“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Over a period of one year, Easter will only last for one week. During the so-called Lent we think about the passion of Jesus for forty days, and we observe the week where Jesus died on the Cross and was resurrected in three days. Although we don’t observe Easter by boiling eggs etc, like others do, we instead strengthen our faith during this time by meditating on the meaning of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. At Easter many people boil and them by writing on the eggshell phrases such as ‘Easter Celebration’ or ‘Jesus Has Risen.’ Those who eat much will eat four and those who overfeed will even eat thirty. They think that by eating in the way they can pay a tribute to the resurrection of Jesus.
Even though we don’t observe this feast in any special way, because if we don’t eat eggs and if we did some of you might regret it, we would nevertheless like some boiled eggs this Easter. If you want to draw pictures or write words on the eggshells, please do so, and please make sure that there will be at least one for each person. However I would like you to eat these eggs thinking about the true meaning of Easter.
The Meaning of Easter
In fact it was all because Jesus Christ had received His baptism from John the Baptist that He went through suffering in Pilate’s court, was adjusted to die despite having no sin, and was crucified. At the onset of His public ministry, the very first work Jesus did was to receive His baptism from John the Baptist. Jesus, who came down to this earth in human flesh to save us as mankind from all our sins, had first of all taken all the sins of mankind through His baptism. Like this He perfected all the righteousness of God by receiving His baptism. Where did Jesus go after shouldering all the sins of the world? By carrying the Cross on His back Jesus went to a place none other than Golgotha. There on that mount He was nailed to the Cross and was hung like a brutal criminal. With a crown of thorns embedded deep in His head, blood flowed freely down. On His body torn marks from whipping were showing all so clearly. Since He received forty stripes minus one, His entire body was in a state of being torn asunder. Though this method of cruelty was the custom according to the Roman law, condemned criminals were whipped like this instead of being put to death right away.
As it is written, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5), Jesus received the baptism and carried all our sins on His back, and died tragically like this because of our sins. But He was resurrected in three days. By dying on the Cross He paid for the wages of all our sins completely, and by being resurrecting in three days, He bore witness to having perfectly saved us. Indeed all these things were the love of God to save you and me from sin.
In fact Jesus was able to die nailed to the Cross like that because He had taken on through His baptism all the sins of everyone in this world without leaving any behind. Because He loved us so much He took on all the sins of the world through His baptism, He was able to be nailed to the Cross in that most cruel way. This was done solely for the salvation of His people; in other words, it was to liberate you and me from our sins. And that is why our Lord died by getting nailed to the Cross vicariously, and then was resurrected from the dead.
Dear fellow believers, please do not cry because you are going through these days of Lent. The days of Lent do not exist for you and me to wail and cry. On Easter Sunday you must have faith that the resurrection of the Lord is also in you. You must not shed tears in vain. If we were to collect our tears and offer it before Jesus, He will not like it at all by telling us that it has salty stench. He will rebuke us for our lack of understanding by saying, “Do you think I got baptized and nailed to the Cross and died so that you may cry like that?” Therefore instead of crying and screaming we must become those who are thankful by believing that the Lord received His baptism and vicariously died on the Cross in order to save you and me from our sins. We must know this without a shadow of doubt: God finds joy from our faith in His love rather than in our crying and screaming of sadness.
Jesus Christ was resurrected on t Sunday morning, the next morning following the Sabbath. According to the Jewish calendar, the Jews keep the Sabbath from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday in accordance with that Law. According to their calendar, Jesus died at 3 PM on Friday just prior to the Sabbath. With the Sabbath approaching the Jews could not just leave Jesus’ corpse on the Cross. Because they did not do any work on the Sabbath and if they had not taken down the corpse, the Sabbath day would have been profaned. So they took down Jesus’ corpse from the Cross with haste, placed the corpse inside a large tomb and closed the entrance off with a large boulder.
A day passed by and the sun started setting on Saturday. The Sabbath was over. With the end of the Sabbath, a new day was starting. The Lord was resurrected at the dawn of this new day. Because the Lord was resurrected on the morning of Sunday, Sundays are now called the Lord’s Day. Like this, Jesus was resurrected. The Lord’s resurrection means that He has thoroughly solved mankind’s sins, curses and destruction. This also means that He has perfected our salvation ‘once and for all.’
