Biyernes, Mayo 15, 2015

DO YOU REALLY BELONG TO GOD?

DO YOU REALLY BELONG TO GOD?




IF YOU WOULD BE ASKED who do you belong to:  the devil or God—what would you say?

     No one in his right mind would want to be counted among the people who belong to devil.  The devil is a deceiving liar who cares nothing about us, who wants people to end up destroyed on Judgment Day and eventually tossed into the lake of fire with him to be tormented forever and ever (John 8:44; I Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:9-10).  Hence, one must choose to be included among the people who belong to God, for God’s word is truth, He lovingly cares for us, and He truly desires that all people be saved on Judgment Day and dwell with Him in the Holy City with a new heaven and earth (John 17:17; I Pet. 5:7; I Tim. 2:3-4; Rev. 21:1-4).


ONLY TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE
People can be classified based on their financial situation, educational attainment, nationality, and ethnic background.  The apostles show us, however, that people fall or are divided only into two categories.  They are either people who belong to God or people who belong to the devil.  Apostle John wrote:

     “We know that we belong to God and the whole world belongs to the devil.”  (I John 5:19, Worldwide New Testament)

     Unfortunately, there are people who belong to the devil, and the Bible refers to them as people of the world.  The people of the world are those who have no connection to the Anointed, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Apostle Paul said:

     “You had absolutely no connection to the Anointed; you were strangers, separated from God’s people.  You were aliens to the covenant they had with God; you were hopelessly stranded without God in a fractured world.”  (Eph. 2:12, The Voice)

     When a person in this world lives his life with no connection to our Lord Jesus Christ, he is counted among the people of the world, and these people belong to the devil.  Those who do not truly accept Jesus Christ or, do not have faith in him by not following Him clearly have no connection to or relationship with Him, and are therefore people of the world.

     Other may assert that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior, that they do have faith in Him, and that they are now Christians.  These persons who claim to be Christians are found scattered in different Christian-professing groups or religious organizations.  They insist that they have entered into a relationship with Christ and thus belong to God and not to the devil.  But have they really done it?

     The people who have a connection to or union with the Lord Jesus Christ are those whom He refers as His branches, branches that are united to the vine who is Christ.  He said:

     “Stay united with me, as I will with you—for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.  I am the vine and you are the branches.  Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing.”  (John 15:4-5, Complete Jewish Bible)

     Apostle Paul spoke about the people who are united to Jesus Christ.  He referred to them as individual members of the body or Church established by Jesus Christ (I Cor. 12:27; Col. 1:18).  Therefore, when a person is inside the Church regarded as the body of Christ, then he is united with Christ, and is now counted among the people who belong to God.  As long as a person finds himself outside of that Church, he regrettably finds himself included among the people of the world who belong to the devil.  Where do we find ourselves at this very moment?


ON KNOWLEDGE, FAITH, AND ZEAL
People, however, may find it difficult to accept that there are indeed those who belong to the devil despite belonging to one of the thousands of churches and religious organizations in the world today.  They talk about knowing God, having faith, and demonstrating zealousness in their religious services or activities.  This must clearly show that those who say and do such things must indeed be of God, not of the devil.  Is that the case? 

     The apostles show us that there are people who merely profess or claim to know God, but do not truly know Him, because they do not want to obey Him.  Apostle Paul wrote:

     “Such people claim to know God, but their actions prove that they really don’t.  They are disgusting.  They won’t obey God, and they are too worthless to do anything good.”  (Titus 1:16, CJB)

     The apostles also reveal that there are people who appear to be religious by their expressions of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, but not for real—merely an act.  Apostle Paul said:

     “They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  You must stay away from people like that.”  (II Tim. 3:5, New Living Translation)

     As far as their declarations of faith are concerned, the Scriptures show that the kind of faith they have is useless since their faith has no works.  When a person says he has faith but does not have works, such faith is useless and does not lead to salvation.  Apostle James writes:

     “What use is it, my brothers, for a man to say that he has faith, if he does nothing? Will such a faith give him salvation?” (James 2:14, Bible in Basic English)

     And, the apostle testify that there are those who are deeply devoted to God, and are zealous and filled with enthusiasm with regard to their religious activities, but are still not acceptable before Him.  The reason is their devotion is not based on the true knowledge and they have simply tried to set up their own ways of being put right with God.  Apostle Paul says:

     “I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge.  They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right.”  (Rom. 10:2-3,  Today’s English Version)

     Therefore, although there are many church groups and religious organizations in the world today whose leaders and followers talk about knowing God, in actuality they are not, for they disobey His words.  There are many who say that they have faith in God and in Jesus Christ, but they do not really, because their faith is not coupled with the works that God expects.  And there are many who say that they are so sincere and dedicated to their religious or spiritual life, and they may be, but they have merely established their own wrong ways to be right with God.  All such churches and religions do not help people to belong to God; instead, such organizations and their members are under the power of and belong to the devil.  We should stay away from them.

     But, is there a religion or church today that belongs to God and is in accordance with His will?


THE RELIGION IN ACCORDANCE
WITH GOD’S WILL
There is a religion that belongs to the Lord God.  The apostles show us in the Scriptures that the religion that is in accordance with God’s will is that which has been delivered from this present evil world.  Apostle Paul writes:

     “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.”  (Gal. 1:4, King James Version)

     Others may say that they are in the religion that belongs to God because they have stopped doing evil things.  Since they have put an end to living a wild, sinful way of life, they feel as if they were already pleasing before God and had been delivered from this evil world.  But is that the case?

     The people who have been delivered from this evil world do not only stop doing evil things that the people of the world do but they are inside the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Apostle Paul says:

     “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.(Col. 1:13-14, New King James Version)

     Notice the importance of Christ’s kingdom.  It is where redemption through the blood of Christ the forgiveness of sins is found.  And what He redeemed or purchased with His blood, His kingdom, is the Church Of Christ.  Apostle Paul taught:

     “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)

     Therefore, for one to be among those who have been truly delivered from this present evil world and be counted among those in the true religion today and be saved on Judgment Day, he should be inside the Church Of Christ.  Even Jesus Christ himself taught that for people to be saved, they must come into the fold or flock, which is the Church.  Jesus said:

     “I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe. …”  (John 10:9, Revised English Bible).

