God’s Greatness in Preserving His Church - By exposing the wicked schemes of the evil one against the church
The relentless attacks on the church of God for the past many years are ever on the increase. Such has been the ploy of Satan to destroy the church that Jesus purchased with His own blood. The wicked one intensifies his work to go against the church through ungodly people, who are puffed up in haughtiness beyond measure. They have been set in the mode to cause maximum damage to the body of Christ in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. They are full of trickery in every endeavour in the church to achieve the objective of their master, the devil (Eph. 4:14b), to desecrate the church.
From the teachings in the Bible, we know that God’s plan to establish His church to save the world will never be thwarted by the schemes of the wicked one. The church will eventually reach perfection to the exclusion of those who cause havoc in the church. This is a prophecy, which is dispersed all over the pages of the prophetic books (Ps. 15; Isa. 4:2ff, 65:11ff; Zeph. 3:11-13). To remain in the church, there is a great need for us to hold on to the initial beliefs of the church and to constantly improve ourselves spiritually, thus demonstrating the virtues of Christ in every aspect of life. This is the way to preserve ourselves and the church in the greatness and mercy of God, and being vigilant against the devices of Satan.
The foundation of the church
The church cannot be built up without the foundation (truth) that Christ has laid (1 Cor. 3:11). This foundation was first laid during the time of the apostles. The True Jesus Church, by the grace of God, has been established on this very same foundation. When we compare the beliefs we have received with those of the apostolic church, they coincide perfectly. Examples such as the receiving of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the speaking of tongues; and water baptism is to be carried out in a source of living water, in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. This affirms to us that the True Jesus Church is the revival of the apostolic church.
Today, the trick of Satan is to cause division within the True Jesus Church by indicating that there are various types of the True Jesus Church in existence. Some claim that these separate churches within the circle of the True Jesus Church should put aside doctrinal differences, to be united. In fact, we must all remember what Jesus said: the other sheep will come to the fold. But, the condition is that they must all listen to the voice of Jesus (Jn. 10:16). This tells us that unity is only achievable when every True Jesus Church worldwide adheres to the teachings of the apostles. This is and must be our goal.
Satan fell because of arrogance (1 Tim. 3:6). Since the beginning of his existence, he developed the seed of haughtiness and eventually, refused to come under the authority of God. Today, he tries to instil the same rebellion, in the minds of the proud, to go against the work of God through the church. One of the main tasks of the church that needs to be carried out is the internal correction for the good of the church as a whole worldwide. When the churches within the ambience of the True Jesus Church are taught again the truth of God, and thereby reconciled to God, the power of unity will permeate in every work that she does. The walls that Satan has built to separate one True Jesus Church from another will be torn down, unleashing the full potential of the True Jesus Church universally to reach out to the world with the perfect gospel of salvation in great strength and unity.
Internal correction was not unheard of in the time of the apostolic church. There was an occasion in which Paul rebuked Peter publicly (Gal. 2:11). The reason for such internal correction is stated as ‘not being straightforward about the truth’ (Gal. 2:14). Again, it is for the sake of the truth, and indeed the good of the church as a whole, that this internal correction was done. This is to ensure that the churches of God in different locales are bonded together in the body of Christ by having the same beliefs.
In the early church, Peter was the most senior figure, and was the key speaker on the Day of Pentecost. Not only that, God had revealed the mystery of the church and directed Peter to preach to the first ever gentiles. These are the ‘glorious achievements’ he had for God and His church. Peter was in the ministry work much longer than Paul. But when Peter was corrected, he took it well and responded by praising Paul’s work and wisdom which God gave him (2 Pet. 3:15-16). This resulted in a stronger relationship amongst workers. This is humility, which the Lord takes great delight in (cf. Jas. 4:10).
The name of the church
It is not at all surprising to see that Satan makes use of the man of arrogance to find fault with the name of the church. The ‘True Jesus Church’ is the name given to the end-time true church. One issue raised is on the linguistic soundness of the name when translated into different languages. It is said that when the name ‘True Jesus Church’ in English is translated into another language, it is grammatically unsound. But does anyone give a name to his/her child based solely on the ground of grammatical relevance? By just looking at the name in English, it may seem that it would sound better grammatically if it were translated ‘the True Church of Jesus’. But, that is not the purpose God has for the name of His church.
The name of the church is to portray the work that God has for the church through Jesus. This idea is well captured by the name ‘True Jesus Church’. Once the name is explained in the light of the Bible, it makes clear the sense of the mission of the church that God has given her – that is to proclaim the salvation of God to man through Jesus (Rev. 19). This is the wonder of the Lord. He has long prophesied that Zion shall be given a new name (Isa. 62:2) through the mouth of Isaiah. Who are we then to challenge God’s authority over the name that He has given to His church?
The Three Early Workers
The most wicked ploy of all is to find fault with the first three workers of the True Jesus Church. The man of arrogance has claimed that the two workers, whom Paul Wei had asked to baptise each other, were not connected in baptism. Thus stating the churches they established, their salvation would not even be certain. The reason for such an insinuation is that they were not baptised by Paul Wei, whom the Spirit first baptised personally. Clearly, this is an act of wedging in a divide, which is of the highest order, surfacing the deviant beliefs of the deceivers.
As disclosed in the time of the apostles, the church was not to be established by just one person. The commission to preach and baptise was given to all disciples, not just to Peter who was the first one to be given the mystery of the church (Mt. 16:18). God chose a group of people to begin His church. The True Jesus Church, likewise, has been fashioned into the apostolic pattern in coming into existence on earth. This is how God has established His church in time of great uncertainty in Christendom. In light of what the Lord has done, should we not be rejoicing over the work of God for saving us? This is a great wonder that goes beyond human perception. Praise the Lord!
Not the Spirit of God
Finally, when his twisted beliefs were exposed, the man of arrogance had to resort to threats, by accusing those who hold on to the traditional beliefs of the church as being blasphemous against those who do not. As we know Jude states categorically that those who cause division in the church, they do not have the Holy Spirit (Jude 19). John also says that he who does not listen to the apostles, does not have the Spirit of truth but the spirit of error (1 Jn. 4:6). This bold declaration of the apostles is intended to draw a clear distinction between the deceivers and the children of God. This is to give a clear picture to the church that the work of deception is propelled by the evil Spirit, so that the church would not be deceived.
Let’s pause for a moment or two – can the Spirit of God still abide in a full-time worker, who previously knew about the truth in great clarity and depth, but now turns against what he has received from the church and his father? He believes that the Spirit is received at the point of baptism. He does not believe in the doctrine of baptism in a manner that the church does. In fact, he practically overturns virtually every belief of the church. He fanatically attacks the church that we all love so dearly. Is he not guilty of the most insidious and malicious acts of an apostate? What kind of spirit is at work?
But we know that the Lord will preserve His church.