Jesus Christ rose up from the dead. Believers in the Lord’s righteousness were able to receive their salvation from sin through His resurrection. The faith of believing in the Lord having received His baptism and having been resurrected from the dead after dying on the Cross is the tremendous faith. If Jesus had ended His ministry by having taken on the sins of the world through His baptism and having died on the Cross, then could He have been the true Way, that is, the Path to Life? No, He could not. Because Jesus rose up from the dead, He was then only able to become our Savior, and regardless of what sort of sinner one may be, everyone has come to be able to obtain salvation from all their sins and obtain new life by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through Jesus Christ. And so, in your heart and mine there is this faith that professes, “Jesus defeated death and rose up from the dead. Even now He is alive and sits on the right hand side of God the Father.” This faith is the proper Christian faith.
As we go on living in this world, we are at times faced with difficult obstacles that are hard to overcome. However, because our Lord is alive and because we have faith in His resurrection, we get to receive help from Him as we pray amid all our difficulties. In your hearts and mine, there has to be faith of believing in the living Lord.
Faith in the Lord’s resurrection is very important. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Do you also believe in it? After having taken on all our sins through His baptism and dying on the Cross, Jesus was resurrected in three days. When we have this faith of believing in Jesus having risen from the grave, you and I get to be clothed in the blessing of rising up again, not finishing our lives with the death of our flesh. Those who believe in Jesus’ resurrection get to possess this faith that they will also be resurrected after the death of their flesh. This is why it is a tremendously important faith.
We sing to praise His resurrection, “He arose! He arose! Halleluiah! Christ arose!” We rejoice not just because of Jesus’ resurrection but also because of the faith that you and I can arise from the death of our flesh as well. There are many people who simply believe in the resurrection of Jesus’ body blindly without any thinking. However, there is not that many people who believe that they shall also rise again after dying like Jesus did. It is because they have not yet wholly been born again.
It is easy for the truly born-again believers to believe that Jesus arose after having died. However, people who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit doubt their resurrection by saying, “It is possible because Jesus is the Son of God.” However, they do not have the faith of believing because they cannot understand their resurrection through their darkened thoughts. And they are frustrated because even though they say they shall rise again they cannot believe in it with their hearts. Jesus clearly said that He would return back to this earth and that He would at that time resurrect the flesh of those who have been truly born again who believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is the resurrection of the righteous.
There are two cases of the resurrection: The first resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous who have the gospel of the water and the Spirit; the second resurrection is for sinners and it will take place 1,000 years later after the resurrection of the righteous. The resurrection of the sinners is to receive the judgment. Therefore, they will never be partakers of the rapture when the Lord returns to this earth for the second time. However, you and I who believe that the Lord received His baptism from John the Baptist, died on the Cross and was resurrected from the dead will be brought back to life and taken away to His Kingdom when He returns. I am thankful that I have come to possess this faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
After Jesus died on the Cross His disciples were trembling with fear. They were thinking that everything, including following the Lord came to an abrupt end. They locked up doors and windows in fear. They were worried that they would get arrested for having followed Jesus and die because of it. And they were feeling helpless on how to get along in this harsh world for there no longer was Jesus who had been protecting them. Jesus appeared before such disciples. Although they had clearly locked all entrances into their home, Jesus appeared by coming through the wall. It was possible because the resurrected body of Jesus was a divine body that could transcend time and space.
At first the disciples were so surprised, but they recognized that He was Jesus and immediately felt glad. They worried about everything, but the moment they saw the resurrected Jesus, how joyful do you think they must have been? Jesus appeared before such disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” The Lord said, “Peace to you,” when He appeared for the second time as well including the third time. To the disciples who had been helpless on how to lead their life, Jesus gave them the mission of spreading this gospel.
After His resurrection, what did our Lord give us? Peace is exactly what He gave us. In the hearts of those who have been born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in other words, in the hearts of those who believe in all the works Jesus has done and His resurrection, He gave peace. And so we will always find peace inside the hearts of those of us who believe in Jesus Christ. At times, the body feels weary but at least the heart feels calm because of this incredible faith. The world swarms and is drowning in sin, and our flesh is weak. Yet, Jesus said twice that we will have peace. Therefore, your heart and mine is at peace. The very first thing that our Lord gave us after His resurrection was none other than peace. In the hearts of those who properly know and believe in Jesus Christ, there is peace. Peace arises in their hearts owing to the overflowing joy by professing, “Now, there is no sin in my heart. Jesus has taken it all away! He has solved it completely! My heart feels joyful and good. It is truly good.”
Besides Peace, What Else Did Jesus Give to Us?