     It is not enough to accept Christ in one’s heart or to have faith in Him.  One needs to follow Christ’s commandment to come into the fold or the Church Of Christ.  So one should ask himself:  have I done this?   If not, it is not too late to do so.


DO NOT HESITATE TO ENTER
THE TRUE RELIGION
     Some may say that they have no time yet to enter the true religion or the Church Of Christ.  They point out that they are very busy with getting an education, managing their career or tending to their means of livelihood, and doing the other things in life that interest them.  Right now, they are very preoccupied with things that pertain to this earthly life and feel that they will find time for God and the true religion in the future.  Why should we not be like this?

     Our life is fragile and temporary.  Apostle James records, “How do you know what will happen tomorrow?  For your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14, NLT).

     We really do not know what will happen tomorrow.  People take it for granted thinking that they will have a countless number of tomorrows ahead of them.  They also think that their own death is still far away from them.  However, the truth is, the threat of death is constantly around us (I Cor. 15:30-31, Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament).

     So considering this, now is the best time for us to do what we need to do in order to be counted among the people of God and be saved.  Apostle Paul wrote:

     “The Holy Writings say, ‘I heard you at the right time.  I helped you on that day to be saved from the punishment of sin.  Now is the right time! See!  Now is the day to be saved’.”  (II Cor. 6:2, New Life Version)

     Therefore, there are only two kinds of people in the world according to the apostles:  those who belong to God and those who belong to the devil.  In the Christian Era, the people who belong to God are the members of the true Church Of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo), while those who are outside the Church are the people of the world who are under the power of the evil one.  Even though people may speak about knowing God, having faith, and being devoted or religious, unless they are inside the true religion they are still counted among the people of the world.  If we want to be among God’s people who will inherit salvation and eternal life on the day of Christ’s imminent return, let us not delay or postpone obeying His command to come into the fold or the true Church Of Christ.  THE TIME IS NOW.  * (Emphasis, Admin.)


Written by: 
Brother JOHNNY J. MARTIN
PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE
FEBRUARY 2015
VOLUME 67
NUMBER 2
PAGES 3-5 










RECEIVING GOD’S MESSAGES CLEARLY AND ACCURATELY

RECEIVING GOD’S MESSAGES CLEARLY AND ACCURATELY



FOR MANY PEOPLE, especially in the 21st century, religion is very confusing.  There exist today countless churches that label themselves as Christians, yet with differing doctrines and teachings, despite their claim that their sole basis is the Holy Scriptures.

     In this day and age, many take the position that everyone has the right to his own interpretation when it comes to God’s teachings written in the Holy Bible.  But what does God strictly command concerning His words written in the Bible?  God says in Deuteronomy 12:32:  “Carefully obey all the commands I give you.  Do not add to them or subtract from them” (New Living Translation).

     God revealed His commands by speaking at various times and in various ways (Heb. 1:1-2).  To make His words reach the future generations, He commanded that His words be written (Jer. 30:2; I Cor. 10:11) in a book, the Holy Scriptures (II Tim. 3:15), which today is commonly called the Holy Bible.

     It is of utmost importance to receive God’s words correctly to have the right understanding and to ensure careful obedience to His commandments.


THE NEED FOR A TRUE MESSENGER
Though God commanded that His words be written, one is gravely mistaken to think that His written words are easy to understand or that they are open to personal interpretation.  In Apostles Peter’s second epistle, he gave a warning, saying:  "This is what he says in all his letters when he writes on the subject.  There are some difficult things in his letters which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the Scriptures.  So they bring on their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16, Today’s English Version).

     Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel has been kept secret, hidden in mystery since the world began (Rom. 16:25).  Because of this, it has been God’s policy since ancient times to use and send messengers to proclaim His words so that they may be communicated and received clearly and accurately by those to whom the messengers were sent.  This is why Apostle Paul emphatically declared:  “And how can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out?  As the scripture says, ‘How wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:15, TEV).

     Wonderful indeed, because the Good News that the messengers of God bring, or the gospel they preach, is His words that lead to the attainment of salvation.  Apostle Paul explains, thus, in I Corinthians 15:1-2:  “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (New International Version)


FALSE PREACHERS AND IMPOSTORS
While Christ was still here on earth, He forewarned about the coming of many “FALSE PROPHETS” who would deceive many, even using “GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS” (Matt. 24:11, 24, New King James Version, emphasis ours).  Such “FALSE TEACHERS,” as Apostle Peter referred to them (II Pet. 2:1, Ibid., emphasis ours), are truly dangerous because they lead people into error through the teachings they invent (Eph. 4:14, TEV).

     Many victims of false preachers don’t even realize that they have been deceived.  Moreover, these false preachers themselves are not aware that they are indeed misleading others, themselves being “BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND” (Matt. 15:14, Ibid., emphasis ours).

     In these last days, such false teachers and preachers are more prevalent than ever.  Most people have a difficult time identifying them because they impersonate the true messengers of God.  The apostles referred to these deceivers who would come in “THE LAST DAYS” as “IMPOSTORS” who would have “A FORM OF GODLINESS”.  The advice of Apostle Paul is very clear and emphatic, saying, “… from such people turn away!” (II Tim. 3:1, 13, 5, NKJV, emphasis ours).

     God’s clear message regarding false prophets is this: “I am also against those prophets who speak their own words and claim they came from me.  Listen to what I, the Lord, say! I am against the prophets who tell their dreams that are full of lies. They tell these dreams and lead my people astray with their lies and their boasting. I did not send them or order them to go, and they are of no help at all to the people. I, the Lord, have spoken.” (Jer. 23:31-32, TEV).


GOD’S MESSENGER IN THESE LAST DAYS
The Almighty God Himself speaks of a man whom He called from a far country in the east to execute His counsel (Isa. 46:11).  God clearly foretold His purpose in calling or choosing this man, giving him a divine election saying:  

“Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it.
“Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted,
Who are far from righteousness:
I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off;
My salvation shall not linger.
And I will place salvation in Zion,
For Israel My glory.” (Isa. 46:11-13, NKJV).  

     The man prophesied in the verses would be God’s instrument in bringing near His righteousness, or the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17), to those who were far from it.

