Church of God, New World Ministries

Is Church Membership Enough?

We are living in the shadow of violent death. It could come any day or night. Any moment, any time. It can be ignited by the tiniest political spark struck in a far distant land. This world is teetering on the edge of oblivion. But what are we doing about it? Why haven’t men discovered the only sure protection in these times?

More people have started attending church since the advent of the hydrogen bomb and now nuclear weapons, than at any time in the history of the Western world. Why? To get dressed up? To get ahead socially or in business? To have “peace of mind” for the rest of the week?

Partly, perhaps. But many go because they are scared. Scared of God? No. Of themselves. Themselves collectively. And what they might do to each other if they are not careful.

When someone meets us coming down the highway at 70 miles an hour, he’s the unpredictable. If he wanted to, coming at us at 70 miles an hour, he could give a gentle flick of his wheel and send us both to eternity. That’s how dependent we are on the other’s whims, decisions and dementias.

Collectively things are even scarier! This big thing is that nuclear weapons now belong to several other countries. They will deploy this nuclear thing as they see fit. They will decide where, and when and why.

Knowing all this makes us a little restless. It makes us think about many things, not the least of which is our hereafter. People are thinking more and more about making peace with somebody, and they usually include God to be on the safe side. Are they going about it the right way?

Are their actions really bringing them into direct contact with the true God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Are they learning to seek and enjoy His Divine guidance and protection?

What about you? Can you afford to take a chance on a thing like this? Are you just following the crowd? Do you really know God as a personal Father? Do you experience His help and power in your personal life?

Christ said of the religionists of His day: “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7). They were following the ideas of men rather than God. They were worshipping the way that seemed right to men. But Christ said it was all in vain.

This modern world is also in religious confusion. Some religious groups go through ancient forms, ceremonies and pagan rituals (such as Christmas and Easter), yet never really know or understand the Bible or God’s purpose for human existence.

On the other hand, many liberals and modernists think of God as an “idea” or “projection” of good and have nothing as a concrete standard of belief, practice or way of life which is based on the Bible, which they consider mainly as a collection of human ideas of ancient Jewish shepherds.

For almost six thousand years of recorded history God has permitted the world to go its own way under the confusing and deceiving influence of a personal spirit being called Satan, the Devil! Your Bible describes Satan as a personal being “which deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Are you willing to face this possibility in your personal life? Are you willing to change if God shows you through His Word that you have never really been converted?

The true original Christianity, the Christianity of Jesus Christ, involved understanding and obeying the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Jesus said: “It is written that man should not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).

The sermons and teachings of Jesus Christ were filled with references to the Old Testament, the only part of the Bible yet written at that time, as the Word of God and as having AUTHORITY over our lives. The early inspired apostles referred both to the Old Testament and to the teachings of Jesus Christ as the Rule of life, revealing a way of life by which we should live. In fact, throughout the book of Acts, we find references to Christianity being spoken of as “the way” and “that way” (Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4).

If you are ever going to be “converted” to the type of Christianity which Christ taught, you need to PROVE the divine inspiration of the Bible. You need to begin to believe and obey what it literally says in plain language! If you’ve not yet proved the Bible true, read our articles: “Does God Really Exist”, “Is The Bible the Inspired Word of God” and “Jesus Christ Is He God”.

For if you don’t have the authority of God and the Bible behind your “Christianity” then very frankly, you should immediately stop calling it Christianity (or a Christian for that matter) and refer to it rather as your “philosophy” or some other honest and realistic designation!

But if you do believe in the God of Abraham, the God of the Bible, the God that is going to intervene in human affairs prior to the return of His Son Jesus Christ to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords then learn to take His Word for it on the subject of what true Christianity really involves! Don’t try to straddle the fence! Don’t try to mix your ideas with God’ teachings and hope that God will be well pleased with the confused result!

Now notice what God says in His inspired Word about the true nature of Christianity and true Christians. “Now if any many hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). In plain language, you must have Christ’s Spirit in you, or you are not a Christian, and you have never been converted.