That is undoubtedly the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a look at our Scripture reading in the Book of John chapter 20 verse 22: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” The resurrected Lord told the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit. This means that the Lord Jesus has given the Holy Spirit as a gift to those who have received the remission of sins by believing that He came to this earth, took on the sins of all mankind by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and was resurrected from the dead. The day on which the Holy Spirit came down to the disciples was the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came down into the disciples when they were gathered together after fifty days had past since the death of Jesus Christ through crucifixion as is recorded, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). Like this, the Lord poured His Holy Spirit on the disciples who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Lord blotted out the sins of this world with His baptism and His death, and then after having been resurrected from the dead, He gave His disciples the Holy Spirit. These passages mean that the Lord will give the Holy Spirit, along with the remission of sins, as a gift to all those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus Christ took on all the sins of mankind by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, and after having died on the Cross and then being resurrected from the dead, He gave the faithful disciples the Holy Spirit as a free gift. What is clear here is the fact that the Lord gave His disciples the Holy Spirit as a gift after having been resurrected from the dead. After completing His salvation with His resurrection, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit as a gift to those who believe in this gospel Truth, that is, those who have received the remission of sins in their hearts.
What were the disciples of Jesus like prior to the resurrection of Jesus? When Jesus was practicing many miracles and showing His powers, they were loyal to Him and displayed a strong will by saying, “I will follow you to your death, Lord. Even when everyone forsakes you, at least I will not deny you.” But just as Jesus got arrested and taken away by the Roman soldiers, they were all scattered like sheep without a shepherd. There was a disciple who sold Jesus for 30 silver coins, and there was another one who had denied Jesus three times when they asked him about his relationship with Jesus, and then he told them he did not know Him. When the resurrected Jesus appeared in front of this fearful disciple, his own will and rightness had all become broken down.
Jesus received His baptism from John the Baptist, died on the Cross and was resurrected from the dead. When Jesus was resurrected and appeared before the disciples, He told them to receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus was telling the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit as He breathed on them. The Lord had poured the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, onto His disciples. Jesus was born on this earth, and through John the Baptist, He received His baptism with which He took the sins of this world away. Afterwards, He died vicariously on the Cross in order to pay the full price for those sins. Then He was resurrected in three days and defeated Satan victoriously; He then poured the Holy Spirit onto His disciples. This means that He has sealed us with the Spirit of God. In other words, He has confirmed our salvation from sin.
If anyone wants to receive the baptism of the Holy Sprit before God, they must believe in this truth that Jesus Christ took on all the sins of the world ‘once and for all’ through His baptism, and that He died on the Cross for He had taken on the sins of the world; and that He was then resurrected from the dead. The biblical truth is this, only when you receive the remission of your sins by believing in this Truth, can you receive the Holy Spirit from God and not before. Today’s Scripture passage means precisely that. It is a very important to know and have the faith that one gets to receive the Holy Sprit only after having received the cleansing of all your sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we don’t believe that Jesus Christ has completely blotted out all our sins by taking them away ‘once and for all’ by the baptism He received from John the Baptist and dying on the Cross, we cannot receive the cleansing of our sins. If that is the case, then we will never be able to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. We have to believe that Jesus took all our sins by receiving His baptism, that His death on the Cross means my death, and that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is my resurrection. And only those who believe in this truth get to receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. However, those who do not believe in this Truth, in other words, those who still have sins remaining in their hearts for not having received the remission of their sins because they don’t or refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit despite their faith in Jesus cannot receive the Holy Spirit.
After being resurrection from the dead, what was the very first thing that Jesus said to His disciples when He appeared before them? He said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). And He then breathed on them by saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” and gave them the Holy Spirit personally (John 20:22). This shows us clearly that our Lord has given the Holy Spirit as a gift to those of us who believe in the baptism of Jesus Christ, His blood of the Cross, and the fact that Jesus Christ has become our Savior. Jesus Christ received His baptism from John the Baptist in order to take on all our sins, and He cleansed them away by being hung on the Cross. His flesh was torn apart with the wild unmerciful whipping and He was nailed to the Cross and shed His blood to death all because of our sins. His resurrection was to give us the true resurrection and everlasting new life. New life friends! We had to be put to death because of our sins. But instead Jesus blotted out all our sins by having taken them onto His body personally, and by being resurrecting from the dead was to pour upon us this new life, He gave to us who believed in Him this new life. The Lord has allowed those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to live forever in the Kingdom of God.