     Brother Felix Y. Manalo began preaching the true gospel in the Philippines, a country situated almost at the geographical center of the Far East (Asia and the Philippines, by Horacio de la Costa, p. 169).  Based on the aforementioned prophecy, the man whose work was likened to that of a bird of prey would originate from a country in the Far East.

     The messenger whom God would send in these last days would be instrumental in “SNATCHING” people from the religions propagating these lies and false beliefs, in order to save them from sure destruction in fire (Jude 1:23, emphasis ours) using God’s counsel, which are the words of God, recorded in the Bible (Isa. 46:11; Ps. 107:11; Jer. 30:2; II Tim. 3:15).


THE LAST MISSION OF SALVATION
God’s sending of messenger in these last days is a manifestation of His compassion to people whom He created, particularly those who have been deceived.  Just like in ancient times, as recorded in the Bible:  "And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place." (II Chr. 36:15, NKJV).

     And so even in our time, out of His great compassion, God utilized a true messenger in the person of Brother Felix Manalo to open the eyes of those whose minds have been blinded by the false preachers and false religions of this world (Isa. 43:8; II Cor. 4:3-4).  It has always been God’s desire for people to come to the knowledge of the truth in order for them to be saved:  “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Tim. 2:3-4, NKJV).

     One of the deep secret truths revealed in the Scriptures is the inseparable relationships of Christ and His Church:  “As the scripture says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.’  There is a DEEP SECRET TRUTH revealed in this scripture, which I understand as applying to Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:31-32, TEV, emphasis ours).  Therefore, the same way that a man and a woman joined together in marriage by God should not be separated (Matt. 19:6), the same is true with Christ and His Church, inasmuch as God is the One who gave or appointed Christ to be head of the Church, His body (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:24).  It is in this body that one may be reconciled to God in order to have peace with Him, as well as the right to serve him and receive salvation because it was purchased through the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation; Heb. 9:14; Eph. 2:14-16; 5:23; Col. 1:18).

     Brother Felix Y. Manalo, through the preaching of the true gospel, was God’s instrument in bringing people to Christ, Who in turn would make them one flock or members of the true Church Of Christ (John 6:44; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation).  Those who were convinced through the preaching of the words of God during the time of Brother Felix Manalo, and even now through the leadership of the present Church Administration, are the ones whom Christ recognizes as His “OTHER SHEEP” which He spoke about in a prophecy saying:  “I have other sheep too.  They are not in this flock here.  I must lead them also.  They will listen to my voice.  In the future there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16, Easy-to-Read Version).  Those who entered in the fold or flock are the ones promised by the Lord Jesus Christ to receive salvation (John 10:9, Revised English Bible).

     The Church Of Christ that was preached by Brother Felix Manalo is without a doubt the last work of salvation.  When God said in Isaiah 41:4:  “… I, the LORD, am the first; And with the last I am He” (NKJV), of whom was He speaking?  About His Last Messenger, Brother Felix Manalo whom He would uphold with His righteousness or the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).  *


Written by
Brother DENNIS G. DULAY
PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE
MAY 2013
VOLUME 65
NUMBER 5
PAGES 20-22

Miyerkules, Mayo 13, 2015

NAGWAWALANG-BAHALA SA KALIGTASAN ANG TUMATANGGING UMANIB SA IGLESIA NI CRISTO

NAGWAWALANG-BAHALA SA KALIGTASAN
ANG TUMATANGGING UMANIB SA
IGLESIA NI CRISTO


HAYAG NA HAYAG sa maraming tao ang ginagawang pagpapalaganap ng Iglesia Ni Cristo mula pa nang ito’y muling lumitaw sa bansang Pilipinas, hanggang sa makabalik ito sa Jerusalem na kaniyang unang kinatatagan.  Patuloy ang paglaganap nito sa buong mundo—ito ay nakarating na sa 100 mga bansa at teritoryo at hindi mapipigilan ang patuloy na pagdami ng mga taong umaanib dito.  Kasabay nito ay ang pagpapatayo ng mga naglalakihan at magagandang gusaling sambahan sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo at ang pagtatalaga sa daan-daang mga ministro upang matugunan ang lumalaking pangangailangan nito.

     Puspusan ang ginagawa ng Pamamahala ng Iglesia na maipalaganap ang mga aral ng Diyos sa lahat ng tao, sa lahat ng mga bansa sa buong mundo, upang ang mga tao ay makaasa ng kaligtasan pagdating ng Araw ng Paghuhukom.  Kaya naman ang mga kaanib nito ay kaisa ng Pamamahala sa walang sawang pag-aanyaya sa mga tao sa pamamahayag ng mga salita ng Diyos.  Namamahagi rin ng babasahing Pasugo, mga polyeto, at ipinag-aanyaya ng mga kaanib ang pagsubaybay sa mga programa ng Iglesia sa radio at telebisyon, lalo  na ang  pagdalo sa mga isinasagawang pagsamba nito.

     Subalit, sa kabila nito, ang iba ay tumatanggi o umiiwas na pumasok sa Iglesia Ni Cristo.  Dapat na maunawaan ng lahat na habang ang tao ay wala sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, sa anumang kadahilanan, ay naipagwawalang-bahala niya ang kaniyang kaligtasan.


KAILANGAN NG LAHAT NG TAO ANG KALIGTASAN
Bakit kailangan ng lahat ng tao ang kaligtasan?  Ganito ang pahayag ni Apostol Pablo:  “Pagkat ang lahat ay nagkasala at hindi nakaabot sa kaluwalhatian ng Dios” (Roma 3:23, New Pilipino Version).

     Ang lahat ng tao ay nangangailangan ng kaligtasan, sapagkat ang lahat ay nagkasala, maliban sa ating Panginoong Jesucristo (I Ped. 2:21-22).

     Ano ang ibinunga nang magkasala ang lahat ng tao?  Sa Roma 3:19 ay mababasa na: 

     “Ngayon ay nalalaman natin na ang anomang sinasabi ng kautusan, yaon ay sinasabi sa nangasa ilalim ng kautusan; upang matikom ang bawa't bibig, at ang buong sanglibutan ay mapasa ilalim ng hatol ng Dios.”

