Work of God

Me?!? Doing the work of men swayed by Satan?

ARE YOU DOING THE WORK OF GOD? Are you doing the Work of God? Is the Word of God IN YOU? Or are you just kidding yourself, shining a seat with your bottom every week in Church services, not truly a deeply converted begotten child of God but someone who is DECEIVED and FOOLED by Satan the Devil??

Notice!

And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”(Exodus 24:12) Moses was commanded to TEACH what God had given him!

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.(Exodus 31:18)

And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.”(Exodus 32:15-16) Here we are told that the TABLETS were the work of God. Now some have been CONFUSED as to what the Work of God truly is! Are you sure?

Notice what the apostle Paul writes:

“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”(2 Corinthians 3:2-3)

Moses, the chosen servant of God, delivered the Word of God faithfully to Israel. The 2 tables wasn’t the work of man. IT WAS THE WORK OF GOD! Moses believed GOD! He was there with God because HE BELIEVED GOD! He actually met with the personage called “the Word” in John 1:1-4,14, who became Jesus Christ.

John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12 tells us that no man has seen God. Jesus in John 6:46 says “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.”.

And when the disciple Phillip asked Jesus to show to them God the Father Jesus responded: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”(John 14:9-10)

God does the WORK! Moses received the “work of God”, the two tablets which contained the 10 commandments, which came from the being who became God the Father, through “The Word” or SPOKESMAN who delivered it to him! Moses then TAUGHT IT to carnal Israel.

The apostles likewise, received commandment from Christ,(who received it from the Father) and delivered it to SPIRITUAL ISRAEL- The Church of God! (Look up in a KJV Bible “Commandment” in the New Testament. This is a good subject to study.) “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:”(2 Peter 4:2)

Now Jesus said “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”(John 6:29)

The personage Moses met upon the mount was the “Word”, who later became Jesus Christ. The Word, was with God and WAS GOD. God is a family name. He spoke only what God the Father gave to Him to speak. He delivered the Father’s Words to His apostles. He in the same manner delivered to Moses, the Word which came from God, and He delivered that Word to Moses faithfully. Moses BELIEVED the ONE whom God had sent. He did the Work of God. And in turn Moses delivered that same Word to all of Israel. The apostles of Christ BELIEVED CHRIST! And they delivered what Christ had given them to the Church. Now, the apostles of Christ delivered the Word Jesus gave THEM which came from the Father. Those of the Church became the EPISTLES of the apostles, having the Spirit of God, BELIEVED THE APOSTLES! What was preached unto them(God’s Word) was written on their hearts!

The apostles were sent by Christ! Those who had been called by God, had repented and had BELIEVED the gospel and were baptized. They believed what was being preached and taught unto them by the apostles! And upon receiving the Spirit of God, God’s spirit wrote those teachings in their hearts. THEY DID THE WORK OF GOD! “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”(John 6:29)

Mr. Armstrong BELEVED GOD! And Christ gave him the beliefs, the teachings, practices, customs and doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God, through the Word of God which came from the Father! The Great Commission given unto him can be found in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 24:14 is a PROPHECY of the gospel being preached WORLDWIDE.

The result of that prophecy being FULFILLED, was the Worldwide Church of God. The Church of God was raised up WORLDWIDE, and together they helped and backed the apostle’s preaching FOR THEY BELIEVED GOD! THEY BELIEVED CHRIST! THEY BELIEVED HIS CHOSEN APOSTLE! They believed what was taught. That is the WORK OF GOD!

Mr. Armstrong received God’s Word, as Moses did – FROM JESUS CHRIST!

And he taught it. He preached it. Those of the Church have proven with their Bibles open that Herbert Armstrong did in fact teach the Word of God, and THEY BELIEVE GOD. And then they believed the apostle, for after proving it with God’s Word they now know that he is a true man of God, sent by Christ.

Is God the same today as He was way back then with Moses? YOU BET YOUR LIFE HE IS! God is the same today, yesterday and forever. He changes not.

Jesus Christ said: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”(John 5:37)

Let’s make a note.

We too have not seen the shape nor heard the voice of God the Father. We neither have seen the shape nor heard the voice of Jesus Christ! Neither have seen the shape any of the men of God mentioned in the Holy Bible. We have not heard their voices either!