A truly converted person is filled with and led by the Holy Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14). Through the Holy Spirit, God places His very nature and character within us. And it is the Spirit of Power, and of Love, and of a Sound Mind” (II Tim. 1:7). By receiving God’s very nature and life within us through His Spirit, we are begotten of Him as His children and have spiritual love, wisdom and strength to overcome our human nature and live as God would have us to live.

Through the Holy Spirit, we are, as Peter says, “partakers of the divine nature “(II Peter 1:4). To speak frankly, most of you don’t even know what the Holy Spirit is and what it is supposed to do in your life, and what is the real result of your being led by God’s Spirit.

In Romans 5:5, God tells us. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.” Through His Spirit, God gives us His divine spiritual love. Thus we partake of His nature, His character. And God’s character is expressed in the spiritual principles contained in the Ten Commandments obedience to God’s law. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).

This scripture tells us that God’s spiritual love, the love which is given us through the Holy Spirit is the love which is expressed in keeping God’s commandments!

How clear! God’s Spirit leads us to obey Him as our Maker and Ruler. Peter was inspired to write, “the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Real conversion, then, involves obedience to God and His laws. In Acts 2:38, Peter was inspired to tell us how to be converted. He said: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

You must repent of sin. And what is the Bible definition of sin? “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).This is the Bible definition of sin, the breaking of God’s law!

So to be truly converted, you must repent of the breaking of God’s law. And “repent” doesn’t mean to be sorry after a Saturday night of drunken brawl that leaves you with a hang-over and a pounding headache the next morning. It means to be so sorry you are willing to quit doing wrong and turn around and go the other way! And as sin is breaking God’s law, so “turning around” and going the other way means a life of obedience to God’s law and yielding to let Him fashion and mold your character after His own through His Spirit within you!

Remember that in the New Testament, God’s law was magnified by Jesus Christ, particularly in Matthew the 5th chapter in the sermon on the Mount. This shows we are to keep not only the letter but the spiritual intent of God’s law in every phase of our lives.

We are to let Christ live His life in us through the Holy Spirit. For the apostle Paul was inspired to write: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

Since the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8), He will live that same kind of life in you today as He did live when he lived on earth almost 2,000 years ago in the flesh. And during His earthly life, in which He set us an example that we should follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21) He said “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10).

Could anything be more plain and clear than this? True Christianity involves obeying your Creator and your God! God will not save anyone who doesn’t surrender to God’s will and rule.

True Christianity involves surrendering your will to let your living Saviour live His life in you through the Holy Spirit! Through His Spirit, God’s very nature and character and spiritual love is implanted within you, you are enabled to keep God’s holy and spiritual law as set forth in the principles of the Ten Commandments, and grow in the very character of God until the resurrection!

Let us put our own ideas and human opinions aside for a moment, and see what Jesus Christ says about this matter. After all, He is the One who really knows!

In what is known as the “Sermon of the Mount,” Jesus taught His disciples the basis of His Christian message. These teachings contain more spiritual truth than whole volumes that have been written by men.

Christ taught the disciples that to be great in God’s Kingdom, we must do and teach His Commandments (Matt. 5:19). He revealed that God’s law is a spiritual law. One not only breaks the command against adultery by a physical act, but, “whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).

Christ instructed His disciples not only to obey the commandments against killing but He said: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you” (v. 44). He summed up these instructions by commanding them: “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect “(v. 48).

How many people calling themselves Christians are actively striving to follow these spiritual principles in their daily lives? Do they love their enemies and pray for them? Are they growing spiritually every day toward the goal of having perfect character, even as God?

Or have we forgotten that Jesus taught His disciples how they should give “alms” or perform good deeds, how they should pray, and how they should fast (Matt. 6:1-18). In each case, Jesus assumed that His followers would be leading that kind of life. He was teaching them how to live, to give to others, to pray to God the Father on their knees, to fast in order to be closer to God, not some empty ritual or impractical theory.

The religious ideas and teachings of men are varied and confused. Even the great denominations have repeatedly changed their doctrines from time to time although not in the direction of truth! But the teaching of the Bible is consistent and unchanging.

