*Church

*The enemies of truth deleted about 1,000 words from this article.

All who claim to be Christians may not be Christians. All that claim to be Christian churches may not be Christian churches, some may even be churches of the devil.  Some church officials are actually enemies of the cross.

The word ‘church’ occurs 80 times in the King James Version (KJV), and it does not occur in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ was the first person who used the term. It is of vital importance to know the nature of the church, its operations and mission, and what role it plays in the world.

There is a distinction and difference between the Church of Jesus Christ and a local church. You can be a member of a local church and not the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is eternal and universal.

The word ‘church’ is ekklēsia in Greek which means an assembly of Christians, the whole body of Christ made up of Christians scattered throughout the earth and times, those who are the called; - it occurs 118 times in the New Testament. It is with the signification of this word ekklesia as it meets us in the New Testament, and with the nature of the word used to describe, that the present article is concerned. This article is concerned singly with the church as the body of Christ, not the place of worship as many confused to believe. We are not discussing the buildings where Christians meet and worship. Whenever the Bible mentions “churches” it means local churches or local assemblies, and when the Bible mentions “church” it refers only to the body of Christ, the universal church of Christ, invisible and spiritual.

Here is an important message to the Christian church members of more than one billion all over the world. This is not my message to you; this is the message of God to you. In fact, it is written in the Bible more than 2,000 years ago, written in the Book of Romans, Chapter 8.

Why this message? Because most church members do not know whether:

They are saved or not.

The proof of their salvation.

Before the most important message to church members is proclaimed, let us review in brief the way of salvation and what the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is. It is as simple as ABC.

A.    You are a sinner. We are all sinners. The wages of sin is death; that is why all will die. If you do not have sin, you will not die. Although you are a sinner, the wonder of wonders God loves you. Before the foundation of the world God has provided the salvation.

B.    You cannot save yourself. No one can save you. God sent Jesus Christ to save sinners. Jesus Chris was God who became Man in order to become the Savior of the world. Jesus Christ died for sinners on the cross so that we can be saved. Through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the sins of believers can be washed away and forgiven.

C.    How can you be saved? Simply by believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Lord and Savior. You are saved by grace of God and through faith in Jesus Christ. Grace because you do not deserve and cannot earn it. Repent of your sins and accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior, confess with your mouth and believe with your heart.

You said I have done that. That is good. Now, the questions are:

A.    Do you know you are saved? B. Do you know what is the proof that you are saved?

I have met thousands of people who have been church members for many years, and even from childhood, and yet they do not know they are saved or not and they do have the proof that they are saved.

Here is the Word of God for you:

Rom 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

The Word of God is clear: “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

You may have a baptismal certificate, or you have a church membership certificate, etc. but they are useless. You say, I believe. Oh, the devil also believes. The devil has evil spirit, not the Spirit of Christ. There is no other way: If you have the Spirit of Christ in you, you belong to Christ, and you are saved. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you do not belong to Christ. Your pastor does not know you have the Spirit of Christ in you or not; in fact many pastors and preachers do not have the Spirit of Christ in them. I do not and cannot know if you have the Spirit of Christ in you or not, just as I cannot know if you are hungry or full. But you can know whether the Spirit of God lives in you or not. Do not be confused, the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God. For the Bible says:

Rom 8:16, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” The word testify in Greek is symmartyreō  which means  to bear witness with, bear joint witness; - it occurs 4 times in the New Testament. It is of no use that your pastor testifies you are a child of God. I cannot testify you are a child of God. Only the Holy Spirit can testify with your spirit that you are a child of God. This is the proof and only proof. You ask, Can the Holy Spirit speak to me? Yes, the Holy Spirit not only can speak to you, the Holy Spirit gives you new life in Jesus Christ.

You say, I do not know whether the Spirit of Christ lives in me or not. The fact you do not know proves that the Holy Spirit has not testified with your spirit that you are a child of God. You ask what can you do?  This is the promise:

Luk 11:13,“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

So you can say this prayer: Our Heavenly Father, I have believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, but I am ignorant and do not know whether I have the Spirit of Christ in me or not. Now I earnestly ask in the Name of Jesus Christ so that the Spirit of Christ may be given to me, to live in me, to lead me, and to testify with my spirit that I am a child of God. Thank you Lord. Honor, Glory and Power belong to the Highest. Amen.

As Jesus promises, you pray and continuously pray until the Holy Spirit speaks to you and testifies with your spirit. Then your joy you will be great and only you will know. Salvation is a personal matter.

The Church of Jesus Christ is not an abbey, atrium, basilica, cathedral, mausoleum, synagogue, temple, giant architecture, or a huge building built by the hands of men. I recalled when I was at the Westminster Abbey the first time, it dawned on me the Church of England is where kings and queens and prominent people are buried, not a place where the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed and Christians gather to worship and sing praises to God. In my observations, many European churches are dead as stones. 

1Pe 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
It is sad that billions of peoples mistake the church for a building. Many false preachers teach that their church buildings are the Church of Jesus Christ. Many pastors falsely call their meeting places holy temples of God. There is no temple now on earth and there will be no temple in Heaven.
Rom 12:5, “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Eph 5:23-30, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body."
1Co 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
1Co 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
Eph 2:19-22, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
Rev 21:21-23, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
A church building is nothing but a meeting place.  The Church is a Spiritual House made of believers. The Church of Jesus Christ is the body of Christ, composed of the first righteous man Abel to the last called one before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
In summary, a church building is only a meeting place, not the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is the body of Christ made of all believers of all generations. There is no temple of God on earth today as the Jewish temple. The body of a Christian is the temple of God where the Holy Spirit lives. There will be no temple in Heaven for eternity because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Broadly speaking, the church is the people of God. Essentially, the concept of the people of God can be summed up in the covenantal phrase: “I will be their God and they shall be My people”

The Modern Chinese Dictionary says the Roman Catholic Church is the old branch of Christianity and Protestantism is the new branch; the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Protestant Church are the three branches of Christianity. It is all wrong. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were split due to political and hierarchical reasons. The Protestant Church is not a new branch or brand of Christianity; Martin Luther did not establish a new version of Christianity. Martin Luther brought the church back to the original Christianity completely based on the Holy Bible. The Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official or state religion of the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church was the result of the apostate church. God raised up Martin Luther to protest against the false doctrines and heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant Church or the true church of Jesus Christ does not recognize the pope or anyone as the head of the church except Jesus Christ. The pope is not the sole representative of Jesus Christ on earth, the Holy Spirit is. The body of Jesus Christ accepts no other authority except the authority of the Word of God.

Jer 31:33,“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Lev 26:11-12,“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”

Jer 32:38,“They shall be My people, and I will be their God.”

Eze 36:28,“You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.”

2Cr 6:16,“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

Hbr 8:10,“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Rev 21:3,“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying: Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

Note: Thus, the people of God are those in both the Old and New Testament eras who responded to God’s calling by faith, chosen and faithful, and whose salvation rests exclusively in God's grace.

There are people from Taiwan who coin the high class church or assembly or club (精英教会) to differentiate from other churches of the poor and uneducated and unprofessional.  These children of the world use church as an organization or club or social network of cooperation and fellowship. Taiwanese preachers practice a false version of Christianity, in that no one dares to rebuke Lee Teng-hui and Mar Ying-jeou who claim to be Christians and yet they openly worship idols and burn incense. The idea of the high class church (精英教会) is also promoted to mainland China. This church may have a Christian name, but in fact it is secular organization or social club. There are people who have been educated and they are professional people who seek fame and fortune and worldly blessings in the world.  They form an organization under the pretext of a church, but it is not a body of Christ. The aim of high class church (精英教会) is similar to the American defunct church called Crystal Cathedral that preached a false gospel called prosperity gospel. 

Jas 2:1-10,“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool, have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”

In the last days there are so many false doctrines, false teachings, false prophets and false teachers and even false churches. The Scriptures cited above depict and describe the value and attitude of this new false church. They hold respect for people who come to church in luxurious cars, with gold and diamond rings and dressed in fine and fashionable clothes of expensive brands. They join forces to wield influence in society. They worship money, power and pleasure. So they use each other to advance their personal goals to get rich and do well in this world. They establish business and professional connections to enable them to emigrate to America the land of the rich and powerful. The body of Christ does not make distinctions between the rich and poor, male and female, educated and uneducated, professional and unprofessional. All true believers are one in Christ.

1.     The origin of the church.

Mat 16:18,“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Note: This Scripture is the most misquoted and misused by the Roman Catholic Church and the source of its false doctrines. The historical Jesus did found and organize the church upon Himself.

A.   The church of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ builds His church on Himself, not Peter.

Note: Rock in Greek is petra which means a large stone, the massive living rock; - it occurs 16 times in the New Testament. Peter in Greek is Petros which means a stone; - it occurs 162 times in the New Testament. How do you know the rock is not Peter? The Bible clearly says, 

1Cr 10:4,“And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” There is no mistake about it, that Rock was Christ. Jesus Christ builds His church upon Himself, the power and wisdom of God. How could Jesus Christ build His church upon a man like Peter who denied Him three times? Peter by inspiration explains, 

1Pe 2:7-8,“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed.”

Church in Greek is ekklēsia  which means an assembly, a company of Christian, the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth, past, present and until the second coming of Christ; - it occurs 118 times in the New Testament. Church is the body of Christ collectively throughout history. So the first member of the church, the assembly of the righteous, would be Abel. 

Mat 23:35, “That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Jesus Christ calls Abel righteous, so Abel was saved by faith. 

Hbr 11:4,“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” The Old Testament saints would also constitute members of the church. How do you know? 

Num 20:8,“Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”
Note: Congregation in Hebrew is `edah which means gathering, company, assembly, people; - it occurs 149 times in the Old Testament.

Psa 35:18,“I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng.”

Note: Congregation here in Hebrew is qahal which means an organized body, assembly, company; - it occurs 123 times in the Old Testament.

Psa 40:9,“I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, You know.”

Psa 74:2,“Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.”

Note: Redeem in Hebrew is ga'al which means to buy back, purchase, deliver, ransom; - it occurs 104 times in the Old Testament. Clearly those who had been redeemed by the Lord as His inheritance were members of the church in the Old Testament.

Psa 149:1,“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.”

Note: The Old Testament believers were the congregation of the godly ones.

Act 7:38,“This is he who was in the church in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living oracles to give to us.”

Note: Church here in Greek is the same original word used in Mat 16:18.

In the Old Testament the people of God was often called congregation.

The living oracles are the words of God.

Act 6:2,“So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said: It is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables.”

Act 6:5,“The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.”

Hbr 2:12, “Saying: I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.”

Note: Congregation in Greek is plēthos which means the whole multitude, the assemblage, the multitude of the people; - it occurs 32 times in the New Testament. The whole congregation means the total members of the church. The congregation is the company of brothers and sisters in Christ.

B.   Jesus Christ builds His church.

The Old Testament congregation was the shadow of the thing to come, the church. The historical Jesus did found and organize the church.

Mat 16:18,“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Note: Build in Greek is oikodomeō which means to build up from the foundation, erect a building, found, establish; - it occurs 39 times in the New Testament. It is the church of Jesus Christ, also called the church of God. I believe it is wrong for the Roman Catholic Church to call St. Peter Church or St. Paul Church, etc. Peter does not have a church. Paul does not have a church. It is the church of Jesus Christ, the church of God. Do not confuse the church building to the church. A church building is a place where Christians meet to worship and hear the Word of God. The church is the invisible body of members of all believers in Christ of all ages and generations.

Act 9:31,“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.”

Note: The church here does not mean a church building, it means the spiritual body of Christ. The church increases means the number of saved believers increases; it is not the size of a church building increases.

Hades in Greek is hadēs which means the grave, death, hell; - it occurs 11 times in the New Testament. Hell is likened a vast prison. The gates of hell will not overcome the church. Overcome in Greek is katischyō which means to prevail, prevail against, overpower, accomplish one’s desire; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. The power of darkness will not prevail against the church. No one can conquer the church because Christ is the Head of the church.

Eph 4:11-13,“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Note: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till all come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to the full measure of the stature of Christ.

C.    The church is the body of Christ.

Col 1:24,“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.”

Note: Suffering in Greek is pathēma which means a misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction; - it occurs 16 times in the New Testament. Rejoice in Greek is chairō which means to be glad, have joy; - it occurs 74 times in the New Testament. Usually people rejoice because they get out of sufferings. God enables believers to rejoice in sharing the sufferings of Christ. Affliction in Greek is thlipsis which means pressure, oppression, tribulation, distress, straits, anxiety, burden of heart; - it occurs 45 times in the New Testament. Fill up in Greek is antanaplēroō which means to fill up in turn; it occurs only once in the New Testament. What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ to be borne by every believer, in order to repay the benefits and blessings which Christ conferred on us by filling up the measure of the afflictions laid upon us. This suffering for the body of Christ is the highest service a servant of Christ may offer. Body in Greek is sōma which means the living body, a social, ethical, mystical body, Christ’s spiritual body; - it occurs 146 times in the New Testament.

Gal 3:28,“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Note: The body of Christ is raceless, classless, and genderless. All Christians are one in Christ.

Rom 12:5,“So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Note: Member in Greek is melos which means a limb, a member of the human body; - it occurs 34 times in the New Testament. Christians are closely related and united by the bond of one and the same Spirit both among themselves and with Christ as the Head, their fellowship is likened to the body, and individual Christians are metaphorically called members one of another. Since members are of one body, they are inseparable and indivisible. Any organization or scheme that divides the church of Jesus Christ is un-Scriptural. Denominations tend to divide the church.

To be a member of a local church does not necessarily mean you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ – the body of Christ. The Body of Christ is made up of all souls saved by the blood of Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. You can be a member of a megachurch, but not a member of the Church of God. You can be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, not a member of any local church; for a local church is only an organization of men. There are many churches designated by the government or denomination which are not the Church of Jesus Christ. To have fellowship with members of a local church does not necessarily mean to have fellowship with the Head of the Church. To be a member of an apostate church is not to be a member of the Church of Christ. A true believer can have fellowship with any believer in Christ without considering race, color, background or organization. The true Church of Jesus Christ is the invisible and universal Church consisting of members from Abel to the last converts at the end of the dispensation of grace before the second coming of Christ. Do not confuse the Church of Christ with any church or man-made organization.

There are people who go to church or join a church not because they believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; they go after material and monetary and social benefits such as wedding and funeral services, etc. For example, some people use church as a business and other opportunity or to obtain all sorts of assistance or charity. So many foreign students go to church to get a free meal and make friends. Others go to church to look for a spouse (and it is not wrong for Christians to marry Christians). Some seek position in the church as elders and deacons. There are many ulterior motives of many people who are not members of the body of Christ. What they seek is earthly and material, not heavenly and spiritual. Many Americans give to church because they get tax deductions. Some rich people donate in order to make profits. Only in America donation to a church can earn profits.