“And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.”(John 5:38)

How do we know of God the Father? Jesus Christ came and declared the Father! He preached the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD- The Father’s Kingdom. After His resurrection, on the day of Pentecost 31 A.D, the Church of God was founded. This is God’s Church, not of men, kept in the name of God the Father!(John 17)

Now, after Christ was received up into Heaven, He sent His apostles to deliver(as Moses did) what He had previously given them, which was the gospel. Jesus said of His apostles “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Matthew 10:14-15)

Those who reject the apostles of Christ, reject Christ and the Word of God is not in them. Just as the Word of God was not in the Jews whom Christ is talking to in John 5! They did not believe Moses, and therefore did not believe Christ!

But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour(Titus 1:3).For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”(1 Thessalonians 2:13)

The Corinthians was the epistles of Paul, for the Word of God ministered unto them by the apostle of Christ was IN THEM. They received the one whom God had sent, they BELIEVED the apostle, and was doing the work of God.

Now continuing in John 5: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.”

Today the writings and sermons, and such from God’s apostle ACCUSES/CONDEMNS those who do not believe what was taught-though they claim to be one time students of him!

“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”(John 5:39-47)

The bereans were commended by the apostle Paul for studying the scriptures to see if what the apostles taught was from God. They had PROVEN what was being taught by the apostle of Christ, and found it to be the Word of God! Those who have done this, this QUALIFICATION, become members of the Church of God. And so when those of the Church have BELIEVED GOD, and His Son Jesus Christ, they believe the apostle of Christ, and they support and stand back on Him, and such is the WORK OF GOD!

Moses and the scripture spoke of Christ, and if the Jews of Christ’s time had BELIEVED MOSES, they would have believed Christ! For what Moses wrote and said, led them to Christ! The same is today. Herbert W. Armstrong preached Christ, and directed you to Him through preaching the Word of God, and preaching the same gospel Jesus preached! If you don’t believe Mr. Armstrong, and what he preached and taught, then how can you believe Christ? This why Mr. Armstrong always said “DON’T BELIEVE ME! BELIEVE GOD!”. He wanted the unconverted listeners to start studying the Bible, and believing what God says! If they believed him, without proving what he was teaching with the Bible, they would be only following a man! But if they went to their Bible, proving what he taught with scripture, they would quickly see that what he was teaching came from Christ- from the Word of God! Then with this vital knowledge, they could BELIEVE the apostle for the truth’s sake! Not because they liked his personality, or his “style”!

Those who have BELIEVED GOD, HIS WORD, HIS SON JESUS CHRIST AND WHAT HE PREACHED, AND THE TRUE APOSTLES AND WHAT THEY PREACH- including the preaching and teaching that came from Herbert W. Armstrong, they have the Word of God written in their hearts by the Spirit of God! Today, the epistle of Herbert W. Armstrong is the Worldwide Church of God!

Is it any wonder to us why Satan is after Mr. Armstrong, the ministry under him, and all of the membership of the Worldwide Church of God, trying to get those of the Church to GIVE UP WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN TAUGHT?!?!?!? Jesus Christ tells His Church- HOLD FAST!(Rev.3:11)!!! Not to let go of what the Church has received from Christ through His apostle-which is the Word of God!!!

Do you BELIEVE GOD? Are you doing the WORK OF GOD? The Work of God is being done by God’s Holy Spirit in all of you in His Church who BELIEVE the one who was sent by Him, which under Christ is the apostle. In tablets of flesh, not of stone, and through the Holy Spirit of God.

How much of God’s Spirit do you have? God’s Spirit opens your mind to UNDERSTAND the Word of God. Without it you cannot understand His Word. Without God’s Spirit you do not understand the need to follow His apostle, and to keep and to uphold what the apostle of Christ has taught. You cannot do the Work of God without God’s Spirit!

The apostle Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong taught the same Word of God that is available to you in the Holy Bible. You can check up on him. But if you don’t understand God’s Word, you won’t understand the apostle! And if you don’t believe what the Bible teaches, how can you believe the apostle of Christ, and then how can you believe Christ? And if you don’t believe Christ, then how can you be doing the Work of God? How can you be a true Christian, converted, having the Holy Spirit of God? Something to think about.

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The Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a "charitable trust." It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH!

