What About the Church? (What God demands from his people in the end times)
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They will have proved to themselves the literal inspiration of the Holy Bible and will have dedicated themselves to following Jesus Christ's instruction: " Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God " Luke And they will certainly have proved for themselves that Jesus of Nazareth was God in the flesh : that He died to pay the penalty of sin for all humanity, rose from the dead after three days and three nights in the grave Matthew and now sits at the right hand of God the Father as our active High Priest, living Head and soon-coming King.
Such truly converted people will surrender to Christ as "Lord"—the One whom they will obey. Therefore, through Christ living within them through the Holy Spirit Galatians , they will strive to live by the teachings of the Bible.
These are the people who make up the true Church of God! So if you are willing to "get real," then please be willing to listen to what the Bible actually says. For God does have a true Church here on earth. That Church is genuinely preparing its members for eternal life. That Church is genuinely doing the Work of God today. And that Church has several notable "signs"—key identifiers that are clearly mentioned in the Bible—which will show any sincere, discerning person where God's true Church is if they are willing to listen with an open mind!
In the current religious confusion, many people become turned off by what they call "organized religion," and decide to stay at home and worship God alone, with their family or with a few other people. Is there anything wrong with that? Even though many sincere people try to justify the practice of forming a "stay at home" church, this is very definitely wrong for many reasons.
And it is totally un - biblical , except in a very few extreme circumstances! Those who truly believe the Bible understand that Jesus Christ was the "light" whom God sent into the world. He was our example , and His apostles were also used as examples, once they were fully converted. What was the inspired example of Jesus Christ? And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read" Luke Jesus' own practice was to attend worship services regularly with others in an "organized" synagogue or Church setting! For God had already called the Sabbath a "holy convocation"—which means "commanded assembly.
We find that—even after Jesus' resurrection—Peter and the early apostles met regularly in the temple on both the weekly and annual Sabbaths.
Acts Then the early disciples met regularly with others in the temple at Jerusalem Acts — And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" Acts — Note that Paul and Barnabas "assembled" with the "Church.
Still later, we read: "Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures" Acts The inspired writer of Hebrews tells us: "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together , as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
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For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" Hebrews — This vital scripture in God's word tells us not to forsake assembling with others. It also tells us to "stir" one another to love and "good works.
Prophecy and the Catholic Church - Magis Center
A few misguided souls might assume that if they just met at home with family and friends, they could stir up each other to good works. This approach clearly goes against the overwhelming number of biblical examples that God's true servants did and should meet as an organized church, led not by some layman who decides to "appoint himself" to the ministry, but by a properly trained and ordained true minister of Jesus Christ!
The Bible is emphatic that " no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God" Hebrews In my more than 50 years in Christ's ministry, I have dealt with a number of men and women who decided to withdraw from "organized religion. Many of the men, depriving themselves of sound counsel, ended up assuming the duties of the ministry, or virtually "appointing themselves" as ministers of Jesus Christ. In nearly every case, these men were obviously self - willed , usually "hardheaded" and genuinely unwilling to be taught and led by others. They desired to be "important" in their own eyes and in the eyes of their family or immediate friends by taking it upon themselves to establish a "home church" and act as minister or leader.
These men seemingly forgot the powerful example of Korah and his followers who rejected the leadership of God's appointed servant Moses and argued that "every man" had the right to act as spiritual leader! These self -willed individuals challenged Moses and Aaron with these words: "You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them" Numbers God showed His attitude toward this "every man is a minister" approach by having the earth open up and swallow alive these hardheaded rebels vv.
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In our day , by separating themselves from God's true ministers and also separating themselves from being part of the Work that Christ is accomplishing, through His true Church, of preaching the Gospel to "all the nations" Matthew —20 , these people are shirking their responsibility to be part of the active body of Jesus Christ. They are not learning the lessons of working together as part of that body, are not learning the full Truth in a balanced way, are not learning to humbly receive and act upon the needed exhortation and correction that all Christians receive in the true Church of God.
Rather, such individuals end up on the "fringe" of God's people, not interacting and learning as part of a real church fellowship. Such self-appointed religious leaders, and their followers, usually become sidetracked by odd ideas and doctrinal novelties. Also, very importantly, they show the living Christ that they lack faith in His ability to lead the Church, which God tells us is His responsibility Ephesians —23; Colossians ! Then Jesus continued: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church , and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" v.
Jesus here said very plainly that He would build a "church"—which simply meant in the inspired Greek language a "group" or "crowd" of people. Jesus called it " My " church—not just any group or crowd or church. Throughout the New Testament, God clearly indicates, again and again, that His people— His Church—would be small in number during this age, and would often be persecuted. He said: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you….
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you " John — Wherever they are, it is obvious that God's true people do not truly "fit" into this world and its society. For Jesus continued: "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" v. And Jesus called His people the " little flock " Luke Jesus said: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" Matthew — Remember, then, only a few go in through the straight gate.
Only a few truly understand and are part of God's true Church today! Notice: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" Matthew Jesus plainly stated that His true people must be obedient to the Father's will. They must do what God the Father commands. Now, see how this directly applies to the true Church. All through the New Testament, the term "woman" is used as a symbol of a church. In 2 Corinthians —2, the true Church is pictured as the affianced "bride" of Christ.
In Revelation 17, the great false church is called a "harlot" v. Nearly all scholars acknowledge that in Revelation 12, the true Church is pictured as the bride. She is being "persecuted" by the "dragon"—described in verse 9 as Satan the Devil. Although the zealous members are taken to a place of safety, in verse 17 God describes the devil as going to make war with the "remnant" of the true Church— those left behind. In Revelation , God goes on to describe His faithful people: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God , and the faith of Jesus.
Does it make any difference how you worship God?
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Of course you can worship in the church of " your choice"—as the Sunday religious-page ads often say. Of course you can follow the ideas of your relatives, friends and associates! But will they be there to protect you during the coming world upheaval? More importantly, will they be there to "save" you in God's judgment? Why not prove to yourself that the Bible is the inspired revelation , from the Creator, of basic spiritual knowledge otherwise inaccessible to mankind?
Why not see what the word of God—the Bible —says about where God's true Church is today? We have already seen that Jesus said He would build His Church. We have found that the Bible describes that Church as a small, persecuted Church—one that is certainly not part of this world's society.
Intersection of Life and Faith
It is a Church that does the will of God the Father. And it keeps the Ten Commandments given as a basic way of life by Almighty God. Obviously, many differing churches are small. Many are persecuted. Some are persecuted because they seem to deliberately provoke others and so bring unneeded persecution upon themselves— not because of a biblical message , but because of thoughtlessly and arrogantly trying to "cram their religion" down the throats of other people.
Many small, unorthodox religious groups sincerely feel they are not "part of this world. But being small, sometimes persecuted and not of this world's society are principles that may be applied in strange ways. A biblical "key" to properly understanding and applying the above principles is revealed in the Apostle Paul's statement that God has given Christians the spirit of "a sound mind " 2 Timothy But apart from the above general description of the true Church, are there any specific identifying signs that point unmistakably to where God's Church is today?
For the sake of brevity, I will list and explain just five of these "signs" so that— if your mind is open —you may know how to recognize God's true Church on earth today.
The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin
Before creating mankind, God created Lucifer—one of the three cherubs, or super archangels, who originally surrounded His throne. In Latin, "Lucifer" means "light bringer" or "shining star of the dawn. In Isaiah —15, Lucifer is described: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.