Crystal Cathedral was the center of a false gospel called prosperity gospel. Preachers of prosperity gospel are false preachers. The fact that the Crystal Cathedral has gone bankrupt is a de facto and actual proof that prosperity gospel they preach is a false gospel. Prosperity gospel does not bring prosperity to the Crystal Cathedral, much less to its followers. The church is not a family business or private enterprise or a spiritual empire to enrich family members. The fact Crystal Cathedral has fired three relatives of the megachurch’s founder tells something is structurally and seriously wrong with the church from the start. The church of Jesus Christ does not belong to the sons and daughters, sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, relatives and friends of any preacher or pastor, directors or producers, elders or deacons, etc. The Crystal Cathedral has sold its church in February for $57.5 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. It tells you the monolithic Roman Catholic Church is very rich.

It is a well-known fact that Billy Graham has been invited to the White House since Truman or Eisenhower to George Bush, Jr. many times. I do not know what message or sermon or counsel that Billy Graham gave to each American president. I know Billy Graham is no John the Baptist. And I do not and cannot see any godly influence or spiritual fruit that Billy Graham has on any of the U.S. presidents, including Richard Nixon. I am sure Billy Graham did not point to the U.S. presidents and said that they have been guilty of lying and killing of millions and millions of innocent peoples around the world and making even more millions of peoples living in abject poverty and becoming desperate refugees since the end of World War II. For sure, such a message would not be welcomed in the White House at any time by any U.S. president.

By chance in mid-September 2013 I came across an ad of Billy Graham as follows:

In [Jesus] name the nations will put their hope” –Matthew 12:21 NIV

If you live in the typical American community–with 100 average neighbors–here's the reality: 7 of your neighbors struggle with depression, even contemplating suicide; 7 abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol; 8 are struggling with unemployment; and 60 don't profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

The picture is bleak, but there is hope. Jesus Christ can transform lives that are burdened with fear, insecurity, uncertainty, and pain and offer joy and peace, now and for all eternity. By signing this declaration, you stand with Billy Graham in proclaiming that our nation needs this Good News.

In November 2013, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Christians across the U.S. and Canada will host My Hope with Billy Graham, a massive media and friendship outreach, to proclaim the Gospel. Submit the form on the right, and we'll send you updates on this outreach and other ways we are sharing the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ.

I will join you in declaring, "I have hope for America because of Jesus Christ." 

This is a most misleading and confusing statement.

If it means this: “If the sinful American leaders would confess their sins and repent, there is hope because Jesus Christ can save.” – that I fully subscribe and support.

I can honestly and truthfully say, “In fact, I do not have hope for America because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ condemns the American leaders who are proven liars and killers as children of the devil.

Jhn 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

I am afraid that simple Graham’s statement might have the meanings contrary to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not have hope with anyone no matter how famous or popular he may be; my hope is in my Lord Jesus Christ. Billy Graham has personal knowledge of American presidents from Truman or Eisenhower down, he cannot claim ignorance. Yet he never preaches against the evil deeds of American presidents. I do not know any American preacher who has preached against the sins of American presidents and officials. Probably Billy Graham has been blinded by Americanism and patriotism; or more likely he is not John the Baptist who dared to rebuke the king. Some preachers are so proud because they have been briefed by the White House. That is his personal matter whether Graham condemns the evil deeds of American presidents or not; what I oppose is the misrepresentation of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is not one evangelical preacher who dares to say, America is practicing a false version of Christianity. There is not one fundamental American preacher who dares to preach against capitalism and imperialism as incompatible with Christianity. I say to you: the American way of life is the wrong way of life. I am pessimistic about America because I do not believe American leaders will change and repent of their sins in giving up the evil empire and return to a respectable republic. I have no problem with what Jesus Christ is able to do and save, I have problems in believing American leaders and people would change their values and aggressive behavior. American problems are made by American leaders and people and they are Made in the U.S.A. American leaders and people know the Good News in Jesus Christ, but they are not willing to repent and believe.

(1). You cannot declare something in His name and that automatically Jesus Christ will offer you hope. Hope is not something you have by declaration. America has rejected God by word and deed. Obama is the first U.S. president who endorses homosexuality (there are many pagan leaders of nations who even oppose and condemn homosexuality on ground of morality) and supports legalization of same-sex marriage. The hypocrisy and duplicity, immorality, arrogance and greed practiced by American leaders and officials are of the highest order in the world. American leaders rule and dictate the world by their absolute military, political, economic, financial, technological, trade and diplomatic power.

(2). The evil empire of America since the end of World War II has incited and instigated and executed many unjust wars and unholy military interventions of brutal and deadly nature under false pretenses and pretexts which have killed millions of innocent civilians around the world. Not one American leader or official would admit all the lies and evil deeds and murders that America has done so far. On the contrary American leaders always lift up high the banners of righteousness (such as democracy, human rights, freedom, rule of law, responsibility, security, humanitarianism, justice, etc.) to justify their evil deeds or exploitation and oppression through wars of aggression and destruction.

(3). For about 300 years American churches have adulterous and sinful symbiotic relationship with American government because American preachers have implicitly and tacitly supported American capitalism and imperialism.

Jhn 5:38-40, "You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”

There is no hope for those who are unwilling to come to Jesus that they may have life.

Jesus Christ says, 

Jhn 6:37: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

There is hope for all who come to Christ because Jesus will certainly not cast them out.

Jhn 10:26-27, “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Here is a burning question for Billy Graham: Do you really believe all the American presidents you know who claim to be Christians are sheep of Jesus, and they hear His voice and follow Him? 

(4). Eph 2:12, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

America has rejected the teaching of Jesus Christ, how can there be any hope for America? The Bible makes it clear: Without God and without hope. I do not have hope for children of the devil because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ describes and defines liars and killers as children of the devil. When you know American leaders fit the description and definition of Jesus Christ, how can anyone say “I have hope for America because of Jesus Christ”? Can we hope for something which is contrary to the teaching of Christ? Can I hope gays and homosexuals to be admitted to the Kingdom of heaven because of Jesus Christ? The phrase “because of Jesus Christ” seems to be used as a cover for the damned, cursed, and condemned.

(5). There is no hope for a warmonger, liar and murderer. There is no hope for a nation and people who love money, power and sex above everything. Hope in not grounded in absolute military supremacy. No leaders can stand on lies and falsehood and have hope. Knowing the fear of God, I tried to persuade one American president with total failure. I hope in the Lord that America would change, so I have written the following articles:

l            How to Save America

l         America Is Committing Suicide

l         What It Will Take to Save America

l         Why the United States Must Not Have War with China

l         A Message to Americans and Christians

l         LOOKING AT AMERICA

l         PESSIMISTIC About AMERICA 

We can only have hope in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The Scriptures prove the true hope, not only for America, but for the whole world:

Tts 2:11-14,“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

America cannot and does not offer hope. America does not have hope outside of Christ. Only the redeemed have the blessed hope. America, China, Germany and all kingdoms of this world will vanish. My kingdom is not of this world. My only hope lies in the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Gal 1:6-7,“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ.”

Note: A different gospel is an attempt to distort the Gospel of Christ, just like counterfeit money distorts genuine money, and falsehood distorts the truth. A famous black preacher admitted he believed and preached social gospel, but social gospel and others such as political gospel (liberation theology), prosperity gospel (capitalistic gospel), possibility gospel, positive thinking gospel, etc. are not based on the Word of God, they are false gospels because they distort the Gospel of Christ. 

It was reported (Oct 18, 2010) the birthplace of prosperity gospel, Crystal Cathedral, filed for bankruptcy. Apparently, the false gospel had no power to save its cathedral from bankruptcy. The possibility thinking or positive thinking had neither power over its debt nor influence over its creditors. Offering to church is not a path to prosperity or an investment that will bring wealth as some false teachers preach. They only make prosperity gospel preachers rich. Those who preach material blessings above spiritual blessings are false prophets and false preachers. As the Bible says, the love of money is the root of all evil. False gospel cannot stand the test of time, only the Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful to save those who believe and it is eternal because God is eternal.

On Easter Sunday April 8, 2012I met a white couple from Tasmania, Australia, at a church. I told them many American churches have apostatized and some preachers preached the false gospel called prosperity gospel. The American values are money, power and sex. I explained that false preachers preached that if you give money to their church or ministry, God will open up heaven and pour down blessings on you and make you rich – how it is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ. You follow Jesus Christ not with a goal of getting rich; if you are rich, give your money to the poor. I also told them, the Crystal Cathedral, the American center of prosperity gospel, has gone bankrupt. The Christian lady asked, “Is it true?” When I reaffirmed, she spontaneously said: “Amen!” It suddenly dawned on me, Christians everywhere, no matter what national or racial background, who believe in the one true faith, who love the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible as the Word of God, all have common aspirations and same feelings about spiritual things. All condemn heresy and false gospels.

When you mix faith, fame, family and fortune, they form an explosive situation. The prosperity gospel is toxic and it has stained and ruined quite a few well-known individuals who were “anointed” to advance and enrich themselves displayed in shameless lavish lifestyle. Those who employ all kinds of secular technologies and formats to attract audience are bound to fail. Just as all fads will lose their charms. Fancy slogans are not the Gospel truths. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ increase by the power of the Holy Spirit as it was done at the early church. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, it does not depend on the charm and charisma and craft of any individual. It is a great suspect when a preacher becomes a millionaire. In the first place, the idea of spiritual empire is un-Scriptural. It is wrong and immoral for a charismatic preacher to raise funds everywhere in the name of Christ or the Gospel to build business centers for the benefits of his off-springs or descendants as legacy or inheritance. Donations are for the cause of Christ, not individuals. For the church is not a family business or family fortune of anyone. As Gamaliel said, “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God."(Act 5:38-39) If the work of Crystal Cathedral is of men, it will come to nothing as it is happening. Time has told the truth. Prosperity gospel is definitely a false gospel.

"I need more help from you. If you are a tither, become a double-tither. If you are not a tither, become a tither. This ministry has earned your trust. This ministry has earned your help.” This sounds like Oral Roberts some years ago who disgracefully begged for money with the pretext of having a “vision” from Jesus. This kind of appeal is un-Biblical; over the years some American preachers have dishonored the Lord. Remember the preacher who had his picture taken at a studio with a fake facade of the Great Wall and proclaimed he was preaching the Gospel in China and therefore asking for money?

How in the world using "Biblical" money management would get a church into debts of more than $43 million? The Bible says, “Owe no one anything.” (Rom 13:8)  NIV translates, “Let no debt remain outstanding.” Apostle Paul said, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Phl 4:11-12) Unlike Paul, some American infamous preachers only know how to live in lavish lifestyle. “Tough times never last. Tough people do." Let us see how tough people last and do without begging for money in the name of Jesus Christ? If you give money to support a false church or false preachers, you do not lay up treasures in heaven, you only waste your money to make false preachers rich. The fact that the church which preaches the prosperity gospel was filling for bankruptcy proves the fallacy of the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel is a false gospel.

The following is an updated information:

Crystal Cathedral was the center of a false gospel called prosperity gospel. Preachers of prosperity gospel are false preachers. The fact that the Crystal Cathedral has gone bankrupt is a de facto and actual proof that prosperity gospel they preach is a false gospel. Prosperity gospel does not bring prosperity even to the Crystal Cathedral, much less to its followers. The church is not a family business or private enterprise or a spiritual empire to enrich family members. The fact Crystal Cathedral had fired three relatives of the megachurch’s founder tells something is structurally and seriously wrong with the church from the start. The church of Jesus Christ does not belong to the sons and daughters, sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, relatives and friends of any preacher or pastor, directors or producers, elders or deacons, etc. The Crystal Cathedral has sold its church to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange tells you the monolithic Roman Catholic Church is very rich.

There are ways to determine if a preacher is false preacher or not:

(A). 1Ti 6:3-5,“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”

Note: If a preacher preaches a false gospel, he must be a false preacher, unsound in doctrine. No one who is untrue to the Word of God is a servant of Christ. Prosperity gospel is a false gospel; and there are many other false gospels such as political gospel, social gospel, feminist gospel, racial gospel, capitalistic gospel, possibility thinking gospel, positive thinking gospel, etc.

(B). 1Ti 3:2-5,“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)”

Note: What is required of a bishop is required of all preachers. If a preacher is greedy for money, a lover of money, he is a false preacher.

(C). Gal 5:19-21,“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Note: If a preacher commits adultery or homosexuality, he is a false preacher.

(D). 1Th 2:3-7,“For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”

Note: If a preacher is abusive, oppressive, deceitful, and seeks glory from men and mistreats people, he is a false preacher. Some years ago in Orange County, California, a preacher had his picture taken at a studio with a mockup background of the Great Wall and he made a televised appeal by asking for donation because he was preaching in China. That was a deceitful act. A true servant of Christ cannot be deceitful.

1Pe 5:2-3,“Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.

NoteThe Scripture cited above spells out the required character, conduct, and attitude of every preacher or pastor.

Act 20:24, “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God.”

Note: Regarding the article written by Franklin Graham (July 22, 2012), some comment is needed.

(A). It is not appropriate to say “Jesus is a model on how to the church should respond to HIV/AIDS.” In the first place Jesus is not a model of this and a model of that. Jesus is the Lord, the Savior of the world. Jesus came into the world “to save sinners,” which was the primary; “to heal the sick” was secondary. The commandment that Jesus Christ gave to the apostles and all believers as He ascended to heaven, 

Mar 16:15-16, “And He said to them: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

The supreme responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ is to proclaim the Gospel to every creature, not to do social work, or anything else. It is fine and good if the Lord leads a person to do the work of charity or responding to the needs of those who suffer HIV/AIDS and other illness. It does not mean the universal Church of Jesus Christ has to respond when one man has a social agenda, etc. Once I heard a Chinese pastor was so proud in announcing he was back from 3-month training in social work in Denmark. Social work is not preaching the Gospel. The ministry of the Gospel is not social work, it is spiritual work in reaching sinners and winning souls with the Gospel of salvation.

(B). It is not appropriate to compare HIV/AIDS with leprosy in Bible times. In the first place no one knew exactly how a person got leprosy in Bible times, not necessarily caused by one’s own behavior. Today how to get HIV/AIDS is very clear and well known. You can get HIV/AIDS by your own conduct. HIV/AIDS can be contracted through blood, body fluids, sexual intercourse, dirty needles, etc. If you do not commit sexual promiscuity or have sex with one infected with HIV/AIDS, or through contaminated blood transfusion, etc. you will never have HIV/AIDS. If you are a homosexual, drug addict, and perform sexual immorality, etc. your chances of getting HIV/AIDS are very high. Once I watched a TV interview, a young white woman maintained her virginity a long time until one day she had sex with a man the first time and she got AIDS. It was heart-breaking. This information is free and does not cost anything. Young and unmarried people should abstain from sex, married couple should be faithful and do not commit extramarital affair. Clean and moral conduct is the best prevention of HIV/AIDS, and you do not need to go to a university or hospital for this instruction.