July 28, 1980 Dear Co-Workers and Brethren in Christ: Last night on TV Channel 4, Los Angeles, during the evening news, the newscaster held up, so the viewing audience could read the large-type headlines, my full-page ad. These full-page ads are appearing weekly in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other metropolitan newspapers over the United States. The newscaster, Jess Marlow of NBC, was interviewing the attorney general of California. The advertisement headline was addressed: “MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA.” Mr. Marlow asked the attorney general (as reported to me by telephone) WHY he had picked on the Worldwide Church of God in the state’s massive lawsuit to gain control, ownership and operation of all churches in California. The attorney general gave his stock answer to this question: his contention that “all charitable trusts ought to be supervised to protect the public.” There is no one else, he contends, to protect the public on how the public’s money is being handled. Therefore he says it is the duty of the attorney general to manage and supervise the expenditures of all funds of public charitable trusts. Mr. Marlow then asked if the attorney general thought expenditures for this advertising in the nation’s leading mass- circulation newspapers was mishandling public funds. The attorney general, I was told by telephone, was then a little confused and had no direct reply. I reply, first of all, the Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a “charitable trust.” It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH! Second, we do not handle the PUBLIC’S money! We never do — NEVER DID — solicit the public for money. We do not solicit or receive the public’s money. Therefore we are not responsible TO the public. We ask nothing from the public. We receive nothing from the public. We do not have, receive or handle and expend the PUBLIC money. Therefore we owe NOTHING to the public except love, and upstanding law-abiding individual citizenship and good neighborliness! WHAT IS a CHARITY — in the public sense? Webster’s dictionary defines it: “Charity: an institution engaged in relief of the poor; public provision for the relief of the needy.” WHAT IS a CHURCH? Jesus Christ said, “I will build my Church.” The CHURCH was built by JESUS CHRIST — not by the public! The first place the word “church” appears in the Bible is quoted above from Matthew 16:18. In Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the church daily.” It is that Body of believers to which THE LORD adds members! The Church is the spiritual organism (NOT a secular or political or public ORGANIZATION). The CHURCH is subject to Christ — not to the political attorney general of California! WHO is the HEAD of the Church? Your Bible says CHRIST is the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23) — not the California attorney general. The Church is SUBJECT UNTO CHRIST (Eph. 5:24) — NOT to the California attorney general! Jesus Christ built His CHURCH on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20). What is the function, PURPOSE, great commission of the Church? Jesus said, “Go ye into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). The CHURCH is NOT a public CHARITY or a “CHARITABLE TRUST.” The California attorney general — in a political and elective office by vote of the people of ONE STATE ONLY — contends he ought to own, possess, direct, manage the CHURCH — ALL CHURCHES IN CALIFORNIA — supervise their expenditures of money. Now suppose the California attorney general had been managing this Church and its Work from the foundation of the present era of it — now called the Worldwide Church of God. What would have happened? It started in Eugene and Lane County, Oregon. It started with 19 members — mostly new converts from a six-weeks’ six-nights-a- week series of services I held in a 36-seat one-room country schoolhouse 8 miles outside Eugene. But, had the California attorney general been managing and directing it and all financial expenditures, he would have delegated just as he tried to do on January 3, 1979 — the actual management and expenditure of funds to the Honorable ex-Judge Steven Wiseman — appointed receiver of the Worldwide Church of God. Immediately — January 7, 1934 — Jesus Christ opened the door of radio for me to start going into all the world proclaiming Christ’s Gospel ON RADIO. The cost was then $2.50 per weekly broadcast. But Judge Wiseman would have had to decide whether to spend that $2.50 per week. Now actually we in that fledgling church did not have the $2.50 per week to allocate. The very little membership in 1934, at the very depth of the century’s worst depression, was able to pledge only $1.35 per week for the broadcast. The other $1.15 per week had to be allocated ON SHEER FAITH. And it was contrary to our Church policy to REQUEST FUNDS ON THE AIR or in any way to solicit the public for that $1.15 per week! Now the Honorable Judge Wiseman was reared in the Jewish faith, certainly not to his discredit. However, those reared in Judaism KNOW NOTHING OF PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. That religion, respected though it is, has never accepted Jesus Christ nor His Gospel message! Would, then, the living Jesus Christ, the HEAD of this new fledgling rebirth of God’s Church, have entrusted decisions and management of His great commission to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and proclaim that Gospel to a man who by life-long religious training does not BELIEVE in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Work grew. By traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, I was able, almost 10 years later, to buy time on 50,000-watt Radio WHO. Would the attorney general’s receiver, Judge Wiseman, have approved and allowed that expenditure? We received requests for free literature from ALL 48 states of the continental United States from that station. The Work grew. In due time we were purchasing more wattage of radio time than any program on earth. Would that expenditure have been approved? Meanwhile, the income for this rapidly growing worldwide Work obeying Jesus Christ’s commission was increasing as its needed expenditures mounted. WHERE DID THAT MONEY COME FROM? We never solicited the public. We never charged for anything. We GAVE one of the world’s finest mass-circulation magazines (published in five languages), with NO SUBSCRIPTION PRICE — and we sold NO ADVERTISING! The Work growing WORLDWIDE was all GIVE! God did, as in the first century, continually “add to the Church such as should be saved.” And, as the Bible commands, these members paid their first tithe (10% of income) to GOD through His Church. That money is GOD’S money — not public money. In addition, a small percentage of listeners to the broadcast and subscribers to the “no-subscription-price” PLAIN TRUTH began — unsolicited — sending regularly tithes or freewill offerings. But these STARTED CONTRIBUTING VOLUNTARILY of their own free will! It was GOD’S MONEY — not public money. God had built this great worldwide Work through me as His chosen Apostle. I OBEYED HIS COMMAND TO GO INTO ALL THE WORLD WITH HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE. It was HIS money that came — without solicitation or charging — and I was accountable to HIM, not the California attorney general for the way HE directed it to be handled. We have through the years made continual reports to the Church of the operations of its Work, the expenditures of God’s money and direction of God’s Work. We have made full and regular reports, submitted to regular audit and examination and scrutiny of receipt and disbursement of funds of GOD’S MONEY to the Internal Revenue Service of the federal government, and to the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California, who usually have accepted the IRS audits as official. I just felt that our co-workers, members and occasional voluntary donors would be interested in this explanation of the financial operations of this large world-encompassing Work of GOD. All finances are handled by one of the finest, most advanced systems of accounting anywhere in the world. In addition to our own auditors and the federal IRS, we employ one of the largest and most reputable firms of certified public accountants in the nation, Arthur Andersen & Co., who regularly audit our books. It’s time the PEOPLE know the TRUTH about this political attack against the CHURCH in violation of the Constitution of the U.S.A. It’s true, we have to ASK GOD, in prayer, as Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” There is ALWAYS a NEED in this great Work of the GREAT GOD! But He does not supply tomorrow’s need — nor next year’s need — today. I know you will join me in prayer that GOD will supply current needs as He has done these past 53 years. For Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” He never has! With grateful love, in Jesus’ name, Herbert W. Armstrong]]>

