“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’ Therefore they said to Him, ‘What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’”
The Truth That We Must Know
Before we begin, let us turn to a couple of passages from elsewhere in the Bible. Romans 8:5 states, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Further down, Romans 8:12-14 say, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Our Lord has saved us from all our sins. Our God came to this earth as our Savior and has saved us from all our sins. Knowing very well just how truly weak we are, our Lord came to this earth and took upon the entire sins of all human beings by being baptized at the age of 30. And He carried the sins of the world to the Cross, was crucified and shed His blood, and was thereby accursed and condemned for our sins. Like this, as Jesus has saved us from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, He has become our true Savior. As we live on in this world, we have so many insufficiencies and weaknesses, and yet our Lord came to this earth to become our Savior, was baptized, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby saved us all.
We humans must live by trusting in God. While living on this earth, we cannot help but stumble constantly and abandon ourselves to despair, for we are too weak. That is why we must live by our faith in God. That we can carry on with our lives in this world is all made possible by our faith in God. If we do not trust in Him, we simply cannot survive. It is by placing our faith in God that we can succeed in our businesses and live our daily lives uprightly until the day the Lord calls us home. And it is by our faith in God that we have been freed from all our sins, saved, blessed, and protected by God in our lives.
It is written, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Just as God said so, anyone without faith cannot really please Him, but whoever knows that he is weak and insufficient, and who holds onto the gospel of the water and the blood, thanks for it and believes in it, can attain peace. Furthermore, grace is bestowed by God on such righteous people who know the limits of their human strength, admit their powerlessness, rely on God asking for His help, trust in Him, and follow Him. Such a person is to live a life that is filled with the grace of God.
We human beings are to live by believing in God. Put differently, we human beings cannot be sustained unless we believe in God. That is why God came to this earth to become our true Savior. It is to become our Shepherd that the Lord came to this earth and has saved us the lost souls. When we were wandering in the desert, God Himself came to us and led us to green pastures beside the still waters. We must therefore believe in God. And it is by placing our faith in Him that we can carry on with our lives in this desolate world.
Some Christians think that believing in Jesus is one thing, but living in society is another. They think that their social lives are best led by their own strength. Such thoughts, however, are nothing more than a product of sheer ignorance. It is only by faith that we receive the remission of our sins and also become God’s children. Just as we are saved by faith, it is also by faith that we should live in society.
My Fellow Believers, Take a Look at This Psalm
As shown in the Psalms, after David became king, he waged countless wars. He was someone who believed in God. As it is written, “For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall” (2 Samuel 22:30), it was by his faith in God that he ran over the walls and waged his wars. By his faith in God he prayed to Him and asked Him, and then he got answers to his prayers from God and followed them accordingly. Whenever God’s prophets instructed him, David believed in their words as the Word of God, and he waged his wars, conquered all the nations around Israel, and secured tributes from them all. From his Psalms in the Bible, we can see that David had indeed lived by faith.
Likewise, for us to abide in the Spirit while living in this world is also made possible by trusting in God. All of us must always live by believing in God, never losing our faith in Him. I admonish you all to live by faith without fail. It is my sincerest hope for all of you to really have faith in God just like king David.
We must live with faith, though it may be as small as a mustard seed. Even if you don’t even have this faith as small as a mustard seed, I still admonish you to trust in God, hold onto His Word by faith, and accept the advice of the servants of God, His Church, and your predecessors of faith. You should hold onto the Word of God with your hearts ready to say, “Though I have no faith, if the Word of God says so, then it is right.” Then this will enable your faith to grow into a mustard seed, there will be works of life arising in you, and the power of the Word of God will come to you. This is how faith grows.
My fellow believers, let us live by faith in God. Our Lord said in Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” The Lord is teaching us the lesson that those who live for the flesh seek just the things that please the flesh. And He is also teaching us and making it clear to us that those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the salvation of the other souls.