(C). It is dangerous to cite politicians as model Christians as if they were God’s appointed or represent the cause of Jesus Christ because there are many American politicians who are warmongers, liars, corrupt and greedy officials, supremacists and racists, and children of darkness. Many politicians want God to be on their side but they are not on God’s side. Too many politicians use Christ and the Gospel to advance or strengthen their political position and power. It is bad to mix politics with religion because politics is inherently corrupt. Political leaders who support and legalize same-sex marriage and homosexuality are not compatible with Christianity. Political gospel, social gospel and prosperity gospel are NOT the true Gospel. The treachery is for the Church to stress the physical above the spiritual, the material over the moral.

(D). It is wrong to say “no matter what they have done in life, God still loves them and He will forgive them.” Jesus says, 

Luk 13:5,“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” There is no automatic forgiveness because God is love. To receive forgiveness of sins, sinners need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. 

Mat 11:20,“Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.” 

Mar 1:15,“And saying: The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” Act 2:38,“Peter said to them: Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

I do not know Robert Schuller and I am not a friend of his. By chance I came across in mid-September 2013 the sad news that Mr. Schuller, 86, has been diagnosed with cancer, has a fist-sized tumor in his esophagus that has spread to his lymph nodes. Probably Robert Schuller is not far from death. Everyone will die anyway sooner or later, that is not what I am concerned here. I know Robert Schuller has been preaching a false gospel which is contrary to the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. His false gospel has proven to be a failure to his church and his followers. Now is the time for Mr. Schuller to come clean and confess his sins to God and declare to the world that the gospel he has been preaching is a false gospel and ask God for forgiveness. This is the advice of Apostle Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit:

Act 8:22,“Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.”

Hear ye, Robert Schuller, this may be your last chance!

Hear ye, followers of prosperity gospel!

Hear ye, Americans and peoples of the world!

A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law said, 

Act 5:38-39, “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” No one or organization has stopped Crystal Cathedral, they have done themselves in. The failure of the founder of prosperity gospel proves his purpose or activity is of human origin, and not of God for God never fails. Years ago the false prophet was warned not to preach a false gospel, but he went on leading people astray and now he ends up in disgrace. Bankruptcy was not the cause but the result of a falling from grace, deviation from the Word of truth. Love of money and power create hostile environment, pride and arrogance, luxury and lust, adversarial relationship, irresponsibility, mismanagement, failure and bankruptcy. Only fools would continue to support a shameful ministry and follow a false prophet. A church is not a money-making business or enterprise.

There are ways to determine if a preacher is false preacher or not:

(A). 1Ti 6:3-5,“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

Note: If a preacher preaches a false gospel, he must be a false preacher, unsound in doctrine. No one who is untrue to the Word of God is a servant of Christ. Prosperity gospel is a false gospel; and there are many other false gospels such as political gospel, social gospel, feminist gospel, racial gospel, capitalistic gospel, possibility thinking gospel, positive thinking gospel, etc. False preachers always use the gospel as a means to financial gain. Watch out for rich preachers and millionaire pastors.

(B). 1Ti 3:2-5,“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)”

Note: What is required of a bishop is required of all preachers. If a preacher is greedy for money, a lover of money, he is a false preacher.

(C). Gal 5:19-21,“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Note: If a preacher commits adultery or homosexuality, he is a false preacher.

(D). 1Th 2:3-7,“For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”

Note: If a preacher is abusive, oppressive, deceitful, and seeks glory from men and mistreats people, he is a false preacher. Some years ago in Orange County, California, a preacher had his picture taken at a studio with a mockup background of the Great Wall and he made a televised appeal by asking for donation because he was preaching in China. That was a deceitful act. A true servant of Christ cannot be deceitful.

On Easter Sunday April 8, 2012I met a white couple from Tasmania, Australia, at a church. I told them many American churches have apostatized and some preachers preached the false gospel called prosperity gospel. The American values are money, power and sex. I explained that false preachers preached that if you give money to their church or ministry, God will open up heaven and pour down blessings on you and make you rich – how it is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ. You follow Jesus Christ not with a goal of getting rich; if you are rich, give your money to the poor. I also told them, the Crystal Cathedral, the American center of prosperity gospel, has gone bankrupt. The Christian lady asked, “Is it true?” When I reaffirmed, she spontaneously said: “Amen!” It suddenly dawned on me, Christians everywhere, no matter what national or racial background, who believe in the one true faith, who love the Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible as the Word of God, all have common aspirations and same feelings about spiritual things. All condemn heresy and false gospels.

There is so much confusion even among believers what church is, even the distinction between a church and the church. For the Chinese the confusion lies in 教会 and 教堂教会 is the church or the body of Christ, while  教堂 is the building of a church, or a meeting place. Now it is of vital importance that everything and anything related to church whether it is its nature, character, organization, function, or mission must be based solely on the Word of God, not the teachings or traditions or opinions of men. Firstly, it must be understood what the subject matter has to do is the Church of Jesus Christ as it is written in the New Testament. The Church began with Jesus Christ just as the Gospel began with Jesus Christ, in that sense church did not exist in the Old Testament. In the old dispensation, the Jewish people were the chosen people of God under the Mosaic Law. In the new dispensation, the called out ones of all nations who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ and they are under grace in Christ. However, the Church is composed from the first righteous man Abel to the last believer before the coming of Jesus Christ. Jewish believers and Gentile believers will all become one in Christ. 

There is a confusion regarding the meaning of Rom 16:3-5,“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.”

The church in their house, v. 5. It seems that in ancient times Christians who had big houses suitable for gathering, there was a congregation of Christians that used to meet at their houses at stated times regularly. It could be for convenience, fellowship or personal evangelization. For example, Cornelius, a centurion, many people assembled in his house to hear the message of God from the mouth of Peter.

Act 10:19-48,“While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him: Behold, three men are looking for you. But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself. Peter went down to the men and said: Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come? They said: Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you. So he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying: Stand up; I too am just a man. As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled. And he said to them: You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me. Cornelius said: Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said: Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea. So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Opening his mouth, Peter said: I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered: Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he? And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”

Note: As you can see, Peter preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ at Cornelius’house, but Cornelius’s house was not a church, but a meeting place where Peter preached the Gospel.

In the Old Testament, 

1Ch 13:13-14,“So David did not take the ark with him to the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the LORD blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.” The house of Obed-Edom was used to take the ark to serve God. Godly men and women for the furtherance of the Gospel turned their houses into a church, a place where believers assembled to worship God and preach the Gospel. Priscilla and Aquila were at Ephesus, yet there also they had a church in their house, 

1 Co. 16:19, “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” The house or building cannot greet people; the church in their house must refer to believers who assembled in their house.

In addition, the church in the house refers to people who assembled in the house, not an organization or institution. The Church of Jesus Christ is both children of God and an institution. An institution is an organized body. Jesus says, 

Mat 18:20“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Wherever two or three are gathered together, and Christ is with them. Here it means an assembly, a Christian fellowship, not an organized institution. The Church is the body of Jesus Christ is both an institution and a fellowship. As an institution, such as the church of God which was at Corinth, the church in Philadelphia, the church of the Thessalonians, the church in Ephesus, etc. Paul wrote them epistles; but Paul never wrote to the church in any house. The central church was in Jerusalem and then there were many local churches.

1Cr 12:27-31,“Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”

Note: Do not confuse a local church with the Church. God appointed in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, etc. Now a local church or any church anywhere does not have apostles anymore. There were only twele Apostles and they are now with the Lord. There can never be any more Apostle. If anyone calls himself an apostle, he must be a false apostle. Today it is possible to have a prophet. I have never met or known a prophet in Biblical sense in the world. Even if there is a prophet today in the church, it must be a person who is empowered to preach the Gospel with power; not a person who foretells of things to come. All prophecies are already written in the Bible, there could not be any new prophecy contrary to what is already written. However, it is possible to have a specific prophecy such as a servant of Christ is moved by the Holy Spirit to predict a famine or earthquake or any calamity to fall upon a specific area. Or a prophet who foretells the collapse of the American empire. Or a prophet who predicts what would happen to an individual, etc. There could never be a prophet who predicts the date of the coming of Jesus Christ. That man would be a false prophet, a servant of the devil. I do not have the gift of healing, and I do not know personally anyone who has the gift of healing. You have heard of faith healers who heal temporarily do not have the gift of healing. God is able to heal, there is no doubt about it, but it is not always God’s will to heal, as some Pentecostal preachers have taught, contrary to the Word of God.

It is wrong for anyone to say to church members at their house that this is the church where they hold meeting on Saturday evening and they do not have to go to any church on Sunday. Church at the house in not a local church, a local church at best is the imperfect reflection of the Church. There was a church in Los Angeles which claimed to be the Los Angeles Church, its members were arrogant because they held their church is the only church in Los Agneles, all others are not. Those misguided members did not know the Scripture and followed false leaders. By the way, denominations are not good because they divide the church. A Christian is free to go to any church of his/her choice, or listen to any preacher if it is not a false preacher. In Rom 16:5the Chinese Bible translates it as 家 中 的 教 会, but it is not 家 庭 教 会it is more like 家 庭 聚 会.

Lately I met an amicable 82-year old man who sat on my left side on a subway train. Through conversation I found this old man is a self-independent and contented man who lives by himself in a small apartment of 30-square meters. He considered himself lucky because his social insurance paid 80% of his cataract surgeries and he had only to pay about 500 yuan out his pocket. Because life is short especially for one who is in his 80s, I witnessed Jesus Christ the Savior to him and asked him to go to a church nearby. I pointed out two churches to him. Then it suddenly dawned on me for years I have been to many churches, I could not recall one that truly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many Chinese churches are like Buddhist temples where people went to worship their gods, Chinese preachers preach ethics and morality to their members. I cannot be sure whether they do not know how to preach the Gospel or they don’t want to preach the Gospel. For an unsaved person to hear these sermons at many churches are useless and unprofitable. I can assure Chinese government, true servants of Jesus Christ serve the Kingdom of God, not agents of any foreign power. True Chinese Christians do not betray their country. It is hoped soon the preaching of the Gospel and establishing churches are not controlled by the government recognized churches. All Christians should be able to preach and practice the Gospel of Jesus Christ freely. If a church is found to be an agent of foreign power, that church should be closed and the preacher prosecuted under the law.

D.    The church began at the Pentecost.

Act 2:36-42,“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them: 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. And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying: Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Note: The proclamation of the Gospel to all the house of Israel was to let them know that God had made this Jesus whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Repentance cuts to the heart because of sin. The way of salvation is simple: Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus ascended to heaven, but the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell in the body of Christ. The basic activity of the church is to preach Jesus Christ, continue steadfastly in the apostles’doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. The apostles’doctrine does not mean the teachings made up by apostles, it means the teachings the apostles received from the Lord. The two things that characterize the body of Christ are faith and fellowship. To continue in the apostles’doctrine in to have faith in the Lord. Fellowship in Greek is koinōnia which means association, community, communion, joint participation, sharing; - it occurs 20 times in the New Testament. It does not mean the church did not exist before the Pentecost. Formally the church began at Pentecost.

1Cr 1:9,“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Note: A Christian is one called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Fellowship with Jesus Christ is the basis of fellowship among Christians. Fellowship of believers outside of Jesus Christ is useless and meaningless. There are members of local church who are not Christians, the fellowship among them is social not spiritual.

Phl 3:10,“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

Note: To know Christ you need to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. If you think to be a Christian is to enjoy riches and material blessings on earth, you do not know Christ. To have fellowship with Jesus Christ is to share His sufferings? Ask yourself: What have I suffered for Christ?

1Jo 1:3,“What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

Note: The Christian fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Act 11:26,“And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

Note: The disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians in Antioch.

E.     Jesus Christ is the Head of the church.

Eph 1:22, “And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church.”

Note: Head in Greek is kephalē which means anything or anyone supreme, chief, prominent; the Lord of the husband and of the Church; - it occurs 76 times in the New Testament. God put all things under Christ’s feet means God has given all authorities to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Head of the church in charge of all things over the church. Beware, the pope or anyone else is no the head of the church. The Holy Spirit is the sole Representative of Christ on earth, not the pope or anyone else. Unlike the titular head of a nation who does not have real authority, Jesus Christ is the Head of the church with absolute authority and power.

Col 1:18,“And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”

Note: Have supremacy in Greek is prōteuō which means to be first, hold the first place; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Christ not only has supremacy in the church, He has supremacy in everything, in heaven and on earth. The divine supremacy is absolute.

Eph 5:23,“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

Note: Feminism is un-Scriptural, and feminist gospel is a false gospel. There is no such a thing called Christian feminism. The husband is the head of the wife. The wife who wants to be the head of the husband is asking for trouble, not blessing. Christ is the Head of the church, not the pope or anyone else. The minister who thinks and acts as if he were the head of a local church is not a servant of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the husband and of the Church. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church over all things – things in faith, conduct, administration, and everything.

Theocratic democracy is a contradiction in terms. Theocracy is not democracy, democracy is not theocracy. Jesus Christ is the Head, the Apostles carried out His orders. The Lord did not ask the Apostles to vote for any will of God. Some pseudo-scholars are influenced by Western political theory and make private interpretation of the Bible. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. God did not ask Moses which commandments would be o.k. with him. Jesus Christ did not ask the apostles what commandments would be acceptable. Anyone who suggests the Church of Jesus Christ is a democratic institution is a fool or a liar. If anyone thinks that a local church under the leadership of a pastor should be democratic is one thing, if anyone thinks the Church of God is run by democratic principle (majority rule), not the will of God, he is seriously mistaken or misled and completely deceived by the evil one. How is Christ the Head of the church?

Eph 5:23-25,“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

Note: Love demands sacrifice. The greater the love, the greater the sacrifice.

Eph 5:27,“And to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Eph 5:29,“After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.”

Eph 5:32,“This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

Note: The relationship of Christ and the church is a profound mystery.

Col 2:9-10,“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”

Note: Christ is the Head over all rule and authority. Christ is supreme.

Hbr 13:7,“Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.”

Note: Christ appoints overseers to rule over the members of the church.

Hbr 13:17,“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Note: Those who rule over members of the church do not rule for their profit, they watch out for their souls.

The Catholic Pope Benedict seems to be an interesting fellow. Benedict said on Friday (March 23, 2012) that communism had failed in Cuba. The pope said only half-truth. He should also say: Capitalism had failed in America. Capitalism had also failed in Europe. Capitalism has failed everywhere. American democracy has also failed. The evil of Wall Street, Washington and Hollywood has done great harm to the world. The theory of Deng Xiaoping has worked in China, can also work anywhere. China is in danger of being infected by capitalism; greed has become pervasive in China today which resulted in all kinds of fraud and social ills. Wherever a society is driven by greed, there corruption and all sorts of evil prevail. Above all, Benedict should say many doctrines and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church had violated the teachings of the Holy Bible. In fact, the office of the pope itself is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church, and the Holy Spirit who is the Sole Representative of Christ on earth.

The pope said, “I carry in my heart the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans, wherever they may be." I say to the pope, billions of Christians and common people in the world carry in their hearts the empathy and sympathy for hundreds of thousands of children (boys and girls) raped and sexually molested by Catholic priests and nuns all over the world for decades, and asking for more freedoms to help the Roman Catholic Church to change their un-scriptural celibacy policy and control and discipline the immoral behavior of Catholic priests and nuns.