Those who try to excuse and accuse

You’ve probably had someone come to you and remind you that “Herbert W. Armstrong was human. He sinned.” I often found that the spirit that rules those who say that most often is not the Holy Spirit, but rather a foul spirit that wishes to accuse. Notice 1 John 3:7-8 “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning…” When you bring up the importance of what Christ gave to His apostle, God’s wonderful truth and sound doctrine, they often will try to redirect the conversation on how “Herbert W. Armstrong was a fallible human being. He sinned too”. I always found that dumb to say, because of course he was human, and of course he did sin. The re-direction made is not on the Work of God done through Mr. Armstrong but rather that the man of God had sinned. The accusation they are making, however, is against the Holy Spirit.  It’s their defense against why they are no longer walking in what was taught to them. Herbert W. Armstrong, as Christ’s chosen apostle obeyed God’s Commandments, therefore he was given a “good understanding”.(read Ps. 111:10) And like 1 John 1 reveals, the apostles gave the “Words of life” to the Church. That “good understanding” they received from Christ, was passed down. Notice Matt. 10 & Luke 10. They say “well..now here’s how I see it. Herbert W. Armstrong was wrong in several different things…he isn’t infallible.” They are speaking against the Holy Spirit, accusing that what came through God’s apostle isn’t sound! They want to prove to you, how you can’t trust what he taught. That comes from Satan the Devil. They want to call Christ a liar! So they accuse His apostle of being a liar! And they regulate the importance of the “words of life” that Mr.Armstrong taught the Church from Jesus Christ, down to a “maybe”. WHAT BLASPHEMY! Then they can get you to join them and their rebellion against God, if they can convince you of that! That’s Satan’s plan. The apostle John, in 1 John, was writing concerning deceivers! ” These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.”(1 John 2:26) 1 John 1:1 “concerning the Word of life” ” that which we[the apostles] have seen and heard we declare to you[the Church], that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”(verse 3) So if we reject what Christ gave through His apostle, we are cutting fellowship off from the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ! IT’S THAT IMPORTANT! 1 John 2:24-26 “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning[from the apostle of Christ]. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. ” or try to pull you away into DISBELIEF of what Christ gave through His apostle! So put those who come to you with this deception, who no longer are LOYAL to Christ and His apostle, who no longer walk in light but in darkness, OUT and view them as God views them. They are not led by the Holy Spirit, and are led by Satan and his demons, trying to DECEIVE YOU. Herbert W. Armstrong was a keeper of God’s commandments. He obeyed God. He had the Holy Spirit of God.He had a “good understanding”. And what he taught came from Jesus Christ, and we are admonished by Christ through his written word, to HOLD FAST to what we have been taught by Christ’s chosen apostle,and “abide in it”. Christ tells us what was taught came from Him, and that they are “the words of life”. And if we hold fast, and abide in what was taught, we will have eternal life promised to us! Those who do not abide in the doctrine given by Christ through His apostle is apostate and as it is written in 2 John, we are not to allow them into our homes, nor should we fellowship with such people. It’s that serious.]]>