     “Sapagka't ang kabayaran ng kasalanan ay kamatayan.” (Roma 6:23)

     Kamatayan ang itinakda ng Diyos na kabayaran ng kasalanan.  Subalit hindi nangangahulugang bayad na ang tao kapag siya ay namatay o nalagutan ng hininga, sapagkat mayroon pang ikalawang kamatayan.  Ito ay ang kaparusahan sa dagat-dagatang apoy na siyang ganap o kahustuhang kabayaran ng kasalanan: 

     “At ang kamatayan at ang Hades ay ibinulid sa dagatdagatang apoy. Ito ang ikalawang kamatayan, sa makatuwid ay ang dagatdagatang apoy.” (Apoc. 20:14).

     Ano ang magiging kalagayan ng tao kapag siya ay nahatulan ng ikalawang kamatayan?  Sa pagtuturo ni Apostol Juan ay mababasa ang ganito: 

     “Ay iinom din naman siya ng alak ng kagalitan ng Dios, na nahahandang walang halo sa inuman ng kaniyang kagalitan; at siya'y pahihirapan ng apoy at asupre sa harapan ng mga banal na anghel, at sa harapan ng Cordero:  At ang usok ng hirap nila ay napaiilanglang magpakailan kailan man; at sila'y walang kapahingahan araw at gabi, silang mga nagsisisamba sa hayop at sa kaniyang larawan, at sinomang tumatanggap ng tanda ng kaniyang pangalan.” (Apoc. 14:10-11).

     Kahabag-habag ang maibubulid sa dagat-dagatang apoy.  Pahihirapan siya doon araw at gabi at doo’y walang kapahingahan magpakailan-kailanman.  Kaya kung sinisikap ng tao na maligtas sa iba’t ibang kapahamakan, kalamidad, kahirapan, at iba pa, sa ibabaw ng lahat, ang pangunahing dapat hanapan ng lunas ng tao ay kung papaano siya maliligtas sa walang hanggang kaparusahan.

ANG MALILIGTAS
Paano maliligtas ang tao sa kabila ng katotohanang siya’y nasa ilalim ng hatol ng Diyos dahil sa kaniyang kasalanan?  Sa Roma 3:23-24, ay sinasabi ang ganito:  “Pagkat lahat ay nagkasala at hindi nakaabot sa kaluwalhatian ng Dios.  Gayunman, sila’y pinawalang-sala ng Dios sa pamamagitan ng kanyang biyaya, at sa pagtubos na isinagawa ni Cristo Jesus” (NPV).

     Pinatutunayan sa mga talatang ito na mayroong pinawalang-sala sa kasalanan dahil sa pagtubos na isinagawa ng Panginoong Jesucristo sa pamamagitan ng Kaniyang dugo.  Sila rin ang tinutukoy ni Apostol Pablo na:  “Ngayon nga’y wala nang hatol sa mga  na kay Cristo Jesus” (Roma 8:1, Ibid.).

     Ipinaunawa pa ni Apostol Pablo na:  “At ngayong napawalang-sala na tayo sa pamamagitan ng kanyang dugo, lalo nang tiyak na maliligtas tayo sa poot ng Diyos sa pamamagitan niya” (Roma 5:9, Magandang Balita Biblia).

     Mahalagang masakop ang tao ng ginawang pagtubos ng ating Panginoong Jesucristo, sapagkat ang gayon ang tiyak na maliligtas sa dagat-dagatang apoy na siyang walang hanggang kaparusahan.


ANG NATUBOS NG DUGO NI CRISTO
Alin ang pinatutunayan ng Banal na Kasulatan na tinubos ng dugo ni Cristo, lahat ba ng tao?  Ganito ang patotoo sa atin:  “Ingatan ninyo kung gayon ang inyong mga sarili at ang buong kawan na rito’y hinirang kayo ng Espiritu Santo na mga katiwala, upang pakanin ang iglesia ni Cristo na binili niya ng kaniyang dugo” (Gawa 20:28, isinalin mula sa Lamsa Translation).

     Tanging ang Iglesia Ni Cristo ang pinatutunayan ng Biblia na nakinabang sa ginawang pagtubos ng Panginoong Jesucristo at naalis na sa ilalim ng hatol ng Panginoong Diyos.  Kapag ang tao ay namalagi sa labas ng Iglesia Ni Cristo, katumbas na namamalagi siya sa ilalim ng hatol ng Diyos.

     Walang magagawa ang sinumang tao sa ganang kaniyang sarili para iligtas ang kaniyang kaluluwa sa walang hanggang kaparusahan, malibang pasakop sa kaparaanan ng Tagapagligtas.  Ganito ang patunay ni Apostol Pablo:  “At ayon sa kautusan, ay halos masasabi kong lahat ng mga bagay ay nililinis ng dugo, at maliban na sa pagkabuhos ng dugo ay walang kapatawaran.” (Heb. 9:22).

     Wala nang iba pang kaparaanang magagawa ang tao para siya ay mapatawad sa kaniyang kasalanan at siya’y maligtas.  Ang unang hakbang na dapat niyang isagawa ay sikapin niyang mapaanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo.  Alalahaning ang lahat ng tao ay nangangailangan ng kaligtasan, at ang tanging paraan para maligtas ay ang pagpasok sa Iglesia Ni Cristo.  Ganito ang ipinagagawa mismo ng Tagapagligtas:  “Muli ngang sinabi sa kanila ni Jesus, Katotohanan, katotohanang sinasabi ko sa inyo, Ako ang pintuan ng mga tupa. … Ako ang pintuan, ang sinomang taong pumasok sa akin, ay siya’y maliligtas, at papasok at lalabas, at makasusumpong ng pastulan” (Juan 10:7, 9).

     Kaya, kung kinikilala ng tao na si Cristo ang Tagapagligtas na ibinigay ng Diyos, ay susundin niya ang paraan ni Cristo—hindi siya gagawa ng sariling paraan o maniwala sa ibang tagapangaral na nagtuturo ng ibang paraan.  Kapag ang tao’y tumatangging umanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo ay katumbas na ipingwawalang-bahala niya ang sarili niyang kaligtasan.