2.     The nature of the church.

A.   The called.

1Cr 1:2,“To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours.”

1Cr 1:24,“But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Note: Called in Greek is klētos which means invited by God in the proclamation of the Gospel to obtain eternal salvation in the Kingdom through Christ; - it occurs 11 times in the New Testament. Those who are called include both Jews and Gentiles. The church is made up of all those who are called of all times and generations.

Rom 1:7,“To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Note: Christians are called saints. Saints are not the dead persons canonized by the Roman Catholic Church; saints are believers who have been washed by the blood of Jesus, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Saints are beloved of God in the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ. Keep in Greek is tēreō  which means to attend to carefully, take care of, guard, keep one in the state in which he is, reserve, preserve; - it occurs 75 times in the New Testament. The church is kept pure as a bride of Christ.

Rom 8:28,“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Note: Believers are called according to God’s purpose. How is it done?

Rom 8:30,“And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

Note: Predestine in Greek is proorizō  which means to predetermine, decide beforehand, God decreeing from eternity, foreordain, appoint beforehand; - it occurs only 6 times in the New Testament. Call in Greek is kaleō  which means to call aloud, utter in a loud voice, invite, name; - it occurs 146 times in the New Testament. Justify in Greek is dikaioō which means to render righteous or such he ought to be,; declare, pronounce one to be just, righteous; declare guiltless, count as righteous; - it occurs 40 times in the New Testament. Justification means God who judges sinners and declares those who put their faith in Christ as righteous and acceptable to God, and accordingly fit to receive the pardon of their sins and eternal life. Glorify in Greek is doxazō which means to honor, do honor to, hold in honor, magnify, make glorious; - it occurs 62 times in the New Testament. This is the way of God’s salvation. Before the foundation of the world, God knows from the beginning who will believe and so He predetermines and calls them to repent and accept the salvation of God; and those who respond to the calling and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are justified or counted as righteous; and those who have been justified God will glorify them when Jesus Christ return to reign with saints forever and ever.

Rom 9:24,“Even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

Note: God calls Jews and Gentiles alike to repentance.

1Cr 1:9,“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Note: Fellowship in Greek is koinōnia which means association, community, communion, joint participation, sharing; - it occurs 20 times in the New Testament. Christians are called primarily into fellowship with Jesus Christ, having fellowship with other Christians secondarily.

Gal 5:13,“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Note: Freedom in Greek is eleutheria which means liberty, liberty from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we are able to do what the will of God requires. Opportunity in Greek is aphormē which means that which gives occasion and supplies matter for an undertaking, the incentive, the resources we avail ourselves of in attempting or performing anything, find an incentive; - it occurs only 7 times in the New Testament. Christians are called to freedom. Christian freedom cannot be used as opportunity for the flesh. Through love we serve one another. This Scripture defines Christian freedom, freedom to do right, not freedom to do wrong.

Eph 4:4,“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.”

Note: The church is one body of Christ ruled by the Spirit. Christians were called into one hope. Act 24:15,“Having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” Our hope in God is the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. The resurrection of the righteous is to receive a glorious and immortal body to enjoy the eternal blessing. The resurrection of the wicked is to be sent into hell to suffer both body and soul for eternity. Gal 5:5,“For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” Christians are waiting for the hope of righteousness. Eph 1:18,“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” The hope of Christian calling is to know the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints. Col 1:5,“Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the Word of truth, the Gospel.” Col 1:27,“To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” 2Th 2:16,“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.” 

1Ti 1:1,“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope.” Tts 1:2,“In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” 

Tts 2:13,“Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”

Note: The blessed hope because Jesus Christ our God and Savior shall soon appear in glory and power.

Tts 3:7,“So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” 

1Pe 1:21,“Who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Note: Our faith and hope are in God, that is why it is secure.

Col 3:15,“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Note: This Scripture defines the basic nature of the church, called in one body, not many bodies. Denominations try to divide the body of Christ.

Ecumenism tries to merge all denominations under the Roman Catholic Church is against the will of God. The Roman Catholic Church has violated the teachings of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church is a false church, not the body of Christ.

1Th 4:7,“For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.”

Note: God has called believers for the purpose of sanctification.

2Ti 1:9,“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”

Note: God has called us with a holy calling; God has called us for sanctification. Believers are sanctified by the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit who lives in them.

2Th 2:14,“It was for this He called you through our Gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Note: God called believers through the Gospel to gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Ti 6:12,“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Note: Christians are called to fight the good fight of faith and take hold of the eternal life.

Hbr 9:15,“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

Note: God has called believers to receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

1Pe 2:9,“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Note: God has called believers out of darkness into His marvelous light. Jesus Christ is the Light of life, the Light of the world.

1Pe 2:21,“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”

Note: Many church members may not know, God has called Christians to suffer and follow in Christ’s steps.

1Pe 3:9,“Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”

Note: Believers are called for the very purpose that they might inherit a blessing. Those who will inherit a blessing do not return evil for evil or insult for insult. The Chinese cultural trait of revenge is un-Scriptural. If you spend all your life in pursuing revenge, your life is wasted.

1Pe 5:10,“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

Note: Christians suffer in this world only for a little while, but they are called to God’s eternal glory in Christ.

2Pe 1:3,“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Note: God called Christians by His own glory and excellence, the divine power has granted believers everything to life and godliness.

1Jo 3:1,“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

Note: Christians are called children of God.

Jud 1:1,“Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:”

Note: Members of the church are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.

Rev 17:14,“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

Note: The nature of the church is characterized by the called and chosen and faithful. The Taiwanese leader who claims to be a Christian and worships idols is not faithful.

How Does One Get to Heaven

Through the Word of God I learn the Great Commission is the mandate for the nations due to sin, for Jesus Christ came into the world to save that which was lost. Humanity is lost because of sin and straying away from God. Believers or disciples of Jesus Christ have the mandate to preach the Gospel to every creature. The gist of preaching the Gospel is to tell people how to be saved. MARK 16:15-16, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Jesus divided peoples into two groups, the saved and the condemned.

The important question is: HOW DOES ONE GET TO HEAVEN? There are four theories, namely, Universalism, Pluralism, Inclusivism, and Exclusivism. The last one is not a theory, but the way of God. Salvation is the way of God; the first three theories are the ways of man. 

UNIVERSALISM teaches that everyone will be saved. The basis is that God’s infinite love is directed to all. Those who believe in Universalism also quote the Scriptures, except they quoted them all wrong. 

Mat 25:34,“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Mat 25:41,“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” Thus Jesus puts peoples of the world into only two groups; those on His right are saved and blessed. Those on His left are damned. There is nothing universal about salvation. The offer of salvation is universal.

PLURALISM teaches there are different paths to God. Major world religions provide independent salvific access to the divine reality. This theory is very wrong, definitely goes against the teaching of Jesus’ claim, Jhn 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Act 4:12,“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the World, is the only Way-- One Way.

INCLUSIVISM believes all who are saved are saved on the basis of Christ’s provision. A personal response to Christ is not necessary. On the contrary, Jesus clearly demands personal action. Jhn 5:40, “And you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” Jhn 6:37,“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” So Inclusivism is dead wrong. Salvation includes only those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The following is reported as having said by Billy Graham, 3-31-1997:

“Well, Christianity and being a true believer--you know, I think there's the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they've been called by GOD. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven.” I was surprised that Mr. Graham said the above, he is all wrong. I don’t care what Mr. Graham or anyone else thinks, Jesus is right – they are all wrong. Mr. Graham misinterprets the Body of Christ – the Church.  Mr. Graham's view on  the Church of Jesus Christ is neither Biblical nor Evangelical. 

EXCLUSIVISM believes in God’s love, the redemption of Jesus Christ and the necessity of repentance and acceptance of God’s salvation.

Jhn 3:18,“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Jhn 3:36,“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Jesus makes it clear, we must believe in Him, and we must obey the Son of God. The Bible settles the question how to be saved once and for all.

B.   The saints.

Rom 1:7,“To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Note: Paul addressed those who were beloved of God in Rome, called as saints. Saints are believers who have been washed by the blood of Christ and they are still alive. Saints are not dead believers canonized by the pope.

1Cr 1:2,“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”

Note: Those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus are saints by calling.

Dan 7:18,“But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.”

Note: The saints of the Highest One will receive the Kingdom of God for all ages to come when Jesus Christ returns to reign with the saints.

Hbr 12:23,“To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.”

Note: The righteous are made perfect by the Holy Spirit. The saints whose names are written in heaven.

Dan 7:27,“Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”

Note: The saints will inherit the everlasting Kingdom of God.

Rom 8:27,“And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Note: The Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Rom 12:13,“Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

Note: It is the duty of believers to contribute to the needs of the saints and practice hospitality.

1Cr 6:2,“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?”

Note: The saints do not have power or wealth in the world. The saints will judge the world when the Lord returns. The saints will judge the crooks and criminals of Wall Street, Washington, Hollywood and healthcare providers like doctors and hospital owners who defrauded and bankrupted millions and millions of families.

C.    Faith.

Question: Why faith is necessary?

Mar 11:22,“So Jesus answered and said to them: Have faith in God.”

Note: The church as the body of Christ has faith in God, not in man or organization.

Act 20:21,“Testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Note: Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus go together. If it not possible to repent toward God and not to believe in Jesus Christ. It is not possible to believe in Jesus Christ and not to repent toward God. The Jews are mistaken to believe in God and not to believe in Jesus the Messiah. Monotheism does not save anyone. Atheism brings condemnation. Polytheism is superstition and there is no salvation in it.

Act 26:18,“To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

Note: Sinners are spiritually blind and need the Lord to open their eyes. Repentance means turning from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God in order to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance. Believers are sanctified by faith in Christ. The Spirit of Christ enters into the hearts of believers and gives them new life, eternal life.

Rom 1:17,“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is writtenThe just shall live by faith.

NoteThe righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith means from the beginning (saved by faith) to the present (live by faith) and to the end (keep the faith). The whole process of salvation is from faith to faith, not from work to work, not by work or merit of man.

Rom 3:22,“Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference.”

Note: The righteousness of God can only be obtained through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. In Christ there is no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles.

Rom 3:25,“Whom God has displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.”

Note: God provides a propitiation through faith in the blood of Christ so that those who believe in Christ are declared righteous and their sins previously committed are forgiven.

Rom 4:5,“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

Note: Faith in Christ is counted as righteousness.

Rom 14:23,“But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”

Note: Whatever is not from faith is sin. This definition of sin covers a lot of territory. Whatever you do which is not from faith is sin. What corrupt politicians do cannot be from faith. Whatever greedy capitalists do cannot be from faith. Whatever fraudulent and predatory doctors and hospital owners do cannot be from faith.

Hbr 11:6,“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.”

Note: This is the crux of the matter, without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is the basis of human relationship. If you can’t trust a person, there cannot be any kind of relationship. Faith is the basis man comes to please God. Without faith in God, man cannot have any relationship with God.

Eph 3:17,“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”

Note: Christ dwells in the hearts of believers through faith by the Holy Spirit.

Gal 3:26,“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Note: Through faith believers become children of God.

Question: Where does faith come from?

Rom 10:17,“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Note: This explains the importance of preaching the Word of God; for faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. People hear the Word of God and believe.

1Cr 2:5,“That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Note: The Gospel of Christ is the power of God to those who believe. The Christian faith does not depend on the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Question: How does faith work?

(A).   By faith we are justified.

Rom 5:1-2,“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Rom 4:5,“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

Rom 3:28,“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Gal 2:16,“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

Phl 3:9,“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”

Note: By law or the deeds of the law no one can be justified or to obtain the righteousness of God. By faith in Christ who died for us, the Righteous for the unrighteous, believers are justified because God counts them as righteous and forgives all their sins.

(B).   By faith we are saved.

Eph 2:8,“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

Note: Salvation of God is not what man can earn, it is a gift of God to all who believe in Jesus Christ. Grace means unmerited favor given by God to the undeserving and unworthy sinners.

(C).   By faith we receive the Holy Spirit.

Gal 3:14,“That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Note: The moment you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters into your heart and lives with you to help and guide you on behalf of the Lord.

(D).   By faith we have access to God.

Eph 3:12,“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

Note: By faith we may come to God with confidence through Jesus Christ.

(E).   By faith we understand.

Hbr 11:3,“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Note: The universe was not framed by evolution, but by the Word of God. The things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. The unbelieving scientists have a hard time of knowing the things which are visible; they are totally ignorant of things invisible. In the things of the world, we know and believe. In the things of God, we believe and understand.

(F).   By faith we stand.

2Cr 1:24,“Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.”

Rom 5:2,“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Note: By faith believers stand on the grace of God, stand by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1Cr 16:13,“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

Note: Stand in Greek is histēmi which means to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set, make firm, fix establish, to be kept from falling; - it occurs 158 times in the New Testament. Faith is the ground where Christians stand. Martin Luther, the greatest man ever lived outside of Biblical history, once said: Here I stand. I can do no other.

(G).   By faith we ask.

Jam 1:6,“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

Note: Doubt is the opposite of faith. Doubt is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. Faith stands firm. Faith stands firm in God.

(H).   By faith we live.

Gal 2:20,“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Note: Christ lives in every member of His body, that is the Christian life. Believers live by faith, not by feeling.

(I).   By faith we hope.

Gal 5:5,“For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

Rom 8:25,“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

Note: Hope in Greek is elpizō which means to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence, hopefully to trust in; - it occurs 32 times in the New Testament. Hope as a noun in Greek is elpis which means expectation of something good, joyful and confident expectation; - it occurs 54 times in the New Testament. By faith we hope for the eternal life and inheritance of the Kingdom.

(J).   By faith we walk.

2Cr 5:7,“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Note: Walk in Greek is peripateō which means to regulate one's life, conduct one's self, pass one's life; - it occurs 96 times in the New Testament. To walk means to live. Christians live by faith, not by sight.

(K).   By faith we overcome the world.

1Jo 5:4,“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.”

Note: Overcome in Greek is nikaō which means to conquer, to carry off the victory, come off victorious, prevail, get the victory; - it occurs 28 times in the New Testament. By the power of God Jesus Christ conquered death, by the same power of faith believers conquer the world. By faith Christians overcome the world, Satan, and self.

(L).   By faith we inherit the promises.

Hbr 6:12,“That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Note: Inherit in Greek is klēronomeō which means to receive as an inheritance, obtain by right of inheritance, receive as one's own or as a possession; - it occurs 18 times in the New Testament. To inherit the promises is to partake of the eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God. Christians eagerly and patiently wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ to inherit the Kingdom of God.

Question: What to do with faith?

(A).   Nourish in the words of faith.

1Ti 4:6,“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.”

Note: Nourish in Greek is entrephō which means metaphorically to educate, form the mind; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Just as the body needs to be nourished in good food, Christians need to be nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine. The words of faith are the words of God. The good doctrine is that sinner can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The words of Jesus Christ and the good doctrine nourish our faith. Some false preachers or cult leaders use their own fancy words and philosophy to nourish their members. The words and doctrines of man cannot nourish a true believer. Man's teaching or doctrine like contaminated milk that kills babies.

