People in the world have their own thoughts about God. As for God who exists as spirit, His divine nature and power are beyond human imagination, so people cannot dare to estimate them. Moreover, when God comes in the flesh, it is impossible for humans to understand Him by their own wisdom, so each of them looks at God from a different point of view.
At Jesus’ first coming, people thought, ‘How could God come in human form?’ So, some people said about Jesus, “He is out of his mind,” some said, “He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect” (Ac 24:5), and others insisted that He should be crucified. Some considered Jesus as one of the prophets, some as Elijah, but the apostles like Peter and Paul recognized Him as the “Christ” and “being in very nature God.”
God wants people to have knowledge of God and to be saved, and has given mankind the Bible as a book that testifies about God. I hope that the members of Zion will all have correct knowledge and understanding of God and the right faith to testify about God to all people around the world.
2,000 years ago, the greatest and most joyful news to mankind was delivered to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks in the fields at night. It was the good news that Christ came to this earth in the flesh to save mankind from sin. They ran to Bethlehem in a hurry to see and worship Christ.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” … When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, … The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.Lk 2:8-20
The shepherds received Jesus, who was born as a baby on this earth, as their Savior, just as the angels had told them. And a man called Simeon, who was righteous and devout, took the baby Jesus in his arms and said, “Truly, this is the one who will save us” (Lk 2:25-35). They correctly recognized Jesus, who came in the flesh, as God and the Messiah. However, other people looked at Him from a completely different viewpoint.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”Mk 3:20-21
There were people who recognized Jesus and rejoiced greatly like the shepherds and Simeon, and there were also those who just thought that He was mad and tried to capture Him. Some did not even hesitate to commit the heinous act of attempting to kill God incarnate.
“I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”Jn 10:30-33
God testified about Himself, but the Jews who claimed to believe in God fervently in those days did not recognize God and tried to stone Jesus. No matter how many good deeds Jesus did and no matter how many times He spoke about the things of the kingdom of God, they shut their ears and rejected Jesus, and eventually they committed the sin of crucifying Him.
In some people’s eyes, God who came in the flesh appeared to be a heretic who blasphemed God in His name. In another people’s eyes, He appeared to be a prophet or rabbi. And in the other people’s eyes, He appeared to be a mere son of a carpenter or just an ordinary man. Thus, people had different views of Jesus. However, when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ,” meaning that He was God who came as the Son.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. … I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. …”Mt 16:13-20
To Peter who recognized God correctly, the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given. As the Bible says that eternal life is given to those who know the only true God and Christ (Jn 17:3), the way to receive eternal life and the keys of the kingdom of heaven is to know and understand God. Having correct knowledge and understanding of God—Jehovah in the age of the Father, Jesus Christ in the age of the Son, and the Spirit and the Bride in the age of the Holy Spirit—is the shortcut to eternal life. In this age, when God has come to this earth the second time as the Spirit and the Bride to save mankind, many people think of God in different ways. Most people reject God like the Jews, but some receive God like the shepherds. Through this, God distinguishes between those who will be blessed and those who will not.
As people of Zion, we must all receive Heavenly Father and Mother, who have become incarnate on the earth, and possess enough faith to enter the eternal kingdom of heaven, and we should put forth more effort to preach Father and Mother. God our Savior has come to this earth—this is the most joyful news in the world.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. …”Lk 2:8-12
Here, “good news” means the gospel. In other words, the good news that God has come to this earth to save us is the core of the gospel.
Like the shepherds who delivered the good news of the birth of the Savior to Mary and Joseph, we who have known and understood God earlier should preach the good news that God has come to this earth to save mankind to people who do not yet realize God. The gospel prophets in the early Church preached the joyful news that Christ came to this earth in Samaria and to the ends of the earth, and led the people who received Jesus as their Savior to the eternal kingdom of heaven. We, too, should preach this good news boldly to all nations, so that all people will repent and come to God.
When we look at the history of preaching described in the Bible, we can see that God has the following three characteristics: First, God surely works with His people.
Second, God shows His love through His people and conveys it to all mankind.
Third, God wants to always work alive in His people when He carries out His work of salvation for mankind.