     Hindi dapat ipagpaliban ng tao ang pagsunod sa ating Panginoong Jesucristo.  Sinasabi ng mga apostol:  “… ‘Sa panahong ukol kita’y pinakinggan, At sa araw ng pagliligtas kita’y sinaklolohan.’ Sinasabi ko sa inyo na ngayon ang angkop na panahon.  NGAYON ANG ARAW NG KALIGTASAN” (II Cor. 6:2, NPV)

     Habang buhay, malakas pa, at may kakayahang pumasok ang tao sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, dapat niya itong gawin agad upang matiyak na niya ang kaniyang kaligtasan sa Araw ng Paghuhukom.  Kung totoo na mahalaga sa tao ang kaniyang kaligtasan, hindi niya dapat papagmatigasin ang kaniyang ulo at puso sa ipinagagawa ng Panginoong Jesucristo na pumasok o umanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo.


ANG PAGDADALHAN SA MALILIGTAS
“Huwag kayong mabalisa; manalig kayo sa Diyos at manalig din kayo sa akin.  Sa bahay ng aking Ama ay maraming silid; kung hindi gayon, sinabi ko na sana sa inyo.  At paroroon ako upang ipaghanda ko kayo ng matitirhan” (Juan 14:1-2, MB).

     Ang pangakong ito ng ating Panginoong Jesucristo tungkol sa dakong pagdadalhan sa mga maliligtas ay totoo at maaasahan—sa tahanan ng ating Panginoong Diyos.  Ito ang tinatanaw at inaasahan ng mga kaanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo—ang paninirahang pamalagian sa Bayang Banal.

     Napakapalad ng mga kaanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, sapagkat sila ang magtatamasa ng maluwalhating pamumuhay:  walang hirap, wala nang pagluha, wala nang pagdadalamhati, at hindi na makakaranas pa ng kamatayan sa Bayang Banal na siyang magiging kanilang pamalagiang tahanan.  *


Sinulat ni Kapatid na
RICARDO S. EDROSOLAM
PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE
MARCH 2012
VOLUME 64
NUMBER 3
PAGES 33-35

*Emphasis, Admin


CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH: INSEPARABLE

CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH:  INSEPARABLE


MANY PEOPLE TODAY believe that it is sufficient to accept the Lord Jesus Christ in order to attain salvation.  They further think that joining any particular church is not necessary.  Thus, by accepting Christ as their personal Savior, they feel that they have accomplished what they thought as the only requirement for salvation.  Unknowingly, they are causing the separation of Christ and His Church which is against the teaching of the Bible.

THE RELATION OF CHRIST WITH HIS CHURCH
     “For a husband has authority over his wife just JUST AS CHRIST HAS AUTHORITY OVER THE CHURCH; AND CHRIST HIMSELF THE SAVIOR OF THE CHURCH, HIS BODY.” (Eph. 5:23, Today’s English Version)

     Christ is the head of the Church, not of any of the various so-called Christian churches which exist today.  This Church referred to by Apostle Paul is the same Church Christ called “MY CHURCH” (Mt. 16:18).  Christ became the head of the Church, His body, by “ Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” (Eph. 2:15, King James Version).

     In the creation of the ONE NEW MAN, Christ assumed the position of being the head of His body, the Church (Col. 1:18).  The Church being the body of Christ bears the name Church of Christ (Rom. 16:16).


THE LAW OF GOD CONCERNING SINNERS
“Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; A PERSON SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH FOR HIS OWN SIN. (Dt. 24:16, NKJV)

     The law of God requires that people are to be put to death for the sins they themselves have committed.  IT WOULD BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANYONE TO SUFFER DEATH FOR THE SIN OF OTHERS AND VICE VERSA.  Hence, Christ made the Church of Christ His body, to fulfill the requirement of God’s law.  When He did this, it is understood that He assumed the position and responsibilities as Head of His body, the Church.


EVERYONE HAS SINNED
     “Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned.” (Rom. 5:12, TEV)

     Everyone has sinned, and the full payment for sin is the second death in the lake of fire (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14).  The only exception to Apostle Paul’s assertion is Christ:

     “It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips. (I Pt. 2:21-22, TEV)

     CHRIST DID NOT SIN, and no lie was ever heard from his lips according to Apostle Peter.  HENCE, IT WOULD BE UNLAWFUL FOR CHRIST TO SUFFER DEATH, NAY EVEN FOR THE SINS OF OTHERS.  The law of God says that every man should suffer death for his own sin.

     Man is duty bound to obey the law as one of the requirements to attain salvation, but he has miserably failed.  Hence, he was sentenced to suffer the second death in the lake of fire on Judgment Day.  BEING THE HEAD, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TAKES RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SINS OF HIS BODY, THE CHURCH:

     Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed.” (I Pt. 2:24, Ibid.)

     Why does the Lord Jesus Christ have to die when the law of God clearly declares that every man shall suffer death for his own sin?  BECAUSE BY BEING THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, “CHRIST HIMSELF CARRIED OUR SINS IN HIS BODY TO THE CROSS.”

     What became of the members of His Church when Christ was condemned to death on the account of their sins?  THEY BECAME THE “RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD”:

    For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Cor. 5:21, KJV)

     What was accomplished when Christ was made “TO BE SIN FOR US” or WHEN HE CREATED THE ONE NEW MAN?  The Bible says:

    Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

     “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. (Eph. 2:15-16, Ibid.)

     RECONCILIATION between God and man was accomplished through the creation of the one new man.  Having accomplished reconciliation, what will happen to the Church of Christ which is Christ’s body?  Apostle Paul testifies that Christ will save His Church (Eph. 5:23).

     However, Protestants conclude that what is just necessary and sufficient is for man to accept Christ as personal savior, because as far as they are concerned, the Church of Christ is immaterial and unnecessary for salvation.  They ignore the biblical teaching that Christ is the Savior of the Church.

     Which is inseparable according to the Almighty Father?

     “And God said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.’  So they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together. (Mt. 19:5-6, TEV)

     JOINED TOGETHER BY MATRIMONIAL VOWS AND THE LAWS OF GOD, THE HUSBAND AND WIFE BECOME ONE FLESH. WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER, NO HUMAN BEING MUST SEPARATE.  Is  the non-separation of husband and wife, they being one flesh, applicable to Christ and the Church of Christ?  Apostle Paul affirms:

     “As the scripture says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.”  There is a deep secret truth revealed in this scripture, which I understand as applying to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31-32, Ibid.)

     The King James Version of the Bible renders the part “THERE IS A DEEP SECRET TRUTH” as “THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY.”  Apostle Paul quoted God and then stated the mystery of husband and wife as BEING ONE FLESH as “APPLYING TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.”