Col 4:16,“After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.”

Note: The words of faith are to be shared by all believers.

(B).   Establish in the faith.

Col 2:7,“Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

Note: To be rooted in Greek is rhizoō  which means to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. Establish in Greek is bebaioō which means to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure; - it occurs only 8 times in the New Testament. To be built up in Christ is to be rooted in the Word of God, obedient to the faith, and guided by the Holy Spirit. To be established in the faith is to be steadfast and constant in the fellowship with Christ. Cult leaders want their church members to be rooted in them. Christians must be rooted and built up only in Christ.

(C).   Make wise for salvation through faith.

2Ti 3:15,“And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Note: Make wise in Greek is sophizō which means to become wise, to have understanding, teach; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. The teaching of the Holy Scriptures makes you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Wall Street people knowing the political and financial systems are smart to defraud the public and enrich themselves. Unbelieving scientists and scholars now think they are wise; in fact they are stupid for salvation. Washington people are wise about power, Wall Street people are wise about moneyHollywood people are wise in making lewd and violent movies. Unbelieving scientists are ignorant about the things of God. Knowing the Holy Scriptures makes believers wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

(D).   Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.

Jud 1:20,“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

Note: Faith can build up a believer by obedience to the Word of God and leading of the Holy Spirit.

(E).   Have joy of faith.

Phl 1:25,“And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.”

Note: Believers who make progress in Christ have joy of faith.

(F).   Add to your faith virtue.

2Pe 1:5-8,“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Note: Add in Greek is epichorēgeō  which means to supply, furnish, provide, increase; - it occurs only 5 times in the New Testament. Faith is the foundation; on faith you must add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

(G).   Increase your faith.

Luk 17:5,“And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith.”

Note: Increase in Greek prostithēmi which means to add to what one already possesses, further, grow; - it occurs 18 times in the New Testament. Faith can be increased. Believers can ask the Lord to increase our faith.

(H).   Faith should not fail.

Luk 22:32,“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Note: Fail in Greek is ekleipō which means to leave off, cease, stop, quit; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. Faith continues and does not quit. Faith strengthened by the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit will not fail.

(I).   Test yourself whether you are in the faith.

2Cr 13:5,“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you -- unless indeed you fail the test?”

Note: Test in Greek is peirazō which means to try whether a thing can be done, make trial of, prove; - it occurs 39 times in the New Testament. Examine in Greek is dokimazō which means to test, prove, scrutinize to see whether a thing is genuine or not; - it occurs 23 times in the New Testament. Test and examine are synonymous. It is our duty as Christians to examine themselves and test ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Those who seek the things of the world have departed from the faith.

(J).   Be obedient to the faith.

Rom 16:26,“But now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.”

Act 6:7,“Then the Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

Note: Be obedient in Greek is hypakouō which means to listen, to harken, harken to a command, submit to; - it occurs 21 times in the New Testament. The body of Christ must be obedient to the faith. Faith is not passive, but actively obedient to God. To be obedient to the faith is to obey the commandments of Christ.

(K).   Take the shield of faith.

Eph 6:16,“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

Note: Shield in Greek is thyreos which means a large oblong, four cornered shield; some weapon to ward off blows or missiles; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Faith is the shield to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. False doctrines and evolution theory are the fiery darts of the wicked one. Faith in God and His Word is the shield. God is the Creator of the universe, no science can contradict God. What is made cannot overpower the Maker.

(L).   Fight the good fight of faith.

1Ti 6:12,“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Note: To have faith is like to engage in a fight. To fight the good fight of faith you need to know the Word of God which is the Sword of the Spirit to cut down the enemies of truth. To fight the good fight of faith is to point out the false gospels and wrong doctrines of men and stick to the Word of God.

(M).   Contend earnestly for the faith.

Jud 1:3,“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Note: To contend earnestly for the faith believers must know the Scriptures, know Christ and the power of His resurrection, believe and know the truth, know the things of the Spirit of God, and receive the power from on high. This website stands for truth and justice and contends for the faith, not for money or personal gain.

(N).   Offer sacrifice and service of your faith.

Phl 2:17,“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.”

Note: Faith is not dead and useless. Faith offers sacrifice and service to the cause of Christ. What sacrifice and service of faith have you offered to Christ?

(O).   Love from sincere faith.

1Ti 1:5,“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”

Note: There is nothing more beautiful than love from a pure heart and sincere faith. Appreciate such a love more than gold and diamonds. The apparent love of false preachers is motivated by the love of money and power.

(P).   Share your faith.

Phm 1:6,“That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

Note: Sharing in Greek is koinōnia which means the share which one has in anything, fellowship, contribution; - it occurs 20 times in the New Testament. Those who have received the benefits of faith willingly share, by sharing we acknowledge of every good thing in Christ Jesus. There are many good things in Christ Jesus include knowledge of the Word of God, the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, the love of God, salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the inheritance, etc. I use the Internet to proclaim and publish the Word of God is a form of sharing my faith with the world.

(Q).   Continue in the faith.

Act 14:22,“Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying: We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.”

Note: Continue in Greek is emmenō which means to remain in, persevere in anything, hold fast, to be true to, abide by, keep; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. It is not possible for a saved believer to give up faith. It is through continuous faith that enables believers to enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations. The church of God has been tested through tribulations and troubles for more than 2,000 years.

(R).   Purify the heart by faith.

Act 15:9,“And made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

Note: Purify in Greek is katharizō which means to make clean, cleanse, free from guilt of sin; - it occurs 30 times in the New Testament. The hearts of believers are purified by faith in the Word of God and the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can purify your heart by faith.

(S).   Look to the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Hbr 12:2,“Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Note: Look in Greek is aphoraō  which means to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. If you look to Jesus, you cannot look to men no matter how rich and powerful. To fix your eyes on Jesus you must turn your eyes away from other things, such as wealth, power and pleasure of the world.

D.    Unity.

Eph 4:13,“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Note: Faith and knowledge of the Son of God is the basis of Christian unity. Knowledge of Christ is based on the Word of God. If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, it is Scriptural. If you think Jesus is a son of God as we are all sons of God, your knowledge is not based on the Word of God and therefore false and null. Christian unity does not build on man or organization. Christian unity is the unity of faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Christian unity is not the ecumenicalism or ecumenism. Establishing and promoting among religions is not the will of God, for light has no fellowship with darkness. The World Council of Churches does not represent the true Christianity. The church of Jesus Christ is one single church, spiritual, invisible, and indivisible throughout the ages, from Abel down to the last convert before Christ returns. The visible unity of the Roman Catholic Church under the pope is un-Biblical and diabolical. Christian unity is not the unification of all institutions and organizations into one and under the leadership of one man. Christian denominations are divisive. There should be no confusion between local churches and the Church of God. Local churches are many; the Church of Christ is one. Christian faith and knowledge centers on Jesus Christ, not on man and organization. The goal of Christian faith and knowledge is to have the full measure of the stature of Jesus Christ. In other words, Christians are to grow to be like Christ in perfection.

Psa 133:1,“A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

Note: Good in Hebrew is towb  which means pleasant, agreeable, appropriate, becoming, happy, beautiful; - it occurs 559 times in the Old Testament. Pleasant in Hebrew is na`iym which means delightful, sweet, lovely, agreeable, beautiful; - it occurs 13 times in the Old Testament.

Truly, how good and pleasant for brothers to live together in unity.

Eph 4:3,“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Note: Endeavor in Greek spoudazō which means to exert one's self, give diligence, do diligence, labor; - it occurs 11 times in the New Testament. To keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace requires due diligence.

Eph 4:13,“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Note: No Christian is perfect yet. Perfect in Greek here is teleios which means wanting nothing necessary to completeness, full grown, adult, of full age, full grown, mature; - it occurs 19 times in the New Testament.

The aim of the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God is for Christians to become mature and have the full measure of the stature of Christ.

Rom 6:5,“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”

Note: For Christians to be united together first they must be united with Christ in the likeness of His death and in the likeness of His resurrection. Faith and unity of believers are joined to the stature of Christ.

E.    Fellowship.

There are two kinds of fellowship: fellowship with Christ and fellowship with one another.

(1).   Fellowship with Christ

1Jo 1:3,“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

Note: To have fellowship with other believers one must first have fellowship with Christ. To have fellowship with God’s Son is to have fellowship with the Father.

1Jo 1:6,“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

Note: Those who walk in darkness do not practice the truth. The most frightening phenomenon in America is that you cannot find anyone who practices the truth. If you do not practice the truth, you do not have fellowship with God.

1Cr 1:9,“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Note: Christians were called into the fellowship of the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.

2Cr 6:14,“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

Note: To be unequally yoked together in Greek is heterozygeō which means to come under an unequal or different yoke, have fellowship with one who is not an equal; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Fellowship in Greek is metochē which means a sharing, communion; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Communion in Greek is koinōnia which means fellowship, association, community, joint participation; - it occurs 20 times in the New Testament. This Scripture forbids believers to be married to unbelievers. Righteousness does not have fellowship with lawlessness. Light does not have communion with darkness.

Eph 3:9,“And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.”

Note: Mystery in Greek is mystērion which means hidden thing, secret, secret thing; - it occurs 27 times in the New Testament. The mystery is God’s plan of providing salvation for men through Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed. God created all things through Jesus Christ; evolution does not create anything but the big scientific myth.

Phl 2:1-2,“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”

Note: For Christians to be united in spirit, they must first have fellowship of the Spirit. To have fellowship of the Spirit is only possible if you have the Spirit living in you. The body of Christ led by the Spirit is intent on one purpose. The purpose is the eternal purpose which God accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Phl 3:10-11,“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Note: To have fellowship of Christ’s sufferings is to have the most intimate fellowship with Christ. Conform to Christ’s death means do not conform to the pattern of this world; do not conform to the evil desires, but to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. Attain in Greek is katantaō which means to come to, arrive, attain to a thing, become partaker of; - it occurs 13 times in the New Testament. To attain to the resurrection of Christ is to become partaker of the resurrection of Christ.

(2).   Fellowship with one another

Act 2:42,“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Note: For believers to have fellowship with one another is to continue steadfastly in the apostles’doctrine, in the breaking of bread and in prayers. There are many churches or rather organizations which foster fellowship with men and women without Christ. They are political and social organizations under the label of a Christian church.

2Cr 8:4,“Imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”

Note: Ministering in Greek is diakonia which means the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection esp. those who help meet need by either collecting or distributing of charities; - it occurs 34 times in the New Testament. When you demonstrate Christian compassion by supporting the servants of Christ and helping the poor saints, you are having the Christian fellowship.

Gal 2:9,“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”

Note: When servants of Christ work together for the furtherance of the Gospel, they give the right hand of fellowship to each other. There should not be jealousy and strife in the ministry. There is no monopoly in Christian work, and there is no spiritual empire.

Eph 5:11,“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Note: Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness such as merchandising the Gospel for profit, private interpretation of the Word of God, greedy for money, committing sexual immorality, secularization of the church, etc. Believers have duty to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Some minority church has dishonored the Lord by hiding and tolerating the immoral behavior of their ministers. They made excuse for their leaders and their families who committed sexual immorality, plagiarism, fighting for money and power, etc.

Phl 1:5,“For your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now.”

Note: To have fellowship in the Gospel means world evangelization through personal witness for the Lord, giving to the cause of Christ, and suffering for the sake of the Lord.

1Jo 1:7,“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Note: The right mode of Christian fellowship is walking in the light as God is in the light. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

3.     The organization of the church.

A.   Church hierarchy.

Luk 6:13,“And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.”

Note: The Lord called and chose the twelve disciples and named them as apostles. Disciple in Greek is mathētēs which means a learner, pupil, follower; - it occurs 269 times in the New Testament. Apostle in Greek is apostolos which means a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders; - it occurs 81 times in the New Testament. Apostles exclusively refer to the Twelve Disciples of Jesus Christ. Judas the traitor lost his and replaced by Paul. The Twelve Apostles were selected out of the multitude of Christ’s followers, to be Christ’s constant companions and the heralds to proclaim to men the Kingdom of God.

Mar 6:30,“The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.”

Note: The apostles had to report to Lord Jesus directly all that they had done and taught.

Act 1:2,“Until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.”

Note: When Jesus was taken up to heaven, the Holy Spirit is the sole Representative of Christ on earth, not the pope or anyone. The Holy Spirit gave orders to the apostles, and the Holy Spirit still gives orders to the servants of Christ. There is much difference between the Holy Spirit giving orders to the Apostles and the Holy Spirit giving orders to the servants of Christ today. The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles to write and complete the New Testament and directed the early ministry of evangelization. The Book of Acts is the written record how the Holy Spirit used the Apostles and early disciples to testify for Jesus Christ. The Apostles’teaching is the teaching of Christ. The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church violates the teaching of Christ in many ways. See my article on Catholicism. Today the Holy Spirit still directs the true servants of Christ in the ministry of the Word. There are too many occupational preachers; there are very few Spirit-led preachers today.

Act 15:2,“And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.”

Note: The Apostles and elders in Jerusalem had the authority to settle any issue of the church. The Apostles were also elders, but not all elders were apostles.

Act 16:4-5,“And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were ordained by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.”

Note: Decree in Greek is dogma which means doctrine, decree, ordinance; - it occurs only 5 times in the New Testament. Decrees of the apostles refer to all the precepts of Christian religion relative to right living.

The Apostles and elders at Jerusalem were given authority by the Holy Spirit to determine decrees or dogmas for believers of all generations to keep. Theologians and founders of denominations do not make dogmas, the Apostles did. Ordain in Greek is krinō which means to determine, resolve, decree, decide; - it occurs 114 times in the New Testament. Keep in Greek is phylassō which means to observe, take care not to violate; - it occurs 30 times in the New Testament. The following is a decree of immense importance which must be observed by all Christians of all generations and ages everywhere:

Act 15:19-31,“Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying: ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law’ --to whom we gave no such commandment-- it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Note: Christians everywhere must abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. Chinese Christians must beware of ancestral worship, worship of the dead, and have second wife, etc. The leader of Taiwan claims to be a Christian and he violates the Apostles’decree by worshiping idols and participating in services offered to idols. If he is a true Christian, he must repent and renounce idolatry. If he continues to worship idols, he cannot be a true Christian, and he will face a greater judgment.

1Cr 12:28,“And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.”

Note: Gift in Greek is charisma  which means the gift of divine grace, grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit; - it occurs 17 times in the New Testament. God has given several gifts to the church for building up the body of Christ and edification of the church. The Pentecostal churches are wrong in fixing their eyes on the gifts and not on the Giver of the gifts. They pride to call themselves charismatic as if they were spiritually superior.

The various gifts to the church serve the following purposes:

(A). The ministry of the church depends on the spiritual gifts given by the grace of God for His glory and the benefits of believers.