The Lord has given the Holy Spirit to us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, whoever has received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit receives the Holy Spirit from the Lord. Do you have the Holy Spirit in your heart? The baptism of the Holy Spirit means to receive the Holy Spirit. The Lord has made it so that those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. However, there are many Christians today who have a misconception about the baptism of the Holy Spirit due to not knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We can find out how to receive the Holy Spirit according to the Scriptures by looking closely into the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus Christ received His baptism and was nailed to the Cross because of our sins. He was bruised because of our sins and transgressions. He saved those of us who believe in His love. In other words, He has perfected our salvation with His resurrection. The remission of sins and the Holy Spirit come down to those who truly believe that the Lord was resurrected to give us new life.
Dear fellow believers, have you received the Holy Spirit by having received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do you have the Holy Spirit in you heart? Have you truly received the remission of all your sins? If there is no sin in your heart, then you have received the Holy Spirit for sure. Appearing before His disciples, Jesus told them to receive the Holy Spirit.
God the Father and Jesus, as well as the Holy Spirit are all one. God the Father promised salvation through Christ; Jesus the Holy Son realized the promise of salvation by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, dying on the Cross and being resurrected; and the Holy Spirit witnesses the work of redemption the Lord has completed through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He helps us and works in us so that we may believe in this Truth. Hence, the Holy Spirit comes inside a person’s heart the very moment when that person receives salvation from his or her sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We need to know that prior to this, the disciples did not have the Holy Spirit. Although they had believed in Jesus, the Holy Spirit was not inside their hearts. Although they had known that they will be given the Holy Spirit for Jesus had told them so, they did not as yet have the Holy Spirit before then.
Actually, when was this Holy Spirit sent down to this earth? The Holy Spirit was given on the first Pentecost and only to those who believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead after He had received His baptism and died on the Cross. Before this event did the servants of God have the Holy Spirit? No. Before, God at times spoke to the servants of God through the Holy Spirit. God had spoken by touching upon the hearts of the servants of God. To put it more simply, when we were still sinners, God worked on the outside of our hearts. He had spoken outside your hearts, and when the work was finished, He did not do any more work. But only after Jesus was resurrected from the dead did the Holy Spirit publicly came into the hearts of His disciples, that is, only to those who truly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Do you understand this?
In the Old Testament we find someone like King Saul, a typical man of the flesh, who prophesied by speaking in tongues amongst the prophets. And so people wondered and said to one another, “What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 10:11). However, that was an account that God allowed Saul to prophesy by inspiring him for just that moment. Afterwards the Holy Spirit left him. Saul’s heart became empty again. And so by him not believing in God, evil spirits entered into that space, and Saul who had become a king because of God, rose up against Him.
Is the faith those who have received the remission of their sins for all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit different from that of the disciples of Jesus? Is there a difference between the faith of Jesus’ disciples and those of us who currently believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? There is no difference. The way Jesus’ disciples had believed back then and the faith that we currently have are exactly the same. Therefore, just as the disciples of Jesus had received the Holy Spirit as a gift, the Lord has also given the Holy Spirit as a gift to those of us who currently believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He has given the Holy Spirit as a gift to those of us who currently believe in the fact that Jesus has blotted out all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
To whom did the Lord give the Holy Spirit too? Can a person who has sin in his heart receive the Holy Spirit? We need to know that the Holy Spirit will not come into a heart of any sinful person. Did Jesus appear before just anyone and told that person to receive the Holy Spirit? Did He just ask anyone who came across His path regardless to receive the Holy Spirit? No, He certainly did not. Jesus appeared specifically before His disciples and ordered them to receive the Holy Spirit. They had faith in His baptism, death on the Cross and His resurrection. Jesus is the Son of the living God. And the Apostle Peter said that ‘the water’ is the antitype of our salvation, that is, Jesus’ baptism (1 Peter 3:21). The Apostle Paul also said, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). This means that all the disciples of Jesus believed in His baptism. And they had this faith that believed the reason why Jesus died on the Cross, and what gave them this new life in the resurrection of Jesus. For this reason alone, the Lord gives the Holy Spirit to those who have received the remission of sins by faith through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and not before. We can conclude it like this.