     Why did Apostle Paul quote God’s dictum and then refer to it as concerning Christ and His Church?  Is the Church of Christ likened to the bride of Christ, thus making the mystery regarding the husband and wife applicable to Him and His Church?  To the Church of Christ members, Apostle Paul writes thus:

     “I am jealous for you, just as God is; you are like a pure virgin whom I have promised in marriage to one man only, Christ himself.” (II Cor. 11:2, Ibid.)

     The Church of Christ is likened to a pure virgin promised in marriage to Christ.  This Church is also the body of Christ.  Hence, CHRIST AND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST MUST NOT BE SET APART FROM EACH OTHER.

     To insist, therefore, that it is sufficient to accept or simply believe in Christ is tantamount to rejecting the necessity of the Church of Christ for salvation, and thus violating the dictum of Christ that:  “Man must not separate, … what God has joined together.”

     The scriptural truth remains that our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church of Christ can not be separated from each other.  CHRIST IS THE SAVIOR OF HIS BODY, THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. *


Written by:
TOMAS C. CATANGAY
PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE
SEPTEMBER 2002
VOLUME 54
NUMBER 9
PAGES 6-7

Note:  Emphasis, Admin.

    


Lunes, Mayo 11, 2015

AN INVITATION TO BE GOD’S PEOPLE

AN INVITATION TO BE GOD’S PEOPLE



THE WORLD AT last is the scene of a grim and awful tragedy—in it we see everyday misery, hatred, pain, strife, disease, and death in various inconceivable manner.  And man can only blame himself for that.
     As the prophet Isaiah emphatically declared:  “The land suffers for the sins of its people.  The earth languishes, the crop wither … The land is defiled by crime; the people have twisted the laws of God and broken his everlasting commands.  Therefore the curse of God is upon them” (Isa. 24:4-6, Living Bible).
     No doubt, man is guilty of breaking God’s holy law.  Consequently, he lies under the sentence of death (Rom. 5:12), on hold until the day of execution (Rev. 21:8), unless he obtains a pardon from God.  But God is love.  Even if men deserve the inexorable severity and stern justice for their various offenses, God graciously has provided a plan of pardon based on the gospel.
     Yes, God is displeased, to say the least, with the pride, the lustfulness, the arrogance, and the haughtiness of man, but we also see His mercy in sending His Son (Acts 4:10-12) to make an atonement for man’s sins—to pour out His life’s blood to satisfy God’s broken law—thereby making it possible for sinners to be reconciled to God.
     Hence, what is the Savior’s invitation to all men for them to share in God’s mercy?  The Lord Jesus Christ passionately declares:  “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.  Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.(John 10:9, 7, New King James Version).
    The invitation of the Savior is clear-cut and open-armed:  “enter by Me”.  Note too that the invitation is for “anyone”, meaning, open to all irrespective of nationality, color of skin, status in society, or educational pedigree.  The promised consequence is also conclusive:  “he will be saved”.
     One cannot comply literally to Christ’s entreaty to “enter” in Him, for He is in heaven at the right hand of God (Ps. 80:17).  To hearken to Jesus’ call is to be a part of His body (Col. 3:15) which is the Church (Col. 1:18), the name of which is Church Of Christ (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation).  Those who heed His call, by their membership in the Church Of Christ, are the real beneficiaries of His salvific death.
     Remember, Christ’s shedding of blood indicated that penalty for sin has been paid; a life has been sacrificed in behalf of the sinners who should comply with God’s way of absolving man of his transgressions.  Neither man has power to alter nor the right to change the biblical terms of salvation.
     But why the Church of Christ?  According to the parable of the Lord Jesus, to what is the kingdom of heaven or the Church Of Christ being compared?  The parable expressly relates:  “And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:  “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,  and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.” (Matt. 22:1-3, NKJV).
     We find the kingdom of heaven illustrated in this parable about a king who prepared a sumptuous wedding dinner for his son.  That this son is Christ will not be disputed.  Sad, but it also pointedly speaks of the way people are indifferent to the message of invitation—how they respond to it.  Many guests were invited—the king even sent messengers to notify everyone that it was time to come—but all refused.
     How much is this like that of the world today?  God has sent His servants—messengers in the name of Christ (II Cor. 5:18-20)—to call all men to repentance, as far as they could reach them.  At a minimum, people should have taken seriously the honor of the invitation.  Woeful, that in many cases, they have been ignored.  The business and profit of worldly concerns hinder many from accepting God’s invitation.  For the most part, man would rather follow the conveniences of this life.
     People have been too busy with their worldly employment and professions to hear the message of salvation—the invitation means nothing to them.  Knowingly or unknowingly, many spurn God’s overture because of indifference or lack of interest and through sheer rebelliousness by knowing full well God’s will (I Tim. 2:3-4), yet still despise the richness of His grace.
     Some, not knowing the righteousness of God, have sought to establish their own as what Apostle Paul testifies:  “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10:2-3, NKJV)
     People brazenly do this today, when they hope for salvation on terms different from those taught in the Holy Scripture.  They can pretend, but they cannot make it a reality—God can’t be fooled.
     There are those who will even present to Jesus the works they have done in anticipation of being accepted but will rather find themselves rejected and driven away as the Savior vividly asserts:  “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.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’(Matt. 7:21-23, Ibid.).
     Not all who sound religious are really godly people according to the Lord Jesus.  They may refer to Him as Lord, but still won’t get to heaven because the decisive question is whether they obey the will of the Father in heaven.  Furthermore, many think that just because they are good parents to their children, or good neighbors, these deeds will be counted as their righteousness before God.  The truth is, some may have religiously followed the golden rule of not doing to others what they don’t want others to do unto them, but still won’t be among God’s chosen people.
     Still, there are those who are trying to obtain salvation by vocally professing their faith but without works to prove it as Apostle James emphatically affirm:  “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:14, 17, 19, Ibid.).
     Unmistakable is the judgment to anyone who purportedly has faith and is a Christian but he isn’t proving it by works—that kind of faith can’t save.  It is dead, insignificant.  Deeds and actions of obedience must back up one’s faith.  In effect, faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all—it is useless.
     Genuine faith in Christ is faith coupled with obedience (Rom. 1:5).  Those who believe, obey, and lead righteous lives—without precondition—are the true chosen of God.
     However, it must be impressed in everyone’s mind and heart that being chosen means a privilege as well as a responsibility.  It is central from the beginning:  “This is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and, you shall be My people … that it may be will with you’” (Jer. 7:23, NKJV).
     Truly, being chosen carries both responsibilities and blessings as described in the biblical covenants with God.  Believers who respond to God’s invitation and become members of Christ’s body—the Church Of Christ—will be counted among God’s chosen, His own special people (I Pet. 2:9-10) who will obtain His mercy of salvation come Judgment Day to enjoy the sumptuous feast with Jesus in His holy kingdom.  *