(B). Every Christian possesses a gift of the Spirit. 1Cr 12:7,“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Eph 4:7,“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.” This special gift ties to the life work God wants every believer to do. The Lord has a specific purpose for your life. Blessed is the believer who finds the will of God and does it. It is not for self glory, but for the common good of the church. Some who practice faith healing and speaking in tongues as if that glorifies them.

(C). The diversity of gifts has unity of purpose in building up the body of Christ to the full stature of Christ, fulfilling the mission of the church on earth.

(D). The ministry of the church is not under the central leadership of any human being, but to be led by the Holy Spirit. The idea of clergy and laity is invented by men to magnify the occupational ministry. The Book of Acts illustrates the central leadership of the Holy Spirit in the work of the church.

(E). The spiritual gifts are to be used in love. 1Cr 13:2,“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Gal 5:13,“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

Note: The Scripture cited gives the principle of service. Christian service is born of love. Love is not motivated by love of money, power and glory or lust.

The Christian church is not ruled by democracy, it is ruled by theocracy. There is a ranking or hierarchy in the church. Appoint in Greek is tithēmi which means to set, put, place, establish, ordain; - it occurs 96 times in the New Testament. God has appointed for His use in the church (not elected by majority), first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, various kinds of tongues. Apostles rank first in the church. To qualify to be an apostle one must (A). Be personally called and selected by Jesus Christ. (B). Have seen the Lord. Except Paul, all the rest of apostles had been with the Lord a long time. (C). Be given powers to perform miracles and wonders. (D). Be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostal churches err is overemphasizing healings and speaking in tongues. God sets the hierarchy of the church, the body of Christ, the invisible church, not referring to the local church. There is no violation of the decree if a local church is led by a pastor, supported by elders and deacons elected by the members of the church. Today there is no central church in Jerusalem or anywhere or any council of churches to rule the body of Christ. The organization of the Roman Catholic Church ruled by the pope is un-Scriptural. The church is not a human organization directed by man.

Eph 4:11-13,“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

Note: The number of apostles was fixed. There is no more new apostle. If anyone claims to be an apostle, he is a false apostle, he is a fraud. Prophet in Greek is prophētēs which means one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence His organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and Kingdom of God and to human salvation; - it occurs 149 times in the New Testament. Now the general prophecies have been written and completed in the New Testament; there cannot be any new prophecy to contradict what is already written. For example, there cannot be any prophecy saying that Jesus Christ is going to come on certain date. In the post-Apostolic era, prophets as God’s spokesman to predict the future events are very rare, although it is still possible that God reveals some special prophecies of local or national nature to His prophets. I have known many Christian leaders and prominent Christians in the world; I do not know anyone would fall into the category of being a prophet. Even today there are men filled with the Spirit of God, who by God's authority and command in words of weight plead the cause of God and urge salvation of men; or moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers are not common. I might offend some if I say I don’t believe so-and-so is such a man of God, although he is world-famous. The proof lies in the fact that all world leaders that this man has known personally, none of them has been influenced by his ministry with good fruit. Evangelist in Greek is euaggelistēs which means a bringer of good tidings, the name given to the New Testament heralds of salvation through Christ who are not apostles; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament.

Pastor in Greek is poimēn which means a herdsman, esp. a shepherd, the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly; overseer of a Christian assembly; - it occurs 18 times in the New Testament. Teacher in Greek is didaskalos which means in the New Testament one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man. Teachers are those who in Christian assemblies undertake the work of teaching, with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit. Building up in Greek is oikodomē which means edifying, edification; - it occurs 18 times in the New Testament. God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.

Eph 3:7,“Of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.”

Note: Minister in Greek is diakonos which means a servant, one who is devoted to the Christian service; - it occurs 31 times in the New Testament. A minister is made according to the gift of God’s grace which is given to him according to the working of His power. Some ministers of megachurches think they are the masters of their members.

Each rank of the body of Christ has its authority. The apostles have the highest authority in the church. Authority also brings corresponding honor. Rev 21:14,“And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are forever inscribed on the twelve foundation stones of the Holy City. A local church minister does not have the authority of an apostle. The Bible does not teach apostolic succession, it was invented by the Roman Catholic Church.

After the apostles, no one can rightfully claim to succeed the apostles. All claims to apostleship today are false and fraudulent.

B.   Church ministry.

1Cr 14:4,“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”

1Cr 16:15,“Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints ).”

Note: The saints refer to believers who are still alive, unlike what the Catholic Church calls saints as dead believers canonized by the pope.

There is no ministry needed for dead saints. Dead saints sleep or rest in Christ waiting for the resurrection when Jesus Christ returns.

Eph 1:15,“For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”

Note: The ministry to the saints is born out of love for the saints.

Eph 1:18,“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

Note: Unbelieving scientists and scholars no matter how brilliant do not have the eyes of their hearts enlightened, so they do not know the things of God, or the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Eph 2:19,“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household.”

Note: Christians are fellow citizens with the saints. Service and assistance must first be given to the saints because they are of God’s household.

Eph 5:3,“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”

Note: It is not proper to have immorality or impurity or greed among the saints.

2Cr 8:4,“Begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.”

Note: It is a favor to be able to participate in the support of the saints. It is an honor if you can support a true servant of God.

Col 1:2,“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”

Note: Saints are faithful brethren (including sisters on earth) in Christ. In heaven there will be no sex gender, like the angels.

1Th 3:13,“So that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”

Note: While on earth we pray the Lord to establish our hearts without blame in holiness. The Lord Jesus is coming with all His saints.

2Cr 9:1,“For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints.”

Note: It is not superfluous to have the ministry to the saints. What you do for the saints is the same you do for Jesus Christ.

2Cr 9:12,“For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.”

Note: The ministry of supplying the needs of the saints is good because it makes the saints overflowing with many thanksgivings to God.

Act 14:27,“On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

Note: The true ministry is what God had done through us, not so much what we had done for God.

Act 15:3-4,“Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.”

Note: Conversion in Greek is epistrophē which means turning of the Gentiles from idolatry to the true God; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Act 3:19,“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Be converted in Greek is epistrephō which means to turn to the worship of the true God, to turn back morally, reform; - it occurs 39 times in the New Testament.

1Cr 10:32,“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.”

Note: Not causing to stumble in Greek is aproskopos which means having nothing to strike against, not leading others to sin by one's mode of life; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. The ministry is supposed to edify the church, not leading others to sin or stumble. Some prosperity gospel preachers in America have fallen from grace, causing people to stumble.

1Cr 14:5,“I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.”

Note: The gifts of God to the church are for edification of the church. To prophesy is greater than to speak in tongues. Thus the Pentecostal churches wrongly emphasize the gift of speaking in tongues.

Act 20:24, “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God.”

Note: Regarding the article written by Franklin Graham (July 22, 2012), some comment is needed.

(A). It is not appropriate to say “Jesus is a model on how to the church should respond to HIV/AIDS.” In the first place Jesus is not a model of this and a model of that. Jesus is the Lord, the Savior of the world. Jesus came into the world “to save sinners,” which was the primary; “to heal the sick” was secondary. The commandment that Jesus Christ gave to the apostles and all believers as He ascended to heaven, Mar 16:15-16, “And He said to them: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

The supreme responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ is to proclaim the Gospel to every creature, not to do social work, or anything else. It is fine and good if the Lord leads a person to do the work of charity or responding to the needs of those who suffer HIV/AIDS and other illness. It does not mean the universal Church of Jesus Christ has to respond when one man has a social agenda, etc.

(B). It is not appropriate to compare HIV/AIDS with leprosy in Bible times. In the first place no one knew exactly how a person got leprosy in Bible times, not necessarily caused by one’s own behavior. Today how to get HIV/AIDS is very clear and well known. You can get HIV/AIDS by your own conduct. HIV/AIDS can be contracted through blood, body fluids, sexual intercourse, dirty needles, etc. If you do not commit sexual promiscuity or have sex with one infected with HIV/AIDS, or through contaminated blood transfusion, etc. you will never have HIV/AIDS. If you are a homosexual, drug addict, and perform sexual immorality, etc. your chances of getting HIV/AIDS are very high. Once I watched a TV interview, a young white woman maintained her virginity a long time until one day she had sex with a man the first time and she got AIDS. It was heart-breaking. This information is free and does not cost anything. Young and unmarried people should abstain from sex, married couple should be faithful and do not commit extramarital affair. Clean and moral conduct is the best prevention of HIV/AIDS, and you do not need to go to a university or hospital for this instruction.

(C). It is dangerous to cite politicians as model Christians as if they were God’s appointed or represent the cause of Jesus Christ because there are many American politicians who are warmongers, liars, corrupt and greedy officials, supremacists and racists, and children of darkness. Many politicians want God to be on their side but they are not on God’s side. Too many politicians use Christ and the Gospel to advance or strengthen their political position and power. It is bad to mix politics with religion because politics is inherently corrupt. Political leaders who support and legalize same-sex marriage and homosexuality are not compatible with Christianity. Political gospel, social gospel and prosperity gospel are NOT the true Gospel. The treachery is for the Church to stress the physical above the spiritual, the material over the moral.

(D). It is wrong to say “no matter what they have done in life, God still loves them and He will forgive them.” Jesus says, Luk 13:5,“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” There is no automatic forgiveness because God is love. To receive forgiveness of sins, sinners need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Mat 11:20,“Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.” Mar 1:15,“And saying: The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” Act 2:38,“Peter said to them: Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 

CChurch discipline.

Act 9:31,“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

Note: A disciplined church lives in the fear of the Lord.

Act 11:26,“And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

Note: Christian in Greek is Christianos which means a follower of Christ, a title of believer, probably means faithful; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. Antioch in Greek is Antiocheia which means driven against; - it occurs 18 times in the New Testament. Antioch was the Capital of Syria, situated on the river Orontes, founded by Seleucus Nicanor in 300 B.C. and named after his father, Antiochus. Many Greek-Jews lived there and it was here that the followers of Christ were first called Christians.

1Ti 3:5,“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?”

Note: A pastor or minister is disqualified if he does not know how to manage his own family, for example unfaithful wife or unruly children.

1Ti 3:15,“If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

Note: Those who lead the church must know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household. God’s household is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. When ministers lie for money or commit adultery, they attack the foundation of the truth. The members of black churches have peculiar practice of excusing and protecting their pastors who commit sexual immorality or financial theft.

Mat 18:17,“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Note: Regarding church discipline, if anyone refuses to listen to the church, Jesus commands His followers to treat him as a pagan or a tax collector. Pagan in Greek is ethnikos which means heathen, Gentile, alien to the worship of the true God, heathenish; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. For example, I have observed how some ethnicities destroy California by crime, gang violence, graffiti, fraud, illiteracy, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, and recipients of welfare. Tax collector in Greek is telōnēs which means a tax gatherer, collector of taxes or tolls; - it occurs 22 times in the New Testament. The tax collectors were as a class, detested not only by the Jews, but by other nations also, both on account of their employment and of the harshness, greed, and deception, with which they did their job. The term is equivalent to today corrupt officials. The idea that everyone (good and evil) is treated equal is facetious and false. You cannot treat an adulterous leader as a hero. You cannot treat a fall-away church member as a saint.

Act 14:23,“Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”

Note: Among other things, elders in each church help in church discipline.

Act 20:28,“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.”

Note: A true minister of Christ is made an overseer by the Holy Spirit.

His duty is to keep watch over members and all the flock of God. The Lord bought the church of God with His own blood; His servants must take good care of the sheep.

1Cr 14:28,“If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

1Cr 14:40,“Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Note: There must be order in a church meeting. Those who speak in tongues must keep quiet if there is no interpreter. Everything must be done decently and in order.

1Cr 5:11-13,“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.”

Note: Keep company in Greek is synanamignymi which means to mix up together, be intimate with one, associate with; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. Christians cannot keep company with anyone who calls himself a Christian while he is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Clearly an idolater is not a Christian, for this reason the Taiwanese leader who publicly worships idols cannot be treated as a brother. By the way, do you know you cannot associate with doctors and hospital owners who call themselves Christians, but who are greedy and commit fraudulent and predatory practices of the worst to gouge and fleece patients? The servant of Christ along with elders and deacons may judge those inside the church. They have authority to put away the evil person. Who is the evil person? Any person who calls himself/herself Christian but who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Many lawyers and corrupt officials are extortioners. Remove in Greek is exairō which means to lift up or take away out of a place, put away, take away; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. The church has authority to excommunicate the evil ones from the church.

Something needs to be congratulated and recognized that the United Methodist Church at its convention in Tampa, Florida, on May 3, 2012 voted against changing long-held stand in its book of laws and doctrines that calls homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Eph 6:13,“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” The schemes of the devil by his agents are to distort the Gospel and split the church.  The Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin just as adultery is a sin. There is no such thing as liberals and conservatives in mainline Protestant denominations anywhere. There are only faithful believers and those who fall away. Faithful believers stand firm on the teaching of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament. Those who deviate from the Word of God in faith or conduct are falling from grace. Any church debate is ended by adhering to the revealed doctrine of the Bible. The Bible makes outright prohibitions on gay clergy members and practice of homosexuality. The so-called “pain” of gay church members is self-inflicted; the pain in hell is eternal. Any organization that violates the Christian doctrine and teaching is unworthy to call itself a church –1Ti 3:15,“But in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” Pillar in Greek is stylos which means a prop or support; - it occurs 4 times in the New Testament. Support in Greek is hedraiōma which means ground; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. Truth is the only ground where the Church of Christ stands. The Church can only support the truth in Christ. There is no reconciliation between truth and error, no fellowship between light and darkness, no communion between Christ and the devil. For the same reason, you have no right to worship idols like the leader of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou and call yourself a Christian. You have no right to call yourself a Christian like a former American president and believe in evolution. The leaders of the United States have no right to call America a Christian nation while being an evil empire of warmongering, greed, corruption and immorality.

1Cr 6:4,“Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!”

Note: Dispute in Greek is kritērion which means the matter judged, thing to be decided, suit, case; - it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament.

The church has authority to decide disputes among believers. The Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church went beyond authority given by Christ; it was an evil institution by itself with wicked practices.

Act 5:3-11,“But Peter saidAnanias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her: Tell me whether you sold the land for so much? She said: Yes, for so much. Then Peter said to herHow is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out. Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Note: The story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira illustrated the effective discipline of the church lies ultimately in the power of the Holy Spirit. When the church fears God, everything will be all right.

3Jo 1:9-10,“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.”

Note: The church has authority to put false brothers out of the church.

Rev 2:12,“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.”

Note: The Head of the church has the sharp, double-edged sword. Sword is the symbol of power that punishes evildoers. Remember, it is not the pastor or minister, elder or deacon you have to fear. It is the Lord who wields the sharp, double-edged sword all have to fear.

4.    The mission of the church.

Mat 28:19,“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Note: Make disciple in Greek is mathēteuō  which means to teach, instruct; it occurs only 4 times in the New Testament. Some megachurch preachers and TV evangelists try to make people their disciples, not the disciples of Jesus Christ. Although baptism does not save, it is important to publicly declare an allegiance to Jesus Christ. Just like a wedding pronounces the couple belong to each other.