In this day and age there are many Christians who say that they have received the Holy Spirit even though they have sins in their hearts. But that is not the case. A person who still has sins in his heart right now can never be regarded as someone who has received the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was resurrected, He said to His disciples, “Received the Holy Spirit. Peace be with you.” All Words spoken by God are extremely important; but the words spoken by Jesus when He was resurrected are even more important. Therefore, regarding our faith we must think about how we can receive the Holy Spirit first and then to believe accordingly. The Bible tells us exactly what kind of people can receive the Holy Spirit. Through the Word of God we can see clearly how our Lord had saved us from our sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and what He had given us after He gives us our salvation.
On the first Pentecost, which is the fiftieth day following the death of Jesus on the Cross, God poured the Holy Spirit on the disciples. At that moment the Holy Spirit came into the disciples of Jesus who were gathered together in a room. Did the disciples believe the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Yes, they surely did. The Holy Spirit came into them when they were all praying together. The disciples who had received the Holy Spirit started speaking in tongues.
However, there are many people who misunderstand this. To receive the Holy Spirit one must first receive the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and also believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but people think that one can receive the Holy Spirit by gathering together and praying fervently without any qualification. And they go on thinking that speaking in tongues is the proof that the Holy Spirit has come into them. Hence, they put in all their efforts into speaking in tongues by any means possible.
But we need to know that we can never receive the Holy Spirit by exhausting every means. Our Lord did not give the Holy Spirit to those who try to exhaust themselves. In the last days many false miracles will be occurring because of the devil’s schemes, but the work of the Holy Spirit manifests itself through the gospel Words of the water and the Spirit. And so amongst the many tongues spoken by Christians, many are not the work of the Holy Spirit but of an evil spirit. The church of Corinth was a church abounding in speaking in tongues, but rather than being filled with the Holy Spirit, they were experiencing a number of problems. Speaking in tongues is not the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. I hope you will have no misunderstanding regarding this matter.
Before He was arrested, Jesus said to His disciples, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). He had already promised to give the Holy Spirit to the disciples. The Helper is the same as the Holy Spirit, and this fact is written in detail in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” This Holy Spirit resides in the hearts of all the saints who have been born again in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He teaches these saints and bears witness of Jesus Christ. Regarding the work of the Holy Spirit, it is spoken in detail in the Gospel of John chapter 16 verses 14 and 15.
Appearing before the disciples for the third time after His resurrections, Jesus showed them evidence of His resurrection. By telling Thomas to put his hand into His side, Jesus proved that it really was Him, and also He shared meals with them. Jesus went to the seashore in search of His disciples who were fishing and helped them to catch much fish by saying, “Have you caught many fish? Cast the net on the other side of the boat where the water is deeper.” Staying on the earth for forty days after His resurrection, He witnessed many things and spoke about the Kingdom of God. Then on the first Pentecost, the fiftieth day since the death of Jesus on the Cross, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples.
Appearing before those who had received the remission of their sins, the Lord told them to receive the Holy Spirit. People who have received the remission of sins are those who believe that Jesus came to this world and took all the sins of the world upon His own body through His baptism, died on the Cross because of those sins, was resurrected in three days, and then ascended to the Kingdom of Heaven. Like this, Jesus took on all the sins that we commit in this world━sins due to our weakness, sins due to our arrogance, sins that we commit because we are fleshly and all the sins that we commit with our thoughts or acts. Truly He was bruised because of our transgressions. Our Lord had even taken on all those sins we will be committing in the future. Then He died on the Cross ‘once’ and resurrected from the dead ‘once.’ He thus through this saved us completely. And to those of us who believe in this, the Holy Spirit comes. The Holy Spirit does not come just because you gather together and make a terrible so-called holy noise. Furthermore, He will not come just because you speak in tongues. Do you understand this? The Holy Spirit comes only to those who realize the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in the resurrection of our Lord.
But why do you think God gave the tongues to certain people? In Korean, ‘tongues’ means a regional dialect. In other words, it is a patois. God had given this special gift of speaking in tongues so that the disciples might use it in spreading the gospel to people from other regions who were visitors. And the Book of Acts tells us clearly that when the disciples of Jesus spoke in tongues, the multitude came together, and were confused because everyone heard them speak in his own language (Acts 2:6). After all speaking in tongues was a small miracle used for the purpose of spreading the gospel.
They cannot be considered to have received the Holy Spirit just because they were speaking in tongues on their own. Go to any place where they claim to show this so-called miracle of speaking in tongues. You cannot imagine just how tumultuous they are. Shouting out incomprehensible words from the top of their voices, they claim that they are speaking in tongues.
