and every written Word of God.
God the Holy Spirit wrote about Jesus Christ: The Holy Spirit says that this Jesus has saved us from all sins through the water and the blood, through His own flesh and blood. The Lord has saved us not just by the blood, nor by the water alone, but by the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one (I John 5:7). They have all come out of one. So it’s absolutely important for us to believe in the written Word exactly as it is.
That we have the criterion of salvation called the Bible is absolutely critical. You probably don’t realize just how important it is that faith sprang forth not from anything else but the Word of the Scriptures. If anyone believes in God based on man’s own doctrinal catechism rather than the written Word of God, he will be cast into hell as its consequence. What convinces such people of salvation is not the Holy Spirit, but man-made denominations. The end result of everyone whose salvation is assured by his own denomination is nothing more than hell. Only those who are assured of salvation by the Holy Spirit can enter Heaven. Heaven is reserved only for those who are approved by the Holy Spirit.
Whom does the Holy Spirit approve then? He approves those who believe in the Word of God itself exactly as it is. That is precisely why we must believe in Jesus according to the written Word. We can then be approved by God the Holy Spirit and led to the Truth by Him. Those who stand on the Truth led by this guidance, who have the Spirit of God, will find complete freedom for their souls and live more happily than even kings and princes.
Just as the Bible says that God the Holy Spirit “will tell you things to come” (John 16:13), the Holy Spirit does indeed tell us what tribulations we will face in the future, and what glory we will receive, all according to the written Word. Although we will face tribulations, we will also receive glory. The tribulations that we face on this earth are not even comparable to the endless glory that we will enjoy in the future.
Do you comprehend this universe fully? Man can never reach a full comprehension of the universe. This universe is infinitely large. No one has seen its end, and no one will see it either. Because the universe is so expansive, we can only see a limited portion that’s visible to our eyes. Not only is it impossible for us to measure this universe, our thoughts and minds can’t grasp its full extent either. This is the same as our inability to fully comprehend the glory that awaits us.
Our Suffering Is Incomparable to the Glory That We Will Enjoy Forever in God’s Kingdom
We will face tremendous suffering in the years to come. But this suffering is not even comparable to the glory that we will enjoy. Our suffering is momentary, but the glory that we will enjoy is eternal. God the Holy Spirit teaches us about our future.
When the faithful face actual suffering, their faith is solidified even more thanks to the Word of God engraved deep in their hearts. In contrast, those who have no faith in the written Word of God exactly as it is, and instead understand and believe in it according to their own circumstances, situations, or thoughts, will run out of their faith completely when the day of suffering arrives. We must therefore believe in the written Word of God now, at this very moment, exactly as it is.
Every preacher must also speak of only the Word of God. In other words, preachers must speak of the Word of God alone, rather than their own understanding and thoughts. The real sermon is given when the preacher explains the Word of God as led by the Holy Spirit dwelling in his heart and his thoughts and mind are reigned by the Holy Spirit.
You and I will ascend to the Kingdom of Heaven and enjoy infinite glory. That’s because we are qualified to receive the glory bestowed by God, for we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit according to the written Word of God. That is just how precious this Truth of salvation is. The Holy Spirit our Helper teaches all these things to us. The Holy Spirit is always with all of us who have been born again. And it is through the Holy Spirit who is with us at all times that we see the Word of God. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers?
Preaching the Word of God is not just about delivering a sermon. It is fundamentally different from a worldly lesson or a mere hypothesis delivered on some neatly structured manuscript prepared beforehand. The real sermon is about the Word of God. It’s the Almighty speaking His Word through His servants. So whenever we hear God’s Word preached, or whenever we worship God, we must cut off our own will and thoughts as useless branches are trimmed, submit ourselves to God, and listen to the Word with our hearts.
Our Lord said, “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:15). Jesus spoke of Heaven, He spoke of how tribulations will come on our way, and He also told us that even though we will face suffering, we will enjoy even greater glory later on.
Jesus Had to Be Baptized, Die on the Cross, and Rise from the Dead Again
Everything that belongs to God the Father belongs to Jesus. That is why whoever believes in Jesus is saved by God the Father. Those who are rewarded by Jesus are rewarded by God the Father. What Jesus said is what God the Father said to us. Our Lord has shown us what suffering He endured on this earth, and He has also shown us that three days after His death on the Cross, He rose from the dead again. He has made it known to us beforehand that we will also rise again after suffering and dying. Jesus has spoken of everything beforehand to His disciples, to us who would come to believe, to everyone in the world, and even to the Devil.
