The Bible contains the will of God, who wants to lead us to the way of truth and righteousness and to make us perfect as His people who will inherit salvation.
Some Biblical characters, who graciously received God who came in the flesh 2,000 years ago, are good examples for us who are living today. Through them, let’s learn what kind of mindset and faith we should have towards God, so that we can correctly recognize and receive Him and preach the message of salvation boldly to the whole world, saying, “Receive God Elohim who have appeared in this age!”
First, let’s find out what blessings were given to the people who received God in the flesh at Jesus’ first coming.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. Jn 1:10-13
When God the Creator came to this earth, most people in the world did not recognize Him, but only a few people—those born of God—were blessed to receive Him. They had great faith to honor God even though He became flesh and to follow Him until the end wherever He went.
Before, we were mere sinners, but by receiving God we have become special beings called the children of God who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is like hydrogen, which is merely an element in the air, transforms into water that is essential for all living creatures, when it meets oxygen.
Recently we have been hearing the gracious fragrances of Zion from overseas mission teams; they continually deliver the good news to Jerusalem that they’ve found many people, who greatly rejoice in the fact that they’ve come to recognize and receive God who has come to this earth in the flesh. Through these fragrances of Zion, we realize again how blessed and thankful we are to receive God and serve Him.
Jesus talked about the blessings for those who received Him as follows:
“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Mt 10:40-42
Jesus says that if anyone receives a prophet or a righteous man, he will not lose his reward. Then, if we receive God, how glorious it will be! There will be no greater blessing or reward than that. If we take a look into the life of Elijah in the Bible, we can find the story of the widow of Zarephath who was blessed by receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet.
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. … he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 1 Ki 17:8-16
The widow of Zarephath had no food because there was a severe famine throughout the land; she had only enough flour and oil for one last meal, that she and her son were going to eat that last meal and then die. In this desperate situation, however, she received Elijah, a prophet of God, and supplied him with food. As a result, she was blessed by God; her jar of flour did not go empty and her jug of oil did not run dry until the drought ended.
Through the case of the widow who received a great blessing from God when she received His prophet, we can see that if we receive God and serve Him faithfully, we will be blessed forever. In the days of Jesus, too, there were some people who were blessed by receiving God in the name of God.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. … Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” Lk 19:1-9
Jesus once visited Zacchaeus in his own home, and he regarded it as the greatest honor of his life. Then he expressed his joy and thankfulness to Jesus by saying that he would give half of his possessions to the poor and that if he had cheated anybody out of anything, he would pay back four times the amount.
Thus, it is a great honor for sinners to receive God. However, even though we see God near us, if we do not realize His divine nature and do not receive Him—because our spiritual eyes are not opened and we are lacking in spiritual realizations—we will not be saved. In the days of Jesus, too, uncountable people lived in the same space where Jesus was, breathing the same air. However, there were very few who received Jesus with the faith of Zacchaeus.
In this age, too, God has come to this earth and is dwelling among sinners, but most of them do not recognize Her. However, we should be the children of God, who receive God Elohim with heartfelt thankfulness and joy.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. … “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” Jn 12:1-7
When a banquet was held for Jesus at Bethany, Mary served Jesus with all her heart by pouring the expensive perfume on His feet, realizing that Jesus was God who came to save sinners like her. Jesus complimented her faith and said, “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mt 26:13).
We’ve been given the right to become children of God in this age. Now, we need to examine ourselves whether or not we are serving God with the same attitude as that of Mary Magdalene or Zacchaeus.
What Jesus wanted was not the possessions of Zacchaeus or the expensive perfume of Mary. He was just moved by their beautiful, sincere faith. We are living in the age of the Holy Spirit. When we serve God, we should move Him with a stronger and more beautiful faith than they did.
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. … I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” Jn 5:39-44
If anyone only expects God to do something for him, he cannot say that he has received God fully. If he has truly received God, he should always think about what he can do for God, like Mary or Zacchaeus.
Even if God ate food served by men, what joy would it bring to Him? Wasn’t He delighted to see the sincere mind of those who received Him?
If we really love God, we should give thanks to Him for His sacrifice for us and always ponder over how to repay Him for His grace, and we should also be delighted to be given the opportunity and honor to receive God.
Now it is time to think about what we can do for God. We should receive God by faith and serve Him with all our heart like Mary and Zacchaeus. Longing for the glory from God, we should give thanks to Him for having come to this earth even twice to lead us, sinners, to repentance and salvation.
While God’s grace is great and boundless, what we can do for Him is very small and limited. However, God is pleased with our small efforts to repay Him for His grace and regards them as big; He has prepared boundless blessings for us in heaven.
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Co 2:9
If we have only asked God to give us something like little children, always pouting and grumbling, from now on we should be mature in faith, so that we can repay God who is preparing for us something unimaginable and glorious that we can never achieve with our own ability.
As God is preparing such a wonderful thing for each of us, He tells us to hold on to our crown of life, withstanding all the hindrances of Satan who is trying to hide the glory of God and detach us from Him.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Co 4:4-6
Although our heavenly Father and Mother are Gods who are worthy to receive glory and honor, They have come to this earth in the flesh to save us sinners. Through this fact, we are able to see how great Their love for us is. Therefore, we should honor our Father and Mother with perfect faith and spiritual realizations, resisting Satan who is making every effort to hide the glory of God.
Now is the time to go into the whole world, to Samaria and the ends of the earth, and preach the good news to all nations and people, saying, “Receive God!” By doing this, we should please God. Now God reveals His glory and power seven times brighter and stronger than He did at His first coming. In this last age, we are called by God. We should receive God by faith and serve Him more faithfully than Mary or Zacchaeus, and also should diligently preach to all people around the world, shouting out loud, “Receive God and come to take the water of life!” Let us all live our lives of faith beautifully and faithfully, so that none of us will regret anything on the day when Father comes.