Mar 16:15,“And He said to them: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”

Note: The Gospel must be preached in all the world because the salvation of God is made available to all who believe in Jesus Christ.

Act 9:31,“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

Note: When the church is strengthened by the Word of God, encouraged by the Holy Spirit, living in the fear of the Lord, it grew in numbers and suitable to do the work of evangelization. All dead churches do not know how to evangelize, every Sunday the ministers preach useless sermons and teachings of men.

Act 12:1,“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.”

Act 12:5, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”

Note: The history of the church provided proof that persecution sometimes worked for the furtherance of the Gospel.

Act 15:22,“Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.”

Note: Elder in Greek is presbyteros which means a term of rank or office, among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches). The New Testament uses the term bishops, overseers and elders interchangeably; - it occurs 67 times in the New Testament. There are leaders among the brothers, not all brothers can be leaders.

Act 15:30,“The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.”

Note: That was how missionaries came about. They were sent originally by the church to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to other parts of the world. Later Western imperialists and colonialists used missionaries as their agents to conquer other nations by religion, while their military conquered other nations by force.

Rom 16:1,“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.”

Note: Phoebe in Greek is Phoibē which means radiant, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea, near Corinth; - it occurs only once in the New Testament. From the beginning there were female servants of the church, although the ministry of Phoebe was not given any detail. I believe female believers can serve Christ with humility just as male believers can do; it all depends on calling and gift. Have you not a met a male pastor who cannot preach?

Rom 16:5,“Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.”

Note: From the beginning Christians often gathered together and had meetings in houses of believers. From house to house starts the world evangelization. Act 2:46,“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” 

Act 5:42,“And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” 

Act 12:12,“And when he (Peter) realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.” 

Act 20:20,“How I (Paul) did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house.” 

Rom 16:5,“Also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.” 

1Cr 16:19,“The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” 

Col 4:15,“Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.” 

Phm 1:2,“And to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house.” Asia in Greek is Asia which means orient, Asia proper or proconsular Asia embracing Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria, corresponding closely to Turkey today; - it occurs 19 times in the New Testament.

Rom 16:23,“Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city's director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.”

Note: How wonderful if the servants of Christ can enjoy hospitality in your house.

1Cr 4:17,“For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”

Note: The preaching and teaching everywhere in every church should be the same. Paul’s way of life in Christ was a model for all Christians.

1Cr 14:19,“But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

Note: Five intelligible words that you instruct others about Jesus are worth more than ten thousand words spoken in a tongue. This is a way that you can preach the Gospel simply as one two three. (1). God loves you even though you are a sinner, unworthy. We are all sinners. God judges us in thoughts, words and deeds. You cannot save yourself. No one can save himself. (2). Jesus can save you. Jesus came down from heaven and died for sinners on the cross, the Righteous for the unrighteous. Jesus has completed the work of salvation; it is the gift of God to all who believe. (3). What can you do to be saved? Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins means turning from darkness to light, turning to God. Believe means accept the Lord with your heart and confess Him as your Savior with your mouth. I think you can preach the Gospel in five words: God loves and Jesus saves.

1Cr 14:23,“So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?”

Note: The leaders of Pentecostal churches do not seem to understand or follow the Scripture cited above.

1Cr 14:26,“What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”

Note: Christian hymns have a powerful benefit to believers. A foolish and unenlightened Chinese pastor wants to copy American churches by eliminating the pre-service singing. America has bad influence on the world not only in government and politics, business and economics, culture, etc. and even in religion. Pre-service singing of hymns has at least two benefits: first to get people learn how to sing unfamiliar and familiar hymns with zeal; second prepare their hearts for the Word of God. It is a joy to sing spiritual songs with your heart and soul. Blinds leaders do not appreciate spiritual things.

1Cr 14:35,“If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

Note: It is not clear this was inspired by cultural and racial bias or a Christian principle. True some women speak disgracefully in the church. I once heard a woman preacher mentioned the holy mother (Mary) on a par with Holy Father and Holy Son. That was an un-Scriptural legacy of the Roman Catholic Church. Some men also spoke disgracefully in the church. A pastor once said to the audience that heaven is not a place, and there are no mansions in heaven. I am aware Paul did not want to have woman as the leader in the church. I shall not engage in any controversy on the subject because it does not involve the salvation of souls.

1Cr 15:9,“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Note: All true servants of Christ know they do not deserve anything.

1Cr 16:19,“The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.”

Note: It is clear from the beginning of the church history; houses of believers have been used for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The mission of the church begins at your own house. Are all members of your household converted?

Eph 3:8-10,“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

Note: Preaching to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church.

Eph 3:20-21Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Note: God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, the Gospel must be preached to all generations so that to God be the glory in the church.

Col 1:24,“Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”

Note: The mission to preach the Gospel to the entire world inevitably requires suffering Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body.

1Ti 5:16,“If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.”

Note: The Scripture cited above provides the principle for church charity. The church is not a charity organization although it does charity.

1Ti 5:17,“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”

Note: Do not confuse who are elders in a local church. These elders are those who preside over the assemblies or churches. The New Testament uses the term bishop, elders, overseers and presbyters interchangeably. The pastors or ministers who direct the affairs for the church are worthy of double honor, especially those who work is preaching and teaching. The elders of most local churches usually do not preach or teach.  

Jam 5:14,“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

Note: Praying for the sick is a ministry to be maintained even in the face of modern medicine. Christians may consult doctor and take medicine, but do not forget the Lord heals.

3Jo 1:6,“They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.”

Note: The church conducts herself in a manner worthy of God.

Rev 2:8,“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”

Note: The church must obey the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.

Rev 2:18,“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”

Note: The words of the Son of God rule the church.

Rev 3:1,“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

Note: Some churches have a global reputation, but they are dead under the leadership of properity gospel preachers who get rich on preaching the false gospel.

Rev 3:7,“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of Him who is Holy and True, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.”

Note: Pray to the Holy and True, who holds the key of David, to open the door to fulfil the mission of world evangelization.

Rev 3:14,“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True witness, the Ruler of God's creation.”

Note: The missionaries must be under the Ruler of God’s creation, not agents of imperialism or colonialism or hegemonism. Those who engage in politics of Western domination under the guise of mission must repent or face the sword of the Ruler of God’s creation. God’s creation is not done according to evolution. Let those fooled by unbelieving scientists realize God is the Ruler of creation, not evolution – the scientific lie.

5.     The names and titles of the church.

The church in this article does not mean the building or place of Christian worship or meeting. The church also does not refer to a local church; it refers to the invisible church. The church as the spiritual body of Christ has many names and titles; each reflects its nature and character.

(1).   Assembly of the saints

Psa 89:7,“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.”

The church is the assembly of the saints - no false preachers, false prophets, or false brothers.

United Nations is the assembly of nations, but many bad nations: the United States is the warmonger, the evil empire of Japan denies all its war crimes, the rat and rogue nations of Philippines and Vietnam made false claims to China's territories and loot China's resources.

(2).   Assembly of the upright

Psa 111:1,“Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”

Corrupt politicians or crooks or criminals may be members of a megachurch, but they are not the aseembly of the upright. Some false churches are congregations of Satan.

(3).   Beloved of God

Rom 1:7,“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

(4).   Blessed of the Father

Mat 25:34,“Then the King will say to those on His right: Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

(5).   Body of Christ

Col 1:24,“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”

1Cr 12:27,“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”

(6).   Branches of the Vine

Jhn 15:5,“I AM the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

(7).   Bride of Christ

Rev 21:9,“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying: Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.”

(8).   Children of God

Jhn 1:12,“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

Phl 2:15,“That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

False prophets and false preachers say we are all children of God. Not true. Not all people in the world are children of God. Jesus Christ defines liars and killers as children of the devil.

(9).   Children of light

Luk 16:8,“So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the children of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the children of light.”

Children of this world are represented by Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood. You do not know how smart and shrewd they are. Washington politicians think if you tell a big lie and tell it a long time the world might believe it. So American politicians, Japanese, Philippines and Vietnamese leaders keep spreading the blackest lie about China threat. In fact they are the threats to the world in aggression and expansion.

(10).   Chosen race

1Pe 2:9,“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

(11).   Christ’s body

1Cr 12:27,“Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.”

(12).   Christ’s sheep

Jhn 10:14,“I am the Good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.”

Jhn 21:16,“He said to him again a second time: Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him: Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him: Tend My sheep.”

Beware there are many wolves, foxes and snakes in the church today. False prophets, false teachers and false brothers are the wolves, foxes and snakes. 

(13).   Church of God

Act 20:28,“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

(14).   Church of the firstborn

Hbr 12:23,“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

(15).   Church of the Living God

1Ti 3:15,“But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

(16).   Congregation of saints

Psa 149:1,“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.”

Some churches are congregations of thieves, robbers, liars and killers.

(17).   Elect of God

Col 3:12,“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”

(18).   Family in heaven and on earth

Eph 3:15,“From whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”

(19).   Fellow citizens with the saints

Eph 2:19,“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

(20).   Flock of God

Eze 34:15,“I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.”

1Pe 5:2,“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.”

Note: In the last days there are many false ministers who do it for dishonest gain, in particular of those capitalistic societies. It is quite shocking to see those seminaries, Christian colleges and Bible schools, many of them are actually for dishonest gain.

(21).   Fold of Christ

Jhn 10:16,“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

(22).   General assembly

Hbr 12:23,“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

(23).   God’s building

1Cr 3:9,“For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.”

(24).   God’s elect

Tts 1:1,“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness.”

(25).   God’s field

1Cr 3:9,“For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.”

(26).   God’s heritage

Joe 3:2,“I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.”

(27).   God’s own people

1Pe 2:9,“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Tts 2:14,“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

(28).   God’s own possession

Eph 1:14,“Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

(29).   Habitation of God

Eph 2:22In whom you also are being built into a habitation of God in the Spirit.”

(30).   Heirs according to promise

Gal 3:29,“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.”

(31).   Heirs of God

Rom 8:17,“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”

(32).   Heirs of the grace of life

1Pe 3:7,“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

(33).   Heirs of the Kingdom

Jam 2:5,“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”

Christians have a kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, not the kingdom of this world.

(34).   Heirs of the promise

Hbr 6:17,“In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath.”

(35).   Holy nation

1Pe 2:9,“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Members of the body of Christ make a holy nation.

(36).   Holy Priesthood

1Pe 2:5,“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

(37).   Holy Temple

Eph 2:21,“In whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.”

(38).   House of Christ

Hbr 3:6,“But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”

(39).   House of God

1Ti 3:15,“But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Hbr 10:21
And having a High Priest over the house of God.

The house of God is the church of the living God. It is not a church building or a cathedral. Some preachers call their church building the house of God is wrong and false.

(40).   Household of God

Eph 2:19,“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

The house of God is also the household of God, the church of the living God.

(41).   Joint-heirs with Christ

Rom 8:17,“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”

(42).   Lamb’s wife

Rev 19:7,“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

Rev 21:9,“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me  and talked with me, saying: Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.”

(43).   Light of the world

Mat 5:14,“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Phl 2:15,“That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

Warmongers, dictators, oppressors, imperialists, supremacists, hegemonists, capitalists, militarists, terrorists, liars and killers are children of darkness. Christians are light of the world in this crooked and perverse world.

(44).   Little flock

Luk 12:32,“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

Note: It is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom of God to little flock, who are followers of Jesus Christ.

Jhn 10:16,“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”

1Pe 5:3,“Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Christians are the sheep of the flock of Christ. Believers are not a pack of wolves or wild dogs.  False preachers and false brothers are a pack of wolves and wild dogs.

(45).   Members of Christ

1Cr 6:15,“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!”

Eph 5:30,“Because we are members of His body.”

You can be members of a megachurch or a follower of fashionable cult leader. But Christians are members of Christ and followers of the Great Shepherd.  Some cult leaders are famous to have their versions of the Bible. Their blind followers take their words as the word of God. Watch out for cult leaders who make slogans for their followers to hold as truths.

(46).   People of God

Hbr 4:9,There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

1Pe 2:10,“For you once were not a people, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Christians are the people of God, not the citizens of nations of the world.

(47).   Pillar and ground of the truth

1Ti 3:15,“But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

(48).   Royal priesthood

1Pe 2:9,“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

(49).   Saints

Rom 1:7,“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Saints are sanctified Christian here on earth, not dead believers canonized by the catholic pope. No one can make you a saint, only the Holy Spirit can make a believer a saint on earth and in heaven.

(50).   Salt of the earth

Mat 5:13,“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

The wicked are good for nothing. Christians are good for something like the salt of the earth.

(51).   Sojourners and pilgrims

1Pe 2:11,“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

Our kingdom is not of this world, for this reason Christians are sojourners and pilgrims on earth.

(52).   Sons of the resurrection

Luk 20:36, “For they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”

(53).   Spiritual house

1Pe 2:5,“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Church of Christ is a Spiritual House, not a building made of stone and steel.

(54).   Temple of God

1Cr 3:16,“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

There is no temple of God on earth now. A church building is not a temple of God. So many preachers fool their

church members by saying they come to the temple of God. Believers in Christ are the temple of God.

(55).   Temple of the Living God

2Cr 6:16,“Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their GOD, and they shall be My people.”

(56).   The Lamb’s wife

Rev 21:9,“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying: Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.”

Just as a wife must be pure to the husband so the church must be pure to Christ.

(57).   Those who will inherit salvation

Hbr 1:14,“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”

Salvation cannot be earned but can be inherited by the grace of God and through faith in Jesus Christ.

(58).   Vessels of mercy

Rom 9:23,“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”

This is a beautiful picture of the members of the church of Christ as vessels for God to pour down His mercy.

(59).   Vineyard

Mat 21:41,“They said to Him: He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

You can be sure the Lord will destroy those wicked preachers and false preachers miserably.

(60).   Wheat

Mat 13:30,“Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers: First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

There is much so much confusion even among believers what church is, even the distinction between a church and the church. For the Chinese the confusion lies in 教会 and 教堂教会 is the church or the body of Christ, while 教堂 is the building of a church, or a meeting place. Now it is of vital importance that everything and anything related to church whether it is its nature, character, organization, function, or mission must be based solely on the Word of God, not the teachings or traditions or opinions of men. Firstly, it must be understood what the subject matter has to do is the Church of Jesus Christ as it is written in the New Testament. There are churches that follow their leaders, not Jesus Christ. The Church began with Jesus Christ just as the Gospel began with Jesus Christ, in that sense church did not exist in the Old Testament. In the old dispensation, the Jewish people were the chosen people of God under the Mosaic Law. In the new dispensation, the called out ones of all nations who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ and they are under grace in Christ. However, the Church is composed from the first righteous man Abel to the last believer before the coming of Jesus Christ. Jewish believers and Gentile believers will all become one in Christ. 

There is a confusion regarding the meaning of Rom 16:3-5,“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.”

The church in their house, v. 5. It seems that in ancient times Christians who had big houses suitable for gathering, there was a congregation of Christians that used to meet at their houses at stated times regularly. It could be for convenience, fellowship, prayer. Bible study or personal evangelization. For example, Cornelius, a centurion, many people assembled in his house to hear the message of God from the mouth of Peter.