Just What Is The Church?

JUST WHAT

IS THE CHURCH?

 
 Jesus Christ said: “I will build my Church.” What IS that Church-human organization, or spiritual organism? Of whom composed? How does one become a member? Does it have a divine Commission? – and if so, WHA T?- and HOW carried out? By organization, or by individuals acting independently?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

[Original Publication]

MANY ARE CONFUSED about the nature of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. How shall we know? WHO or WHAT is the AUTHORITY to give us the right answer? It was Jesus Christ who said, “I will build my Church.” He is the “WORD” of God (John 1:1-3) in person-the Spokesman. The Bible is the Word of God in writing-the Maker’s Instruction Book for mankind. The Bible, therefore, is the Authority. HOW One Becomes a Member The first place the word “church” is used following the inception of that Church (Pentecost, 31 A.D.) is Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” This immediately gives insight into the means by which one enters the Church as a member. God adds each one. It is God who puts each one into the Church as a member. Again, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). The word “baptized” means immersed-put into. So, again, it is GOD who puts one into His Church. And HOW? By His Spirit! When God bestows within one His Holy Spirit, that puts the believer into the Church. So note it well! One cannot enter the true Church by putting himself in-by “joining. One may join a social club, a sports team, or a secular group-but NOT the Church of God. Incidentally, is it not significant that so many of this world’s “churches” have become, virtually, just social clubs? Notice, too, the Church is here referred to as “one body.” In several passages the Church is referred to as “the body of Christ.” I Corinthians 12:12 says: “For as the body is one, and hath many members…. How is the Church “the Body of Christ”? Few understand. Here is the explanation. Jesus Started the Work of God God sent Jesus into the world to start the Work of God. When Jesus was twelve years old, His parents, returning to Nazareth from attending the Passover at Jerusalem, discovered the child was not among the company. Returning to Jerusalem, “they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” And when His parents saw Him, “they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? . . . And he said unto them wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:40-49.) What was His father’s business what is the Work of God? God sent His Son Jesus into the world in the human flesh as a Messenger with a Message. He was the Messenger of the Covenant~the NEW Covenant, as foretold in Malachi 3:1. And what was that Message? John the Baptist was to prepare the way before Him (Mal. 3:1). Also His Message was a NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT of advance GOOD NEWS (“gospel” means good news) of the future. So we read: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare the way before thee. . . . Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of THE G£~~?’ {Mark – 1:1,2, 14). How did Jesus start the Work of God? 1) By proclaiming the Good News of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD. 2) By calling and teaching His disciples the same Message. Notice: “Then Jesus called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils [demons], and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-2). The Divine Commission What is the PURPOSE of the Church-its divine Commission? To proclaim this Gospel as a witness to the world. In other words, to carry on the WORK OF GOD, which Jesus, in person, started. After His resurrection, He gave His disciples this Commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The Commission to the Church, then, is to carry on the Father’s business-to proclaim the Message of the NEW Covenant that God sent into the world by His Son and Messenger, Jesus. Jesus gave His life for us, but He ROSE from the dead, and right now TODAY He is the living Jesus Christ. And His Commission for our day is: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [of this age] come (Matt. 24:14). How the “Body of Christ” The twelve disciples became the twelve original apostles. But HOW did they, with the other disciples, become “the BODY of Christ”? While Jesus was starting the Work of God, He said, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” and again, “The Son can do nothing of himself,” and again, “. . . but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” It was the power of God’s Holy Spirit, dwelling in His individual human body, doing THE WORK OF GOD. Without this same Spirit dwelling in them, His disciples would be utterly impotent. The very night before His crucifixion He said to them: “As the branch [of a grapevine] cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches… without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4, 5). It is sap flowing from the vine into the branch that produces grapes. It is the Spirit of God and of the living Christ, flowing into the collective Body that is the Church that produces results. After His resurrection, just before ascending to God’s throne in heaven, Jesus commanded these apostles: that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father . . .”-that is, for the Holy Spirit, the same power that did the Work of God in Jesus’ human body. On the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D., this POWER of God did come and enter into the COLLECTIVE BODY-the Church-that now was to carry on the Work of God. The Head of God’s Church When Jesus ascended to the throne of God (the Father of the divine creating-ruling-governing Family) in heaven, He became the Head of the Church. Notice Eph. 1:22, 23: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.” The CHURCH is composed of those who are the begotten CHILDREN OF GOD-of the FATHER of the divine Family. One becomes a begotten SON of God upon receiving within him the Holy Spirit of God. This Spirit comes from the very Person of God-it is, first of all, the impregnating LIFE of God-divine, eternal, ever-living LIFE. As the physical sperm cell from the body of a human father begets a human embryo that develops into a fetus and later is born a human child, so the Spirit of God begets us into a state by which we are called, even now in this life, sons of God (I John 3:2). Of What Composed And thus it is that the CHURCH is composed of those who are the children of God. That is why the CHURCH is the Church of GOD, even as the Old Testament