All of us are debtors to God for His love. That’s why we have to repay God’s love. We are truly indebted to the love of God and His grace of salvation. Had God not saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we would have had no choice before Him but to be cast into hell. Yet through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our Lord has saved us, whom had been all bound to hell. By coming to this earth, being baptized, and shedding His blood on the Cross, our Lord has saved you and me from all our sins. Jesus took upon all the sins of the world through His baptism, so that we may be redeemed from all our sins. He died on the Cross so that we may be delivered from all condemnation, and in doing so He has saved us from all sins.
We are all indebted to God’s love and His salvation. Of course, we are not capable of repaying all our debts to Him for His love, but we should at least live according to how He wants us to live. Although we are born-again people, because we still have the flesh, we sometimes commit carnal acts. However, our status still remains as God’s born-again children. If you believe that Jesus came to this earth and blotted out all the sins that you would commit until the day you die, then you should realize that you are God’s born-again people led by the Spirit.
It is written in Romans 7:5-6, “For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Before we were born again, sinful passions were at work in our bodies. And they made us bear the fruit of death, as God is teaching us here. However, the Apostle Paul also says that now we have come to serve the work of saving souls through the Holy Spirit, since we died to the Law and the flesh, and he tells us to realize this.
Those who follow God must know that their flesh as well as the Law has already died with Jesus. They must grasp this, believe in it, and follow it. What, then, does it mean that our flesh has already died? It means this: We all sin until the day we die, but as our Lord was baptized, He took upon all the sins of the world committed with our flesh, and when He carried these sins to the Cross and was crucified vicariously in our place and instead of everyone all over the world, our flesh also died. Jesus’ death is none other than your death and mine. When Jesus was crucified and His flesh died, our flesh also died.
Therefore, all Christians must believe in Jesus’ baptism, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection. You must believe that when Jesus was baptized, all your sins were passed onto Him. Jesus shouldered all the sins of the world, including even all your future sins that you will ever commit until the day you die, and was crucified and died on the Cross for you. This is what you must believe. It is by faith that we are not overcome by the flesh, nor perish for it, but are instead saved.
We have died to the Law of God also. We are dead to the Law in His Truth. However, what does the Law demand? As it is written, “The wages of sin is death,” the judgment that the Law demands from us is none other than death. Through His baptism our Lord took upon all the sins that we commit by offending the Law. That is why Jesus had to be crucified to death. Now, as much as we are dead to the Law, we are also dead to our flesh, but alive to God—this is what we must believe. We must all believe that our souls have been saved by faith, and that our bodies will also be resurrected.
Today, We Read John 6
In today’s Scripture passage, Jesus said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27). Our Lord taught us not to labor for the perishable food, but to do what brings everlasting life.
This Scripture passage continues on in verses 28 and 29 to say, “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’” Essentially, in this passage Jesus said that to believe in the Lord is to do God’s works. People labor for two different things. They work for the food that perishes, and they also work for the bread of everlasting life. It is for these two things that they labor. And He made it clear that we should labor not for the food that perishes, but for life.
When our Lord performed the miracle of five loaves and two fish on the other side of the Sea of Tiberias, with this small amount of food that was enough for only a single lunch, He fed so many people. The Bible says, “The men sat down, in number about five thousand” (John 6:10). So multitudes followed Jesus, but their purpose in following Him was to obtain only the bread of the flesh. They followed Jesus, in other words, so that they may be fed again with dinner, now that they were fed with lunch.
Of course, we all need the bread of the flesh also. However, what our Lord said is this: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). What happens when we really believe in our Lord? We will receive life then. Our Lord said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Indeed, by giving up His body, our Lord has given us everlasting life.
It is written, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29). While we should all work, we should do what brings us salvation, and what shares salvation with others. How, then, can we do this work of salvation and share it with others? We can do this by eating and sharing the bread of the Spirit, believing that Jesus is the bread of life.
And we must also realize that God does not spurn anyone who comes to Jesus. Our Lord said that He is the bread of life: “Believe in Me. I am the Son of God, the Creator who made the whole universe, and I bore all your sins on My own body. Believe that I am the Savior who took upon all your sins on My body. I shouldered the sins of the world by being baptized, and I was condemned on the Cross. I rose from the dead again, and I have saved you all. If you really believe that I am the very God who enables you to attain life, be saved, and receive the remission of your sins, then you will eat the bread of life, receive the food that does not perish, and reach eternal salvation.” This is what our Lord was saying.