Act 10:19-48,“While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him: Behold, three men are looking for you. But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself. Peter went down to the men and said: Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come? They said: Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you. So he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying: Stand up; I too am just a man. As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled. And he said to them: You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me. Cornelius said: Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said: Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea. So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Opening his mouth, Peter said: I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is the Lord of all)—you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered: Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he? And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.”

Note: As you can see, Peter preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ at Cornelius’ house, but Cornelius’s house was not a church, but a meeting place where Peter preached the Gospel.

In the Old Testament, 1Ch 13:13-14,“So David did not take the ark with him to the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the LORD blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.” The house of Obed-Edom was used to take the ark to serve God. Godly men and women for the furtherance of the Gospel turned their houses into a church, a place where believers assembled to worship God and preach the Gospel. Priscilla and Aquila were at Ephesus, yet there also they had a church in their house, 1 Co. 16:19, “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” The house or building cannot greet people; the church in their house must refer to believers who assembled in their house.

In addition, the church in the house refers to people who assembled in the house, not an organization or institution. The Church of Jesus Christ is both children of God and an institution. An institution is an organized body. Jesus says, 

Mat 18:20,“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Wherever two or three are gathered together, and Christ is with them. Here it means an assembly, a Christian fellowship, not an organized institution. The Church is the body of Jesus Christ is both an institution and a fellowship. As an institution, such as the church of God which is at Corinth, the church in Philadelphia, the church of the Thessalonians, the church in Ephesus, etc. Paul wrote them epistles; but Paul never wrote to the church in any house. The central church was in Jerusalem and then there were many local churches.

1Cr 12:27-31,“Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”

Note: Do not confuse a local church with the Church. God appointed in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, etc. Now a local church or any church anywhere does not have apostles anymore. There were only twelve Apostles and they are now with the Lord. There can never be any more Apostles. If anyone calls himself an apostle, he must be a false apostle. Today it is possible to have a prophet. I have never met or known a prophet in Biblical sense in the world. Even if there is a prophet today in the church, it must be a person who is empowered to preach the Gospel with power; not a person who foretells of things to come. All prophecies are already written in the Bible, there could not be any new prophecy contrary to what is already written. However, it is possible to have a specific prophecy such as a servant of Christ is moved by the Holy Spirit to predict a famine or earthquake or any calamity to fall upon a specific area. Or a prophet who foretells the collapse of the American empire. Or a prophet who predicts what would happen to an individual, etc. There could never be a prophet who predicts the date of the coming of Jesus Christ. That man would be a false prophet, a servant of the devil. I do not have the gift of healing, and I do not know personally anyone who has the gift of healing. You have heard of faith healers who heal temporarily do not have the gift of healing. God is able to heal, there is no doubt about it, but it is not always God’s will to heal, as some Pentecostal preachers have taught, contrary to the Word of God.

It is wrong for anyone to say to church members at their house that this is the church where they hold meeting on Saturday evening and they do not have to go to any church on Sunday. Church at the house in not a local church, a local church at best is the imperfect reflection of the Church. There was a church in Los Angeles which claimed to be the Los Angeles Church, its members were arrogant because they held their church is the only church Los Angeles, all others are not. Those misguided members did not know the Scripture and followed false leaders. By the way, denominations are not good because they divide the church. A Christian is free to go to any church of his/her choice, or listen to any preacher if it is not a false preacher. In Rom 16:5the Chinese Bible translates it as 家 中 的 教 会, but it is not 家 庭 教 会it is more like 家 庭 聚 会. Apostle wrote many epistles (official letters) to the existing churches then, but never wrote one epistle addressed to a so-called family church because there was no family church. 

Now the important question is how can you recognize a cult or a heretic church? Certainly you need the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and understanding the Word of God. Unbelievers who are blinded by the ruler of this world cannot distinguish spiritual truths from falsehoods. In the last days, one of the prominent features is apostasy which meals falling away from the faith.

2Th 2:3-4, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

Note: Apostasy in Greek is apostasia  which means a falling away, defection, forsaking the Lord, abandoning the truth; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament.

2Pe 2:1, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”

Note: Heresy in Greek is hairesis which means following the tenets of a sect, dissension, diversity of opinions and aims, sectarian view and practice, separation from what is sound and true, schism; - it occurs only 9 times in the New Testament. Nevin said succinctly, “Heresy and schism are not indeed the same, but yet they constitute merely the different manifestations of one and the same disease. Heresy is theoretic schism; schism is practical heresy. They continually run into one another, and mutually complete each other. Every heresy is in principle schismatic; every schism is in its innermost constitution heretical” 

In the light of the Word of God, believers can recognize a false church or a heretic church or a deviant church by examining the following characteristics: 

(A).   Deviation from the teaching of the Bible.

Theoretically there could be infinite deviations, but the truth is one. Truth is straight; deviation is like infinite varieties of crookedness. The Roman Catholic Church deviates from the Bible by teaching purgatory. There is Heaven and Hell, but no purgatory. You must use the Word of God to measure and test the teachings or man; you must not use the teachings of man to test and measure the Bible. For example, so many false prophets have prophesied on the dates of second coming of Jesus Christ. Here the diabolical point is the mixture of truth with lie. Jesus Christ is coming again is true, the date set by any man is false. No false prophets would predict the second coming of a certain man like the founder of any religion or devil. Deviation from the Word of God often happens in giving private interpretation, adding or subtracting from the Word of God. Deviation also occurs by emphasizing what the Bible does not emphasize and de-emphasizing what the Bible emphasizes. I once encountered a closed church operating like a secret society; the leader conducted the Lord’s Supper with the emphasis of eating the body of Christ and drinking His blood in one cup. The leader is so ignorant and missed the point of the true purpose of the Lord’s Supper which is done in remembrance of Jesus substitutionary or vicarious death for believers. How can you literally eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ when He is in heaven? What the Bible stresses is remembering the Lord, not eating and drinking. One cup can be divided into many small cups for sanitary purposes to prevent the spreading of infection, there is no reason for all members to drink from the same cup and contract diseases. To subject obedience to the leader, the leader demanded his female followers wear a nondescript black hat on their heads. Interestingly, the wife of the leader is exempt from the black hat.

1Cr 11:5-6, “But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.”

Note: For woman to cover her head was a Jewish custom in that age, in that age of the world. Christian women are not told in the Bible to cover their heads. Just as Jewish males must be circumcised, Christian males do not need to be circumcised.

Act 15:19-29, “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath. Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and they sent this letter by them: The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

Note: As directed by the Holy Spirit, in the judgment of Holy Apostles, the Scriptures make it clear what are the essentials for Gentile Christians to observe and obey, not to be burdened by the Jewish custom and ceremonial rite. Christians are not told to keep the Sabbath, circumcision for males, and covering head for females. Christians are ordered not to eat blood; things sacrificed to idols, things strangled and abstain from fornication. It is also wrong for Christians to divorce which is forbidden by the Lord Jesus. 

Another example, the Pentecostal Church emphasizes the healing of diseases and speaking in tongues in stead of saving the souls.  Private interpretations of the Bible come in many shapes and forms. For example, some false prophets say the teaching of the second coming of Jesus has been two thousand years old. Since Jesus has not returned, perhaps God has changed His mind and believers should abandon such doctrine – this is a destructive heresy. I do not want to waste time and effort in publishing all sorts of false teachings and doctrines. You need only to know the truth, for the truth will set you free. When I studied the six most advanced European societies, I witnessed the dead churches as Europe has turned away from the true teachings of the Bible. America is the fertile land of many false churches and false gospels such as prosperity gospel, political gospel, social gospel, feminist gospel, capitalist gospel, etc. secularized with the prevalent values of money, power and sex and things on the earth.

False leaders use various tools to control their followers, from mind control to physical control. The false preachers and leaders make their members their disciples, not the disciples of Jesus Christ. False pastors own church members, they are not sheep of Christ. There was a false preacher called JJ from America who led his followers to Africa. The followers of JJ were so duped that when his sins and crimes were exposed, he ordered his followers to drink poison with him in committing mass suicide. For milder cases, false leaders control the minds of their followers; they cannot have independent thinking because they demand blind obedience. Mind you, Christians obey God and not men. If a preacher makes people his disciples and demands his followers to give him blind obedience, that is the hallmark of a false preacher or a cult leader. Some churches organized like secret units, their members are not allowed to receive the works (writings) of others, not even a business card telling them websites that preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ absolutely free. It is common and shocking that followers of false leaders always have zeal without knowledge. Their followers do not even know the difference between 教 会 and 教 堂;they call a meeting place 教 会. Some even call their church the church of a dead person, the founder of their church. 

(B).   Apostasy in following a human leader.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church; the Roman Catholic Church teaches the pope is the sole representative of Christ on earth and he is the head of the church. When Jesus Christ ascended to the highest heavens, He sent the Holy Spirit to be His sole Representative on earth. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ in you, you do not belong to Christ. You may be a member of any big church or local church, and not a member of the body of Christ which is the Church. Historically, there have been men and women who wanted to be called Masters, and so they expounded their teachings to separate from others and established denominations. Not all denominations are cultic, some denominations are cults, and all denominations divide the Church of Jesus Christ. Outside of the Bible, I believe the greatest man even lived in history was Martin Luther (not to confuse with the black man in America who preached a political-social gospel) who stood alone against the apostate church and challenged the evil Roman empire. Martin Luther did not start a new religion or a new church; he simply brought the church back to the Bible. Once I met a girl and asked her: Are you a Christian or a Lutheran? She answered: Lutheran. If Luther were alive and heard this, he would despair of the apostasy today or ignorance of the Christian faith. After the Ascension, there were divisions in the church also. The hallmark of false prophets or false preachers is clearly they make their church or club members their disciples. They preach their own gospel, not the Gospel of Jesus. Their members are their followers, not the followers of Jesus Christ.

1Cr 1:10-13,“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying: I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

Note: If any one who pretends he is the greater leader and makes you his disciple, you will know he is not a servant of Christ. Since Eve was the first human deceived by the devil, women are more likely to be deceived by false prophets and false teachers. I observe women are easier targets of religious and political demagogues.

2Ti 3:6-7,“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

(C).   Monopoly of truth.

Mar 9:38-40, “John said to Him: Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us. But Jesus said: Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us.”

Note: There are many religious leaders who promote monopoly of religious practice and sectarianism. To have a specific organization which is recognized only by the government with the power to forbid others to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and establish Christian churches is a religious monopoly leading to apostasy and heresy. That was what happened to the Roman Catholic Church recognized by Emperor Constantine as the state religion. Religious freedom means everyone is free to proclaim and practice their religion within the law. The Church of England once persecuted and prosecuted John Bunyan because he was not licensed by the Church of England – the state religion – imprisoned him for many years. Within the framework of a constitution, every nation should allow its citizens to have religious freedom. The primitive religions which offer human sacrifices and religions that practice polygamy (one man has several wives at the same time), and other uncivilized practices should be outlawed by all civilized nations. To hold copyright for translation of the Bible is a form of religious and capitalistic monopoly. God does not give any one the copyright for any version of the Bible. Even some evangelicals practice monopoly in preaching the Gospel. They build empires by soliciting donations from Christians for the benefits of their off-springs. There is no such a thing called spiritual empire in Christianity. The children of Peter did not succeed him. Some years ago I met a man who claimed to be a member of the church of Los Angeles. What they claimed was their church was the one and only church in Los Angeles, all other churches are not churches at all. This is the monolithic concept of monopoly in organization. The church which is only recognized by government committed the monopoly of organization. The church that forbids others to preach the Gospel and forbids others to establish Christian churches not belonging to them is the enemy of the cross. 

(D).   Unholy motives.

Phl 1:15-18, “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.”

Note: The Bible teaches not all preachers belong to God. False preachers preach Christ from envy and strife, out of selfish ambition and in pretense. What selfish ambition?  Money, power and lust. False preachers even commit adultery with their female members. A preacher of a large black church committed homosexuality with young men of his church. The famous black political preacher of “I had a dream” was an immoral man. A prosperity gospel preacher said to a flight attendant: “Do you know who I am?” Some American preachers glorify in being briefed by the White House. Boy, Christianity has become a tool of American imperialism. How many American preachers are agents of the evil empire of America? American presidents since the end of World War II have proven to be liars, killers and children of the devil. Those preachers who support them also share their sins. Some preachers make good money of their version of the Bible in their names and their books in giving private interpretations of the Bible such as possibility thinking, etc. Years ago one TV evangelist in America demanded everyone send him $2,000 or the Lord will kill him. The wife of a disgraced minister who went to jail said publicly that she love luxuries. There are men and women who preach the gospel thinking they deserve to have multi-million-dollar-mansion, private jets, big bank accounts, drive Mercedes and wear $10,000 suit and their wives wear $25,000 mink coats. There is ample evidence that in America, Europe, Taiwan, South Korea, etc., they practice a false version of Christianity. Their kingdoms are of this world.

Phl 3:18-19, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

Note: Do you know ministers, evangelists, bishops, pastors, theologians, etc. can be enemies of the cross of Christ? If a preacher is greedy, seeking power and self-glory, practice immorality and love the world, he could not a servant of Christ. The Lord has revealed to me that spiritual evil is much worse than political evil. January 20, 2013

Mat 7:20-23, “So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me: Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day: Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”

Note: The Lord says those who are false prophets, false teachers, and false believers are many. Most shocking fact is that they even “prophecy in Jesus name, in Jesus name cast out demons, and in Jesus name perform many miracles.” I have never cast out any demon; I have never performed any miracle. The Lord will declare to those enemies of the cross: I never knew you!

Mat 24:14-15, “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).”

Note: It is easier to understand when you see ABOMINATION in Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood – the most powerful evil trinity in the world today. It is easier to understand when you see ABOMINATION in royal palaces, government houses, state houses, and ruling places in the world. It is most mysterious to see ABOMINATION standing in the holy place. My understanding is that the coming Lawless One shall exercise religious and political power combined. That is why you see many evil nations and agents of Satan are using Christianity to advance their cause and agenda. Jesus’greatest enemy was not Pilate, it was Judah Iscariot. False prophets, false teachers, and false believers are doing greater havoc and harm inside the church or under the sponsorship of a church than what the unbelieving scientists and scholars and unbelievers in general do. 

In conclusion, 

1Ti 4:1,“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Apostasy has taken place in Western churches; among many proofs is the official recognition of same-sex marriage and appointment of homosexuals as ministers. Another evidence is rampant materialism and secularization of the church. 

Rev 2:7,“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.” 

This is the most important truth that many preachers or pastors of churches do not preach:

You can be a member of any church, if you do not have the Holy Spirit in you and testify with your spirit that you are a child of God, you do not belong to the body of Christ. You are not saved.

Soon believers of all times and generations will meet in the Paradise of God to reign with Christ forever and ever.

January 19, 2016

Willie Wong

Chinese for China: Home

http://wongwillie.synthasite.com/

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Copyright ©  2011 - 2016 by Willie Wong


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