-RICHARD J. RODAS
Editor-in-Chief
Pasugo God’s Message



Copied from PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE/JULY 2012/VOLUME 64/NUMBER 7/PAGES 1-2 

IGLESIA NI CRISTO EVANGELISM: NOT KEEPING SILENT UNTIL SALVATION SHINES

IGLESIA NI CRISTO EVANGELISM:  
NOT KEEPING SILENT
UNTIL SALVATION SHINES



INVITATIONS TO GRAND evangelical missions (GEMs).  Distributions of pamphlets and religious magazines.  Request to listen or watch religious programs on TV and radio.  These and other ways of sharing the true gospel to non-members continue unabated, as members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) devote much of their time, effort, and even financial resources to the noble mission of spreading God’s message for man’s salvation in these last days.

     Indeed, the Iglesia Ni Cristo remains committed to evangelism or to spreading the Good News even if the world faces persistent problems and perils.  With God’s abiding guidance, it will continue to reap success in this noble mission of proclaiming to all people God’s words as the world approaches its nearing end.


FULFILLING THEIR CALLING
Every member of the Church Of Christ makes it a point to fulfill his duty to never keep silent until salvation shines:  “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.  I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.  You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”  (Isa. 62:1, 6, 7, 3, New International Version)

     Moreover, in His pronouncement, our Lord Jesus Christ likens the members of His Church to the branches of the vine and thus He expects them to bear fruit;  He also warns them that the branches that do not bear fruit will be taken away (John 15:16, 2).  Thus, members of the Church Of Christ in these last days fulfill this mandate by sharing their faith to others and winning them over to the Church.  And to illustrate their mission to convert people into the Church, Christ likens them to lights of the world that should shine brightly in the dark:

     “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.(Matt. 5:14-15, New King James Version)

     Christ does not count worthy any member of His Church who dodges his obligation to share his faith.  God’s true servants should take seriously their role as God’s instruments in making known the message of salvation to the world in as much as it is God Himself who wants all men to be saved (I Tim. 2:3-4).


SAVING SOULS
Fulfilling their mission to win people over to the Church is no ordinary undertaking; it is a noble mission because in so doing, they are saving souls—snatching them from the fire:  “Save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.(Jude 1:23, NIV)

     Hence, by taking part in this holy endeavor to spread the gospel of salvation, they manifest their love and compassion for their fellowmen.  However, Apostle made it clear that not everyone has the authority to preach the gospel, for it is the ministers and evangelical workers who are given the gift to preach (Rom. 12:5-6; II Tim. 4:1-2).  Even so, as “lights of the world,” they should illuminate others who are still in the dark on the true knowledge that leads to salvation (Matt. 5:14, 6).

     Time is really of the essence.  Thus, the task of snatching or rescuing as many souls as possible from the fire on Judgment Day—which is swiftly drawing near because the events that serve as the signs of this appointed day given by Christ have been fulfilled (Matt. 24:3, 33, 6-8) and because on that day “the heavens and the earth… are reserved for the fire… and perdition of ungodly men” (II Pet. 3:7, NKJV)—is made more urgent and immediate.  Before time runs out, they are doing everything they can accomplish their great mission of sharing the true faith.


PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS
Member of the Church of Christ received God’s compassion through Christ; He died for them as explained by Apostle Paul:  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Rom. 5:8-9, Ibid.)

     Furthermore, His death benefited His Church only; and Christ Himself will save the Church, His body (Eph. 5:25, 23).  And so, they were justified through the blood of Christ when God called them to become members of the Church Of Christ—the Church which He redeemed with His blood:  “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with His blood.(Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation). 

     Thus, God delivered them from condemnation and brought them to salvation.  And because they have been redeemed, they should proclaim what God did to them and His righteousness to others.  Indeed, the faith that will assure them salvation and eternal life is faith worth sharing and they should not keep it to themselves:

     “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You Yourself know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.” (Ps. 40:9-10, NKJV)


FORTIFYING THEIR OWN SALVATON
Not only do members of the Church show their care and concern for humanity when they share with everyone God’s Message of salvation; such works also fortify their hope for their own salvation.  Apostle Paul mentioned those who labored with him in the gospel, noting that their names “are written in the Book of Life” (Phil. 4:3, Ibid.).  To labor in the gospel is to take part in “spreading the good news…” (Phil. 1:5, Contemporary English Version).  Hence, the time and efforts that faithful members of the Church Of Christ share for the service of God will never be wasted (I Cor. 15:58)—they are certain of attaining salvation in the Second Coming of Christ.

     Moreover, they follow the example of the early Christians who, according to Apostle Paul, helped “in the work of [spreading] the gospel from the very first day until now.” (Phil. 1:5, Today’s English Version).  Thus, participating in sharing the gospel ought to be a consistent and continuous practice among true Christians.  True enough, many brethren today, despite successfully converting many people to be baptized in the Church, continue to show the same enthusiasm as that of the early Christians in fulfilling this mission to proclaim the good news of salvation.

     They understand that in sharing their faith, the reward is well worth the struggle and sacrifice.  The Bible guaranteed that those who are “willing to share” (their faith) are “storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim. 6:18-19, NKJV)  *


Based on the article written by
Brother Roland A. Aguirre
PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE
JULY 2012/VOLUME 64
NUMBER 7/PAGES 4-6

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SHARING

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SHARING



HOW FAR WOULD you go for the things that matter?  Consider these scenarios:  people who helped total strangers during devastating disasters; employees who agreed to cut their working hours rather than see co-workers lose their jobs; teachers and medical practitioners who chose to go to far-flung areas to aid the poor and the downtrodden; and philanthropists who donated millions of dollars to improve global health and education.