However, people who believe in Jesus by having truly attained the enlightenment in the gospel of the water and the Spirit aren’t that loud. It is because even if we don’t shout out loud, the Lord hears our words. Although I cannot say everything in fine detail here, it is a clear fact that Jesus has given those who have received the remission of sins the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Dear fellow believers, did you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
People have much interest in the baptism by the Holy Spirit these days. And there are many authors who have written many books on this subject. But we will not find anyone who has written correctly about the Holy Spirit. Because they themselves have never been a true disciple of Jesus, they are unable to properly understand the Holy Spirit. As they hold a pen and start writing this and that with great self-confidence, it may seem as though everything is complete, but when they actually read what they have written they soon realize that it is nothing but a verbose style full of useless words. Unless one has received the remission of sins in his heart, he cannot receive the Holy Spirit and therefore cannot write about the Holy Spirit.
What else did our Lord give us who have received the remission of sins, besides the Holy Spirit and peace? It is precisely the authority to forgive the sins of others. Let us read together verse 23: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jesus gave His disciples the authority to forgive sins. Following peace and the Holy Spirit, this is the third thing that the Lord gave to His disciples. This authority is none other than power. Clearly the Lord has given the disciples this power to make others receive the remission of their sins.
Authority is something truly mighty. When I was a little boy, the roads in our town were not so grand like we have these days and so rocks as big as pumpkins were all along the roadside. When riding on a bus, the roads were so bumpy that we would if we did not hold ourselves down properly hit our heads on the roof of the bus. Saints who are young may think, “Could it really have been like that?” But people who are of a generation similar to mine will fully sympathize with me. The driver may notice a boulder and swerve to avoid it, but the rear tire would often get caught on the rock. Should the bus try to pass over a huge stone or a rock, people sitting in the back would float into air, hit their heads on the roof of the bus and be all shaken up. Older saints probably have experienced such an experience of being on an amusement park ride, at least once in their lifetime.
Back then there was a road like that in my neighborhood, and as I rode in a bus, the driver would inevitably say, “Dear passengers, I apologize. I would like for you to please get off and push this bus.” It was because the bus could not get over the hill. Then the passengers, having no choice in the matter would get off the bus and pushed the bus over the hill. And then they would get back on the bus again and so on.
To a neighborhood like this, President Chung Hee Park, the late president of Korea, came to see the opening ceremony of a thermoelectric power plant. With the news of the president coming, people of the neighborhood swept and polished every corner of the town including the roads, and they made frenzy by moving the rocks from the roads. Also they cut down all the perfectly fine trees in a mountain using saws and planted them along the roadside. Because taking out a tree by its roots was too difficult, they had just taken the trees and planted them as if they were arranging flowers.
After all that fuss, President Chung Hee Park eventually arrived. He rode in on large black car, and tens of motorcycles were escorting it. The neighborhood, able to see the president at close range, came out in droves with national flag in their hands and shouted out, “Welcome, President!” But not too long after the president Chung Hee Park had left our neighborhood after having attended the opening ceremony of the thermoelectric power plant, this road was upgraded with asphalt and kerbs. It was discovered later that President Chung Hee Park had remarked to his secretary that the car was bumping around because the road was so uneven and that he would like to see a better road. With those few words, the road was upgraded and got paved with asphalt almost immediately. Authority is precisely like that. It is having the power to realize everything possible with just one single word.
Not only did Jesus give us the Holy Spirit, He gave those of us who have the Holy Spirit in our hearts the authority to forgive or not to forgive the sins of others. Therefore, we forgive the sins of those whom we are fond of and preach to them the God given gospel of the water and the Spirit. “Do you have any sins? Jesus has taken away even those sins. In the future you will commit truly many sins. He has taken away even all those sins as well. Jesus came to this earth and received His baptism. At that very moment, He took on all the sins of the world, and He died on the Cross shouldering all those sins taken on at that time. Like this, He has saved us by solving all our problems of sin.” We spread the gospel like this. As we diligently do this, numerous sins of ours which had existed like thick clouds disappear with the hearing and believing of those words. Sins which had been all so innumerable like dense fog will all disappear.
Yet even though we spread the Word with fervor, there are countless people who are as proud as Lucifer. They are pretentious and frivolous instead of believing in the Word of Truth we preach. When we encounter people like this, we really don’t want to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them any longer. There are people like this whom we don’t wish to share good things with. Instead of thinking about and listening to the Word of God, there are people who say, “That pastor doesn’t have a good educational background, and he doesn’t seem to be outstanding.” When I hear this, my stomach turns, but nevertheless, I must preach the gospel to them. This is because this is the mission we must carry on despite these hard words.