In fact, God our Father has saved us by sending His Son to this earth. To believe in Jesus, the Son of God the Father and our Savior, and thereby receive the remission of our sins and eternal life, is to have the food that does not perish forever. To receive everlasting life, the remission of sin, and this salvation is the will of God, that is, what the Father wants from us.
How did our Lord save us when He came to this earth? How did He become our bread of life? What kind of bread should we eat, so that we may attain life?
Yesterday I spoke about Emperor Qin Shi who tried to find the elixir of life. Nowadays, we hear that kids can grow taller when they are injected with new growth hormones, and we also hear about the development of new hormones that invigorate old people, but we haven’t heard of any panacea that can bring eternal life. If there were some kind of bread that can make you live forever and never die, wouldn’t you eat this bread? Of course you would. That’s because everyone wants to live forever, just as Emperor Qin Shi searched for the elixir of immortality.
When Emperor Qin Shi heard that he would never get old and maintain his youth if he drank the extracts of certain herbs, he sent out his servants all over the world to look for them. So, many of his men traveled all over the world and brought back the best herbs they could find to him. The emperor continued to eat these herbs, but, in the end, he still died anyways.
However, there is the bread of true immortality on this earth. This bread is the body of Jesus. To eat the body of Jesus is to receive eternal life. To eat the flesh of Jesus is to obtain everlasting life.
Jesus gave up His body for us. During the Last Supper on the Passover night, Jesus gathered all His disciples, broke the bread, and gave it to them. And He said, “This is My body.” Jesus said that His body was the bread of everlasting life. Why did Jesus say this? It was because He shouldered all the sins of this world on His body when He came to this earth. The Lord identified Himself as the Alpha and the Omega. This means that He created the entire universe and He will judge the world to open a new and everlasting world to come. To save us humans and to finish this world in His love and justice, He took upon all the sins of everyone on this planet on His body from the beginning to the end. That is why He could say that His body was the bread of life.
Let us turn to Matthew chapter three. We see here Jesus beginning His public life, and the very first thing that He did was to receive baptism on His body from John the Baptist. In Matthew 3:15, it is written, “But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” Why then was the Lord baptized by John the Baptist? And why did He say, “Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”?
Throughout John chapter six, Jesus said, “If anyone eats My flesh, he will never hunger. My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. Anyone who does not eat My flesh and drink My blood will not receive eternal life.” Why did Jesus say this? Why did our Lord say that His body was the bread of life? That’s because when Jesus came to this earth, He accepted all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist, the greatest of all those born of women. It’s because Jesus had accepted the sins of the world by receiving baptism on His body that He said that all righteousness was fulfilled, and that His body had now become the bread of life.
The Lord Was Baptized to Bear Our Sins
Exactly when did Jesus take upon all the sins that you commit throughout your lifetime, all the sins of my entire lifetime, and all the sins committed by everyone else in this world? He took the sins of the world when He received baptism on His body. Just as He said, “For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), it was by being baptized by John the Baptist that Jesus made everyone sinless. John the Baptist fulfilled his duty as the High Priest by passing the sins of mankind onto Jesus through His baptism. Just as the High Priest had passed the yearly sins of the people of the Old Testament all at once by laying his hands on the head of the scapegoat, Jesus came to this earth as the sacrificial Lamb and was baptized to save sinners from sin. He fulfilled all righteousness by being baptized, saying, “For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).
Because of sin, no one can avoid death. Yet everyone wants to live long and keep his youth. Moreover, everyone wants to enter the Kingdom of God as a righteous person without sin. However, because of sin we are to die, because of sin we are to be condemned, because of sin we are to be accursed, because of sin nothing ever goes right for us, because of sin we can’t approach God, and because of sin we can’t avoid hell.