When Jesus said that He was leaving His disciples, they were dumbfounded at first. So they asked Him, “Where are You going?” Jesus then said to them: “I am going to My Father. But you are sorrowful. When a woman is in labor, she suffers from its pain, but when she gives birth, she gains a great joy. Like this, you will also be sorrowful for a short while when I leave, but because I am leaving you, I will send you the Helper, the Holy Spirit. Once I send you the Holy Spirit, you will gain a great joy through His help. Your salvation will be complete. Your everlasting life will be perfected. And you will become God’s children. Because I have accepted all the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, now I must die on the Cross. I must die and rise from the dead again, and I must ascend back to the Father just as I had come.”
Before His death, before His resurrection, and before His ascension to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the throne of the Father, our Lord told everything to His disciples—about sin, about righteousness, about judgment, about the tribulation to come in the last days, and about the glory awaiting the disciples. As though He were leaving His last will, Jesus had spoken of everything beforehand. He said that although we are sorrowful for a short while, our hearts will rejoice just as a woman in labor, though suffering from her pain, forgets all about this pain of labor when she gives birth to her child.
Our brothers and sisters here who have not given birth are probably having a hard time trying to understand what this passage means. Consider it in the following way then. Let’s say that you are facing an extremely difficult problem, one that is impossible to solve. But this problem has to be solved. It’s an enormously complex problem that will ruin you if it’s not solved, but it will bring a lot of rewards if it’s solved. So you’ve been worried to death over the problem, but one day, all of a sudden it is all solved. You can imagine just how joyful you would be when the seemingly impossible problem is completely resolved. The glory that is finally attained after overcoming the end times is akin to such a great joy.
When Jesus came to this earth to save us, He had to return to God the Father in order to save us completely. Having accepted the sins of the world through His baptism, Jesus had to die on the Cross, rise from the dead again in three days, and then return to the Father. This was no easy task. It entailed so much pain. To the disciples who had been with Him all along, Jesus then explained beforehand why He had to endure such suffering.
“When I leave, I will send you the Holy Spirit. I will send you the Helper. I will give you the Spirit of Truth. Because you believe in Me, I will send you the Holy Spirit so that He would help you, so that your faith would not founder but be strengthened, and so that the Spirit would seal you. When He comes, He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He will convict the world of sin because people do not believe in Me. Whoever does not believe that I have saved everyone through the water, the blood, and the Spirit has all his sins remaining intact, and therefore he himself will pay the wages of his sins. Not to believe that God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh for your sake, and that He was baptized, died on the Cross, and rose from the dead again—this is sin. Not believing in Me is the sin that dooms one to hell.”
“The Spirit will convict the world of righteousness, for I have completed your salvation to perfection for you. And now, I will go to My Father. You have nothing to worry about anymore. Believe in Me. I will judge the ruler of this world. I will vanquish the Devil who has ruled this world as its king. As I will be condemned on the Cross, the Devil that torments you will never again be able to be your king. He can no longer torment you. I am now your Master.”
Jesus Himself said like this. His disciples were puzzled at that time, unable to truly grasp what Jesus was saying to them. However, when Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and the Holy Spirit descended on them just as Jesus had promised, they were finally able to understand what Jesus meant. They realized that Jesus had been right all along. Afterwards, the disciples of Jesus all bore witness of the gospel led by the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. We, too, must realize what our Lord said to us in John chapter 16.
If You Overcome the End Times by Trusting in This Jesus, You Will See a Better World
In the end times, the people of this world will persecute us and take delight in killing us, thinking that they are actually doing God’s bidding. Such people will say, “To purge these people from the face of the earth is how to serve God faithfully. God will be pleased if we kill them.” The Bible says that they will do this because they do not know Jesus nor God the Father. The hour is coming when nations will be all united, as all religions will become one and the entire human race will come together. There will be only one type of people who don’t unite with the world, and these are the righteous. The people of the world will persecute and kill such righteous people.
My fellow believers, I admonish you with all my heart to remember the Word of God when you and I are put to death. There is nothing for us to fear at that time. Regardless of whether we are martyred or lifted into the air with the Lord’s return, all that we have to do is just carry out our work faithfully until the end and meet the Lord in joy. We can endure our suffering by believing with our hearts that there is the glorious Kingdom of Heaven waiting for us after our martyrdom and rapture. We must remember the Word promising us that a paradise on earth awaits us to enjoy all glory and splendor. When that day comes, we must once again remember this Word that we are hearing now. And we must not fear. Whatever we face, we must deal with it by faith.
The Apostle Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). We must go forth by faith. You and I must live by faith alone. We are not some unsaved sinners destined to the fire of hell. We are the righteous. The righteous are those who will enter the paradise where Jesus Christ is, and live there happily forever with the Lord. Realizing who we are, we must live by faith. We must believe in the Word of God at all times throughout our entire lifetime. Today and tomorrow alike, we must always ruminate on this gospel of the water and the Spirit, live by faith until the last day of the world, and thus see a better world unfolding before our eyes on that promised day.
May God’s abundant blessings be with you always!