But in most cases, even though we deliver them the Word of Truth, they still do not believe in it. Even though we meet with them many times and tell them about it, they just go on standing up against it instead of believing in it. God has given us the authority to forgive sins and the authority to send people to hell by leaving them alone. He has given such an authority to those of us who have received the remission of sins. This is the reason why we are spreading the gospel to many people. Because we who have received the remission of sins have this authority to remit the sins of others, if we were to say to a certain person, “You are bound for hell,” that person will surely go to hell. We don’t do so according to our own volition, but rather, that becomes so because we speak out through the Word.
People’s Sins Are Remitted When We Preach the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit by Faith
What would happen if we don’t spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them? Those people will most certainly go to hell. No matter how smart they may be and how long they have attended church and even if they have attained many degrees in theology, literature, philosophy and so on, if they don’t know and believe this Truth, they will surely go to hell. No matter how much we may dislike them from a human perspective, we nevertheless encourage them to hear out the gospel at least once môre time for we have the authority to forgive the sins of others. God wants everyone to find the knowledge of the Truth. Knowing this we cannot turn our faces away from the work of saving sinners because of our human thinking or preference?
Jesus Christ has given such authority to those of us who have the Holy Spirit by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receiving the remission of sins. Dear fellow believers, do you believe in this? Therefore, people who reject this gospel we are preaching and behave frivolously to the end even though we preach it to them so earnestly will be heading for hell.
We shared our English books with some renowned Christian leaders in this world. And they sent us feedback saying that they were quite surprised by them. They said that although they did not know why Jesus Christ was nailed to the Cross, why He was speared, and why He could not but be harmed like that, they were astonished to find out that all of that was due to their sins that Jesus had taken on through His baptism. It showed us that they had come to realize the truth that Jesus was able to die on the Cross because He had taken on the sins of the world through His baptism He had received from John the Baptist. And stating further that they cannot be the only ones to know this amazing truth, they asked us if we could send some English books so that others may also know this Truth. And so, with a pleased heart we sent bulk books to them.
On the other hand, a certain well known pastor laid out hard words against the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This pastor attacked the gospel of the water and the Spirit by saying that if this was the Truth, then it should appear flat out in the Bible. However, even while he was attacking us, he seemed confused by repeating his absurd words over and over again, and saying that he did not like it, he put an end to his e-mail hastily just with his name but not his nationality.
We are spreading the original gospel of the water and the Spirit for the very first time since it was proclaimed at the end of the Early Church age. Besides the disciples of Jesus written in the Book of Acts, we are the very first ones who are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Someone who is translating our books into German says that although there are many Christians in Germany, there is no gospel of the water and the Spirit. It means that this gospel is introduced to Germany for the very first time. As for the one who proofread our French editions he says that he has to re-examine his faith now that he got to know this genuine gospel. It means that this gospel is different from what he has known before and that he must rethink his whole faith again.
Many people feel confused and mixed up, saying that the teaching in our books on the Holy Spirit differs from what they were taught and believe in, but the resurrected Jesus clearly told us to receive the Holy Spirit. And then He said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23). We have received the remission of our sins and the Holy Spirit from God. And we have also received the authority to forgive the sins of others. Is this true or not?
Because we possess this great authority, why should we be using it in sending people to hell? This would not be right? Therefore, we must lower our hearts and spread the gospel with humility. All we have to do is to tolerate their ignorance by saying, “Oh, is that right?” We have to teach people if they do not know, print more books and send it to them, and to tolerate them by saying, “It’s because you don’t know the Truth yet. If you let me I will teach you,” when they attack this precious gospel.
Most Christians insist that sins will disappear if one believes just in Jesus somehow and the blood of the Cross; they say it is right that they have sins despite having faith in Jesus. All these words are from those who have gone crazy and are on the way to hell. How can they be of the Holy Spirit? How can they be the Words of the Bible? Jesus did not give us the Holy Spirit in such a way. They are all words that deserve rebuke and judgment.
Jesus also told us to believe in His resurrection. A disciple of Jesus named Thomas could not believe even when he saw the resurrected Jesus. And so he said he will not believe unless he puts his hand into Jesus’ side. Understanding such a heart, instead of rebuking him for not being able to believe, He said, “Come and put your hand into my side. Reach your finger here and feel these nail marks.” Then Thomas put his hand on His side and felt the nail marks. Only then did Thomas believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and then Jesus admonished Thomas by saying, “Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27).
