Our Father said, “The army moves on at the sound of the trumpet, and God’s people at the sound of the prophecy.”
Then, what prophetic sound should we now pay attention to? It is the word, “Fulfill the gospel, helping one another.” Studying the Bible, let’s come closer to God’s will contained within the prophecy.
God wishes us to be of the same mind with one another according to Jesus Christ.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Ro 15:5-6
Jesus, our Teacher, always set examples of what we Christians should do, saying, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Among many examples, let’s take a close look at the example of preaching: From early in the morning until late at night Jesus continued His preaching (Mk 1:35-39).
Christ came to save souls destined to die due to sin; His whole life was a continual preaching. When Jesus finished His ministry on earth and went up to heaven, He gave His last command to us: “Preach the gospel to every creature.”
If we are going to imitate Christ, we should strive to preach the gospel with one mind. Preaching is an expression of our faith in God. It is a way to save the world through testifying to the will of God. Now, we should be united in mind in saving the world. Moving at the sound of the prophecy, we are to help one another and participate together in preaching.
We can find the will of God who wants us to be united, through the following parable given by Jesus.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who sent out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out … ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, … ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. …”Mt 20:1-16
In the days of Jesus, the hours of daylight were divided into twelve from sunrise to sunset. According to present time, the third hour corresponds to nine o’clock in the morning, the sixth hour to noon, the ninth hour to three o’clock in the afternoon, and the eleventh hour to five o’clock.
In the parable, the landowner gave an opportunity to work in his vineyard to all who were standing outside doing nothing. The workers entered the vineyard at different times of the day-some early, some at nine o’clock in the morning, some at noon, some at three o’clock in the afternoon, and others at five o’clock. However, all of them received the same amount of pay.
It is natural to expect that when a man works longer he deserves to be paid more, isn’t it? However, the owner, God, gave an equal amount to all of the laborers from the last hired to the first.
God is just and upright (Dt 32:4). He gives to everyone according to what he has done (Rev 22:12). The God of justice gave the same amount to those who worked only one hour, as was paid to those who worked all day. Through this we can make sure that though they worked for different lengths of time, they did the same amount of work after all.
Considering the above parable, we must not be proud of being called early. If we have already received the truth and become leaders in the Church, we should help later comers work well, instead of being conceited, so that we may all receive blessings and rewards in the kingdom of heaven. This is God’s will for us.
We are the materials for the building of God’s spiritual temple, the Jerusalem Temple: In God we are being built together (Eph 2:20-22). Those who have entered the vineyard early in the morning are the pillars, major supporters, in the New Jerusalem Temple. Those who have entered the vineyard at five o’clock in the afternoon are the materials used in the finishing process.
In building a house, basic construction materials and finishing materials have fundamentally different functions. If we have the function of basic building materials, we are not given the function of finishing materials. We can’t have both functions at once. We, the materials for the heavenly New Jerusalem Temple, have our own functions. It is impossible for us to carry out all other functions.
We, who have been called earlier, are obligated to help those who come later so that they can faithfully follow the will of our Father and Mother. Helping one another and fulfilling the gospel commission together with one accord-this is the will of God for us.
In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, the later comers did large amounts of work within a short time, and they also received a denarius. Maybe there were lots of help from many people. The earlier comers probably supported them in their work, sharing their skills and experiences with them. Likewise, our family members in Zion are working together in unity for the gospel work, so the Father and Mother are pleased with us and give the same blessing-the promise of heaven-to all of us.
Those who have come earlier and labored more than others will be blessed for their long lasting endurance. When the Lord settles spiritual accounts with us, some of us will receive a reward for sharing love, some a reward for helping others, and some a reward for bearing much fruit. Then God will greatly recommend us, saying, “You are really worthy of My children.”
We are members of the heavenly family. However, we can’t fully perceive a deep emotional relationship of love among ourselves, because we are still veiled in our flesh. Does anyone hate his family members because they diligently do housework?
Certainly not. What about us? Are we not jealous of brothers and sisters who work hard? If we pursue our own little self-absorbed desires, instead of having a spiritual ambition to enjoy eternal joy in our heavenly home after quickly finding our lost brothers and sisters, we may become jealous of brothers who have more talent than ourselves.
