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.
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Does it make any difference how you worship God? 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?
Where Are God's People?
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.
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.
The True Church: “For the Perfecting of the Saints”
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. 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.
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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.
As nearly all theologians recognize, it is obvious from this and other scriptures that Lucifer's ability and beauty led to a great deal of pride. This pride, in turn, led Lucifer to rebel against his Creator, and his name was later changed from "light bringer" to Satan —which literally means "adversary" in Hebrew. Lucifer became God's greatest enemy. Throughout the entire Bible, God shows us that He is determined not to allow anyone to come into His Kingdom who is a potential adversary —a potential Satan!
Would you? We all should recognize how vital this is to God. He wants unity and peace in His Kingdom and His Spirit-led family! He is the Author of love , joy and peace. Any being who would be a potential rebel might eventually destroy that peace. Therefore, throughout the entire Bible , God reveals that He will make absolutely sure that any potential son of His will come to have the correct "fear" of God! As God's word indicates, this fear is not "terror" or being "afraid" of something bad!
Rather, it is a profound reverence , humility and willingness to obey our Creator and never to rebel against His laws and His righteous ways that always bring peace and joy. One of the first "tests" that Abraham, the "father of the faithful," had to pass is described in Genesis Please read this chapter carefully! Here we find how God "tested" Abraham v. At the very last minute—when Abraham had proved his total submission to God—God sent His Spokesman who said: "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God , since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me" v.
Then, God gave Abraham the magnificent blessing that tremendous physical wealth and power would come upon his descendants, as well as spiritual blessings through the "seed," Jesus Christ vv. Abraham had to prove to God that he "feared" Him, and that he was willing to totally surrender his own will—not just to " believe in " God but to do what God commanded!
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In Proverbs , we read: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Without it, God does not want us in His eternal Kingdom! It should be obvious that those in God's true Church must learn to have this profound reverence and willingness to obey their Maker that was portrayed so well by Abraham, the "father" of the faithful. Also, members of the true Church will have proved to themselves what God tells us in Hebrews "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
If you and I are to be genuine Christians, we must totally believe in a real God—the God described in the Bible. And we must believe that, as the Bible says, He is a "rewarder" of those who diligently seek Him —not of those who half-heartedly attend the "church of their choice" or the local neighborhood church whenever it is "convenient," and who believe whatever religious fad is currently in vogue!
Real Christians will also have proved to themselves the inspiration of the Holy Bible! Jesus said: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" Luke They will have surrendered themselves to follow what Jesus said, and to do what God says in His inspired word.
They will understand that God "reveals" Himself through His word , not through our human imagination. They will understand and respond to 2 Timothy — "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. As God makes clear in the above verse, scripture is given not just for our encouragement but for reproof and for correction as well as "instruction in righteousness. Those who fail to do so have come up with hundreds of different, competing denominations—each with different doctrines, practices and concepts of what God is like.
Harold Lindsell lays out this fundamental proposition: "Of all the doctrines connected with the Christian faith, none is more important than the one that has to do with the basis of our religious knowledge. For anyone who professes the Christian faith the root question is: From where do I get my knowledge on which my faith is based? The answers to this question are varied, of course, but for the Christian at least it always comes full circle to the Bible.
When all has been said and done, the only true and dependable source for Christianity lies in the book we call the Bible " p. I hope all of you will carefully read the above quote and say a hearty "Amen.
Organization of the True Church
And it is a vital "key" that must be taught and practiced by any church that calls itself the true Church of God! Again, the true people of God will only be those who surrender to actually do what the Bible really says. They will obey God's word even if it brings them "problems" or severe persecution! As you know, the early Christians took their very lives in their hands when they followed Jesus and the original apostles. They were continually persecuted, sometimes martyred—and often hounded out of their jobs, their cities or even their families.
As we have already seen, the Jesus Christ of the Bible told all who would follow Him: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate ["love less"] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" Luke — When challenged about which "power" healed a crippled man, the Apostle Peter courageously answered: "Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. To be in God's true Church , one must sincerely follow Peter's inspired instruction on the day of Pentecost: " Repent , and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" Acts — When one comes to the point of being willing to heartfeltly repent of breaking God's holy law—for " sin is the transgression of the law " 1 John , KJV —one must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.