Church was called “the congregation of Israel”-the human children of Israel. That is why, also, one CANNOT PUT HIMSELF into the Church by “deciding to JOIN.” When he becomes a son of GOD, by having and being led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14), then God has PUT HIM INTO the Church by begetting him as a son of God. “Joining” a group that calls itself a church-having one’s name on the membership roll of some group calling itself a church-does not make one in true fact a member of THE Church Jesus founded. Here is positive proof: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). I have shown that it is the living Christ who puts members into His Church-and it is done BY the Holy Spirit. Notice, now, the conditions for receiving God’s Spirit-Acts 2:38: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is speaking of being baptized in water-after which they shall receive the Holy Spirit, which, in turn, baptizes-puts them into-the Church. Those who were so baptized on that day of Pentecost did receive God’s Holy Spirit, and DID thereupon become the Church, and TO THEM, God “added to the church daily” (Acts 2:47). The FOUNDATION of the Church Notice, now, the FOUNDATION upon which the Church is built. To the converts at Ephesus, who had been Gentiles, Paul was inspired to write: “Now therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens [of a GOVERNMENT] with the saints, and of the household [FAMILY] of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19-20). Thus you see how the one and only true CHURCH is NOT an ORGANIZATION OF MEN, but a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM. Yet that fact does not preclude organization. Is the Church Organized? But did Christ, the HEAD of the Church, ORGANIZE that Church? Does it have a definite form of organization? Indeed He did-and indeed it has! First of all, the true Church of God is a spiritual organism. It is NOT a human organization. This spiritual organism is the “Body of Christ” existing for the PURPOSE of carrying on THE WORK OF GOD. The resurrected, eternally living Jesus Christ is the HEAD of the Church. The very fact the Church has a Head implies organization. The living Christ directs, leads, inspires, and blesses the Church in doing God’s Work. But it is a BIG, WORLDWIDE WORK. If every individual in it goes out alone, independently, trying to carry out the entire divine Commission in whatever way he sees fit, we shall have confusion, a house divided against itself. Even Nature Is Organized. God is CREATOR. Everything God has created in nature is ORGANIZED. Take a sturdy, beautiful oak tree. It has a root system in the ground. It has a main trunk. It has major branches joining to that trunk, smaller branches joined to them, still smaller branches joined to each minor branch, and finally the twigs joined to the smallest branches. But they are all joined together as a system. Jesus used the example of the vine. He is the Vine. . . we the branches. Unless we are joined systematically to the Vine, we can produce NOTHING. In a grape vine, there is ORDER-SYSTEM-Organization. The whole WORK OF GOD functions toward the restoration of what has been taken away from the earth-the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. The Kingdom of God IS that government. That government is an ORGANIZED government. God’s form of government is government from the top down. God the Father is the extreme top. Under Him is the living Christ, administering God’s Government as God directs. Government in the Church. And Jesus has set ORGANIZATION-govemment-order-in the Church, under Him. God compares this organized Body of Christ to a BUILDING: “Now therefore ye . . . are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building filly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19- 22). The living Christ, Head of the Church, has PUT the various administrators, officers, and members into the Church AS HE HIMSELF CHOSE. Not as a man chooses for himself. Administrators AS GOD CHOSE. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers “-WHY? For what PURPOSE? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the WORK of the ministry, for the edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST: till we all come in the UNITY of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. . . speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the WHOLE BODY FITLY JOINED TOGETHER AND COMPACTED by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of EVERY PART [each individual member], maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:11- 16). Christ has, indeed, ORGANIZED HIS CHURCH, SO FITLY joined together as a physical building put together with the precision of every part of the most expert craftsmen. He chose the chief administrators, UNDER HIM. God’s government lS government FROM THE TOP DOWN. All do not have the same office. And God has given various members In His Church special TALENTS, as gifts by and through His Spirit, and aptitudes, each for his part as CHRIST has chosen, in the ORGANIZED EFFORT of carrying on Christ’s WORK. God gives these special talents, aptitudes for certain phases of administration in His Work, as HE wills, but also according to each one’s natural aptitudes. Notice the parables of the pounds and of the talents. First, the parable of the talents. “For the kingdom of heaven [Matthew uses the term Kingdom of heaven, while Mark, Luke and John all use the term Kingdom of God. They are the same. Not a kingdom IN heaven, but “OF”-denoting ownership] is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability” (Matt. 25:14-15). Notice, there was something given to each. The parable pictures Jesus, of course, going to heaven to be coronated as King of kings and Lord of lords, after which He will return to RULE the earth, administering the Government of God over all nations. His own servants are His converted children of God-His Body, the Church. What He is giving them is spiritual gifts to equip each for his Individual part in GOD’S WORK. But notice, please, He gave these additional spiritual goods, gifts, or tools, “to every man according to his several ability”-that is, according to his natural physical aptitudes or abilities. On His return as World Ruler, He called each servant to accounting as to HOW WELL each had done with what Christ had given him to do with. By comparison of this parable with that of the pounds in Luke 19:11-27, you will see that God judges us according to how well we do in proportion to what we have to do with. These servants were to “occupy’ or carry on the Work till