     Indeed, varied are the ways to share one’s wealth or possessions, time, experience, aspiration, talent or expertise with someone else. Yet, there is another kind of sharing that is more profound and noble, for it enables others to attain eternal life and salvation on our Lord Jesus Christ’s return—sharing the Good News of salvation.

     Thus, members of the Church of Christ make it a point to help in sharing their faith to all.  Such endeavor matters much;  it is never in vain in the sight of our Lord god.

     Moreover, it does not only manifest our concern and compassion for our fellowmen but it also allows us to fulfill our spiritual obligation.


FULFILLING OUR CALLING
In His pronouncement, our Lord Jesus Christ likens the members of His Church to the branches of the vine.  He expects every branch to bear fruit; thus, he warns that the branches that do not bear fruit will be taken away (John 15:16, 2).  And so, we, members of the Church of Christ in these last days, should fulfill the sacred purpose of our calling:  to bear fruit.  One way of bearing fruit is to share our faith to others and to win them over to become members of the Church.

     Moreover, to illustrate our mission to convert people into the Church, Christ likens us to lights of the world that should shine brightly in the dark (Matt. 5:14-15).  Hence, members of the Church who do not fulfill their mission to bear fruit are likened to lamps that are put under a basket, unable to shine or give light.

     In another illustration, we are compared to the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13).  Among other purposes, salt is used as a preservative; it is used to prevent decay.  And because people of the world suffer from decay—that is, moral and spiritual decay—due to widespread wickedness, our task as the “salt of the earth” is to preserve people to a life of righteousness by convincing them to join the true Church.  Not accomplishing such duty is tantamount to the salt losing its flavor, so to speak, thus Christ declared:  “… it is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matt. 5:13, New King James Version).

     Clearly, Christ does not count worthy any member of His Church who dodges his responsibility to share his faith.  Therefore, we should take seriously our role as God’s instruments in presenting or making known the message of salvation to the world.  And it is God himself who wants all men to be saved:

    “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Tim. 2:3-4, Ibid.)


SAVING SOULS
Fulfilling our mission to win people over the Church is no ordinary undertaking because in so doing, we are saving souls, pulling them out of the fire:

     “But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[a] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (Jude 1:23, Ibid.)

     Hence, by taking part in the mission to spread the gospel of salvation, we manifest our love and concern for our fellowmen.  However, Apostle Paul clarified that not everyone has the authority to preach the gospel, for it is the ministers and evangelical workers who are given the gift to preach (Rom. 12:5-6; II Tim. 4:1-2).  Even so, as “lights of the world,” we should illuminate others who are still in the dark on the true knowledge that leads to salvation (Matt. 5:14, 16).  We should make good use of every opportunity to win many people over to the true Church.

     We all know that judgment Day is swiftly drawing near because the signs about this appointed day given by our Lord Jesus Christ have been fulfilled (Matt. 24:3, 33, 6-8.)  And because on that day “the heavens and the earth … are reserved for the fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” and “both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (II Pet. 3:7, 10, NKJV), the task of snatching or rescuing as many souls as possible from the fire on Judgment Day is made more urgent and immediate.  Time is really of the essence.  Thus, before time runs out we should do everything we can to accomplish this great missions of ours.  Indeed, what we do will surely help people turn from God’s wrath to His mercy.


PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS
During our Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He showed His compassion to a possessed man—healing him and telling him to go home to his friends and to make known to them the great things that the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:18-19).

     As members of the Church of Christ, didn’t we also receive God’s compassion?  Apostle Paul explains:

     “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Rom. 5:8-9, NKJV)

     While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  But His death benefited His Church only; and “Christ is himself the Savior of the Church, his body” (Eph. 5:25, 23, Today’s English Version).  And so, we were justified through the blood of Christ when God called us to become parts of Christ’s body or members of the Church of Christ—the Church which He redeemed with His blood:

     “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood. (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)

     Thus, God delivered us from condemnation and brought us to salvation.  Because of this, we will be saved from His wrath.  Because we have been redeemed, we should proclaim it to others.  Truly, a gift as precious as salvation is worth sharing.  We should proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation to all, more so to our friends and loved-ones who belong to other religions.  Such a great and wonderful blessing should not be kept to ourselves:

“I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You Yourself know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.” (Ps. 40:9-10, NKJV)


PROPAGATING THE GOSPEL
We can utilize the various ways that the bible teaches in winning souls over to the Church.  Indeed, these are opportunities to show our care and concern to our fellowmen.

     We can invite people to listen to Christ’s teachings as what the Samaritan woman did.  Upon meeting Christ and knowing whom she was talking to, she went back to her town and invited the people to listen to what our Lord Jesus Christ had to say.  The Samaritan woman’s efforts proved to be fruitful as many of them believed in Jesus (John 4:28-30, 39, TEV).

     Also, we can fulfill our obligation to share our faith with others not only through the spoken word but also through the written word (Acts 17:11-12; I Pet. 5:12)

     Therefore, let us invite people to listen to the words of God, which are taught during our instructions in biblical doctrines, grand evangelical missions (GEMs), and congregational worship services.  We can also use the mass media in order to communicate God’s words to all and sundry.  Let us take part in the distribution of our pamphlets, religious tracts, and magazine, Pasugo:  God’s Message.  Let us encourage nonmembers to watch and listen to our religious programs on TV and radio.  Needless to say, since there are various means by which we can spread our faith, everyone of us can take part in sharing God’s message of salvation to all people.


NEVER IN VAIN
The time and efforts that faithful members of the Church of Christ sacrifice and share for the service of God—one of which is our mission of winning souls back to God—will never be wasted:

     “… Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.” (I Cor. 15:58, TEV)

     Each one of us who diligently takes part in the spreading of our faith is truly fortunate.  In fact, by actively sharing our faith, we “will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philem. 1:6, New International Version); hence we would understand that in sharing our faith, the reward is well worth the struggle and sacrifice.  Apostle Paul guaranteed that we will attain salvation for the names of those who help in our missionary works are recorded in the Book of Life:

     “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.(Phil. 4:3, NKJV)  *


Written by
Brother ROLAND A. AGUIRRE
PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE
FEBRUARY 2009
VOLUME 61
NUMBER 2
PAGES 16-18