Now, let’s take a look at the scenes where God is working with us, and realize what God’s will is for us to become the workers of the new covenant.
As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.2 Co 6:1-2
We are blessed to work with God and preach God’s salvation. God wants to work with us, and helps us. Nevertheless, did we not sometimes complain about doing this work or become lazy? Let us reflect upon ourselves.
Today, too, God asks us, “I want to work with you. Don’t you want to work with Me?” Whoever understands God who has come in the flesh correctly should do the work of testifying about God and preaching Him, along with God.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who op-pose you will be as nothing and perish. … For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”Isa 41:10-13
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. …2 Co 1:3-5
When we work with God, we don’t have to hesitate at the reproaches and insults of people. Those who believed that God was with them and boldly said, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God,” like Peter and John, led many souls to the way of salvation (Ac 4:19). Their names will shine forever in the kingdom of heaven as well as in the Bible.
God is with us in any situation, and comforts us in all our troubles. God encourages and strengthens us, and does the work of preaching the gospel with us. Believing this firmly, we should go to Samaria and even to the ends of the earth with God to preach the blessed and joyful news that Father and Mother have come to save us.
Now, let’s confirm that God wants to show His love to all people through His people, which is the second characteristic of God.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. …”Jn 15:12-15
Since God wants to show His love through us, He tells us, “Love each other as I have loved you.” Parents even credit the honor they deserve to their children, so that their children will receive praise from people of the world. Likewise, God has entrusted us with the blessed errand of preaching God’s love, in order to give us the eternal glory of heaven.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. … And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. … And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.1 Jn 4:11-21
God wants to dwell in us and to express His love through us. The Bible describes the person who does not love as “a murderer” and the “one who does not have God.”
When we do the work of God, which we cannot do with our sinful nature, we can make sure that God is now working with us while being alive in us.
God can save all mankind by His word. As He sent His angels to tell the shepherds the good news of Christ’s birth, so He can now send His angels to preach the good news to all mankind, so that the gospel work will be accomplished in an instant.
However, God does not do that, but instead He has entrusted us with the gospel. It is because He wants to bless us and to help us resemble His divine nature. By doing the work of God, we come to know God’s heart and have the love of God who has been so anxious to save His children.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.1 Pe 4:7-8
God wants to express His love through us, and has chosen us as instruments to carry out this duty. So, we must not keep silent but express God’s love. This is why we should preach the gospel and show love to others.
When we look back upon our past lives, there were times when we did not understand God’s earnest mind and found it hard to preach the gospel. God helps us in everything, but sometimes we try to persuade people with our own knowledge and ability instead of relying on God’s help, and that makes it difficult to preach to them.
All we have to do is just tell them what we have heard and seen.
Now, let’s examine the fact through the Bible that God wants to always dwell in us, which is the last and third characteristic of God.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Gal 2:20
… because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” … Heb 13:5-9
God has repeatedly said that He will always be with us. So Paul, when he received Jesus, crucified himself and faithfully carried out the work God wanted to do while having God in him. When he looked back upon his life, he was confident that since he had fulfilled the mission given to him, there was in store for him the crown of righteousness, and gave us hope by saying that this crown of life would be awarded not only to him, but also to all who longed for the day of God’s coming.
We must realize God who has come to this earth in the flesh and also understand God’s desired will, so that we can work with God and express God’s love while always having God in us. Now let us think again how much we know about God and how much we understand the heart of God. If we have known God, we should lead many souls to the way of salvation by putting God’s desired will into practice instead of just being satisfied with knowing.
When we consider the fact that 3,000 people repented in just one day through the preaching of Peter, we cannot help but reflect on how fully we have contained God in our minds and preached the gospel. Let us quickly preach the Spirit and the Bride, who have come to this earth as our Saviors, to all people. Some may reject the Spirit and the Bride without realizing Them, but those who understand Them will receive the right to become children of God and reach the eternal kingdom of heaven.
We can do everything by the power of God, not by our own ability. Let us all wake up and try our hardest to make this year a wonderful year for the gospel by working with God. I repeatedly ask you all to fill each and every day of your life with beautiful and gracious moments, so that you can confidently say that you have lived a life without regrets, preaching the gospel, like Paul.