He returns. Special Spiritual Gifts Now notice more about the spiritual GIFTS God gives those in His Body, doing HIS WORK, in I Corinthians 12: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” Yet most people are in total ignorance of these gifts and their meaning and uses. Continue: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (verses 4-6). It is the same God WORKING in the “Body of Christ”-the Church. HE does the Work of God, by the one Spirit of God, IN the collective Body called out of the world as His instrument doing His Work. Notice carefully, in this Work of God, which He WORKS in us by His Spirit, there are different gifts, BECAUSE there are various and different administrations, in administering God’s Work-different offices-different kinds of jobs. There are various and different OPERATIONS in carrying on the Work. These require various and different aptitudes and abilities in various and different members in the Body. GOD Chooses Each Member’s Job. We do not all do the same job! These special spiritual gifts are given “to profit withal.” That is, to profit THE WORK-not the individual. These gifts are aptitudes, or spiritual “tools” to use in doing the Work-not ornaments to embellish the person, as some have seemed to think-bragging about the least of the gifts. God Himself decides which gifts to give each member: “But all these [gifts] worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as HE will” (verse 11). Continue: “For the body [of Christ-the Church] is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” (Verses 14-15.) If one young man has been given special aptitude for a certain more or less routine office job that is actually a big help in the whole organized Work, he is doing HIS PART in the Work. But is each one free to decide whether he will be the apostle, or the pastor, or a teacher, or a routine office worker making it possible for them to do their jobs? Here is your answer: “But now hath GOD set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased HIM” (verse 18). But what if one is placed, by those God has set over him, in an office that this individual considers very unimportant, not honorable enough to suit his vanity? Here’s the answer: “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem [to us] to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness… but GOD hath tempered the body together . . . THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO SCHISM [division] IN THE BODY. . .. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And GOD hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of languages. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? . . . but covet earnestly the best gifts . . .” (verses 22-31). We might mention at this point that in local churches during the first century, local elders were ordained. It is evident that some of these were ministers-that is, preachers-and some evidently were not preachers, but merely leaders or teachers. New Testament Officials in Order of Rank In the New Testament there are three terms used for preachers or ministers-elders, bishops, overseers. All three mean the same. Yet some elders were apostles or evangelists, but most elders were NOT apostles or evangelists. Putting all New Testament passages together, the ADMINISTRATIVE offices, in order of rank and authority under Christ, were: 1st, apostles; 2nd, evangelists (in the New Testament, prophets did not have administrative offices, but, prior to completion of wrlting the New Testament, prophets received direct communication or instruction from God, which they in turn communicated to apostles. Today God’s instruction to the Church is complete, in the written Scriptures); pastors; preaching elders; and local non-preaching elders and teachers. There also were deacons and deaconesses, appointed to take care of physical duties. Now I have shown that the true Church of God is NOT a human organization or corporation, but a spiritual organism, composed of all who have and are being led by the Holy Spirit of God abiding in them. Yet the Church is ORGANIZED. Is It Wrong to Incorporate? What about incorporating according to the civil laws of man? The answer is: God instructs His Church to be subject to the powers of man’s government over him. When-in our time-the Work of God was small there was no need of being incorporated. This Work was NOT incorporated until it became necessary in order to deal with the world in carrying out the Commission to go to the world with Christ’s Gospel. The Work has grown worldwide and very large, and human governmental laws would not allow it to function without incorporating. But is the corporation the Church? IT IS NOT! The Church existed as a spiritual organism, organized as CHRIST organized it (NOT organized on any human plan), and it carried on the SAME Work of God, with the SAME divinely directed organization BEFORE it incorporated as it does today. It is organized according to GOD’S pattern, not man’s legal corporate pattern. Now some questions naturally emerge. Can one who does not know of the true organized Body doing God’s Work, and therefore is outside of it, be a member of the true Church which Christ built? The answer is yes-for it is possible for one to have truly repented, believed, and received God’s Spirit-and be following that Spirit as far as he sees and understands-who does not know of the organized Work Christ is using today. But surely God’s Spirit in him would lead one, in due time, into his part in the organized Body the living Christ is directing. Is it possible that one who has joined a sect, church, or denomination NOT doing God’s Work, might be truly converted, and led by God’s Spirit in him? The answer is YES-I have known of a few. But in every case, either they came INTO the organized spiritual organism Christ is using in the real Work of God-or, when their eyes were opened to further light and truth, they rejected it and LOST the Spirit of God. And this was amply demonstrated by the fruits. If other questions present themselves to readers, we shall be glad to answer privately if you will write them. Through His Holy Spirit God gives His children “light”-TRUTH-to walk in the light, “lest darkness come upon you. I have not been called to sit in judgment of others, but to follow Christ as He leads and directs, and witness to the true light. Hundreds of millions have now HEARD, SEEN, or READ. Jesus said that His sheep do hear and RECOGNIZE His voice and His truth, and that they will follow Him! Every year, now, added thousands are hearing, RECOGNIZING His truth, and following Him where He is working!]]>