Yet to save such people like us, the Lord was baptized on His body. By accepting all the sins of the world through His baptism, Jesus fulfilled all righteousness. He accepted all sins onto His body by being baptized, and this body of Jesus became the bread of life for all of us. Therefore, the salvation that brings everlasting new life dwells in those who believe that all their sins were passed onto Jesus. The baptism of Jesus constitutes the salvation that brings life. It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we receive the remission of our sins.
How do we believe in God and Jesus to receive the remission of our sins? We have come to be remitted from our sins by believing that Jesus Himself came to this earth to save sinners, took upon Himself all our sins by being baptized, and was condemned as the Lamb of God that carried the sins of the world. It is by being baptized and dying on the Cross that Jesus has saved us, through His own body and blood. Therefore, whoever believes in this Jesus with the heart can attain new life, receive the remission of sin, be made righteous, become one of God’s children, and enter the Kingdom of God.
My fellow believers, what is our Lord trying to tell us in John chapter six? He is telling us to work for the bread that enables us to live forever. What kind of work must we do? We must do what brings everlasting life to us. It is really to receive eternal life that we must believe in Jesus and follow Him.
And after receiving the remission of our sins, we must do the work of sharing everlasting life. God says that only those who have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit can do the work of sharing this life. As Jesus said that to believe in Him whom God sent was to do the work of God, to believe is to work. Believing in Him is not insignificant. To believe is also a work.
My fellow believers, regardless of how the Lord has made it possible for you to be born again of the water and the blood, it is of no use if you do not believe in this Truth. Even though Jesus has saved you by coming to this earth, being baptized, shouldering the sins of the world, and dying on the Cross, if you do not hold onto this Truth by faith, then you cannot receive everlasting life. If you do not believe, the Word of God is all useless for you.
My fellow believers, if you just say with your words that you believe, but do not really believe with your hearts, then your faith is good for nothing. Indeed, the Bible says that with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The Word of God proclaims that you receive everlasting life by believing with the heart that Jesus took upon all your sins by being baptized. It is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit according to God’s Word that we are remitted from all ours sins. This is what Paul really meant by the passage, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
My fellow believers, why did Jesus come to this earth? He came to save you and me from sin. Why was Jesus baptized? He was baptized to accept all the sins of you and me. Why did Jesus go to the Cross and was crucified? He was crucified because He had taken upon all our sins. Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead again? It was to bring us, who had died because of sin, back to life again. By accepting all our sins through His baptism, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, Jesus has given new life to those who believe in Him, bestowing them with everlasting life and the righteousness of eternal salvation. You must believe that it was to remit away all your sins before God that Jesus was resurrected. My fellow believers, you must understand this with the head and believe in this Truth with the heart.
Why was Jesus baptized? Because in the Old Testament sin was passed onto an unblemished sacrificial animal through the laying on of hands, Jesus came to this earth and was baptized in the same way as in the Old Testament. Our Lord Himself made it clear, that He would never cast out those who come to Him. The Lord will never spurn His believers.
The Lord is the bread of life. To those who believe that the Lord bore all the sins of the world on His body by being baptized, and that He died on the Cross and rose from the dead again to bring you back to life, our Lord is the bread of life. By believing with the heart in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross, we can eat this bread. And whoever eats this bread is saved and receives life.
We need to consider for what we should live our remaining lives. We need to think about how we should live; whether we should live according to the work of the Spirit that saves souls, or for our own flesh. Anyone who was born again from sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must believe that he had died to the flesh and the Law, and that therefore he has now become a worker whose duty is to save souls. We all need to believe in this. By this faith, we must follow the Spirit, not the flesh. Since we who have received the remission of sin now have nothing to do with sin, we should work to save other souls. Rather than working for the food that perishes, we must do the work of the Spirit that makes others never thirst again and brings everlasting life to them. We must follow the Spirit.