None of us must care only for ourselves, our own group, and our own local church. If we do, we are not worthy members of the heavenly family. As the first, we must have mature faith and help our spiritual younger brothers and sisters do more work. Even though they may act thoughtlessly sometimes, we are to help them correct their undesirable behaviors and live in accordance with the will of our Father and Mother.
As their reliable supporters, we should help them do even more. When they wander off without knowing where to go, we have to guide them. In the process of entering heaven, we must help our loving spiritual family, so that all of us can enter the kingdom of heaven together.
We are one body, since we have partaken of the bread and wine of the Passover symbolizing the body and blood of Christ (1 Co 10:16-17). In the Talmud, there is a story about a two-headed man. This story suggests the wisest way to discern whether or not it is one person with two heads or two people with one body. It is to pour hot water over one head.
When the other head bellows in pain, it is evident that the two heads are part of one person; however, if it feels no pain, they are certainly separate people, not one. We are part of one body. God said, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body … and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. … If the whole body were an eye,where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. …1 Co 12:12-27
Even though the hand, the eye and the foot have different functions, they are parts of the same body. We, members of Zion family, are all one body. There should be no division in the body; its parts should have equal concern for each other.
The gospel of the kingdom cannot be fulfilled unless we preach together, helping one another. If we do not work together in unity, we can’t be God’s soldiers who move on at the trumpet of the prophecy.
… Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.Ps 126:3-6
Now, the family of Zion is sowing the seed of God’s word in the midst of hard-ship, expecting to reap fruit in joy. Brothers who are beside us now are the fruit reaped from suffering. They are our precious family we’ve found in Babylon. No one should grumble, whether he began work very early in the morning or at five o’clock in the afternoon. What is important is not the time or length of the work in the vineyard, but the fact that we are all members of the heavenly family.
We are given opportunities to work in God’s vineyard. When we work together in cooperation with one another, we can bear much fruit. The gospel work will be accomplished more quickly when we support our spiritual younger brothers so that they can do the work well. If an elder brother who started work early in the morning feels a little exhausted, the younger brother who entered the vineyard at noon can work harder; if he becomes somewhat weary, the third one who entered at three o’clock in the afternoon can make more effort; if he gets tired, the youngest one who entered at five o’clock in the afternoon can complete the work.
When we help one another, we can cultivate the vineyard to produce good fruit that is pleasing to our Father and Mother. Those who fully realize this fact are blessed by God more greatly.
God has told us, who are longing for the eternal kingdom of heaven, not to exalt ourselves but to serve one another in love.
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. Gal 5:13
Parents want their children to be honored by others. God wishes His children to be honored as kings in the kingdom of heaven. However, He wants them to serve one another in this earth.
Those who have been called first are likened to the elder brother in the family. When the first child is born, parents pour out their love into their firstborn. However, when their second baby is born, they put their energy into their second. Both the firstborn and the second-born are precious to their parents. Usually, however, a younger child needs more care than the older one. That’s why parents pay more attention towards the youngest; not only his/her parents but also all his/her elder brothers and sisters take care of him/her.
We have been called earlier. If we still want to be served by our family members in Zion, instead of supporting them, we are like an elder brother who wants to be served by the younger. Can a little baby serve his/her elder brother or sister? We are to care for our younger brothers and sisters. This is the will of our Father and Mother. The Bible says that the elder shall serve the younger.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved-and that by God.Php 1:27-28
When we help and serve one another, we can become one. If all our family members in Zion become united in mind, helping one another in everything, this is a sign to our enemy the devil that he will be destroyed, but that we will be saved-and that by God.
God wants His children to be together in one mind and one accord in Zion, just as described in Psalms: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Ps 133:1-3). God’s people are to move at the sound of the prophecy. All the brothers and sisters of the Churches of God, who are under God’s reign, must fulfill the beautiful unity.
As parts of the body, as materials for the New Jerusalem Temple, we are to faithfully carry out our functions. There may be a dissimilarity of character among ourselves. We need to see our differences like the various parts of one body and be subject to one another, so that we can go to heaven together.
Let’s help our family members, especially those who entered the vineyard at five o’clock in the afternoon, reach a level of faith pleasing to God. Let’s encourage them and assist them to bear fruit. Then this gospel will spread rapidly to the ends of the earth this year. We are to endure and spare no labor until all the prophecies are fulfilled. Dear brothers and sisters in Zion! Let’s serve one another, instead of expecting to be served. Then God will fulfill our wishes and allow us to bear abundant gospel fruit.