Thomas was a person of many doubts and had very little faith. As a disciple of Jesus, he had followed Him laboriously for three years, but despite having seen the wonders and power displayed by Jesus, he still could not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas could not believe the resurrection of Jesus even though the resurrected Jesus came in through the locked door and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Peace be with you. I bestow on you this authority.” Only when Jesus said, “Come here. Put your hand into My side and become the believing,” Thomas then felt these wounds, and only then did he believe by saying, “Lord, You are my Lord and my God.” To this Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
This is the Word of blessing that the Lord gives to those of us who are living in this current day and age. Although we cannot see Jesus with our own eyes, we have come to believe in Him by reading the written Scriptures and by faith, to a greater degree than by looking at Him with our own eyes. For this the Lord gives us blessings.
Our Lord told us to become faithful believers, instead of becoming those who cannot believe that He has not blotted out all our sins and had risen from the dead. And He also told us that He had this be recorded so that we may receive the remission of our sins by believing in our Lord and be clothed in new life in His name. The Lord has given us this new life. Prior to believing in Jesus, our hearts were empty and filled with only chaos, and we did not even enjoy life. We who had been like that have come to gain everlasting life after receiving the remission of our sins. Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our Lord has given you and me peace, authority and eternal life. It means that He has given us everlasting life. We must believe in this.
Our hearts must be spiritual. Although our flesh endlessly dashes always into what is fleshly, the thoughts of those who have received the remission of sins must always be filled with what is spiritual. We must possess spiritual thoughts and spiritual hearts. We must be spiritually minded. And by becoming believers of the Word of God, we must follow the Lord by faith, and serve the Lord by faith, and we must become those who will seize all the Lord-given blessings by faith. To have faith like this, we must follow Jesus by believing in Him with all our thoughts and hearts. We must believe in Him.
However, there are many occasions when the flesh runs in the opposite direction of our mind. And there are many occasion when we submit to such fleshly desires. Nevertheless, we must clearly believe in our thoughts and in our hearts that our Lord has saved us completely. We must always think that the Lord has saved us, be worried about how we can widely spread this gospel, and ponder over what we can do to serve the gospel more. Also we must be thankful for the fact that He has given us eternal life, and we must believe in and wait for our resurrection. Do you understand this?
We must deny our thoughts again and again. We must straighten it continuously so that it does not tilt towards fleshly desires. We must follow the Lord by faith of believing in His Word. If we don’t do so, our hearts will rot away in less than a day. We can easily fall into fleshly thoughts and follow the desires of our flesh, and then we will be waiving “Bye, bye” to Jesus in no time.
Did Jesus save you and me completely, or did He not? Did He blot out sins, or did He not? Did He give us peace, or did He not? Did He or did He not give us the authority to forgive the sins of others, the Holy Spirit and everlasting life? Yes, He certainly did. He has given us new life. Pursuing the Word of God by faith is what a faith is all about. If we are to believe in God and pursue His will with one heart and purpose, then the flesh is bound to follow. But just because the flesh is prone to chase after the world, if our thoughts and hearts were to follow the flesh, then we would surely become faithless Christians and eventually die. Thus, our Lord told us to be faithful to Him. I hope for you to clearly understand in your heart and mind that the Lord has become our Savior, that we are all without sin because of Him, that we must now therefore spread the gospel, and that we must always think about the works of God.
Dear fellow believers, does your flesh not perhaps dash towards the world? Our flesh does indeed dash towards the world. Even if we drag it back, it dashes towards the world again like a rubber band. But instead of trying to solve this matter, we must think about whether or not we believe wholeheartedly in every blessing the Lord has given us━the peace, the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, everlasting life and this new life. If we were to wholeheartedly believe in that pursue that faith, then we will become the people of faith and the true workers of the Lord. Having gained new life, we become the workers of righteousness who save souls every day.
It is now Easter. Rituals are not important. Rather I want you to think about what the Lord has given us after His resurrection. He has given us the remission of sins, peace, and the Holy Spirit; and furthermore, He has given us the authority to forgive the sins of others. Also He has unsparingly given us this new and everlasting life. Now all we have to do is to meet the Lord after having led a life of faith believing in this and then to enjoy a life of everlasting riches and glory in Heaven.
I hope you clearly understand and believe that the Lord has risen; and I want you to go on living by faith of believing that you also shall rise again.
Halleluiah! Christ the Lord has risen from the dead!