What became of the Church Jesus built? Lesson 50 of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course

AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

LESSON 50

“…in the Isle that is called Patmos” 

(SOURCE)


About Our Cover…

    The isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Here the apostle John was imprisoned (Rev. 1:9) in the mid-90’s A.D. and saw the visions he was commanded to “write” (Rev. 1:19). From Patmos emanated the prophecies and promises of Revelation concerning God’s Church through seven definite eras until Christ will return.

    After the first two 19-year cycles, the Church went to sleep. Another whole cycle had passed, and now in a fourth 19-year cycle, Jesus Christ was using John, last of the original apostles, to finish the New Testament and to give the “Ephesian” Era a last chance to awaken and do the “first works.” It did not. Instead, the last survivor of the zealous first generation of the Church, Simeon son of Cleophas, died in 107.

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WHAT BECAME OF THE CHURCH JESUS BUILT?  

    THE Christian Church in Judaea fled to Pella in 69 A.D. From that date the organized proclaiming of Christ’s true gospel ceased!

    For the next hundred years, church history is virtually a blank. “Scanty and suspicious” are the records, says the historian Gibbon, which remain from this period (“Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”). But why?

The “Lost Century”  

    It was the incredible “Lost Century” of church history!

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Body Must Function Together by Gerald Waterhouse

(Source)

Have you felt this way?

Some brethren feel they are not a vital part of this great work because they are not being used as ministers or full-time employees. Perhaps they have no direct responsibility in their congregations.

The result? Some let feelings of discouragement and despondency come over them.

Why? Could it be that the adversary — Satan — knows discouragement and despondency are the easiest ways he has of keeping us from doing our part?

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