The true servants of God in all ages have taught and written the same basic way of obedience to God. “Thy Word is truth,” Jesus said (John 17:17).And again He said, “The scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). God does not contradict Himself in His inspired Word! We should always bear this in mind when studying the Bible.

So Christ continued to teach the same truths all through His ministry, and the apostles preached the same Gospel, not something different.

Later in Jesus’ ministry, one asked Him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Christ answered, “Why call thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou will enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:16-17).

This is the way Jesus taught that would lead to eternal life. He taught the need for repentance from past sins, of faith in Him as our Saviour, and of obedience to the laws and ways of God. Jesus said, if He was to be your Lord you would have to obey Him! Did Jesus know what He was talking about? Many organizations of men seem to think that He didn’t, for they have substituted a dead faith and belief in His person, but deny the way of salvation and life which He taught.

The apostles were commanded to continue to preach the same message which Jesus preached. Before His ascension into heaven, He commanded them to go forth and instruct all nations both Jew and Gentiles -- teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28: 20).

Perhaps the best definition of a Christian contained in any one verse of the Bible is found in I John 2:6. The Weymouth translation makes the intended meaning more clear than the older KJV wording. It reads: “He who says that he abodes in Him is bound to live as He (Christ) lived.”

How many of today’s professing Christians feel bound to actually live as Jesus did? To do this, to fulfill the purpose for which you were born, you need to study the Bible as most of you have never done before in all your lives!

To be a true Christian, you need to begin practicing total honesty in your speech, in your business, and in your entire way of life! You need to forsake your personal idols and begin to honor your parents, obey the laws of man and God, and worship our Creator and your Heavenly Father and seek Him in study, prayer and fasting in the way the prophets of old did!

Once you have decided to make a total surrender to God, you need, as already stated, to be baptized! Then through the power of the Holy Spirit which you are promised to receive after baptism, you will have placed within you the very nature and character of God Himself! You must develop, strengthen and nurture this character! Never forget the instruction: “But grow in grace; and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

Thousands of you have come to realize that you are getting the truth, the understanding and the Message of God through this Work The Church of God New World Ministries. You are beginning to realize that this is the true Work of God on earth, preparing for Christ’s second coming and the New World to come.

Many of you are delaying and procrastinating before doing anything about this knowledge you have been given! If you are in this boat, then quit procrastinating, quit arguing and reasoning and delaying and begin to obey the precious spiritual truth which God is showing you through His servants on earth in these last days! Enroll today in our Mini-Correspondence Course and the Traditional Christian Doctrine series.

Learn to walk in the light as God gives the light. Keep changing in the direction of truth, keep growing and yielding your life into the hands of the Living Jesus Christ. After baptism, ask in faith and confidence for Him, through His Spirit, to literally live His life in you! Remember that He will live the same basic way of life in you today as He lived almost 2,000 years ago (Heb. 13:8).

He will teach you to study and understand the Word of God, to pray to God as your personal Father and really come to know Him in a wonderful and personal way. He will lead you to obey the holy and spiritual laws of God summarized in the Ten Commandments, which tell us how to love God and how to love our neighbor. He will lead you to keep Holy the same days which God made holy, and to love your enemies, to master your human vanity and selfishness, to surrender your will, in everything, to the will of your God and Maker.

Read the articles on this website and listen to the DVD/CD’s for spiritual guidance. Search the site for answers to your Bible questions. Our purpose for existence is to help those who are truly seeking God’s word to find it!

There are many names and titles religious organizations and groups could choose for themselves. But Jesus asks: “Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say” (Luke 6:46). Let’s quit kidding ourselves! Only those who have the Holy Spirit of God within them, who have Christ living within them, are really Christians. Only those who through the power of His Spirit are keeping the laws of God and living the way of God and His Word are properly called by the name of Christ! My friends, there is only one True Church of God. Membership in “any” church is simply not enough! To truly serve your Creator you must be in the Church Christ said He would build (Mat. 16:18).

 
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