Quite often, we are bound by ourselves even after receiving the remission of our sins, but how should we live? What is our Lord saying to us today? Is He telling us to follow the flesh? Or is He telling us to follow the Spirit? He is telling us to follow the Spirit. Even though we often follow the flesh, we are still God’s born-again children. No matter how insufficient each of us might be individually, if we only have the faith that has saved us, and faith in the Word of God, then we are all still of those who follow the Spirit. So, let us be mindful of the fact that we are God’s people, the ones who follow the Spirit, no matter how insufficient we might be.
Is it right for us to follow the flesh or the Spirit? Although we sometimes follow the flesh, it is right for us to follow the Spirit, enabling others to attain life. God is telling us every moment that despite our insufficiencies, we are not the people of the flesh, but the people of the Spirit. When we preach the gospel and follow the Spirit, others can receive the remission of sin and attain everlasting life. Herein lies the reason why we must follow the Spirit. But what will happen if we otherwise follow the flesh? If we end up following the flesh, no one can earn new life through us. People will not be saved, in other words. If we work according to the Spirit, others will receive life. That is why we must follow the Spirit.
Some souls have been saved through this revival meeting. Although you and I are in fact full of shortcomings, we’ve worked hard because we follow the Spirit. We’ve made many sacrifices to save souls, and we’ve endured through many insults to lead them. So as a result, many souls have been saved so far. Though you and I might have been insufficient, many souls have received the remission of sin by hearing the gospel from us.
My fellow believers, we must remember what our Lord said here, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). We must labor for the food that endures to everlasting life. Though we are insufficient, we must still follow the Spirit. We must follow the Spirit with all our strength. Each of us must say to oneself, “No matter how insufficient I might be, I am a righteous person who is capable of following the Spirit. I am someone who can save others. For the Lord put my flesh and the Law to death, and I have been raised back to life again, I am capable of following the Spirit.” We need to say this to ourselves. And we need to tell ourselves, “I must follow the Spirit.” No matter how insufficient we ourselves might be, we still need to set our goal at least. We need to make up our minds clearly.
Though you are insufficient, by no means does this mean that you are not the people of the Spirit and God’s children. Because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are God’s children despite our insufficiencies; what is important is whether or not we are capable of following the Spirit, and whether we are qualified to do so. In short, those who have been born again of the water and the Spirit are qualified to follow the Spirit. We are the children of God’s righteousness who can follow Him by faith, and who can labor to save souls by faith. My fellow believers, I admonish all of you to have faith.
And I admonish you to follow the Spirit. Let us all set each of our hearts, and let us realize that though we are insufficient, God has blessed us to follow the Spirit. My fellow believers, no matter how insufficient you might be, know that you are capable of following the Spirit, and do follow Him with this faith. In doing so, God will bear many fruits through you.
Whenever we hold revival meetings, we see many souls being saved from sin. Would this have been possible if each of you had worked individually? Just how many shortcomings do you have on your own, when looked at individually? Would you be able to follow the Lord all on your own individual ability? No. But no matter how insufficient you might be, are you the Spirit’s people or the people of sin? You are the people of the Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit are the people of the Spirit. When the people of the Spirit gather together and pool their strengths to follow the Spirit, the work of salvation is bound to unfold, no matter how insufficient each of them might be. This is the power that God has bestowed upon His Church. Knowing this, we must never fall into despair or be despondent because of our individual insufficiencies, and we must instead follow the Lord in faith united together in His Church.
My fellow believers, faith is not of theory: For us to receive the remission of our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, to follow the Lord after being born again of water and the Spirit, and to live by faith and bear the fruits of faith, faith cannot be merely hypothetical. All the aspects of our faith should be actual and real. What our Lord is actually saying to us is to follow the Spirit, not the flesh. We must follow the Spirit by faith. Although we often stumble and fall, we get up on our feet again, dust off ourselves, and follow the Lord again, which is something that only the righteous can do. No sinner can do this.
My fellow believers, I admonish you all to have genuine faith. Believe that God has saved you perfectly. Do you believe this, my fellow believers? And if you have indeed been saved through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then believe that you are capable of following the Spirit. Believe that you can do God’s work if you labor by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Anyone who is saved should follow the Spirit by faith with a united heart.